Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Humphry Marshall, 23 May 1775

To Humphry Marshall

Reprinted from William Darlington, Memorials of John Bartram and Humphry Marshall . . . (Philadelphia, 1849), p. 521.

Philadelphia, May 23d. 1775.

Dear Sir:

I received your favour of the 13th inst. I think, with you, that the non-importation and non-exportation, well adhered to, will end the controversy in our favour. But, as Britain has begun to use force, it seems absolutely necessary that we should be prepared to repel force by force, which I think, united, we are well able to do.

It is a true old saying, that make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you: to which I may add another, God helps them that help themselves.8 With much esteem, I am, sir, Your most obedient humble servant.9

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8The first was an Italian proverb, and the second was adapted from Aesop in Poor Richard: above, XX, 10; II, 140.

9We conjectured that BF left his previous letter to Marshall unsigned for the sake of security: above, XXI, 520 n. Why he handled this one the same way defies conjecture.

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