From James Bowdoin
Letterbook copy: Massachusetts Historical Society
Boston, July 2–1764
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
2. The 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.
3. See above, p. 99.
4. Stiles 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.
5. For BF’s Narrative of the Late Massacres, see above, pp. 42–69.
6. The 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.
7. See above, pp. 89–90.