Benjamin Franklin Papers

Bond: William and Mary Catharine Goddard to Benjamin Franklin, 15 December 1769: résumé

Bond: William and Mary Catharine Goddard1 to Benjamin Franklin

Printed form with MS insertions: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

[Dated December 15, 1769. A bond in the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds, Pennsylvania currency, to be paid to Franklin or his attorney, heirs, assigns, etc. If a payment of sixty pounds, plus interest, is made on June 15, 1770, the bond will be void; otherwise it will remain in force.2]

1For William Goddard, printer and journalist, see above, XII, 287 n; XIV, 9 n. Mary Katherine Goddard (1738–1816) was his sister; she had learned the printing trade in his Providence shop and had, with her mother, joined him in Philadelphia in 1768.

2Goddard had been postmaster at Providence, and his biographer conjectures that the bond represented a debt he owed the Post Office, despite the fact that BF left the unpaid bond in his will to Richard Bache. Ward L. Miner, William Goddard, Newspaperman (Durham, N.C., 1962), pp. 91–2. An obligation to the royal Post Office could scarcely have been treated as a legacy in 1790; in BF’s last years, furthermore, both he and Goddard wrote of it as if it were a private debt. Goddard to David Lenox, Jan. 23, 1787, Hist. Soc. of Pa.; BF to Goddard, Jan. 6, 1789, APS. Our conjecture is that the bond had something to do with the murky financial affairs of Benjamin Mecom. A complete inventory of Mecom’s printing equipment was sent to BF in London, for the benefit of creditors there; and Goddard was subsequently involved in evaluating some of this equipment. James Parker to Goddard, June 16, 1770, Hist. Soc. of Pa. The letter is tantalizingly obscure, but it raises the possibility that Goddard had acquired at least part of the equipment he needed by giving this bond to BF six months earlier.

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