Benjamin Franklin Papers

Promissory Note to John Phillips, 5 [?] May 1724

Promissory Note to John Phillips1

DS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Boston May 5th [?] 17242

I Promise to Pay or Cause to be paid unto John Phillips Bookseller The Just Sum of Three pounds Three Shilling In money by January next as witness my hand

Benjamin Franklin

1John Phillips (1701–1763), opened a bookshop on the south side of Boston Town House, 1723. He was subsequently deacon of Brattle Street Church, colonel of the Boston Regiment, captain and treasurer of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, overseer of the poor, moderator of seventeen town meetings between 1749 and 1761, representative to the General Court. George E. Littlefield, Early Boston Booksellers, 1642–1711 (Boston, 1900), pp. 225–30.

2BF returned to Boston in late April or early May to lay before his father Governor Keith’s proposal that the elder Franklin should set his son up in a printing house and that Keith would use his influence to obtain for the young man the public printing of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Josiah Franklin, puzzled and suspicious that so generous an offer should be made to a lad of eighteen, declined it politely. BF went back to Philadelphia, this time with his parents’ knowledge and blessing.

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