Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Franklin, 28 February 1772

From William Franklin

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Burlington Febr. 28th. 1772

Honoured Father,

In your Letter of the 20th. of April last you sent me enclosed your London Account against the Estate of Mr. Parker, and requested me to assist in securing the Debt. I gave the Account soon after it came to hand to Miss Parker, who promised to deliver it to her Mother, and to let me have a Copy of her Father’s Account against you as it stood in his Books, which, however, I did not receive till lately. Enclosed is a Copy of it.7 I likewise apply’d to my Mother to know what Bonds she had from Parker, and what Money she had receiv’d from him; when she delivered me two Bonds, which she said was all she had, and that she had given Receipts on the back of them for all the Money she received. But I can’t yet find that she has kept any Account of the Money she has received, tho’ she says she thinks she has, and Mr. Parker charges for several Sums sent and paid to her, for which no Receipt is given on the Bonds. If, however, he intended those Sums to be in Discharge of his Bonds, I wonder much that when he was at Philadelphia a little before his Death, he did not see that there was proper Receipts given on those Bonds. The only Receipt on the Bond for £65 12s. 0d. Sterling is wrote by himself (Janry. 25, 1766) and signed by my Mother. There are but two Receipts on the Bond for £178 18s. 0d., and they are both wrote and sign’d by her. But I need not be more particular here, as I have made a Memorandum on a separate Paper of every thing that occurr’d to me as necessary to enable you to state your Account properly against his Estate, which Paper is enclosed.8 The sooner this is done the better, as Mrs. Parker is very infirm and leaves all to the Management of Jenny, who is about marrying, or is married to a young Fellow not of Age, and Apprentice to a Lawyer.9 Every Thing that I can do to assist in securing the Debt, when it is ascertained, you may be assured will not be neglected. Betsy joins in Duty with, Honoured Sir, Your ever dutiful Son

Wm. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Although the surviving fragment of BF’s letter of April 20, 1771 (above, XVIII, 74–7) makes no mention of his claim on the estate of his old friend James Parker, he entered it on the same date in his books, to the amount of £327 6s. 10d.: Jour., p. 34; Ledger, p. 10. His “London Account” must have been that ending with the date of his letter, for which see above, X, 258. The task of settling Parker’s affairs had devolved upon his daughter Jenny because of her mother’s infirmity, as WF explains later, and dragged on for another year; see her letter to BF and his reply below, Feb. 2, April 9, 1773.

8WF’s memorandum, dated February, is among BF’s papers in the APS; it adds little to what he says here, except queries about unreceipted payments and interest due from Parker. For the complicated accounting between BF and Parker see above, X, 257–60; XIII, 13 n. The two bonds in question are printed above, X, 374–5; XII, 226–7. A third seems to have escaped WF’s attention, perhaps because DF had forgotten about it: XIV, 151–2, 186.

9The young man was Gunning Bedford, Jr. (1747–1812), who later achieved considerable eminence; see the DAB. He was not under age, and Jenny was not about to marry him; the wedding must have taken place by the end of 1770, for when Gunning graduated from Princeton in September, 1771, she attended the ceremonies with their baby. 1 N.J. Arch., XXVII, 584. For an unscrambling of the several Gunning Bedfords see above, XIII, 379 n.

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