George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Franklin, 19 August 1756

From Benjamin Franklin

Philada Augt 19. 1756


I have your Favours of July 23. and Aug. 3—but that you mention to have wrote per Mr Balfour, is not come to hand.1 I forwarded the Pacquet inclos’d in that of July 23. as directed; & shall readily take care of any other Letters from or for you, that pass thro’ my hands.2

The Post between this Place & Winchester was established for the Accomodation of the Army chiefly, by a Vote of our Assembly; they are not willing to continue the Charge, and it must I believe be dropt, unless your Assembly & that of Maryland will contribute to support it, which perhaps is scarce to be expected. I am sorry it should be laid down as I shall my self be a Loser in the Affair of Newspapers: But the Letters per Post, by no means defray the Expence. If you can prevail with your Assembly to pay the Rider from Winchester to Carlisle, I will endeavour to perswade ours to continue Paying the Rider from Carlisle hither: My Agreement with the House was, to carry all publick Dispatches gratis; to keep Acct of Postage receiv’d for private Letters; charge the Expence of Riders & Offices, and they were to pay the Ballance.3 I am, Sir, with great Esteem & Respect, Your most obedient humble Servant

B. Franklin


1None of these three letters from GW to Franklin has been found. Franklin was in Williamsburg on post office business when GW arrived there on 30 March. GW stopped in Philadelphia on his return from Boston in March and overtook Franklin en route to Virginia on the twenty-second. “After parting with Col. Washington” on that day at Fredericktown, Cecil County, Md., Franklin sailed to Hampton while GW proceeded overland to Williamsburg (Franklin to Deborah Franklin, [25? Mar. 1756], in Labaree and Willcox, Franklin Papers description begins William B. Willcox et al., eds. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. 40 vols. to date. New Haven, 1959—. description ends , 6:427–28). James Balfour (d. 1775), a merchant associated with John Hunter of Hampton and a planter in Elizabeth City County, seems at this time to have traveled often between Philadelphia and Virginia; he accompanied Franklin down the Chesapeake Bay and returned to Philadelphia before Franklin did in late April.

2The only known document written by GW between 1 July and 15 Aug. 1756 that he may have sent to Franklin for forwarding is the Address of the Officers of the Virginia Regiment to the earl of Loudoun, dated 25 July 1756.

3In response to a request from Gen. Edward Braddock, the Pennsylvania Assembly in April 1755 authorized Franklin to establish a post between Winchester and Philadelphia. The service seems to have lapsed after the Pennsylvania Assembly settled with Franklin on 24 Sept. 1756. But see GW to David Hall, 28 Aug. 1757, and Hall to GW, 8 Sept. 1757.

Index Entries