Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to a Committee of the Managers of the Philadelphia Silk Filature, 15 March 1773

To a Committee of the Managers of the Philadelphia
Silk Filature

ALS (letterbook draft): Library of Congress

London, Mar. 15. 1773


In mine of Feb. 10. I mentioned a Silk weaver who was desirous of going to America; and endeavouring to get Subscriptions among his Friends to defray the Expence of his and Family’s Passage. He now tells me they have been so kind as to double the Sum he requested, and that he is to go in Sutton. He takes with him a good Certificate from the Meeting; and I beg leave to recommend him to the Notice and Encouragement of the Silk Committee, as far as they may find him deserving. For tho’ it may be most advantageous for our Country, while the Bounty continues so high, to send all our raw Silk hither; yet as the Bounty will gradually diminish and at length cease,1 I should think it not amiss to begin early the laying a Foundation for the future Manufacture of it; and perhaps this Person, if he finds Employment, may be a means of raising Hands for that purpose. His Name is Joseph Clark.2

By the enclos’d you will see when the Silk will probably be sold. I hope to send you a good Account of it;3 and am, with great Esteem, Gentlemen, Your most obedient humble Servant


Messrs Abel James and Benja Morgan

1See above, XVI, 80–1.

2Clark, his wife, and their son arrived in Philadelphia with a certificate from the Devonshire House Meeting in London, and were admitted to the Philadelphia Meeting in June, 1773. If Clark was ever a pioneer in American silk-weaving, it was not for long; in 1774 he became a schoolteacher in Rahway, N.J., and joined the meeting there. Hinshaw, Amer. Quaker Genealogy, II, 486; Geneal. Soc. of Pa. Pub., XIV (1942–44), 274.

3We have not located the enclosure; it was presumably a newspaper notice of the sale in which BF expected the Pennsylvania silk to be included. For his account of the sale itself see his letter to the committee below, July 14.

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