Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Foxcroft, 2 March 1772

From John Foxcroft

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philada. March 2d. 1772

Dear Sir

I am favour’d with yours of Decr. 3d by the Packet which Informs me of your having just return’d from a long Journey for your Healths sake and that you find it much Strengthened by it, on which Occasion give me leave sincerely to Congratulate you.

I am extremely obliged to you for your offer of paying the £25 advanced on the Ohio affair.1 I wrote fully to Mr. Todd requesting him to shew it to you.2 I must own I was rather fearfull on hearing the many things I did after I return’d to America concerning that grant, but Mr. Todds Letter dated the 4th. of Decr. which is very full and Satisfactory hath determined me to continue one of the proprietors3 and have accordingly wrote him by this opportunity to continue to advance for me on that account the same as for himself, but At the same time if any thing should happen to come to my knowledge which appears to me, to clash with our Interests I shall think myself in Duty bound to advise you and Mr. Todd off it in order to lay it before the rest of the associators.

I was promised two Barrells of the best Flour which could be Mannufactored in this Province to come in Osborne from three different Houses all of which have disappointed me. I therefore Have by the advise of T. Wharton bespoken two Barrells of Mr. Reed who has great Connections in the lower Countries who has promised to put it up in a perticular Manner, and therefore you may depend on it’s coming by the first Vessel which sails for London after osborne, I am sorry you have it not by him but indeed it was not my fault, as I depended on Mr. T. Smith Mr. Jonathan Smith and Ziekiel Lewis but they told me the People who had promised them had none which they could recommend to come to England.4

Yesterday we had the Little Stranger christened by the Name of Sarah. Mrs. Bache and Miss Parker Dined with us Mrs. F. pleaded the coldness of the Day. I will assure you She is a Sweet little Girl, you’ll Excuse a father’s fondness, but if you will not give me sufficient Credit, I dare say you’ll allow your Grandson to be a good Judge and to have some taste, after Tea his Mamma after placeing him on the Carpet handed little Miss into his lap and desired him to Salute Her; which after doing he Exclaimed I do now love her Mamma.5

I can’t help fanceying after reading the forgoing I hear you say what an amazing alteration there is in about 18 Months in an useless half pair of Sheers.6 Mrs. F. and Brother joins me in sincere Compliments to yourself and Mr. Bache and all Friends. I am my Dear Sir your most obliged Friend and Affectionate humble Servant

John Foxcroft

1In the previous autumn the Walpole associates had agreed to contribute £25 for each share held, in order to finance the lobbying activities of Wharton and Trent. Peter Marshall, “Lord Hillsborough, Samuel Wharton and the Ohio Grant, 1769–1775,” English Hist. Rev., LXXX (1965), 728.

2I.e., show the letter; see BF to Foxcroft above, Feb. 4.

3Foxcroft had doubtless been concerned at hearing no word of development in the Company’s affairs; Todd’s letter may well have hinted at the forthcoming action in the Cabinet to precipitate matters. See below, p. 124. Another factor also influenced Foxcroft’s decision: Robert Lettis Hooper, the surveyor, returned to Philadelphia from the Ohio with glowing reports about the claim. “On my representation of the country,” Hooper wrote, “Mr. Foxcroft has determined to hold his share. …” To WF, [March, 1772], APS. For Hooper see WF to BF below, Oct. 29.

4Foxcroft may have been referring to either of the two Thomas Whartons, for whom see above, XI, 449 n. “Mr. Reed” was probably George Read, assemblyman and attorney general of Delaware (above, XIII, 32 n); the Smiths and “Ziekiel” Lewis we cannot identify. The Pa. Packet, Peter Osborne, cleared Philadelphia in early March: Pa. Gaz., March 5. John’s brother shipped the flour in May, and another consignment in October; see below, Thomas Foxcroft to BF, May 16, Oct. 23, and BF to him, Dec. 2. BF seems to have sold the first shipment, of two barrels, for £3 1s.: Jour., p. 42.

5For Sarah’s birth see Foxcroft to BF above, Feb. 2. “Miss Parker,” we assume, was Jenny Parker Bedford; but was she for some reason keeping her marriage secret?

6A bachelor, BF had remarked to John Alleyne, was as useful as “an odd Half of a Pair of Scissars.” XV, 184.

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