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CCCCLXXIX: TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VI Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775 
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. VI (Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775).
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TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 14 February, 1773.
The opposition are now attacking the ministry on the St. Vincent’s affair, which is generally condemned here, and some think Lord Hillsborough will be given up, as the adviser of that expedition. But, if it succeeds, perhaps all will blow over. The ministry are more embarrassed with the India affairs. The continued refusal of North America to take tea from hence, has brought infinite distress on the company. They imported great quantities in faith that that agreement could not hold; and now they can neither pay their debts nor dividends; their stock has sunk to the annihilating near three millions of their property, and government will lose its four hundred thousand pounds a year; while their teas lie on hand. The bankruptcies brought on partly by this means have given such a shock to credit as has not been experienced here since the South Sea year. And this has affected the great manufacturers so much as to oblige them to discharge their hands, and thousands of Spaitalfields and Manchester weavers are now starving, or subsisting on charity. Blessed effects of pique, and passion in government, which should have no passions. Yours, etc.,1
[1 ]When the bill imposing a tax on glass, paper, and painters’ colors was repealed the ministry proposed a reduction of the duty on tea from one shilling to threepence a pound, thus easing the colonies, as they said, of ninepence on a pound. But, at the same time, Lord North avowed the object of retaining this threepenny tax to be for the purpose of asserting and maintaining the right of Parliament to tax the colonies. He said that “he even wished to have repealed the whole, if it could have been done without giving up that absolute right; that he should, to the last hour of his life, contend for taxing America; but, he was sorry to say, the behavior of the Americans had by no means been such as to merit such favor, neither did he think a total repeal would quell the troubles there, as experience had shown that, to lay taxes when America was quiet, and repeal them when America was in flames, only added fresh claims to those people on every occasion.” And he added, in speaking of the non-importation agreements in the colonies: “North America, from its natural situation, and the dearness of labor, would be many years before it could supply itself with manufactures; therefore there was not so much to fear from their resolutions as the nation imagined.”—Debrett’s Parliamentary Debates, Vol. V., p. 254. With these views he retained the threepence a pound on tea, and the East India Company was induced to make large importations for the American market, but the people held to their resolutions, resisted the tax, and defeated the sales, thus bringing heavy losses upon the company.