Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to James Read, [before 1 August 1771]

To James Read1

Extract2: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

[Before August 1, 17713]

The most friendly Advice I can give you, is, to begin paying the Debt immediately, tho’ in ever so small Sums.4 This will show an honest Disposition, and may in time compleat the whole. If you would stand fair in the Opinion of your Friends, and cannot pay the Principal, pay at least the Interest as it arises.

1BF’s old friend and neighbor, who before he embarked on a legal career had been a bookseller. See above, III, 39 n.

2Read quoted the extract in a letter to an unknown correspondent, probably Thomas Wharton, of Sept. 10, 1771.

3Read remarked in his letter that he had already answered BF, and he could scarcely have had time to do so unless BF had written him in July or earlier.

4The by now notorious debt to William Strahan, which Read had acquired in 1748 and never did repay. See above, III, 316 and later references; J. Bennett Nolan, Printer Strahan’s Book Account: a Colonial Controversy (Reading, Pa., 1939).

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