Benjamin Franklin Papers

The Managers of the Pennsylvania Hospital to Franklin, David Barclay, and John Fothergill, 4–7 November 1772

The Managers of the Pennsylvania Hospital to Franklin, David Barclay, and John Fothergill

Minutebook copy: Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Hospital 11 Mo. 4th.[–7] 1772

Esteemed Friends

This accompanies duplicate of our last since which we have received Benja. Franklin’s favour of the [blank].4

In pursuance of what we proposed, we have since drawn on you the following Bills at thirty days sight vizt.

No.1 payable to James Pearson for £100.
2 ditto to ditto 100.
3 ditto to ditto 175. £375.
4 ditto to Joseph King sign’d by all the same as above Except Israel Pemberton } 200.
5 ditto to John Bull 500.
6 ditto to ditto 300.
7 ditto to ditto 250.
8 ditto to ditto 200.
9 ditto to ditto 150.
10 ditto to ditto 200.
11 ditto to ditto 275. 1875.
£2450. Sterling

And we intend in a few day to draw for £550. more, having the opportunity of selling the Bills at 60 per Cent Exchange, and of placing the Money on Interest at 6 per Cent, with Land Security.

We hope you will have the money in your hands before the Bills appear and become due, but that you may not be subjected to any inconvenience or our fund to any disadvantage in the Sale of the Stock, we have by the Tenor of the Bills contracted that they shall not be liable to any further damage, than the Payment of our Lawfull Interest after they become due, untill it suits you to discharge them. The Bills are printed in the like manner and Terms with the blank herein Inclosed. We are with much Respect Your assured Friends5

11 Mo. 7th. 1772

We have further drawn on you Two Setts Bills as follows.

One Sett N. 12 payable to Cornelius Corsen for £200.
ditto 13 ditto to ditto for 200.
£400. Sterling6
[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4See above, their letter of Oct. 20 and BF’s of Aug. 28.

5The minutes record that all the Managers present were signers. They were much the same group listed in the letter to BF above, Oct. 20; but Cox, Jones, and Lewis had disappeared, and been replaced by James Pemberton and Thomas Mifflin, neither of whom needs introduction.

6The Managers were investing part of their recent windfall in 6% land mortgages to Pearson, King, Bull, and Corsen, who received bills of exchange in sterling in the amounts listed. The sample bill enclosed, dated Oct. 31 (Pa. Hospital Minutebook), was at thirty days’ sight but, in lieu of damages, carried 6% interest thereafter until discharged. This provision did indeed save BF from “inconvenience”; without it he would have been liable, if the bill had been protested at the end of the thirty days, to heavy costs and even to arrest. For the procedure involved see Wyndham Beawes, Lex Mercatoria Rediviva; Or, the Merchant’s Directory … (London, 1752), pp. 415, 444.

The mortgager first mentioned was James Pearson (1735–1813), a Philadelphia carpenter and builder and long a manager of the Carpenters’ Company; see J. Granville Leach, “The Record of Some Residents in the Vicinity of Middle Ferry, Philadelphia …,” Geneal. Soc. of Pa. Pub., IX (1924–26), 56–7. Joseph King was probably the early member of the Library Company and contributor to the Hospital (above, II, 347; V, 320, 328), who was serving as its treasurer at the time of his death; see the Managers to BF below, Oct. 29, 1773. John Bull (1730–1824) lived in Limerick, Montgomery County, and was for a time a justice of the county court; he owned an extensive tract of land that he offered as part of the security for his mortgage. Theodore W. Bean, ed., History of Montgomery County (Philadelphia, 1884), pp. 756, 1005; Pa. Hospital Minutebook, Nov. 3, 1772; see also William H. Egle, “The Constitutional Convention of 1776 …,” PMHB, III (1879), 197. Cornelius Corsen was one of two, father or son. The father (1714–74) was a large landholder in Northampton township; the son (b. 1751), who had a sizable tract in Bucks County, later served in the War of Independence. Orville Corson, Three Hundred Years with the Corson Families in America … (2 vols., [Burlington, Vt.], 1939), I, 113–17, 130.

The suggestion that the money be invested in securities, particularly land, seems to have come from the man who had been the prime mover in obtaining the funds in the first place, Dr. Fothergill. See his letter of Aug. 29, 1772, to James Pemberton in Betsy C. Corner and Christopher C. Booth, eds., Chain of Friendship: Selected Letters of Dr. John Fothergill of London, 1735–1780 (Cambridge, Mass., 1971), p. 388.

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