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Category Archives: Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin Revolutionary War–dated LS signed

Revolutionary War–dated LS signed “B. Franklin,” three pages on two adjoining sheets, 7.25 x 9, Passy, France, December 13, 1781. Letter to his son-in-law, Richard Bache. In full: “I received yours of June 20. It gave me great Pleasure, as it inform’d me of the Welfare of yourself and the dear Family. I am glad Ben’s Profile got safe to hand. I assure you it is very like him. He is well. I have read Mr. Wharton’s Pamphlet. The Facts, as far as I know them, are as he states them. Justice, is, I think, on the Side of those who contracted for the Lands; But moral and political Right sometimes differ; and sometimes are both subdued by Might. I received and thank you for several Copies of the Indian Spelling Book. I received also the German and English News Papers. The Newton Pippin Grafts will be very welcome. As will some of the Apples, and a few of your white Walnuts, & Chest-nuts.

Among my Papers in the Trunk which I unhappily left in the Care of Mr. Galloway, were eight or ten quire or 2 quire Books of rough Drafts of my Letters, containing all my Correspondence when in England, for near twenty Years. I shall be very sorry if they too are lost. Don’t you think it possible, by going up into that Country, and enquiring a little among the Neighbours, you might possibly hear of and recover some of them. I should not have left them in his Hands, if he had not deceived me, by saying, ‘that tho’ he was before otherwise inclined, yet that since the King had declared us out of his Protection, & the Parliament by an Act, had made our Properties Plunder, he would go as far in Defence of his Country as any Man; and accordingly he had lately with Pleasure given Colours to a Regiment of Militia, & an Entertainment to 400 of them before his House.’ I thought he [had] become a stanch Friend to the glorious Cause. I was mistaken. As he was a Friend of my Son’s, to whom in my Will I had left all my Books and Papers, I made him one of my Executors, and put the Trunk of Papers into his Hands imagining them safer in his House (which was out of the Way of any probable March of the Enemies Troops) than in my own. It was very unlucky.

I should be happy to see William. But I think a foreign Education for one of your Sons, sufficient. Give William at my Expence the best our Country can afford. I wish him however to learn French. You have at present Schools & Masters that teach it. Besides other usual Things, let him acquire a little Mathematics, and a perfect knowledge of Accounts. With this he will be able to bustle and make his Way.

My Love to Sally & the Children. I shall soon write to all my Friends. At present I am pinch’d in time, and can only add that I am ever Your affectionate Father.” Intersecting folds with some repaired partial separations, a small professionally repaired area of paper loss to the lower corner of the first page (affecting no writing), and light toning, otherwise fine condition. Originally from the James S. Copley Library, Sotheby’s, 2010.

The pamphlet Franklin refers to in the opening paragraph was a tract regarding the expired Ohio land grant published by Samuel Wharton, who had gone to London to try to have the grant reinstated by King George. However, in the interim some of his correspondence with Franklin in furtherance of the Revolution was discovered and he was forced to flee for his life, meeting Franklin in France where he was serving as US minister to the country. Franklin had entrusted his papers back home to Joseph Galloway, who had been his close political ally and served in the Continental Congress. As war broke out, Galloway moved increasingly toward the Loyalist side before fleeing for Great Britain in 1778; he petitioned to return to Pennsylvania in 1793, but was denied. The last paragraph refers to his grandson, William Franklin Bache, who would have been eight years old. This is an important letter rife with historic associations, and is cited within early biographies of Franklin and in his collected letters. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Benjamin Franklin

 

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Benjamin Franklin Signed Revolutionary War bounty land grant

Partly-printed DS, signed “B. Franklin,” one page, 15 x 11.75, February 15, 1787. A land grant issued “for consideration of services rendered by Jonathan Adams Dragoon in the late army of the United States” a tract of land in Westmoreland County “in the seventh district of donation,” described as running from a maple tree to a white oak to a beech tree and back to the maple, totaling 200 acres. Signed in the left border by Franklin as president of the Supreme Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Intersecting folds, one through a single letter of signature, scattered moderate toning and soiling, expected wrinkling, and a few small pin-size holes, otherwise very good condition. The eight-point star seal is worn and creased, with two missing points, and one other missing point tip.

One of the most strategic and beneficial decisions made by the government during the Revolutionary War was to offer land bounties as a reward for military service, simultaneously encouraging enlistment and paving the way for westward expansion. By populating the frontier with military veterans able to defend against Indian incursions, they enticed new settlers to follow and buy land, helping to reduce Revolutionary War debts. Serving as President of Pennsylvania in 1787, Franklin granted this large plot in Western Pennsylvania to Johnathan Adams, a Dragoon in the army. An important piece of early American history, this rare grant holds a prominent example of the Founding Father’s highly sought-after autograph. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

 

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Benjamin Franklin

 

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RR Autograph Auctions Benjamin Franklin Scarce Revolutionary War bounty land grant

Partly-printed vellum DS, signed “B. Franklin,” one page, 15.5 x 12.5, February 6, 1787. Document signed as President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. Land grant issued to “John Keaton private in the late army of the United States” who “is granted by the said commonwealth…a certain tract or parcel of land lying in the county of Westmoreland…containing two hundred acres.” Beautifully signed on the left side, “B. Franklin,” complete with his hallmark flourish and paraph. The document ends, “In witness whereof His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esquire—President of the Supreme Executive Council, hath hereunto set his hand, and caused the state seal to be affixed,” and is signed by James Trimble as a witness. The large eight point seal above Franklin’s signature is fully intact, as is the seal on the reverse. In fine condition, with expected folds, some wrinkles, and light scattered soiling.

RR Autograph Auctions Benjamin Franklin

One of the most strategic and beneficial decisions made by the government during the Revolutionary War was to offer land bounties as a reward for military service. Not only did this encourage enlistment, but it also paved the way for westward expansion. By populating the frontier with military veterans able to defend against Indian incursions, they enticed new settlers to follow and buy land, helping to reduce Revolutionary War debts. Serving as President of Pennsylvania in 1787, Franklin issued this War Bounty Land Grant for a large plot in Western Pennsylvania to John Keaton, a private in the state’s Army. An important piece of early American history, this incredibly rare grant holds a beautiful example of the Founding Father’s sought after autograph and a stunning intact large seal.

 

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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Benjamin Franklin

 

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