Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Franklin, 23 July 1753

To William Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Boston July 23. 1753

Dear Son,

I am pleas’d to learn by yours of the 12th that you have taken a circumstantial Account of the Appearances at Trumbles’s House, which you think sufficient to establish my new Hypothesis of the Direction of Lightning.3

Mr. Kinnersley has sent me a Pane of the Glass with a Letter in which he mentions his Suspicions that the Stroke was upwards.4 I now write him a short Account of the Experiments I made before I left home, and refer him to you for the Explanation according to the new Hypothesis, which I have not now time to give him at length.5

I hope the 60 Ream of Paper, Law Size, No 2. which I order’d Shutz to make for Mr. Holbrook here, is come down from the Mill before this time.6 Send it per first Vessel to that Gentleman.

I purpose to set out next Monday, God willing, on my Return; and hope to be at home about the Middle of August, not exceeding the 20th.

My Compliments to all Enquiring Friends. I am, Dear Son, Your affectionate Father

B Franklin

P.S. Enclos’d you have a Letter from your Uncle, with a Power of Attorney.7 The Affair requires immediate Care, and I write at his Request, to desire you would do what is proper in it before you deliver the Letters that come by this Post, because otherwise others may be beforehand. The Case is this.

You remember Pitts that married Molly Yeldhall. He was a Factor for this Joseph Grant, and fell in his Debt I forget how much. Grant su’d him, and he gave Grant a Mortgage on a Piece of Ground and House in Walnut Street that lets for £15 or 20 per annum. It was before mortgag’d to Capt. Greenway for £100 who was to take Principal and Interest out of the Rent as they arose, so I suppose the £100 is now near if not quite paid off, and that Grant’s Mortgage will come in play and be paid in its Turn. The Land was intail’d by Molly’s Father, so it can not be held by Virtue of the Mortgage after her Son comes of Age, but that will not be these 9 or 10 Years. The Design of this Power is, that you may attach for Franklin and Williams, Grant’s Right to that Land by Virtue of his Mortgage. I suppose the Mortgage is recorded. I recommend this Affair to your Diligence which I hope will be effectual.8 Your loving Father


Pitts and Wife join’d in the Mortgage, and I think I was an Evidence it must be about 8 or 9 Years ago. Isaac Griffitts was Grant’s Attorney.

Addressed: To  Mr Wm Franklin  at the Post Office  Philadelphia

Endorsed: July 23 1753  Franklin vs Grant.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3See above, p. 4.

4Not found.

5See below, pp. 68–79.

6Johann Conrad Shütz (or Schutz), Philadelphia paper maker (see above, II, 363). Samuel Holbrook (1714–1766) served, 1749–54, as deputy to Ellis Huske, postmaster of Boston, and assisted him in publishing the Boston Post-Boy. Sibley’s Harvard Graduates IX, 410–11; Col. Soc. Mass. Pubs., IX (1907), 469.

7John Franklin’s letter to his nephew, July 23, 1753, is in APS. It stated that Joseph Grant, upholsterer, had “lately faild” and was “now shut up,” and also advised William to have Grant’s property attached before the Boston mail was distributed in Philadelphia, “as some other of his Creditors may perhaps have Notice of the same Land.”

8Jonathan Williams, Sr. (C.5.3) marketed window glass and bottles for the Quincy glass factory with which John Franklin was concerned. Carl Bridenbaugh, The Colonial Craftsman (N.Y., 1950), p. 44; see below, p. 119 n. Further details of the suit are not known.

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