Benjamin Franklin Papers

The York County Committee to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety, 4 October 1775: résumé

The York County Committee to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety

LS: The Rosenbach Foundation

<York, October 4, 1775: “Your Favour of the 29th ult.. . . by Mr. Swope” (Swoope) has been received, with its gratifying approval of what the county has done.3 But the order for delivering 500 pounds of powder and 1250 pounds of lead alarmed the inhabitants until they understood that the ammunition would soon be replaced, which we beg you to do as soon as possible.4

When the charges against Matthew Dill were laid before you by some officers of the fifth battalion, you recommended a new election.5 The battalion officers met on September 30; judges were appointed, who examined the accusations and found them false “and propagated by the Faction with the Design of injuring the Man,” whereupon the field officers previously chosen were reelected: Dill colonel, William Rankin lieutenant colonel, Robert Stevenson and Gerhart Graeff (Graff) majors. We again request commissions for these men.6 Addressed to Franklin, Owen Biddle, and the committee of safety, and signed for the York committee by James Smith, chairman.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3For Swoope see the letter from the York militia officers above, Aug. 31. He carried a letter from the committee of safety, now lost, signed by Owen Biddle (Pa. Col. Recs., X, 351); for that reason, presumably, Biddle is included in the address of this letter.

4In late September the committee of safety had ordered the purchase of the county’s powder and lead, to become part of the provincial stock, and the next day had assigned the quantity mentioned to Westmoreland Co. for defense of the frontiers: ibid., pp. 344, 346. On Oct. 20 the York committee acknowledged that the ammunition was provincial property, but lamented its use in an intercolonial quarrel: I Pa. Arch., IV, 668. The quarrel was undoubtedly that with Virginia, for which see the letter from the Pa. and Va. delegates above, July 25.

5For this dispute see the York committee’s letter above, Sept. 14.

6William Rankin, an English-born Quaker and justice of the peace, was later a member of the Pa. convention; in 1780 he was accused of treason, imprisoned, escaped, and fled to England. William H. Egle, “The Constitutional Convention of 1776,” PMHB, IV (1880), 228–9. Stevenson appears in the records as a major and Gerhard or Garret Graff, as he is spelled there, as a captain through 1776: 2 Pa. Arch., I, 427; XIV, 477.

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