Benjamin Franklin Papers

Pennsylvania Assembly: Message to the Governor, 24 November 1756

Pennsylvania Assembly: Message to the Governor

Printed in Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives, 1756–1757 (Philadelphia, 1757), pp. 32–3.

After renewing the Mutiny Act and appointing members to attend the Easton conference on November 4, the Assembly had adjourned to the 22nd. On November 23, Franklin and Joseph Galloway6 were appointed to draft a message requesting copies of such proprietary instructions “as relate to Matters of Legislation” and of the minutes of the recent Easton Indian conference. The message printed here was brought in, agreed to, and sent to Denny the next day.7

[November 24, 1756]

May it please your Honour,

You were pleased by your Message, at the Beginning of this Session,8 to represent to us the Expediency of framing sundry Laws that are necessary for the Defence and Utility of the Province; and we think many others, not recommended to us by your Honour, may likewise be for the Benefit of the People, which we are determined at this Time to take into our serious Consideration, and pay that Regard and Attention to them that their Importance deserves: But as many Bills, prepared at a burthensome Expence to the Publick by antecedent Assemblies for the Defence of the Province, in Compliance with His Majesty’s Orders, and other salutary Purposes, after much Time, and great Pains had been spent in framing them, have been rejected by your Honour’s Predecessors, because not consistent with certain Instructions that they had received from the Proprietaries, as directory to them in Matters of Legislation; which Instructions, notwithstanding, were unreasonably concealed from the Representatives of the People; we are, in Justice to ourselves, and in Duty to those we represent, obliged humbly to request that your Honour would be pleased to lay before us full Copies of all such of your Instructions that are of a publick Nature, and in anywise relate to Matters of Legislation, that we may, as we are sincerely inclined, avoid all unnecessary Delays at this critical Juncture, in Matters of real Importance, and yield a chearful Obedience to His Majesty’s most gracious Orders for our Defence.

When we reflect on a late Instance of your Honour’s Candour on the like Occasion,9 and the evident Proof you gave a former Assembly, of a sincere Inclination to facilitate and expedite Matters,1 in which the publick Welfare was concerned, we have no Room to doubt your Honour will favour us in complying with this reasonable and necessary Request.2

We also further request, that your Honour would be pleased to lay before us the Minutes taken at the last Conference held at Easton with Teedyuscung and other Indian Chiefs, that the Representatives of the People may be acquainted with Matters which so intimately relate to the publick Weal and the Peace of the Province.3

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Joseph Galloway (c.1731–1803), son of a Maryland landowner; moved to Philadelphia as a youth and was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1749. Already related to the Shippens and Pembertons, he added to his profitable connections when, in Christ Church, 1753, he married Grace, daughter of former Assembly speaker and councilor Lawrence Growdon. Marked as “a young rising Quaker lawyer” though no longer a member of any Friends’ Meeting, he entered the Assembly in October 1756 as a member for Philadelphia Co., where he gained immediate prominence as BF’s ally, and succeeded to most of his assignments and the leadership of the antiproprietary interest in the Assembly when BF went to England the following year. A trusted correspondent and co-worker during the missions to England, Galloway’s political pre-eminence in Pennsylvania was marked by his reelection to the Assembly every year but one until 1776, and by his service as speaker, 1766–75. At the approach of the Revolution, he performed his last important act as a colonial leader when he drafted a loyalist imperial plan of union rejected by the First Continental Congress. Having little use for the plan of union, BF tried to overcome Galloway’s loyalist sentiments after returning to America in 1775, but he was unsuccessful and their political connection came to an end. Their personal relationship remained close enough, however, for BF to deposit all his papers in Galloway’s Bucks Co. house, Trevose, in October 1776 before sailing for France. In December of that year Galloway fled to New York and joined General Howe. He served the British as civil administrator during the occupation of Philadelphia, 1777–78, and then went to England, where he was an industrious lobbyist and writer for the Loyalists until his death. DAB; Julian P. Boyd, Anglo-American Union, Joseph Galloway’s Plans to Preserve the British Empire, 1774–1788 (Phila., 1941), esp. pp. 15–27; Oliver C. Kuntzleman, Joseph Galloway, Loyalist (Phila., 1941).

7Votes, 1756–57, pp. 30, 33.

8I.e., Denny’s speech of October 19; see above, p. 5.

9See above, VI, 515–16.

1BF and Galloway probably referred to Denny’s willingness to override Council advice and approve a ten-year excise bill. See above, VI, 515 n.

2On November 26 Denny forwarded a copy of an instruction urging him to “take the first favourable Opportunity to settle a regular and useful Militia” in Pennsylvania.

3Denny complied on the 30th. On Jan. 29, 1757, BF and the other commissioners reported that the minutes were inaccurate in important particulars. See below, pp. 111–14.

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