Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Noble Wimberly Jones, 3–8 August 1772

To Noble Wimberly Jones

ALS: Buffalo and Erie Public Library

London,5 Aug. 3[–8]. 1772.

Dear Sir,

On my late Return from the Country I found your Favour of March 18. which had been left by Mr. Stephens.6 I have not since seen him, but shall be glad of any Opportunity of serving him on your Recommendation.

I see by the Papers that your new Assembly is dissolved.7 I am concern’d at the uncomfortable Train your public Affairs have lately taken, but hope it cannot long continue.

You will see by the enclos’d that the Lords of the Council have not favour’d our Petition. It was difficult to get them to give a Hearing to an Affair which they had before considered and determined.8

There is suppos’d to be a Change intended in the American Administration here.9 If it takes place, I apprehend our Affairs must receive some Advantage, since we can scarce have a Minister less favourable to our Interest than the present. With great and sincere Esteem, I have the Honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

PS. Augt. 8. The Paper mention’d as enclos’d, was promis’d me by our Solicitor, but he has not brought it.

Noble Wimberley Jones, Esqr

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Actually May Place, John Sargent’s country home in Kent; see Cavendish to BF below, Aug. 4. Our conjecture is that BF had received Jones’s letter in mid-July after his tour of the north (“my late Return from the Country”) and had taken it with him to Kent to answer; in that case he wrote the body of the letter there, but headed it London for some reason of his own.

6For William Stephens see the letter referred to.

7For the old quarrel over the speaker see Jones to BF above, Feb. 2, April 2. The new Assembly was dissolved on April 25, and the news was reported in the London Chron., June 13–16.

8On June 19 the Privy Council had taken final action to uphold Sir William Baker’s heirs against the settlers on the lands claimed by the estate. For this long-drawn-out controversy see Jones to BF above, Feb. 2; Acts Privy Coun., Col., V, 296.

9This is BF’s first reference to the impending resignation of Lord Hillsborough, mentioned in the headnote on the previous document. The Bedfordites had long been hoping to get rid of the American Secretary (and through him, it was thought, of Lord North himself), and had used as their lever the Walpole Company’s petition for a land grant. On July 1 Hillsborough had sustained a major defeat when the Committee on Plantations of the Privy Council had overruled the Board of Trade, of which he was president, and approved the Walpole petition. On Aug. 1, according to Gipson, the Earl submitted his resignation; on the 3rd Lord North acknowledged it as a fait accompli, and rumor of it appeared in the London Chron., Aug. 6–8. As Hillsborough’s successor the Bedfordites were pushing Lord Gower, who was a member of the Walpole Company; but North managed to circumvent them and obtain the appointment of his stepbrother, Lord Dartmouth. On the day the new Secretary kissed hands, Aug. 14, the Privy Council endorsed the action of its committee on the Walpole grant. Acts Privy Coun., Col., V, 208; Gipson, British Empire, XI, 471–5; Jack M. Sosin, Whitehall and the Wilderness … (Lincoln, Neb., 1961), pp. 202–5; Alan Valentine, Lord North (2 vols., Norman, Okla., [1967]), I, 256–60.

Index Entries