Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Alexander Colden, 2 December 1772

To Alexander Colden

ALS (letterbook draft): Library of Congress

London, Dec. 2. 1772

Dear Sir,

I duly received yours of Oct. 10. with the Accounts, accompanied by Bills of Exchange as follows,6

Walker on Cunningham for £82 11s. d.
R N. Colden on Meyrick for 400 0s. 0d.
These from you as your Ballance 482 11s. d.
And the following from Mr. Foxcroft as his Ballance, viz
Leitch on Buchanans 150 0s. 0d.
Dick & Steward on Buchanans 61 14s. 2d.
Walker on Cunningham 257 16s. 4d.
Turner on Barnes & Ridgate 72 7s. 5d.
Sandys on Sandys 15 0s. 0d.
Dunn on Long Drake & Long 100 0s. 0d.
Edlin on Molleson 20 0s. 0d.
Taylor on Perkins, Buchanan & Browne 15 0s. 0d.
Blair on Cunninghame 100 0s. 0d.
Belt on West & Hobson 50 0s. 0d.
841 17s. 11d.
The Account of Bills remitted to me by Mr. Parker and yourself was right; but I should have had Credit for protested Bills return’d to him, viz
Bill on Cunningham & Co. £20 0s. 0d.
Charges £1 5s. 8d.
Do on Milligen 52 0s. 0d.
Charges 5s. 9d.
In all 73 11s. 5d.

And you will also give me Credit for Mackie on Molleson return’d to you protested per Packet Nov. 3. the Sum £294 5s. 2d.7

I am now to tell you by Order of the Board that the Accounts are not regularly stated and render’d as usual, and therefore not satisfactory. All the Receipts are lump’d in one Sum, without particularizing how much from each Office, when receiv’d and by whom. It is therefore required and expected that you immediately make out and send the Accounts in that Form; together with a Copy of the separate Accounts as they stand in your Books with each Postmaster, all ballanced; that it may be seen how much is due from each, as well as what has been received from them. This is to be done directly for the Accounts to 1772. and the same is to accompany the Account for 1773, and so for every succeeding Year; each separate Office Account to commence with the Ballance of the preceding Year. I beg you will do this without Delay, as the Account is rejected at the Office, and I can make no Settlement, with the Office, nor the Office with the Treasury till it arrives. With my best Respects to your good Father, to Mr. and Mrs. Nicholls,8 and to Mrs. Colden, I am, with great Regard, Dear Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

Mr Colden

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The accounts were for the American post office, 1771–72. Cunningham was William Cunninghame & Co.: above, XVII, 55 n. Some of the others on whom the bills were drawn can be identified from Kent’s Directory … (London, 1770) as, in order of appearance, James Meyrick, agent, in Parliament St.; John Buchanan in Little Tower St.; Barnes & Ridgate and Long, Drake & Long, two firms in Bishopsgate St.; William Molleson in Gould Square, Crutched Friars; Perkins, Buchanan & Browne in Fowkes Bldgs., Tower St., and West & Hobson in Catherine Court, Tower Hill. Meyrick was undoubtedly a partner in Meyrick & Porter, regimental agents: The Royal Kalendar … (London, [1772]), pp. 170, 184–6. Two of the partners in Long, Drake & Long were probably Beeston and Samuel Long, for whom see Lillian M. Penson, “The London West India Interest in the Eighteenth Century,” English Hist. Rev., XXXVI (1921), 383; Drake we cannot identify. Of those who drew the bills only one can be definitely placed: Richard Nicholls Colden, Alexander’s son. Others may have been Alexander Dick, London merchant and insurer, and William Taylor, a ship chandler (Lucy S. Sutherland, A London Merchant … [London, 1933], pp. 61, 118, 141, 152); George Walker, a Barbadian planter who was resident in London and agent for the colony (Lillian M. Penson, The Colonial Agents of the British West Indies … [London, 1924], pp. 155, 165, 203); Zeph[aniah] Turner (see BF to Colden below, Jan. 6, 1773), who may well have been connected with John Turner & Sons of Amsterdam, a firm trading with America, for which see James B. Hedges, The Browns of Providence Plantations … (Cambridge, Mass., 1952), pp. 255, 257.

7For the protested bills see above, BF to Colden, Oct. 7, Nov. 3, and to Foxcroft, Nov. 19.

8Colden’s father- and mother-in-law. For Richard Nicholls see above, II, 407 n; XII, 229 n.

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