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Franklin left Paris in 1785, the year before Nini's death. During the pre-
If circumstantial evidence alone can ever prove anything, I think I have said
Should you, Mr. Director, after these explanations, think the accompanying
LETTERS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ON PUBLIC AFFAIRS,
Printed from the manuscripts in the New York Public Library.
To WILLIAM COOPER.
LONDON, March 9, 1773.
I received duly your Favour of Dec. 8. with a Copy for myself of the Pro-
With great Esteem, I am,
TO THE BOSTON COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE.
LONDON, FEB. 2, 1774
I received the Honour of your Letter dated Dec" 21. containing a distinct
* The Votes and Proceedings of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of Boston,
and the offensive Measure of sending their Teas did not take its Rise with them, but was an Expedient of the Ministry to serve them and yet avoid a Repeal of the old Act, I cannot but wish & hope that before any compulsive Measures are thought of here, our General Court will have shewn a Disposition to repair the Damage and make Compensation to the Company. This all our Friends here wish with me; and that if War is finally to be made upon us, which some threaten, an Act of violent Injustice on our part, unrectified, may not give a colourable Pretence for it. A speedy Reparation will immediately set us right in the Opinion of all Europe. And tho' the Mischief was the Act of Persons unknown, yet as probably they cannot be found or brought to answer for it, there seems to be some reasonable Claim on the Society at large in which it happened. Making voluntarily such Reparation can be no Dishonour to us or Prejudice to our Claim of Rights, since Parliament here has frequently considered in the same Light similar Cases; and only a few Years since, when a valuable Saw-mill, which had been erected at a great Expence was violently destroyed by a Number of Persons supposed to be Sawyers, but unknown, a Grant was made out of the Publick Treasury of Two Thousand Pounds to the Owner as a Compensation. I hope in this freely (and perhaps too forwardly) expressing my Sentiments & Wishes, I shall not give Offence to any. I am sure I mean well; being ever with sincere Affection to my native Country, and great Respect to the Assembly and yourselves,
Endorsed on reverse side: Letter from Dr Franklin to a Come Lond. Feb 2-74
To THOMAS CUSHING.
LONDON, SEPT. 3. 1774. SIR,
It is a long time since I have been favoured by a Line from you. I suppose you thought me on my Return to America, & that your Letters would probably not reach me here: But I have been advised by our Friends to stay till the Result of your Congress should arrive. The Coolness, Temper, & Firmness of the American Proceedings; the Unanimity of all the Colonies, in the same Sentiments of their Rights, & of the Injustice offered to Boston; and the Patience with which those Injuries are at Present borne, without the least Appearance of Submission; have a good deal surprized and disappointed our
Enemies, and the Tone of publick Conversation, which has been violently against us, begins evidently to turne; so that I make no doubt that before the meeting of Parliament it will be as general in our Favour.. All who know well the state of things here, agree, that if the Non Consumption Agreement should become general, and be firmly adhered to, this Ministry must be ruined, and our Friends! succeed them, from whom we may hope a great Constitutional Charter to be Confirmed by King Lords & Commons, whereby our Liberties shall be recognized! and established, as the only sure Foundation of that Union so necessary for our Common Welfare. You will see a stronger Opposition in our Favour at the next Meeting of Parliament than appear'd in the last. But as I have said in former Letters, we should depend chiefly upon ourselves. The uncertainty of safe Conveyance prevents my being more particular, or adding more at present, than that I am, with the sincerest Esteem & Respect,
B. FRANKLIN Hone Thos CUSHING Esge
TO THE SAME.
LONDON, Oct. 6. 1774. SIR,
Since my last to you, whch went pr Capt. Foulger, the Parliament, by a sudden & unexpected Resolution in the Cabinet has been dissolved. Various are the Conjectures as to the Motives; among which one is that some Advices from Boston, imparting the Impossibility of carrying on Government there under the late Acts of Parliament, have made it appear necessary that a new Election should be got through before any Ferment arises here among the Manufacturers, which if it happen during the Elections (as might be expected if the old Parliament had gone on to finish its Term,) would probably have been a means of Outing many of the Court Candidates. As yet it does not appear that there is any Intention of Changing Measures: But all intelligent Men are of Opinion, that if the American Congress should resolve on the Non-consumption of the Manufactures of Brittain, this Ministry must go out, and their late Measures be all reversed. As such a Resolution, firmly adhered to, would in a peacable and justifiable way do everything for us, that we can wish, I am grieved to hear of Mobs & Violence, and the pulling down of Houses, which our Friends cannot justify, and which give great Advantage against us to our Enemies.
The Electors of the Cities of London & Westminster, the Borough of Southwark, the County of Middlesex, and some other Places, have exacted of their Candidates Engagements under their Hands that they will among other things endeavour a Repeal of the late iniquitous Acts against America, and tis suppos'd
the Example of the Metropolis will be followed in other Places, and would have been nearly general if the Election had not been thus precipitated.
The Bishop of St. Asaph's intended Speech*, several Copies of which I sent you, and of which many Thousands have been printed and distributed here, has had an extraordinary Effect, in changing the Sentiments of Multitudes with regard to America. And when the Result of the Congress arrives, and the Measures they resolve to pursue (which I confide will be wise & good, entered into with Unanimity, and persisted in with Firmness) come to be known and consider'd here, I am persuaded our Friends will be multiplied, and our Enemies diminishid, so as to bring on an Accommodation in which our undoubted Rights shall be acknowledg'd and established. This, for the common Welfare of the British Empire, I most ardently wish. But I am in perpetual Anxiety lest the mad Measure of mixing Soldiers among a People whose Minds are in such a State of Irritation, may be attended with some sudden Mischief: For an accidental Quarrel, a personal Insult, an imprudent Order, an insolent Execution of even a prudent one, or 20 other things, may produce a Tumult, unforeseen, and therefore impossible to be prevented, in which such a Carnage may ensue, as to make a Breach that can never afterwards be healed.
I pray God to govern every thing for the best; and am with the greatest Esteem & Respect,
B. FRANKLIN Honble. THOMAS CUSHING Esqre.
TO THE Same.
LONDON, Oct. 10. 1774. SIR.
I wrote to you a few Days since, and have little to add. The Election for Lord Mayor ended on Saturday, when Wilkes was chosen by a great Majority both of the Livery & of the Aldermen; and 'tis thought he will carry the Elections of 4 Members for the City, 2 for the Borough of Southwark, 2 for Westminster, and 2 for the County of Middlesex, himself one of the latter; all of whom have subscrib’d an Engagement to endeavour a Repeal of the late Acts against America. But still if the Temper of the Court continues, there will doubtless be a Majority in the new Parliament for its Measures, whatever they
A speech, intended to have been spoken on the bill, for altering the charters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay (heretofore ascribed to Jonathan Shipley] printed at London in 1774.
See the letter from Hon. John Bigelow ascribing the authorship of he speech to Franklin, printed in this Bulletin, pages 23–28.