Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Franklin, 26 November 1753

From John Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Boston Nov 26 1753

Dear Brother

Im Glad the Clay is so forward and hop the quantity we Expect from Philadelphia will be sufficient to Repair the works in the spring.2 Our furnice stands well at present and the Glassmen are fulley Employd in makeing Window Glass and Bottles. The former made of our own Materials is Light and Cleere beyond our Expectation so that we Expect it will be thought Good Enough to Glaize the New Church.3 Im told the Committee have sent for a sample of it that they have from London being by a Mistake Cutt to a wronge size. I should be Glad of a Line from Billey4 with a Receipt of the Materials and the Construction of the wind furnice you mention.

The office of General Postmaster being Divided you observe very much Deminishs the Proffits but I think If the post Riders ware Regulated according to Law youd find the Proffits of one half amounting to more then the whole.5 In Case the General Postmasters Income is Regulated by the Number of Letters and all the post Riders Practice is the same with hime that Rides the Portsmouth stage it has been his practice for severall years to Bring and Carry allmost all the Letters in a privet way Deliver them at his Lodgings and take the money for them. Tuthill Hubbart6 Tells me he has been at the office when the Piscatequa Bagg was opend with not above four or five Letters in it and from thence went to Gerrishes Lodging and found he had a Tablefull of Letters before him, as many he thought as Comes in the Bagg in a whole year.

Brother Peter7 is now hear and Talks of writeing to you. He is not now at home and post Just Going so that If he has not wrote heel hardly have time. I Can only Tell you that your Buildings8 Go on as fast as Can be Expected that a Tenent has spoke for one of them and that he designd to Write you about the Dutch stoves which will be wanted. With Love to all I am your affectionate Brother

John Franklin

Addressed: To Benjamin Franklin Esqr  Postmr  Philadelphia

Endorsed: John Franklin, Novr. 26. 1753

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2On the glass works at “Germantown” in Braintree, Mass., see below, note 8.

3King’s Chapel. The cornerstone was laid in 1749, and the church was completed in 1754.

4William Franklin had visited in Boston in the autumn of 1751.

5This paragraph has been marked in the margin, perhaps by BF, as though to emphasize the point, or possibly as a basis for instructions.

6Tuthill Hubbart (C.8.1), BF’s step-nephew, whom he appointed postmaster of Boston in 1756.

7Peter Franklin (C.9), merchant and shipmaster at Newport, R.I.

8On Aug. 8, 1750, John Quincy of Braintree, Mass., leased to John Franklin, Norton Quincy, and Peter Etter, all of Boston, and Joseph Crellius of Philadelphia, approximately 100 acres at Shed’s Neck, Braintree, with an option to acquire full title. Their purpose was to establish a glass works, import German workmen, and lay out their property as a real estate subdivision, which they called Germantown (see above, IV, 65 n). During the next six years several changes occurred in the membership of the company and in the individuals’ proportionate interest in the property; meanwhile the glass works, which did not prosper, passed into other hands. Suffolk County Registry of Deeds, Boston, book 80, p. 169; book 81, pp. 36, 194; book 82, pp. 245, 254; book 85, p. 139; William S. Pattee, A History of Old Braintree and Quincy (Quincy, Mass., 1878), pp. 472–82. On Nov. 2, 1756, the then partners (including Jonathan Williams and Tuthill Hubbart representing the estate of John Franklin who had died the preceding January 30) executed among themselves a deed of partition, which recited, among other details, that since the original acquisition of the property they had granted groups of lots, varying in number from two to seventeen, to seven different purchasers. Among these were BF and his brother Peter (C.9), each of whom had acquired eight lots. Suffolk Deeds, book 92, p. 133. The only one of these transactions for which a deed has been found recorded was that for seventeen lots to Joseph Palmer and Richard Cranch, who also took over the glass works. Ibid., book 81, p. 109. Just when BF acquired his Germantown lots has not been determined, but it was apparently upon this property that his “Buildings” were being erected in November 1753. In his will of April 29, 1757, he bequeathed to his nephew James Franklin (C.11.4) “two small Tenements which I have in Germantown, near Boston.” In a letter to his sister Jane Mecom, Nov. 11, 1758, answering one of hers which has not been found, he wrote: “I never expected much from the Germantown Affair, so am not disappointed. I took Lots and built there in Complaisance to my Brother, but the Expence was not great.” Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, p. 69. No deed has been found whereby BF disposed of this Germantown property, it is not mentioned in his last will of 1788, and nothing further has been learned about it.

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