Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Joseph Galloway, 13 January 1766

From Joseph Galloway

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Philada. Jany. 13. 1765 [1766].6

Dear Sir

I received your favours of Sept. 26, and Novr. 9th.7 We are Sensible of the many Obstructions and unavoidable Difficulties which you have met with in proceeding on our Petitions. And from the perfect Confidence we repose in you we have not the least doubt, but that every thing has been done for the Obtaining the Desirable Object, a Royal Government, should it be obtained or not. The Presentation of the Petitions gives us great Pleasure,8 and we hope the full orders of the Present Assembly to prosecute them to Effect forthwith, will facilitate an Issue upon them, and remove any Difficulties that may remain with your worthy Colleague, tho by his Letters to the Committee of Correspondence as well as to my Self he Seems firmly resolved to unite with you in bringing this Affair to a Speedy Conclusion.9

I thank you Sincerely for the Notice you take of the Piece Signed Americanus.1 Be assured I shall ever esteem your Approbation of my Conduct among the highest Rewards. I have nearly finished a Pamphlet on the Same Subject. Entituled “Political Reflections on the dispute between Great Brittain and her Colonies respecting her Right of Imposing Taxes on them without their Assent.” I shall show it when done to my Good Freind your Son, and not Publish it without his Approbation.2 Something of this Kind Seems absolutely necessary to allay the Violent Temper of the Americans, which has been so work’d up as to be ready even for Rebellion itself. But the Difficulty will be in getting it Published; The Printers on the Continent having combined together to print every thing inflamatory and nothing that is rational and Cool. By which means every thing that is published is ex parte, the people are Taught to believe the greatest Absurdities, and their Passions are excited to a Degree of Resentment against the Mother Country, beyond all Description.

Our Assembly is now Sitting, and yesterday Ordered to be transcribed a Petition to the Commons for the Repeal of the Law Prohibiting Paper Money from being Lawful Tender in the Colonies.3 I hope the Decency of it, will recommend it to the Attention of that House in these Violent Times as well as its merits. And I think If the Parliament duly weighs the Effects of granting us the Liberty prayed for, they will not Refuse it. Without Money Labour will be Low, and Manufactures may and must from Necessity be carried on In America which must diminish our Brittish Importations. Let us have Money and we shall never think of Manufacturing or if we do, we shall never be able to perfect it to any Degree.4 I hope the Petition will be ready to come by this Conveyance.

We impatiently wait for the resolutions of the Brittish Parliament respecting the Stamp Act. For while on one part the Law is prevented from being Executed by the Mobs in the Principal Colonies of America, on the other No Buisiness is transacted in any of the Courts of Justice, which is attended with inexpressible Mischief.5 A certain Sort of People if I may Judge from all their late Conduct Seem to look on this as a favorable opportunity of establ[ish]ing their Republican Principles, and of throwing of[f] all Connection with their Mother Country.6 Many of their Publications justify the Thought. Besides I have other Reasons to think, that they are not only forming a Private union Among themselves from one End of the Continent to the other, but endeavouring also to bring into their union, the Quakers and all other Dissenters if possible. But I hope this will be impossible. In Pennsylvania, I am Confident it will. I am, my Dear Friend with Sincerest Wishes for your Happiness your truly Affectionate humble Servant

Jos. Galloway

Addressed: To / Benjamin Franklin Esqr. / Deputy Post Master General / of North America / in / Craven street / London / per Packet

Endorsed: Mr Galloway Jan. 13. 66.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6The contents of the letter and BF’s endorsement make clear that Galloway’s pen slipped when, early in the new year, he wrote “1765.”

7Neither of these letters has been found. Letters to Thomas Wharton and James Parker of September 26 are similarly lost.

8A letter from Richard Jackson to the Committee of Correspondence dated Nov. 9, 1765, was laid before the Assembly on January 14. It reported that the petitions for a change in government had been presented. 8 Pa. Arch., vii, 5828. Apparently BF’s letter to Galloway of the same date made a similar report.

9In earlier letters Richard Jackson had shown a desire for caution in proceeding with the petitions; apparently his more recent letters had expressed greater willingness to go ahead as Galloway and others wanted.

1This was certainly the article printed in Pa. Jour., Aug. 29, 1765, described above, XII, 269 n. Some writers have assumed that Galloway’s “Piece Signed Americanus” was a different letter, though similarly signed, that was printed in Pa. Jour., Jan. 9, 1766, but they have overlooked the fact that the Journal clearly identified this second letter as a reprint of one first appearing in the London Public Ledger, Oct. 9, 1765, which seems from its tone and content to have been much more probably written by an Englishman than an American, in spite of its signature. The earlier letter was reprinted as a pamphlet, Americanus Examined, and His Principles Compared with Those of the Approved Advocates for America. By a Pennsylvanian (Phila., 1774) with defensive commentary variously attributed to Jabez Fisher and to Galloway himself (Evans, 13277).

2Apparently Galloway never published this pamphlet.

3A committee to draft this petition was named, January 9, 1766; after consideration and some amendment, it was signed by the speaker, January 14, and ordered sent to the agents for presentation. 8 Pa. Arch., vii, 5818, 5819–20, 5822, 5824–7. The petition carefully avoided any discussion of parliamentary power.

4Among other arguments the petition pointed out the probable curtailment of British imports if there were no “proper Medium of Trade” in America, but it did not even hint at a possible increase in colonial manufactures as this sentence to BF does.

5Several letters from Philadelphians to BF during the last two months of 1765, printed in Volume xii, touch on the closing of the courts after November 1.

6The third word in this sentence may have been intended as “Sect,” not “Sort.” If so, Galloway could have been alluding to Presbyterians and Congregationalists (often linked together) as advocates of “Republican Principles” in the colonies where these denominations flourished. In 1780 Galloway published in London his Historical and Political Reflections on the Rise and Progress of the American Rebellion in which (pp. 47–55) he gave a grossly over-simplified account of the development of intercommunication and organization within each of these denominations and between the two, that apparently were designed to defend civil as well as religious liberties.

Index Entries