Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Coleman, 22 February 1757

To William Coleman1

Copy, MS minutes: Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania

Feb. 22d. 1757.

Dear Friend

Recollecting Coll. Ludwell’s Donation of £20 Sterling to the Academy,2 I am desirous of settling it before I go (tho I have not yet heard that his Bill, which I sent home, is accepted.) Therefore, and to save you the Trouble of paying that Interest Money to my Order, I inclose £1 11s. 3d., which added to the Interest Money £32 18s. 9d. makes £34 10s. 0d. the Value of £20 Sterling at 72½ Advance per Cent. and so both these Matters are settled together, of which please to make a Memo. in your Book. I return your Receipt canceled. When the whole is come to your Hands, please to send the Coll. a Receipt, signed by you as Treasurer, under the Seal of the Academy, expressing, that it is for the generous Benefaction of the honourable Col. Ludwell of Virginia, to the Academy. Mrs. Franklin will forward it. As he was pleased to leave the particular Mode of applying it to me, I could wish it were put to Interest, and three Prizes purchas’d with the yearly Produce, to be distributed yearly for the three best Pieces of Writing (not exceeding 4 Lines each Piece) done by Boys under 14 Years of Age, who were taught at the Academy. One Prize of 18s. Value for the first. One Ditto of 13s. Value for the 2d. and one Ditto of 9s. Value for the 3d. Some useful Book neatly bound and gilt to be a Part of each Prize. But this I submit to the Trustees.3 I am Yours affectionately

B Franklin

To William Coleman Esqr.

1On William Coleman, BF’s old friend and treasurer of the Academy, see above, II, 406 n.

2For the gifts of Col. Philip Ludwell of £20 sterling to the Academy and £10 to the Pa. Hospital, made through BF in September 1756, see above, VI, 532 n.

3The Trustees’ apparent failure to accept this advice may reflect BF’s declining influence in Academy affairs. Reporting on the Trustees’ meeting of Jan. 11, 1757, when the vacancy created by the death of Lloyd Zachary was filled, Board President Richard Peters told Thomas Penn that “in his room, to the mortification of Mr. Franklin, Mr. [Benjamin] Chew was elected. … BF blames the Trustees that they did not beforehand consult him on his Election, saying it was a piece of Justice due to him as he was the Father and principal support of the Academy, and this is true, but for all that it was not thought proper to gratify his Pride which now grows insufferable.” Letter of Feb. 14, 1757, Peters Letterbook, Hist. Soc. Pa; Montgomery, Hist. Univ. Pa., p. 316.

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