Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Parker, 13 June 1767

From James Parker

ALS: American Philosophical Society

New-York, June 13. 1767.

Honoured Sir

Things here in general are much in the same State as they were in my last,4 only Mr. Foxcroft being returned from Virginia to Philadelphia; you will doubtless hear from him.5

I think I told you, I had sent the Bond for the whole I have had of you to Mrs. Franklin. The first of the inclosed Bill I sent per last Packet, I send this lest any Accident attend it.6

I continue to rub along, all uphill Work: But I don’t yet despair. Is it not Strange, that Holt had rather keep close now above 8 Months, than exhibit his Accounts: He fights me with my own Money, I am concerned about the Affair of Hamilton & Belfour, of which I send inclosed to you a Letter for them, which when you have seen, please send to them.7 Books and Stationary in general, are grown excessive dull Articles here: Rivington being shut up, Gaine only flourishes in the Business—Noel does indifferently—Weyman declines in all Appearance.8

I had no Line from you for two Packets past, and several Londoners: nor one News-paper from any Body: Capt. Berton sails in a Day or two, by whom I shall send some Papers to Mr. Carter, but I suppose, my Papers will be of little Service or Use to him, and I had rather Pay some Body, that would be punctual: Mr. Potts used formerly to send Papers for Pay; does he do so no more?9 For if he does, there might be some Dependance.

B. Mecom stays at New-Haven yet, but I get Nothing of him, nor I fear ever shall: His Post-Office Accounts are not very large, but the Ballance is unpaid yet.1

We had a cold backward Spring and in Appearance a very dry hot Summer, Crops thin, and Grass very scarce.

Thank God my own Health is beyond my Expectation, or even my Hope; That of my Family is better than it has been known for some Time past: tho’ I have some down now, but not bad. On the whole I have reason to be thankful. With all our humble Respects remain Your most obliged Servant

James Parker.

Addressed: For / Benjamin Franklin, Esqr / Craven Street / London / per Capt. Goddard

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Parker may have meant either his letter of June 12, 1767, or, more probably, his of May 23, 1767; see above, pp. 168–70, 179.

5No letter from Foxcroft to BF during 1767 has been found.

6For Parker’s bond to BF, May 15, 1767, for £231 in payment for stationery and fonts of Caslon type, see above, pp. 151–2; for the bill mentioned here, see above, p. 169 n.

7John Balfour of the Scottish bookselling firm, Hamilton & Balfour, had threatened to sue Parker in 1765 for payment for a shipment of books, but had been dissuaded by BF. Parker’s letter to the firm of this date, explaining his tardiness in payment and blaming it on his ex-partner, John Holt, is in APS. See above, XII, 251–2, 383 n.

8The bookselling competitors Parker mentions here were James Rivington (above, XI, 240 n), Hugh Gaine (above, VII, 220 n), Garrat Noel, (XIII, 395 n) and William Weyman (above, VI, 374 n).

9BF’s accounts show that with substantial regularity he paid Samuel Potts (comptroller general of the Post Office) for sending the issues of the London Chron. to William Franklin; e.g., Journal, 1764–1776, pp. 7, 8, 13, 16, 23.

1Apparently in reaction to frequent dunning from Parker, Mecom resigned his office as postmaster of New Haven in the winter of 1767; see above, p. 61.

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