Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to David Hall, 24 February 1766

To David Hall

ALS: Salem County Historical Society, Salem, N.J.

London, Feb. 24. 1766

Dear Mr. Hall,

The House of Commons after a long Debate, which lasted from Friday 3 aClock to 2 the next Morning, came to a Resolution to repeal the Stamp Act, 275 to 167, the Minority being for explaining and amending.9 The Party of the late Ministry will give the Bill all the Obstruction and Delay possible, but there is reason now to believe it will pass both Houses which has long been rather doubtful. The present Ministry, who have been true Freinds to America in this Affair, purpose also to review the Acts of Trade, and give us every farther Relief that is reasonable. I hope therefore that Harmony between the two Countries will be restor’d, and all Mobs and Riots on our Side the Water totally cease. It will certainly become us on this Occasion to behave decently and respectfully with regard to Government here, that we may not disgrace our Friends who have in a manner engag’d their Credit for us on that head. We now see that tho’ the Parliament may sometimes possibly thro’ Misinformation be mislead to do a wrong Thing towards America, yet as soon as they are rightly inform’d, they will immediately rectify it, which ought to confirm our Veneration for that most august Body, and Confidence in its Justice and Equity. Great Honour and Thanks are due to the British Merchants, trading to America, who have all of them been our zealous and indefatigable Friends, particularly Mr. Trecothick and Mr. Capel Hanbury.1 We had also many firm Friends in the House of Commons, viz. Mr. Pitt, Mr. Conway, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Dowdeswell, Sir George Saville, Sir William Meredith, Mr. Burke, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Huske, with a Number of others too many to enumerate at present.2 I am, as ever, Yours affectionately

B Franklin

[The above for the Gazette I enclose you some of the Cards on which I have lately wrote all my Messages; they are to show the Mischiefs of reducing the Colonies by Force of Arms.]3

Addressed: To / Mr David Hall / Printer / Philadelphia

Endorsed: Mr. Franklin February 24. 1766

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9See the notes to the document immediately above.

1Barlow Trecothick (c.1718–1775), London merchant and alderman, later sheriff, lord mayor, and M.P. for the city, spent his boyhood in Boston, and later became associated in business in London with the Thomlinsons and Apthorps. Capel Hanbury (d. 1769) was a London merchant trading to Virginia. A young man of the same name but of a different branch of the family married BF’s great-granddaughter, Ellen Franklin, in 1818.

2The men named here, with the constituencies they represented and the ministerial offices, if any, that they held at the time of these debates, were: William Pitt, Bath; Henry Seymour Conway, Thetford, secretary of state; George Cooke, Middlesex; William Dowdeswell, Worcestershire, chancellor of the Exchequer; Sir George Saville, Yorkshire; Sir William Meredith, Liverpool, lord of the Admiralty; Edmund Burke, Wendover, private secretary to the first lord of the Treasury; Grey Cooper, Rochester, secretary to the Treasury; Richard Jackson, Weymouth and Melcombe Regis; and John Huske, Maldon. Namier and Brooke, House of Commons. All but the last two were named on the 24th as members of the committee to prepare the repealing bill.

3Brackets in the original. Hall did not print this letter in the Gazette; it may have reached him so late that the news it contained had become stale. Its admonition to seemly behavior, however, found parallel expression in several American newspaper pieces during the months that followed, and a number of the men BF singled out here for special gratitude were often hailed in the colonial press. The “Cards” he enclosed were probably copies of his “Magna Britannia her Colonies Reduc’d,” above, pp. 66–72.

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