Benjamin Franklin Papers

Address by Pennsylvania and Virginia Delegates in Congress to the Inhabitants West of Laurel Hill, 25 July 1775: résumé

Address by Pennsylvania and Virginia Delegates in Congress to the Inhabitants West of Laurel Hill5

LS: Library of Congress

<Philadelphia, July 25, 1775: We are concerned about your continuing boundary disputes.6 We do not inquire into their origins or merits but, as representatives of two of the colonies united to defend the liberties of America, have the duty to remove if we can every obstacle that prevents Americans from co-operating to that end. This is our motive for earnestly requesting you to turn your animosities as inhabitants of separate colonies into a common effort to preserve all that makes our country dear to us.

We are convinced that you, like us, wish to see this transformation. To that end we recommend that you disband all bodies of armed men maintained by either province, discharge all those who are in prison or under bail for their part in the contest, and until it is settled leave every one in peaceful possession; thus “the public tranquility will be secured without injury to the titles on either side.” We are confident that the dispute, which has brought much mischief and no good, will soon be peaceably and legally determined. Signed for the Pennsylvania delegation by Franklin, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys,7 George Ross, and James Wilson, and for the Virginia delegation by Benjamin Harrison, P. Henry, Jr., Thomas Jefferson, and Richard Henry Lee. >

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Laurel Hill is not a hill but a range of mountains east of Pittsburgh.

6The long and involved conflicts between Pennsylvania and Virginia for control of the area. For the full text of this letter and an exhaustive discussion of the disputes that evoked it see Boyd, Jefferson Papers, I, 234–6.

7The only signer who is not in the DAB. Humphreys (1712–86) had been a member of the Pa. Assembly since 1763 and was a delegate to the first and second Continental Congress; he subsequently opposed independence and withdrew from political life in July, 1776. A. A. Humphreys, “Charles Humphreys,” PMHB, I (1877), 83–5.

Index Entries