Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Winthrop, 31 December 1773: extract

From John Winthrop

Extract:6 Library of Congress

[December 31, 1773]

I concur perfectly with you in the Sentiments expressed in your last.7 No considerate Person, I should think, can approve of desperate Remedies, except in desperate Cases. The People of America are extreamly agitated by the repeated Efforts of Administration to subject them to absolute Power. They have been amused with Accounts of the pacific Disposition of the Ministry, and flattered with Assurances that upon their humble Petitions all their Grievances should be redressed. They have petitioned from time to time; but their Petitions have had no other Effect than to make them feel more sensibly their own Slavery. Instead of Redress, every Year has produced some new Manoeuvre, which could have no Tendency but to irritate them more and more. The last Measure of the East India Company’s sending their Tea here, subject to a Duty, seems to have given the finishing Stroke to their Patience. You will have heard of the Steps taken at Boston, New York and Philadelphia to prevent the Payment of this Duty by sending the Tea back to its Owners. But as this was found impossible at Boston, the Destruction of the Tea was the Consequence.8 What the Event of these Commotions will be, God only knows. The People thro’ the Colonies appear immoveably fix’d in their Resolution, that the Tea Duty shall never be paid; and if the Ministry are determin’d to inforce these Measures, I dread the Consequences: I verily fear they will turn America into a Field of Blood. But I will hope for the best.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6From the last page of BF’s draft of his “Tract Relative to the Affair of Hutchinson’s Letters,” where the date is given.

7Above, July 25.

8See Cooper to BF above, Dec. 17.

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