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Paying for French and Indian War Provisions for Moses Franks and Other British Forces in North America (SOLD)
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King George III signs off on a royal warrant for payment of over £14,522 to the late Sir James Colebrooke, Sir George Colebrooke, Arnold Nesbitt, and Moses Franks for “provisions issued by them to our forces in North America for and from the 18th day of June 1761 to the 29th day of July following inclusive….” The document was signed during the French and Indian War, a year after the fall of Montreal when the war had turned in Britain’s favor.  

KING GEORGE III. Manuscript Signed, “George R.,” Court at St. James’s. Countersigned by the Duke of Newcastle, Lord North, and James Oswald, and signed on verso by Moses Franks, Arnold Nesbitt, and Sir George Colebrooke, December 14, 1761. 9 1/8 x 14 7/8 in., 1 p.

Inventory #22285       SOLD — please inquire about other items

Partial Transcript

“Whereas it appears by the annexed Report of the Comptrollers of the Accounts of Our Army that the sum of Fourteen Thousand five hundred and twenty pounds ten shillings and six pence is due to the late Sir James Colebrooke, Sir George Colebrooke Bar. Arnold Nesbitt and Moses Franks Esqr: for Provisions issued by them to our forces in North America for and from the 10th day of June 1761 to the 29th day of July following inclusive. Our Will and pleasure is and we do hereby direct autherise and command that out of any monies in your hands that may be applied to this Service You do pay unto the Representatives of the said late Sir James Colebrooke and into the said Sir George Colebrooke Arnold Nesbitt and Moses Franks or to their Assigns the said sum of Fourteen thousand five hundred and twenty two pounds ten shillings and six pence upon account in satisfaction of the like sum due to them as a foresaid And this shall be as well to you for making such payments as to Our Auditors and all others concerned in paying your accounts for allowing the same thereupon a sufficient Warrant Given at Our Court at St. James this 14th day of December 1761 in the 2d year of our Reign…”

Historical Background

Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne (Henry Pelham-Clinton) (1720-1794). The 2nd duke of Newcastle served from 1730 to 1794.  Since he was minor at the time of his father’s death, his uncle, the 1st Duke of Newcastle-on-Tyne, became his guardian and eventually petitioned George III to split off part of his holding for his nephew.  Despite considerable influence and access to George III, he avoided politics.  His most notable political action was helping his cousin, Sir Henry Clinton, receive a promotion to commander and chief of British forces during the Revolutionary War.

Lord North (Frederick North) (1732-1792) served as a Lord of the Treasury of Great Britain during the time this document was written.  He went on the becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1767 and Prime Minister in 1770.  Under his ministry, Parliament passed the Tea Act, which lead to the Boston Tea Party. In retribution for the loss of the tea, Parliament passed punitive measures, called the Coercive Acts in England but known as the Intolerable Acts in the colonies. 

James Oswald (1715-1769) Born into a dominant Scottish political family, Oswald was a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons from 1741 to 1768.  In 1760, he was a Lord of the Treasury and Vice Treasurer of Ireland in 1763.

Moses Franks (1718-1789) known as the artist in the family, Moses was born into a powerful Jewish merchant family in New York. He moved to London and represented his family’s business in England. There, he became a prominent member of England’s Ashkenazi Jewish community.  During the French and Indian War, he made arrangements for his family members to be made government agents and as a result, earned a fortune supplying British forces during the war. He was influential in enlarging London’s Great Synagogue, the second such structure in Dukes Place, and in 1766, he donated £250 to the cause.

Arnold Nesbitt (1721-1779) in 1760, he entered a partnership with Franks, where he earned huge profits by supplying England’s military during the almost constant state of war in the eighteenth century.  He also served in the House of Commons.

Sir George Colebrooke (1729-1809) served alternately as director or chairman of the East India Company between 1767 and 1773.  He was also a Member of Parliament and partnered with Franks and Nesbitt to outfit British troopswith foodstuffs and capital.  His speculative business dealings and lifestyle eventually bankrupted him.


Some spots and age toning, separations at folds professionally mended, otherwise fine.


Murray Rothbard, “Trading With the Enemy: An American Tradition”

“Moses Franks, Jewish Merchant.”

“Guide to the Papers of the Franks Family.” http://findingaids.cjh.or/FranksFamily02.html

Mark A. Stern, “Dear Mrs. Cad: A Revolutionary War Letter of Rebecca Franks.”