Front Page Titles (by Subject) CCCCXXX: TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. V Letters and Misc. Writings 1768-1772
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CCCCXXX: TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN - 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 WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 30 January, 1772.
My Dear Son:—
In your last you mention some complaisance of Lord Hillsborough towards you, that showed a disposition to be on better terms. His behaviour to me in Ireland corresponds exactly. We met first at the Lord Lieutenant’s. Mr. Jackson and I were invited to dine there, and when we came we were shown into a room where Lord Hillsborough was alone. He was extremely civil, wonderfully so to me, whom he had not long before abused to Mr. Strahan, as a factious, turbulent fellow, always in mischief, a republican, enemy to the King’s service, and what not. He entered very frankly into conversation with us both, and invited us both to stop at his house in Hillsborough, as we should travel northward, and urged it in so polite a manner that we could not avoid saying that we would wait on him if we went that way. In my own mind I was determined not to go that way; but Mr. Jackson thought himself obliged to call on his Lordship, considering the connexion his office forms between them. His Lordship dined with us at the Lord Lieutenant’s. There were at the table the Lord Chancellor, the Speaker, and all the great officers of state. He drank my health, and was otherwise particularly civil. He went from Dublin some days before us.1
At Dublin we saw and were entertained by both parties, the courtiers and the patriots. The latter treated me with particular respect. We were admitted to sit among the members of the Commons’ House; Mr. Jackson as member of the British Parliament, and I as member of some British Parliament in America. The Speaker proposed it on my behalf, with some very obliging expressions of respect for my character, and was answered by the House with a unanimous aye of consent, when two members came out to me, led me in between them, and placed me honorably and commodiously. I hope our assemblies will not fall short of them in this politeness, if any Irish member should happen to be in our country.
In Scotland I spent five days with Lord Kames at his seat, Blair Drummond, near Stirling, two or three days at Glasgow, two days at Carron Iron Works, and the rest of the month in and about Edinburgh, lodging at David Hume’s, who entertained me with the greatest kindness and hospitality, as did Lord Kames and his lady. All our old acquaintances there, Sir Alexander Dick and lady, Mr. McGowan, Drs. Robertson, Cullen, Black, Ferguson, Russel, and others, inquired affectionately of your welfare. I was out three months, and the journey was evidently of great service to my health.
Mr. Bache had some views of obtaining an office in America; but I dissuaded him from the application, as I could not appear in it, and rather wish to see all I am connected with in an independent situation, supported by their own industry. I therefore advised him to lay out the money he brought with him in goods, return and sit down to business in Philadelphia, selling for ready money only, in which way I think he might, by quick returns, get forward in the world. It would have been wrong for Sally to leave her mother, besides incurring the expense of such a voyage.
I cast my eye over Goddard’s piece against our friend Mr. Galloway, and then lit my fire with it. I think such feeble, malicious attacks cannot hurt him.
The resolution of the Board of Trade to admit, for the future, no agents to appear before them but such as are appointed by “concurrent act of the whole Legislature,” will, I think, put an end to agencies, as, I apprehend, the assemblies will think agents, under the ministerial influence that must arise from such appointments, cannot be of much use in their colony affairs. In truth, I think the agents, as now appointed, of as much use to the government here, as to the colonies that send them, having often prevented its going into mistaken measures through misinformation, that must have been very inconvenient to itself and would have prevented more of the same kind if they had been attended to; witness the Stamp and Duty acts. I believe, therefore, we shall conclude to leave this omniscient, infallible minister to his own devices, and be no longer at the expense of sending any agent, whom he can displace by a repeal of the appointing act. I am sure I should not like to be an agent in such a suspicious situation, and shall therefore decline serving under every such appointment.
Your Assembly may avoid the dispute you seem apprehensive of, by leaving the appointment of an agent out of the support bill, or rather, I should say, the sum for his salary. The money in my hands will pay him, who ever he is, for two or three years, in which the measure and the minister may be changed. In the meantime, by working with a friend who has great influence at the Board, he can serve the province as effectually as by an open reception and appearance.
Our friend, Sir John Pringle, put into my hands the other day a letter from Mr. Bowman, seeming, I thought, a good deal pleased with the notice you had taken of his recommendation. I send you a copy of it that you may see the man has a grateful disposition. Temple has been at home with us during the Christmas vacation from school. He improves continually, and more and more engages the regard of all that are acquainted with him by his pleasing, sensible, manly behaviour.
I have of late great debates with myself whether or not I shall continue here any longer. I grow homesick, and, being now in my sixty-seventh year, I begin to apprehend some infirmity of age may attack me, and make my return impracticable. I have also some important affairs to settle before my death, a period I ought now to think cannot be far distant. I see here no disposition in Parliament to meddle farther in colony affairs for the present, either to lay more duties or to repeal any, and I think, though I were to return again, I may be absent from here a year without any prejudice to the business I am engaged in, though it is not probable that, being once at home, I should ever again see England. I have indeed so many good kind friends here, that I could spend the remainder of my life among them with great pleasure, if it were not for my American connexions, and the indelible affection I retain for that dear country from which I have so long been in a state of exile. My love to Betsey. I am ever your affectionate father,
[1 ]In the original, here follows an account of his visit to Lord Hillsborough, the same in substance as that contained in the letter to Mr. Cushing, dated January 13th. See supra, page 288.