Benjamin Franklin Papers

Card to the Public, 23 September 1742

Card to the Public

Printed in The Pennsylvania Gazette, September 23, 1742.

It being asserted in a printed Paper, directed to the Freeholders of Pennsylvania, that the Assembly had concealed the State of the publick Accounts from the People, by artfully deferring the Publication of their Minutes, in order to prevent a Detection of some suppos’d Mismanagement of the publick Money;9 I think I owe this Justice to that Honourable House, as to declare, that I have had the Minutes in my Hands for Publication ever since the Adjournment;1 that I receiv’d no Directions from the House to delay it, nor the least Intimation from any Member, that such Delay would be agreeable; that no Person has been refus’d a Sight of them, and that the sole Cause of the Delay was my Desire of first finishing the Body of Laws,2 the Minutes being very little enquired after.

B. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9The charge was made during the election campaign of Sept.–Oct. 1742 in an anti-Quaker handbill To the Free-Holders Of the Province of Pennsylvania, deploring the continued disagreement between Governor and Assembly which would result in the expiration of the Loan Office. “Under these Circumstances,” it asked, “is it not absolutely necessary that the publick Accounts should be strictly examined into? We have a right to know how the publick Money has been Disposed of, and the late Members of the Assembly cannot but know we have, and yet they have hitherto concealed those Accounts from us, in hopes by this Means to prevent a publick Detection of their Mismanagement, if it may not deserve a worse Name, till it will be too late for us to shew a proper resentment. If all was fair, why were not their Minutes published immediately after their last Adjournment? Why is the Publication artfully deferr’d till they have taken their Measures for getting themselves re-elected?”

1The Assembly adjourned Aug. 28.

2A Collection of all the Laws Of the Province of Pennsylvania: Now in Force, printed by BF by order of the Assembly, 1742.

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