Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jared Ingersoll, 19 December 1763

To Jared Ingersoll

ALS: Yale University Library

Philada. Dec. 19. 1763.

Dear Sir,

Mr. Holt,4 late of your Town, Postmaster, having fallen in Debt to the Office £320 18s. 9d. lawful Money, which seems not likely to be otherwise obtained, this is to request and impower you to endeavour the Recovery of that Sum, by attaching what you can find of his Estate in your Government. I hear he has lately made a considerable Purchase there.5 Mr. Green6 can inform you. There may possibly be other Attachments,7 but the above Debt being due to the Crown I apprehend is by Law entitled to Preference in Payment. The Post-Office Money is Part of the Revenue; of which Mr. John Foxcroft and myself as Deputy Post-masters General of America are authoris’d Collectors. The Action will therefore be in the King’s Name, as I suppose; but this I leave to your better Judgment. I enclose a Thirty Shilling Bill by way of Fee;8 and desire a Line from you with Directions if any formal Power of Attorney is necessary from us, and what Proofs are to be sent of the Account.9 My Daughter joins in best Respects to you and Mrs. Ingersol, with Dear Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

Endorsed: Mr Franklin Letter 19 Decembr 1763.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4For John Holt, James Parker’s partner in newspaper publishing in New Haven and N.Y. and Parker’s deputy as postmaster of New Haven, 1755–60, see above, V, 441 n.

5In 1759 Holt bought a house and a printing office in New Haven for £400. Beverly McAnear, “James Parker versus John Holt,” N.J. Hist. Soc. Proc., LIX (April, 1941), 82.

6Thomas Green (1735–1812) became manager of Parker and Holt’s Connecticut Gazette (New Haven) in 1760 upon Holt’s departure to N.Y. In 1764 Green moved to Hartford and established The Connecticut Courant; he moved back to New Haven in 1767 and founded The Connecticut Journal; and New-Haven Post-Boy. DAB.

7BF had probably heard from James Parker of Holt’s business debts and delinquencies, as well as his post-office debts, all of which figure largely in Parker’s letters to BF from November 1764 on.

8In the margin: “32s. York Money.”

9Ingersoll brought suit against Holt, but it is not clear how or indeed when the case was settled. “Auditors, or Referrees” were appointed to look into the merits of the dispute, but they apparently had not reached a final determination as late as 1767. James Parker to BF, Jan. 4, 1766, APS; Parker to Ingersoll, Feb. 19, 1767, New Haven Colony Hist. Soc. Papers, IX (1918), 397–99, 400–1.

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