Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to David Hall, 10 June 1758

To David Hall

LS:9 American Philosophical Society

London June 10, 1758

Dear Mr. Hall

I have receiv’d yours of February 6 and February 20.1 containing a full Account of your Trouble in the Affair of Moore and Smith. I make not the least Doubt of your having acted uprightly in consulting the Members, and from mere Motives of Prudence, without the least Influence of Mr. Allen or any others, and in no other Respect can I think you have been to blame; for as to the Use made by the opposite Party of your inadvertently calling yourself the Province Printer, it was what you could not foresee. I hope that little Cloud is quite blown over before this Time, and that you stand clear in the Opinion of the Assembly, whose good Will I would have you by all Means cultivate and preserve.2

In two of my late Letters I mention’d my having received in all £600 from you by Bills; but one of them drawn by Wm. Cooper of Boston on Yoldin and Company for £100 endors’d by Mifflin and Saunders to you, is protested, and I sent you the Protest.3

Mr. Strahan undertook to send you Bodkins, and to write to you on the Impossibility of getting good Hands to go over on reasonable Terms.4

I enclose you one of the last Papers by which you will see our Troops are landed in France. I pray God they may act with Spirit, and return with Honour.5

I hope to send you what is necessary for the Almanack by the next Pacquet.6

My Love to Couzin Molly and your Children. I am Yours affectionately

B Franklin

P.S. Miller is here, and has set up in St. Martin’s Lane. He talks of removing to Philadelphia however, but not before the War is over. He has got a compleat Printing House English and Dutch.7

I have receiv’d no Papers from you lately, and but twice or at 3 Times since my being in England. The Reason I cannot conceive as I make no doubt of your sending them. Put them for the future under Cover to Henry Potts, Esqr. comptroller of the General Post Office.

Billy desires to be kindly remember’d. Mr. Strahan sends you the Paper I intended.8

Addressed: To / Mr. Hall / Printer / Philadelphia

Endorsed: B. Franklin June 10. 1758.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9The signature, last paragraph of the postscript, and address are in BF’s hand, the rest in WF’s.

1See above, VII, 371, 384, but neither letter, as it survives in Hall’s letterbook, contains “a full Account” of his part in the Smith-Moore affair, nor has it been found elsewhere. See above, however, p. 32.

2Hall apologized, Feb. 2, 1758, for his inadvertent use of the title “Provincial Printer,” and the Assembly resolved that there never had been such an office, though “occasionally” a printer had been employed to print the journal. Votes, 1757–58, pp. 14, 28, 37. The resolve was technically correct, but BF, with his partners, had been the Assembly’s sole printer since 1730, and on at least five occasions, in printing governors’ proclamations, he called himself “Printer to the Province.” He sought, of course, to retain the profitable public business.

3See above, VII, 236 n, for the protested bill, there listed as drawn on Messrs. Yeldin, White & Smith.

4See above, p. 6 n, for Hall’s need of a new compositor. A bodkin is a printer’s tool used for correcting set type; alternatively, a thick needle or straight awl used in bookbinding.

5News that a large British force had landed near St. Malo, June 2 and 3; appeared in the London Chron. June 10, 1758. After destroying many ships and stores in small adjacent ports, the troops re-embarked, June 12, without capturing well-fortified St. Malo. Gipson, British Empire, VII, 132–4.

6This material was not sent and Hall prepared the almanac for 1759 himself. See below, p. 319.

7John Henry Miller (1702–1782), German born, BF’s former journeyman, returned to Prussia in 1741, worked in Pennsylvania again, 1751–54, then in England, and came back to Philadelphia, 1760, where he established a successful German printing house. DAB.

8William Strahan wrote Hall this same day that “Messrs. Franklin are in good Health,” and that BF “still kept his Money by him” since favorable war news had driven stocks too high for profitable investment. Strahan also apologized for not having warned BF about “such an insignificant Fellow as [William] Smith [who had] turned out such an Incendiary.” APS.

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