Benjamin Franklin Papers

Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, 11 November 1755

Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor

Printed in Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives, 1755–1756 (Philadelphia, 1756), p. 21.

While Morris and his Council were considering the governor’s message to the Assembly of November 8, Conrad Weiser2 arrived with Scaroyady3 and other Indians who came with pleas of action to defend the frontier lest the few still loyal Indians defect or become the victims of their armed and aroused brethren allied with the French. That afternoon the governor, his Council, the Assembly, and “several Magistrates, officers, and Citizens” met at the State House to hear the Indian demands for an alliance in arms. On November 10 Morris sent a further message urging immediate attention to the Indians since the loss of their friendship brought such certain and tragic consequences.4 The committee appointed to respond to the previous document was also charged with drafting the reply printed here.

[November 11, 1755]

May it please the Governor,

We have considered the Governor’s Message of Yesterday, relating to the Application and pressing Instances of the Indians, and are glad to find, that he is at length prevailed on to declare himself “ready and desirous to do any thing, consistent with his Duty to the CROWN,5 for the Protection and Assistance, as well as of our Allies, as of the Inhabitants of this Province in general.” We never have, and we hope never shall, desire him to do any thing inconsistent with that Duty. He has it now in his Power to do what he may think the Exigence requires, for the Service of the Crown, the Protection of our Allies, and of the Inhabitants of the Province. As Captain-General, he has, by the Royal Charter, full Authority to raise Men; and the Bill now in his Hands, granting Sixty Thousand Pounds, will enable him to pay the Expences. We grant the Money chearfully, tho’ the Tax to sink it will be a heavy one; and we hope the Bill will receive his Assent immediately.6

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2See above, III, 89 n.

3See above, V, 65 n.

4Votes, 1755–56, pp. 17–18; Pa. Col. Recs., VI, 685.

5That is, the Assembly was glad that Morris was at last attending to this duty instead of adhering to his alleged duty of obedience to the Proprietors’ instructions, so obstructive to the public welfare. The seizure upon Morris’ careless wording to imply his admission of past failures to do his duty to the King was, of course, an evasion of the point of the message, and has meaning only within the bitter word battle going on between him and the Assembly.

6Upon receiving this message, the Council was “astonished to see the obstinacy of the Assembly carry them such Lengths as not to enable the Governor to give a Satisfactory answer to the Indians, after their making so solemn and peremtory a Demand, considered what answer to make to Scarooyady, and after a long Consultation it was thought best to tell him the truth”—that no money for defense was likely to be forthcoming. Scaroyady “received the answer with amazement, saying it would occasion the absolute Defection of the Delawares, who by proper Encouragements might even now be secured in our Interest,” but that nevertheless he, Scaroyady, would do his best to aid the English cause. Pa. Col. Recs., VI, 692.

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