Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Trent, with List of Traders’ Losses and Benjamin Franklin’s Certificate, 1 October 1767, 26 December 1767

From William Trent,5 with List of Traders’ Losses and Benjamin Franklin’s Certificate

ALS (Trent) and ADS (Franklin): Yale University Library

Philadelphia October 1st. 1767

Benjamin Franklin Esqr.

In March 1766, Colonel Croghan took the liberty of inclosing you a Letter from himself to Messrs. Mildred & Roberts of London And therein desired, That they would deliver to you, All the Accounts belonging to the Indian Traders who had lost by the Depredations of the French and Indians and also the Vouchers attending them.6

Colonel Croghan has not had the pleasure of hearing whether Messrs. Mildred & Roberts have delivered these Accounts to you and therefore he requests I would inclose you the within duplicate of his Letter to those Gentlemen, for that purpose.

I am duly constituted by Letter of substitution, the Attorney in fact, for those Indian Traders mentioned at the foot of this Letter, As Messrs. Baynton, Wharton & Morgan will inform you, Wherefore I must request, as a particular favor, That you will be pleased on Receipt hereof, to transmit to me by the first Packet, all those several Indian Traders Accounts and Vouchers, (mentioned below) or for fear of loss by Sea, That you will be so good as to hire a Clerk (The Expence whereof I will immediately pay Mrs. Franklin or to your Order) And have all those Traders Accounts and their Vouchers properly Copied, and then certified by you, to be true Copys, Which pray send to me in the Stead of the Originals.

It is indispensably necessary for me to have those Accounts here with all possible expedition. Wherefore I hope Sir you will be so obliging to gratify me in this my earnest Solicitation. I am very respectfully Sir Your most obedient and very humble Servant

William Trent

Doctor Franklin is earnestly requested to send by the first Packet, The following Indian Traders Accounts of Losses with the Vouchers attending them to Wm. Trent their Attorney in fact. Vidzt,7

William Trent, George Croghan, Robert Callender and Michel Teaffs [Taafe’s or Teaffe’s] Account in Company } £2496 2 6
William Trent and George Croghan Account in Compy 6511 5 9
Thomas McKees Account in Compy 3256 13 8
Hugh Crawford’s Account 1312 10 0
Samuel Chambers Account 270 0 0
James Silvers ditto 350 0 0
Arthur Auchmutys ditto 203 9 9
Adam Terrences Accot 368 9 6
John Frasers ditto 2585 12 0
Thomas Kintons ditto 363 9 0
John Grays ditto 630 15 11
Alexander Stevens’s ditto 311 18
James Rankins ditto 26 0 0
John Galbreaths Account 1581 [torn]
Francis Campbells ditto 721 0 [3]
James Young and John Frasers ditto 1025 10 3
Robert Callender and Michel Teaffs ditto 2969 3 6
James Dunings Accot 1204 16 9
Paul Pierces Account 2087 12 0
John Owens ditto 1040 6 9
William Blyths ditto 395 6 0
Morris Turner’s ditto 420 0 0
Alexander McKennets ditto 78 0 0

[In Franklin’s hand:8]

London, Dec. 26. 1767

Agreable to the Request contained in the within Letter, I have caused to be transcribed all the Accounts therein mentioned, and the Depositions thereunto relating;9 and having carefully examined the Copies made thereof, and compared the same with the Originals remaining in my Hands, I do hereby certify that the said Copies are correct and true; and as such I have connected them with this Letter and Certificate by a blue Ribband sealed with my Seal.1 Witness my Hand

B Franklin

Endorsed: Mr Trent Oct. 1. 1767 Indian Accts. w[ere] sent certify’d by me

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5For William Trent, leading Indian trader, see above, V, 65–6 n. During 1765–66 he was actively engaged in collecting affidavits of traders’ losses and powers of attorneys. Albert T. Volweiler, George Croghan and the Western Movement 1741–1782 (Cleveland, 1926), p. 267.

6No letter from Croghan such as Trent describes here has been found, either in the original or in the duplicate mentioned in the next paragraph. Mildred & Roberts was a merchant firm with offices at 59 Fenchurch Street, London. [Henry Kent], Kent’s Directory for the Year 1770 (London, 1770), p. 122. The traders’ losses were primarily those suffered in the early period of hostilities associated with the Seven Years’ War.

7Not counting the shillings and pence missing in one line because of a tear in the paper, the claimed losses in the 23 accounts listed here total £30,209 1s. 8½d.

8This certificate is written on the third page of the folio sheet directly below the last names in the list.

9Although BF had followed Trent’s suggestion of engaging someone to make copies of the accounts and papers, his own records do not show his payment for this clerical service. On May 10, 1768, however, WF wrote that he expected to receive the four guineas the transcriptions had cost BF and that his father would be compensated by a payment due to WF from a man in Edinburgh, APS. This complicated transaction was completed on Aug. 29, 1768; Journal, 1764–1776, p. 16; Ledger, 1764–1776, pp. 9, 28.

1This ribbon, a little over an inch wide, now survives in two pieces, each about 6½ inches long. About an inch of each was inserted from the back through a slit cut in the second leaf of the document and these short ends were fastened on the third page, at the beginning of this certificate, by the application of BF’s wax seal. The longer free ends hang from the fourth page providing means by which the certified papers could be secured. One of these ribbons is stuck to the paper just enough to obscure one word of the endorsement on the fourth page.

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