Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Peter Collinson, [5 October 1755]

From Peter Collinson

Transcript of fragment: Rosenbach Foundation

Speaker Isaac Norris entered a long note on an interleaved sheet in a copy of Poor Richard improved, 1755, following the calendar for December. He first copied an advertisement from the Antigua Gazette or Public Advertiser, Aug. 12, 1755, in which George Thomas, former governor of Pennsylvania and now governor of the Leeward Islands, defended himself against criticisms of his conduct in Pennsylvania made by Robert Hunter Morris in a message to the Assembly, Dec. 24, 1754, objecting to a money bill.5 Then Norris wrote a heading, “Peter Collinson to B. F. 8br 5. 1755, in a Magazine” and followed it with this fragment of a letter. The original has not been found nor has the magazine been identified from which Norris said he copied it. Collinson may have been replying to Franklin’s letter of Aug. 27, 1755,6 but coverage of the long dispute between the governor and the Assembly was full enough in the London press for Collinson’s comments to have been based on the public prints as well as on information Franklin supplied privately. Norris wrote at the end of this passage he quoted: “This was the whole Letter,” probably meaning thereby that he had copied all of the letter that the magazine had published, not necessarily the whole of the original letter.

[October 5, 1755]

Can any Man be more wrong headed than your Governor not to pass the most equitable Law in the World. Our People at the Helm resent his Conduct.7

No War yet proclaimed with France.8

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Votes, 1754–55, p. 37.

6See above, pp. 169–72.

7These sentences, and perhaps more in the same vein, led Richard Hockley to comment caustically to Thomas Penn: “Your friend Mr. Peter Collinson has wrote to Mr. Franklyn something or other relating to our Politicks, condemning the governor’s Conduct and applauding that of the Assemblys which the latter is fond of shewing as coming from one of your Friends, withall adding the sentiments of some Nobility of his Acquaintance, I thought their conversation was chiefly turn’d on cockleshells and butterflies and other natural Curiosities.” Hockley to Penn, Dec. 18, 1755, Penn Papers, Hist. Soc. Pa.

8War with France was declared on May 18, 1756.

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