Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Bowdoin, 2 July 1764

From James Bowdoin

Letterbook copy: Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, July 2–1764


Your last favor2 informed me that you had sent my Letter to Mr. Canton inclosed in one of your own per the Packet:3 for which I am much obliged.

When I last saw Mr. Winthrop, I inquired of him after Æpinus: he told me he sent it to Mr. Stiles of Newport, who would convey it to you.4 I thank you for your Pamphlet relative to the Massacre of the Indians.5 You have given in it a very entertaining account of the hospitality practised even by Barbarians towards their enemies; and such as must touch the souls (if they have any) of the Perpetrators of so horrid a deed. Horrid, if it had been comitted on enemies under the circumstances of the Sufferers; and ten fold more so, as on persons that were friends. Such Diabolism (one would think) could be comitted only in the infernal regions.

The measures your Assembly have taken to rid the Province of Proprietary influence will probably occasion the establishment of such a Government among you, as will have sufficient Strength to prevent the like Outrage in future, or exemplarily to punish the authors of it, if it should happen. The Pamphlet published among you previous to the Spirited Resolves of the Assembly fully obviates the Objections to a change of Government;6 and is well calculated to procure a change. The Proprietaries I dare say will not think themselves very greatly obliged to the author: especially as he has pointed out such an easy way for the Crown to Satisfy any demand they may have on account of their present right of Jurisdiction.

I am much obliged to you for the Metzotinto-Print of yourself, which I received by Mr. Williams.7 I esteem it a valuable Present, as it exhibits so good a Likeness of a Gentleman, for whom I have a Sincere regard. My Compliments to your good Family. I am with great respect. Yours


Benjamin Franklin Esqr in Philadelphia

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The last letter from BF to Bowdoin which has been found is that of Oct. 11, 1763, written while in Boston; see above, X, 351–2. Judging from several statements which Bowdoin makes in the present letter, BF must have written him one and possibly two letters after January 1764 which have not been found.

3See above, p. 99.

4Stiles conveyed Aepinus’ writings through BF’s brother Peter. BF acknowledged their receipt in a letter to Stiles of June 19, 1764; see above, p. 230.

5For BF’s Narrative of the Late Massacres, see above, pp. 42–69.

6The pamphlet to which Bowdoin is referring seems to be BF’s Cool Thoughts, published toward the end of April 1764; see above, pp. 153–73. The “Spirited resolves” were the “Necklace” of 26 resolves adopted by the Assembly on March 24, 1764; see above, pp. 123–33. Bowdoin obviously has his chronology confused.

7See above, pp. 89–90.

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