Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Foxcroft, 4 April 1775

From John Foxcroft

ALS: American Philosophical Society

New York April 4th 1775

My Dear Friend

Your very agreable favour of the 4th. of Janry. I rec’d by the last Packet informing of your having drawn on me for the Ballance of our Acct. as it Stands in your Books7 a Copy of which I rec’d by a Ship Via Philada. Mr. Bache will inform you that at his desire the Bill was paid in Philadelphia when due. The Acct. as you say may be easyly rectify’d when we meet.

My sincere thanks are due to you, for your goodness in assuring Mr. Todd that you would chearfully become my Security whenever call’d upon for that purpose. I had a very Polite Letter from Mr. Boldero on the Occasion Signifying how Sorry he was that the Articles of their partnership prevented his complying with my request;8 I have wrote to Mr. Todd by this packet, which I hope will settle the matter. I think the Post Office escapes the Political Storm which now Rages, thus far none of our Riders have met with the least Interuption, and have the pleasure to inform you that in consequence of some New Regulations we made last Winter the Posts are very Regular once a Week as far as St. Augustine and twice a Week between this City and Quebec.9

Pray what is become of the Ohio Scheme? I have heard nothing from your side the Water concerning it for this Six Months past.1 The Virginians are setling that Country very fast since the Peace which Ld. Dunmore concluded with the Indians renders it impossible for the Latter ever again disturbing them in the peaceable possession of that Montpelier of America.2

My two Charming Sweet little Girls together with Mrs. Foxcroft are pure3 well thank God. She joins me in sincere Regards and best wishes for the health and happiness of you and the good Family in Craven Street. I am and ever shall remain with the greatest Esteem and Regard your obliged Friend and very humble Servant

John Foxcroft

I expect Mr. Finlay from Quebec by the 20th. of May.4

Endorsed: Mr Foxcroft 1775

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7BF’s letter is lost, but the bill was undoubtedly that to which Foxcroft had referred in his of Feb. 1: above, XXI, 464.

8This is our only evidence that BF gave surety for his friend when Foxcroft was reappointed, and Hugh Finlay appointed, deputy postmasters general in North America. Mr. Boldero was either Henry or John, two brothers who were London bankers and who died in 1789: Kent’s Directory . . . (London, 1775); The European Mag. and London Rev.. . ., XV (1789), 352, 504: Joseph J. Muskett, Suffolk Manorial Families . . . (3 vols., Exeter, 1900–14), I, 188.

9The new regulations were doubtless an outgrowth of Hugh Finlay’s tour of inspection in 1773–74, which he recorded in [Frank H. Norton, ed.,] Journal Kept by Hugh Finlay . . . (Brooklyn, N.Y., 1867). But the days of the royal post were numbered. A month after Foxcroft made this optimistic statement he was compelled to discharge the postriders between New York and Boston because they were being stopped and their mail opened; official correspondence had to be sent by sea. The overland route from Quebec was cut at the same time, and Finlay had to open communication with Halifax and thence by water to New York. Force, 4 Amer. Arch., II, 480–1: Ruth L. Butler, Doctor Franklin, Postmaster General (New York, 1928), pp. 160–2.

1The Vandalia grant was still buried in the glacial proceedings of Whitehall, and was never confirmed: above, XXI, 288n.

2Presumably a reference to Montpellier, the old capital of Languedoc, noted for the beauty of its surroundings. Lord Dunmore’s incursion down the Ohio in 1774, in the small war that bears his name, produced in the autumn a preliminary settlement with the Indians by which they surrendered to the whites their claim to all land south of the Ohio. Reuben G. Thwaites and Louise P. Kellogg, eds., Documentary History of Dunmore’s War . . . (Madison, Wis., 1905), especially pp. 385–6.

3In the now obsolete sense of “very.”

4Finlay had delivered dispatches to Gage in Boston and then gone to Quebec to cope with the postal problems there. Butler, op. cit., p. 162. We have found no evidence that he returned to New York.

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