Front Page Titles (by Subject) DXXV: TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VI Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775
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DXXV: 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 July, 1773.
I am glad to find by yours of May 4th that you have been able to assist Josiah Davenport a little; but vexed that he and you should think of putting me upon a solicitation which it is impossible for me to engage in. I am not upon terms with Lord North to ask any such favor from him. Displeased with something he said relating to America, I have never been at his levees since the first. Perhaps he has taken that amiss. For the last week we met occasionally at Lord le Despencer’s in our return from Oxford, where I had been to attend the solemnity of his installation, and he seemed studiously to avoid speaking to me. I ought to be ashamed to say that on such occasions I feel myself to be as proud as anybody. His lady indeed was more gracious. She came and sat down by me on the same sofa, and condescended to enter into a conversation with me agreeably enough, as if to make some amends. Their son and daughter were with them. They stayed all night, so that we dined, supped, and breakfasted together, without exchanging three sentences. But had he ever so great a regard for me I could not ask that office, trifling as it is, for any relation of mine. And detesting as I do the whole system of American customs, believing they will one day bring on a breach through the indiscretions and insolence of those concerned in the collection, I should never wish to see one so near to me in that business. If you think him capable of acting as deputy secretary, I imagine you might easily obtain that for him of Mr. Morgan.
He has lately been with me, is always very complaisant, and, understanding I was about returning to America, requested my interest to obtain for him the agency for your province. His friend, Sir Watkin Lewes, who was formerly candidate for the same great place, is now high sheriff of London, and in the way of being Lord Mayor. The new sheriffs-elect are (could you think it?) both Americans, viz., Mr. Sayre, the New Yorker, and Mr. William Lee, brother to Dr. Lee. I am glad you stand so well with Lord Dartmouth. I am likewise well with him, but he never spoke to me of augmenting your salary. He is truly a good man, and wishes sincerely a good understanding with the colonies, but does not seem to have strength equal to his wishes. Between you and me, the late measures have been, I suspect, very much the king’s own, and he has in some cases a great share of what his friends call firmness. Yet, by some painstaking and proper management, the wrong impressions he has received may be removed, which is perhaps the only chance America has for obtaining soon the redress she aims at. This entirely to yourself.
And, now we are among great folks, let me tell you a little of Lord Hillsborough. I went down to Oxford with and at the instance of Lord le Despencer, who is on all occasions very good to me, and seems of late very desirous of my company. Mr. Todd too was there, who has some attachment to Lord Hillsborough, and, in a walk we were taking, told me, as a secret, that Lord Hillsborough was much chagrined at being out of place, and could never forgive me for writing that pamphlet against his report about the Ohio. “I assured him,” says Mr. Todd, “that I knew you did not write it; and the consequence is, that he thinks I know the contrary, and wanted to impose upon him in your favor; and so I find he is now displeased with me, and for no other cause in the world.” His friend Bamber Gascoign, too, says, that they well know it was written by Dr. Franklin, who was one of the most mischievous men in England.
That same day Lord Hillsborough called upon Lord le Despencer, whose chamber and mine were together in Queen’s College. I was in the inner room shifting, and heard his voice, but did not see him, as he went down stairs immediately with Lord le Despencer, who mentioning that I was above, he returned directly and came to me in the pleasantest manner imaginable. “Dr. Franklin,” said he, “I did not know till this minute that you were here, and I am come back to make you my bow. I am glad to see you at Oxford, and that you look so well,” etc. In return for this extravagance, I complimented him on his son’s performance in the theatre, though indeed it was but indifferent, so that account was settled. For as people say, when they are angry, If he strikes me, I ’ll strike him again; I think sometimes it may be right to say, If he flatters me, I ’ll flatter him again. This is lex talionis, returning offences in kind. His son, however (Lord Fairford), is a valuable young man, and his daughters, Ladies Mary and Charlotte, most amiable young women. My quarrel is only with him, who, of all the men I ever met with, is surely the most unequal in his treatment of people, the most insincere, and the most wrong-headed; witness, besides his various behavior to me, his duplicity in encouraging us to ask for more land, ask for enough to make a province (when we at first asked only for two millions five hundred thousand acres), were his words, pretending to befriend our application, then doing every thing to defeat it; and reconciling the first to the last, by saying to a friend that he meant to defeat it from the beginning; and that his putting us upon asking so much was with that very view, supposing it too much to be granted. Thus, by the way, his mortification becomes double. He has served us by the very means he meant to destroy us, and tripped up his own heels into the bargain. Your affectionate father,