Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to John Foxcroft, 14 July 1773

To John Foxcroft

ALS (letterbook draft): Library of Congress

London, July 14. 1773.

Dear Friend,

I received yours of June 7. and am glad to find by it that you are safely return’d from your Virginia Journey, having settled your Affairs there to Satisfaction,9 and that you found your Family well at New York.

I feel for you in the Fall you had out of your Chair. I have had three of those Squelches in different Journeys, and never desire a fourth.

I do not think it was without Reason that you continu’d so long one of St. Thomas’s Disciples; for there was always some Cause for doubting. Some People always ride before the Horses Head.1 The Draft of the Patent is at length got into the Hands of the Attorney General, who must approve the Form before it passes the Seals. So one would think much more time can scarce be required to compleat the Business: But ’tis good not to be too sanguine. He may go into the Country; and the Privy Councellors likewise; and some Months pass before they get together again. Therefore if you have any Patience, use it.2

I suppose Mr. Finlay will be some time at Quebec in settling his Affairs. By the next Packet, you will receive a Draft of Instructions for him.3

In mine of Dec. 2. upon the Post Office Accounts, to Apr. 1772 I took Notice to you, that I observed I had full Credit for my Salary, but no Charge appear’d against me for Money paid on my Account to Mrs. Franklin from the Philadelphia Office. I supposed the Thirty Pounds Currency per Month was regularly paid, because I had had no Complaint from her for want of Money: and I expected to find the Charge in the Accounts of the last Year, that is to Ap. 5. 1773. But nothing of it appearing there, I am at a loss to understand it, and you take no Notice of my Observation above mention’d. The great Ballance due from that Office begins to be remark’d here, and I should have thought the Officer would for his own sake not have neglected to lessen it, by showing what he had paid on my Account.4 Pray, my dear Friend, explain this to me.

I find by yours to Mr. Todd, that you expected soon another little One. God send my Daughter a good Time, and you a Good Boy.5 Mrs. Stevenson is pleas’d with your Remembrance of her, and joins with Mr. and Mrs. Hewson and my self in best Wishes for you and yours. I am, ever, Yours affectionately

B Franklin

Mr Foxcroft
Per Capt Osborne

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Either personal or postal affairs: Foxcroft’s visits to Virginia were mentioned frequently in 1765–7, and again in 1772, but not the reasons for them.

1Such as the congenital optimist, Samuel Wharton. For Foxcroft’s earlier skepticism about the grant see above, XIX, 82.

2He needed it as much as Foxcroft. In the spring BF had been pessimistic (to Galloway above, April 6), and he remained so even when victory seemed in sight. The Privy Council’s decision the previous summer to accept the Company’s petition and establish a new colony (above, XIX, 243–4 n) had encouraged Samuel Wharton to create a committee, which included BF, to expedite the final arrangements. Peter Marshall, “Lord Hillsborough, Samuel Wharton and the Ohio Grant, 1769–1775,” English Hist. Rev., LXXX (1965), 733. By the spring of 1773, despite rising opposition, the Board of Trade was at work on implementing the Council’s decision. In a report on May 6 the Board accepted the Walpole grant as delimited in 1770 (above, XVII, 9–11; XIX, 123 n) and embodied it in a new colony, called Vandalia, which was also to include other large tracts recently ceded by the Indians, so that Vandalia extended beyond the grant on the west, south, and east. The Board made detailed recommendations for the government, the church, and landholding in the colony. The full text (miscalled a report by the Privy Council) is in Kenneth P. Bailey, ed., The Ohio Company Papers … (Arcata, Cal., 1947), pp. 263–79; see also Thomas P. Abernethy, Western Lands and the American Revolution (New York and London, 1937), pp. 53–4. On July 3 the Council requested the Attorney and Solicitor General to review the Board’s arrangements and put them in proper legal form for the grant and the establishment of the new colony: Acts Privy Coun., Col., V, 210. For the final chapter of delays see BF to WF below, July 25.

3Hugh Finlay, the former postmaster at Quebec, had been in England the previous autumn with a recommendation from Foxcroft, and had finally been appointed surveyor general of the colonial postal system. See above, XIX, 273, 359, 374, 415.

4For DF’s allowance from the Philadelphia post office see idem., p. 415 n. The “great Ballance” must have been Thomas Foxcroft’s accounts receivable, i.e., due but not collected; the total would have been lessened by charging the allowances to BF’s account.

5The Foxcrofts already had a daughter, born in January, 1772: ibid., p. 54. The expected baby also turned out to be a girl: Foxcroft to BF, Feb. 1, 1775, Hist. Soc. of Pa.

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