578 | To John Pownall

    Boston Jan 9 1768

    Dear Sr.

    I send you the enclosed Papers containing the four first Letters of a Pensylvanian Farmer as a Specimen of an American System of Politicks. These Letters are reckoned to be and undoubtedly are the most Masterly Writings of on that Side of the Question. As it is not probable that they are really the Produce of Pensylvania, various Conjectures are made from whence these Conjectures Papers come. Some have derived them from this Town and have pointed out the Author. But it seems certain that the Faction here had not a Writer of Abilities equal to this Work. Others impute them to Mr Dulany of Maryland; but without any other Authority than the internal Evidence of the Writing being suitable to his Abilities, and agreeable to his Manner, both as to Stile, & the unnecessary Quotation of Authorities.1 Whoever is the Author, People’s Curiosity is not a little Attentive to the Reception these Papers will meet with in England. For it seems pretty plain that if what is laid down in them is the Law of America, the Parliament of Great Britain need not give themselves much more trouble to make Laws for this Country. They are printed in the Pensylvanian Chronicle in the first Instance, & from thence copied in the New York & Boston Papers and I suppose in all others upon this Continent. What I now send you are one in the Original and three others in different Papers.2 As the first Letter dwells so much upon the N York Act3 I am enclined to think they originate from Thence: tho’ this Reason is not conclusive. If you have not met with these before you receive this, they will afford Amusement if they are of no other Use.

    I am &c

    J Pownall Esq:

    L, LbC     BP, 6: 59-60.

    Probably in handwriting of Thomas Bernard. Enclosures (not found) were the first four “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania” published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle and other newspapers. The first of twelve letters by the “Pennsylvania Farmer” appeared in the Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser of 30 Nov.- 3 Dec. 1767 and the last on 15 Feb. 1768; they were reprinted in the Boston Gazette, the Boston Chronicle, and the Boston Evening-Post between 21 Dec. 1767 and 29 Feb. 1768. FB probably enclosed reprints of the second, third, and fourth letters in the series (spanning a four week period from 2 to 26 Dec. in the Pennsylvania Chronicle) which were reprinted as follows: no. 2, Boston Gazette, 28 Dec.; no. 3, Boston Evening-Post, 28 Dec. and 11 Jan., and Boston Gazette, 4 Jan.; no. 4, Boston Gazette, 11 Jan., and Boston Chronicle, 28 Dec.-4 Jan.4 FB continued to send Pownall copies of the “Letters” as they appeared in print.5