Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Parker, 29 April 1767

From James Parker

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Newyork, April 29. 1767

Honoured Sir

This incloses the first of a Bill for £300 Sterl. I got this Day of Mr. Colden, at the Request of Mr. Foxcroft.7

It also incloses a Copy of a Letter I received from Mr. Ingersoll from New-Haven, and a Copy of an Account Mr. Holt last Week exhibited to the Auditors there, where he went in order to finish that Affair: but at Mr. Ingersols Request it was put off, till your Side is heard:8 I have sent a Copy also of this same to Mr. Foxcroft who is now in Virginia, but expected up in May:9 From the Appearance of this Account, so visibly to me, against Truth, (altho’ I should myself be a Gainer if the Court affirmed such an Account) I am led to reflect what I may expect in his Charge against me; for I cannot get him to any Settlement, I have had Writs constantly out, but he is not taken: Indeed I sent Word to Mr. Ingersol to arrest him there, but he delay’d it too long, or else Holt got Scent of it, and made home again: He hopes my Death, and then he may trump up what Account he pleases: ’for he that would swear to this, would swear to any Thing: But you will judge of yourself.

The Stationary per Capt. Lawrence I received—all pretty good: for which I shall be your Debtor.1 I shall hope for some new Letter as I wrote for before: Capt. Lawrence sails in a few Days, and as I shall be one Year in this Office, on Saturday next, if I can get a Certificate of it,2 I will send it to you, by Capt. Lawrence, but if not by the next: I had not a Line from you this Packet—nor any News-papers from any one: I still continue as you see by the Papers, but gain very slowly: I now print 14 Quire only; but it does not shake my Resolution. Would My Son but refrain from his Folly, and act as he ought: I have sometimes hopes he will see his erroneous Ways, and sometimes I have no Hopes of him: tho’ he can work well enough himself: and I find myself too infirm to ruff it through.

I shall hope to hear from you, before you leave England: and as I hope this will reach you Time enough, I shall continue to write till I hear further. By last Packet I wrote a Short Answer to your Queries which you sent to Mr. Foxcroft:3 which I hope will be satisfactory: We are all much as usual; only hard, very hard Times in this Place. With all our Respectful Complements, remain Your most obliged Servant

James Parker

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7BF recorded the receipt of this bill, William Forman on the Board of Ordnance, on July 9, 1767. Journal, 1764–76, p. 13; Ledger, 1764–76, pp. 2, 11.

8On Dec. 19, 1763, BF instructed Jared Ingersoll to sue John Holt for £320 18s. 9d. which he owed to the Post Office, the debt having been contracted while he, Holt, was Parker’s assistant as postmaster of New Haven, 1755–60; in October 1767 a Connecticut court found Holt liable for only £48, a judgment which made BF and John Foxcroft “furious.” See above, X, 402–3 n; and Beverly McAnear, “James Parker versus John Holt,” N.J. Hist. Soc. Procs., Procs., LIX (July, 1941), 202.

9Foxcroft arrived in Philadelphia on May 23, 1767; Pa. Chron., May 18–25, May 25–June 1, 1767.

1The New York, Capt. E. Lawrence, sailed from the Downs on March 4, 1767; her entry at New York was reported on April 13, 1767; ibid., April 13–20, 1767.

2Parker had been appointed a landwaiter in the customs through BF’s influence (above, XII, 227–30) and apparently needed a certificate, attesting to his performance of the office, in order to receive his salary. The process of payment he describes below, p. 145.

3This “short Answer,” mentioned in Parker’s letter of April 5, has not been found.

Index Entries