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Abstract

After William Temple Franklin returned to Europe in 1792, he left oversight of his financial interests in America in the hands of his intimate friend and fellow land speculator, George Fox. A physician and member of the American Philosophical Society, Fox also took possession of the remainder of Benjamin Franklin's papers, which eventually passed through his son, Charles Pemberton Fox, to the APS.

The Franklin-Fox Collection contains 98 items, consisting mostly of letters from William Temple Franklin to George Fox regarding land holdings and finances, and retained copies of Fox's letters to Franklin. The correspondence is fairly relentlessly focused on business matters and rarely contains personal comments, however there are occasional requests for books and two reference to the yellow fever epidemic of 1798 and the death of Benjamin Franklin Bache.

Background note

The sons of Joseph Fox and Elizabeth Mickle, George (1759-1828) and Samuel Mickel Fox I (1763-1808) became intimate friends of Benjamin Franklin's grandson William Temple Franklin. George, a physician who was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1784, represented Philadelphia in the Assembly in 1800, and was an organizer and director of the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal and an early supporter of the bank of North America, of which he was Director from 1818 until 1828. Samuel also served in public office as a member of City Council, the Common Council (1793-1797), and the Upper Chamber (1797-1800), and he was both an incorporator of the Bank of Pennsylvania and its President from 1797-1808. After the Indian treaties of 1784 and 1785, Samuel and George invested heavily in lands in northern and western Pennsylvania, often investing with the Morrises and other Philadelphians. At his death, Samuel held 118,000 acres.

When Temple Franklin returned to Europe in 1792, he turned to his old friend George Fox to oversee his interests in America, particularly the land holdings he inherited and purchased from his father and grandfather. Franklin also left the balance of his grandfather's papers at Fox's estate Champlost, where they had been stored since Benjamin's death in 1790, and most of these were donated to the American Philosophical Society in 1840 after having passed to Fox's son Charles Pemberton Fox.

Scope and content

As a fellow investor and overseer of William Temple Franklin's financial interests in the United States, George Fox had a detailed view of the investments of the beloved grandson of Benjamin Franklin. The Franklin-Fox Collection contains 98 items, consisting mostly of letters from William Temple Franklin to George Fox regarding land holdings and finances, and retained copies of Fox's letters to Franklin. The correspondence is fairly relentlessly focused on business matters and rarely contains personal comments, however there are occasional requests for books and two reference to the yellow fever epidemic of 1798 and the death of Benjamin Franklin Bache.

Collection information

Provenance

Gift of Charles Pemberton Fox, 1840.

Preferred citation

Cite as: William Temple Franklin-George Fox Collection, American Philosophical Society.

Processing information

Recatalogued and encoded by rsc, April 2003.

Alternate formats available

The collection has been microfilmed (Film 54-57).

General physical description

0.25 linear feet

Related material

Several other collections at the APS relate to William Temple Franklin, including:

Early American History Note

This collection of correspondence complements the much larger collection of William Temple Franklin Correspondence and the records and correspondence of George Fox, Franklin’s business agent and executor. This collection contains a series of letters from William Temple Franklin to George Fox that begins in the 1791 when W.T. Franklin was in London and ends in 1800. Most of the letters deal with Franklin’s business, especially his land speculations. There are two documents from Goveneur Morris that deal with business.

Indexing Terms

Genre(s)

  • Business Records and Accounts

Personal Name(s)

  • Bache, Benjamin Franklin, 1769-1798
  • Fox, Charles Pemberton, 1792-1866
  • Fox, George, 1759-1828
  • Fox, Joseph, ca.1710-1779
  • Fox, Samuel Mickle, 1763-1808
  • Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823
  • Jones, N. Cantwell
  • Morris, Gouverneur, 1752-1816

Subject(s)

  • Americans Abroad
  • Land and Speculation
  • Pennsylvania History
  • Philadelphia History
  • Real property--Pennsylvania
  • Yellow fever--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia


Detailed Inventory
B F86f William Temple Franklin-George Fox Collection
  Box 1
Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1791 Feb. 18ALS, 1p.

Enclosure for Mr. Barton.

General physical description: ALS, 1p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1791 Feb. 26ALS, 6p.

Financial and land transactions. Political and social conditions in France and England.

General physical description: ALS, 6p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1791 June 30ALS, 8p.

Financial transactions; mentions Gouverneur Morris.

General physical description: ALS, 8p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1791 July 16ALS, 3p.

Further financial instructions; mentions Gouverneur Morris and Robert Morris. Has sent all the news to B. F. Bache.

General physical description: ALS, 3p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1791 Nov. 30ALS, 4p.

Finances.

General physical description: ALS, 4p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1792 March 11ALS, 1p.

Introduces the bearer, Mr. Inman.

General physical description: ALS, 1p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1792 March 12ALS Cy, 2p.

Departure of Mr. Inman. Financial matters.

General physical description: ALS Cy, 2p.

Morris, Gouverneur, 1752-1816.
Letter to William Temple Franklin. Recd
1792 Mar 13ALS, 1p.

Investments.

General physical description: ALS, 1p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1792 March 14ALS, 1p.

Encloses note from Gouverneur Morris; finances.

General physical description: ALS, 1p.

Morris, Gouverneur, 1752-1816.
Letter to [George Fox ?]
1792 April 4LS Cy, 2p

Relative to sale of stock of U.S. [Bank] to William Temple Franklin.

General physical description: LS Cy, 2p

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Account with George Fox
1791 Feb. 10-1792 April 5D. 1p.

Contains note by George Fox (?).

General physical description: D. 1p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1793 Feb. 10, 11ALS, 9p.

Has just returned from trip to Scotland with Mr. Bache. Financial and land transactions; value of Pennsbury, possibility of his buying it. Hopes to complete edition of his grandfather's works within the year.

General physical description: ALS, 9p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1793 March 15ALS, 3p.

Financial matters.

General physical description: ALS, 3p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1793 April 29ALS, 4p.

Financial matters; mentions Cantwell Jones and R. Morris, Jr. Hopes to complete the printing of his grandfather's Works during the summer.

General physical description: ALS, 4p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1793 June 5ALS, 3p.

Finances. Orders copy of Bartram's Travels and other books.

General physical description: ALS, 3p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1793 July 24ALS, 1p.

Finances.

General physical description: ALS, 1p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1793 July 27ALS, 4p.

Requests American seeds and apples be sent to him. News from France.

General physical description: ALS, 4p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1793 Sept. 25ALS, 3p.

Financial and land matters.

General physical description: ALS, 3p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1793 Oct. 11ALS, 2p.

Financial matters.

General physical description: ALS, 2p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox, London
1794 Jan. 29LS Cy, 7p.

Financial and land transactions. Sends a desk and copying machine for Fox's use.

General physical description: LS Cy, 7p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1794 March 1ALS, 2p.

Financial matters.

General physical description: ALS, 2p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1794 April 10ALS, 1p.

Financial matters.

General physical description: ALS, 1p.

Ellis, Daniel.
Letter to George Fox; Burlington
1794 May 12ALS, 1p.

Debts due to William Temple Franklin.

General physical description: ALS, 1p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1794 July 6ALS, 4p.

Financial and land transactions. Requests certain maps and books.

General physical description: ALS, 4p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1794 July 12, 22L.S and ALS, 6p.

Financial and land transactions.

General physical description: L.S and ALS, 6p.

Jones, Cantwell.
Letter to George Fox
1794 July 15ALS, 2p.

Financial matters with William Temple Franklin.

General physical description: ALS, 2p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1794 Aug. 8ALS Cy, 7p.

Finances. Plans to purchase landed estate near London. U.S.-British relations

General physical description: ALS Cy, 7p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1794 Aug. 19ALS, 4p.

Financial and land transactions.

General physical description: ALS, 4p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1794 Sept. 15ALS, 1p.

Finances.

General physical description: ALS, 1p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to [George Fox]
1794 Dec. 12L.S. 2p.

Financial and land transactions.

General physical description: L.S. 2p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to [George Fox]
1794 Dec. 16L.S. 5p.

Financial matters. Has sold his grandfather's library to Mr. Morris, jr.

General physical description: L.S. 5p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1795 March 31ALS, 2p.

Financial matters. The nuts and seeds arrived in good order, but the apples were rotten.

General physical description: ALS, 2p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1795 April 28ALS, 2p.B F86.f

Contains note by G. Fox, June 13, 1795. Hopes to resell Shamokin lands. Forwards letter for Mr. Bingham.

General physical description: ALS, 2p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1795 Aug. 12ALS, 1p.

Finances.

General physical description: ALS, 1p.

Franklin, William Temple, 1760-1823.
Letter to George Fox
1797 March 22ALS, 4p.

Financial matters; sends his account. Desires to settle account with Jones.

General physical description: ALS, 4p.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Note relative to financial transactions involving Mr. [Robert] Morris [Jr.], [Cantwell] Jones, and [William Temple] Franklin
1797 May 27AN, 1p.
Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to William Temple Franklin
1797 June 24ALS, 2p.

William Temple Franklin's financial transactions with [Cantwell] Jones and Robert Morris, jr.

General physical description: ALS, 2p.

Other Descriptive Information: FILM 54-57 FRAME 116

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to James A. Bayard
ca.1797 JuneA.L. in 3d P. 3p.

Asks his opinion on financial difficulties involving William Temple Franklin, Cantwell Jones and Robert Morris, jr.

General physical description: A.L. in 3d P. 3p.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to [William Temple Franklin]
1797 Dec 17Dr. of A.L. 1p.

Relative to Northbrook and Jones debts.

General physical description: Dr. of A.L. 1p.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to William Temple Franklin
1798 Jan. 1A. dr. of L. 2p.

Same sheet contains drafts of letters dated Feb. 7, June 7, Dec. 8, 1798. William Temple Franklin's finances. Political and financial situation of the U.S.

General physical description: A. dr. of L. 2p.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to William Temple Franklin
1798 Feb. 7ADr

On same sheet with letter of Jan. 1, 1798. Franklin-Morris-Jones financial matters. Robert Morris threatened with ruin.

General physical description: ADr

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to William Temple Franklin
1798 June 7ADr.

On same sheet with letter of Jan. 1, 1798. Land transactions of William Temple Franklin. Robert Morris in the debtors apartment; his son, Robert, has removed to Philadelphia.

General physical description: ADr.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to William Temple Franklin
1798 Dec. 9ADr. On same sheet with letter of Jan 1, 1798.

William Temple Franklin's financial and land transactions. Robert Morris. Yellow fever.

General physical description: ADr. On same sheet with letter of Jan 1, 1798.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to [William Temple Franklin]
1798 Dec. 11ADr, 2p.

Same sheet contains drafts of letters dated Feb. 11, March 29, May 15, 1799, and Aug. 9, 1800. William Temple Franklin's financial and land transactions. Death of Benjamin Franklin Bache from yellow fever.

General physical description: ADr, 2p.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to William Temple F[ranklin]
1799 Feb. 11ADr. On same sheet with letter of Dec. 11, 1798.

Requested by Robert Morris, jr. to evidence execution of a deed to William Temple Franklin for land in Northumberland co. Finances.

General physical description: ADr. On same sheet with letter of Dec. 11, 1798.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to William Temple Franklin
1799 March 29ADr. On same sheet with letter of Dec. 11, 1798.

Necessity for making new copy of deed mentioned in letter of Feb. 11, 1799. William Temple Franklin's land transactions.

General physical description: ADr. On same sheet with letter of Dec. 11, 1798.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to William Temple Franklin
1799 May 15ADr. On same sheet with letter of Dec. 11, 1798.

Has received from Robert Morris, Jr. sundry patents for land which is to be sold in Europe by William Temple Franklin. No prospect of William Temple Franklin's receiving debt owed by R. Morris and C. Jones.

General physical description: ADr. On same sheet with letter of Dec. 11, 1798.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to [William Temple Franklin]
1800 Aug. 9ADr. On same sheet with letter of Dec. 11, 1798.

Acknowledges print of founder of the Friends society; comments on. William Temple Franklin's land transactions.

General physical description: ADr. On same sheet with letter of Dec. 11, 1798.

Fox, George, 1759-1828.
Letter to William Temple Franklin
n.d.ADr. 1p.

Introduces Joseph Webb.

General physical description: ADr. 1p.