Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Smith, 6 February 1772

To Joseph Smith8

Reprinted from Stan V. Henkels, Catalogue No. 1452 (April 9, 1931), pp. 4–5.9

[London, Feb. 6, 1772]

The Parliament has open’d with a Calm in Politics, which seems to promise a quiet Session, the Opposition appearing to be in a very Declining Way. There is not Talk of any Purpose to meddle with American Affairs, either by repealing the Present Duties or adding new ones. A Peace between the Turks and Russians is supposed to be nearly concluded,10 and no present Probability of any new Rupture in Europe. So that it is to be hoped we may have a few years Quiet, and the Publick Debt be thereby lessened.

The Royal Family is at present in great Affliction. The dangerous Illness of the Duke of Gloucester, the imprudent Marriage of his Brother, the daily expected Death of the King’s Mother and above all the Revolution in Denmark attended with the Imprisonment of his Sister, are such an Accumulation of Distress, that all good Subjects commiserate their Sovereign.11

I was much concerned to hear of a Misunderstanding between the Assembly and Governor, I hope it is amicably settled before this time, and that Harmony restored which has been so much to the Credit of your Province.1

I am inform’d that it is proper I should impower some Person to receive for me the annual Allowance made by the Assembly to their Agent. I beg leave to request you would take this Trouble in my Behalf, which I shall acknowledge as a Favour, desiring you would retain in your Hands what you receive, till you hear farther from me.2

If in any thing I can serve you here, it will be a Pleasure to me to receive and execute your Commands: being, with great Esteem Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant,

B. Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8The former secretary of the N.J. Assembly committee of correspondence; see above, XVI, 256 n.

9The reprinted text omitted the place and date and the salutation.

10See BF to WF above, Feb. 3.

11William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the King’s brother, had been taken ill in Leghorn late in 1771, and at times his life was despaired of; see the London Chron., Nov. 7–9, 1771, and subsequent issues. For the secret marriage of Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, see above, XVIII, 252. The dowager Princess of Wales died two days after BF wrote. Her youngest daughter, Queen of Denmark and Norway, had become the lover of the man who dominated the government, Dr. Johann Struensee (above, XV, 226 n); in mid-January he was overthrown and later executed, and she was imprisoned. See Hester W. Chapman, Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark … (London, [1971]), chaps. xii–xvii.

1See WF to BF above, Jan. 6.

2For what happened to BF’s salary see above, XVIII, 218–19.

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