Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Francis Bernard, 23 January 1764

From Francis Bernard

Letterbook copy: Harvard College Library

Boston, Jan 23. 1764


I am favoured with yours of the 11th inst.6 and am much obliged to you for the trouble you have given yourself of sending a Messenger to Alexandria. I should have proposed this Measure long ago, if I had any Notion that the conveyance of letters to that Town had been so precarious: for tho’ I have had sevral letters from him,7 yet I cannot find that any of my letters (from Aug. 30, when I sent a letter to Mr. Dunlap8 to be forwarded, to the present time,) have reached him. When he gets to Philadelphia, the easiest way of his return will be by Sea, if a good Vessell offers: but that I must leave to your Judgement.9 But I am desirous in all things that your trouble should be lessened as much as possible.

I have less concern to trouble you with another business, because being intended for public Utility you will make it your own concern. I have a desire to endeavour to establish a Sturgeon fishery in the River Penobscot. And I have engaged a suitable Man for that purpose, who by means of the Garrison of the Fort there will have labour cheap:1 all that We want is a good receipt. The best pickled Sturgeon I ever eat, was cured at Trenton: and as your Neighbourhood to that Operator2 must give you some acquaintance with him, I would trouble you to get his receipt in as precise Words as possible: and you may assure him in such case that Penobscot Sturgeon shall not be sent to Philadelphia or New York or any other Market, that he may call his.

I have a like desire to try the Pickling Salmon according to the New Castle Way. But I fear I shant be able to get a receipt from thence by the next Season: if you have one by you, I should be glad to be favoured with it. I am &c.

Benj Franklin Esqr.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6See above, p. 6.

7Bernard’s son Francis.

8William Dunlap, postmaster at Philadelphia; see above, VII, 158.

9Young Bernard traveled overland to N.Y. (riding BF’s horse) and then sailed to Newport. Whether he continued to Boston by sea is unknown. See below, pp. 78–9.

1On Nov. 12, 1764, Bernard and Col. Thomas Goldthwaite (1717–1779), the commander at Fort Pownall, 1763–70, bought “2,700 acres of land in the vicinity of what is now Fort Point, on the west bank of the Penobscot” and “were instrumental in settling 2400 able men” there, although it is not certain whether any of these settlers engaged in the sturgeon fishery. On Feb. 27, 1762, the Mass. General Court granted Bernard the island of Mount Desert, some miles east of Penobscot Bay, where the governor also intended to establish a fishery. William O. Sawtelle, “Sir Francis Bernard and his Grant of Mount Desert,” Mass. Col. Soc. Publications, XXIV (1921), 199, 234–5 n.

2Probably Edward Broadfield, who came to America from London in 1753, advertised pickled sturgeon at Bordentown, N.J., and moved to Trenton in 1754, where he continued to advertise his sturgeon until 1767. Broadfield boasted that he had received a premium from the Royal Society of Arts for his product. I N.J. Arch., XIX, 268, 505; XXV, 146–8, 371–3, 459–60; XXVI, 169, 242. But for another possible producer, see below, p. 334 n.

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