Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Charles Garth, [1 February 1765]

From Charles Garth3

AL: American Philosophical Society

Queen’s Square, Bloomsbury
Friday Morning [February 1, 1765]4

Mr. Garth presents his Compliments to Mr. Franklin, begs Leave to acquaint him, that the Request of the Agents for ½ an hour’s Audience to their Deputation was yesterday mention’d to Mr. Grenville, who was pleas’d to signify his Compliance therewith, and that he would send us Notice when he would choose to be attended.5

Addressed: To / B. Franklin Esqr. / in Craven Street

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Charles Garth (c. 1734–1784) was Crown agent for Georgia from 1763 until January 1765, when he was forced to give up that largely sinecure post on becoming M.P. for Devizes in succession to his father, John Garth. He sat for Devizes until 1780 when he accepted appointment as a commissioner of the Excise. He was provincial agent for South Carolina, 1762–75, and agent for the Maryland Assembly, 1766–75. In the House of Commons he was one of 49 members who voted against the Stamp Act, Feb. 6, 1765, and during the next five years he was actively, though temperately, a supporter of the colonial position both in and out of Parliament. After 1770 his support was less pronounced. Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, II, 483–5; Lewis B. Namier, “Charles Garth and his Connexions,” English Historical Review, LIV (1939), 443–70, 632–52.

4So dated because on Feb. 11, 1765, Jared Ingersoll, agent for Connecticut, wrote Governor Thomas Fitch that, after several meetings, the colonial agents decided that Ingersoll and BF, “as having lately Come from America and knowing more Intimately the Sentiments of the people,” should wait on Grenville, together with Jackson and Garth, “who being Agents are also Members of Parliament, to remonstrate against the Stamp Bill, and to propose in Case any Tax must be laid upon America, that the several Colonies might be permitted to lay the Tax themselves. This we did Saturday before last [February 2].” New Haven Col. Hist. Soc. Papers, IX (1918), 312. While this note might have been written on Friday, January 18 or 25, after Garth had been elected to the House of Commons on the 15th, February 1 seems more probable.

5In the letter cited above, Ingersoll gave Fitch a long account of the interview of February 2. Grenville told the agents that the colonies must pay something and that “he knew of no better way” than by stamp duties. Jackson expressed his fear that the measure would subvert the assemblies by keeping up an armed royal force in America, paying the governors “with the Americans own Money,” and, through complete financial independence, making it unnecessary for the governors ever to call the assemblies into session. Grenville denied these possibilities and then asked, quite unreasonably, whether the agents “could agree upon the several proportions Each Colony should raise.” Since he had failed, upon the agents’ request the year before, to give them any details of the proposed tax, the total to be raised, or the method of apportioning it, neither the assemblies nor their London spokesmen were in any position to offer any such agreement, as he should have known. With a plea by Grenville for “Coolness and Moderation in America” and a warning against “resentments indecently and unbecomingly Express’d,” the meeting broke up. Ibid., pp. 312–14; Morgan, Stamp Act Crisis, pp. 64–6.

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