Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Joseph Galloway, 18 [July] 1765

From Joseph Galloway

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. June [July3] 18. 1765

Dear Sir

Since the Receipt of yours by the Packet, I was favor’d with yours by Capt. Robinson.4 I Thank you for the Case of the D. of Athol,5 which is a curious one, and also for the still more curious Reasons of Mr. Pownal for refusing the Govt. of this Province.6 They appear to me very just and sensible, and must do real Honor to that Gentleman, as they manifest an Integrity not very Common in our Day.

In Return permit me to present you with the Inclosed Resolves of the Lower House of Assembly of Virginia on the Stamp Act, and the Right of the Brittish Legislature toward Forming that Law. After they were passed, The Governor7 by some Means procured from the Clerk the Original Minutes of the House tore them out, and instantly Dissolved the Assembly.8 They were However Published in the Mary Land Gazzettee from which this Copy is taken, as I coud not procure one of them to send you.9 I cannot describe to you, the indefatigable Industry that have been and are constantly taking by the Prop--y Party and Men in Power here to prevail on the People to give every Kind of Opposition to the Execution of this Law. To incense their Minds against the King Lords and Commons, and to alienate their Affections from the Mother Country. It is no uncommon thing to hear the Judges of the Courts of Justice from the first to the most Inferiour, in the Presence of the attending Populace, to Treat the whole Parliament with the most irreverent Abuse. Scarcely any thing, is too Bad to be said of the Ministry, and that worthy Nobleman Lord Bute1 is openly cursed whenever his Name is mentioned. These things are truly Alarming to our Friends and the Discreet and sensible part of the People, as it is Evident they tend with great rapidity to create in the Minds of the Populace and weaker part of Mankind a Spirit of Riot and Rebellion, which will be hereafter Quelled with great Difficulty, if ever Quelled at all.

It is already become Dangerous to Espouse the Conduct of the Parliament in some parts of America, in any Degree, as the Resolves before mentioned prove. And I fear will in a very short Time become so in this Province. For almost every Pen and Tongue are employ’d against them, while not a word scarcly is offerd on their side. And yet I have thoughts of Endeavouring to state the Conduct of the Mother Country with regard to her Colonies in a true Light, and endeavour, if possible to Check the growing Mischiefs —By Proving the reasonableness of our being Taxed—The Opportunity the Crown afforded the Colonies of Taxing themselves in the Manner which they contend they ought to be Assessed—Their repeated refusals—The necessity there is, as well for our own as, the safety of the Mother Country, that the Crown (in whose Hands is constitutionally Lodged the Powers of War and Peace, and of the Protection of the people) shoud have some certainty of receiving the Supplies when necessary—That if we are aggrieved, the Imprudence and Folly of pursuing the present rash and wicked Measures for obtaining a redress—and the Fatal Consequences which must attend them—And by Pointing out the Better Mode, a decent and discreet Application to the Crown and Parliament such as shall Correspond with the Professions we make of being a faithful and Loyal People. Some Thing of this Nature I have thought might give the People a different Turn or at least prevent the Contagion of Rebellion from spreading irrecoverably far.2

The Hopes your last Letters gave us of a Change give us great Joy—And the Expectation of seeing you in a Station superiour to the Malice of your unrelenting Enemies adds beyond Measure to that Pleasure.3 We are afraid of nothing but your want of Inclination to accept of it. Which we Pray may not be the Case.

I heartily thank you for the pains you have taken in setting aside the intended Applications for the Delaware Islands and for your Intentions to Serve the Petitioners, in procuring a Confirmation of their Right.4 Shoud any Expence Attend it a Draught on me shall be duly Honord. I am Dear friend with the greatest sincerity your most Affectionate and Obliged

Jos. Galloway

Benja. Franklin Esq

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Although Galloway plainly wrote June 18, his pen must have slipped, for the contents of this letter point incontrovertibly to a July 18 dating. In the second paragraph, Galloway informed BF that he was sending him a copy of the resolves of the Virginia House of Burgesses against the Stamp Act, May 30, 1765. Similarly, Galloway stated that the version of the resolves which he was sending was copied from the Maryland Gazette, but since that paper did not publish them until July 4, 1765, the present letter must have been written on the 18th of July, not June. The “Merchant in Philadelphia” who wrote BF on June 19 had apparently seen only a MS copy of the resolves; see above, p. 187 n.

4The Prince George, Captain Robinson, arrived in Philadelphia on May 31, 1765, after what was described as a “most tedious” passage, the ship having been becalmed for seven weeks. Neither of BF’s letters mentioned in this sentence has been found.

5BF probably sent Galloway The Case of John, Duke of Atholl, and Charlotte Duchess of Atholl his wife (London, [1765?]). In 1764 John Murray, 3d Duke of Atholl, inherited through his wife the proprietorship of the Isle of Man. In 1765 the Treasury negotiated a contract with the duke by which for a generous financial consideration he surrendered the powers of government of the island, which for years had been a haven for smugglers, but retained his rights to the land and patronage. Later in the same year Parliament ratified the contract. BF and his associates could not help but be interested in a transaction which effected what they were striving for in Pennsylvania, the replacement of proprietary government by royal government.

6In 1756 rumors were rife in Pennsylvania that Thomas Pownall would be appointed governor of the province; see above, VI, 453 n, 456 n. There was considerable substance to these rumors, for in 1756 or shortly thereafter the Duke of Cumberland recommended Pownall to Penn for the governorship and Pownall and Penn conducted negotiations about the position, but these finally proved abortive. For a statement of Pownall’s reasons for declining the post, see PMHB, XIII (1889), 441–6.

7Francis Fauquier (1704?–1768) was lieutenant governor of Virginia from 1758 until his death. Despite differences with the Assembly he was popular and his passing was genuinely regretted. DAB.

8Fauquier dissolved the Assembly on June 1, 1765. The present letter is the only authority the editors have been able to find for the statement that he mutilated the House’s minutes.

9The version of the resolves which appeared in the July 4, 1765, issue of the Maryland Gazette is conveniently reprinted in Edmund S. Morgan, Prologue to Revolution Sources and Documents on the Stamp Act Crisis, 1764–1766 (Chapel Hill, [1959]), pp. 49–50. For the thorny problem of precisely what resolutions were passed by the House of Burgesses, see above, pp. 212–14, and the references cited there. No copy of the Maryland Gazette version has been found among BF’s surviving papers.

1Bute had resigned as first lord of the Treasury and retired into private life in April 1763, but in the colonies and in England itself in 1765 he was still believed to be running the government covertly. For Bute, see above, IX, 401–2 n.

2Over the signature “Americanus” in Pa. Jour., Aug. 29, 1765, Galloway published a long letter for which this paragraph might very nearly serve as an outline. As “the Better Mode” of securing redress mentioned here, “Americanus” suggested either that “an united legislature of the colonies” be created by the King and Parliament or by acts of “our several assemblies,” or, if the colonists preferred, that they petition the home government to be permitted to send colonial members to the British Parliament.

3This may mean that Galloway thought BF had been offered the governorship of Pa. in the event that the province became a royal jurisdiction. Galloway’s allusion thus lends some color to the charges of BF’s enemies in 1764 that he was working to overthrow the proprietary government to become royal governor himself.

4Galloway was apparently concerned in some manner in a petition from the owners of certain islands in the Delaware River, which WF sent to the Privy Council in a letter of Feb. 21, 1765. The islands in question had never been granted to any colonial government and the petitioners were requesting that they be put under the jurisdiction of New Jersey. They professed themselves willing to pay quitrents as a consideration for royal confirmation of their land titles and WF suggested that these quitrents be applied to the support of the government of New Jersey. On Aug. 22, 1765, the Privy Council Committee referred the petition to the Board of Trade but the Board does not seem to have taken any action on it. See 1 N.J. Arch., IX, 488–90; Acts Privy Coun., Col., IV, 681.

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