Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Parker, 23 May 1767

From James Parker

ALS: American Philosophical Society

New York May 23, 1767

Honoured Sir

My last to you, was per Capt. Lawrence,4 by whom I received the Stationary: A few Days after he was sail’d I got yours via Philadelphia of Feb. 28. and 12 Days ago I received yours per Packet of March 14.5 inclosing Capt. Berton’s Bill of Lading for the Letter, which arrived about 6 Days ago: I have executed a Bond agreeable to your Order.6

I have not received one Newspaper from any Person whatever: and I now don’t know, if it will do to venture to send any to the Gentleman you mention per Packet, lest it put him to Charge: but I will try to send him by all private Vessels; and as I know this will come free of Charge to you I send the last, and you can send or give them to him, if you should think fit.

I sent per Lawrence the 2d Bill of a Set for £300 also Holt’s Account, of which I would send a Duplicate now, but as Mr. Foxcroft is daily expected up from Virginia, and I have sent him a Copy also, I am not able to transcribe it again just now, having been taken poorly two Days ago, and have now but just Strength enough to sit up. Tho’ I have had my Health in general as well this year past, as I have had these many Years, yet I have every now and then, a hard Turn, or as I think it is, a fresh Dun from my Landlord.

Inclosed I send the first of a Bill for £200. I got of Mr. Hubbart:7 When I got Mr. Foxcroft’s Orders, I tried every Office to get some, fearing lest we should fail: and this Mr. Hubbart sent after the Opportunity was past before: He says it cost him £280 Lawful: which is far above Par, when if he had sent the Cash to me, I could have got one then for £175—as the other: which is much less than his Cost: but we did the best we could.

I wrote you per Lawrence a little about my Allowance in the Custom House; as I never was told before, what Method or who was to pay me. And I would have sent a Power to you to get it; but as you are I suppose about to return, Mr. Colden thought it best for me to get an Attorney in the Office, as he had, and advis’d me to the same Person: because he said, if one out of the Office was appointed, it was generally a great deal of Trouble to get the Money: and those in Office always expected 2½ per Cent. for doing it: On those Considerations, I thought it best to have your Advice about it, before I sent any Power to any Body; because the Charge of executing One here before the Mayor, is pretty high, and to execute two would be additional Charge.

You see I shall creep on with my News-papers. I increase slowly every Week about one, and sometimes two: but my Antagonists are powerful. Holt drives on yet, but keeps close, I have Writs out, but he is not taken. Is it not strange, that he will sooner [be in] this precarious State and Confinement, rather than exhibit any Account to me: But his Account against the Post-Office, tho’ it is in my Favour has now made me think him indeed a Villain. God knows when it will end, Tho’ I fear I have nothing to hope for, but by Diligence to regain what I have lost: But my Strength fails me much. However, if I can but do every Body Justice, I shall be satisfied—I have not to add, but all Respects, &c. from Your most obliged Servant

James Parker.

Addressed: For / Benjamin Franklin Esqr / Craven Street / London / per Duke of Cumberland / Packet, Goodridge

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4For Parker’s letter of May 2, 1767, see above, pp. 145–6. Many of the matters mentioned in this letter are also mentioned there.

5Neither of these letters has been found.

6BF had sent Parker some fonts of Caslon type, for the payment of which Parker executed a bond to him for £231 on May 15, 1767; see above, pp. 151–2.

7BF acknowledged the receipt of this bill, T. Valentine on W. Broome, on July 3, 1767; Ledger, 1764–1776, pp. 2, 11; Journal, 1764–1776, p. 13. The Mr. Hubbart from whom Parker obtained the bill was probably BF’s step-nephew, Tuthill Hubbart, the postmaster at Boston (above, XI, 337 n).

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