Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Percival, 21 June 1774

From Thomas Percival

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Manchester June 21. 1774.

Dear Sir.

A few Weeks since I received a Packet of Papers on the American Affairs, which I presume came from you, as the direction seemed to be your hand Writing. I thank you for this mark of your Esteem; and have distributed the Pamphlets amongst Persons of the first consequence in this Town and Neighbourhood.5 They have already circulated through a considerable number of hands, and cannot fail of making some useful impressions. But I am sorry to say that the rights and liberties of our Countrymen in America are much less dear to us than they ought to be. Indeed the principles of Despotism in our Governors, and of Passive Obedience in the People seem to be advancing by an equal, and most alarming progression.

I have inclosed a little Paper, which completes the account of the number of People in the Town, Township, and Parish of Manchester. It is extracted from a long Memoir which I shall soon send to Dr. Price, for the Royal Society, and which will at present conclude the Observations which have occurred to me on this interesting Subject. I have printed this little Extract, to oblige those Gentlemen who have generously contributed towards the Expence of our Enumerations.6 When you see Dr. Price you will oblige me by presenting my most friendly respects to him. I am with the highest Esteem Dear Sir Your most faithful and most affectionate humble Servant

Tho. Percival.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5The pamphlets were the same, we suspect, as those BF enclosed to Rhoads below, June 30; Lee’s True State, sent to Cushing with BF’s letter above, June 1, may well have been included.

6Three papers on Manchester, dated Aug. 16, 1773, Feb. 1, June 5, 1774, are printed together in Percival’s Philosophical, Medical, and Experimental Essays … (London, 1776). The first paper Percival printed for his friends as Observations on the State of Population in Manchester … ([Manchester, 1773]). He sent a copy to BF (above, XX, 442 n) and another to Price, who communicated it to the Royal Society; it was published in slightly altered form in the Phil. Trans., LXIV (1774), 54–66. The second Percival also printed: Further Observations on the State of Population in Manchester … ([Manchester, 1774]). The third, entitled “Observations on the State of Population in Manchester … Concluded,” he did not print separately unless all record of it has disappeared; Price received it and had it published, again in slightly altered form, in the Phil. Trans., LXV (1775), 322–35. The “little Extract” enclosed for BF, even though it did not complete the account, must therefore have been the second paper, the only new one in print; and the “long Memoir” for Price must have been the second and third together.

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