Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Richard Bache, 16 May 1772

From Richard Bache

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia 16th. May 1772

Dear and Honored Sir

A few Days since per Captain Sparks I did myself the Pleasure.5 I have not much to say at present, more than that we are all well. These are the best Tidings I can send you at this time, I find but slow Sale for my Goods, but what I do sell, is for Cash, so that I am making no bad Debts; I have not sold enough to enable me to reimburse you per this Opportunity the £60. Sterling you were so kind to lend me, I hope to do it soon.6 I think I mentioned to you in my Letter by Sparks, that the Case of Stationary, lodged at Hugh Roberts7 his House, is now at Home, but I have not yet opened it. Governor Franklin tells me he has transmitted you Copy of an Account furnished by Mrs. Parker, which differs very materially from the Account I brought over with me, furnished by you,8 when we have your Sentiments on that Account, I shall endeavor to get the Balance secured to you. I find Steigle on whom Jacob Scroop’s Bill is drawn, has not yet been applied to for payment of the Bill, I have wrote to him, and expect his answer daily, if he refuses payment, shall make it my Business to find out the Drawer.9

The Money you lent John Schutz is not yet paid, his Brother Conrad is dead, and he is very poor, however I shall do my utmost to secure this for you.1 I find Mr. Hall, collects as much as he can of what is due you, for Newspapers, I mean such Debts as accrued, before your Connection with him, as well as those, in which you are concerned with him, but they come in but slowly, and he is apprehensive a considerable sum will be lost.2 I have not had time to look into your other Books of Accounts, shall do it as soon as possible.

I take the Liberty of troubling you with a Letter for my Mother, and one for my Sister Lydia, which I beg of you to drop into the Post Office. Also a Letter for Messrs. Robert and Wm. Alexander,3 which you will be pleased to give to the former if he remains in London, if not, to forward by the post. I am with perfect Esteem Your most Affectionate Son

Richd Bache

I forgot to mention to you, that previous to my return home, Sally had got fitted up for a Store, the lower part of the Old house next to Haddock’s in Market Street, it is an excellent Stand for a dry Good Store and answers the purpose very well. I do not think the little North Room of your house would have done at all.4 I am Yours &c.

Rd Bache

Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin Esqr.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5He had doubtless written to tell of his arrival, which was announced in the Pa. Jour. on the same day, April 30, that Sparks’s clearance for London was noted in the Pa. Gaz. The letter has been lost.

6The loan was actually for £65 5s., and the £60 was repaid in September: Jour., p. 39; Ledger, p. 56. BF then asked that the remaining five guineas be invested for young Ben in Jamaica: to Bache below, Oct. 7.

7For Roberts, BF’s old friend, see above, V, 11 n.

8The accounts are discussed in WF to BF above, Feb. 28. The one that Bache brought with him may have been a duplicate of the “London Account” referred to there.

9Bache, we believe, reworked the name, which should have been Schaub. In June of 1770 BF lent 25 guineas to a Jacob Schaub: Jour., p. 24. A man of the same name immigrated to America in a ship from Rotterdam that stopped in England; he reached Philadelphia in September, 1772. Ralph B. Strassburger, Pennsylvania German Pioneers: a Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808 (William J. Hinke, ed.; 3 vols., Pa. German Soc. Proc., XLII–XLIV, Philadelphia, 1934), I, 739–40. Steigle, we assume, was Henry William Stiegel (1729–83), the ironmaster and glass-maker, whose ambitious ventures were already leading him down the road to bankruptcy. DAB. He was at this time recruiting skilled labor in the British Isles and on the Continent; and BF knew him, if not personally at least by reputation. Frederick W. Hunter, Stiegel Glass (New York and Boston, 1914), pp. 55, 63, 68–9, 72. What happened, according to our conjectural reconstruction from these data, was as follows: Schaub was one of the laborers recruited; he stopped off in England on his way to Philadelphia, and asked for a loan from BF, to whom as the Pennsylvania agent Stiegel might well have referred him. Schaub gave BF the bill on Stiegel to cover the loan, promised on reaching America to put through a second bill for payment, probably to DF, but then for reasons unknown delayed his crossing more than two years. BF heard nothing about the bill, and consequently gave Bache the original and asked him to look into the matter when he reached Philadelphia. When there turned out to be nothing to look into, because Schaub had not yet arrived, BF concluded that the “Dutchman” was a rogue: to Bache below, Oct. 7.

1Bache was undoubtedly trying to collect the 35 guineas that BF had lent John or Johann Shütz in England in 1758, at the request of Shütz’s brother, Johann Conrad; see above, VIII, 145 n. Conrad was a Philadelphia papermaker, who appears occasionally in vols. II, IV, and V.

2David Hall was telling Bache much what he had told BF at great length two years before: above, XVII, 100–1. See also Hall to BF, Feb. 3, 1772.

3For this banking firm see above, VIII, 444 n.

4The store, on the south side of Market between Third and Fourth, had been open for at least a week; see Bache’s advertisement in the Pa. Gaz., May 7. For “the little North Room” see BF to DF above, Jan. 28.

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