Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Richard Jackson, 19 December 1763

To Richard Jackson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. Dec. 19.1763

Dear Sir

I must not let these Ships go without a Line to you,1 tho’ I have but little to say. I have been from home all Summer, and am but lately return’d, so know but little of our province Affairs; I suppose Mr. Moore2 or some of the Committee of Correspondence have communicated to you what was necessary. The present Assembly at their first Meeting renew’d their Choice of you.3 My Return in time to word it to your Mind, was prevented by an Accident, the Dislocation of my Shoulder, which disabled me from travelling some Weeks.4 I have now pretty well recovered the Use of it, tho’ not its full Strength.

I have made no Engagement with Messrs. Coxe but wish them Success,5 and wonder no Traces can be found of the Grant from K. William. If they had succeeded, I did encline to take a 10th. on the Terms they offer’d, imagining I could have been of Use in procuring Settlers; but begin to think myself too old to engage in new Projects that require Time to become advantageous; and since much time is like to be spent before even a Beginning can be made believe I shall decline it, unless your engaging in it should induce me to continue.

We have Advices this Day, via Fort Pitt,6 that the Governor of the Ilinois Country has at length sent a Belt to the Ottawaws and Chippewaes, acquainting them that a Peace is made between England and France, by the Terms of which he is obliged to deliver up his Forts and all the Territory to the English, and can no longer supply or support them; on which they have apply’d to Major Gladman,7 who commands at Detroit and beg’d for Peace in the most abject Terms. He has refer’d them to the General, as to a final Peace, but granted them a Cessation of Arms, which they gladly accepted; and the Garrison has taken the Opportunity of getting considerable Supplies from the Country round, which were wanted. It is thought this will draw on like Applications from the Delawares, Shawnese, and Seneca’s. I only fear we shall conclude a new Peace before those Villains have been made to smart sufficiently for their perfidious Breach of the last; and thereby make them less apprehensive of breaking with us again hereafter. And yet perhaps ’tis best to conclude the War as soon as possible; for tho’ it may be that these Colonies, if they were united in their Measures, and would exert their united Strength, could fill the Indian Country with so many and such strong Parties, as to ruin them in one Summer, and forever deter8 them from future Attempts against us. Yet we see and know that such Union is impracticable. The General’s Requisition is not comply’d with in any of the Colonies, because (they say) he did not make it of all; and where it was made, it was not in due Proportion, &c.9 Thus, tho’ strong, we are in Effect weak; and shall remain so, till you take some Measures at home to unite us.

Our Assembly met to day. I am, as far as I see, upon good Terms, personally, with our new Governor;1 what Disputes may arise during the Session, I know not; but fear a Money Bill will revive the old ones.2

I am, dear Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

R. Jackson, Esqr.

Endorsed: Philada. Decr. 19th. 1763 Benjn. Franklin Esqr

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

1BF sent this letter by the Philadelphia Packet, Capt. Richard Budden, clearance of which was reported in Pa. Gaz., Dec. 22, 1763.

2Charles Moore, clerk of the Pa. Assembly.

3The Assembly renewed Jackson’s appointment as Pa. agent on Oct. 15, 1763, the first meeting of its fall session at which business was transacted. Votes, 1763–64, p. 4.

4What change Jackson wanted in the wording of his appointment is not known. See above, p. 341, for BF’s promise to procure a change.

5For BF and Jackson’s interest in the efforts of “Messrs. Coxe” to get an old land grant confirmed, see above, pp. 212–14, 254, 297, 341–2, 369–71.

6See above, p. 402 n, for the “Advices,” printed in Pa. Gaz., Dec. 22, 1763, about the conclusion of Pontiac’s Uprising.

7Major Henry Gladwin, the British commander at Detroit.

8“and disable” struck through.

9On Nov. 5, 1763, Gen. Jeffery Amherst wrote Gov. James Hamilton (the general did not know that John Penn had succeeded Hamilton) requesting Pa. to raise 1000 men “to act against the Delawares, Shawanese, and other Tribes” who had joined Pontiac, and to have the men ready to take the field by March 1, 1764. Somewhat earlier Amherst had applied to N.Y. and N.J. to raise men “for carrying on offensive Operations by way of Lake Erie.” The Assemblies of these two colonies refused to comply because, they complained, New England had not been required to contribute men. The Pa. Assembly, however, called into special session by Penn on Dec. 19, 1763, voted on December 22 to comply with the requisition. Votes, 1763–64, pp. 12–14, 15.

1For more on BF’s initial reaction to John Penn, see above, p. 401.

2BF was right. On Jan. 6, 1764, the House voted £50,000 to support the 1000 men it had resolved to raise on Dec. 22, 1763, but by the time Penn finally consented to pass a supply bill on May 30, 1764 (the sum of money granted had in the meantime been raised to £55,000), relations between him and the Assembly had become so embittered that the Assembly had sent a petition to England praying the king to give the province a royal government. The conflict between Penn and the Assembly and the movement for royal government in the province will be covered extensively in the next volume.

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