Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Charles Thomson, 27 September 1766

To Charles Thomson

ALS: Library of Congress

London, Sept. 27. 1766

Dear Friend and Neighbour

I received your very kind Letter of May 20.7 which came here while I was absent in Germany. The favourable Sentiments you express of my Conduct with regard to the Repeal of the Stamp Act, give me real Pleasure; and I hope in every other matter of publick Concern, so to behave myself as to stand fair in the Opinions of the Wise and Good: What the rest think and say of me will then give me less Concern.

That Part of your Letter which related to the Situation of People’s Minds in America before and after the Repeal, was so well exprest, and in my Opinion so proper to be generally read and understood here, that I had it printed in the London Chronicle.8 I had the Pleasure to find that it did Good in several Instances within my Knowledge.

There are Claimers enow of Merit in obtaining the Repeal. But if I live to see you, I will let you know what an Escape we had in the Beginning of the Affair, and how much we were obliged to what the Profane would call Luck, and the Pious Providence.9

You will give an old Man Leave to say My Love to Mrs. Thomson. With sincere Regard, I am, Your affectionate Friend

B Franklin

Mr. Thomson

Addressed: To / Mr Charles Thomson / Mercht / Philadelphia

Endorsed: Letter from B F. Sept. 27. 1766

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Above, pp. 277–9.

8BF reprinted virtually all but the first paragraph of Thomson’s letter in London Chron., Sept. 6–9, 1766.

9The reference here is probably to a proposal following the adoption by the Commons, January 14, of the address to the King, to print all the papers received from America rather than a selected group of them. Edmund Burke wrote on the 18th that this awkward proposal, dangerous for some Americans who were mentioned in the papers, had been made in “a thin house” when many of the friends of the government had already left. A motion to discharge the order for printing carried on the 17th. Commons Journal, xxx, 451, 463; R.J.S. Hoffman, Edmund Burke New York Agent (Phila., 1956), pp. 329–30.

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