Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Richard Jackson, 12 July 1764

To Richard Jackson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. July 12. 1764

Dear Sir,

By Capt. Hammet, who lately sail’d from hence, the Committee wrote to you, and sent you the Petition to the King.9 By this Conveyance they send you some other Papers. The Proprietary Party are endeavouring to stir up the Presbyterians to join in a Petition against a Change of Government: what that [Endea] vour will produce I cannot say.1

I hope soon to receive your Sentiments on this Affair, which will probably enable me to determine, whether I shall stay here, or retire to some other Colony, or England, to spend the Remainder of my Days.2

Col. Bouquet sets out in a short time with the 1000 Men, rais’d, cloath’d and paid by this Province, against the Indians on the Ohio.3 Our Heats have lately been so excessive, that many have died, chiefly after drinking cold Water while warm with Exercise.4 How much more happy is your temperate Climate? I am, dear Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

P.S. Inclos’d is a Duplicate of the Petition.

For large Pacquets I suppose you pay Postage, which should be charg’d to the Province.5

R. Jackson Esqr

Addressed: To / Richard Jackson, Esquire / Member of Parliament for Weymouth, / Inner Temple / London / via New York / per Packet

Endorsed: 12 July 64 Bn Franklin Esqr

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Pa. Gaz., June 28, 1764, reported that the Dragon, Captain Hammett, had cleared for London. London Chron., Aug. 2–4, 1764, recorded its arrival off Tor Bay, Devonshire. For the Assembly’s petition to the King for a change in government, see above, pp. 193–200. The “other Papers” being sent to Jackson, mentioned in the next sentence, have not been identified.

1Among the Franklin Papers, Lib. Cong., fo. 41, is a longhand petition to the King, with spaces for signatures, asking that he disregard the Assembly’s petition for a change in government. Paul L. Ford identified the author as John Dickinson and reprinted the text from a printed broadside, stating that a German translation was also issued. The Writings of John Dickinson, I, Political Writings 1764–1774 (Phila., 1895), 61–7. BF quoted extensively from this petition in his preface to Galloway’s speech and commented sarcastically on its statements. See below, pp. 300–7.

2For Jackson’s somewhat reserved comments when he had received the Assembly’s petition, see below, pp. 312–13. He did not refer to BF’s possible going to England.

3Bouquet probably left Philadelphia during the last week of July; he had reached Lancaster by July 30. Sylvester K. Stevens, Donald H. Kent, and Leo J. Roland, eds., The Papers of Col. Henry Bouquet, II (Harrisburg, 1940), 309.

4Pa. Gaz., July 12, 1764, printed a warning and advice, marked for special attention by a pointing hand: “As several Persons, during this very hot Weather, have lost their Lives, by indiscreetly drinking cold Water, while they were warm, and sweating, we think it our Duty to acquaint the Publick therewith; and to request that every One, before he drinks, will mix a little Spirit with his Water, which should stand some Time after taken from the Pump, as the Consequence, without doing so, seems to be immediate Death. —— It is said to be a good Way to keep the Water in the Mouth some Time, before it is swallowed.” In the issue of August 2 “A Citizen” wrote suggesting that before drinking water a person heated by exercise should “wet the fore Part of his Wrists, by sprinkling or pouring some on them.” He did not wish to detract from the Gazette’s advice, he wrote, but offered his method because “Rum or Spirit is not always in the Possession of every One.”

5The Post Office Act of 1764 allowed the franking privilege to members of Parliament for letters they received (Jackson was M.P. for Weymouth) but said nothing about packets sent to them. In his Memorandum Book, 1757–1776, p. 19, BF recorded under date of Oct. 31, 1764, a charge against the province for £3 8s. 9d. “for Postage of Pacquet from the Committee of Correspondence to N York for England.” This may represent a belated entry of the charges by the American post for the packet sent Jackson containing “some other Papers” mentioned in the first paragraph of this letter.

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