Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to David Hartley, 8 May 1775

To David Hartley8

ALS: Harvard University Library

Philada. May 8. 1775. Monday

Dear Sir,

I arrived here on Friday Evening, and the next morning was unanimously chosen by the General Assembly a Delegate for the ensuing Congress, which is to meet on Wednesday.9

You will have heard before this reaches you of the Commencement of a Civil War; the End of it perhaps neither myself, nor you, who are much younger, may live to see. I find here all Ranks of People in Arms, disciplining themselves Morning and Evening,1 and am informed that the firmest Union prevails throughout North America; New York as hearty as any of the rest. I purpose to communicate to you from time to time the most authentic Intelligence I can collect here, and hope to hear frequently from you in the same Way. I am with great Esteem, Dear Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

David Hartley Esqr

Endorsed: D F May 8 1775

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8For puzzling aspects of this and BF’s earlier note to Hartley see the headnote above, May 6.

9The Assembly unanimously elected BF a delegate on Saturday, May 6, and the Congress convened four days later. 8 Pa. Arch., VIII, 7231; JCC, II, 11–12.

1News of Lexington and Concord reached Philadelphia on April 24, and the next day a mass meeting resolved to co-operate for mutual defense; so originated the city associators. On the 29th another meeting decided that each ward should provide one or more companies, and on May 1 the officers were elected. John F. Roche, Joseph Reed: a Moderate in the American Revolution (New York, 1957), pp. 58–60. On the 5th drums were beating and flags flying as the militia paraded the streets; “the whole country appears determined to assume a military character, and this city, throwing off her pacific aspect, is forming military companies, a plan being laid for thirty-three.. . .” Even a faction of Quakers was raising two. George A. Ward, ed., Journal and Letters of the Late Samuel Curwen . . . (London, 1842), p. 26.

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