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agitation of this matter is a new trick to secure your re-election. We advise you to show us the respect due to the rank which the crown has been pleased to bestow upon us. The people of Pennsylvania, in ordinary times, are so lightly taxed, that they hardly know that they are taxed. What fools you are to be agitating this dangerous topic of American taxation. It is beneath the dignity of the Assembly to make trouble about such small sums of money. We do not deny that you have been at some expense in pacifying the Indians, but that is no affair of ours. We already give the province a larger sum per annum, than our share of the taxes would amount to. One of us, for example, sent over four hundred pounds' worth of cannon, for the defence of our city of Philadelphia.”
Such was their answer. It was conveyed in sixteen sentences which were numbered and which were very similar to the ones we have given. The communication excited great displeasure. It was considered alike false and insolent. Even the tranquil mind of Franklin was fired with indignation. He replied to the document with a power of eloquence and logic which carried the convictions of nearly all the colonists.
New marks of respect-Lord Loudoun-Gov. Denny and Franklin
Visit the Indians-Franklin commissioner to England-His constant good nature-Loudoun's delays—Wise action of ani English captain-The voyagers land at Falmouth-Journey to London-Franklin's style of living in London-His electrical experiments—He teaches the Cambridge professor-Complimentary action of St. Andrews—Gov. Denny displaced, and dark clouds arising—Franklin's successful diplomacy-His son appointed Governor of New Jersey-Great opposition—The homeward voyage-Savage horrors—Retaliating cruelties-Franklin's efforts in behalf of the Moravian Indians.
THE general impression, produced throughout the colonies, by the controversy with the proprietaries, was that they were very weak men. Indeed it does not appear that they were much regarded even in London. A gentleman, writing from that city, said, “ They are hardly to be found in the herd of gentry; not in court, not in office, not in parliament.”
In March, Franklin left his home for a post-office tour. Some forty of the officers of his regiment, well mounted, and in rich uniform, without Franklin's knowledge, came to his door, to escort him out of the village. Franklin says,
“I had not previously been made acquainted with their project, or I should have prevented it, being naturally averse to the assuming of state on any occasion.”
The proprietaries in London heard an account of this affair. They were very much displeased, saying they had never been thus honored, and that princes of the blood alone were entitled to such distinction. The war was still raging. Large bodies of troops were crossing the ocean to be united with the colonial forces.
Lord Loudoun was appointed by the court commander-in-chief for America. He was an exceedingly weak and inefficient man; scarcely a soldier in the ranks could be found more incompetent for the situation. Governor Morris, of Pennsylvania, worn out with his unavailing conflicts with the Assembly, was withdrawn, and the proprietaries sent out Captain William Denny as their obsequious servant in his stead. The Philadelphians, hoping to conciliate him, received him cordially, and with a public entertainment. William Franklin wrote :
“Change of devils, according to the Scotch proverb, is blithesome.”
At the close of the feast, when most of the party
were making themselves merry over their wine, Governor Denny took Franklin aside into an adjoining room, and endeavored, by the most abounding flattery, and by the bribe of rich promises, to induce him to espouse the cause of the proprietaries. But he soon learned that Franklin could not be influenced by any of his bribes.
There was but a brief lull in the storm. Governor Denny had no power of his own., He could only obey the peremptory instructions he had received. These instructions were irreconcilably hostile to the resolves of the Assembly. Franklin was the all-powerful leader of the popular party. There was something in his imperturbable good nature which it is difficult to explain. No scenes of woe seemed to depress his cheerful spirits. No atrocities of oppression could excite his indignation. He could thrust his keen dagger points into the vitals of his antagonist, with a smile upon his face and jokes upon his lips which would convulse both friend and foe with laughter. He was the most unrelenting antagonist of Governor Denny in the Assembly, and yet he was the only man who remained on good terms with the governor, visiting him, and dining with him.
Governor Denny was a gentleman, and well educated, and few men could appear to better advan.
tage in the saloons of fashion. But he was trammeled beyond all independent action, by the instructions he had received from the proprietaries. He was right in heart, was in sympathy with Franklin, and with reluctance endeavored to enforce the arbitrary measures with which he was entrusted.
Franklin was one of the most companionable of men. His wonderful powers of conversation, his sweetness of temper, and his entire ignoring of all aristocratic assumption, made him one of the most fascinating of guests in every circle. He charmed alike the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant.
In November, 1756, he accompanied Governor Denny to the frontier to confer with the chiefs of several Indian tribes. The savages, to say the least, were as punctillious in the observance of the laws of honor, in securing the safety of the ambassadors on such an occasion, as were the English.
The governor and the philosopher rode side by side on horseback, accompanied by only a few body servants. The governor, familiar with the clubs and the wits of England, entertained Franklin, in the highest degree, with the literary gossip of London, and probably excited in his mind an intense desire to visit those scenes, which he himself was so calculated to enjoy and to embellish. On the journey he