Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Hughes, Jr., 1 December 1772

To John Hughes, Jr.2

ALS (letterbook draft): Library of Congress

Dec. 1. 72

Dear Sir,

I received yours of Oct. 12. and in answer to your Enquiries acquaint you, that when I was in Ireland I went to the proper Office, and received the Information noted in red Ink on a Paper enclos’d; I then wrote the Letter of which I now send you the rough Draft, together with the Answer I received. I wrote also to the other Gentleman, but received no Answer. I am afraid there is little Expectation of obtaining any thing from Government here, and as little from the Drawers of the Bills: But of that you will judge on perusal of Mr. Grant’s Letter. I return also the Protests.3

I am enclin’d to think the Land mention’d in your Father’s Will as what he was concern’d in with Baynton, Wharton & Co. is not that in which I propos’d to interest him; but another, by some Agreement between them before Mr. Wharton came over. For I think I have heard there was some such Agreement. And as I never received any Answer from him to my Proposal, I apprehend his Name has been omitted;4 but I shall enquire; and shall be glad if I can serve his Children in that or any other Affair, having no doubt of your carefully reimbursing me what I may advance for the Family. By my Accounts here, your Father was not in my Debt, but in Advance with me £4 2s. 0d. How the Account may stand in Philadelphia I know not.

Present my respectful Compliments to your Mother,5 with whom and all of you I condole sincerely, on the Loss of so valuable a Husband, Father and Friend. I am, with great Regard, Your most humble Servant


Mr John Hughes, jun.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The son of BF’s old friend of the same name. The father had died in Charleston, S.C., in January, and the son soon followed him to the grave: his will was probated at the end of 1773. William O. Sawtelle, “Acadia: the Pre-loyalist Migration and the Philadelphia Plantation,” PMHB, LI (1927), 279 n.

3The disappearance of the relevant documents leaves this paragraph almost incomprehensible. The senior Hughes, our conjecture is, received or bought two bills of exchange drawn by Irishmen. When both were protested, he asked BF to look into the matter. During his Irish tour in 1771 BF did so, located the drawers, and subsequently wrote them. One, Mr. Grant, replied unsatisfactorily. As for the government, young Hughes perhaps hoped that it owed his father arrears of salary as customs collector.

4For Baynton, Wharton & Morgan see above, XI, 187 n. BF had apparently suggested to the elder Hughes that he take a share in the Walpole Company, and nothing had come of the idea. Hughes had been associated with BF in securing land grants in Nova Scotia some years before, but had never achieved a clear title: above, XII, 345–7. At the time of his death he was working through Baynton and Samuel Wharton to obtain another Nova Scotia grant; part of his claim to it he bequeathed to his son John, who passed it on in his will. PMHB, loc. cit.

5Sarah Jones Hughes, who had married John Hughes in 1738: Ellwood Roberts, Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania … (2 vols., New York and Chicago, 1904), I, 282–5.

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