From William and Robert Molleson1
ALS: Library of Congress
America Square Crutched fryars. 20th Decr 1774.
Having heard, that the Petition from the American Congress, to the King, has been transmitted to You, and that You intended to present it accompanied by the Merchants trading to that Continent, We request to know if such is Your intention, that we may attend You, on that important occasion, to bear our Testimony to their just Representations.2 We are Sir Your most Obedient Servants
Wm: and R. Molleson
Benjamin Franklin Esqr.
Addressed: Benjamin Franklin Esqr / Craven Street
1. William Molleson was a merchant mentioned above, XIX, 318 n. Robert, presumably a brother or son, was his recently acquired partner; compare Kent’s Directory for 1774 and 1775. William had been in occasional correspondence with Dartmouth on American affairs, and seems at the moment to have been keeping him informed of the movement for a merchants’ petition. Dartmouth MSS, II, 223, 240–1.
2. At about the same time BF received a letter, now lost, from a “ministerial Merchant” who was intimate with Wedderburn, undoubtedly Israel Mauduit, asking the same question and making the same offer: below, p. 564. Molleson and Mauduit must have learned through their contact with Whitehall what the ministry knew (Dartmouth MSS, 1, 372), that the presentation would be made either through Dartmouth, in the customary manner, or directly to the King with the publicity to which the Mollesons offer to contribute. BF’s reply, which follows, explains why he thought their presence inappropriate.