Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from George Morgan, 4 May 1773

From George Morgan1

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada May 4th 1773


Let me beg that the Distresses of Mr. Bayntons Family may appoligize to you for the Trouble I now take the Liberty to give you as the general Friend to Mankind and the particular Friend of Mr. Baynton.

The sudden Turn of Mr. Bayntons Disorder2 and the Post going off in a few Minutes will prevent my being so particular as I intended. By the first Vessel which sails from hence for London I will take the Liberty of troubling you again. In the Interim suffer me to request the favour of you to converse with Mr. Wharton on the Subject of the inclosed Letter3 and serve Mr. Bayntons Family therein if possible. I am with the greatest Respect, Sir Your most Obedient and most humble Servant

Geo Morgan

Addressed: To/ Doctor Benjamin Franklin/ Craven Street/London

1A partner in the firm of Baynton, Wharton & Morgan and the son-in-law of John Baynton; see above, XIII, 400 n. The troubles of the partners were the background of this letter. The firm was organized in 1763, and soon became heavily involved in western trading ventures that brought on bankruptcy. To recoup their losses the partners, along with WF and others, subsidized Samuel Wharton’s trip to England to lobby for the Indiana grant. When this was merged with the Walpole Co.’s claim, Wharton failed to include Baynton and Morgan in the larger scheme; their resultant feud with him was long, involved, and bitter. See Max Savelle, George Morgan, Colony Builder (New York, 1932), passim; Lewis, Indiana Co., pp. 65–7, 96–7, 107–8, 122–3, 142–3, 148, 192–4.

2Baynton died on May 8. His business difficulties, according to an obituary that Morgan wrote, were a major cause of death: Pa. Gaz., May 12, 1773.

3Baynton was at the point of death, Morgan wrote to Samuel Wharton, and had declared before witnesses that his demise was due to Wharton’s ill usage of him. Morgan went on to demand an immediate accounting to BF of what Wharton had received from his partner and how many shares in the Walpole Company Baynton held in consequence. “As this is the only Recompense you can now make to the much injured Family, let me beseech of you to do it immediately and without further Hesitation.” “Substance of a Letter … May 5th or 6th …,” Letterbook A, p. 117, Baynton, Wharton & Morgan Papers, Division of Archives and MSS, Pa. Hist. and Museum Commission, Harrisburg. BF’s reply to Morgan below, July 14, is considerably mutilated, but indicates that Wharton provided nothing more concrete than expressions of good will.

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