Benjamin Franklin Papers

Anthony Todd to Benjamin Franklin and John Foxcroft, 4 October 1768

Anthony Todd to Benjamin Franklin and John Foxcroft6

MS extract: Public Record Office

Extract of a Letter from Anth Todd Esqr. to Messrs. Franklin and Foxcroft Dated General Post Office October 4th. 1768.

You will see by the inclosed Abstract of a Clause relating to Ship Letters7 what steps have been lately taken to carry the same effectually into execution, and the Honourable Commissioners of the Customs have been pleased to direct their Officers here not to permit any Ship or Vessel to break Bulk or make Entry until their Letters are delivered, and I make no doubt, when you have represented this Matter, which is for Universal Benefit, to the Commissioners of the Customs for America, or the Officers under them, they will readily lend the same Assistance, though I hope proper care has already been taken to enforce this Clause at the several Ports within your District upon the Act of the 5th. of His present Majesty taking place.8

Endorsed: 12th. July 1769. Letter Anthony Todd Esq relative to Ship Letters

Lett datd 26th. July 1769.

Post Office

11 Jan 1769

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Enclosed in Anthony Todd to Grey Cooper, July 12, 1769.

7The statute, 5 Geo. III, c. 25, para. iii, provided that no ship should unload until all letters on board had been delivered to an agent or agents of the postmaster general. In theory this regulation should have prevented tampering with the mail, but there was suspicion in America that the agents themselves were the culprits; see WF to BF below, March 2, 1769.

8The hope was unfounded, for nothing seems to have been done. John Foxcroft received this letter in Philadelphia in late December, and on Jan. 11, 1769, forwarded an extract of it and a résumé of the clause in the statute to the customs commissioners in Boston. They made no reply, and on July 12 Todd appealed to the Treasury to prod them. Todd to Cooper with enclosures, cited above.

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