Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin, John Fothergill, and David Barclay from a Committee of the Managers of the Pennsylvania Hospital, 3 May 1771: résumé

From a Committee of the Managers of the Pennsylvania Hospital to Franklin, John Fothergill, and David Barclay3

Minutebook copy: Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia

<Philadelphia, May 3, 1771. When the managers learned from Fothergill that the money allotted to the Hospital from the unclaimed shares of the Pennsylvania Land Company is payable as soon as attorneys are authorized to receive it,4 they convened a meeting of the contributors on April 30 last, which passed a resolution empowering them to issue a letter of attorney to Franklin, Fothergill, and Barclay. They have done so, carefully following the draft that Fothergill sent, so as to be sure of conforming precisely to the requirements of the Bank. The letter, which is enclosed together with a copy of the resolution, has been witnessed by John Allen, Capt. Nathaniel Falconer, and one of his seamen, who will be ready to attest to it.5 The documents are in a small box sent in care of Allen, who has been asked to deliver it to Barclay. The new managers, to be chosen at the annual election a few days hence, will inform them what should be done about selling the stock and transferring the funds.6 Signed by Israel and James Pemberton, John Reynell, Thomas Wharton, and Samuel Rhoads.7>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3For David Barclay, Jr., one of the founders of what is now Barclays Bank, see above, IX, 190 n.

4Fothergill headed a group of trustees who, by an act of Parliament passed in 1760, held the unclaimed shares in the Company and deposited the dividends in the Bank of England until June 24, 1770, when the remaining funds were to be paid to the Hospital. See above, XIII, 274 n.

5John Allen (d. 1778), the son of the Chief Justice, was going to London to study law; he sailed with his sister and brother-in-law, Gov. John Penn. He returned two years later, became a Loyalist during the Revolution, and died just in time to save his estates from confiscation. Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania... (Philadelphia, 1883), pt. 2, p. 145; James Allen, “Diary... 1770–1778,” PMHB, IX (1885), 179, 181, 191, 433–4. Capt. Falconer needs no introduction; his seaman is identified in the minutes as Isaac Lea, who may well have been the son of James Lea (1724–98): ibid., LII (1928), 90.

6The anxiety of the managers, apparent in this letter, about adhering precisely to legal forms grew in their successors, who did not dare to act until they had received assurance that their London agents had succeeded in getting the money. See their letter below, June 3.

7Wharton and Rhoads have frequently appeared in recent volumes. For the Pemberton brothers see above, V, 424 n, and XIII, 260 n, and for Reynell IX, 372 n.

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