Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Sr., 15 February 1773

From Jonathan Williams, Sr.

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Boston Feby 15th 1773

Honoured Sir

I wrote you Decr. 27 by Capt: Jenkins,8 and Inform’d you of a proposal made by Hall or rather Halls Friends, Who have advanced the Hundred pounds Sterling, and I have Received it, on this Condition, to Wait for the Remander Six and twelvemonths, to be paid in two equal payments from the above Date. I Wish I had your Orders in regard to the Disposition of the money as aunt Wants to be doing She Desires me to Invest fifty pounds of it in a Bill of Exchange and Send it home to you, and She Will accompany it With an Invoice of Such Goods as She Wants to make a beginning With, the Remander She Wishes to reserve here (if agreeable to you) as She think it may be Improv’d to more advantage and I Belive it may.1 So many failing in Business makes Good Sometimes Cheaper here then in London.2 Capt. Symmes Sails for London in about 10 Days time by him We shall Send Said Bill and Invoice for your approbation.3 My Wife Joines With our best Respects and I am With the Greatest Esteem Your Dutifull Nephew and Humble Servant

Jona Williams

Addressed: To / Doctr. Benjamin Franklin / Craven Street / London / per Capt Hatch

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Master of the Minerva, and a relative of BF. Jenkins cleared Boston in late December and reached Falmouth in February: Mass. Gaz.; and the Boston Weekly News-Letter, Dec. 31, 1772; Public Advertiser, Feb. 13, 1773. BF was looking for him in March, and soon afterward had a visit from him and Seth Paddock. To Jane Mecom below, March 9, July 7. The visit must have been before April 6, when Jenkins left for Boston (Public Advertiser, April 8), carrying BF’s letters below of April 3 to Cushing and Williams. Paddock was a Nantucketer (above, XVI, 250 n), and so was Jenkins. Nathan Folger (B.1.4.6), BF’s first cousin, had a daughter Judith, who married Thomas Jenkins and bore him four sons, Seth, Benjamin, Thomas, and Charles. Vital Records of Nantucket … (5 vols., Boston, 1925–28), II, 207; III, 455; V, 383. All four were eventually sailors and called captain, but we believe that BF’s visitor was Seth (1735–93) because he is the only one known to have been in the London trade. A Capt. Jenkins reappeared in England in January, 1774, this time as master of a Nantucket ship; and the following year Seth Jenkins brought letters from London to Nantucket. London Chron., Jan. 25–27, 1774; William Lincoln, ed., The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in 1774 and 1775 (Boston, 1838), p. 434 n. For Seth’s subsequent career, which had its adventurous moments, see Alexander Starbuck, The History of Nantucket … (Rutland, Vt., [1969]), pp. 198–200; Ship Registers and Enrollments of Providence, Rhode Island, 1773–1939 … (2 vols., Providence, 1941), I, 381, 697, 1071; Anna R. Bradbury, History of the City of Hudson, New York … (Hudson, 1908), pp. 16–17, 20, 27, 34.

1For Samuel Hall’s debt and BF’s assignment of it to Jane Mecom see above, X, 358; XVIII, 16, 219–20; XIX, 200, 291; and below, BF to Jane and to Williams, July 7.

2The economic depression of 1772 (above, XIX, 101 n) was continuing in Boston unabated, with its concomitants of falling prices, surplus goods, and forced sales, and did not improve as the year wore on; by autumn merchants were “Desprate.” Williams to BF below, Oct. 17.

3The bill did not go as promised with Ebenezer Symmes in the Mary Ann, which sailed in March (Boston Gaz., March 15, 1773), but with Williams’ letter of April 15, which has since disappeared but which BF acknowledged on June 4.

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