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DXI: FROM SAMUEL COOPER - 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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FROM SAMUEL COOPER
Boston, 14 June, 1773.
We have received high eulogiums upon the replies of our Council and Commons from gentlemen of the most respectable characters in the other colonies, where there evidently appears an increasing regard for this province, and an inclination to unite for the common safety. Virginia has led the way by proposing a communication and correspondence between all the assemblies through the continent. The letter from their committee for this purpose was received here with no little joy, and the proposal agreed to in the most ready and respectful manner. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire have already chosen committees, so that all New England is now united with Virginia in this salutary plan, and the accession of most, if not all, of the other colonies is not doubted. This opens a most agreeable prospect to the friends of our common rights.
In my last I mentioned to you my having had a sight of some letters that had been transmitted to the Speaker, with leave to communicate them to me and some others in confidence. I soon apprehended from the nature of the contents and the number of persons to whom they were directed to be shown, that they could not long remain secret. However, I have preserved inviolable the trust reposed in me. Some, not named by you as confidants, had hints from London that such letters were come or coming, and began to suspect they were concealed in favor of the writers. The secret was kept till the meeting of the General Court, when so many members had obtained such general intimations of it as to render them extremely inquisitive and solicitous. At last it was thought best to communicate them to the House, with the restrictions that accompanied them here. The House could not act upon them with those restrictions, but the substance of them was known everywhere, and the alarm given. Soon after, copies of them were brought into the House, said to have come from England by the last ships.
Many members scrupled to act upon these copies while they were under such public engagements to the unknown proprietor of the originals. As the matter was now so public, and the restrictions could answer no good end, no view of the sender, but on the contrary might prevent in a great measure a proper use of the letters for the public benefit, and for weakening the influence and power of the writers and their friends, and disarming their revenge, it was judged most expedient, by the gentlemen to whom they were first shown, to allow the House such a use of the originals as they might think necessary to found their proceedings upon for the common safety. By whom and to whom they were sent is still a secret, known only to three persons here, and may still remain so, if you desire it.
I forgot to mention that, upon the first appearance of the letters in the House, they voted, by a majority of one hundred and one to five, that the design and tendency of them were to subvert the constitution and introduce arbitrary power. Their committee upon this matter reported this day a number of resolutions, which are to be printed by to-morrow morning, and every member furnished with a copy, that they may compare them with the letters; and to-morrow at three o’clock in the afternoon is the time appointed to decide upon the report. The acceptance of it by a great majority is not doubted.
Should the vessel that is to carry this letter remain long enough, I will send you a copy of the resolutions. Nothing could have been more seasonable than the arrival of these letters. They have had great effect; they make deep impressions wherever they are known; they strip the mask from the writers, who, under the professions of friendship to their country, now plainly appear to have been endeavoring to build up themselves and their families upon its ruins. They and their adherents are shocked and dismayed; the confidence reposed in them by many is annihilated; and administration must soon see the necessity of putting the provincial power of the crown into other hands, if they mean it should operate to any good effect. This, at present, is almost the universal sentiment.
The House have this day sent up the letters to the Board, which, I believe, will concur with them in the substance and spirit of their proceedings. We are highly indebted to our friends in London, and to you, sir, in particular, for so important a communication, and hope, while it supports the cause of truth and justice, and promotes the deliverance of this abused and oppressed country, it will be attended with no disadvantage to them.
The inconveniences that may accidently arise from such generous interpositions are abundantly compensated by the reflection that they tend to the security and happiness of millions. I trust, however, that nothing of this kind will occur to disturb the agreeable feelings of those who, in this instance, have done such extensive good. With great esteem, I am, etc.,