Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Peter Collinson, 19 December 1763

To Peter Collinson

ALS: Yale University Library

Philada. Dec. 19. 1763

Dear Friend,

I am but lately return’d from my Tour of these Northern Colonies, having been from the Southernmost Part of Virginia to the easternmost Part of New England.6 I think I wrote you from Boston that I had by a Fall dislocated my right Arm at the Shoulder Joint;7 it is now pretty well recovered, tho’ not quite so strong as before. Your obliging Favours of June 8, and 28; and of Augt. 23. came all duly to hand, and the Books are deliver’d to the Library Company.8 At the next Meeting of the Directors, I will show them what you mention concerning the compleating their Set of Edwards, and binding the colour’d Prints of Insects.9 The Proposal of a Colony to be called New Wales, was made without Authority, and by weak Heads, and is accordingly come to nothing.1 I am glad what I wrote proves acceptable to your Friend Hamilton.2 The new Governor arriv’d before my Return;3 I waited on him to pay my Respects, and have since met him often in various Places at Dinners,4 and among the Commissioners for carrying on the War, of which I am one.5 He is civil, and I endeavour to fail in no Point of Respect; so I think we shall have no personal Difference, at least I will give no Occasion. For though I cordially dislike and despise the Uncle, for demeaning himself so far as to back bite and abuse me to Friends and to Strangers, as you well know he does, I shall keep that Account open with him only,6 and some time or other we may have a Settlement; if that never happens, I can forgive the Debt. I have heretofore done him Service, and I have done him Honour; and I never did him Injury, unless he Deems it one, that I supported and carried a just Cause against him in favour of his Province. He may sleep in Peace at present. I am not coming over as he has heard, to solicit any thing about Dr. Coxe’s Grant:7 Though I own I love England and my Friends there so well, that middling Reasons8 for my Making such a Voyage, would be apt to seem very good ones.

We just now learn that the Indians over the Lakes, being informed by a Belt from the Ilinois French Governor that Peace was concluded between the English and French, that he must surrender that Country, and could no longer supply or support them, have humbly sued for Peace to the Commanding Officer at Fort Detroit, who has referr’d them to the General, and in the meantime granted them a Cessation of Arms.9 This we expect will soon occasion a like Application from the other Tribes. I only fear they have not yet smarted enough to make them careful how they break with us again.

Pray assure Mr. Canton, that I respect him greatly, and purpose shortly to write him a very long Letter.1 My having so much to say to him, is one Reason of my not having set about it before, tho’ I own it is a bad one.

With sincerest Esteem, I am, my dear Friend Yours affectionately

B Franklin

Addressed: To / Peter Collinson Esqr / Gracious Street / London / per Capt / Budden.2

Endorsed: answred Feby 3 per King Prussia3

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6For these trips, April-May and June-November, see above, pp. 252, 276–9.

7BF’s letter has not been found. For his fall (he actually fell twice), see above, pp. 278, 338.

8See above, pp. 274–5, 305–6, 331–3.

9See above, pp. 275, 306.

1For Lieut. Thomas Webb’s scheme for New Wales, see above, p. 256 n.

2Charles Hamilton of Painshill, Surrey; above, pp. 151 n, 333.

3John Penn arrived in Philadelphia, Oct. 30, and BF reached home from New England, Nov. 5, 1763.

4One dinner at which BF must have met Penn was that given on November 21 by the merchants of the city to the new governor, his predecessor James Hamilton, the Council, and the provincial commissioners. Pa. Gaz., Nov. 24, 1763.

5See above, pp. 362–3.

6Opposite this line in the MS Collinson wrote “on Corn Linnen,” but the editors have been unable to find any dictionary or other authority to explain this term or its application to the passage in BF’s letter.

7Collinson had written, August 23 (above, p. 331), that Thomas Penn had told him of hearing of BF’s intention to come to England “to Solicit a revival of Doctor Coxs Grant for Lands on the Missisipi.” For BF’s interest in the Coxe grant, see above, pp. 212–14.

8BF also used this phrase in a letter to Strahan the same day; see below.

9Pa. Gaz., Dec. 22, 1763, printed an extract of a letter from Detroit, dated November 1, reporting that a “French Officer, from the Illinois, has brought a Belt and Letter to the Savages, with an Account of Peace between England and France, which neither the Savages nor French have believed till now.” The same issue of the paper also carried an extract of a letter from Fort Pitt, dated December 1, reporting that the “Overlake Indians” had sued for peace to Major Gladwin, the British commander at Detroit, who had granted them a suspension of arms and had referred them to Gen. Jeffery Amherst.

1BF apparently did not write Canton until March 14, 1764.

2Pa. Gaz., Dec. 22, 1763, reported the clearance of the Philadelphia Packet, Capt. Richard Budden.

3Collinson’s reply has not been found. London Chron., Feb. 14–16, 1764, carried a report from Deal, February 14, that the King of Prussia had arrived there outward bound for Philadelphia.

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