Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to the Speaker and Committee of Correspondence of the Pennsylvania Assembly, 22 August 1766

To the Speaker and Committee of Correspondence of the Pennsylvania Assembly

ALS: Yale University Library

London, Augt. 22. 1766


In mine of June 10th.1 I acquainted you that I was about to make a Journey for the Establishment of my Health. I accordingly went to Pyrmont, where I drank the Waters some Days; but relying more on the Air and Exercise of Travelling, I proceeded to Hanover, and from thence thro’ Cassel to Frankfurt and Mentz, thence down the Rhine to Cologne, and so thro’ Treves to Holland, from whence I returned here again on the 16th. Instant, well and hearty, my Journey having perfectly answered its Intention.2

Changes in the Ministry, which I mention’d as apprehended, have since taken Place:3 But we have the Satisfaction to find, that none of those whom we look’d upon as Adversaries of America in the late Struggles, are come into Power; and that tho’ some of our Friends are gone out, other Friends are come in or promoted, as Mr. Pitt, Lord Shelbourne, Lord Cambden, &c. So that we have reason to hope the farther Points we would obtain relating to our Commerce and Currency, may in the next Session of Parliament meet with a favourable Attention; in the Prosecuting of which no Endeavours of mine shall be wanting.

Mr. Jackson is still in the Country, but had communicated the Assembly’s Address to Lord Shelbourne, who as Secretary of State, presented it. It was graciously receiv’d, and printed in the Gazette.4 And I was yesterday told by Lord Egmont, whom I met with at Court; that the dutiful Sentiments express’d by our Province and the Jerseys gave great Pleasure to all the Friends of America here. Lord Shelbourne was also so good as to express to me his Regard for America, and to assure me of his Inclination to do every thing in his Power that might promote our Interest jointly with that of the Mother Country.5 As soon as Mr. Jackson returns to Town we shall concert together the Steps to be taken in the Affairs of our Province, and proceed in them with our joint Industry and Application, agreable to the Orders of the House and your Letters of the 8th of May and 6th of June.

Please to present my Duty to the Assembly, and believe me with sincere Respect and Esteem, Gentlemen, Your most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

Speaker, and Commee. of Correspondence

Endorsed: Benja: Franklin Esqr. to the Speaker and Commee. Augt. 22d. 1766

1Above, pp. 297–9.

2For the chronology of this journey, so far as it can be determined, see above, p. 315. The route as reported here offers some difficulty. From Bad Pyrmont to Hanover was a trip of about 35 miles to the northeast; from Hanover the course was generally southwesterly some 200 miles through Göttingen, Cassel, and Frankfort to Mainz, where BF and Pringle reached the Rhine. From this point, according to BF, they went 100 miles or so down the Rhine to Cologne “and so thro’ Treves [Trier] to Holland.” But to get from Cologne to Trier they would have had to retrace their route up the Rhine as far as Coblenz and then go up the Moselle to Trier, a combined distance of over 100 miles; and at Trier they would have been about six miles from the Luxemburg border and a long distance from Holland. It seems probable that BF got the sequence wrong in his letter and that they visited Trier after leaving Mainz but before going down the Rhine as far as Cologne. After reaching Cologne from Trier, in that case, it would have been an easy matter to keep right on down the Rhine through Holland to their port of embarkation for England. London Chron., Aug. 16–19, 1766, confirms the date of the travelers’ return to London.

3The Rockingham ministry ended on July 30 and a new ministry headed by William Pitt as lord privy seal took its place. Simultaneously, Pitt accepted a peerage as Earl of Chatham and so departed from the House of Commons, to the Lords to the dismay of many admirers in Great Britain and the colonies. Among others in the new ministry the Earl of Shelburne was secretary of state for the Southern Department (Conway remaining in the Northern Department); the Earl of Camden became lord chancellor; the Duke of Grafton, first lord of the Treasury; and, most importantly for future colonial relations, Charles Townshend became chancellor of the Exchequer.

4For the transmission of this address from the Assembly’s Committee of Correspondence to the agents, see above, p. 290. London Chron., Aug. 9–12, 1766, reported that “Last Saturday’s Gazette” contained the addresses of thanks to the King on the repeal of the Stamp Act from governmental bodies of Pa., Del., Mass., and N.J.

5On William Petty, 2d Earl of Shelburne, see above, X, 348 n. As secretary of state for the Southern Department in the new ministry he had direct responsibility for colonial affairs until January 1768, when the new office of secretary of state for the colonies was created and given to Lord Hillsborough, who had been president of the Board of Trade, 1763–65 and 1766–68.

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