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CC: TO EDWARD PENNINGTON 2 - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763 
The Works of Benjamin Franklin, including the Private as well as the Official and Scientific Correspondence, together with the Unmutilated and Correct Version of the Autobiography, compiled and edited by John Bigelow (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). The Federal Edition in 12 volumes. Vol. III (Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763).
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TO EDWARD PENNINGTON2
London, 9 May, 1761.
I enclose you a letter from your kinsman, Mr. Springet Penn, with whom I had no acquaintance until lately, but have the pleasure to find him a very sensible, discreet young man, with excellent dispositions, which makes me the more regret that the government as well as property of our province should pass out of that line. There has, by his account, been something very mysterious in the conduct of his uncle, Mr. Thomas Penn, towards him. He was his guardian; but instead of endeavouring to educate him at home under his eye in a manner becoming the elder branch of their house, has from his infancy been endeavouring to get rid of him.
He first proposed sending him to the East Indies. When that was declined, he had a scheme of sending him to Russia; but the young gentleman’s mother absolutely refusing to let him go out of the kingdom, unless to Pennsylvania to be educated in the college there, he would by no means hear of his going thither, but bound him an apprentice to a county attorney in an obscure part of Sussex, which, after two years’ stay, finding that he was taught nothing valuable, nor could see any company that might improve him, he left, and returned to his mother, with whom he has been ever since, much neglected by his uncle, except lately that he has been a little civil, to get him to join in a power of attorney to W. Peters and R. Hockley for the sale of some Philadelphia lots, of which he is told three undivided fourth parts belong to him. But he is not shown the right he has to them; nor has he any plan of their situation, by which he may be advised of their value; nor was he told, till lately, that he had any such right, which makes him suspect that he may have other rights that are concealed from him.
In some letters to his father’s eldest brother, Springet Penn, whose heir he is, he finds that Sir William Keith surveyed for him, the said Springet, a manor of seventy-five thousand acres on the Susquehanna, which he called Springetsbury, and would be glad to know what became of that survey, and whether it was ever conveyed away. By searching the records, you may possibly obtain some light in this and other land affairs, that may be for his interest. The good inclinations you have shown towards that interest, in a letter that has been shown to me, encourage me to recommend this matter earnestly to your care and prudence; and the more privately you carry on your inquiries, for the present, the better it will be.
His uncle has lately proposed to him to buy of him Pennsbury manor house, with one thousand acres of the land near the house, pretending that his principal reason for doing it was not the value of the land, but an inclination he had to possess the ancient home of the head of the family, and a little land round it just to support it. You know the situation of that manor, and can judge whether it would be prudent to sell the part proposed from the rest, and will advise him concerning it. He has refused to treat about it at present, as well as to sign the power of attorney for the sale of the city lots; upon which his late guardian has brought in an account against him, and demands a debt of four hundred pounds, which he urges him to pay, for that, as he says, he very much wants the money, which does not seem to look well.
Not only the Land Office may be searched for warrants and surveys to the young gentleman’s ancestors, but also the Record Office for deeds of gift from the first proprietor, and other subsequent grants or conveyances. I may tell you in confidence that some lawyers are of opinion that the government was not legally conveyed from the eldest branch to others of the family; but this is to be farther inquired into, and at present it is not to be talked of. I am, with much esteem, Sir, &c.,
[2 ]Mr. Pennington was an eminent merchant of Philadelphia. There was a family connection between his ancestors and William Penn’s first wife, whose name before her marriage was Springet.