Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Parker, 12 August 1769: résumé

From James Parker

ALS: American Philosophical Society

[New York, Aug. 12, 1769. Sent by the packet the seconds of two bills of exchange, Hubbart’s for £122 and Vernon’s for £15, and the first of a bill for £50 that Parker bought in New York; encloses the second of that, together with the first of a bill just received from Hubbart for £200, Folger upon Allnutt,7 of which the second will follow shortly.

Mr. Stewart, the Annapolis postmaster, raises a difficult question: Lord Botetourt of Virginia franks his own letters, but they are nevertheless charged to Stewart’s office. Governor Eden, to whom they are addressed, will not pay the postage, claiming Botetourt’s privilege as a peer.8 Stewart and Parker cannot contend with Eden; will Franklin please advise?

No confirmation yet of Foxcroft’s arrival in England. Parker’s own affairs much as usual; still no settlement, or likely to be, with Holt, who within a few years will be bankrupt. Will be lucky to avoid that fate himself. Can manage if his strength does not fail him, but it ebbs every day.]

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7See Parker to BF above, May 12 and June 28.

8Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt, had been appointed governor of Virginia in 1768; see above, XV, 190 n, 195. Robert Eden (1741–84) had been appointed governor of Maryland at the same time, and had arrived in Annapolis in June, 1769; DAB. Since the founding of the Post Office under the Protectorate, all members of Parliament had had the privilege of franking letters; the Franking Act of 1764, which curtailed some abuses of the privilege, did not affect members. Hence Eden’s position seems to have been correct, but why and by whom Botetourt’s letters were charged to the Annapolis post office we cannot say.

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