Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas and Richard Penn, 2 February 1758

From Thomas and Richard Penn

Letterbook copy: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

London February 2d: 1758.


Our Letter to you of the 28th. of January was a direct and explicit answer to your own proposal made to us the Day before.1 Yesterday your Letter of the 31st: was left at Spring Garden, wherein you write that you had mentioned some other Matters to us; whatever might be said before the proposal last resolved upon was made, it is not in the least necessary to repeat, and we believe you could not yourself hope we should entertain a proposition of that sort, so as to comply with it.

We greatly dislike many parts of the Bill, which you proposed should be re-enacted, but yet rather than the Publick Interest and His Majesty’s Service should suffer we consented to that Bill for the present year at your request, as much the lesser evil, and have given our Lieutenant Governor directions accordingly, as we acquainted you on the 28th. past.2 We are Your affectionate Friends

T: P:
R: P:

Benjamin Franklin Esqr.

1See above, p. 366, for the letter of the 28th; BF’s of the 31st mentioned below has not been found. See below, p. 372, for a final letter in this dispute.

2On February 2 the Penns also wrote Richard Peters that they had consented to the passage of a new supply bill on the same terms as that of 1757. They then continued: “Mr. Franklin at first proposed to withdraw Instructions for the present, or at least to give a more general power to the Governor to agree with the House if they should desire to amend the Bill, in any particular, the first we could by no means agree to, and we did not think the last at all advisable, as we could not but believe some undue advantage might be taken, by the House of such a liberty. We have therefore made our Licence to the Governor absolute, but as Mr. Franklin informs us the Members are not satisfied with the method of valuing Estates, and some others had been proposed, one of which might probably be agreed to in the next Bill, we thought it proper to signify to you and desire you will to the Members of Council or such of them as you shall think proper privately, that if a more just and equal assessment shall be fixed upon or any alteration, more constitutional, in favour of Government or conformable to our Instructions, is proposed, that you will advise the Governor to pass the Bill which we shall certainly approve of, provided such an exception, as before mentioned of our Estate is incerted. If the Governor should be unwilling to deviate from our Letter, you will shew this to him, otherwise it is not necessary.

“We do not agree to this exception with any desire to make an undue advantage of it or to contribute less to the necessary Defence of our Country in time of War, in proportion to our Incomes than other People in it; but if it shall appear after we shall have agreed to a just method of Taxation, and the other Points in difference with the House, on an examination of this Affair, that what we have contributed is not as much in proportion to our Income as what has been given by the People in general is to theirs, we shall very willingly make up the deficiency, if it is more, no doubt it will be returned to us, this you may occasionally say for us.” Yale Univ. Lib.

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