Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Richard Bache, 1 January 1774

From Richard Bache

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia 1st. January 1774

Dear and Honoured Sir

I have to acknowledge receipt of your Favors of the 24th. Sept. and 5th. October, the former by the hands of Mrs. Alcock,1 who found her Husband settled on a small Farm on the other Side Schuylkill, not far from the Middle Ferry. [It] is not many days since she delivered to me your Letter, and I have not since had an Opportunity of going to see them, but intend it soon. You may rest assured, that I will shew them every friendly Civility in my Power. I thank you for the paper [you] sent me. I was much gratified, to have it from under [your] own hand, that the Edict was of your writing; it was conjectured to be yours before, and had been published, as a thing much admired, in most of our Papers; You are charged likewise with being the Author, of the Method to make a Little State of a Great One.2 I hope the Publick are not mistaken in this, for I think it a piece of great Merit; your [friend?] General Lee, who has been here some time,3 and who thinks himself well acquainted with your Stile, is the only Man in this Place that thinks [interlined: says] it is not yours.

I have applied to Mr. Thomas Foxcroft on the Subject of your Letter of the 5th. Octr: he told me that he had transmitted you your Accts. lately, and has now furnished me with Copies of them, which I herewith send you. Since your Order for paying Mrs. Franklin £30 per Month, no more has been paid to her, and that has been paid very regularly [on the?] first of the Month; before this Order, I understand, [those?] Payments were made to her in unequal Sums, and [at] uncertain Times, but the Accounts I suppose point [out] these things to you; they have always taken Receipts [for] what Moneys they have paid her; I hope the Accounts [will] prove to your Satisfaction.4

Mrs. Barry’s Letter I sent to Mr. Cox, who now lives out of Town, but have since seen him, and he promised to return an Answer thro’ my Hands, he has not yet done it.5 Nor has the Romish Priest, furni[shed one] to the Letter I delivered to him, tho’ he promised to do it by this Packet.6 I can get no Tidings of the Dutchman, for whom you forwarded a Letter, tho’ I have made much Inquiry after him, however this shall not discourage me from further Search, and hope in my next to inform you something of him.7 The Family are well, my Mother and Sally write you by this Opportunity, they join me in much love, and in wishing you many happy returns of this Season. Our Respects and best Wishes, wait upon [our?] Friends in Craven Street. I have the Honour to be Dear Sir Your very Affectionate Son

Richd: Bache

[I] take Leave to trouble you [with a] few Lines, by way of Newyears Gift to my Mother,8 as there will not be an Opportunity for Liverpoole soon.

[Benja]min Franklin Esqr.

1The letters have disappeared. For what little is known of the Alcocks see above, XX, 419 n.

2For BF’s two famous satires see ibid., pp. 413–18, 389–99. The Pa. Gaz. had printed them on Dec. 15, 1773.

3Charles Lee had been on Braddock’s expedition, with which BF had been involved, and after returning to England in 1760 had published a pamphlet supporting BF’s case for retaining Canada; the two men may have met at either time, although we conjectured above that their first encounter was in 1768: XV, 78, 94 n. In 1773 “General” Lee (he had received a largely honorary commission in the Polish army) returned to America with a letter of recommendation from BF, and spent December in Philadelphia. John R. Alden, General Charles Lee: Traitor or Patriot? (Baton Rouge, [1951]), pp. 8, 16–17, 36, 47–8, 50–1.

4BF’s letter to the Philadelphia postmaster has disappeared. Foxcroft sent the original accounts with his letter, also missing, of Dec. 29, which BF acknowledged below, Feb. 18, 1774. For the payments to DF from the post office see above, XX, 299 and n.

5For Amelia Evans Barry, DF’s goddaughter, see ibid., pp. 383–4. She was presumably raising some matter connected with the estate of her father, Lewis Evans, for William Coxe was an executor of his will. Lawrence H. Gipson, Lewis Evans … (Philadelphia, 1939), p. 79. Coxe was presumably the friend and neighbor of Galloway mentioned above, XX, 446.

6I.e., in time for mailing by the packet. The priest was in all likelihood Father Ferdinand Steinmeyer (1720–86), a Jesuit better known as Father Farmer, who was an amateur scientist and a member of the APS, and traveled widely in Pennsylvania and adjacent colonies. Peter Guilday, The Life and Times of John Carroll … (New York, 1922), p. 305; Lambert Schrott, Pioneer German Catholics in the American Colonies … (U.S. Catholic Hist. Soc. monograph ser., XIII; New York, 1933), pp. 57–71.

7The “Dutchman” has been as hard to identify as he was to catch. If our guess about him above is correct (XIX, 143 n), Jacob Schaub had by this time been in Pennsylvania for more than a year, and had made no move to repay his debt to BF.

8Mary Bache; RB did not distinguish between his mother and mother-in-law.

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