Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Franklin, 18 February 1774: extract

To William Franklin

Extract:6 British Museum

Feb. 18 1774

Some tell me that it is determined to displace you likewise, but I do not know it as certain. I only give you the hint, as an Inducement to you to delay awhile your Removal to Amboy, which in that Case woud be an expence and Trouble to no purpose.7 Perhaps they may expect that your Resentment of their Treatment of me, may induce you to resign, and save them the shame of depriving you whom they ought to promote. But this I wou’d not advise you to do. Let them take your place if they want it, tho in truth I think it scarce worth your keeping, since it has not afforded you sufficient to prevent your running every year behind hand with me.8 But one may make something of an Injury, nothing of a Resignation.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6This letter and another to WF below, May 7, exist as far as we know only in extracts of unknown provenance, transcribed on a single sheet in the same unidentifiable hand. Previous editors have accepted them as genuine: Bigelow, Works, XII, 331, 337–8; Smyth, Writings, VI, 197, 399. So do we. This extract in particular has internal evidence of authenticity, and WF replied to a letter of this date: below, May 3.

7When East and West Jersey were combined as a royal province in 1702, it retained two capitals; the Assembly met alternately in Burlington and Perth Amboy. Preparations had been under way, months before BF wrote, to convert the Proprietary House at Perth Amboy into the Governor’s official mansion; and he was selling his Burlington property and farm nearby in anticipation of the move. William H. Mariboe, “The Life of William Franklin …” (unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Pa., 1962), pp. 389–91. WF’s reason for moving, he told Dartmouth the following May, was that the troubles ahead would require more frequent meetings of the Council, for which Burlington was inconvenient. 1 N.J. Arch., X, 459.

8BF had suggested in his letter above, Feb. 2, that WF had now no chance of a more lucrative governorship.

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