Benjamin Franklin Papers

Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, 20 August 1755

Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor

Printed in Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives, 1754–1755 (Philadelphia, 1755), p. 153.

[August 20, 1755]

May it please the Governor,

We have considered the Governor’s Message of the 16th Instant,6 with the Extract from Governor Lawrence’s Letter to Governor Phips,7 in which it is observed, “That if the excellent Laws prohibiting the Transportation of Provisions to Louisburg continue in Force for two Months longer, there is a Probability that the Governor of that Place will be obliged to present the Keys of the Garrison to Mr. Boscawen.”8 And our Governor is pleased to recommend it to us, to think of some proper Law that may most effectually prevent their being supply’d from this Province: But as an Act passed this House, and received the Governor’s Assent, at our last Sitting, intituled, An Act to continue an Act, intituled, an Act to prevent the Exportation of Provisions, naval or warlike Stores, from this Province to Cape-Breton, or to any other Dominions of the French King, or Places at present in Possession of any of his Subjects, by which the Act continued will be in Force at least ten Months to come,9 and has been, as far as we know, effectual for the Purposes intended; and as the Governor has not pointed out to us any Defect in that Act, nor has any occur’d to us, we cannot at present think what Law can be made more effectually to prevent that Place being supplied with Provisions, &c. from this Province.1

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6A brief message from Governor Morris, August 16, most of which is quoted in this reply, was read in the Assembly the same day. It was not acted upon until the 20th, when a committee including BF was appointed to draft a reply, which was promptly agreed upon and sent to the governor the same day. Votes, 1754–55, pp. 142, 153.

7Part of a letter from Lieut. Gov. Charles Lawrence of Nova Scotia to Lieut. Gov. Spencer Phips of Massachusetts was enclosed in a letter of Aug. 7, 1755, from Lieut. Gov. James DeLancey of New York to Morris. Pa. Col. Recs., VI, 554–5.

8Admiral Edward Boscawen (1711–1761), commander of a British fleet then in Nova Scotia waters. DNB.

9Action taken on June 16 and 18, 1755. Votes, 1754–55, pp. 102, 104.

1Though the governor and the Assembly were both anxious that supplies should not reach the French at Louisbourg, neither could resist the opportunity to embarrass the other, if possible, over the measures to be taken. Morris wrote DeLancey on August 28, that if the Assembly, as he anticipated, did nothing, he would act with the Council to lay an embargo on Philadelphia and New Castle. He did this the next day and further informed DeLancey that he heard “the merchants intend not to regard it, and we have got to such a [height] of disobedience in this Province, that Orders of the Government have very little weight.” I Pa. Arch., II, 396, 398. See below, p. 443 n, for further embargo legislation.

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