Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Logan, 30 March 1765

From James Logan6

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Saturday Morning, March 30th. [1765]7

Respected Friend

I received Yesterday some Letters from my Brother8 via N York tho’ of a prior Date to our last Intelligences from Philada. Yet I thought it would not be improper to mention the following paragraph. “I have but little News to add, save acquainting thee that our Assembly was to have met the Night before last (Janry 7th) but the Deep Snow has prevented the Members getting down so as to make a House yet.9 Is it not very strange, if the Account be true, that our Governor has received Instructions with other Governors to consider the best Measures, and most probable to accommodate Matters and make Peace with the Indians, and settle the Boundaries between them and us, and to make Report to the Ministry at Home. That he has never yet laid these papers before his Council or mentioned it to them? which is the Case.1 I have heard some other Governors of the Colonies have laid theirs before their Councils &c: But it’s all of a Piece and so I shall leave it and say no more on public Affairs.” I am with Respect Your Assured Friend &c:

James Logan

Addressed: To / Doctor Franklin / Craven Street

Endorsed: J Logan

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6James Logan (1728–1803) was the younger son of BF’s old friend of the same name; above, I, 191 n. For his participation in the deeds of trust establishing the Loganian Library, of which BF was one of the trustees, see above, V, 423–6; IX, 36–7. He was apparently on a visit to London when he wrote this letter.

7The subject matter of this letter establishes the year as 1765 instead of 1771, the only other year in which March 30 fell on a Saturday during either of BF’s English missions.

8William Logan (above, III, 456 n) succeeded his father as a member of the Pa. Council in 1747 and served on that body until it ceased to function in October 1775. A much stricter Quaker than his father and always sympathetically interested in Indian affairs, he was the only councilor to vote against the declaration of war upon the Delaware Indians, April 12, 1756. The matters mentioned in the extract from his letter that follows here would have been of particular interest and concern to him. Pa. Col. Recs., V, 67–8; VII, 74, 83, 84; X, 270; Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania (Phila., 1883), pp. 14–16.

9In October 1764 the Assembly had adjourned to the afternoon of January 7, but a quorum did not appear until the morning of the 9th. William Logan seems to have been writing his brother on that day, before learning that the Assembly was now ready for business. 8 Pa. Arch., VII, 5691.

1During the first part of 1764 the Board of Trade spent a good deal of time considering proposals for the future regulation of Indian affairs, and on June 15 approved an outline of a plan. On July 10 the Board signed letters to the superintendents of Indian affairs for the Northern and Southern Districts and to the colonial governors, transmitting copies of the scheme and asking for comments and opinions. Board of Trade Journal, 1764–1767, pp. 4, 8, 65–71, 98. The letter sent to John Penn, the text of the plan, and a copy of the explanatory letter to John Stuart, superintendent for the Southern District, are printed in I Pa. Arch., IV, 182–92. The plan would severely restrict the freedom of action of the governors, assemblies, and military commanders with regard to Indian affairs by assigning to the superintendents and their subordinates nearly all primary authority over such matters as the Indian trade, the administration of justice involving Indians, and the purchase of land beyond the boundaries of any colony. There is no evidence that John Penn ever discussed this plan at a meeting of his Council.

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