Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Hancock, 10 August 1741

From Thomas Hancock8

Draft: Boston Public Library

Boston Augt. 10th. 1741

Mr. Benja. Franklin

Inclosed you have Coppys of Seven note of hand from Sundry Persons who have Since Run away in my Debt, and I am Told are Gon Towards Philadelphia the Jerseys and Penciliania. I have therefore Taken the Freedom per this Opportunity to ask the Favor of you to make Inquiery after the within named Gentry, and if to be found pray Secure them, or Oblige ’em to pay the money. In Case you meet with any and find it necessary to have the original notes of hand write to me and they Shall be Sent you. As you are in the Post office I Thought you would be the most likely to hear off or meet with Some of them. Intreat you to pursue Such measures as you think may be necessary in finding them, and for your Trouble (if you will be So Kind as to undertake for me) I oblige myself to allow you one Quarter part of whatever Sum you obtain for me of the Inclosed notes. You’l please to write me if any Success, being the needfull Concludes Sir your very humble Servant


[On reverse:]

James Question is an old man much pock broken.

Thos. Thompson is a tall young man, about 21 years.

Willm. Houston an old man of the Kingdom of I[relan]d.

Willm. Maxwell is a Lusty man about 30 years of Age.

Valentine Downing a Little man with one hand.

Charles Mackay an old man.

Endorsed: To Benj. Franklin Augst. 10. 1741

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Thomas Hancock (1703–1764), apprenticed to a bookseller and bookbinder in Boston, 1716, opened his own shop in 1723 or 1724. He soon branched out into paper manufacturing and the export of provisions to the Newfoundland fisheries, and by 1741 was on his way to becoming one of the wealthiest citizens of Boston. A generous benefactor of Harvard College, he left his fortune to his nephew and partner John Hancock, “the Signer.” William T. Baxter, The House of Hancock: Business in Boston, 1724–1775 (Cambridge, Mass., 1945); DAB.

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