Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from William Lee, 3 April 1775

From William Lee2

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London 3 Apl. 1775.

Dear Sir.

I wrote you the other day about an hundred pounds which the Constitutional Society here had orderd to be given for releif of the poor sufferers in Boston and now inclose you Mr. Olivers letter respecting that business.3 I presume you are fully informed from other hands of all the public transactions here since you left us. Therefore shall only beg you to believe me to be sincerely and with the highest esteem Dear Sir Your most Obliged and Obedient Humble Servant

William Lee

Addressed: To / Doctor Benjamin Franklin Esqr. / L.L.D. / Philadelphia / via Maryland

Endorsed: W Lee Esqr April 3. 75

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The brother of Arthur and Richard Henry Lee, who made a name for himself in London politics: above, XX, 308 n.

3Lee’s earlier letter, and the enclosure in this one, have disappeared. Alderman Richard Oliver, M.P. (1735–84), was a former supporter of Wilkes, but broke with him in 1771 and became a founder of the Constitutional Society: DNB; Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, III, 224. In February the Society had voted £100 for the Bostonians; Oliver had presented the money to BF, who had returned his thanks. London Chron., Feb. 9–11; London Evening Post, Feb. 21–3, 1775. Lee is here alluding to a second donation of the same amount, voted on March 21: Public Advertiser, March 23, 1775. BF sent the first gift, as a draft on London, by Josiah Quincy, Jr., in mid-March, and transmitted what we presume was the second by another draft, which he gave to John and Samuel Adams in Philadelphia but which they did not forward to London; he subsequently paid the money in Mass. Memorandum Book (above, VII, 167–8), entries of Aug. 2 and Nov. 20, 1775.

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