Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to James Alexander, 15 August 1745

To James Alexander4

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. Augt. 15. 1745


I return you herewith your Draughts,5 with a Copy of one of them per Mr. Evans6 and a few Lines relating to it from him. I wrote to Mr. Parker last Post that they might be got done in Boston by one Turner who is said to be a good Engraver.7 Our only tolerable Engraver here will not undertake the Jobb.8 And for my own Part I would rather chuse you should get them done there, or by Mr. Evans, than abide by the Proposal I made you: Tho’ I will do them for you with what Dispatch I can, if you conclude on that Method.9 I have mislaid yours of June 17. and forget what further Explanation you desir’d. I am, Sir, Your most humble Servant

B Franklin

Addressed: To James Alexander Esqr   at  Perth Amboy

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4James Alexander (1691–1756), lawyer, politician, and mathematician. Fleeing Scotland, where he had supported the Jacobite cause, he settled in America, 1715, living alternately in New Jersey and New York and holding office in both colonies, usually simultaneously. In 1718 he was appointed both recorder of Perth Amboy, N. J., and deputy secretary of New York. He served on the New York Council, 1721–32, and on the New Jersey Council, 1723–35; and later was again a member of both. He was attorney general of New Jersey, 1723–37, and appeared as counsel for John Peter Zenger until he was disqualified for contempt. He was one of the first members of APS. DAB; see above, II, 407.

5The drafts were the maps of New Jersey which Alexander used as counsel for the East Jersey Proprietors in a land suit in chancery, 1745. They were engraved by James Turner in Boston, and are printed in A Bill in the Chancery of New- Jersey, at the Suit of John Earl of Stair, and others, Proprietors of the Eastern-Division of New-Jersey … printed for the subscribers by James Parker in New York, 1747 “and a few Copies are to be Sold by him, and Benjamin Franklin, in Philadelphia.”

6Lewis Evans.

7For James Turner, silversmith and engraver of Boston, see below, p. 144 n.

8Possibly Samuel Leach, who advertised as an engraver in 1741–42. David M. Stauffer, American Engravers upon Copper and Steel (N.Y., 1907), I, 158–9.

9What this method was is not known.

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