Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Joshua Sharpe, 21 April 1758

To Joshua Sharpe9

ALS: Boston Public Library

Craven Street, April 21. 58


I approve very much of engaging Dr. Hay.1 I know not whether he will chuse to appear for us before the Attorney and Sollicitor General, but before the Committee of Council perhaps he may have no Objection.

If the Constitution of the Province is to be attack’d, as you intimate, the Cause is of so much greater Weight. If the Privileges of a single Englishman are of Importance, those of the Representative Body of a whole Province must be more so.

In the Royal Charter Sect. IV. and in W. Penn’s Charter of Privileges Sect. II. and in the Act of Assembly 4to Anno, pag. 72.2 you will see how the Privileges and Powers of the Assembly are founded, and what they are.

I am, Sir Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

Addressed: To / Joshua Sharpe Esqr / at his Chambers, Lincoln’s / Inn New Square / No 4

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Joshua Sharpe (c. 1716–1786), brother of Gov. Horatio Sharpe of Maryland and of William Sharpe, clerk of the Privy Council, had been admitted to Lincoln’s Inn, 1740, and served as counsel for Pennsylvania (in 1755 and 1756) and other colonies before the Board of Trade and the Privy Council. The Records of the Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn (Lincoln’s Inn, 1896), I, 421; Gent. Mag., LVI (1786), 441; Board of Trade Journals, 1754–58, passim.

1George Hay (1715–1778), D.C.L. Oxon., 1742; at this time M.P., member of the Admiralty Board, vicar-general to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and King’s advocate; knighted, 1773. DNB. Sharpe was to consult him about a hearing on the petition of William Smith to be held on April 27. See documents under that date for references to the matters mentioned by BF below. Hay is not recorded as counsel for the Assembly in any hearings at this time.

2All three documents cited are quoted in the next document.

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