Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Ebenezer Hazard, 26 December 1783

To Ebenezer Hazard1

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Passy, Dec. 26. 1783.—


I am desired by the General Post Office of Great Britain to recommend to your Consideration a Sketch of an Advertisement respecting the Packet Boats, which they think it may be useful to publish.2 You will do in it what you think proper. Perhaps you have already done what is necessary. As I was formerly long connected with that Office, & have Friends in it, if I can be of use in forwarding any Arrangements you have to propose for the Benefit of yours, you may command freely Sir, Your most obedient Servant3

B Franklin

Ebenezer Hazard Esqr Postmaster General

Addressed: Ebenezer Hazzard Esqr / Post Master General of / the United States / of America.—

Endorsed: Letter Benja. Franklin Decr. 26th. 1783

1Hazard, whom BF had appointed postmaster of New York (XXII, 146–7), was elected postmaster general by Congress on Jan. 28, 1782, in a move that ousted RB: XXXVI, 109, 186, 553–4.

2See Todd to BF, Nov. 18.

3Though Hazard did receive this letter (as witnessed by his endorsement), there is no evidence that he answered it. Neither did he acknowledge it when writing a long letter of complaint to the president of Congress at the end of 1784 about the deficiencies of the arrangement; on the contrary, he implied that he had never been consulted about any aspects of the packet service. He had already complained to a previous president when he first read about the arrangement in a New York newspaper in the fall of 1783. To establish the packet service without consultation with Congress, and “in direct violation of their Ordinances,” he wrote, showed “high Contempt of their Authority” and was “an Insult offered to their Dignity.” Hazard to Richard Henry Lee, Dec. 23, 1784; Hazard to Elias Boudinot, Oct. 14, 1783 (both at the National Archives).

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