Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Pownall, 2 June 1769

From John Pownall2

ALS (copy): Public Record Office

Whitehall June 2d. 1769


I am directed by the Earl of Hillsborough to desire the Favor that he may see you at His House together with the Agents of some of the other North American Colonies on Wednesday next3 at Eleven O’Clock in the forenoon, on the subject of some representations that have been made to his Lordship of irregularities committed by Masters of Bermuda Vessels raking Salt at Sal Tortuga4 to the prejudice of Vessels from the other Colonies employ’d in that Traffick. If there are any Masters of Vessels now in England who have been in this Trade, their Information upon the Subject may perhaps be usefull, and therefore His Lordship wishes if you know any such you will be pleased to bring them with you. I am &c

J. Pownall

[In the margin:] Dr Franklin  Mr De Berdt  Mr Charles  Mr Sherwood  Mr Pigott5 leaving out the word other

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2For John Pownall, the secretary of the Board of Trade and brother of Thomas Pownall, see above, VIII, 315 n. This letter, as indicated below, was sent to BF and other agents.

3June 7.

4From an early period the Bermudians had sent their slaves to Tortuga, Grand Turk, and the other Caicos Islands for salt, which was stored in Bermuda during the winter and then taken to the continental colonies to be exchanged for food products and lumber. This profitable trade was jeopardized when the governor of the Bahamas laid claim to the Caicos Islands, and the Bermudians appealed to Whitehall. See Walter Brownell Hayward, Bermuda Past and Present (New York, 1923), pp. 32–4; Henry C. Wilkinson, Bermuda in the Old Empire (London, 1950), pp. 87, 237–41.

5Dennys DeBerdt (c. 1694–1770) was the agent for Massachusetts, Robert Charles for New York, Joseph Sherwood (d. 1773) for Rhode Island, and John Pigott, a London merchant, for Bermuda. For Pigott see ibid., p. 232.

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