Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Galloway, 6 February 1772

To Joseph Galloway

ALS: Yale University Library

London, Feb. 6. 1772

Dear Sir,

If I complain’d of your seldom Writing, the Case is now alter’d, and you may have more Cause to make the same Complaint of me: For I find before me your several Favours of Oct. 12, and 16. and Dec. 3. and 21.8 The last indeed came to hand but this Evening.

The Ohio Grant is not yet compleated, but the Completion is every Day expected. When it is, I shall, as you direct, draw on your Brother to re-imburse me what I may pay for your Share. I have already advanc’d £25 but that I shall not trouble him with at present.9

Mr. Jackson has communicated to me yours of Decr. 2. with the Map and Observations. The present Ideas of the Ministry seem to be, that they have been drawn in to grant too much; they suppose it 25,000,000 of Acres. Yours is a very different Account, and may be of great Use in militating those Ideas. We are much oblig’d by your Remarks. But you have been misinform’d as to our Line from Sioto to the Allegeny Mountains. You suppose it a S.E. Line; but it is a South Line. This takes in a very large Gore of Territory that you imagine to be left out.1 Mr. Wharton I understand will explain the Boundaries more fully to his Brother, to which permit me to refer you. He is better acquainted with the Virginia Grants than I am, and thinks them much less, and that we shall have no Difficulty about the Purchase made by that Colony.2 What Addition we may be able to obtain hereafter one cannot say, but I think there is little Chance of obtaining any at present. If we were now to propose enlarging our Bounds, it would set us afloat, and we should have all the old Delays to go thro’ over again.

I think you have chang’d Governors for the better. I like the manly Plainness of your Address.3

I thank you for your Admonition about Writing to the Committee and enclose a Letter for them. If they would have me write freely they must not suffer Copies to be taken of my Letters, which will probably be sent hither.

I am glad you have declin’d the Business of your Profession, as I believe you will find your Health improv’d in consequence of that Step.4 I wish you would now and then make long Journeys. You would find great Benefit from them. I imagine I should have fallen to pieces long since but for that Practice. The Dry Gripes are thought here to proceed always from Lead taken by some means or other into the Body.5 You will consider whether this can have been your Case, and avoid the Occasion. Lead us’d about the Vessels or other Instruments us’d in making Cyder, has, they say, given that cruel Disease to many. Preparations of Lead us’d to sweeten prick’d6 Wine have done the same.

My last Tour was thro’ Ireland and Scotland. In Ireland I had a good deal of Conversation with the Patriots; they are all on the American side of the Question in which I endeavour’d to confirm them. The lower People in that unhappy Country, are in a most wretched Situation, thro’ the Restraints on their Trade and Manufactures. Their Houses are dirty Hovels of Mud and Straw; their Clothing Rags, and their Food little beside Potatoes. Perhaps three fourths of the Inhabitants are in this Situation; and from a rough Calculation I am of Opinion, that tho’ Ireland exports an amazing Quantity of Beef and Linnen, if every Inhabitant had Flesh once a Day in his Belly, and a Shirt for his Back, they could export neither Beef nor Linnen. In Scotland things make a better Appearance, and seem on the mending Hand. Yet half the People there wear neither Shoes nor Stockings, or wear them only in Church; No wonder that Scotch Stockings are imported into America. The Gentry in both Countries live extreamly well, are a hospitable Friendly People to Strangers, and very sensible in Conversation. In many Parts of England too, the Working Poor are miserably fed, clothed and lodged. In short I see no Country of Europe where there is so much general Comfort and Happiness as in America, Holland perhaps excepted: tho’ it may be, some Parts of Germany or Switzerland which I have not seen are as well provided as Holland.

I shall willingly subscribe for Mr. Hutchins’s Map, and I think a Number of them will sell here; but People do not much care for Subscribing.7 With sincere Esteem and Respect, I am, my dear, Friend, Yours most affectionately

B Franklin

Jos. Galloway Esqr.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Only the earliest of the four, a brief note, has survived: ibid., p. 232.

9The brother, we assume, was Thomas Nickleson (d. c. 1793), a merchant of Poole and the husband of Galloway’s sister-in-law, née Elizabeth Growden: Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania … (Philadelphia, 1883), p. 225 of second pagination. For the £25 assessment see Foxcroft to BF below, March 2.

1Jackson’s letter is above, under Jan. 16. But the rest of the passage bristles with problems. In the first place, what were Galloway’s map and observations? They may have been based on information supplied him by Thomas Hutchins, mentioned at the end of the letter, or by Robert Lettis Hooper, who had recently returned to Philadelphia from a survey of the area in question (see WF to BF below, Oct. 29), or by Hutchins and Hooper together. In the second place, why did Galloway believe that the western border ran southeast? Hooper provides a possible clue in a letter to WF ([March, 1772,] APS) enclosing a map, since lost, on which he had “altered the lower Line, and made it … nearly South”; Galloway could have seen the earlier version of that map. The line actually ran south from the Scioto to the Wasioto Mountains, then northeast and east to the Alleghenies. In their application for the grant (of twenty, not twenty-five, million acres) the Walpole associates used Onasioto for Wasioto: above, XVII, 8–11; for the inaccuracies of the map printed there see below, p. 123 n. The gore to which BF refers was the triangle bounded by the actual line, the line that Galloway imagined, and the Wasiotos.

2BF was referring to Samuel Wharton and his brother Thomas. For the Virginia grants see WF to BF above, Jan. 6; the purchase was of the land ceded at Lochaber.

3For the Assembly’s address to Richard Penn, who replaced his brother as lieutenant governor in the autumn of 1771, see 8 Pa. Arch., VIII, 6729–30.

4BF had hoped the previous summer that his friend would not abandon both his political career and his law practice: above, XVIII, 189. Galloway must have said in one of his missing letters that he had decided to give up only the second.

5See BF’s earlier correspondence with Cadwalader Evans on this point: XIV, 312–13; XV, 51–2.


7Thomas Hutchins (1730–89) was a military engineer and geographer; see above, X, 210 n, and for a fuller discussion of his career the introduction by Joseph G. Tregle, Jr., to Hutchins’ An Historical Narrative and Topographical Description of Louisiana and West Florida (Floridiana Facsimile and Reprint Series, Gainesville, Fla., 1968), pp. [v-] xlviii. The map in which Galloway and BF were interested, we presume, was one that was not published until six years later, A New Map of the Western Parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina … (London, 1778); it was accompanied by a topographical description.

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