To Joseph Fox
ALS: William Logan Fox, Philadelphia (1956)
London, March 1. 1766
I wrote to you of the 22d past, via Maryland.8 Inclos’d I send a Copy of the late Votes on the Affair of the American Stamp-Act. The Repeal is now in a fair way of being compleated, on which I congratulate you and the Assembly.9 I am, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant,
P.S. An Act will pass at the same time with the Repeal of the Stamp Act, similar to that relating to Ireland pass’d in the Reign of George the first;1 it will be call’d an Act for the better securing the Dependency of His Majesty’s Dominions in America, on the Crown and Parliament of Great Britain;2 This is merely to save Appearances, and to guard against the Effects of the Clamour made by the late Ministry as if the Rights of this Nation were sacrificed to America: And I think we may rest secure notwithstanding such Act, that no future Ministry will ever attempt to tax us, any more than they venture to tax Ireland. But then it is suppos’d, that we shall be, as we have been heretofore, always willing and ready to grant such voluntary Aids to the Crown as are suitable to our Abilities, when duly call’d upon for that purpose.
Addressed: To / Joseph Fox Esqr / Philadelphia / via New York / per Packet / Free, B. Franklin
8. No letter to Fox of Feb. 22, 1766, has been found. BF may be referring to his letter of Feb. 24, 1766, above, pp. 168–9.
9. For a chronology of Parliament’s repeal of the Stamp Act, see ibid. and above, p. 55 n.
1. The act relating to Ireland was 6 Geo. I, c. 5 (1719).
2. This is BF’s first mention of the prospective Declaratory Act (6 Geo. III, c. 12) in which Parliament resolved that it “had, hath, and of Right ought to have, full Power and Authority to make Laws and Statutes of sufficient Force and Validity to bind the Colonies and People of America, Subjects of the Crown of Great Britain, in all Cases whatsoever.” The decision to press for such an act was reached at a meeting of the Rockingham ministry on Jan. 17, 1766, and a resolution, requesting such a statute, was introduced in the Committee of the Whole, Feb. 3, 1766. On behalf of the Committee Rose Fuller reported a series of resolutions to the full House on February 24, the first of which was that Parliament had powers which were described in precisely the words, just quoted, which were incorporated in the Declaratory Act. The House agreed to the resolution the same day and ordered the drafting of a bill embodying it. Such a bill was presented to the House and read for the first time on Feb. 26, 1766, as was the bill for repealing the Stamp Act. Both bills were read for the second time on February 27 and on March 18 both received the royal assent. See The Statutes at Large, x (London, 1771), 152–3; Journals of the House of Commons, xxx (Jan. 10, 1765–Sept. 16, 1766), 602–67, passim; Morgan, Stamp Act Crisis, pp. 268–81.