Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from [Springett Penn], 22 December 1764

From [Springett Penn]8

AL: American Philosophical Society

Dublin Decemr. 22d 1764

Dear Sir

Having this Day read in the paper of your Safe Arrival in London My Mother and myself Congratulate you on your safe Arrival and hope you have left your Family and the rest of our Friends well. I the other day received a letter from Mr. Pennington9 who informed me you were coming over in order to Petition his Majesty to take the Government on himself and that it would in such Case be adviseable for me to put in my Claim.1 I should therefore be much Obliged to you if among the other marks of Friendship you have shewn me you would send to Mr. Life2 who I hope will soon be able to wait on you (as he has been very ill of late) to consult what will be proper to be done. He can shew you an Opinion of Mr. Jacksons about this Matter.3

Mr. Pennington in a former Letter wrote me the Intail of Pennsbury4 would be soon barred and in this last has not said whether it was or not but no Doubt you can inform me. My Mother joins in Compliments of the Season. I remain with great Regard [your] humble Servant

[Springett Penn]5

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Identified by the contents of the letter. On Springett Penn (1739–1766), great-grandson of William Penn in the senior line, his mother Ann Penn (mentioned in this letter), and his Pennsylvania lands and claims to the proprietorship, see above, IX, 260–2, 315–17, 326; X, 6.

9For Edward Penington, Philadelphia Quaker merchant, who was distantly related to Springett Penn and had represented him in connection with his Pa. estate, see above, IX, 315 n.

1BF had suggested to Richard Jackson the previous March that if Springett could prove his right to the proprietorship he “no doubt would willingly surrender to the Crown” on reasonable terms; above, p. 151. William Allen wrote Thomas Penn, Dec. 19, 1764, that he had just learned that “the Party” had “sometime ago” urged Springett Penn to come over, asserting that the rights of government were properly his. Allen added that part of BF’s errand to England was reported to be to persuade Springett to cross the ocean and take over the government, in the belief that the consequent disturbances in the colony would be an argument for the Crown to assume control. Penn Papers, Hist. Soc. Pa.

2For Thomas Life, London solicitor, see above, X, 369 n.

3What opinion of Jackson’s was meant here is not known.

4William Penn’s country seat on the Delaware. Reconstruction of the main house and other buildings and restoration of the grounds were completed in 1946; the estate is now administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

5The signature is lost because of a tear in the MS.

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