Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Thomas Pownall, [February 1767–May 1767]

From Thomas Pownall

ALS: Library of Congress

Sunday [February–May 17674]

Dear Sir.

I come to Town on tuesday if you are not Engaged in the Ev’ning I will call upon you about seven if you are Engaged or whether you arez not, be so good to give me a Line by the Penny post to my House in Portugal Street. I find some People are Determined to decide that NA is in Rebellion, and to come to an open rupture. Your Obligd and Obedient

T Pownall

Addressed: To / Benj Franklin Esqr / Mrs Stevenson’s / Craven Street / Strand / London

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4While this note could have been written at almost any time until BF’s departure from England in the spring of 1775, the editors incline to place it here because of Pownall’s statement that people are declaring America “in Rebellion.” As BF’s letters and newspaper articles show, this charge was being rained on America during the spring of 1767 (see above, p. 66, and below, pp. 104, 108), in part because of the reception in England of a petition from 240 New York merchants, Nov. 28, 1766, protesting the Navigation Acts and asking for what amounted to their repeal, and of the news that the New York Assembly was refusing to comply with the Quartering Act of 1765 (above, XII, 106–7). Pownall, who had worked with BF to obtain modifications in the Quartering Act, was elected to Parliament on Feb. 4, 1767, and on May 16 made a speech, calling for the amendment of this measure in America’s favor. Parliament, however, was incensed by New York’s challenge to its authority and, instead of adopting any softening amendments, put through a bill to which the King assented on July 2 prohibiting the New York Assembly from passing any “Bills, Orders, Resolutions, or Votes” until it complied with the Quartering Act. See Gipson, British Empire, XI, 45–66.

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