Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Nicholas Cooke, 27 August 1775

To Nicholas Cooke

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. Augt. 27. 1775.


I received yours of the 15th Instant, acquainting me with the Loss of the Mail; and proposing a new Route for the Post, to prevent such Accidents hereafter. In that you will take the Advice and Direction of the principal People in your Government. The Comptroller will soon be along your Road, for the purpose of establishing all the Stages and Offices as he shall be advis’d and find best.2 I would request your Care of the enclos’d; and am, Sir, Your most humble Servant

B Franklin

Mr. Cooke

Addressed: To / Mr Cooke / Postmaster3 / Providence / New England / Free

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2RB was not formally appointed comptroller until Oct. 2, retroactively to Sept. 29, 1775; see the editorial note on the Post Office above, July 26. He clearly assumed his duties earlier, but we believe that he did not make his projected trip through New England; see the note on the following document.

3BF should have known, as postmaster general, but all the evidence we have indicates that he was mistaken. The postmaster from 1772 to 1792 was John Carter, the publisher of the Providence Gaz. and a former apprentice in BF’s Philadelphia printing shop; BF commissioned him in September, 1775. See the DAB and John C. B. Woods, “John Carter,” R.I. Hist. Soc. Coll., XI (1918), 101–7.

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