Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Ross, [November 1765]

From [John Ross]6

AL (incomplete): American Philosophical Society

[November 1765]7

Dear Sir,

In the Midst of our Confusions, You will permit me to trouble You with the reading a line from me also, but to give You a Regular Course of Intelligence Concerning our affairs, is What I will not Attempt, as I hate Writing Very much, and leave that to Mr. Hughes our Welsh Squire, who upon Honour has fought the Battle Manfully, and I think there is not his Second to be found in this City who wou’d have so Skillfully parry’d their Several Attacks. The Outrages and Violences to the Eastward are Monstrous those among us, have been trifling, and no Injury done to persons or property: One point seems Setled, no Stamp paper is to be Used, and I think that man who first Asks for them, will loose his [Life?]. Many people press to have all officers proceed in their [Busine]ss, as if no such Act had pass’d, but in this I have declared [my Di]ssent, and pray to be Excused, for this plain Reason, if the Crown [is deter]mined to Enforce the [Act] they will also Enforce the penalties [and prose] cute Every offender. I Wish Sincerely the Act may be [repeale]d, but in Your Words, I fear that is hoping too much.

[The] Jubilee Year for Debtors is Come. None will pay, as they know [they ca]nnot be Sued, While others Publickly go off with all their [Goods and] nothing to hinder them, all this the people Say they will [accept?] as temporary losses, but taking the Stamps will make [them perpe]tual Slaves. Not one Writ has issued from any [torn] the [torn] Instant, nor will any issue [torn] finds [remainder missing.]

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The bottom quarter or third of this sheet, presumably containing the signature and date, is torn off and lost, as is part of the left margin. The letter is obviously from a Philadelphia friend and political ally of BF, and either an officeholder or a lawyer whose activities were adversely affected by the situation after the Stamp Act was supposed to go into operation. One who would meet these qualifications was John Ross, Philadelphia lawyer and political associate of BF; above, XI, 531 n. Comparison of this fragment with the ALS from Ross of May 20, 1765 (above, pp. 138–9), shows that the handwriting and other characteristics of both are the same and establishes the authorship of the present letter.

7What is left of the last sentence in the fragment seems to be part of a statement that no writs had been issued in Pennsylvania since the first “Instant”; if this reconstruction is correct, the letter must have been written during November 1765. Galloway also wrote to the same effect during that month; see above, pp. 376–7.

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