Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Richard Bache, 27 June 1780

To Richard Bache

LS:5 Mrs. Richard R. Wood, Wawa, Pennsylvania (1957)

Passy, June 27. 1780.

Dear son,

I have just received yours of may 2. with the Newspapers which you sent by M. Mease. He sent them up from the L’Orient, not coming to Paris himself. I have desired that you might send me the German Newspapers, but I suppose the Letters did not get to hand.6 Pray take them in, and send them by Duplicates. They will much oblige some of my friends among the foreign ministers— I wish also to have some Graffs of the Newtown-Pippin when it is Seasonable to cut them.7 They may be sent in a Tin Case solder’d up tight. When I was last in Philadelphia, Mr. Miller printed a little Book, containing a Number of Phrases of the Delaware Indian Language: I want a Copy of that.8 Send one by two or three different Ships, that I may be more sure of receiving them.

You have never given me a particular account of the State in which you found my Papers that were entrusted to the Care of M. Galloway. There were among them 8. Volumes of manuscript Collections concerning Agriculture, manufactures, Commerce, &c which I much valu’d. They cost me 60£ Sterling. There were also all the Books of my Letters containing my publick and private Correspondence during my Residence in England. I wish to know whether these are left or taken away.—9 I shall Show every Civility in my Power to the Persons you recommend, particularly Messrs. Fox and Foulk. If the Regimt. of deux Ponts, or its Col. & Lieut. Colonel should come into your Parts, I recommend earnestly those two Gentlemen to your best Services. They are sons of a Lady my very dear Friend, Madame la Comtesse de Forbach, Dowager of the late Prince de deux ponts, whose Nephew I formerly recommended to you. I have wrote all about Ben in my Letter to Sally.1 We continue well, & I am ever Your affectionate father

B Franklin

M. Bache

Addressed: To / Richard Bache Esqr / Postmaster General of the / United States of Ama / at Philadela. / [In Franklin’s hand:] Private

Notation: B.F. to RB. June, 1780

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5In L’Air de Lamotte’s hand.

6BF’s request for German newspapers is missing. On Oct. 30 (APS) RB wrote that he was sending the “Dutch papers” printed by Styner and Cist, former apprentices to Mr. [John Henry] Miller (for whom see below). This would have been the Philadelphisches Staatsregister, which Melchior Steiner and Carl Cist founded in July, 1779; it lasted probably until early 1781, when their firm was dissolved. BF may have been thinking of two other German-language newspapers, however, which formerly existed in Philadelphia but were defunct by the time he wrote the present letter. They were Heinrich Miller’s Wöchentliche Philadelphische Staatsbote, which suspended publication in May, 1779, and the Pennsylvanische Staats-Courier, a continuation of Christopher Saur’s Die Germantowner Zeitung (with which BF would have been acquainted), which ceased to operate in 1778: Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820 (2 vols., Worcester, Mass., 1947), II, 945, 952, 962.

7During BF’s years as colonial agent in London he often asked for Newton pippin apples or grafts from the trees for planting; DF and his friends frequently obliged his requests. See, for example, VII, 369; IX, 25, 27; XII, 302–3; XIII, 525.

8John Henry Miller, one of BF’s journeymen who later became an important German printer in Philadelphia: IV, 260n; VIII, 99n; Isaiah Thomas, The History of Printing in America … (2nd ed.; 2 vols., Albany, 1874), I, 253–5. Miller printed Essay of a Delaware-Indian and English Spelling-Book, for the Use of the Schools of the Christian Indians on Muskingum River (Philadelphia, 1776), written by the Moravian Brethren missionary David Zeisberger (DAB). RB sent BF the work on Jan. 16, 1781: Musée de Blérancourt.

9RB’s report of the state of BF’s papers had been very general, but alarming: XXVII, 89, 90, 605. We cannot identify the manuscript collections, but BF continued to inquire about them (BF to RB, Sept. 13, 1781, APS).

1Of the same date, immediately below.

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