Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jonathan Williams, 13 April 1763

To Jonathan Williams

MS not found; reprinted from [Jared Sparks, ed.], A Collection of the Familiar Letters and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Boston, 1833), pp. 80–1.

Philadelphia, 13 April, 1763.

Loving Kinsman,

You may remember, that about ten years since, when I was at Boston, you and my brother sent directions here to attach on Grant’s right to some land here, by virtue of a mortgage given him by one Pitt.2 Nothing effectual could be done in at that time, there being a prior mortgage undischarged. That prior mortgage is now near expiring, and Grant’s will take place. Pitt’s widow is desirous of being enabled to sell the place, which cannot be done, without paying off Grant’s mortgage. Therefore, if your old demand against Grant still subsists, you may empower me in any manner you think proper to recover it.

Is Grant living? Or, if dead, are there any of his representatives among you? Inquire. Because here is a person desirous of purchasing, who, perhaps, may inquire them out, and get a discharge from them, before your claim is brought forward, unless the attachment formerly made in your behalf is still good, which I am inclined to think may be.

I am going in a few days to Virginia, but expect to be back in three or four weeks. However, send what you have to say on this subject to my son, at Burlington, who was formerly empowered by you, and he will take the steps necessary, if I should not be returned.3 I am your loving uncle,

B. Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2While in Boston in July 1753, BF had sent WF a power of attorney from BF’s brother John (C.8) and his nephew by marriage, Jonathan Williams (C.5.3), enabling WF to place an attachment on their behalf on a second mortgage held by Joseph Grant of Boston on property in Walnut St., Philadelphia, belonging to one Pitts and his wife, the former Molly Yeldhall. The purpose of the attachment was to give Franklin and Williams a claim on Grant’s mortgage prior to claims of others of Grant’s creditors. The property had been entailed by Molly’s father, so no foreclosure on the mortgages could be effected until her son came of age, “9 or 10 Years” from the time BF wrote. above, V, 15–16.

3No response from Williams to BF or WF has been found; perhaps BF settled the matter with his nephew personally when in Boston during the following summer.

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