Benjamin Franklin Papers

Anthony Todd to Benjamin Franklin and John Foxcroft, 12 March 1763 (III)

Anthony Todd to Benjamin Franklin and John Foxcroft (III)

Copy: Yale University Library


General Post Office 12th March 1763.


Inclosed I send you, by Command of His Majesty’s PostMaster General, the Copy of a Letter just received from General Murray Governor of Quebec;4 as likewise the Copy of a Memorial inclosed therein from the British Merchants residing in That Government;5 by which they plainly appear to labour under many difficulties for the want of a safe and Speedy Conveyance of Letters; also that they are detained, Lost, and opened on the Road, with great Prejudice to their Concerns.

The Postmaster General do therefore wish, as there appears by the said Memorial and other Informations they have received, to be already a Number of His Majesty’s Subjects settled in Trade and Business at Quebec, that you might find it practicable to establish a regular Post between That Government and New York,6 which it is presumed here, according to a Letter from Mr. Franklin to The PostMaster General in June 1762,7 may be already set on foot, by way of Albany and Montreal.

Upon This Occasion I am commanded to put you again in Mind of Mr. Finlay,8 whom The PostMaster General, by my Letter of the 8th of January last,9 proposed to you as a proper person to be Postmaster of Quebec, and who intends to sail from Glasgow about the 15 Instant, with a Recommendation from The PostMaster General, to the favour and protection of General Murray, you will therefore not fail to appoint the said Mr. Finlay immediately upon his arrival at Quebec. I am Gentlemen, &c.

Anth: Todd Secry.1

Benj. Franklin and Jno. Foxcroft Esqrs.
Depy. Postmasrs. Genl. of No. America.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4James Murray (1719?–1794), the commander of the British left wing at the battle on the Plains of Abraham, was appointed governor of the town of Quebec on Oct. 27, 1760, and promoted to major general on July 10, 1762. After Canada was ceded to Britain in 1763, he was appointed governor of the new province of Quebec, serving until 1766. He became governor of Minorca in 1774 and commanded the garrison at Fort St. Philip, which surrendered to the French in February 1782 after gallantly resisting a siege of several months. DNB.

5Neither Murray’s letter nor the merchants’ memorial has been found.

6See below, p. 279, for Franklin and Foxcroft’s efforts to establish postal service between N.Y. and Quebec.

7Not found.

8Hugh Finlay (c. 1731–1801), a Scot, emigrated to Canada soon after the French capitulation, becoming a merchant and justice of the peace in Quebec. Appointed postmaster by BF and Foxcroft, June 10, 1763 (below, p. 279), as ordered by the authorities in England, he took jurisdiction over the post offices at Montreal and Three Rivers as well as at Quebec. In 1765 he was appointed to the provincial Council and in 1772 he became the first surveyor general of the American postal system. In this capacity he undertook a tour of inspection, 1773–74, which extended as far south as Savannah, Ga. His Journal of this trip (Frank H. Norton, ed., Brooklyn, 1867) is a valuable account of the postal service and of the colonial scene on the eve of the Revolution. When BF was dismissed from office in 1774, Finlay succeeded him as deputy postmaster general. After British recognition of American independence he held the office of deputy postmaster general of Canada until 1799. His services are described in William Smith, The History of the Post Office in British North America 1639–1870 (Cambridge, Eng., 1920), pp. 42–95.

9Not found.

1Todd wrote Governor Murray on the same day, telling him of this letter to the deputy postmasters general and of the new packet service between N.Y. and England, and informing him that Finlay was about to sail for Quebec and was expected to become postmaster there. Copy: Yale Univ. Lib.

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