Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to [Benjamin Waller], 1 August 1763

To [Benjamin Waller]4

ALS: Mrs. Daniel Buckley, Broadaxe, Pennsylvania (1955)

Boston, Augt. 1. 1763


I receiv’d yesterday your Favour of June 25.5 relating to the Son of my dear Friend Mr. Hunter. I am sensible that the Care of the Education of young Persons, is attended with Trouble, and like other old Men I begin in most things to consult my Ease: But I shall with Pleasure undertake the Charge you propose to me, if it be, as I suppose it is, agreable to his other Friends; for I loved his Father truly, and think it a Duty to perform the Request of a Friend deceas’d, who living would I am sure have thought little of any Trouble in obliging me.6 Mr. Foxcroft tells me, that your Son is likewise of a mild tractable Temper and Disposition; and as they will be Company for each other, and when I have undertaken the Care of one the Care of a second will be but little additional Trouble, I do not pretend to lay you under any Obligation in consenting to receive them both7 I shall be happy in being useful to them. As soon as I return to Philadelphia, which I purpose some time next Month I will procure and send you an Estimate of Expence of their Maintenance and Education and advise the time of sending them.

I shall give an Order to Mr. Foxcroft to receive at his Return the further Payment [you] mention,8 and am, with great Esteem, Sir Your most obedient Servant

B Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Benjamin Waller (1716–1786) of Williamsburg, Va., landholder, lawyer, and public official. Va. Mag. of Hist. and Biog., LIX (1951), 352, 458–60. In the will of William Hunter, BF’s colleague in the colonial deputy postmaster-ship, he and BF were named among Hunter’s friends. As one of Hunter’s executors and because of this friendship Waller had assumed responsibility for arranging the education of Hunter’s natural son William.

5Not found.

6BF entered Billy Hunter in the Academy of Philadelphia in 1764. Montgomery, Hist. Univ. Pa., p. 541. In Memorandum Book, 1757–1776, p. 16, under the year 1764 an entry reads: “Memo. On Thursday the 22d of this Instant March, Billy Hunter came to board and live with me. Paid for his Entrance at Schools £1. Enquir’d the Price paid by such Boarders of Mrs. Kinnersley who tells me it is 35 per Annum including Washing and Mending—but thinks it too little.” Immediately following is an incomplete entry recording BF’s purchase of a hat for the boy. On p. 29, under date of Oct. 21, 1776 (just before BF sailed for France), is the following: “Memorandum, That among Mrs. Franklins Papers I find an Account paid by her to Cottringer, Taylor, for Clothes for Billy Hunter amo[unting] to £25 5s. 7¾d. Query, Is there not besides this, a considerable Sum due for his Board, Education, and other Expences.” Two letters from Billy Hunter to DF, Feb. 12, 1768, and Aug. 4, 1769 (APS), after his return to Williamsburg, ask her to send him certain schoolbooks so that he may continue his studies.

7Waller apparently declined BF’s invitation. The only one of his sons old enough to be sent away to school was John (b. 1753); there is no record of his entry in the Academy of Philadelphia or of his boarding with BF.

8It is not certain whether this payment was on account of the indebtedness of William Hunter’s estate to the Post Office or its indebtedness to BF personally. In June 1764 BF recorded in Memorandum Book, 1757–1776, pp. 17–18, two payments by Hunter’s executors of £79 17s. 3d. and £60 2s. 9d. in sterling bills, “which with £200 Sterling he paid [at] my Order [to] Mr. Foxcroft is in full of my Account against Mr. Hunters Estate except the Article of Papers.”

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