Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan, 6 December 1750

To William Strahan

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. Dec. 6. 1750

Dear Sir

I receiv’d your Favour of Augt. 31. per Mesnard, and Copy per Shirley who is just arrived. Mr. Joseph Crellius2 is gone to Holland and I suppose may call at London before he returns, and settle his Daughter’s Affair. I am sorry there has been so long Delay in this Payment of my Son’s Money; I must contrive some Way to make you Satisfaction.

My Son is now engag’d in the Study of the Law, and I believe I shall hardly have the Pleasure of seeing you in England till I accompany him when he goes over, as we intend to finish his Studies in one of the Inns of Court. I suppose this may be two or three Years hence if we live. In the mean time we request that you would enter his Name (William Franklin, of Philadelphia) as a Student of Law in one of those Inns as you think best, and pay the Charges, which we are told will not exceed 4 or 5 Pounds, out of the enclos’d Bill:3 And that you would also send us by the first Ship, the following Books, viz. Coke’s Institutes, Wood’s Ditto of the Common Law, Bacon’s, Viner’s, and Danvers’s Abridgments.4 The Reason of having his Name now enter’d, is that the usual Time being expired, he may, when in England, be called to the Bar. Please to enquire what that Time is, and let us know.

The Vessel is just sailing, and I can only add that I am, with great Esteem and Affection, Dear Sir Your obliged humble Servant

B Franklin

P.S. The Bill is drawn by Messrs. Robt. and Amos Strettell on Messrs. Jonathan Gurnell & Co. for Fifty Pounds Sterling.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Joseph Crell (or Crellius) (d. 1765) came with his brother Stephen from Germany to South Carolina, 1736, where they were granted land at Saxe-Gotha in the Congaree Valley. Joseph prospered, but sold his farm, 1739, and moved to Philadelphia, where he printed a German newspaper, 1743, and kept an evening school. Thomas, Printing, I, 245, 247. In 1750 and again in 1752 he went to Holland and Germany as agent of Massachusetts to bring a better class of settlers to that colony, but the business gained little advantage for him, Massachusetts, or the immigrants. One result of the enterprise, however, was that Crell became a partner of John Franklin and others in a glass factory at Braintree (see above, p. 65 n). In 1755 he revisited South Carolina. He had two daughters, Mary (Aletta) and Anna. The statement in a previous note (above, III, 479 n) about Mary is incorrect; it was Anna, not Mary, who married Dr. Peter Nijgh (Neigh, Nye). Following her first husband’s death in South Carolina, 1756, Anna married Francis Farquhar, May 16, 1758, a Scot from Aberdeen who kept a tavern in Amsterdam, where BF visited her and her father in 1761. BF to Deborah Franklin, Sept. 14, 1761; Erna Risch, “Joseph Crellius, Immigrant Broker,” New Eng. Quar., XII (1939), 241–67; “Geschichte des Deutschen Elements im Staate Maine,” Der Deutsche Pionier, XIV (1882–83), xv (1883–84), XVI (1884–85); Robert L. Meriwether, The Expansion of South Carolina (Kingsport, Tenn., 1940), pp. 55, 56, 153. Information about the death of Joseph Crell and about Anna Crell and her two marriages was supplied by Mr. Robert Warnock from the Amsterdam Archives.

3William’s name was entered in the Middle Temple, Feb. 11, 1751; he was called to the bar Nov. 10, 1758, a year after he and his father arrived in England. E. Alfred Jones, American Members of the Inns of Court (London, 1924), p. 78.

4Edward Coke, The First Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England, or, a Commentary upon Littleton (12th edit., 1738); Thomas Wood, An Institute of the Laws of England (7th edit., 2 vols., 1745); Matthew Bacon, A New Abridgment of the Law (5 vols., London, 1736–66, of which two vols. had appeared by 1736); Charles Viner, A General Abridgment of Law and Equity (23 vols., 1742–51); Knightley Danvers, A General Abridgment of the Common Law (3 vols., 1705–37, and other edits.).

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