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AD : Library of Congress On January 29 Chatham left with Franklin the conciliatory plan that he introduced as a bill in the House of Lords three days later, and the American studied and copied it. At the end of his copy is the following memorandum on the rejection of the bill. The above Plan was offered by the Earl of Chatham to the House of Lords, on Wednesday Feb. 1. 1775, under the Title of...
Reprinted from The Columbian Magazine , I (December, 1786), 159–61; incomplete copy: American Philosophical Society Franklin and chess have long been associated in the popular mind largely because of this bagatelle, which was the most widely reprinted product of his Passy press. Made public for the first time in 1786, it would be reprinted at least a dozen times by the end of the century, and...
AD : American Philosophical Society These two notes for borrowers from the Library Company demarcated the sheep from the goats. The sheep, who were the members, promised to pay for books not returned on time and in good condition; the goats put down a refundable deposit. The requirement of a promissory note from a member went back at least to 1732, and a note to accompany a nonmember’s deposit...
4Memorandum Book, 1757–1776 (Franklin Papers)
MS account book: American Philosophical Society [April 3, 1757] Before leaving for England Franklin provided his wife with a long, narrow account book in which she was to record her expenditures during his absence. She made the first entry on April 3, even before he had gone. But later, like many wives—and husbands too—she was far from meticulous in recording everything she spent. There are...
MS account books: American Philosophical Society December 10, 1764 As Franklin had done when he went to England in 1757, he began a new record of his financial transactions when he started his second mission in 1764. Probably the new record consisted at first of a series of rather informal entries such as those in his “Account of Expences,” 1757–1762, described above, VII , 164–5, and cited...
Draft: American Philosophical Society I have perus’d the Letters and Papers you put into my Hands, and shall, as you desire, say what occurs to me on the considering them. I do not know Mr. Murdoch personally, but have heard that he is a Person of Credit and some Note in that Country, and esteemed by the People there. I imagine that little is to be expected from a Suit of Law, to be carried on...
Draft: American Philosophical Society Obviously written in England, this document cannot otherwise be certainly dated. Apparently Franklin contemplated having an English architect prepare plans for a “model home” in Philadelphia suitable for “Tradesmen and People of moderate Circumstances.” His description of the land on which it was to be built most nearly fits the lot on the north side of...
ALS (draft): Blumhaven Library (1957) I have perus’d the Parts you put into my Hands of the new Work on Commerce, &c. and must own myself extreamly pleas’d with it. It is a most valuable Collection of Facts which I should think every one in Britain, Ireland and the Colonies who has any thing to do with Publick Affairs, or is desirous of understanding that very interesting Subject, would gladly...
ALS : Frank Glenn, Kansas City, Missouri (1955) I used to put two Ounces of Bark finely powdered into a Bottle of Wine, and let it stand 24 Hours, in which time it will have given to the Wine a sufficient Quantity of its Virtue, and the Powder itself will be pretty well subsided. When I had drank two or three Glasses out of the Bottle, I used to fill it up with fresh Wine, because the Bark...
AD : American Philosophical Society Among Franklin’s papers are two sheets on which he entered notes about three acts of Parliament. One sheet, written on both sides, is badly torn at the top and down one edge. The other, of which he used only one side and which is in better condition, is a continuation of the first. The acts in which he was interested had granted to areas not previously...
Copy: Library of Congress; copy: American Philosophical Society It has been demonstrated that Franklin did not, as William Temple Franklin asserted and subsequent editors believed, write this dialogue shortly after arriving in France in 1776, but shortly before leaving England in 1775. If he began it considerably earlier, as seems likely, it must have been in a quite different vein; for he...
AD: British Museum The presence of this fragment among the papers of Caleb Whitefoord in the British Museum indicates that it was part of a letter to the Public Advertiser that was never published. Henry Woodfall, the printer, frequently sent such material for Whitefoord’s inspection; and in this case the manuscript seems to have gone no further. When it was written, why it was suppressed, and...
AD : American Philosophical Society These two scraps of Franklin’s ongoing argument for the colonies appear to be directed at the British public, although no trace of either one has been found in the newspapers of the period. The first fragment is divided into two parts by a gap in the manuscript; the initial paragraph might have been written at any time, but the second implies that...
AD : Library of Congress The background of this request has already been discussed in connection with the document to which it was attached, Franklin’s indictment of Lord Hillsborough in 1772 for preventing colonial petitions from reaching the throne. At some later point he decided, for reasons given here, to publish the indictment redirected at Lord Dartmouth, and then reversed his decision;...
AD (draft): Library of Congress These notes are impossible to date. At the head of the sheet a line in another hand has been crossed out; it seems to read “Mde. D’Ardonviller,” who means nothing to us. Franklin’s reference in his notation to the “old” intention suggests that he was writing long after the comment that he cites by the Attorney General; but the reference at least determines the...
AL (draft): American Philosophical Society Unsolved problems in editing, as in other areas of historical research, are frustrating out of all proportion to their significance; and this short draft is a case in point. Why Franklin wrote it is clear enough: to enable a French teacher, whose English was inadequate for the purpose, to enlist influential help in obtaining redress from the Warden of...
MS : Library of Congress This document, of unknown provenance and in an unknown hand, is among the papers of L. C. Henley-Smith. The only evidence of its authenticity is internal, but that evidence is strong. The format shows a verbal playfulness at which Franklin was adept, and the points attributed to him were ones that he repeatedly raised during his negotiations in London. We are strongly...
AD (incomplete draft): American Philosophical Society The nature of this fragment is clear enough: it is to introduce a resolution, undoubtedly by Congress, authorizing some action against the crown. But what action is impossible to say. The preamble was not adopted and hence not recorded in the Journals , and its language is too general to identify the measure it was intended to justify. One...
Printed forms (two) with MS insertions in blanks: Theodore Sheldon, Chicago (1954) The commission given by Franklin and William Hunter to Thomas Vernon as deputy postmaster at Newport, R.I., Dec. 24, 1754, is printed above, V , 451–2. With the text of that earliest known post-office commission signed by Franklin as deputy postmaster general appears a note listing five similar commissions known...
Printed in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society . . ., II (1786), 325. On his voyage to America Franklin was wondering about the sea around him. Soon after setting down his speculation on the speed of ships (the preceding document) he, or perhaps his grandson under his direction, began to record the temperature of the water. For the first four days it varied little, and perhaps...
DS : Historical Society of Pennsylvania The promoters of the Walpole grant in London were becoming more and more unsure of obtaining it. Franklin’s ostensible withdrawal from their group in January, 1774, had had no perceptible effect in forwarding their cause, and their chance of success diminished as war drew nearer. They waited for over a year. Then in the spring of 1775 they apparently...
MS : Library of Congress During his homeward voyage Franklin took time off from writing his journal of the peace negotiations in London to return to a question that had intrigued him for years: why do westbound ships have a longer crossing of the Atlantic than eastbound? Almost three decades earlier he had advanced a tentative answer in terms of the earth’s rotation; he now sketched a new one...
AD : American Philosophical Society For some years we have been trying and failing to answer two questions about this sketch: why and when was it made? The device as described would obviously never produce continuous rotation, if that was the intent; and a wheel that turned in spasms would have limited use. As for the date, no clue to it has appeared in the edited correspondence; one may of...
AD and copy: Library of Congress When Franklin at long last set sail for home, memories of the past months were churning inside him. He spent much of the voyage recounting, in the guise of a letter to his son, the events that had crowded upon him since the previous summer and particularly since early December. He had with him a mass of papers with which he documented his journal; the bulk of...
Copy with autograph additions: Library of Congress Sir Michael Foster (1689–1763) was one of the most respected jurists of the eighteenth century. In 1743 he was recorder for the city of Bristol, a judicial post that required him to prosecute criminal cases such as the one which led to his discussion of the Royal Navy’s right to impress or forcibly recruit sailors. On April 25, 1743, Alexander...
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...
ALS : Harvard University Library I leave Directions with Mrs. Stevenson to deliver you all the Massachusetts Papers, when you please to call for them. I am sorry that the Hurry of Preparing for my Voyage and the many Hindrances I have met with, prevented my meeting you and Mr. Bollan, and conversing a little more on our Affairs before my Departure. I wish to both of you Health and Happiness,...
AL (letterbook draft): Library of Congress Dr. Franklin presents his Compliments to Mr. Todd, and sends the above Extracts of Letters from Mr. Foxcroft to show what reason Dr. F. had to suppose the Accts might now have been settled. In reply to the preceding letter. Above, Nov. 2, 5; Dec. 7, 1774; Jan. 4, 1775.
AL (draft): American Philosophical Society Being about to embark for America this Line is just to take leave wishing you every kind of Felicity, and to request that if you have not yet purchased for me the Theatrum Machinarum , you would now omit doing it, as I have the Offer of a Set here. But if you have purchased it, your Draft on me will be duly paid in my Absence by Mrs. Stevenson, in...
AL : Yale University Library Dr. Franklin presents his respectful Compliments to Lord Bessborough, with Thanks for the obliging Invitation, which he should embrace with Pleasure, but that he expects to be at Sea on that Day in his Way to America, being to embark on Sunday next. He wishes sincerely to Lord Bessborough every kind of Felicity, and shall always retain a grateful Sense of the many...
ADS and copy: Library of Congress; draft and copy: American Philosophical Society Franklin’s patience was finite, and its limits had been reached. Failure of the negotiations he may have taken in stride, for British intractibility was too familiar to leave him much hope of compromise; but British arrogance was something else again. On March 16 he was in the gallery when the House of Lords...
ALS : Scottish Record Office, Edinburgh Purposing to embark for America in a few Days, I cannot depart without taking Leave of my dear Lord Kaims, to whose Civilities and Friendship I have been so much oblig’d, and for whom I shall ever retain the sincerest Esteem and Affection. I congratulate you cordially on the Success of your last Work. It does you great Honour. I hear it every where well...
AL : Yale University Library I duly receiv’d your Favour of Novr. the 26th, but having mislaid it, I postpon’d answering it till I should find it, not recollecting perfectly what were the Books you wrote for. I now send the Nautical Almanack for the current Year; that for 1776 is not yet publish’d. The Philosophical Transactions, if you mean a compleat Set, will cost near £30. Therefore not...
AL : National Archives, Washington I have some Thoughts of going with Osborne; but as I may be disappointed in that, I write a few Lines, to acquaint you, that the Petition of the Congress has lain upon the Table of both Houses ever since it was sent down to them among the Papers that accompany’d it from above, and has had no particular Notice taken of it; our Petition to be heard in support...
AL : D. A. F. H. H. Hartley Russell (1955), on deposit in the Berkshire Record Office This note is the first extant communication between Franklin and a man who, as correspondent and eventually as peace negotiator, was destined to play a considerable part in his life. David Hartley ( c. 1730–1813), the son of a physician-philosopher well known in his day, was a close friend of Sir George...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I hope you continue well, as I do, Thanks to God. Be of good Courage. Bad Weather does not last always in any Country. Supposing it may be agreable to you, I send you a Head they make here and sell at the China Shops. My Love to your Children, and to Cousin Williams and Family. I am ever Your affectionate Brother BF , in writing Bowdoin the day before, had...
Reprinted from Josiah Quincy, Memoir of the Life of Josiah Quincy Jun. of Massachusetts (Boston, 1825), pp. 478–9. The young man who is the subject of this letter had arrived in London the previous November. On December 6, the day when Franklin was discussing his “Hints” with Barclay and Fothergill, young Quincy was visited by Corbyn Morris, whom he described as “a choice friend of the...
Copy: Massachusetts Historical Society I received your kind Letter of Sept. 6 by Mr. Quincy. I thought it might be of use to publish a Part of it, which was done accordingly. But the Measures it so justly censures are still persisted in, and will I trust continue to produce Effects directly contrary to those intended; will unite instead of dividing us, strengthen and make us more resolute...
ALS (draft): American Philosophical Society In my last per Falconer, I mention’d to you my showing your Plan of Union to Lords Chatham and Camden. I now hear that you had sent it to Lord Dartmouth. Lord Gower I believe alluded to it, when in the House he censur’d the Congress severely as first resolving to receive a Plan for Uniting the Colonies to the Mother Country, and afterwards rejecting...
ALS (draft): American Philosophical Society; copy: Library of Congress Having nothing to offer on the American Business in Addition to what Lord Hyde is already acquainted with from the Papers that have passed, it seems most respectful not to give his Lordship the Trouble of a Visit, since a mere Discussion of the Sentiments contained in those Papers is not in his Opinion likely to produce any...
AD (I, III, and IV) and AL (II) and copies: Library of Congress As Franklin reviewed the situation during the day of the 17th before meeting again with Barclay and Fothergill that evening, according to his journal, he decided that he would take the responsibility of agreeing conditionally to pay for the tea. He also became more impressed than he had originally been with Barclay’s idea of a...
Résumé printed in Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives of the Province of Pennsylvania, Met at Philadelphia, on the Fourteenth of October, Anno Domini 1774, and Continued by Adjournments (Philadelphia, 1775), pp. 643–4. <February 15, 1775: He reports that on the previous day six provincial acts, passed in September, 1773, and July and September, 1774, were presented to the...
ALS (draft): American Philosophical Society In my last I informed you of my Attendance on the Board of Trade upon your Acts passed in March last, the Objections made to some of them, particularly the Paper Money Act with the Answers I gave to those Objections; and that all were likely to pass, except those for lowering the Interest of Money, and for the Relief of an insolvent Debtor. Petitions...
Copy: Miss S. Madeline Hodge, Princeton, New Jersey (1955) Mr. Webb called upon me the other Day, and delivered me your Favor of Jany 28, enclosing a copy of your former, dated in March 24. I am pleased to find that you approve of the Proceedings of the Congress: I send you herewith a Number of their Addresses to the People of England, with some of the Bishop of St. Asaphs Speeches to be...
ALS : Henry E. Huntington Library In Compliance with your Request I this Morning applied to a Virginia Merchant for Information, Whether the Courts of Virginia are now shut? and if so, from what Causes? particularly whether from any Resolutions of the People there to avoid Payment of their English Debts, as you told me had been insinuated by a Person in Administration. Inclos’d I send you the...
ALS (draft): American Philosophical Society I beg to be inform’d by a Line whether a Letter, the third I did myself the honour of writing to you, dated the 26th of February 1774, ever came to your Hands. I am, Reverend Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant Notation by Franklin: Letter to Dr Tucker Feb. 13. 75 It did indeed. Tucker did not answer it but subsequently used it in a...
ALS : Clements Library, University of Michigan I received duly your respected Favours of Oct. 27 and Nov. 1 with Bills for five hundred Pounds Bulkeley on Whitmore; I thank you much for your Care in so speedy a Remittance. I hope you will excuse the Trouble I have given you in previously drawing for that Sum: and be assured that the Bills which I provisionaly desired you to draw on me (or in...
Printed in The Public Advertiser , February 7, 1775. Verner Crane argues that the grounds, set forth at length in his annotation, for attributing this speech to Franklin are not conclusive but are plausible. The letter certainly contains a number of Franklin’s favorite ideas and rhetorical devices; its theme, the defense of American provincial troops in particular and of American courage in...
Minutebook copy: Library Company of Philadelphia I received your Favour of Decr: 16. with the Bills Barclay & Mitchell on Harvey & Co: for sixty Pounds which is carried to your Credit. I am glad my little Services have been acceptable and every future Opportunity of continuing them will be a Pleasure to, Gentlemen, Your and the Company’s assured Friend, and most obedient Servant For Matthew...
ALS : Pennsylvania Hospital I duly received your Favour of Dec. 7. with a Copy of the Resolution of the House appointing me Agent for the current Year; and the printed Votes. I am oblig’d by your Care in sending them so expeditiously. A Friend of mine, Lord Le Despencer, has lately erected at Wyecomb his fine Country Seat, a noble Statue of William Penn, our Founder; holding in its hand a...