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Benjamin Franklin’s Newspaper Reports Virginia’s Call to Arms at the Outset of the French and Indian War
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From Williamsburg, Virginia, Governor Robert Dinwiddie addresses the House of Burgesses to address the continuing problem of French and Indian incursions into Virginia’s western territories and calling them to action.

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN]. Newspaper. Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Pa., November 7, 1754. 4 pp., 9¼ x 14½ in.

Inventory #22426.08       Price: $3,800

Excerpt

 “Yesterday [October 17, 1754] the General Assembly of the Colony met at the Capitol, in this City [Williamsburg] when his Honour the Governor opened the Session with the following Speech.

            Gentlemen of the Council, Mr. Speaker, and Gentlemen of the House of Burgesses, I once more call you together, to consult on the dangerous Situations of your Country, from the unjustifiable Invasion and Encroachments of the French; and I am in Hopes that during your short Recess, you have seriously considered the miserable Circumstances of your Affairs, and, in Course, the absolute Necessity of granting immediate, considerable, and adequate Supplies, to enable me to put a Stop to their injurious Designs, and to drive them from his Majesty’s Lands upon the Ohio....

The distinguishing Marks of his Majesty’s paternal Care for his Subjects in these Colonies....I hope you will raise in you a just Sense of Duty and Gratitude to the best of Kings, and engage your more effectual Attention to His Majesty’s repeated Commands for granting Supplies....can you continue deaf to such Intreaties ? Shall your Posterity, groaning under the galling Yoke of civil and religious Slavery, despoiled of ever Thing that renders Life desirable, amidst their Despondence, find their Misery still aggravated by reflecting on the Cause? That their own Progenitors, who might have transmitted to them inviolated, the Liberties, the Properties, and the pure Religion that they enjoyed ; by a Supineness and Neglect, as unaccountable as it was unnatural, suffered all to be taken from them?”

To which the Council responded: “We have seriously reflected on the dangerous Situation of our Country….Your Honour may therefore rely on our Assurance of heartily concurring with the House of Burgesses, in all such Measures as shall be thought necessary for advancing his Majesty’s Service, the Interest of the American Colonies, and for defeating the injurious Designs of France…”

Historical Background

After Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie sent a young George Washington on his ill-fated mission to block the French in the Ohio Valley, he asks the Virginia legislature to grant him the resources to counter further French incursions. The French and Indian War would ultimately last nine years and result in the defeat of the French in continental North America.

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 a colonial union by advising “Join, or Die.”

Condition

Very good. Toned. Margins tight but no loss to text. Some professionally-repaired tears.


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