Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from David Barclay, 18 December 1774

From David Barclay

ALS and extract: Library of Congress

Norwich 18th: 12 mo decr. / 74

Respected Friend.

Being inform’d by my Nephew, that agreable to the Advice given to the Holder of the Pamphlet, received from the other Side of the Atlantic, it is reprinting, and will probably be published Tomorrow;8 I am of the Opinion that it will be adviseable to let a little time elapse before any other Steps are persued,9 more especially when its consider’d, that at the approaching Season, many People go out of Town and will not return until the commencement of the New Year. I likewise consider, that our Superiors will have some little time for Reflection, and perhaps may contemplate on the propriety of the Hints in their possession: By a few lines I have received from Ld. H- he intimates his hearty Wish that they may be productive of what may be practicable and advantageous for the Mother Country and the Colonies.1

The Business on which I came here, its probable, will prevent me from being in Hertfordshire until Wednesday or perhaps Thursday next, where I should be pleased to receive a Line from thee (directed to Youngs Bury near Ware) mentioning whether thy Opinion coincides with mine, which, will govern me in coming from thence to Town.2 I am Thy respectful Friend

David Barclay

Addressed: Dr. Benjamin Franklin / Craven Street / Strand.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8He had several nephews, but a likely one was Robert Barclay (1751–1830), who had recently returned from two years in Philadelphia and was involved in the family business; for his career see Charles W. Barclay, A History of the Barclay Family ... (3 vols., London, 1924–34), III, 273–7. The pamphlet was the first major printed production of the Congress, Extracts from the Votes and Proceedings of the American Continental Congress ... (Philadelphia, 1775). The advice to print, we assume, was from BF to John Almon, the “Holder,” who acted fast; the Public Advertiser announced on the 17th that the English edition would appear, as Barclay says, on the 19th.

9In his journal of negotiations BF provided a gloss on this passage by saying that the steps were “in the Affair of procuring a Meeting and Petition of the Merchants, (on which we had had several Consultations).” Below, p. 564. They went back at least to Dec. 1, and began to bear fruit before Christmas; see Barclay to BF below, Dec. 22. Barclay’s presence in Norwich on the 18th suggests that he may have been consulting local merchants about such a petition in response to the news from Philadelphia.

1This sentence is interesting for what it does not say, that Barclay and Hyde had agreed on the advisability of toning down the “Hints”; see the headnote above, under Dec. 12.

2BF presumably wrote him at his country home in Herts., for the two dined together in London on the 22nd: below, p. 564.

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