Benjamin Franklin Papers

Robert Hunter Morris to the Provincial Commissioners, 1 December 1755

Robert Hunter Morris to the Provincial Commissioners1

Copy: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Philada. 1st December 1755


Upon considering the state of our friendly Indians on the River Sasquehanna, I think it necessary that Messengers should be immediately sent to convene them to come down to Harris’s Ferry in order to concert measures with this Government upon the present Circumstances of affairs when it may be proper to communicate to them such parts of the General Plan of operations as they may assist in the execution of.2 I am Gentlemen Your most humble Servant

Robert Hunter Morris

To Isaac Norris, James Hamilton John Mifflin &ca. Esqrs:

1The commissioners named in the £60,000 Appropriation Act to supervise expenditure of the funds, subject to the governor’s approval, were Speaker Isaac Norris; two councilors, James Hamilton, former governor, and John Mifflin; and four present or past assemblymen, BF, Joseph Fox, John Hughes, and Evan Morgan. On Mifflin see above, I, 373 n. The last three named were:

Joseph Fox (1709–1779), carpenter and landowner, member of the Assembly from Philadelphia Co., 1750, 1753–71, who accompanied BF and Hamilton on the mission to Northampton Co., Dec. 18–31, 1755. Disowned by the Quakers in 1756 for advocating defensive measures, he was active in civic affairs and supported resistance to Great Britain in the pre-Revolutionary years. PMHB, XXXII (1908), 174–99.

John Hughes (c. 1712–1772), farmer, merchant, ironmaster, and member of the Assembly from Philadelphia Co., 1755–64, a close ally of BF in the fight with the proprietary party. Popular tumult forced him to resign the office of stamp distributor which BF had obtained for him in 1765. He was appointed customs collector at Portsmouth, N.H., in 1769, and later held the same office in Charleston, S.C., where he died. PMHB, XXXV (1911), 442–3; LI (1927), 271–79; LXI (1937), 468–70; Edmund S. and Helen M. Morgan, The Stamp Act Crisis (Chapel Hill, 1953), pp. 238–57, 297–99.

Evan Morgan (1709–1763), merchant, member of the Library Company, a manager of the Pennsylvania Hospital, and vestryman of Christ Church. He had been a member of the Assembly from Philadelphia Co., 1750–55, where with BF he was on the committee designated to dispense arms purchased with the £1000 made available by the Assembly on Aug. 22, 1755. Not re-elected in October 1755, his service as commissioner appears to have been his last participation in public life. Thomas G. Morton and Frank Woodbury, The History of the Pennsylvania Hospital 1751–1805 (Phila., 1895), pp. 411–12; Jacob Duché, The Life and Death of the Righteous. A Sermon, Preached … At the Funeral of Mr. Evan Morgan (Phila., 1763).

2Anxious to secure the wavering allegiance of the few Indians remaining loyal, Morris invited them on December 8 to a conference at Harris’s Ferry on January 1. After delays and frustrations a fruitless conference with a few Indians was held at Carlisle, January 13–15. Pa. Col. Recs., VI, 753–5, 773–84; I Pa. Arch., II, 538. The “General Plan of operations,” if indeed one had been formulated, was probably agreed to by Morris and the commissioners on November 30, since Morris had written Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia the day before that no plan had yet been devised. I Pa. Arch., II, 532. See below, p. 307, for the changing plans of the commissioners.

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