Benjamin Franklin Papers

Franklin’s Account with the Province of Georgia, [2 May 1774]: résumé

Franklin’s Account with the Province of Georgia

DS. Yale University Library; ADS:8 American Philosophical Society

<London, May 2, 1774. The first entry is June 1, 1769, and the last April 30, 1774. The charges are for three years’ salary at £100 per annum,9 £107 12s. 9d. for a mace and gowns,1 £16 1s. 2d. for the legal services of Thomas Life,2 and £15 12s. for miscellaneous expenses, a total of £439 5s. 11d. The receipts are three bills of exchange for £220 in all, leaving a balance due of £219 5s. 11d. The document is endorsed, in an unidentifiable hand, “Dr. Franklin’s acct. 1774.”3>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8The ADS, pasted into BF’s Ledger on p. 38, has virtually identical wording but two added notations: “Rough Copy of what was deliver’d to my Successor” and “Philada. Nov. 3. 1785. Another Copy sent to the Governor of Georgia.” The first notation, in conjunction with the date on the account, indicates that BF turned over the agency to Grey Elliott on May 2, the day when he sent his now missing acknowledgment of the Speaker’s letter above, March 13. The second notation refers to his request to Gov. Samuel Elbert in 1785 for payment of the balance due him: Smyth, Writings, IX, 474–5.

9For the period of his official agency, 1768–71; see the headnote on the letter from the Commons House committee of correspondence above, March 14. In his own accounts he charged for only two years, then corrected this in his Jour. with a note, p. 59: “Philada. October 1776. On perusing in Philada. the Acct. against the Province of Georgia, I find omitted one Year’s Service as Agent £100 Sterling, and sundry small Expences £13 10s. 0d. BF.” The correction was presumably included in the reckoning that he sent to Noble W. Jones with his letter below, Oct. 25, 1776. That request for payment must have gone unanswered; hence his second one to Elbert nine years later.

1See above, XVII, 242.

2See above, XVIII, 22–3.

3The hand is not that of Elliott, his successor in the agency. This MS is not the account that BF left with him, we assume, because the £113 error was then uncorrected, but may be either the copy that he sent to Jones in 1776, or to Elbert in 1785, or one that he kept for himself. In any case the balance of £219 5s. 11d. seems never to have been settled in cash. Georgia did grant him, in principle, 3,000 acres of land (Smyth, Writings, X, 497); but in practice none was assigned him. WTF inherited the grant and sold part of it to a French émigré, only to learn that no such tract existed. Gilbert de Boisberranger to WTF, Oct. 4, 1795, Aaron Vanderpool Papers, N.Y. Public Library.

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