Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Parker, 7 September 1747

From James Parker2

ALS: American Philosophical Society

New York. Sept. 7. 1747.

Dear Sir

Mr. Whiting3 came and [paid the] whole last Saturday Evening in Jersey Money, except 5s. in York, of the Pay[ment] for the Postage. I don’t know any Body has any of the Spanish Paper to sell cheap. I believe 5 or 6s. will be the lowest. I know several ask 8s. I can yet gladly spare you 4 or 5 Bales of that I have, having got about 10 Bales yet entire. If you please to order it I will send it by the first Oppertunity. I will make Enquiry if any be to be got else where.

As to what relates to the Copper Plate, tis thus; The Engraver is a Silver-Smith. During the Proposing of the Thing I gave him some Silver to make me two Silver Spoons; but he has not done ’em yet.4 I have been at him several Times: but one time he has been sick, another Time his Wife is sick, &c. I tell him we want him to go about the Plate, but I fear he is an idle lazy Fellow. I will try him again this Week, and I think if he don’t go on it, as he is well enough now, we may despair of getting him to do it at all.

As my Long-Primer is almost worn out I have had Thoughts of trying to get some new for which I have not seen an easier Way than to send home some Money by the Man of War now going in about 3 Weeks; but know not well the Price, or whom to apply to, or what Quantity will do. I could make up about £12 or 14 Sterl: and I would run my own Risk—but this I will not do without your Advice and Permission.5

I received the Pocket Companion6 safe, tis well enough. May I ask, if the Young Man’s Companion7 be almost done?

I rejoice to hear you all keep your Health: May it continue! Our Son is recovered pretty well but my Wife is poorly, tho’ not with the present Sickness, but one She is pretty much accustomed to.

With all our hearty Respects, I remain, Sir Your most obedient Servant,

James Parker

P.S. I send 4 Quire Marble Paper, it cost 3s. 6d. a Quire. A Sheet of a different sort is sent, if you are minded for any of that. Payment for a little more than 1½ Dollar is coming to you; which with the 5s. York Money paid by Mr. Whiting will just clear this Paper.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2New York printer; BF’s partner. See above, II, 341–5.

3Possibly Nathan Whiting (1724–1771), New Haven merchant. See above, p. 108 n.

4If the plates were wanted for the East Jersey Proprietors’ Bill in the Chancery of New-Jersey, which Parker printed, the New York silversmith’s dilatoriness may explain why the job was finally given to James Turner of Boston (see above, p. 144 n).

5Ledger D shows that on May 5, 1748, BF charged Parker for “a fount of Pica.” George S. Eddy has suggested that BF sent this pica type instead of letting Parker order the long primer (two sizes smaller) from London. Eddy, LedgerD,” pp. 95, 97.

6Probably BF’s Pocket Almanack, which Parker used as a model for his own series of pocket almanacs, the first of which was for 1748. Evans 6053.

7See below, p. 304, for The American Instructor: or, Young Man’s Best Companion, printed by Franklin and Hall, 1748.

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