Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from David Hartley, 8 November 1782

From David Hartley

ALS: Library of Congress

London Nov 8 1782

My Dear friend

I beg leave to recommend to your attention the enclosed case of Mr James Nassau Colleton. I do it the more readily because it seems to me to be an equitable claim and because I think every example of compliance on any side with claims of equity and justice will at some time or other emerge in the general account of benevolence & conciliation. Mrs Margaret Colleton whose letter is enclosed left her title about three years ago to the present owner of the title Mr. Colleton who is fourscore years of age with the reversion to Mr J. N. Colleton whose memorial recites the rest.7 He is a young man under 30 years of age. I have known his family some years and have been requested by a common friend to recommend the case to your patronage. I shall be very happy to hear from you, more especially if you can say three things to me, first that you will not think me a trespasser upon your goodness in this present recommendation, secondly that you are yourself well in heart and health, and lastly, that Peace may not be far distant.

Your ever Affecte

D H.

Addressed: To Dr Franklin / &c &c &c

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The matter concerned family property in South Carolina that had been confiscated by the state legislature. Margaret Colleton was the widow of Sir John Snell Colleton, a descendant of one of the eight original proprietors of Carolina. The letter from her that Hartley enclosed was an appeal from London dated July 13, 1778, and addressed to Robert Raper and Francis Kinloch of Charleston (the former a lawyer, the latter a future delegate to Congress: Laurens Papers, I, 38n; XV, 286n). Her husband had died 12 years earlier; she was 76 years old, and she was unable to make the voyage to file a claim on her estates, the Wadboo Barony and the Mephshew Plantations. Her income from those estates ceased in 1775, which was a great hardship to her. James Nassau Colleton, a cousin of Margaret Colleton’s husband, evidently wrote his memorial to BF (undated) at Hartley’s suggestion. He had inherited the property upon Margaret’s death in 1779. In the memorial he offered to make over possession of the property if he were permitted to reside on it. In 1784 the S.C. legislature granted him the proceeds of the sale of the properties: Laurens Papers, IV, 339–40n; Henry A. M. Smith, ed., “The Colleton Family in South Carolina,” S.C. Gen. and Hist. Mag., I (1900), 332–3; Charles M. Andrews, The Colonial Period of American History (4 vols., New Haven, London, and Oxford, 1934–38), III, 183; Gent. Mag., LXXXV, part 1 (1815), 183.

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