Benjamin Franklin Papers

Pennsylvania Assembly Committee of Correspondence to Richard Jackson and Benjamin Franklin, 6 June 1766

Pennsylvania Assembly Committee of Correspondence to Richard Jackson and Benjamin Franklin

LS: Library of Congress

Philadelphia June 6. 1766


Our Assembly now sitting, having purposely adjourned, in May last, to this Time, have their Expectations joyfully gratified by receiving an authentic Account, in Secretary Conway’s Letter to the Governor, of the Repeal of the Stamp Act,6 which has been the Occasion of great Distress and Anxiety to the Colonies for Several Months past; We are ordered by the House to transmit to you, the inclosed Address to his Majesty, expressing the grateful Sense they entertain of his Wisdom and Clemency, and the Justice of his Parliament, in Releiving the Colonies from the distressing Consequences, which must have attended the Execution of that Law, which, as Soon as you receive, you will lose no Time in presenting, as the House, is desirous that this Province may be the foremost in a Testimony of their Loyalty and gratitude on that Occasion.7

We have the Satisfaction to inform you, that amidst the rejoicings of the People here, on the Arrival of this Interesting News, such Moderation and Decorum, have been preserved, that we hope they will not occasion, the least Uneasiness to the Friends of America in England.

The House have omitted in this Address a Declaration of their readiness to comply with the Demands of the Crown in granting such Sums of Money, for the general Safety of the Colonies, as our Circumstances will admit, jud[g]ing it improper to blend Complaints of our Grievances with our grateful Acknowledgments to his Majesty and Parliament. You may however perceive, by their Resolve inclosed, which you will Communicate to his Majestys Ministers, in such Manner as your prudence may Suggest, That we are authorised to instruct you to give the strongest Assurances, that it is their full Determination to do every thing in their Power to answer such Requisitions, as may be made, consistent with the present distrest Circumstances of the Province.8

You cannot be insensible of the Impediments which have heretofore, prevented the Grants of former Assemblies, and the disagreeable Contests arising thro the Interuption of Proprietary Instructions to their Governors. And as you have, already, full Directions, to Solicit a Redress of these Grievances under which the Province has long laboured, We hope and request, that you will Omit no Opportunity or Argument to Obtain, the much desired Relief, in the manner and under the Limitations formerly Prescribed. In full Confidence of your Care and Attention to this Important Business, We are Gentlemen your Assured friends and humble Servants

Giles Knight Jos: Fox
Thos: Livezey Jos: Richardson
Jos. Galloway Isa. Pearson

Richard Jackson and Benjamin Franklin Esquires

Endorsed: Committee of Correspe.   June 6. 1766   Enclosing Address, Pressing the Change

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Conway’s letter to Governor Penn of March 31, 1766, transmitting copies of the Declaratory Act and the act repealing the Stamp Act is printed in Pa. Col. Recs., ix, 310–11, and in 8 Pa. Arch., vii, 5878–9. It was read in both the Council and the Assembly on June 3.

7On the same day that Conway’s letter was read the Assembly appointed a committee of fourteen members to prepare an address to the King. Nine of these men had voted for the reappointment of BF as agent the previous October, four had voted against, and one had not yet been elected to the Assembly. The committee presented its draft on June 5, when it was approved “after some Alterations,” and it was signed on the 6th. 8 Pa. Arch., vii, 5882. BF was on his trip to Germany when this letter arrived in London, but he wrote the speaker and Committee of Correspondence, August 22 (below, p. 384), that Jackson had presented the address to Lord Shelburne, the new secretary of state, that Shelburne had presented it to the King, and that it was “graciously receiv’d, and printed in the Gazette.”

8Although supporters of the proprietary party were only a minority of the drafting committee and of the Assembly, they were able to get Galloway’s declaration of “readiness to comply with the Demands of the Crown in granting such Sums of Money,” removed from the address, on the floor of the House, but they could not prevent its adoption as a separate resolution. See Galloway’s letter immediately below. The resolution, dated July 6, 1766, and sent to the agents, reads as follows: “Resolved, That whenever His Majesty’s Service for the future shall require the Aids of the Inhabitants of this Province, and they shall be called on for that purpose in a constitutional Way, this House, and we doubt not all future Assemblies, will think it their indispensible Duty to grant such Aids to his Majesty, as the Safety of the Colonies requires and the Circumstances and Abilities of this Province may permit, unless the Proprietaries Instructions to their Deputy Governors respecting Proprietary private Interest shall continue to interfere.” This copy was made and attested by BF. APS.

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