Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Huske, [11 April 1767]

From John Huske6

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

St. Martin’s Lane
Saturday morn: [April 11, 17677]

Dear Sir,

My very long confinement with the Gout hath prevented me from the pleasure of waiting on you for part of the autumn and the whole of the winter. And at present I am so weak in the joints which have been affected with the Gout that I cannot stand or move without assistance.This being my situation and a Tax being designed to be imposed on salt in America, which I have already opposed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by assuring Him that it will be received in America in the same manner as an Act of Parliament for plucking out the Eyes or tearing out the hearts of the Inhabitants would be, He has called upon me for my objections to a duty of Six pence per Bushel upon Salt imported into America with a Bounty upon Fish and upon salt meat exported, in proportion to that Duty. I have collected many, but as you are a better judge of the effect of such a measure from your more general knowledge of local circumstances; permit me to beg the favor of [an in]terview with you this forenoon or to morrow morning, that by combining our objections against the measure we may crush it in embryo, if possible.8 I have the honor to be, with the greatest regard, Dear Sir, Your most Obedient Humble servant


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6On John Huske, former Boston merchant; brother-in-law of Edmund Quincy, Jr.; M.P. for Maldon, 1763–73; see above, XI, 444–5 n. He had been one of BF’s friendly questioners during the Examination on the repeal of the Stamp Act; above, XIII, 130 n, 132 n.

7The date is established by the references in this letter to Charles Townshend’s proposed salt duty, that Huske says he has “already opposed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.” On April 9, 1767, Huske wrote Townshend discussing suggested methods of raising a colonial revenue; near the end of the letter he remonstrated almost violently against the proposed salt duty, of which he had learned just that day. No more “fatal imposition” could be devised, he said, “and if it ever does take place it will have the same effect as an Act of Parliament to pluck out the eyes or tear out the hearts of the people of America would have.” That letter is printed in full in Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke, Charles Townshend (London, 1964), pp. 187–8. The parallelism of expression in these two letters is so nearly exact that the one to BF must have followed the one to Townshend by only a very few days. April 9, 1767, was a Thursday; the following “Saturday morn” was the 11th.

8On May 17, 1767, Charles Garth wrote the South Carolina Assembly Committee that Townshend had given up the proposed duty on salt because of the difficulty of adjusting the drawback to be allowed on the exportation of cured fish and provisions to the amount of salt needed to cure these commodities at the fisheries. So. Car. Hist. and Gen. Mag., XXIX (1928), 229.

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