Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Richard Oliver, 31 May 1775

From Richard Oliver4

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London 31st May 1775

Dear Sir

Some time since Mr. Wm Lee forwarded my letter to you advising the payment of £100 from the Constitutional Society into the hands of your Bankers Messrs. Brown Collinson & Co. towards relieving the distress’d Inhabitants of Boston.

On the 23d Inst. they voted £100 more for their relief which is also paid into the hands of the same Gentlemen on your Account and both sums wait your demand and application.5

Recent accounts from America give information of an unprovoked attack by a detachment from the regular troops at Boston against the Provincials which as far as we yet know reflects as little honour on the Brittish Military as our Politicks do on the Brittish Legislature.6

I entertain the best hopes that America directed by wisdom similar to your own will act with sufficient firmness to maintain the rights of free ’tho loyal subjects.

All reasonable men with whom I converse still continue fixed in opinion against the right of taxing America not represented in Parliament. I am with much respect and great Esteem Dear Sir Your very Obedient Humble Servant

Richd Oliver

Addressed: To / Dr Benjamn Franklyn / Philadelphia

Endorsed: Aldn Oliver

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The London alderman and M.P.; see Lee to BF above, April 3.

5For the two earlier gifts from the Society, and BF’s handling of them, see the letter just cited. We have found no record in BF’s accounts of this third donation; a fourth, in early June, made a greater stir: the Society voted that a contribution of £100 be sent to BF for the relatives of “our BELOVED American Fellow Subjects, who, FAITHFUL to the Character of Englishmen, preferring Death to Slavery, were, for that Reason only, inhumanly murdered by the King’s Troops at or near Lexington and Concord.” Public Advertiser, June 9, 1775. The following October BF presented £100 from the Society to the Mass. General Court: Council minutes (Mass. Arch.), Oct. 25, 1775.

6The account had been published in London two days before; see the headnote on the Mass. provincial congress to BF above, April 26.

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