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Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and General Assembly Disagree over Military Funding at Beginning of French and Indian War
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This issue of Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette includes communications between Lieutenant Governor Robert Hunter Morris and the Pennsylvania General Assembly regarding the proper mode of funding military forces to resist the French threat on the western border of the colony. Conflict between French and English forces there erupted into the French and Indian War, and globally into the Seven Years’ War.

It also includes details of a lecture by Ebenezer Kinnersley, a partner of Benjamin Franklin in experiments on electricity, and a brief notice of George Whitefield’s sermons in Philadelphia.

[FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR]. Pennsylvania Gazette, December 26, 1754. Newspaper. Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin and David Hall. 4 pp., lacking the advertising half-sheet, 9¼ x 14½ in.

Inventory #22426.12       Price: $2,000


Lieutenant Governor Robert Hunter Morris to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, December 18, 1754

I have taken your Bill into Consideration, which, among other Things, proposes the Emitting of Twenty Thousand Pounds for the King’s Use, in Paper Bills, to be current for twelve Years; to which I cannot by any Means agree, as I am forbid, by a Royal Instruction, to pass any Law for creating Money in Paper Bills, without a suspending Clause, that it shall not take Effect till his Majesty’s Pleasure be known.” (p1/c1)

the French and Indians upon the Ohio, are much more numerous than we apprehended, making in the whole Two Thousand Men, besides what they have already on Lake Erie; and as they have got together such a considerable Force at this inhospitable Season, we cannot make a Doubt but they will be much stronger in the Spring.” (p1/c1)

Be pleased therefore, Gentlemen, when you frame another Bill, to consider whether it would not be better on all Accounts, to augment the Sum proposed to be given, since this will go but a very little Way towards expelling the French from our Borders, and defending our Frontiers from the Incursions of their Indians.” (p1/c1)

Robert Hunter Morris (1700-1764) served as “lieutenant governor” (Thomas Penn in England was technically “governor”) of Pennsylvania from 1754 to 1756 and as Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1739 to 1764, appointed by his father Lewis Morris, governor of New Jersey. He often clashed with Benjamin Franklin over the right of the General Assembly to tax the Penns’ lands in Pennsylvania.


Pennsylvania General Assembly to Lieutenant Governor Morris, December 20, 1754

Such a suspending Clause, we apprehend, would render that Grant entirely ineffectual as we are now circumstanced, if we had no other Objection to it, and therefore can by no Means agree to insert it in our Bill.” (p1/c1)

we know, that notwithstanding two Bills extending the Royal Instructions over Councils and Assemblies in America had been attempted in Parliament without Success, and a third Bill was brought in with the same Clause, yet it could not obtain a Passage there. And we are informed, that a noble Friend to Liberty and the Rights of the British Subject, a Member of that House, exposed this third Attempt so fully, upon the second Reading of the Bill, that the Clauses on this Head objected to were dropt without Division in the Committee. And, until such Acts of Parliament shall be obtained, which we have good Reason to hope will never be imposed upon us, the Governor must agree with us, that it is our Duty to defend the Rights and Privileges we enjoy under the Royal Charter.” (p1/c3)


Lieutenant Governor Robert Hunter Morris to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, December 19, 1754

“His Majesty will appoint a General Officer of Rank and Capacity to take upon him the Command in Chief of all his Forces in North-America, who will soon be here with a Deputy Quarter-Master General, and a Commissary of the Musters, in order to prepare every Thing for the Arrival of the Forces. His Majesty has been also graciously pleased to order Arms, Cloathing, and other Necessaries, to be sent hither upon the present important Occasion; and likewise Ordnance Stores and Officers, and Attendants belonging thereto.” (p1/c3)

it is his Majesty’s Pleasure we should contribute as far as we can to the having about Three Thousand Men in Readiness to inlist; that we should provide a Quantity of fresh Provisions for the Troops....” (p1/c3)

It is so much the Interest of the Colonies in general, and of this in particular, to exert themselves upon the present Occasion, to co-operate with his Majesty in repelling this Invasion, and to do what is so justly expected from us, that I cannot doubt but you will immediately proceed to the Consideration of the several Matters mentioned in the Secretary of State’s Letter, and by making an ample Provision for the present Exigency, enable me to comply with the Royal Pleasure, and carry His Majesty’s Commands into a strict and speedy Execution.” (p2/c1)


Philadelphia, December 26, 1754

On Tuesday last the Reverend Mr. WHITEFIELD set out from this Place on his Way to Georgia. During his short Stay here he preach’d seven Times in the New Presbyterian Church, and always to a vast Number of People of all Denominations.” (p2/c3)

George Whitefield (1714-1770) was an Anglican minister and one of the founders of Methodism. He first came to the British American colonies as a parish priest in Savannah in 1738. He returned to England to raise funds for an orphanage to be built in Georgia and began preaching to large congregations. When he returned to America in 1740, he preached a series of revivals that became known as the Great Awakening. By 1754, he was a celebrity and preached in cities from Boston to Georgia as part of his fifth voyage to America.


For the Entertainment of the Curious, It is proposed to exhibit, in the Christmas Holydays, in one of the Chambers of the Academy, a Course of Experiments on that new Branch of Natural Philosophy, called ELECTRICITY; to be accompanied with methodical Lectures on the Nature and Properties of that wonderful Element. By EBENEZER KINNERSLEY.” (p4/c3)

Ebenezer Kinnersley (1711-1778) was born in Gloucester, England, and came to America as a small child in 1714. As a Baptist lay preacher in Philadelphia, he opposed what he considered the emotional excesses of the Great Awakening in 1740. He was a professor of English in the Academy of Philadelphia from 1753 to 1772, and associated with Benjamin Franklin in electrical experimentation. He made several significant discoveries of his own in electricity. With Franklin’s help, Kinnersley first began giving lectures on electricity in Philadelphia in 1751.


Additional Content

This issue also includes foreign news from Madrid, Brussels, London, and other European cities (p2/c1-3); colonial news from Williamsburg and New York (p2/c3); and various notices including one offering for sale a “likely Negroe boy, about 15 or 16 years of age, speaks pretty good English” (p3/c3), and several offering rewards for runaway English, Scotch, and Irish servants (p3/c1-3, p5/c1).


The Pennsylvania Gazette(1728-1800) was first published by Samuel Keimer as The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania Gazette; it was the second newspaper to be published in Pennsylvania. In October 1729, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and Hugh Meredith (ca. 1697-1749) purchased the newspaper and shortened the title to The Pennsylvania Gazette. It became the most successful newspaper in the colonies by the mid-1730s. In 1748, Franklin retired from business but retained an interest in The Pennsylvania Gazette. He left the management of the newspaper to partner David Hall (1714-1772). In 1752, Franklin published a third-person account of his kite experiment, and in 1754, printed the first political cartoon in America, “Join, or Die.” In 1766, Franklin completed the sale of his share of the printing business to Hall, and Hall made William Sellers (1725-1804) his partner.  After Hall’s death, his sons, David Hall Jr. (1755-1821) and William Hall (1752-1834), joined the firm with Sellers. The newspaper suspended publication from November 1776 to February 1777, and again during the British occupation of Philadelphia from September 1777 to January 1779.


Condition: Toned with some dampstaining. Will benefit from proper conservation with some leafcasting.  Tight, uneven margins border and encroach upon several areas of text, but evidently just about 99% of text remains. Overall About Good.

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