Benjamin Franklin Papers

Reply to D. E. Q., [after 30 October 1773]

Reply to D. E. Q.

Copy: Library of Congress

The publication of “Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One,” signed Q.E.D., attracted considerable attention, which Franklin stimulated by two shorter contributions to the same paper.8 On October 18 the Public Advertiser reprinted the “Rules,” and in the issues of October 29–30 it carried a reply from some one—Sir Francis Bernard, according to Franklin—who signed himself D.E.Q. The writer gave fourteen rules of his own that the Americans, he argued, were following in order to destroy the empire.9 The essay was an unwieldy bludgeon: the style was prolix to a degree, and the satire heavy-handed. This dart was in reply.1

To the Printer of the Publick Advertizer

[After Oct. 30, 1773]


D.E.Q. that is Sir F. Bernard in his long labour’d, and special dull Answer to Q.E.D. endeavours to persuade the King, that as he was his Majesty’s Representative,2 there was a great Similitude in their Characters and Conduct, and that Sir: F.’s Enemies are Enemies of his Majesty and of all Government.

This puts one in mind of the Chimney-sweeper condemn’d to be hang’d for Theft, who being charitably visited by a good Clergyman for whom he had work’d, said, I hope your Honour will take my part, and get a Reprieve for me, and not let my Enemies have their Will; because it is upon your Account that they have prosecuted and sworn against me. On my Account! How can that be? Why, Sir, because as how, ever since they knew I was employ’d by your Honour, they resolv’d upon my Ruin: for they are Enemies to all Religion; and they hate you and me and every body in black.


[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8See above, Sept. 11, 14, 17.

9At the end he accused BF, without naming him, of having purloined the Hutchinson letters from William Whately. BF’s connection with the affair must have been rumored in London months before his public avowal below, Dec. 25.

1BF apparently did not publish his reply, but it bears the unmistakable stamp of his authorship. See Crane, Letters to the Press, p. 238. With the MS are two copies, one in the same hand and one in Fevre’s, of an extract from Voltaire, which quotes a remonstrance to Louis XIII against making war on his own subjects. The quotation seems quite irrelevant to this squib; perhaps BF thought of basing another upon it.

2D. E. Q.’s first rule was to attack the King personally; the fifth was to make similar attacks on the men he chose as colonial officials.

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