Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Clap, 20 August 1753

To Thomas Clap

ALS: Miss S. Berenice Baldwin, Woodbridge, Conn. (1959)

New York, Augt. 20. 1753

Dear Sir

I arrived here well (Thanks to God) on Friday about Noon, and had the Pleasure of hearing from my Family, that all were well at home.

I see the Proposal of Purchasing from the Six Nations is mention’d in the Boston Papers,4 which I wish had not been done, as it may give Notice to the French, and put them on taking some preventive Measures; or stir up some Persons at Home to obtain a Patent before we can take Possession and make a Settlement. Great Designs should not be made publick till they are ripe for Execution, lest Obstacles are thrown in the Way; and small Obstacles are sufficient to overset young Schemes, which when grown strong would force their Way over greater. I shall endeavour to prevent the reprinting of that Paragraph in the Papers here and to the Southward. My Respects to good Madm. Clap, and Thanks for all your Civilities. I hope to hear from you per next Post. Enclos’d you have the Description of our Province Bounds.5 I am, Sir, Your obliged humble Servant

B Franklin

Addressed: To The Revd Mr Thos Clap  President of the College  at  Newhaven  Free  B Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The Boston Weekly News-Letter printed, Aug. 9, 1753, a report from Connecticut that several hundred members of the Susquehannah Company had agreed at Windham, July 18, to try to purchase from the Six Nations a large tract of land on the Susquehanna River, within Connecticut’s chartered boundaries. “The Land is represented to be extreamly Good; and ’tis supposed that the native Right may be purchased at a cheap Rate.” A committee of seven was appointed to view the tract, purchase the Indians’ title, survey and lay out the land. The purchase was completed July 11, 1754. Julian P. Boyd, ed., The Susquehannah Company Papers (Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 1930–33), 1, 28–39, 101–21.

5Preserved with the letter; it is BF’s transcription of the section on boundaries in the Pennsylvania charter of 1682.

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