Front Page Titles (by Subject) CCCLVII: TO SAMUEL COOPER - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. V Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772
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CCCLVII: TO SAMUEL COOPER - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. V Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772 
The Works of Benjamin Franklin, including the Private as well as the Official and Scientific Correspondence, together with the Unmutilated and Correct Version of the Autobiography, compiled and edited by John Bigelow (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). The Federal Edition in 12 volumes. Vol. V (Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772).
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TO SAMUEL COOPER
London, 27 April, 1769.
I received your favor of February 27th, by Captain Carver, and thank you for giving me an opportunity of being acquainted with so great a traveller. I shall be glad if I can render him any service here.1
The Parliament remain fixed in their resolution not to repeal the duty acts this session, and will rise next Tuesday. I hope my country folks will remain as fixed in their resolutions of industry and frugality, till these acts are repealed. And, if I could be sure of that, I should almost wish them never to be repealed; being persuaded that we shall reap more solid and extensive advantages from the steady practice of those two great virtues, than we can possibly suffer damage from all the duties the Parliament of this kingdom can levy on us. They flatter themselves you cannot long subsist without their manufactures. They believe you have not virtue enough to persist in such agreements. They imagine the colonies will differ among themselves, deceive and desert one another, and quietly one after the other submit to the yoke, and return to the use of British fineries. They think, that, though the men may be contented with homespun stuffs, the women will never get the better of their vanity and fondness for English modes and gewgaws. The ministerial people all talk in this strain, and many even of the merchants. I have ventured to assert that they will all find themselves mistaken; and I rely so much on the spirit of my country, as to be confident I shall not be found a false prophet, though at present not believed.
I hope nothing that has happened, or may happen, will diminish in the least our loyalty to our Sovereign, or affection for this nation in general. I can scarcely conceive a King of better dispositions, of more exemplary virtues, or more truly desirous of promoting the welfare of all his subjects. The experience we have had of the family in the two preceding mild reigns, and the good temper of our young princes, so far as can yet be discovered, promise us a continuance of this felicity.1 The body of this people, too, is of a noble and generous nature, loving and honoring the spirit of liberty, and hating arbitrary power of all sorts. We have many, very many, friends among them.
But, as to the Parliament, though I might excuse that which made the acts, as being surprised and misled into the measure, I know not how to excuse this, which, under the fullest conviction of its being a wrong one, resolves to continue it. It is decent, indeed, in your public papers to speak as you do of the “wisdom and the justice of Parliament”; but now that the subject is more thoroughly understood, if this new Parliament had been really wise, it would not have refused even to receive a petition against the acts; and, if it had been just, it would have repealed them, and refunded the money. Perhaps it may be wiser and juster another year, but that is not to be depended on.
If, under all the insults and oppressions you are now exposed to, you can prudently, as you have lately done, continue quiet, avoiding tumults, but still resolutely keeping up your claims and asserting your rights, you will finally establish them, and this military cloud that now blusters over you will pass away, and do no more harm than a summer thunder shower. But the advantages of your perseverance in industry and frugality will be great and permanent. Your debts will be paid, your farms will be better improved and yield a greater produce; your real wealth will increase in a plenty of every useful home production and all the true enjoyments of life, even though no foreign trade should be allowed you; and this handicraft, shop-keeping state will, for its own sake, learn to behave more civilly to its customers.1
Your late governor, Mr. Pownall, appears a hearty friend to America. He moved last week for a repeal of the acts, and was seconded by General Conway, Sir George Saville, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Trecothick, and others, but did not succeed. A friend has favored me with a copy of the notes taken of Mr. Pownall’s speech, which I send you, believing it will be agreeable to you and some other of our friends to see them. You will observe in some parts of it the language a member of Parliament is obliged to hold, on American topics, if he would at all be heard in the House. He has given notice that he will renew the motion at the next and every session. All Ireland is strongly in favor of the American cause. They have reason to sympathize with us. I send you four pamphlets written in Ireland, or by Irish gentlemen here, in which you will find some excellent, well-said things. With the greatest esteem, I am, my dear friend, &c.,
[1 ]Captain Jonathan Carver, celebrated for his travels in the interior parts of North America, was born in Connecticut in the year 1732. He served on the frontiers in the French war, with the reputation of a good officer, till the peace of 1763, after which he travelled near the sources of the Mississippi as far as the river Minnesota, and on the borders of Lake Superior. He returned to Boston in 1768, and thence went to England to solicit from the King some remuneration for his services and aid in publishing his charts and journals. So far from his application being favorably entertained, he was ordered to deliver up his papers as the property of the government, and was obliged to repurchase them from the bookseller to whom he had sold them for publication. He published his Travels through the Interior of North America, in 1778, and in 1779 a Treatise on the Culture of the Tobacco Plant. He died the following year, destitute and neglected.—Editor.
[1 ]The original of this letter, with several others belonging to Dr. Cooper, was seized by a British officer in Boston, soon after the battle of Lexington, when many of the inhabitants, and Dr. Cooper among them, had left the town. The parcel was sent to the King, and the letters themselves, in their original form, are now preserved in the British Museum, having been contained in the library presented by George the Fourth to that institution. Copies of the letters in that collection have been procured for this work, and the above letter is one of the number. Hence the complimentary paragraph, intended only for a private friend, was seen by the King five years after it was written, when Franklin was a member of the Continental Congress, and when, from subsequent experience, his sentiments had changed in regard to the King’s good dispositions towards at least one part of his subjects. The letters from Dr. Franklin to Dr. Cooper, which were sent to the King as here mentioned, were those dated February 24, April 27, August 3, 1769; April 14, June 8, 1770; February 5, 1771; January 13, 1772; February 25, 1774.—Sparks.
[1 ]The associations, as they were called, or resolutions not to import goods from Great Britain had been unequally observed in the different colonies, as will appear by the following statement, taken from the custom-house entries, of the value of all the goods exported from England to the several colonies, enumerated, from Christmas, 1767 to Christmas, 1769.
This summary shows a large decrease in the amount of goods exported to the eastern and middle colonies, particularly New York and Pennsylvania, but an increase at the south. This is in part explained by the fact that the necessities of the southern colonies for foreign goods were much greater than at the east, where domestic manufactures had to some extent become established. The statement is transcribed from a letter written by Mr. W. S. Johnson, in London, March 6, 1770.