Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Richard Jackson, 6 December 1762

To Richard Jackson

ALS, duplicate LS, and (incomplete) draft:5 American Philosophical Society

Philada. Dec. 6. 1762

Dear Sir,

I have already wrote to you via New York, but hear my Letter did not reach the Pacquet; so this may come first to hand.6 I arrived the 1st. of November, after a long but pleasant Passage, having in general fair Winds and good Weather; but being in a Convoy could sail no faster than the slowest. I had the Happiness to find my little Family well, and my Friends as hearty and more numberous than ever, notwithstanding Dr. Smith’s Reports to the contrary. I had been unanimously chosen a Representative for the City at the October Election; but the House had met and was adjourn’d before I arriv’d. They omitted the Nomination of an Agent, usual at the first Meeting, that they might, as the Speaker tells me, have my Advice in the Choice. They meet again in January, after which I shall write to you farther.

I would give you some Account of Madeira, where we stopt three Days, but that I suspect you know it better than I do. I shall only mention that it produces not only the Fruits of the hot Countries, as Oranges, Lemons, Plantains, Bananas, &c. but those of the cold also, as Apples, Pears and Peaches in great Perfection. The Mountains are excessively high, and rise suddenly from the Town, which affords the Inhabitants a singular Conveniency, that of getting soon out of its Heat after they have done their Business, and of ascending to what Climate or Degree of Coolness they are pleased to chuse, the Sides of the Mountains being fill’d with their Country Boxes at different Heights. They pretend to have ninety Thousand Souls on the Island, but I did not hear of any actual Numeration, and I suppose that the Account is exaggerated. They raise Wheat enough for their Consumption one Third Part of the Year; and I was told, that the Husbandry of Corn increases, and that of the Vine diminishes among them, from the Opinion of greater, more certain and more speedy Profit.

My Friend Mr. Hughes has given me the enclos’d Memorandum.7 I apprehend the Barker mention’d was one Dr. Barker now deceas’d, a Man of Character for universal Knowledge, and a most agreable Companion. I heard when in London that he us’d to talk of Lands he had in America. By Enquiry of Mr. Barclay,8 who purchas’d Byerly’s Part for Mr. Allen, I understood that Barker’s Heir is an Ensign in the East India Service. I should be glad if you could find Means to make this Purchase for Mr. Hughes.

My best Respects to your good Fa[ther and to your] Sisters and Brother Bridges. I hope [to have fre]quently the Pleasure of hearing that [you are] all well. Please to present my res[pectful Com]pliments also to the Speaker, and all the [good Brothers] of that truly estimable Family;9 al[so to Mr.] Blackbourn and Mr. Cooper1 when you [see them.] You procur’d me such a numerous [Acquaintance] it would be endless to name them [particularly,] but I shall always retain a grateful [Sense of] your Friendship and their Civilities. With the greatest Esteem, I [am,] Dear Sir Your oblig’d and [most] obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

P.S. Suffer me to remind you of the useful and necessary Piece you proposed to write, and to beg you would not defer it.2

I forwarded your Letters to Connecticut and Boston.

[The Memorandum3 mention’d in the above Letter was concerning a Tract of Land in the Jerseys formerly belonging jointly to two Persons, Barker and Byerly, both living in England. Byerly’s Part was purchas’d for Mr. Allen: Barker’s remain’d unsold, and Mr. Hughes would purchase it of his Heirs if they can be found. In the Memorandum he nam’d a Sum he was willing to give for it, and another to you for your Trouble in purchasing, but he is out of town, and I have forgot those Sums, and have no Copy of the memorandum.

[P.S. Since the above I have seen Mr. Hughes. The Sum he would give for the Land is £2000 Sterling. What he offer’d for your Trouble was 60 Guineas. Mr. H. thinks some others are now endeavouring to purchase, so requests you would make Enquiry as soon as possible.]

Addressed: To / Richard Jackson Esqr / Counsellor at Law / Temple / London / Per the Carolina / Capt. Friend

Endorsed: Philad. [?] Decr. 6 1762 Franklin Esqr4

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Part of the second leaf of the ALS is torn away; the missing words are supplied in brackets from the duplicate and the draft. The duplicate appears to be in Sarah Franklin’s hand, but the signature and the postscripts are in BF’s. The second and third paragraphs of postscript appear only in the duplicate.

6For the ship which carried BF’s letter of Dec. 2, 1762, to Jackson and for much of the material in this paragraph, see above, pp. 161–2.

7See above, pp. 156–8, for John Hughes’s proposal to buy lands in western N.J. from the heirs of “One Barker of London,” and for identification of the grandson and heir.

8Either David Barclay or his son of the same name (above, IX, 190–1 n), London merchants and bankers, who acted as business agents for William Allen.

9BF was probably sending greetings to the current speaker of the House of Commons, Sir John Cust (above, p. 32 n), and his brothers Peregrine (1723–1785) and Francis (1722–1791), both members of Parliament and Peregrine deputy chairman of the East India Co. The former speaker, Arthur Onslow (1691–1768), who retired from the chair in 1761, had only one brother, Richard, who had died in 1760. DNB; Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, II, 289–93; III, 226, 230.

1“Mr. Blackbourn” may have been Francis Blackburne (1705–1787), a liberal clergyman, suspected of being a Unitarian, whose most important work, The Confessional (first published in 1766, though written several years earlier), attacked the requirement that clergymen of the Church of England subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles. DNB; Caroline Robbins, The Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman (Cambridge, Mass., 1959), pp. 324–8. “Mr. Cooper” was probably Grey Cooper; see below, p. 185 n.

2Jackson’s “Piece” has not been identified. On April 4, 1763, he informed BF that his negotiations for a seat in Parliament had taken up most of his time and he had only completed a “Skeleton” of his work, but on Dec. 27, 1763, he reported that he had begun to print. On seeing Thomas Pownall’s anonymous The Administration of the Colonies (1764), BF guessed that it might have been Jackson’s piece.

3This and the next paragraph are printed from the duplicate; they were not needed in the original ALS since BF had sent Hughes’s memorandum with it.

4Jackson’s endorsement of the duplicate is almost identical.

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