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may be you don't, for you are yet but a young husband. But see, on this head, the learned Coke, that oracle of the law, in his chapter De Jur. Maril. Angl. I advise you not to bring it to trial; for, if you do, you will certainly be cast.
Frequent interruptions make it impossible for me to go through all your letter. I have only time to remind you of the saying of that excellent old philosopher, Socrates, that, in differences among friends, they that make the first concessions are the wisest ; and to hint to you, that you are in danger of losing that honor in the present case, if you are not very speedy in your acknowledgments, which I persuade myself you will be, when you consider the sex of your adversary.
Your visits never had but one thing disagreeable in them, that is, they were always too short. I shall exceedingly regret the loss of them, unless you continue, as you have begun, to make it up to me by long letters.
I am, dear Jemmy, with sincere love to our dearest Suky, your very affectionate friend and cousin,
TO CADWALLADER COLDEN.,
Philadelphia, 1 October, 1747.
I send you herewith the “ History of the Five Nations.” You will perceive that Osborne, to puff up the book, has inserted the Charters, &c., of this province, all under the title of History of the Five Nations ; which I think was not fair, but it is a common trick of booksellers.
Mr. James Read, to whom Mr. Osborne has sent a parcel of books by recommendation of Mr. Collinson, being engaged in business of another kind, talks of declining to act in disposing of them, and perhaps may put them into my hands. If he should, I will endeavour to do Mr. Osborne justice in disposing of them to the best advantage, as also of any other parcel he may send me from your recommendation.
Mr. Armit is returned well from New England. As he has your power of attorney, and somewhat more leisure at present, than I have, I think to put your letter to Mr. Hughes into his hands, and desire him to manage the affair of your servant. I shall write a line besides to Hughes, that he would assist in obliging the servant to do you justice, which may be of some service, as he owns himself obliged to me, for recovering a servant for him, that had been gone above a twelvemonth. I am, Sir, &c.
TO CADWALLADER COLDEN.
Apprehensions of an Attack from the Enemy. - Schemes of Defence. — He applies for Cannon from New York.
Philadelphia, 27 November, 1747. SIR, The violent party spirit, that appears in all the votes, &c., of your Assembly, seems to me extremely unseasonable as well as unjust, and to threaten mischief not only to yourselves but to your neighbours. It begins to be plain that the French may reap great advantages from your divisions. God grant they may be as blind to their own interest, and as negligent of it, as the English are of theirs. It must be inconvenient to you to remove your family, but more so to you and them to live under continual apprehensions and alarms. I shall be glad to hear you are all in a place of safety.
Though “Plain Truth”* bore somewhat hard on both parties here, it has had the happiness not to give much offence to either. It has wonderfully spirited us up to defend ourselves and country, to which end great numbers are entering into an association, of which I send you a copy enclosed. We are likewise setting on foot a lottery to raise three thousand pounds for erecting a battery of cannon below the city. We have petitioned the Proprietor to send us some from England, and have ordered our correspondents to send us over a parcel, if the application to the Proprietor fails. But, lest by any accident they should miscarry, I am desired to write to you, and ask your opinion, whether, if our government should apply to Governor Clinton to borrow a few of your spare cannon, till we could be supplied, such application might probably meet with success. Pray excuse the effects of haste on this letter.
I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, your most obliged humble servant.
FROM R. PETERS TO JOHN AND RICHARD PENN.+
Origin of the Association for the Defence of the Prov
ince, and the Part taken by Franklin in forming it.
Philadelphia, 29 November, 1747. ..HONORED PROPRIETARIES, 2. Abundance of stories have been told by sailors and others, who have been taken by French privateers and carried into Martinico and Guadaloupe, that the French know our bay and river as well as we do, that they are sure the Quakers will not consent to the raising fortifications, that there are no men-of-war upon the coast, that vast wealth may be got from the plunder of the city, and that some merchants and captains of ships in the French islands have actually concerted a scheme, to be executed by six privateers, of force against the city, some time next year. They tell further, that the captains of the English men-of-war have orders to detain every French sailor they take, and to send them to England, and never to suffer any of them to be exchanged, or to go to any of the French ports in the West Indies. I know not what truth there is in this, but they say the French have got this notion, and therefore think, that the French privateers will quit their cruises in the West Indies, and come by shoals on this coast next summer; and, if a number of them should by chance meet together, they may, having some of our pilots on board, encourage one another to make an attempt on the city, especially if there should be no men-of-war in New York or Virginia.
* See this tract in Vol. III. pp. 1 et seq.
† Richard Peters was at this time secretary of the proprietary government, and as such it was a part of his duty to acquaint the Proprietaries with every important transaction, which occurred in the province. It turned out, that the Proprietaries were not pleased with the course that
These accounts are handed about amongst the tradesmen, and have made strong impressions on numbers. The Quakers too have exasperated several of their people by an unseasonable inquisition into the names of all such of their persuasion, as contributed to the manning out the Warren privateer for a cruise on our coast, in order to drive away the French and Spanish privateers that infested the Bay last summer, with an intent to excommunicate all who will not recant. Not only moderate Friends are disobliged at these imperious measures of the meeting, but it has raised universal odium in the members of all the other congregations. Benjamin Franklin, who has for some time past been really apprehensive of a visit from the French, observing this turn in the people's minds, thought he could by some well wrote papers improve this opportunity, take advantage of their fears, and spirit them up to an Association for their defence. He communicated this opinion to Mr. Francis, Mr. Coleman, and Mr. Hopkinson, on which a scheme was formed to assume the character of a tradesman, to fall foul of the Quakers and their opposers equally, as people from whom no good could be expected, and, by this artifice, to animate all the middling persons to undertake their own defence, in opposition to the Quakers and the gentlemen.
If this should take effect, Mr. Allen and his friends might publish a vindication of their conduct, and modestly offer a junction of their interest to promote the public good. Franklin offered to print all papers gratis, in his Gazette ; and, if they should be too voluminous to be inserted there, he would not only print them gratis pamphlet-wise, but send them with the Gazette to every one of his customers. The first thing that was done, in consequence of this overture, was the publication of some verses in praise of Robert Barclay, taken, I suppose, out of one of the Magazines; then a quotation out of his “ Apology” on the subject of defence, with some sly but strong observations, which any pious and well inclined Quaker might make. This had its effect in dividing moderate men from bigots, and begot open exclamations against the inquisition set up