Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Richard Jackson, 17 April 1763

To Richard Jackson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. April 17. 1763

Dear Sir,

I wrote you a long Letter of the 8th and 29th of March on various Subjects, too long to copy unless it should be lost. But as Messrs. Coxe are sending Copies of their Request and Power to you, I must repeat so much of my Letter as related thereto.

[Here Franklin copied verbatim the long paragraph which formed the largest part of the postscript dated March 22 to his letter begun on March 8; see above, pp. 212–14. It is not repeated here.]

Thus far out of preceeding Letters. I have now only to add on this Head, that there are already several Schemes on foot among the People in different Parts of this and the neighbouring Provinces for Removal Westward, and great Numbers show a strong Disposition to go and settle on the Ohio or Missisipi, but they want Heads to form regular Plans of proceeding. I am convinc’d that a new Colony, that should be plac’d within Coxe’s Bounds, on the Rivers that discharge themselves into the Bay of Mexico, between Cape Florida and the Missisipi would have a more rapid Progress in Population than any heretofore planted.9

Follows a Copy of my Letter of the 11th Instant sent via New York, viz

[Here Franklin copied verbatim the whole of his letter of April 11, including date line, salutation, and signature, but omitting the postscript about the growth in numbers of New England churches; see above, pp. 246–8. It is not repeated here.]

April 17. I am just setting out for Virginia, on Post Office Business. As I shall be on the Edge of North Carolina, I may have an Opportunity of learning something of their Land Affairs. I hope to be back in about 4 Weeks. Yours ut supra


P.S. In a former Letter I mention’d one Mr. Lyon’s Scheme for a new Colony, as being very crude.1 Another is just now put into my Hands, that has in it many things quite absurd.2 I send it you enclos’d. I know not who is the Mover at Bottom. These Things serve to show the present Disposition of the People.

Richd Jackson Esqr

Endorsed: Philad Apr 1763 B Franklin Esqr

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9The original Heath grant of Carolana, to which the Coxe family laid claim, extended from the 31st to the 36th parallel, so the settlement BF had in mind could technically have been anywhere in the present states of Alabama and Mississippi except in their southern extensions to the Gulf of Mexico below the 31st parallel. Because the exact location of the parallel in that region was not understood, however, he might have contemplated a settlement almost anywhere north of the Gulf between the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee rivers on the east and the Mississippi on the west. Other people had ideas about this region. Following a Board of Trade recommendation of June 8, the King issued the proclamation of Oct. 7, 1763, which, among other things, established the royal province of West Florida, to occupy precisely that part of the Gulf Coast lying between those rivers and south of the 31st parallel. A supplementary commission to the first royal governor, George Johnstone, issued in the spring of 1764, extended the northern boundary of West Florida to a line drawn due east from the confluence of the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers, thereby nearly tripling the area of the province. These actions of the Crown put an effective stop to any scheme for a separate colony based on the Carolana grant. Acts Privy Coun., Col., IV, 668; Cecil Johnson, British West Florida 1763–1783 (New Haven, 1943), pp. 3–7.

1See above, p. 215, and the document immediately below.

2Lieut. Thomas Webb (c.1724–1796), British army officer and Methodist preacher, calling himself “one of the Proposalists,” announced in Pa. Gaz., April 21, 1763, a scheme for a colony on the Ohio to be named “New Wales.” Emigrating families to the number of 4000 were to have 300 acres each and “Gentleman Proprietors” might buy tracts ranging from one to ten thousand acres at £50 per thousand, the proceeds to be used in buying the land and in furnishing stock, tools, and provisions. Webb assured the public that this colony would be “so advantageously situated, with respect to the easy Navigation to the West-Indies, that the Inhabitants will be able to transport their Commodities in a few Days.” One week later Pa. Gaz. carried Webb’s announcement withdrawing his proposal, since “it has been judged necessary I should desist entirely in the Prosecution thereof, until His Majesty’s Pleasure is known concerning the Lands in Question.” See below, p. 286.

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