Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Jonathan Williams, Sr., 4 June 1773

To Jonathan Williams, Sr.

ALS (letterbook draft): Library of Congress

London, June 4. 1773

Dear Cousin

I have just time to acknowledge the Receipt of yours of April 15. with the £50 Bill, (Ross and Mills) part of the Money you receiv’d for me of Hall. I have purchased the Things for my Sister directed in her Invoice, and they go by this Ship.1 I shall do you every Service in my Power relating to the Commission Business, &c. Tell Jonathan I received his Letter, and deliver’d that to Miss Barwell, who will serve him whenever she can;2 as will also Your affectionate Uncle


I write in great haste. Love to my dear Sister and to your Family. The Invoices are in the Trunk.

Mr Williams

Per Capt Hatch, the Nicholas

1The letter of April 15, now missing, enclosed the bill that Williams had promised in his letter above, Feb. 15. It was drawn by T. Russell (above, X, 358), who was doubtless the Charlestown and Boston merchant lauded at his death by John Warren: An Eulogy on the Honourable Thomas Russell … (Boston, 1796). Ross & Mill was a mercantile firm in Botolph Lane: Kent’s Directory … (London, 1770). BF entered the bill in May, and the next month paid out £55 4s. 5d. for haberdashery for Jane. Jour., p. 48. In early August Williams acknowledged, through his son, the arrival of the goods; see the postscript to the letter from Jonathan, Jr., below, July 29.

2For the commission business and the appeal to Mary Barwell see Jonathan to BF above, April 20, and BF’s reply below, July 7. The Williamses’ request to be consigned tea from India was made before the Tea Act, and Miss Barwell apparently did not try to get them consignments under the act. Competition for those consignments was intense. Three interrelated Boston firms won out, thanks to backing in London: Hutchinson’s commercial agent recommended to India House the Governor’s two sons, Thomas and Elisha; Jonathan Clarke, then in England, persuaded the Company to choose his family firm, Richard Clarke & Sons; and a London house consulted by the Company suggested its Boston correspondents, Benjamin Faneuil and Joshua Winslow. See Francis S. Drake, ed., Tea Leaves: Being a Collection of Letters and Documents Relating to the Shipment of Tea to the American Colonies in the Year 1773 … (Boston, 1884), pp. 189–91, 209–11, 214–15, 222–3, 238. The Williamses had no such friends at court.

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