Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Balfour, 1 August 1766

From James Balfour5

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Virginia Little England August 1st. 1766


Permit me leave to thank you for your kindness to me when in London and to wish you with unfeignd sincerity health, happiness, and Sucess in all you wish or desire.

I must leave you for the news of the Country to my worthy friend Colo. Hunter.6 Believe me Sir, I have, and shall continue with a persevering warmth to sett forth your late services done America. Facts, Stuborn facts shall force even Mallice itself to do you Justice. I have had some severe battling with some Gentlemen lately from Pensilvania in publick Company on your Account, the facts to my own Knowledge, made them declare they began to see you were much Injurd. I am ready to sign and swear to those facts in the most public manner if it should be necessary. I have wrote my friends in Maryland.

I am well asured that Mr. Wolstenholme will interest himself on this occasion7—every disinterested man ought to do it. I wish my Abilities were equal to my inclination, the world should be made acquainted with the ungreatfull treatment you have mett with. The greatest abilitys and Love towards mankind has been for a while abused through you Great Sir, but in spite of party the Divil and all their Adherents, I hope to see your Superiour Worth and Ability and Your real inate honesty Blaze forth with a Lustre to confound Your ennimies and hand your name and Goodness of heart down to posterity with assurence and respect.

I beg you will be pleas’d to return my thanks to that obliging polite friendly Woman Mrs. Stevenson for the Civilitys she shewed me when I had the happiness to call on you. I am Great Sir with much respect Your obligd Humble Servant

James Balfour

Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin Esqr. / Craven Street / London

Endorsed: Mr Balfour Augt. 1. 1766

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5A Virginia planter and merchant, whom BF had first met in 1756; above, VI, 428 n. He had been in England during the winter of 1766 and was one of the colonial witnesses who appeared before the House of Commons on February 13, testifying about Virginia conditions. For brief excerpts from his testimony, see Lawrence H. Gipson, “The Great Debate in the Committee of the Whole House of Commons on the Stamp Act, 1766, as Reported by Nathaniel Ryder.” PMHB, lxxxvi (1962), 33.

6Another Virginia planter and merchant; above, VI, 223 n. He and Balfour were jointly associated with the London firm of Thomlinson & Hanbury. Hunter had moved to England and settled there late in 1765 or early in 1766.

7Daniel Wolstenholme, a merchant of Annapolis, Md., was also associated with the Hanburys of London; above, VII, 277 n. Balfour was doubtless aware of BF’s specific defense of the people and Assembly of Maryland in his Examination before the Commons on the same day that Balfour testified. See above, p. 141. Information of this defense, passed along to key Marylanders, would certainly help BF’s reputation in general.

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