Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Crowley, 17 December 1770

From Thomas Crowley5

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Gr[ace] Ch[urch] Street: 17 dec 1770

Worthy Friend

On Wednesday last when I scribled a few Lines to accompany the Return of one of the Pamphlets which you was kind enough to Lend me I was then about mounting my Horse, then waiting for me, in Company with a Friend, to Ride about twenty Miles to attend the Funeral of an Intimate Friend, who died suddenly a few Days before; I had not then lookd into the other, now Returnd; The Merit of This appears to me very different from that first so Returnd; I find Many of J Otis sentiments exactly simalar to my Own.6 I never saw his Performance before, but I like it in general so well I think it highly Deserves another Edition; and If any should Ensue I will take off a dozen, or two, of them, to give away: I am not a little affected in the Considerations a Man of so just sentiments should have met with so much oppression; and That the observation made by Solomon, apropos, has been so unhappily Verifyd in him; I do heartily wish the fix’d Recovery of his Health.7 And have sent one of the Pamphlets on Representation to a Friend at Boston to deliver to him mine own also to accompany.8 I am very respectfully Your sincere well wishing Friend

Thos Crowley

Endorsed: To Dr. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5The Quaker merchant and proponent of imperial union, for whom see above, XIII, 121 n; XV, 238–41.

6Crowley was presumably referring to two of James Otis’ three pamphlets, all of which had been reprinted in London: The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved … (Boston, 1764); A Vindication of the British Colonies (Boston, 1765); and Considerations on Behalf of the Colonists … (Boston, 1765).

7John Robinson, a customs officer, had injured Otis in a brawl in a coffee house in 1769; the injury accentuated Otis’ mental unbalance, and he withdrew from politics. DAB. The Biblical reference is probably to Prov. 3: 11–12.

8The idea of American M.P.s was discussed in so many pamphlets that the present to Otis cannot be identified. Crowley’s own plan for imperial union included representatives from Ireland, Canada, the thirteen colonies, and the West Indies; two MS versions, dated Nov. 17 and Dec. 10, 1770, are in the Franklin Papers in the APS, and the latter is endorsed by Crowley, “Be pleased to send to the Assembly of Massachusetts Bay. …” He does not appear to have published this plan until it was included in his Letters and Dissertations on Various Subjects … (London, [1776]), pp. 137–44; he presumably sent Otis a MS copy, and furnished BF with another.

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