2022-07 Raynors HCA Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/15/2022
A complete and authentic issue of The Gentleman’s Magazine, December 1773, 48pp., disbound, VG. An extraordinary letter written by B. Franklin, Agent for the House of Representatives of the Massachusetts Bay, Craven-street , Dec. 25, 1773, running 7/8 column.“Finding that two Gentlemen have been unfortunately engaged in a Duel, about a transaction and its circumstances of which both of them are totally ignorant and innocent, I think it incumbent on me to declare..... that I alone am the person who obtained and transmitted to Boston the letters in question. Mr. W. could not communicate them, because they were never in his possession; and, for the same reason, they could not be taken from him by Mr. T- They were not of the nature of “private letters between friends:” They were written by public officers to persons in public station, on public affairs, and intended to procure public measures; they were therefore handed to other public persons who might be influenced by them to produce those measures: Their tendency was to incense the Mother Country against her Colonies, and, by the steps recommended, to widen the breach, which they effected. The chief Caution expressed with regard to Privacy, was, to keep their contents from the Colony Agents, who the writers apprehended might return them, or copies of them, to America. That apprehension was, it seems, well founded; for the first Agent who laid his hands on them, thought it his duty1 to transmit them to his Constituents.” The Hutchinson Letters affair was an incident that increased tensions between the colonists of the Province of Massachusetts Bay and the British government prior to the American Revolution. In June 1773, letters written several years earlier by Thomas Hutchinson and Andrew Oliver, who were governor and lieutenant governor of the province at the time of their publication, were published in a Boston newspaper. The content of the letters was propagandistically claimed by Massachusetts radical politicians to call for the abridgement of colonial rights, and a duel was fought in England over the matter. The affair served to inflame tensions in Massachusetts, where the implementation of the 1773 Tea Act was met with resistance that culminated in the Boston Tea Party in December 1773. The response of the British government to the publication of the letters served to turn Benjamin Franklin, one of the principal figures in the affair, into a committed Patriot. In England, speculation ran rampant over the source of the leak. William Whately accused John Temple of taking the letters, which Temple denied, challenging Whately to a duel. Whately was wounded in the encounter in early December 1773, but neither participant was satisfied, and a second duel was planned. In order to forestall that event, Franklin on Christmas Day published a letter admitting that he was responsible for the acquisition and transmission of the letters, to prevent "further mischief". He justified his actions by pointing out that the letters had been written between public officials for the purpose of influencing public policy. In the Privy Council hearing concerning Hutchinson's fate, in which the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party was also discussed, Franklin stood silently while he was lambasted by Solicitor General Alexander Wedderburn for his role in the affair. He was accused of thievery and dishonor, and called the prime mover in England on behalf of Boston's radical Committee of Correspondence. The Board of Trade dismissed Franklin from his post as colonial Postmaster General.
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Benjamin Franklin’s Leak Causes a Duel and Ultimately Franklin’s Removal as Postmaster General

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $150.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $195.00
Estimate: $300 - $500
Auction closed on Saturday, July 16, 2022.
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