Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Cushing, 27 July 1774

To Thomas Cushing

ALS: Public Record Office

London, July 27. 1774


The last Line I have been favour’d with from you, is of the 30th of April. I have since written to you several times. I hope our Correspondence is not intercepted.

This serves to cover a Pamphlet or two just published here; of which I shall send you a Number, as I think it may be of Use in America to see what Sentiments are entertain’d here: And believing they maybe of Use here, I have been at some Expence in promoting the Publication.7 With great Respect, I am, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

Addressed: To / The honble. Thos. Cushing, Esqr / Boston

Endorsed: Benja Franklin Esq  London July 27. 1774

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7BF had been assisting the production of two pamphlets. We have no evidence that he paid for the actual printing; he may have done so, or the expense may have been of other kinds. One pamphlet was [Joseph Priestley,] An Address to Protestant Dissenters of All Denominations, on the Approaching Election of Members of Parliament … (London, 1774); publication was announced in the London Chron. of July 21–23. BF and Fothergill urged him to write the tract, Priestley declared in 1802, and BF read the proofs while the author was out of town; where Priestley urged opposing every incumbent M.P. who had voted for the establishment of arbitrary power BF added a clause, “to the imminent hazard of our most valuable commerce, and of that national strength, security, and felicity, which depend on union and on liberty.” The Monthly Mag., XV (1803), [1].

The second pamphlet was Granville Sharp, A Declaration of the People’s Natural Right to a Share in the Legislature; Which Is the Fundamental Principle of the British Constitution of State (London, 1774). In its original form, dated June 25, 1774, this was a work of only 32 pages: Thomas R. Adams, “The British Pamphlets of the American Revolution for 1774 …,” Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., LXXXI (1969), 92. On July 27 BF sent 200 copies, all that could be printed in time, to be distributed in America before the meeting of the Continental Congress; and there were a number of colonial reprints. Sharp to Samuel Allinson, July 28, 1774 (Sharp Papers, Miss T. Olive Lloyd-Baker, Hardwicke Court, Glos.); Adams, op. cit., pp. 92–3. Sharp subsequently turned the pamphlet into a book, and BF again bought a consignment of copies; see his note to Sharp below, Jan. 21, 1775. He may also have added to Cushing’s collection the Robinson-Morris and Shipley pamphlets that he had enclosed to Rhoads (above, June 30); the latter he did send the Speaker at about this time, as he mentioned in his letter below, Sept. 15.

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