Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Galloway, 18 June 1767

To Joseph Galloway

ALS: Princeton University Library

London, June 18. 1767

Dear Sir,

With this you will receive a Power of Attorney from Messrs. Brown and Sons, Bankers, to recover a Debt of one Mitchel, which I recommend to your Care.1 The Case is this, When I was in Philadelphia, this Mitchel2 came to England on a Scheme for Purchasing some Lands in Partnership with Mr. Hughes, who desired me to give him a Letter of Credit for any Sum he might want under a £1000 Sterling. I did so, Mr. Hughes engaging under his Hand to make it good to me. Mitchel took up £360 which, with Interest now amounts to near £400. Brown’s3 Account is against Mitchel; but he considers me as accountable if Mitchel does not pay, because he credited him upon my Letter. Mr. Hughes writes me, that Mitchel refuses to discharge the Debt to Brown; (I send his Letter): and as Mr. Hughes does not find it convenient at present to indemnify me, I may suffer if Mitchel is not brought to pay. I hope therefore I may rely on your Friendship to give this Matter the utmost Dispatch.4

I never have heard from you what was done in the Affair of Mary Pitts, which I left in your Hands.5

You will also receive another Power of Attorney from my Friend Collinson, against a Debtor of his, which I recommend in my Friends Behalf to your Attention.

I hope Mr. Berners6 will soon hear from you. With great Esteem,

I am, Dear Friend, Yours affectionately

B Franklin

Joseph Galloway Esqr.

Addressed: To / Joseph Galloway Esqr / Philadelphia / per favour of / The Revd Mr Magaw

Endorsed: June 9. 1767 B. Franklin Esqr. Answd. Sept. 20. 1767

1An undated fragment of a letter to John Hughes, probably late in 1766, is the earliest reference to this matter; see above, XIII, 541–2.

2Perhaps this was Abraham Mitchell, a Philadelphia hatter.

3Henton Brown had been head of the firm of Henton Brown & Son, with which BF had conducted much of his banking business during the first English mission. Brown now headed the firm of Brown & Collinson, again BF’s principal London banker.

4Apparently Galloway had no success in getting any money from Mitchell; as indicated in a note to the document cited above, Hughes paid virtually all of the debt to Brown & Collinson in the spring of 1769.

5A complicated affair, involving a mortgage and an entailed estate, with which BF had been concerned on behalf of his brother John as far back as 1753; above, V, 16; X, 250–1. Mary Pitts died, June 30, 1772, and on Sept. 20, 1776, BF recorded in his Memorandum Book, 1757–1776 (described above, VII, 167–8), p. 28: “Receiv’d of Hugh Bay in full Discharge of Mary Pitt’s Mortgage £502 16s.” Hugh Bay has not been identified.

6Governor William Denny named as executors in his will William Berners of Woolverstone Hall, Suffolk, and Henry Berners of London. They probably were relatives on his mother’s side; PMHB, XLIV (1920), 105–6. Joseph Galloway and John Hughes had advertised Denny’s Pennsylvania lands for sale in Pa. Gaz., Jan. 1, 1767, calling themselves attorneys in fact to the two Berners men, whom they described as Denny’s “Devisees and Executors.”

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