Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jonathan Williams, Jr., 28 June 1773

From Jonathan Williams, Jr.

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Boston June 28. 1773

Honoured Sir

My Father received your Favour the Evening before last, and accordingly delivered your Letter to the Speaker.6 Altho’ you will no doubt receive from him the Resolves and proceedings of our Council relative to the Governors conduct &c &c, I inclose the Gazette, having it in my hand, as the more ways a thing is sent, the more likely it is to arive Safe.7 I shall be obliged if you will please to present my duty to my Uncle, and let him have the perusal of the Inclosed Papers, with those I sent in my last.8 I then desired you would please to give directions for the Making of a hand Organ, such an one as you had made for Mr. Foxcroft, and also that you would please to collect a number of Pieces according to your own fancy to be put on the Barrells, which I shall be much oblig’d if you will please to do for me.9 I am with the greatest Esteem and Respect Your dutiful and affectionate Kinsman

Jona Williams Junr

Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin LLD FRS / at Mrs Stevensons /in / Craven Street / Strand / London

Endorsed: Jona. Williams jun  June 28.73

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The letter to Williams is missing; that to Cushing of May 6 is above. We have no other indication that BF was using Williams to forward letters to the Speaker, but he could have made a habit of it–to reduce the chance of their being opened–without our being any the wiser. Unless an envelope is marked with a stamp or some indication of a particular ship, there is no way to tell whether it was sent by itself or as an enclosure.

7He enclosed the Boston Gaz. of June 28. It described proceedings in the Council on the 25th, on the report of a committee, including James Bowdoin and John Winthrop, that had been appointed to consider the correspondence. The report first analyzed Hutchinson’s six letters in great detail and Oliver’s more briefly, and then concluded that both men should be removed from office because they were responsible for arousing the King’s displeasure, expressed in sending troops to Boston and refusing redress of the colony’s grievances. The Council then passed its own resolutions; they contained an abbreviated analysis of the letters, and a slightly expanded argument for removal. Court records, legislative Council (State House, Boston), XXX, 110, 112–28. The Council, in other words, concurred in the judgment of the House but stopped short of resolving to petition.

8Presumably a missing letter after his of May 6 above. The uncle was John Williams, the customs inspector, to whom BF forwarded the papers with his note below, Aug. 15. He apparently sent this letter as well, for on the verso is written, in what seems to be another hand, “To/John Williams Esq./ at M[rs.?] Wilkes’s.”

9BF had purchased Foxcroft’s organ for £15 6s. in 1770, while Williams was in London (Jour., p. 26), and promptly carried out the second commission: to Williams below, Oct. 6. It was for a hand or barrel organ, an instrument which had long been popular in England. Each piece of music was pricked out in pins and staples on a wooden cylinder, or barrel, to be inserted in the instrument; Jonathan is asking BF to select music for these barrels. See his letters below, July 29, Dec. 11.

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