Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Galloway, 20 August 1768

To Joseph Galloway

ALS: Clements Library

London, August 20. 1768

Dear Sir,

I wrote a pretty long Letter to you by Falconer, in which I acquainted you with what had heretofore pass’d between Lord Hillsborough and myself relating to the Change of our Government; and that I proposed waiting on him again in a few Days, in consequence of an Intimation I had received that he was now disposed to favour the Petition. I have accordingly been with him, and had a long Audience of him upon the Subject, the Particulars of which I cannot at present give you, but the Conclusion was, that we parted without agreeing on any thing, the Advice he gave us in order to obtain the Change, being such as I assur’d him we could not take. I shall therefore move the Matter no farther during the Administration of a Minister that appears to have a stronger Partiality for Mr. Penn than any of his Predecessors.7 I stay however a little longer here, till I see what Turn American Affairs are like to take. The next News from America, which is anxiously expected, will probably enable us to judge. A Party is now growing in our Favour, which I shall endeavour to increase and strengthen by every Effort of Tongue and Pen. Possibly by our united Endeavours (I wish I could say probably) the Repeal of the late offensive Duties may be obtained. If it should be resolv’d by the Ministry to make us easy, I know not but I may still return this Fall. But otherwise, I shall stay the Session, to see if the new Parliament can be brought to disapprove of the violent Measures talked of, and to repeal the Act. Sir Jeffery Amherst’s being stript of his Offices, gives great Offence to all the Military People here, and tho’ the Measure of requiring a chief Governor to reside in his Government was not in itself a wrong thing, yet Advantage is taken of it by the Opposition, to arraign the Conduct of Lord Hillsborough, and render him odious.8 Please to present my best Respects and Duty to the Assembly, and assure them of my most faithful Services. With great Esteem, I am, Dear Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

Joseph Galloway, Esqr.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7It is particularly unfortunate that BF’s earlier letter to Galloway has not been found, because it would presumably supply background for BF’s disillusionment with Hillsborough. Since his appointment the American Secretary had not been well disposed toward repeal of the Currency Act or of taxes on the colonies, and in recent months he had been dispatching troops to Boston. On July 2, nevertheless, BF had written of him to Galloway in favorable terms; see above. Hillsborough’s support of the Penns, it seems, was what principally alienated BF and led to his subsequent attacks on the government in general and the Secretary in particular.

8Sir Jeffrey Amherst had been appointed governor of Virginia in 1759, but in his absence lieutenant governors had run the province. The Virginians complained of an absentee governor, and in 1768 they strongly supported Massachusetts; the ministry consequently insisted that Sir Jeffrey return to his post. He refused. He detested America, and would not be there as governor while Gage, his former subordinate, was commander in chief. On August 13 Lord Botetourt was appointed to succeed him, and set out almost at once for America; Lond. Chron., Aug. 13–16, 23–5, 1768. Amherst, furious, thereupon resigned all his offices. The government’s treatment of him offended Chatham, whose protégé he was; and this episode, along with the impending removal of Shelburne, brought about Chatham’s resignation two months later. Gipson, British Empire, XI, 231–2; Merrill Jensen, The Founding of a Nation: a History of the American Revolution, 1763–1776 (New York, 1968), p. 300; Grenville Papers, IV, 349; Lawrence S. Mayo, Jeffery Amherst: a Biography (New York, 1916), pp. 254–64. See also BF’s letters to the Lond. Chron. below, Aug. 25–7, 27–30, 1768.

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