Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to the Pennsylvania Assembly Committee of Correspondence, 11 January 1766

To the Pennsylvania Assembly Committee of Correspondence

Extract: printed in Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives of the Province of Pennsylvania, v (Henry Miller, Phila., 1775), 446, in the record of May 6, 1766; also as a broadside headed “Addendum,” but taken from the Miller edition (n.p., n.d., copy in Yale University Library).

London, January 11, 1766

In Compliance with the Direction in the Committee’s Letter,2 I have procured, and now send you inclosed, authentic Office Copies of the Representation of the Board of Trade, dated September the Eighth, 1709, upon our Acts of 1705, referred to them, and of the Order of Council, October the Twenty-fourth, 1709, upon that Representation.3 By these it appears, that our Act for regulating Elections, &c. which includes and confirms the principal Privileges of the Proprietary Charter, was duly laid before the Council, with the other Acts passed the same Session; that they were, on the Twenty-eighth of April, 1709, referred by the Council to the Board of Trade; that that Board reported upon them September the Eighth, proposing six of them as proper to be disallowed, and declaring that they had no Objection to any of the others, of which they give the Titles. Then the Order of Council shews, that no more were repealed by Her Majesty than were proposed for Her Disallowance by the Board of Trade: And this Order being on the Twenty-fourth of October, was within Four Days of the Expiration of the Six Months, after which all stand confirmed that were not before repealed. I suppose these Papers will be quite satisfactory on that Head.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2On Oct. 16, 1765, the Pa. Assembly Committee of Correspondence wrote BF and co-agent Richard Jackson, requesting them to search the Privy Council records and obtain a copy of the royal confirmation of a Pa. act, passed Jan. 12, 1705/6, an “Act to ascertain the Number of Members of Assembly, and to regulate Elections,” as well as copies “of all such other Acts as were passed about that Time,” and to send them to the Assembly. The committee was particularly interested in the act of 1705 / 6, declaring it to be “of great Importance to the Rights and Privileges of the People.” See above, XII, 322–3.

3The extract of BF’s letter and the documents which he mentions here, authenticated by the secretary of the Board of Trade, John Pownall, were read before the Assembly on May 6, 1766, published in its journal under that date, and reprinted as indicated above. The Board of Trade on Sept. 8, 1709, recommended that only six of fifty Pa. acts be disallowed. Among the acts to which it had no objection was the election act of 1705 / 6, which was allowed to become law by lapse of time in accordance with the proprietary charter. See 8 Pa. Arch., vii, 5861–7.

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