Front Page Titles (by Subject) CLXXIII: TO THE SPEAKER AND COMMITTEE OF THE PENNSYLVANIA ASSEMBLY - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763
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CLXXIII: TO THE SPEAKER AND COMMITTEE OF THE PENNSYLVANIA ASSEMBLY - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. III Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763 
The Works of Benjamin Franklin, including the Private as well as the Official and Scientific Correspondence, together with the Unmutilated and Correct Version of the Autobiography, compiled and edited by John Bigelow (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). The Federal Edition in 12 volumes. Vol. III (Letters and Misc. Writings 1753-1763).
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TO THE SPEAKER AND COMMITTEE OF THE PENNSYLVANIA ASSEMBLY
London, 10 June, 1758.
In mine of May 13th I gave you a particular account of the hearing before the Attorney and Solicitor General, on a reference of Smith’s petition. They have not yet made their report, and would now, I hear, excuse themselves from doing it as unnecessary, since they have heard that the prisoners are discharged. But they are still solicited by Mr. Penn and Mr. Moore to report, on an allegation that they have letters advising that warrants are issued for taking them up again. None of my letters from Pennsylvania mentions any thing of this. I have ventured to say I doubt the truth of it. Whether they will report or not is uncertain; but if they should report against us, I am determined to dispute the matter again before the Council.
I send you herewith a copy of the note I furnished our solicitor with, when drawing his brief; a copy of the brief itself; a copy of some remarks on the reflection thrown upon the Assembly by the Council at the first hearing, as being Quakers and therefore against defence, and as bearing malice against Smith because a clergyman of the Church of England, and against Moore because he petitioned for defence. These I gave to our counsel before the second hearing, when they were to speak, and they made good use of them. I furnished also a number of cases from the votes of Assemblies in the other colonies, showing that they all claimed and exercised power of committing for breach of privilege; but of this paper of cases I have no copy by me.1
Mr. Charles at my request has drawn the state of the case, in order to obtain opinions of eminent lawyers how far our present privileges would be affected in case of a change of government, by our coming immediately under the crown. I send you a copy of this case, with the opinion of our counsel upon it, who is esteemed the best acquainted with our American affairs and constitutions, as well as with government law in general. He being also thoroughly knowing in the present views of the Board of Trade, and in their connexions and characters, has given me withal, as a friend, some prudential advice in a separate sheet distinct from his law opinion, because the law opinion might necessarily appear where he would not care the advice should be seen. I send you, also, a copy of this, and should be glad of your sentiments upon it. One thing that he recommends to be done before we push our point in Parliament, is removing the prejudices that art and accident have spread among the people of this country against us, and obtaining for us the good opinion of the bulk of mankind without doors. This I hope we have it in our power to do, by means of a work now nearly ready for the press, calculated to engage the attention of many readers, and at the same time to efface the bad impressions received of us; but it is thought best not to publish it till a little before the next session of Parliament.1
The Proprietors are determined to discard their present governor, as soon as they can find a successor to their mind. They have lately offered the government to one Mr. Graves, a gentleman of the Temple, who has had it for some time under consideration, and makes a difficulty of accepting it. The beginning of the week it was thought he would accept; but on Thursday night I was told he had resolved to refuse it. I know not, however, whether he may not yet be prevailed on. He has the character of a man of good understanding and good dispositions,—[incomplete].
[1 ]Petitions had been sent to the Assembly, charging William Moore, president of the Court of Common Pleas in Chester County, with misconduct in his office. Moore was summoned to appear before the House, which he refused to do. The House found him guilty, however, and requested the governor to remove him from office. This was declined by the governor, till he should investigate the case, and in the meantime Moore published a defence containing language which the Assembly voted to be slanderous and insulting. It appeared in evidence also, that William Smith, provost of the College, had been concerned in revising and correcting this piece before it was published. Smith was then arrested, and both he and Moore were imprisoned. The public was much agitated by the controversy. The governor took the part of the accused. Smith and Moore ultimately appealed to the King in Council, where it was decided that the Assembly had transcended their powers, and that their conduct was reprehensible. A summary of the case is contained in Gordon’s History of Pennsylvania, p. 352.—Editor.
[1 ]The work here alluded to is undoubtedly the Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania, which was first published in the year 1759. See letter to David Hume, under date of September 27, 1760.