Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Isaac Norris, 5 April 1759

From Isaac Norris

Two Letterbook copies:4 Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philada. Aprl. 5. 1759

Dear Friend B Franklin

I have already wrote by Captain Cuzzins inclosing Bills of Exchange.5 So that I now only inclose a First Bill which I have since purchased drawn by John Hunter6 on Messrs. Thomlinson Hanbury Colebrooke and Nesbit Merchants in London No. 1049 for £200. Sterling7 which I have ordered payable to your Self or Order which please to reserve for my Account.

I dined Yesterday with Col. Hunter who informs me that Mony may be lodged in the Bank on Parliamentary Interest for any Time and drawn out as it is wanted without any previous Notice, if this is so as I think it is, pray be so kind as to lodge the Monies arising from the Bills I have remitted in the Bank for further Orders as Occasion may require.8 Our Supply Bill for granting £100,000 and 2,700 Men to his Majesty9 has been refused in plain Terms because the Governor is restricted by Proprietary Orders and cannot pass it, but adds that he will be willing to pass such a Bill as he gave his Assent to the last Year (which exempts the Proprietary Estate).1 I am of Opinion that if our present Supply Bill does not pass; The House will frame a new Bill exempting the Proprietors granting about £80,000 and 2,000 Men instead of the Number and Sum in the present Bill to make up for the Proprietary Deficiency.2 The House, I think will not come into the Governor’s Proposals as they have already declared by an Unanimous Resolve,3 but have agreed to a Bill which will be ready to be sent up this Day granting the Men and Mony as in their former Bill with an Additional Clause declaring that the Proprietary free Gift of £5,000 (about £600 of which is Still unpaid)4 shall be accounted for as part of the Grants heretofore made by this Province since the Excise Act5 and shall accept it as a proportion of the £55,000 and the two £100,000 Grants6 and if it exceeds the proportion the Proprietaries ought to pay upon the Several Acts he shall take Credit for the Overplus upon the present Grant, and on the Other Hand if it falls Short of this equitable proportion they are to make up the Deficiency. What Success this Bill, thus framed, will meet with, I have not heard but as it seems probable that the different Instructions from what they formerly were may yet be continued with sufficient precautions against having their Estates taxed in any Manner an Assembly regardful of the Rights of their Constituents can pass I presume it may meet the Fate of our Other Supply Bills of which we shall be able to send an Account in a very few Days for the Season presses and we cannot sit much longer.7 I shall give Directions to the Clerk to Copy these Minutes if they can be got ready for Captain Cuzzins or at least to go by the Packet.8 We were a little disappointed on the Arrival of the Packet to hear nothing from you as She brought Advices to near the Middle of February but we have received the Letters by Capt. Nicholson dated in November last which I will endeavour to Answer more fully by the Packet.9 In the mean Time that I may not loose this opportunity I shall Conclude Your Assured Friend


Endorsed: B F acknowled the receipt of this Letter June 9. 1759

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The longer of the two versions, on p. 103, has been used, rather than that on pp. 97–8.

5See immediately above.

6For Col. John Hunter, agent for Thomlinson & Hanbury, see above, VI, 223 n, VII, 254 n.

7BF recorded the receipt of this bill on May 29, 1759. “Account of Expences,” p. 27; PMHB, LV (1931), 118.

8These first lines of the paragraph are marked in the margin with a line and the notation: “See p. 97 a loose small paper inclosed viz.” The lines are not included in the other letterbook copy. For BF’s investments on Norris’ behalf, see above, p. 148.

9For fuller details on this supply bill, see below, pp. 326–7.

1For the supply bill enacted on April 22, 1758, see above, pp. 54–5.

2This sentence is inserted in the margin and does not appear in the other letterbook copy.

3On April 2, 1759, the Assembly resolved “unanimously in the Negative” to a proposal for exempting the proprietary estates from taxation. Votes, 1758–59, p. 55.

4For the proprietary gift of £5000, see above, VI, 257 n.

5While Norris may be referring to the Excise Act passed on May 26, 1744, it seems more likely that the reference here is to the Excise Act, raising £30,000 “for the King’s service,” passed on Sept. 21, 1756. Statutes at Large, Pa., IV, 395–407; V, 243–61.

6For the three grants referred to, see above, VI, 257 n; VII, 152–3, and this volume, pp. 54–5.

7On the final passage of this bill, see below, p. 327 n.

8Norris presumably means the exchanges between Denny and the Assembly, concerning the supply bill; they may be found in Votes, 1758–59, pp. 52, 55. The General Wall packet, Capt. Walter Lutwidge, arrived in New York, March 15, and sailed again, April 16, 1759. New-York Mercury, March 19, April 16, 1759.

9On April 5, 1759, Pa. Gaz. records the arrival of Capt. George Nicholson of the Rebecca and Susanna the day before. None of BF’s November letters to Pa. have been found.

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