Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Parker, 22 September 1765

From James Parker

ALS: American Philosophical Society; extract: Public Record Office1

Burlington, Sept. 22. 1765
Sunday Night

Honoured Sir

Yours of July 6.2 I received Thursday Night last, and the next Day I went down to Philadelphia, by Order from Mr. Foxcroft, so to do, assoon as the Packet came in, as he expected to receive a Draught of a Table of Rates from you; but by yours to him we are directed to make such Table here:3 There were a Number of Tables of Rates of Postage sent to him from England; which might have done very well, if all our Post-officers here understood the Geography of the Country so well as to know the Distances: Wherefore it was Mr. Foxcroft’s Opinion we should print such as we had before: Accordingly we set about one, and formed it, and I came up from Philadelphia this Day. To-morrow I set out for Woodbridge to print it there; as I have neither Rules nor Figures enough here; but it is not very probable, I shall have one done to send you per this Vessel, as I am told she is to sail next Wednesday; tho’ she came in but the Wednesday before. I am informed she is a very dull Sailer, and as some Merchantmen are to sail in a few Days after her, I shall try to send one by then. As I suppose Mr. Foxcroft writes to you all that is necessary about the Post-office,4 I need say the less on that Head.

I wrote you about a Fortnight ago, via New-York5; but whether it went by a Vessel bound to Liverpool, or whether Mr. Colden kept it till this Packet I know not, wherein I inclosed a State of Mr. Hall’s Accounts as far as I had then done. I have had but a very little Time to proceed in them, nor cannot well, till I have finished Mr. Smith’s History6 which has yet 5 or 6 Sheets more at least, and then I purpose to proceed to all that I can, in the Affair. I hope you will receive that, because I had neither Time to copy my Letter or the State of the Account; tho’ there is a Copy of that State kept.

By the Packet before this, I answered yours about going to New-York.7 I have given my Tenant Notice to go out of my House, and purpose to remove thither in the Spring, if nothing extraordinary prevents: I wrote you some Intreaties about procuring that Place in the Custom-House for my Son; but perhaps he will be thought too young; and as I have never mentioned such a Thing to him, I would not have any of my Friends injured by him: tho’ I think he is mended a good deal, and I hope will in Time see his Follies and quit them: Tho’ the only Objection I have is, he seems to be desirous to live in the Country as well as I; yet I being grown old, it matters little where I spend the few Days the Divine Providence may permit me to enjoy here; The Whole rests upon my spending them in doing my Duty in whatever Station it shall please God to place me: and if I can behave so as not to discredit your Recommendations, it is all I shall desire; tho’ I am assured, as I told you in that Letter, that that Office requires a great deal of Attendance, tis said, much more than is adequate to the Allowance, to any Body that can get Bread any other Way: No Deputy is allowed; but the Surveyor of the Customs has given the Person that had it a new Appointment, which he will keep till I go, or till further Orders.

I saw Mr. Hughes at Philadelphia last Night, he is very poorly.8 He had just received yours per Capt. Caton:9 he shewed it to me, with the one inclosed about one Mr. Herbergh.1 That Herbergh is claiming some Lands this Way, but he can’t see what Authority that Letter can be of, to invalidate any of his Claims: But I have nothing to do with this.

As to what relates to the Stamp-Act, you will doubtless hear from many Quarters, of the Commotions about it:2 I have Reason for this once to be thankful, I am not a Master-Printer at New-York, or perhaps the Impetuosity of my Temper would have plunged me deep one way or the other: Whilst here, I only calmly behold them at a Distance: I shall not pretend to give my Opinion, as it can be of no Service any Way. I indeed am sorry to see them, and have Reason to think One Half of the Americans will die rather than yield, as the Fermentation is [almost] general to the Eastward nor does [it seem] much less [to the] Westward: tho’ in Philadelphia considering the Parties there, there are less than in other Places.

We all send our humble Salutations, and remain Your most obliged Servant

James Parker

Addressed: For / Benjamin Franklin, Esqr. / Craven-Street / London / per Packet

Endorsed: J. Parker Sept. 22. 1765 Americans will die rather than yield

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

1The extract, indicated in the last note below, is part of the series of extracts from several correspondents that BF sent to the ministry in November 1765; above, p. 263.

2Neither this letter from BF to Parker nor the one to Foxcroft mentioned later in this sentence has been found.

3The Postal Act of 1765 substantially changed the rates in the colonies, thereby requiring the printing of new tables of rates to be put up in the post offices; above, XI, 535–6.

4No letters from Foxcroft to BF of this year have been found.

5No letter from Parker to BF since that of August 8 has been found, but for the report on the BF-Hall accounts that Parker says here he had sent with his more recent letter, see above, pp. 242–3.

6See above, p. 87.

7Above, pp. 227–9.

8John Hughes was seriously ill during the critical weeks of late September and early October; see DF’s letter immediately above.

9Pa. Gaz., Sept. 26, 1765, reported the arrival of the Myrtilla, Capt. J. Caton, from London. The letter it carried from BF to Hughes may have been the one of August 9, but was probably of a later date.

1Peter Hendrick Striepers and John Herbergs, two Germans, advertised in Pa. Gaz., June 20, 1765, that they did not lay claim, as asserted, to a large part of the north end of the city, all of Frankfort, and part of West New Jersey, but to much smaller plots including a few city lots, 100 acres in the Liberties and near Germantown, and about 5000 acres in three tracts elsewhere in Pa., which they claimed on behalf of the heirs of their grandfather, John Striepers. As late as 1785 Herbergs appealed to BF for help in getting his claims recognized. PMHB, IV (1880), 3–27; 8 Pa. Arch., VII, 5848; John Herbergs to BF, Sept. 26, 1785, APS. On “Strieper’s Tract” in Bucks Co., see above, VIII, 366, 369. What connection with the case Hughes may have had is unknown.

2This is the paragraph that BF sent to the ministry in November 1765 with one omission and a few verbal changes. The extract in his handwriting reads: “As to what relates to the Stamp-Act, you will doubtless hear from many Quarters of the Commotions about it. I indeed am sorry to see them, as I have reason to think one Half of the Americans will die rather than submit to it. The Fermentation [is] almost general to the Eastward, and does not seem much less to the Westward, tho’ in Philadelphia, considering the Parties there, it is less than in other Places.”

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