Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Wharton, 14 August 1765

From Thomas Wharton

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. August 14th. 1765

My Dear friend Benja: Franklin

I had the pleasure of writing thee a few Lines on the 16 July per Capt. Clapp,2 since which, We have had the satisfaction of finding, by thy Letters of the 8th June3 that it would not be long, before the Petition would be delivered, and We sincerely hope its Prayer will be speedily Answered.

Since my last We have furthur Occasion to dread the Mischevious Consequences which must (if not timely Prevented) flow from the Conduct of those Wretched frontier Inhabitants; “Our Governor has receivd a Letter from Thomas Magee4 informing Him, that some of those People had kill’d an Indian Lad, and that the Delawares had declared, unless they receivd Satisfaction for the Murther and a stop was put to those Practices, as well as the Abuses they suffer, by some of those People, carrying out of bad Liquours and other Goods they should be under the Abosolute necessity, of entring into another War,” Nor can I learn that any steps are taking to sett this Matter right;

Three days past, Advice was receiv’d from George Croghan, that in pursuing his passage down the Ohio, He was sett upon, by a party of Indians belonging to Pondiac, in which engagement He lost Three of the Shawanese Chiefs, that Himself and Nephew were slightly wounded, that Assoon as Pondiac’s people knew who they were, they express’d great Concern at what had hapned, and promis’d to give Him no further Obstruction in his passage; He was then within two or three days March of the Illinois and doubted not of succeeding in the Engagement He had undertaken.5

I have understood that for some Sundays past, there has been a Letter read, by the Parsons of the several Dutch Churches in this City which its said was wrote them by the Queens Chaplain,6 importing, that thou had given out Amongst the Great, that thou had lost thy Election, by those People introducing a vast Number of the Dutch to Vote, who were not entituled thereto, either by reason of their poverty, or not being Naturaliz’d, And that thy Enmity to them, was so great, that thou had obtaind the Additional duties, being laid on the Dutch Papers &c.7 I do not think the charge can give thee any Concern; yet Judged it prudent to advise thee thereof;

On the 11th Inst. Died William Plumsted8 after a short Illness of four or five days, His disorder was singular, being at first Attack’d by 2 or 3 Biles on the back of his Neck, which swelling the parts stopp’d the Circulation of the Blood to the Brains &c. threw Him into a Dilirium, attended with a Fever; since whose decease many Conjectures have Arrose, who will succeed in the Office of Probate for Wills; its generally Asserted that B Chew or L Lardner, will be Appointed;9 but I should think if a Change takes place, some Persons who have been less tied to Pr--ry Measures and more for a Royal Government will better deserve it, of the Ministry, And its of so Valuable a Nature, that I know of none of thy Friends but would be pleasd with it.

John Dickinson the last week published an Advertisement, informing the Electors of this Country, with his determination of declining the Service.1

Thy Family are well my father desires his best Respects may be presented thee, and please to Accept the same from thy Assured and real friend

Tho Wharton

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Above, pp. 212–16. Pa. Gaz., July 25, 1765, reported the clearance of the snow Tryall, Capt. J. Clapp.

3In his letter to Samuel Rhoads of July 8 (above, p. 205) and in other letters to Philadelphia friends at about the same time, BF had expressed the hope that it would soon be possible to present the petition for a change in government in Pa. and that, with a new ministry, it would be successful.

4Capt. Thomas McKee, Indian trader and interpreter, had commanded troops on the frontier in 1756; above, VI, 439, 445 n; VII, 27. The reason for the quotation marks surrounding this passage is not clear. The letter from McKee mentioned here has not been found.

5Pa. Gaz. and Pa. Jour., Aug. 15, 1765, print an extract of a letter describing the incident here mentioned. Croghan’s letter reporting it to Sir William Johnson, July 12, 1765, is in Johnson Papers, XI, 836–41.

6The person meant here was probably the Reverend Friedrich Michael Ziegenhagen (above, III, 468 n), royal Lutheran chaplain at St. James’s, who had been instrumental in recruiting Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg to go to Pa. Although these clergymen were in correspondence with each other, Muhlenberg’s Journal does not mention any letter to this effect, and on March 2, 1766, Wharton reported to BF that, when asked, Muhlenberg had denied knowledge of the reading of any such letter in the German churches. APS. BF told WF, Nov. 9, 1765, that he thought the letter must have been a forgery; below, p. 365.

7The Stamp Act provided that every document or other paper printed in any language except English should pay double the duty levied on one in English. BF certainly was in no way responsible for this provision.

8William Plumsted (1708–1765; above, II, 153), has often been mentioned in these volumes, especially in connection with various civic activities in Philadelphia, of which city he had been mayor, 1750–51, 1754–55. Pa. Gaz., Aug. 15, 1765, reported that the funeral was conducted “in the plainest Manner, at his own Request, according to the new Mode, lately used in Boston and New-York, having no Pall over his Coffin, nor none of his Relations or Friends appearing in Mourning.” Pa. Jour., Aug. 15, 1765, reported similarly and both papers expressed warm approval of the innovation.

9Both newspapers announced the appointment of Benjamin Chew in their issues of Aug. 22, 1765.

1The notice appeared in both newspapers, Aug. 8, 1765. Dickinson had made this decision the previous December; above, XI, 527.

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