Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Galloway, 20 May 1767

To Joseph Galloway

ALS: William L. Clements Library; enclosure: AD: Yale University Library7

London, May 20. 1767

Dear Sir,

I had no Line from you per last Packet. I hope you are well. We have been extreamly busy here lately in the Affair of Paper Money. Enclos’d I send you a Copy of the Report of the Merchants, obtained after many Meetings and delivered to the Ministry: But there are still great Difficulties, the Board of Trade being extreamly averse to the Repeal of an Act which they were the Fathers of, and on which they have highly valued themselves. The general Rage against America, artfully work’d up by the Grenville Faction, has been another Obstacle. I hope we shall get over all, the Ministry being at length prevail’d on to espouse the Measure, that the Colonies may have something to give on a Requisition from the Crown, and that the Duties may increase by the Increase of Commerce. But if this Ministry should be changed before the Session ends, as there is now strong Talk that they will be, our Hopes and all our Labour will again be frustrated.

It is resolved to bring in a Bill to suspend all Legislation in New York, till the Act of Parliament for quartering Soldiers is complied with.8 Mr. Conway was against it, and would have had it reconsidered.

I shall write you fully per Egdon. With great Esteem, I am Dear Sir, Your faithful humble Servant

B Franklin

Joseph Galloway Esqr.


The Merchants of London trading to the Continent of America are of Opinion

That the most speedy and effectual Relief to the Colonies in respect to the present distressed State of their Commerce, for want of a Medium of Trade9 will be the Repeal of an Act of Parliament respecting Bills of Credit in America, passed in the 4th Year of his present Majesty; and that such Repeal cannot injure the British Merchant,1 provided a Clause be inserted in the Act for the said Repeal, declaring Paper Bills of Credit shall not be a legal Tender in Payment of any Sterling Debts or Contracts whatsoever already made or to be made by or with or in the name and behalf of any Person residing in the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Endorsed: Merchants’ Report to Administration for a Clause to prevent Paper Bills being a legal Tender for Sterling Debts

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7Pa. Chron., July 20–27, 1767, and Pa. Gaz. and Pa. Jour., both July 30, 1767, printed a paraphrase of the longest paragraph of this letter beginning with the second sentence. All three papers called it an “Extract of a Letter from London, dated May 22 [sic], 1767.” Immediately following this paraphrase all three papers printed the statement by the London merchants identified here as an enclosure. Like the letter, the enclosure is wholly in BF’s hand. As indicated here, the letter and its enclosure have become physically separated in the course of time, but the fact that all three Philadelphia papers printed the two documents in juxtaposition establishes that the second document is the enclosure mentioned in the first.

8The House of Commons adopted resolutions to this effect on May 15, 1767, two days after the Committee of the Whole had voted for them. The bill restraining the New York Assembly was read the first time on May 27 and, after following the usual procedure, received the royal assent on July 2.

9BF first wrote “Exchange,” but struck it out and substituted “Trade.”

1All three Philadelphia papers printed “Merchants,” not “Merchant.”

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