Benjamin Franklin Papers

Agreement between Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Massie, 18 December 1771: résumé

Agreement between Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Massie4

ADS: American Philosophical Society

<December 18, 1771, in Massie’s hand. On December 22, 1770, Franklin had received from him a collection of manuscripts, papers, and printed books on certain conditions, and had paid him sixty guineas therefor on certain conditions, enumerated in the receipts that were then exchanged.5 The present agreement is to extend the time for either or both parties to perform the conditions until June 24, 1772. >

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Massie (d. 1784) had amassed by 1764 a collection of some fifteen hundred economic treatises, printed during the past two centuries. He had drawn on these for his own prolific writings, which ranged in subject from taxes and interest rates to sailors’ wages and foundling hospitals; he was unusual among economists of the day in his emphasis on the importance of agriculture and in his compilation and use of statistics. DNB; William Cunningham, The Growth of English Industry and Commerce... (2 vols., Cambridge, 1890–92), II, 384–90, 426–7. In March, 1772, BF subscribed £3 3s. for Massie’s “ Charts of Commerce” and in August, 1773, paid him £5 5s. for “Military Papers”; in between he lent or paid him £23 2s.; Jour., pp. 40–1, 43, 50. In April and May, 1774 (p. 54), he charged Massachusetts £36 19s. 11d. for pamphlets, some of which Massie had written. Worthington Ford assumed that this agreement concerned the pamphlets: Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., LVI (1922–23), 97–9. We differ, because of the other payments and because, as late as 1778, BF inquired about MSS that he thought Massie still had: Matthew Ridley to BF, Nov. 24, 1778, APS.

5BF’s entry of the payment (Jour., p. 27) mentions only books. His receipt has been lost, and with it the conditions; but one of them might well have been delivery of the MSS and papers.

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