Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Michael Collinson, 9 March 1771

From Michael Collinson

ALS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Mancr. Bgs.2 March 9th: 1771.

Dear Sir

I return the Soliloquy which is indeed in too many Places but too wickedly entertaining and Pointed at the expence of the good old Gentleman, and the Allusion to 1715 &ca with the help of the Key which in Confidence you furnished Me with is palpable enough.3 I am very happy, my dear Sir, that I have it just still in my Power to oblige myself by soliciting your Acceptance of half a dozen Copies of the Letter, and a detached Print or two;4 of the former I have now only five Books left, three of which are engaged and of the Other a much less number than I wish, or a much larger of Both, Sir, would I am sure have been at your Service, and will ever be so if a new Edition or Impression should ever happen to take place; in the Intrim, and at all times, I rest with much deference and Esteem Dear Sir Your faithful and most humble Servant

Michl. Collinson

Addressed: To / Dr. Franklin / In / Craven Street

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Manchester Buildings, Canon Row, Westminster, where Collinson lived for some years after his father’s death. William Darlington, Memorials of John Bartram and Humphry Marshall... (Philadelphia, 1849), pp. 446–59; Henry B. Wheatley, London Past and Present (3 vols., London, 1891), II, 460.

3Collinson was returning a satire on Cadwallader Colden, Lieutenant Governor of New York, occasioned by Lord Dunmore’s suit against him. The anonymous pamphlet, A Soliloquy ([Philadelphia?], 1770), was the work of William Livingston, the prominent lawyer who was later the first governor of the state of New Jersey. The satire does not allude to 1715 but refers indirectly (p. 14) to an episode during the Stamp Act disturbances, when the mob hanged an effigy of Colden inscribed “The Rebel Drummer in the Year 1715.” N.Y. Mercury, Nov. 4, 1765. Colden, as a boy in Scotland, had reportedly drummed for recruits for the Jacobite rising.

4The letter was an anonymous pamphlet written by Dr. Fothergill and revised by young Collinson, Some Account of the Late Peter Collinson... in a Letter to a Friend, for which see above, XVII, 65 n; the prints were extra copies of the frontispiece portrait.

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