Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Richard Jackson, 8 August 1763

To Richard Jackson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Boston, Augt. 8. 1763.

Dear Sir,

Being here on the Business of the Post-Office, I have received your obliging Favour of May 19.9 which I shall answer by the next Pacquet. At present I have only time to introduce to you Col. Dyer,1 the Bearer of this Letter, a Gentleman of Character and Reputation in your Colony of Connecticut. He goes to England to lay the Affair of their Purchase on Sasquehanah before his Majesty, the Settlement of that Purchase being oppos’d by Mr. Penn.2 I have taken the Liberty to recommend him to you as the Person in all England most capable of advising and serving him in his Solicitation. As to the Sentiments of our People on that Settlement, I can assure you, that there is scarce a Man in Pensilvania who does not wish it to go on, provided it be with the free Consent of the Indians;3 as it would, when once establish’d be a good Barrier for our N. West Frontier in case of a future Indian War; and the intended Settlers are a kind of People whose Neighbourhood we should like. I am even at a loss to guess on what Principle the Proprietor opposes it; since if the Land is not within his Grant, or the prior Grant of Connecticut is valid, he has no right to intermeddle; and if it finally appears to be within his Grant, and that of Connecticut does not extend to it, the Settlers must become his Tenants. With the greatest Esteem, I am, Dear Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

R. Jackson Esqr.

Endorsed: Boston Augst 8th 1763 B Franklin Esqr

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Not found.

1Eliphalet Dyer (1721–1807), B. A., Yale, 1740, was a prominent Conn. politician and jurist, who served in both the General Assembly, 1747–62, and the Council, 1762–84, as an associate justice of the Superior Court, 1766–89, and as chief justice, 1789–93. An ardent patriot, Dyer was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress and to the First and later Continental Congresses. He helped to organize the Conn. Susquehannah Co. (founded at Windham, July 18, 1753) and actively promoted its interest for many years. In 1763 he went to England as the Company’s agent to procure a royal charter for the lands which it claimed in northeastern Pa., but owing to the opposition of Thomas Penn and Sir William Johnson he was unsuccessful. DAB; George C. Groce, Jr., “Eliphalet Dyer: Connecticut Revolutionist,” in Richard B. Morris, ed., The Era of the American Revolution (N.Y., 1939), pp. 290–304. For the Susquehannah Co. purchase at Albany, 1754, see map, above, V, 225.

2Upon the recommendation of the Board of Trade, Jan. 14, 1763, the British government through Gen. Jeffery Amherst ordered Conn. emigration to northeast Pa. halted until the dispute between Thomas Penn and the Susquehannah Co. over the legality of the settlement could be decided by the King in Council. The Susquehannah Co. officially complied, though it did not stop continued emigration by small groups and individuals, and at the same time it sent Dyer on the mission mentioned in the previous note. Julian P. Boyd, ed., The Susquehannah Company Papers (4 vols., Wilkes-Barré, Pa., 1930), II, xxxiii–xlii, 191–3.

3Writing to Jared Ingersoll on Aug. 10, 1763, Joseph Chew of New London attributed rather different sentiments to BF; if Conn. “Expected a Government and to obtain a Charter, we should be disappointed,” BF is alleged to have said, “that our Claiming all the Lands to the West Seas was Idle and Ridiculous, that no Person could pretend to think it consistant with common sense to have a Government 60 miles wide, and 3000 miles long, and many things of the kind.” Ibid. p. 265; New Haven Col. Hist. Soc. Papers, IX (1918), 286–7.

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