Benjamin Franklin Papers

Benjamin Franklin and Robert Grace to Elliott Benger: Bond, 25 April 1744

Benjamin Franklin and Robert Grace to Elliott Benger: Bond6

Copy: Land Office, Department of Internal Affairs, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

[April 25, 1744]

Know all Men by these Presents, That We Benjamin Franklin Deputy-Postmaster of the City of Philada. in the Province of Pennsilvania, and Robert Grace of the same Place Merchant are Held and firmly Bound unto the Honourable Elliott Benger, Esqr; Sole Deputy-Postmaster General of all his Majesty’s Dominions in America, in the full Sum of Five Hundred Pounds Sterling Money, to be paid to the said Eliott Benger, his Executors, Administrators or Assigns; To the which Payment well and truly to be made, we do bind our Selves, and each of Us, our and each of our Heirs, Executors and Administrators, joyntly and Severally, firmly by these Presents. Sealed with our Seals, dated this Twenty fifth Day of April in the seventeenth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second King of Great Britain, &c. and in the Year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and forty four.

The Condition of this Obligation is such, That if the above bounden Benjamin Franklin shall and do truly and faithfully execute and perform the Office and Duty of Deputy-Postmaster of Philadelphia, so that no Damage thro’ his Neglect, Fraud, Malfeasance or Breach of Duty, do arise to the said Elliott Benger, then this present Obligation to be Void, otherwise to be and remain in full force and Vertue.

B Franklin [Seal]
Robt. Grace [Seal]

Signed Sealed and Delivered in
   presence of Us
    Sam: Holland
    N. Holland

On the fourth Day of June 1744 Benjamin Franklin of the City of Philadelphia and Robert Grace within named both personally appeared before me the Subscriber One of the Justices of the Peace for the County of Philada. and Severally Acknowledged the within written Bond to be their Act and Deed and desired the same might be recorded. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto Set my Hand and Seal, the Day and date aforesaid.

Jona. Robeson [Seal]

Docketed: Recorded the 6th Day of June 1744

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6BF had been appointed postmaster of Philadelphia, 1737 by Alexander Spotswood, deputy postmaster general for North America. Spotswood was succeeded by Head Lynch (1700–1743), of whom William Byrd wrote that he had been sent from England to Virginia because his family “coud make nothing of Him there, and ever since he came hither, he has lived in a very low Scene of Life, marrying a Sexton’s Daughter, and sotting about with the Dregs of the People.” Va. Meg. Biog., XXXVII (1929), 30–31. One of Lynch’s acts as deputy postmaster general was to take bonds for faithful performance by the several postmasters. 3 Mass. Hist. Soc. Colls., VII, 86. He was succeeded, 1743, by Elliott Benger (d. 1751), also of Virginia, who likewise promptly required bonds of the postmasters. BF and William Hunter succeeded Benger as joint deputy postmasters general in 1753. Ruth L. Butler, Doctor Franklin, Postmaster-General (Garden City, N.Y., 1928), p. 34; Fairfax Harrison, “The Colonial Post Office in Virginia,” 2 Wm. and Mary Quar., IV (1924), 88–91.

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