Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Isaac Norris, 21 July 1761

From Isaac Norris

Letterbook copy: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Fairhill July 21st. 1761.

Dear Friend B F

I am to acknowledge the receipt of your favours of the 27th of febry, and 14th of April, with my Account Current, the Articles of which Agree with my Remittences, and I return my Acknowledgments for Your Care in transacting them,5 the Sence of the House Could not be Depended Upon in Relation to the Province Mony in your hands, Till their last Adjournment on the 23d of April, without giving any orders to the Trustees for drawing Bills,6 and tho’ by Law perhaps the Trustee’s have the power, I know they will Not Venture to Draw for that Mony Without an order of the Assembly, so That As they Stand Adjourned to the begining of Sept. it will Continue in its present Situation, At least Till that Time,7 Under These Circumstances it Would have been of Advantage to the Province had You Venturd to Deposite the remainder of That Mony on the Same Terms with the £15,000 but the Reasons Advanced for Not doing it have Great weight;8 and we must be satisfyd with what has been done. On the 1st of May last I wrote my Sentiments Upon it, and gave hints of the Motion of one of our Members9 on That occasion, but as he was not Seconded, it drop’d, he was very earnest for having the Mony drawn for Imeditatly, but as Nothing further was done in it, That Mony will in all liklihood be Continued in the Stocks till their rise may Encourage the House to give orders for drawing for it, Whether that may happen at their Next Seting, or be left to the Suceeding Assembly, is Uncertain, What Can I say to your Seperate Paper,1 I am sorry for it, and have somtime since wrote to my old Acquaintance on that head, I have not yet mentiond Any Thing of his former Letter, to me, but shall Take Care to do what is Necessary on my part on the first Sutible Opportunity. I have not yet heard where Mr. Chambers,2 recommen[d]ed under the 14th of April is, but learn upon enquiry That he has Not yet reached this Place, Whenever he does, I shall be pleas’d to do him all the Good Offices in my Power. I am obligd to Close My Brother Just Now Sending me up the Two Bills, of Exchange3 and Informing me That Capt. Budden has left Town4 and I must Depend Upon Some Persons following him, I am, Your affectionate Friend


I have inclosed two Bills of Exchange for £100 sterling each No. 37 John Hunter on Messrs. Thomlinson Colebrooke

Nesbitt & Hanbury £100. 0. 0.
38 Ditto On Ditto 100. 0.
£200 0. 0

Which please to receive for my Account, Bills are become so scarce and the Exchange so high that it is difficult now to procure them. I detain my Brother’s Man in hopes to reach Captain Budden


NB This Letter was designed to go by Captain Budden but it got to Town too late for him and CN informs me that he put it on board Captain Marshall in a Schooner Via Corke which saild the 30th July.5

BF rec this Letter ackd 8br. 9th. 1761

First Bills of Excha £200. 0.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Neither letter has been found. Norris’ account book, 1735–65 (Lib. Co. Phila.), shows that on May 27, 1761, he received a detailed account from BF listing receipts and expenditures of £4775 6s. 4d. between Jan. 3, 1759, and Feb. 20, 1761. For a description of this account, see above, VIII, 147–8.

6For Norris’ mention, May 1, 1761, of “high Flights” in the Assembly over BF’s investment of the parliamentary grant for expenditures of 1758, see above, pp. 310.

7For the Assembly’s action on the parliamentary grant for expenditures of 1760, see below, pp. 358–9.

8In December 1760 BF had bought £15,000 of the 4 percent annuities of 1760 for £13,781 17s. 6d. Since stocks were “still falling,” he had decided against investing the remainder of the parliamentary grant in his hands until he could do so more profitably. See above, p. 254.

9Probably William Allen, who later boasted of having been instrumental in depriving BF of the management of the next parliamentary grant. Lewis B. Walker, ed., The Burd Papers. Extracts from Chief Justice Allen’s Letter Book ([Pottsville, Pa.], 1897), p. 49.

1Not found, but probably relating to Robert Charles’s decision to resign his position as Pa. agent. Charles had informed Norris of it in a letter of Oct. 16, 1760, which the speaker received “at the end of January” and to which he replied May 31, 1761 (letterbook copy, Hist. Soc. Pa.) asking for the agent’s accounts with the province “as soon as possible.” Norris informed the Assembly of this resignation in September 1761. 8 Pa. Arch., VI, 5262. The date of Charles’s letter invalidates Richard Jackson’s assumption (in a letter to BF, April 4, 1763) that the Assembly’s refusal to honor the two agents’ signed undertaking before the Privy Council Committee, Aug. 28, 1760, on the taxation of proprietary estates, had caused Charles’s resignation, for news of the Committee hearing and the agents’ action had not even reached Philadelphia when Charles wrote. His reasons for giving up the agency are obscure; they may have involved dissatisfaction over his salary and BF’s greater prominence in the negotiations with governmental officials.

2See above, p. 309.

3BF recorded the receipt of these bills on Sept. 23, 1761. “Account of Expences,” p. 61; PMHB, LV (1931), 131.

4Pa. Gaz., July 23, 1761, reported the clearance of the Philadelphia Packet, Capt. Richard Budden. She arrived at Gravesend, Sept. 3, 1761, London Chron., Sept. 3–5, 1761.

5Pa. Gaz., July 23, 1761, reported that the schooner Creighton, Capt. W. Marshall, was outward bound for Cork; but the issue of August 6 reported the clearance of the schooner Triton, Capt. W. Marshall, for Cork.

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