Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Richard Kelsick: Certificate as Burgess and Freeman of Norfolk, 10 April 1756

From Richard Kelsick: Certificate as Burgess and Freeman of Norfolk

DS: American Philosophical Society

At THE Borough OF Norfolk the Tenth Day of April One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty six

The which Day in Presence of the Worshipfull Richard Kelsick Esquire4 Mayor of the Borough of Norfolk, John Hutchings, Robert Tucker, Josiah Smith, John Phripp, John Tucker, Wilson Newton, Christopher Perkins, and George Abyoon, Aldermen thereof, Benjamin Franklin Esquire of the City of Philadelphia is made Burgess and Freeman of this Borough and the whole Liberty’s Priviledges and Immunities of a Burgess and Freeman thereof are granted to him in most Ample form as noe is.

Richd: Kelsick, Mayor


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Richard Kelsick (d. 1760?); emigrated to Norfolk from Whitehaven, England; merchant; councilman and alderman of Norfolk, 1748–55; elected mayor, June 24, 1755, the same year in which he married Elizabeth, daughter of his predecessor, Alderman John Hutchings (1691–1768), prominent merchant and member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. Va. Mag. Hist. and Biog., XV (1908), 379–80; The Lower Norfolk County Virginia Antiquary, I (1895), 6–8. The Pa. Jour., May 6, 1756, apparently copying an item from the Virginia Gazette of April 23, reported that “the Freedom of the Borough” of Norfolk had been presented to Marriot Arbuthnot, commander of HMS Garland, and to Col. John Hunter, as well as to BF. Captain (later Admiral) Arbuthnot (1711?–1794) had reached Hampton Roads on March 9, 1756, with “three prizes he took off Hispaniola, one of them valuable.” Pa. Gaz., April 1, 1756. That Arbuthnot was not always so highly esteemed is evident from his DNB notice which states that he was “ignorant of the discipline of his profession, … destitute of even a rudimentary knowledge of naval tactics, … a coarse, blustering, foul-mouthed bully.”

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