Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Habersham, 14 July 1764

From James Habersham6

Copy:7 Georgia Historical Society

Savannah in Georgia the 14th July 1764

Last Fall I made my two Sons at New Jersey College a Visit8 and at the Same time embraced the opportunity of paying my Respects to my Friends in Philadelphia, among whom I waited on Mrs. Franklin, but was deprived the Pleasure of seeing you, as she informed me, you were on your Way from Boston, and had met with an unlucky accident, which I hope you are perfectly recovered from.9 My Brother in Law Mr. Robert Bolton is the Bearer of this.1 He goes to visit his Native Place and his relations, after being settled here near 20 years. He has some Thoughts of setting up a Post between this and Charlestown, which, if he can meet with suitable Encouragement, must be of public Utility. To this End, He tells me, He has been advised by our Worthy Governor to get an appointment from the Post Master General, and as I suppose it may be in your Power to Constitute him Post Master of this Province, your doing it would lay me, and him under great obligations. I am sensible, I have no Pretensions to ask this Favour from the slender Acquaintance I have with you, but I will Venture to say from many Years experience, that if you should be pleased to Confer any Trust in Mr. Bolton, you will find him an honest, prudent and punctual Man. He has lately buried an excellent wife, and is left with Seven fine Children, who he has hitherto supported and brought up reputably, and as his trade has lately slackened, any additional Means of getting a little Money must greatly assist him.2 I need say nothing of his family connections in Pennsylvania, as they must be better Known to you than to me. You will please to excuse the Freedom, I have taken, and if in my power, I shall be pleased with an opportunity of shewing that I am with great Truth, Sir Your most obedient humble Servant

James Habersham

Please to make my respects acceptable to Mrs. Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6For James Habersham, cofounder and first superintendent of George Whitefield’s Bethesda Orphanage in Georgia, planter, merchant, and public official, see above, III, 72 n, and DAB.

7Copied, probably during the 1840s, from the original Habersham Papers (now presumed lost), by William Bacon Stevens, a founder and later librarian of the Georgia Historical Society and subsequently an Episcopal clergyman and Bishop of Pennsylvania. DAB. The copy is headed “Book No. I page 16. To Benjamin Franklin Esq. in Philadelphia.”

8At that time Habersham’s two elder sons, James and Joseph, were students at the College of New Jersey (Princeton), though neither one seems to have continued there until graduation. Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., VI (Savannah, 1904), 26–7, 51, 67.

9For BF’s two falls during his New England journey in 1763, see above, X, 278, 338.

1Robert Bolton (1722–1789), was the son of Robert Bolton (1688–1742), an emigrant to Philadelphia from Yorkshire. The younger man was the dancing-master whose assemblies in the Philadelphia Concert Room had been stopped by followers of George Whitefield in 1740. Above, II, 257–9, 284. Later in the same year Bolton moved to Georgia, probably after his sister Mary (1724–1763) had married James Habersham. He became a follower and personal friend of Whitefield; during his life he held various minor public offices in Georgia. J. G. B. Bulloch, A History and Genealogy of the Habersham Family (Columbia, S.C., 1901), pp. 75, 78–9.

2BF and Foxcroft seem to have acted favorably on this request. On Jan. 21, 1765, Bolton petitioned the Ga. General Assembly, stating that “His Majesty’s Post Masters General of North America” had lately given him a commission “impowering him to establish a Post Office for the safe and speedy conveyance of Letters to and throughout the different parts of this Province,” and believing that a regular mail service at 10-day intervals to and from So. Car. “would be of Immediate Importance and Advantage to the commercial Interest and general Conveniency of the Inhabitants of this Colony,” he asked the House for assistance. His petition was laid on the table and nothing further was heard of it. Allen D. Candler, ed., The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, XIV (Atlanta, 1907), 185–6. This silence may be explained by the fact that the postmasters general in England had issued a commission, Jan. 5, 1765, to Benjamin Barons, appointing him deputy postmaster general of a newly erected Southern District comprising the two Carolinas, Georgia, the Floridas, and the Bahamas, and any appointment within that region by BF and Foxcroft would automatically lapse.

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