Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Susanna Wright, [28 April 1755]

To Susanna Wright4

ALS: Collection of the late Frank J. Mather., Jr., Princeton, N.J. (1955); also transcript: John L. W. Mifflin, Middlebush, N.J. (1955)

Monday morning. [April 28, 1755]5

Dear Madam

I thought from the first, that your Proposal of calling the several Townships together, was very judicious. I was only at a Loss how to get them call’d by some Appearance of Authority. On the Road from your House hither,6 I considered that at the Court of Oyer and Terminer here, there would probably be Constables from most of the Townships, and if the Chief Justice could be prevail’d on to recommend it from the Bench, that the Constables should immediately call the Inhabitants of their respective Townships together, perhaps the Business7 might by that means be effectually done. I know not whether he will think a Person in his Station, can, in Court, regularly intermeddle in such Affairs; but I shall endeavour to persuade him to it, as strict Forms ought, in my Opinion, to be disregarded in Cases of Necessity.8

The Dutche Advertisement is composing, and will be printed in two or three Hours, as Mr. Dunlap tells me.9 I have taken the Liberty of detaining your Servant so long, after enquiring and being inform’d by him, that his immediate Return was not absolutely necessary. I am, with the greatest Esteem and Respect, Madam Your most humble Servant

B Franklin

Addressed: To / Mm Susanna Wright / Sasquehanah

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4See above, IV, 210 n.

5Misdated June 1755 by Smyth (Writings, III, 261). The contents and BF’s movements make April 28 (a Monday) the correct date.

6Lancaster; the Wright homestead, at Wright’s Ferry (now Columbia), was near the Susquehanna crossing on the road from Frederick and York to Lancaster.

7Procuring wagons, horses, and provisions for Braddock’s army.

8Chief Justice William Allen agreed to do so, and “with much Address” presented the matter to the people from the bench, “setting forth to them, in the warmest Terms, the Duty they owed to their Sovereign, who had graciously undertaken this expensive Expedition for their immediate Safety; at the same time representing the Distress and Disgrace that would fall upon the Province in case of a Refusal to do what was so much in our Power. He then directed the Constables of the several Townships to return home, and call the People together, in order, as soon as possible, to send in an Account of the Number of Horses and Waggons they could respectively furnish.” The York County justices followed Allen’s example. [William Smith], A Brief View of the Conduct of Pennsylvania, For the Year 1755 (London, 1756), pp. 32–3. Pa. Gaz., May 15, reported from Lancaster, York, and Cumberland Counties that great numbers of wagons and horses were being offered, that 150 wagons loaded with forage had been despatched in a few days, “the People offering with great Readiness and Chearfulness.” Judge Allen had already shown energy and enterprise in getting flour for the army. Robert A. Brock, ed., The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie (Richmond, Va., 1883–84), I, 455, 478, 502, 517, 523; II, 15.

9See above, pp. 19–22, for the original English advertisement. No copy of the German translation has been found. For the printer, William Dunlap, see above, V, 199 n.

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