Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Anthony Armbruster, 13 June 1763

From Anthony Armbruster1

MS letter:2 American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia June 13th. 1763

Honour’d Sir.

It is the greatest necessity that urges me to give You this trouble; as I have not been favoured with an answer of the first, sent by Mrs. Franklin,3 made me think it is unwarranted, but flatter myself You’l excuse both.

As you are on a Journey and not expected to be back for some Weeks, and as the circumstance will not allow to wait till then, and am at the loss how to get relief: I should take as an inestimable Favour, if you would send orders to procure me the sum you gave me some hopes of, before the commencing of [your] Journey.4

I do assure you the distress is very great and if you do not rescue me, I shall be a great sufferer in my business: but I expect your generous disposition will prevent it. This inestimable favour shall during my life be acknowledged from Honoured Sir Your very humble and Obedient Servant

Anthony Armbruster

Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin Esqr. / General Postmaster of North-America / In / Boston

1For BF’s assistance to Anthony (Anton) Armbruster in 1755 in starting the Philadelphische Zeitung, a German newspaper with very limited success, see above, V, 421–2 n.

2Entirely in a clerical hand.

3Not found.

4On Nov. 26, 1763, after his return from New England, BF recorded that he had “Lent Anthony Armbruster on a Mortgage of his Printing Materials £50.” Armbruster repaid £26 10s. on March 29, 1764, and on October 31 of that year, just before leaving for England BF recorded: “I have this Day sold to Anthony Armbruster the Dutch Printing Office with the English Letters therein, at 14d. per lb. and to give him a Year’s Credit, on his Bond with Interest. The Dutch Cases he is to have into the Bargain.” Memorandum Book, 1757–1776, pp. 14, 16, 18. Armbruster’s total debt amounted to £88 5s., for which he gave BF his bond in double that amount. The principal and interest remained unpaid a year later, so on Oct. 29, 1765, Armbruster signed a chattel mortgage assigning to BF his German and English type and other printing materials in case the debt remained unpaid by Oct. 31, 1766. Apparently he never succeeded in meeting his obligation and the mortgage is now in APS, uncanceled. On Nov. 12, 1785, and April 26, 1786, Armbruster, then living in poverty at Germantown, wrote begging letters to BF in which he recounted his imprisonment for a debt of £17 and the seizure and disposal of his printing equipment. APS.

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