Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Edward Penington, 5 April 1767

From Edward Penington

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philad. April 5th. 1767

Respected Friend Benja. Franklin Esqr.

I received thy favour of Decr. 13th. which Inclosed a Copy of Springett Penns Will.5 I am very much Obliged for the same as well as the Intelligence that I was soon to receive a power of Attorney to sell the lands. The power has since come to hand and Inclosed is a letter to Ann Penn in answer to what she wrote me on the occasion which after perusing please to forward to her. I am much pleased with the Unreserved manner in which she has transacted this business and shall make it my study to dispose of her Estate on the best terms.6 As I make no doubt but thee has been a means of procuring this power of Attorney for me, please to Accept of my sincere Acknowledgment of thy Friendship therein. I am very respectfully Thy Assured Friend

Edwd: Penington

Addressed: To / Benja. Franklin Esqr. / in / London

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Neither BF’s letter of Dec. 13, 1766, nor the copy of the will has been found; but for BF’s promise to Springett’s mother that he would send the document to Penington, see above, XIII, 506–7.

6Describing himself as “Attorney to Ann Penn,” Penington announced a sale to take place June 9, 1767, of about 6000 acres of Pennsbury Manor, divided into parcels of 200 or 300 acres. Pa. Chron., April 20–27, April 27–May 4, May 11 postscript, May 11–18, 18–25; Pa. Gaz., April 30, May 7 supplement; Pa. Jour., April 30, May 7, 21. James Tilghman, secretary of the proprietary Land Office, countered with a statement that by a deed of 1703 the first William Penn had entailed this land to male heirs and that by Springett’s death, the present proprietor, Thomas Penn, had become heir in tail male. Pa. Gaz., May 21; Pa. Jour., May 28, June 4. Penington then published a long statement in defense, declaring that Springett Penn had secured a common recovery in the local courts in accordance with a Pennsylvania statute and had thereby effected the docking of the entail. Pa. Chron., May 18–25; Pa. Jour., May 28. But before the sale could take place he announced that he had called it off because Ann Penn had remarried, thereby voiding his power of attorney. Pa. Chron., May 25–June 1; Pa. Jour., June 4. Several letters in the Penn Papers, Hist. Soc. Pa., make clear that Ann Penn had married Alexander Durdin of Dublin in the latter part of February 1767, that she died April 16, 1767, and that Durdin, who claimed the lands through her, was disposed to deal amicably with Thomas Penn in settlement of his claims.

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