Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Alexander, 3 November 1772

To William Alexander

ALS (letterbook draft): Library of Congress

London, Nov. 3. 1772

My Lord,

On my Return to Town I found your Favour, with the Schemes of your Lottery,5 to which I wish Success, and besides ordering some Tickets for my self, I have spoken well of it on every Occasion; but I find little Inclination among my Acquaintance to engage in Lotteries at such a Distance, and one cannot be very open in promoting them, it being contrary to express Acts of Parliament, as well as offensive to Administration here, which would avail itself of all that is to be gain’d that Way.6 With great and sincere Esteem, I am, My Lord, Your Lordship’s most obedient and most humble Servant


Lord Stirling,

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5See above, June 30.

6Lotteries were illegal in Britain unless authorized by act of Parliament. But the difficulty in suppressing them, which BF suggests between the lines, is apparent from the succession of statutes on the subject, among which were 5 Geo. I c. 9, 8 Geo. I c. 2, and 12 Geo. II c. 28. For the attitude of the government toward the colonial lotteries see John S. Ezell, Fortune’s Merry Wheel: the Lottery in America (Cambridge, Mass., 1960), pp. 47–50.

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