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suited to the situation of America and Great Britain at that time. It appears to have steered exactly in the middle, between the opposite interests of both.
Whether the adoption of this plan would have prevented the separation of America from Great Britain, is a question which might afford much room for speculation. It may be said, that, by enabling the colonies to defend themselves, it would have removed the pretext upon which the stamp-act, tea-act, and other acts of the British parliament, were passed; which excited a spirit of opposition, and laid the foundation for the separation of the two countries. But, on the other hand, it must be admitted, that the restriction laid by Great Britain upon our commerce, obliging us to sell our produce to her citizens only, and to take from them various articles, of which, as our manufactures were discouraged, we stood in need, at a price greater than that for which they could have been obtained from other nations, must inevitably produce dissatisfaction, even though no duties were imposed by the parliament: a circumstance which might still have taken place. Besides, as the presidentgeneral was to be appointed by the crown, he must, of necessity, be devoted to its views, and would, therefore, refuse his assent to any laws, however salutary to the community, which had the most remote tendency to injure the interests of his sovereign. Even should they receive his assent, the approbation of the king was to be necessary; who would indubitably, in every instance, prefer the advantage of his home dominions to that of his colonies. Hence would ensue perpetual disagreements between the council and the president general, and thus, between the people of America and the crown of Great Britain: While the colonies continued weak, they would be obliged to submit,, and as soon as they acquired strength they would become more urgent in their demands, until, at length, they wouid shake off the yoke, and declare themselves independent.
Whilst the French were in possession of Canada, their trade with the natives extended very far; even to the
back of the British settlements. They were disposed, from time to time, to establish posts within the territory, which the British claimed as their own. Independent of the injury to the fur trade, which was considerable, the colonies suffered this further inconvenience, that the Indians were frequently instigated to commit depredations on their frontiers. In the year 1753. encroachments were made upon the boundaries of Virginia. Remonstrances had no effect. In the ensuing year, a body of men were sent out under the command of Mr. WASHINGTON, who, though a very young man, had, by his conduct in the preceding year, shown himself worthy of such an important trust. Whilst marching to take possession of the post at the junction of the Allegany and Monongahela, he was informed that the French had already erected a fort there. A detachment of their men marched against him. He fortified himself as strongly as time and circumstances would permit. A superiority of numbers soon obliged him to surrender For! Necesity. He obtained honourable terms for himself and men, and returned to Virginia. The government of Great Britain now thought it necessary to interfere. In the year 17:5, general Braddock, with some regiments of regular troops, and provincial levies, was sent to dispossess the French of the posts upon which they had seized. After the men were all ready, a difficulty occurred, which had nearly prevented the expedition. This was the want of waggons. Franklin now stepped forward, and with the assistance of his son, in a little time procured an hundred and fifty. Braddock unfortunately fell into an ambuscade, and perished, with a number of his men. WASHINGTON, who had accompanied him as an aiddecamp, and had warned him in vain of his danger, now displayed great military talents in effecting a retreat of the remains of the army, and in forming a junction with the rear, under colonel Dunbar, upon whom the chief command now devoived. With some difficulty they brought their little body to a place of safety; but they found it necessary to destroy their waggons and baggage to prevent their falling into the hands of the ene. my. For the waggons which he had furnished, Franklin had given bonds to a large amount. The owners declared their intentions of obliging him to make a restitu ion of their property. Had they put their threats in execution, ruin must inevitably have been the consequence. Governor Shirley, finding that he had incurred these debts for the service of government, made arrangements to have them discharged, and released Franklin from his disagreeable situation
The alarm spread through the colonies, after the defeat of Braddock, was very great. Preparations to arm were every where made. In Pennsylvania, the prevalence of the quaker interest prevented the adoption of any system of defence which would compel the citizens to bear arms. Franklin introduced into the assembly a bill for organizing a militia, by which every man was allowed to take arms or not, as to him should appear fit. The quakers, being thus left at liberty, suffered the bill to pass; for, although their principles would not suffer them to fight, they had no objections to their neighbours' fighting for them. In consequence of this act a very respectable militia was formed. The sense of impending danger, infused a military spirit in all whose religious tenets were not opposed to war.
Franklin was appointed colonel of a regiment in Philadelphia, which consisted of 1200 men.
The north-western frontier being invaded by the enemy, it became necessary to adopt measures for its defence. Franklin was directed by the governor to take charge of this business. A power of raising men, and of appointing officers to command them, was vested in him. He soon levied a body of troops, with which he repaired to the place at which their presence was necessary. Here he built a fort, and placed the garrison in such a posture of defence, as would enable them to withstand the inroads, to which the inhabitants had previously been exposed. He remained here for some time, in order the more completely to discharge the trust
committed to him. Some business of importance rendered his presence necessary in the assembly, and he returned to Philadelphia.
The defence of her colonies was a great expense to Great Britain. The most effectual mode of lessening this was, to put arms into the hands of the inhabitants and to teach them their use. But England wished not that the Americans should become acquainted with their own strength. She was apprehensive, that, as soon as this period arrived, they would no longer submit to that monopoly of their trade, which to them was highly injurious, but extremely advantageous to the mother country. In comparison with the profits of this, the expense of maintaining armies and fleets to defend them was trifling. She sought to keep them dependent upon her for protection, the best plan which could be devised for retaining them in peaceable subjection. The least appearance of a military spirit was therefore to be guarded against, and, although a war then raged, the act organizing a militia was disapproved of by the ministry. The regiments which had been formed under it were disbanded, and the defence of the province entrusted to regular troops.
The disputes between the proprietaries and the people continued in full force, although a war was raging on the frontiers. Not even the sense of danger was sufficient to reconcile, for ever so short a time, their jarring interests. The assembly still insisted upon the justice of taxing the proprietary estates, but the governors constantly refused to give their assent to this measure, withoct which no bill could pass into a law. Enraged at the obstinacy, and what they conceived to be unjust proceedings of their opponents, the assembly at length determined to apply to the mother country for relief. A petition was addressed to the king, in council, stating the inconveniences under which the inhabitants laboured, from the attention of the proprietaries to their private interests, to the neglect of the general welfare of the community, and praying for redress. Franklin was appointed to present this address, as agent for the province of Pennsylvania, and departed from America in June 1757. In conformity to the instructions which he had received from the legislature, held a conference with the proprietaries, who then resided in England, and endeavoured to prevail upon them to give up the long-contested point. Finding that they would hearken to no terms of accommodation, he laid his petition to the council. During this time governor Denny assented to a law imposing a tax, in which no discrimination was made in favour of the estates of the Penn family. They, alarmed at this intelligence, and Franklin's exertions, used their utmost exertions to prevent the royal sanction being given to this law, which they represented as highly iniquitous, designed to throw the burden of supporting government on them, and calculated to produce the most ruinous consequences to them and their posterity. The cause was amply discussed before the privy councils. The Penns found here some strenuous advocates; nor were there wanting some who warmly espoused the side of the people. After some time spent in debate, a proposal was made, that Franklin should solemnly engage, that the assessment of the tax should be so made, as that the proprietary estates should pay no more than a due proporțion. This he agreed to perform, the Penn family withdrew their opposition, and tranquility was thus once more restored to the province.
The mode in which this dispute was determined is a striking proof of the high opinion entertained of Franklin's integrity and honour, even by those who considered him as inimical to their views. Nor was their confidence ill founded. The assessment was made upon the strictest principles of equity; and the proprietary estates bore only a proportionable share of the expenses of supporting government.
After the completion of this important business, Franklin remained at the court of Great Britain, as agent for the province of Pennsylvania. The extensive knowledge which he possessed of the situation of the colonies, and the regard which he always manifest