Benjamin Franklin Papers

Four Pennsylvania Delegates in Congress to the Philadelphia Committee of Inspection and Observation, 3[-5?] July 1775

Four Pennsylvania Delegates in Congress to the Philadelphia Committee of Inspection and Observation1

DS: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philip Skene had made a protracted visit to England and Ireland. During it he had furnished information to the ministry, and been rewarded with appointments as inspector of crown lands and lieutenant governor of Ticonderoga and Crown Point.2 When he returned to America he landed in Philadelphia, where he was promptly arrested on suspicion that Whitehall had sent him to bribe delegates.3 Congress appointed a committee to examine his papers, and on June 27 ordered him sent under guard to Connecticut; the Pennsylvania delegation was charged with handling the matter. On July 5 a companion of his by the name of Lundy was ordered to go with him.4 The Pennsylvania delegates apparently began to carry out their commission on July 3 and then, when Lundy was added two days later, hastily revised their letter to make it apply to both men.

Philada. July 3[–5?]. 1775.5

By order of the Continental Congress The Committee of the City of Philada. are earnestly recommended Immediately to Convey Major Philip Skeene and Mr. Lundy and deliver thim6 to the Committee of New York who are requested to Convey him to Hartford in Connecticut. There to Deliver thim and the Order of Congress to the Committee of that Town And that this be done in the most Effectual Manner and the utmost care taken that he does not Escape. The Expences Will be paid by Congress.7

B Franklin
Geo: Ross
John Dickinson
James Wilson8

Endorsed: July 3d. 1775 B. Franklin George Ross J Dickinson and Jas Wilsons Order to convey Major Skeene & Mr Lundy to New York

1The predecessor of the committee to which BF was elected in August; see the headnote on the Assembly’s instructions above, May 9. The committee’s activities are described in Ryerson, Revolution Is Now Begun, pp. 94–6 et seq.

2Above, XXI, 207 n; Dartmouth MSS, II, 269.

3Burnett, Continental Congress, pp. 72–3; Smith, Letters, I, 456 n, 471–2, 479–80, 484–5. See also Wharton to BF above, April 17.

4JCC, II, 82, 86, 108–9, 126–7. See also Doris B. Morton, Philip Skene of Skenesborough (Granville, N.Y., 1959), pp. 38–40.

5This line, at the end of the document, is in BF’s hand; the text itself is in Ross’s, and may have been written as early as June 27. The emendations to include Lundy must have been made on or soon after July 5.

6Ross’s text reads at this point “Skeene to The Committee of Trenton that they be desired to deliver him,” etc. This was replaced by “and Mr. Lundy”; “him,” here and in “Deliver him” below, was turned into “thim.”

7For these payments see JCC, III, 290, 315.

8Ross and Wilson were prominent lawyers, one in Lancaster and the other in Carlisle, and were chairmen of their local committees and colonels in the associators. Ross (1730–79) served with BF on the committee of safety; Wilson (1742–98), one of the outstanding legal scholars in the colonies, had recently published a pamphlet that attracted wide attention by denying Parliament’s authority in America. For both men see the DAB.

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