Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Cushing, 21 December 1773

From Thomas Cushing

ALS: Library of Congress

Boston Decr. 21. 1773


Since the Above1 the Teas are all destroyed but as the Vessell is just upon sailing must refer for particulars to Dr. Williamson the Bearer of this whom I recommend to your Notice and to whom I must also refer you for a particular Account of the transactions here and the other Colonies relative to this affair.2 I am with great respect your most humble servant

Thomas Cushing

Benjamin Franklin Esqr

1The copy of his letter of Dec. 10 above.

2For Hugh Williamson, the Philadelphia doctor and mathematician, see above, X, 266 n. He was “a reputed messenger from the people of Philadelphia,” according to Hutchinson, “to promote uniformity of measures” (Mass. Arch., XXVII, 602), and presumably for that reason detoured to Boston on his way to England. He witnessed the Tea Party while waiting to sail, and carried the earliest news of it to reach London. He left on Dec. 22 on the Hayley, the first ship out after the great event, and was at Dover some four weeks later. Mass. Gaz.; and the Boston Weekly News-Letter, Dec. 23, 1773; Public Advertiser, Jan. 21, 1774. The Hayley carried not only this letter but also, we assume, the following one and Cooper’s of Dec. 17; she arrived days before the Dolphin brought Hutchinson’s dispatches. Williamson had an interview with Dartmouth and was examined before the Privy Council. Above, p. 497 n; David Hosack, “A Biographical Memoir of Hugh Williamson …,” N.-Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., III (1821), 144 n. Williamson subsequently, so the story goes, was the intermediary who obtained the Hutchinson correspondence. Ibid., pp. 143–4, 151–3, [177–]9; DAB. Although the story is patently absurd, he may have been instrumental in obtaining the copies of two additional Hutchinson letters that BF sent Cushing with his note below, June 30, 1774.

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