Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to [Joseph Galloway], 12 April 1766

To [Joseph Galloway6]

MS not found; extract printed in Pennsylvania Gazette, June 19, 1766

April 12, 1766.

Our Friends here are in Pain, lest the Condescension of Parliament, in repealing the Stamp-Act, will encourage the Americans to farther Excesses; and our Enemies, who have predicted it, hope to see their Prophecies fulfilled, that they may disgrace the present Ministry; but I hope we shall behave prudently, and disappoint them, which will establish the Ministry, and thereby effectually secure the American Interest in Parliament.7 Indeed I wish this Ministry well, for their own Sakes, as well as ours, as they appear to me to be really very honest worthy Men, with the best Intentions; by no Means deficient in Abilities, very attentive to Business, and of Course daily improving in their Acquaintance with it.

The Proposal of free Ports in America, has been attended to, and one, for a Trial, will be established at Dominica.8

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6BF’s friends often published extracts of his letters in Pa. Gaz. It appears probable that this extract was taken from a letter to Galloway. On June 16, 1766, Galloway wrote (below, p. 316) that he had received BF’s letter of April 12 and had sent David Hall an extract in which BF had praised the members of the present ministry. It is not impossible, of course, that BF had written some other friend—including Hall himself—to the same effect on the same day.

7Even as this letter was written, the Rockingham ministry was in the process of disintegrating over personal differences, not issues. It was replaced, July 23, by an administration headed by William Pitt. See Gipson, British Empire, xi, 70–82.

8Hearings on such a bill were held, April 7, 1766. Although William Pitt opposed it when it was first introduced in Parliament, he later withdrew his opposition and the bill, establishing free ports in Dominica and Jamaica (6 Geo. III, c. 49), was passed and received the royal assent, June 6, 1766. See Ross J.S. Hoffman, Edmund Burke, New York Agent (Phila., 1956), pp., 343, 347, 350, and above, pp. 237–8.

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