Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Dunlap, [October? 1764]

From William Dunlap1

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Monday [October? 1764]


As I see nothing will satiate your unbounded, cruel and merciless Resentment but the entire Destruction of a poor helpless Family, no Branch of whom, I will dare to say, ever Injur’d you in Thought, Word or Deed, I have no Favor to ask at the Hands of a Man who thursts for nothing short of my Hearts Blood: Whet your Poynard Sir, and it is ready for you: Your Cruelty has brought on me a Disorder, (and to your Treatment alone my Orphan beggard Children will impute it,) viz. a depressed broken Heart, and its sure Consequence a deep Consumption, which I am well assur’d no Medicines can possibly conquer, so that even should your tender Mercy withold you from the former, the latter will soon effect to your Hands: Under these Circumstances, I have only to beg that you would spare the Appelations which you are disposed to bestow upon me of Rogue, Rascal, &c. because (let me whisper it in your Ear, and indeed it shall never go farther) had the same indirect, ungenerous, Mean Methods been taken, (which I will assert was never before practised upon any Officer) in sifting and twisting your own Son’s Post-Office Accounts as there was with mine,2 he would have deserved in the highest Degree, the Worst Appelation you have yet thought proper to bestow upon me: This Sir, I will prove whenever you may please to call upon me to do so: I am Sir, the unhappy wretched

W Dunlap

Addressed: To / Dr. B. Franklin / Postmaster General / In / Philadelphia

1Probably written following receipt of a reply, now missing, to Dunlap’s letter immediately above. That he addressed this second letter to BF alone may be because he was particularly resentful that a relative, although one only by marriage, should have declined to accept his apparently inadequate proposal for settling the debt.

2WF was Dunlap’s predecessor as postmaster of Philadelphia. He relinquished the position when he accompanied his father to England in 1757. Among all the attacks on BF in 1764 and sneers at WF, there seems to have been no other suggestion that WF had mishandled post-office funds.

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