Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Isaac Norris, [16] December 1760

To Isaac Norris

Copy:9 American Philosophical Society

London, December [16, 1760]1

Dear Sir

Agreeable to what I wrote in mine of the 13th.2 I [have] ventur’d to agree by my Broker for the following [torn] Stocks, on Account of the Province, to be deliver’d [torn] Week from this Day, viz.

£1000 of the 4 per Cent. Annuities 1760, at 92 per Cent. £[920: 0:  0]3
£1500 91⅞ 137[8: 2:  6]
3000 Do. 91⅞ 2756: 5: [0]4
2000 Do. 92 1840: 0:  0
1,000 Do. 92 920: 0:  0
3,000 Do. 91⅞ 2756: 5:  0
 3,500 Do. 91¾ 3211: 5:  0
£15,000 £13781: 17:  65

I was advis’d to buy rather the Annuities of 1760 than those of 1758 and 1759 which I formerly bought for you and myself,6 they being but 3 per Cents and cost 78 and ½ while these 4 per. Cents were but about 92 and consequently cheaper. However, finding the Stocks still falling, tho’ they had been thought at the lowest, I have held my Hand, not knowing whether I had best venture any farther at present or wait for the new Loan of 1761, which it is suppos’d will be still cheaper, especially near the Time of the first Payment. On a Peace, ’tis thought by those who know most of these Things, that the Three per Cents will be at par, if not higher, and the four per Cents at about 124.

I believe I shall have the Bills you advis’d to be printed, with proper Checks, to be made use of by the Trustees in their Drafts, ready so as to send per next Ship;7 but hope they will not think of drawing till a Peace; which now cannot be far off. However that is as the House may think proper.

With the greatest Esteem, I am, &c.


P.S. The Reason of the present Lowness of the Stocks is that the Subscribers to the new Loan for 1761 are selling out to enable themselves to comply with their Engagements to the Government.

I write this to send after the Mail, hoping [to] reach the Pacquet at Falmouth.

To Isaac Norris, Esqr (Copy)

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9In WF’s hand.

1Norris’ letter of May 1, 1761 (below, p. 310), acknowledges the receipt of BF’s letter of the 16th of December last, dealing with the “purchase of stocks.”

2Presumably December 13 (not found).

3Because of a tear in the MS this amount and part of that immediately below are missing; the figures have been supplied from BF’s record in “Account of Expences,” p. 58. That record is headed “Paid for the Stock bought for the Province, viz” and is dated “Dec. 18.” The fifth item (for £1000) is dated, however, “Dec. 19,” and the final item (for £3500) is dated “23.” It would appear, therefore, that BF made actual payment on these separate dates.

4In “Account of Expences,” p. 58, this amount is given as “2757: 10: 0,” but at the end of the list is a minus entry, “Recd. of the Broker Cash overpaid in the third Article 1: 5: 0,” thereby reducing the total to the same figure as appears here below.

5In “Account of Expences,” p. 58, BF noted at the end: “Memo. Broker’s Commission not yet paid.”

6For BF’s additional stock purchases, May 5 and July 5, 1761, see below, pp. 313, 335. In the interim he loaned to Jared Ingersoll, agent for Conn., Jan. 23, 1761, £2000 in cash, repayable on demand with 4 percent interest and secured by £2500 of 4 percent annuities. Ingersoll repaid the loan, March 27, 1761, with £14 accrued interest. “Account of Expences,” pp. 58, 59; PMHB, LV (1931), 130.

7Norris had advised BF, Oct. 22, 1760 (above, p. 238) “to get Copper Plate Bills of Exchange struck” for the use of the trustees of the Provincial Loan Office, who had been empowered to draw upon BF, Charles, and four other men for the parliamentary grant. Apparently, however, BF did not follow up the suggestion, for in the following September the trustees had bills of exchange printed in Pa.; see below, pp. 362 n, 372–3.

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