Memorandum for Mrs. Stevenson
AD: Dr. William Hewson, Philadelphia, Pa. (1957)
Franklin, like so many travelers embarking on a long voyage, had been unable to deal with everything before his departure; and as usual Mrs. Stevenson took care of tidying his affairs. But she was much more deeply involved in them than this memorandum indicates. He left owing her four years’ rent at £100 per annum, and she covered additional obligations of his that came to more than £470; he reimbursed her to the tune of £871 19s. ½d. as soon as he reached America.2 In return she planned on using his good offices to invest in Philadelphia, and deposited £740 in London for him to draw upon in making loans at interest. But he thought better of the idea soon after he arrived, and returned the money to her.3
[On or before March 20, 17754]
Mrs. Stevenson is requested
To deliver the broad Copper Plate at the Head of the Garret Stairs to Mr. Pownall; with one of the Prints.5
The other Print to Capt. Walsingham.6
To pay a draft of 5 or 6 Guineas if such should be drawn on me by Mr. Burdet in Germany.7
2. Jour., p. 59. This payment is for some reason not entered in his Ledger.
3. Jour., p. 58; at the same time he sent an additional £260 that he believed he owed her, and a further draft of £42 for which we cannot account: Ledger, p. 67. In his letter to her below, July 17, 1775, he spoke of putting her in possession of £1000.
4. The day BF left London for his ship.
5. The copperplate was of Lewis Evans’ General Map of the Middle British Colonies, which he had entrusted to Thomas Pownall twenty years before in case a new edition was called for; in 1766 Amelia Evans had assigned her rights in the plate to BF as security for a loan, and in 1776 Pownall brought out the new edition. Above, XIII, 165 n.
6. Presumably Capt. Robert Walsingham, R.N. (1736–80), an M.P. who, although a close friend of Sandwich, opposed the government on the American issue. Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, III, 603–5. We have no other evidence that BF knew him.
7. He had ordered a book through Peter Burdett, and had tried to cancel the order in his letter to him above, March 17.