Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to [Anthony Todd], 15 June 1771

To [Anthony Todd4]

ALS: American Philosophical Society

June 15. [17715]

Dear Sir

I am just going out of Town for a Week, but shall endeavour to return in time for the great Pleasure you so kindly propose to me of meeting chez vous, that excellent good Man Baron Behr. In the mean while, pray advise your Neighbour Mr. Jackson, if he should be at any Loss about it, how to get soon ashore two Barrels of Flour (one of which is for your self) that are just arriv’d from Philadelphia in the Britannia Capt. Falconer. The Custom house Officers often make Difficulties about these Trifles, and detain them till they are half spoilt. Mr. Foxcroft, (who you know puffs everything from our Side the Water) says, “You will receive two of the most extraordinary Barrels of Flour by Falconer that ever was manufactur’d in America or perhaps in the World; they were made on purpose, &c.”6 I would not have your Expectations too highly rais’d by this. I only hope it will be got while sweet, and that I shall find a Pudding of it smoaking on the hospitable Board of Walthamstow, being ambitious if it should prove remarkably good, that the Baron too may taste the Produce of our American Hanover.7 With the most affectionate Respect, I am, Dear Sir, Yours &c

B Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Todd lived in Walthamstow: Gent. Mag., LXVIII (1798), 541. He was the only one of BF’s correspondents who did.

5Our predecessors conjectured (above, XIII, 300 n) that the date was 1770. But the letter mentions Falconer as master of the Britannia, which he was not until October, 1770; she cleared for London the following May. PMHB, XXVIII (1904), 348; Pa. Gaz., May 9, 1771. BF speaks of leaving town for a week, furthermore, which he did in mid-June: BF to Shipley below, June 24.

6Charles Jackson was an official in the Post Office (above, XIV, 301 n); for that reason, we assume, BF was invoking his aid in getting the barrels through customs. John Foxcroft, who gloried in the name of American, had promised BF the flour months before; see his letter above, Jan. 14.

7Behr was the Hanoverian minister to St. James’s; see above, XIII, 300 n. BF meant, we believe, that Pennsylvania was the American Hanover, because of its fertility or its many German settlers or both. He could scarcely have meant America: he would not have tried out on Todd, even in fun, his analogy between the colonies and Hanover as parts of the empire.

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