Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from the New Jersey Assembly Committee of Correspondence, 26 July 1774

From the New Jersey Assembly Committee of Correspondence3

LS: American Philosophical Society

July 26 1774 Burlington


We are desired by the House to request your Attention, to the Several Acts of Assembly Passed at the last Session, so as to Obtain the Royal Allowance, to as many as can be had. Your Endeavours to do this, for the Act to Institute a Suit against the late Treasurer of the Eastern division, and to the Act for the Emission of Bills of Creditt on Loan, will, we believe, be Particularly agreeable to the House.

The first hath already occasioned a good deal of Uneasiness in the Colony and has Unhappily been the cause of a Difference between the Governor and many of his real Friends in Our House but this we have the Pleasure to inform you is now settled, and if the royal Assent coud be Spedily had to this Law It woud leave no Room for further disputes which we shoud be glad to Prevent.4

We shoud have wrote to you before, but the Intelligence we had of your Intentions to embark for America prevented us. We have heard of your late difficultys with great Concern. With the rest of America we look upon ourselves to be interested in your Wellfare and we can with great Truth Assure you that it woud give us great Pleasure to Contribute to the Alleviation of them. With great respect we are

Your friends Your Most humble Servants
  Henry Paxson   Saml Tucker
  J Kinsey5   Robt Frd Price
  John Mehelm
[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3The usual committee to correspond with the colony’s agent; for the more recent committee, with the same signers, see the following document.

4The “Several Acts” were thirty-three. WF had transmitted them to Dartmouth in June and had discussed four, including the two mentioned here, in some detail; all thirty-three are listed by title in a report to the Board of Trade: I N.J. Arch., X, 461–3, 508–13. The act for suing the late Treasurer grew out of the conflict between the Governor and Assembly over Stephen Skinner, for which see WF to BF above, Jan. 5. When the House reconvened on Feb. 3 it threatened to withhold supplies; the Treasurer then resigned, and WF agreed to the Assembly’s nominee as successor and to an act authorizing suit against Skinner. The dispute, which dragged on without conclusion until lost in larger issues, seriously eroded the Governor’s position: Larry R. Gerlach, “Politics and Prerogatives: the Aftermath of the Robbery of the East Jersey Treasury in 1768,” N.J. History, XC (1972), 151, 154–60, 168. The act for issuing bills of credit was the last in a series of attempts going back to 1768 (above, XV, 124, and later volumes), and was eventually allowed; see Joseph A. Ernst, Money and Politics in America, 1755–1775 ([Chapel Hill, N.C., 1973]), pp. 246–51, 260–4, 285–93, 316–17.

5Why two of the signers, here and in the following letter, should have demarcated themselves as friends we have no idea. All five were prominent in local politics. Tucker (1721–89), a Trenton merchant who represented Hunterdon County and was chairman of its committee of correspondence, later served in the first and second provincial congresses and as state treasurer. Robert Friend Price (d. 1782), a Quaker landowner, had recently been on the committee to nominate delegates to the Continental Congress and was later a New Jersey judge. John Mehelm (1733?–1809), an Irish-born lawyer, miller, merchant, and schoolmaster, subsequently served in the first provincial congress and the council of safety, was a colonel of militia, and also became a judge. For Kinsey see BF to the committee above, Feb. 18; he had just been elected to the Continental Congress. Paxson (d. 1778), a Quaker who had first entered the House in 1754, was a hatter, tanner, and landowner. He and Mehelm had recently been involved in the agitation that had led to the convening of an extra-legal provincial congress. Larry R. Gerlach, Prologue to Independence: New Jersey in the Coming of the American Revolution (New Brunswick, N.J., [1976]), pp. 22, 207–14, 367–8, 450 n.30; I N.J. Arch., X, 270–2 n; XXVIII, 97; William Nelson, New Jersey Biographical and Geneal. Notes (N.J. Hist. Soc. Coll., IX; Newark, N.J., 1916), pp. 175–6; Somerset Co. Hist. Quarterly, I (1912), 168–9; III (1914), 225; Labaree, Tea Party, p. 249.

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