Benjamin Franklin Papers

James Parker: First Report on the Franklin and Hall Account, 14 June 1765

James Parker: First Report on the Franklin and Hall Account

AD: Haverford College Library

In accordance with Franklin’s power of attorney, Nov. 5, 1764 (above, XI, 441–3), James Parker undertook a detailed examination of the financial records of Franklin & Hall well in advance of the expiration of the partnership agreement and the dissolution of the firm, scheduled to take place on Feb. 1, 1766. He began the examination in the latter part of February 1765, spent thirteen days on the task then (above, p. 86), and returned to Philadelphia for three more days of work in June. Although he had by no means examined all the records as yet, he sent Franklin the preliminary report printed here with his letter of June 14 (immediately above), since the power of attorney required him to send such a report in time for Franklin to peruse it at least six months before the expiration of the partnership.

The account is written in two columns on a large sheet of paper, with the entries and totals of transactions that fell into certain general categories grouped together into five sections, or “Articles” as Parker called them. He added in brackets at the end of each section a notation of what records remained to be examined and reported on in that “Article.” It seemed to be his intention to place in the left-hand column of the sheet those sections which showed Franklin’s indebtedness to the firm and in the right-hand column Hall’s. Curiously enough, however, Parker incorrectly transposed the last sections in each column, and he followed the same arrangement in his second preliminary account, Aug. 22, 1765 (below, p. 242). In all the surviving versions of his final account, Feb. 1, 1766, however, he corrected this arrangement and, for the first time, he then numbered the sections in each column in sequence.

To clarify this first account for the reader and to facilitate its comparison with those to follow in this and the next volume, the editors have headed each section with a bracketed identifying symbol: A-1, A-2, and A-3 for the three sections representing Franklin’s indebtedness, and B-1 and B-3 for the two sections given here of the three Parker finally provided to record Hall’s indebtedness. Further to clarify the matter, sections A-3 and B-3 are transferred to their proper positions. For reasons of typographical convenience, the A sections are printed first, followed by the B sections, instead of placing them in parallel columns.

Descriptions of the Franklin & Hall accounts that Parker used for this and later reports, so far as they survive today, will be found above, III, 270–1, 276.

[June 14, 1765]

Account of Monies paid by D. Hall to B. Franklin, from March 1747/8. to March 1. 1765. as per several Receipts in B.F’s own Writing appears, examin’d per J. P6 £7849: 7:
Account of Money paid by D. Hall for Bills of Exchange, sent to England, to B.F. from June 1757. to Feb. 1765. as per D. Hall’s Accounts, exam’d per J P7 4776: 19: 6
Account of sundries had in Mr. Hall’s Shop, and Cash lent sundry Times by Mr. Hall, to B.F. as per Accounts examined per J Parker 541: 2: 1
Account of 4000 Poor Richard’s Almanacks sent to Rh: Island, by B.F’s Orders from 1752 to 1761. inclusive, (stiching deducted)8 62: 13: 4
Ditto of 1900 Pocket Do sent per same, as per Account, exd [Several Sums of Money paid since to B.F. by D. Hall, to be yet added, but not Time to examine into now] 31: 13: 4
Account of Money paid by D. Hall for Paper to the several Paper Makers, &c. to March 6. 1765. as per several Receipts and Vouchers appear examd. per J P9 4298: 9: 0
Account of Money paid for 163½ lb. of Lampblack from 1749. to June 13. 1765. examd per J P 40: 17: 6
Account of Incidentals paid by D. Hall for the Use of the printing Office, from 1749. to June 13. 1765. as per Account, exam’d per J P [A further Account of Paper since paid for, and sundry Sterling Articles paid for to England, by D.H. not yet examined—are to be added to this Article.] 584: 1:
Account of Money received by B. Franklin for printing Work, charged in the Leidgers, from Jan. 26. 1748. to Feb. 1765. as examined per J Parker £219: 18: 11¼
Account of Money received by B. Franklin for Gazette from Jan. 1748. to July 15. 1749. as had his Name affixed, examined per J P 24: 2: 6
Account of Money received by B.F. in Account with Th: Lightfoot, as per his Account in settling with D. Hall for the Gazette 2: 17: 6
Account of Money received by Dav: Hall, for publick Work,3 from Nov. 1756 to March 1765. as examined by J Parker 2182: 19:
Account of Money received by D. Hall, for publick Work, from New-Castle, Kent & Sussex. from 1756. to 1764. as Examined per J Parker 242: 16: 8
Account of Money received by D. Hall, for Advertisements paid when brought in in the Gazette, from Jan. 26. 1748. to Feb. 21. 1765. as Examined per J P 3312: 17: 8
Ditto, of Same received from Feb 21. 1765. to June 13. 1765. examd per J P 139: 11: 0
Account of Money received by D. Hall, for single Advertisements, Blanks, and other Work done, in the Office from Jan. 26. 1748. to Feb. 16. 1765. as examined per J P 484: 14: 9
Ditto, of same, from Feb. 16. 1765. to June 13. 1765. exam’d per J P 6: 11: 0
Account of Money received by D. Hall, for printing Work &c. charged in the Leidgers, from Jan. 21. 1748. to Feb. 25. 1765. as examined per J P 2393: 12:
Ditto. of Same, from Feb. 25. 1765. to June 13. 1765. Examd per J P 370: 13: 6
Account of Money received by D. Hall on Account of the Gazette from July 15. 1749. to March 1. 1765 as in the four Books, examined per J Parker4 9683: 15:
Ditto, for same, from March 1. 1765. to June 13. 1765. Exd per J P 581: 11:
Do. An Errata in the first Casting up, of the first, and carried to the End, makes it more 8: 16: 6
Account of Money received by D. Hall for Entrance Money for the Gazette, from 1748. to Feb. 23. 1765. Examined per J Parker 1594: 15: 9
Ditto, from Feb. 23. 1765. to June 10. 1765. exam’d per J P 14: 4: 6
Account of Money received by D. Hall for Gazette, viz:
By James Hunter, Esq. £72: 9: 2
By Stratton Burton, Snow Hill Post 43: 0: 0
By John Wise, ditto 37: 5: 0
152: 14: 2
Account of Almanacks printed and sold by D. Hall, from 1752. to 1765. inclusive,5 viz
Poor Richards 141,257. at 4d. (Stiching deducted) 2213: 0: 8
Pocket ditto 25,735 at 4d. 428: 18: 4
Jerman’s ditto 5,197. at 3½d. exclusive of Copy paid for and Stiching6 69: 11:
Account of Primers printed by D. Hall from 1749. to 1765, being 35, 100, at 2½d. 365: 12: 6
Account of 109 Ream of Blanks and 18 Quire, printed per D.H. as per Account, exd. Paper deducted 482: 18: 6
[Account of Books and Pamphlets printed and sold in the Time, not yet examined, to be added to this Account]
[Also some Matters relating to Moore’s Almanacks from N York7]
[No B-2 in this account]8
Account of Books and Stationary left in the Shop, by B.F. at the Time the Partnership began, as exam’d per J P9 £681: 1: 0
1754 June 17. Cash paid to D. Hall, by B. Franklin on Account, exd 86: 4: 11
1758 June A Bill of Exchange return’d by B.F. to D.H.1 162: 10: 0
Account of a Ballance due to B.F. on Thomas Chalkley’s Books, as per Account, in the Leidger, pag. 326. examin’d per J P.2 15: 15: 10
[Account of the Paper supplied the Office by B.F. before D. Hall began to take himself of the Paper-Makers, not yet examined into, but to be done hereafter and the Half thereof belongs to this Article3]
Memorandum, It appears by the News-Book, that D. Hall received pay for the Gazette, only from July 15 1749, and by B. Franklin’s Receipts after that Time, so much is implied: His first Receipt is dated March 20. 1749/50, for £51 1s. 0d. received for the Gazette, since July 15 last, and there are fourteen Receipts all of them expressing the same Words, in Mr. F.’s own Hand-Writing, the last of which is dated Feb. 11. 1750/1, for £29 11s. 6d.4
[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6These receipts have not been found. BF’s “Account of Money receiv’d at different Times from Mr. David Hall, “Feb. 7, 1748, to March 28, 1757 (described above, III, 276), records payments, other than those entered as rent, totaling £5673 15s.d. Memorandum Book, 1757–1776, pp. 11, 12, 14, records several cash payments totaling £1000 made by Hall during 1762–64. The combined total is £1175 12s. 1d. less than the figure shown here.

7For a list of these remittances, June 2, 1757, through Feb. 25, 1765, as recorded in Hall’s accounts, see above, VII, 236. Correspondence on these bills of exchange is printed in volumes VII–IX, passim, and this volume, p. 170. The 22 payments initially listed (including one protested bill for £100) had a total sterling value of just under £2900; the present account represents Pa. currency.

8BF had probably sent each year quantities of Poor Richard Almanacks and Pocket Almanacks at his own expense to his sister-in-law, Ann Smith Franklin, widow of James Franklin (C.11), and later to his nephew, James Franklin, Jr. (C.11.4) for them to sell at their printing office.

9According to the partnership agreement, BF and Hall were to share equally in the cost of all paper and printing supplies needed in the business.

1This section was incorrectly placed in the second column of the account. It represents payments made to BF, rather than to Hall, after Hall had taken over the running of the business.

2This long section (much longer still in the final account) heads the second column of the sheet. In its condensed entries it shows the main sources of income to the partnership from its beginning to June 13, 1765.

3That is, for government printing.

4This major entry and the others in this section and in A-3 that relate to the Gazette show, when added together, that during the first 17 years of the partnership the gross income received from the newspaper was approximately £14,700 Pa. currency, an average of about £860 a year. Since most items of expense, such as wages paid, are not entered in this account, and the expenses that are recorded, such as the cost of paper, do not distinguish between the Gazette and other printing operations, it is impossible to determine now, even approximately, what the net income may have been from the Gazette alone. It is unlikely that David Hall, unskilled in accurate methods of cost-accounting, could have made more than a very rough guess as to the annual net income the newspaper produced for the partnership.

5The surviving Franklin & Hall account book does not contain the record of these sales. A new entry in the final report of Feb. 1, 1766, makes clear that the sales totals reported in the next two lines are of almanacs for the years indicated (not of sales during those years), that is, of 14 annual issues, each published during the last months of the calendar year before its indicated date. The average annual sale of Poor Richard during these years was 10,089 copies, and that of the Pocket Almanack was 1766, both exclusive of the copies BF paid for to send to his relatives in Rhode Island as listed in A-1 above.

6Before the formation of the Franklin & Hall partnership John Jerman’s almanac, often entitled The American Almanac, had been printed variously by BF or one of the Bradfords. Franklin & Hall printed the next ten issues, those for 1749–58; William Dunlap printed those for 1759 and 1760, after which publication ceased.

7Thomas More’s almanac, usually entitled The American Country Almanack was published simultaneously by James Parker in New York and BF or Franklin & Hall in issues for 1746–57. No issues for 1758 and 1759 are listed, but for the next five years More’s almanacs appeared in New York alone from a variety of printers and with other titles.

8This heading is inserted here because the final report, Feb. 1, 1766, includes at this point as a separate section, Number 2, an “Account of Paper furnished by B. Franklin,” which Parker’s bracketed note to B-3 in the present account indicated would be included as part of B-3.

9See above, III, 271, for a description of the surviving two pages of this account.

1On this protested bill, see above, VII, 236 n; VIII, 98.

2A Collection of the Works of Thomas Chalkley. In Two Parts was published by Franklin & Hall in 1749. As this is rather a long book (590 pages), it is possible that some work on it had been done under BF’s direction before the formation of the partnership. No appropriate ledger extending to 326 pages has been found.

3See an earlier note.

4This statement is at variance with BF’s “Account of Money receiv’d … from Mr. David Hall,” cited in the first footnote to this document. In that account BF recorded, March 22, 1749/50, “Gazette since July 15 1749 £55 1s. 0d.” Only five later entries specifically mention the Gazette: March 29, 1750, £31 15s.; April 6, 1750, £21 13s.; Dec. 24, 1750, £40 13s.d.; Feb. 11, 1750/1, £29 11s. 6d.; and July 29, 1751, £28 0s. 6d.

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