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Benjamin Franklin’s Newspaper Reports on the Proposed Union of the Colonies
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New York’s legislative bodies and governor volley for position on a defensive pact that suggested that the colonies join together for the first time. With the usual shipping news, advertisements, and news from other colonial cities, including New York and Williamsburg.

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN]. Pennsylvania Gazette, September 12, 1754. Newspaper. Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin and David Hall. 4 pp., lacking the advertising half-sheet, 9¼ x 14½ in.

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The Humble Address of the Council of the Province of New York....We are truly sensible to the Importance of those Matters you have been pleased to lay before us.—When the Dignity of the Crown is insulted; the Welfare of Great-Britain attacked, and the Property of our Fellow Subjects invaded; can we...hesitate one Moment to exert with Indignation. our utmost Efforts of Resentment? Surely not!...nothing in our Power shall be wanting, wherein we can, by any Means, contribute to the Honour of your Administration.”

“The Governor’s Answer....The Loyalty you express to His Majesty, the best of Kings, and your Zeal to defeat the Schemes of the French, are very agreeable to me...”

“The Humble Address of the General Assembly of the said Colony....We are of Opinion with your Honour, that nothing is more natural and salutary than a Union of the Colony for their own Defense, and that it is a reciprocal Duty, to be aiding and assisting to each other, in Case of any Invasion; but these Principles your Honour will not extend to an unlimited Sense: There may be Instances, where particular Colonies invaded, ought to exert their Strength, and not too loudly call on others, more exposed and more burthened than themselves....”

“The Governor’s Answer....I am sensible of the great Expence this Province has been put to in the late War,, and that a further great Expence will be necessary for its Defence and Security; and therefore your making a Provision under these Disadvantages, for the Assistance of our Fellow Subjects, will have the greater Merit, and intitle you to the Aid of the other Governments, when we may stand in Need of it...”

Philadelphia, September 12”:


From New-York there is Advice, that the Reverend Wr. [sic]Whitefield is not to proceed for Boston (the Season being too far advanced) but to return to this City; and that he was to preach at Elizabethtown on Tuesday last, at four in the Afternoon; at Raway on Wednesday, at nine in the Morning, and at Woodbridge at three in the Afternoon; this Day at Brunswick, at nine in the Morning, and at two in the Afternoon in Princeton; To-morrow at nine in the Morning, at Hopewell, and at three in the Afternoon in Trenton; he likewise preaches there on Saturday Morning at nine a Clock; and on Sunday Morning at seven a Clock, and five in the Afternoon, in this City.” (p2/c3)

And news from Williamsburg:

“August 23. Tuesday last passed thro’ this City, on their Way Home, six Officers belonging to the Regiment from North-Carolina, whose Companies are all disbanded, and gone to their respective Habitations; by them we have Advice, that General Innes was preparing to march immediately with the remaining Troops, to buiild a lards Fort at Will’s Creek.

Yesterday, at Four a Clock in the Evening, Monsieur Druillon, Monsieuyr Le Force, two Cadets, and 17 private Men, who were Prisoners, set out under an Escort, for the French Fort at the Ohio.

August 30. We have Advice from Fort Duquisne [sic] the Fort the French took from us on the Ohio, of the 29th of July, that there were but 200 Men there at that Time, 200 more expected in  a few Days; and that the rest went off in several Detachments, to the Amount of 1000 besides Indians.

We have also certain Intelligence of several of our Men having been taken Prisoners since the Treaty, and offer’d by the Indians for Sale, at 40 Pistoles per Head, and for want of Purchases since sent to Canada.

The Indians in our Interest threaten to give up every Thing if we do nothing this Fall.”

Historical Background

Having just presided over the Albany Congress, which was intended to form a defensive league among the colonists and Iroquois Confederation, New York Provincial Governor James DeLancey emphasizes his appreciation for New Yorkers’ support of the Crown against the French, while the General Assembly balks at having to aid the other colonies when New York bore the brunt of the fighting.

Launched in 1728, the Pennsylvania Gazette was the second newspaper published in Pennsylvania. In 1729, Benjamin Franklin and partner Hugh Meredith purchased the paper. Franklin regularly contributed pieces written under various noms de plume. The Gazette published the first political cartoon in America: Franklin’s own design of a segmented snake representing the individual colonies that advocated for a colonial union by advising “Join, or Die.”


Very good. Toned. Tight margins with loss of one line of text at the top of pp. 2-3 and part of 4.