Front Page Titles (by Subject) CCXCVIII: TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. IV Letters and Misc. Writings 1763-1768
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CCXCVIII: TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. IV Letters and Misc. Writings 1763-1768 
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. IV (Letters and Misc. Writings 1763-1768).
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TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY
London, 8 August, 1767.
I have before me your favors of April 23d, May 21st and 26th. The confusion among our great men still continues as much as ever, and a melancholy thing it is to consider that, instead of employing the present leisure of peace in such measures as might extend our commerce, pay off our debts, secure allies, and increase the strength and ability of the nation to support a future war, the whole seems to be wasted in party contentions about places of power and profit, in court intrigues and cabals, and in abusing one another.
There has been lately an attempt to make a kind of coalition of parties in a new ministry; but it fell through, and the present set is like to continue for some time longer, which I am rather pleased with, as some of those who were proposed to be introduced are professed adversaries to America, which is now made one of the distinctions of party here; those who have in the last two sessions shown a disposition to favor us, being called, by way of reproach, Americans, while the others, adherents to Grenville and Bedford, value themselves on being true to the interests of Britain, and zealous for maintaining its dignity and sovereignty over the colonies.
This distinction will, it is apprehended, be carried much higher in the next session, for the political purpose of influencing the ensuing election. It is already given out that the compliance of New York in providing for the quarters, without taking notice of its being done in obedience to the act of Parliament, is evasive and unsatisfactory; that it is high time to put the right and power of this country to tax the colonies out of dispute, by an act of taxation effectually carried into execution, and that all the colonies should be obliged explicitly to acknowledge that right. Every step is taking to render the taxing of America a popular measure here by continually insisting on the topics of our wealth and flourishing circumstances, while this country is loaded with debt, great part of it incurred on our account, the distress of the poor here by the multitude and weight of taxes, &c., &c.; and though the traders and manufacturers may possibly be kept in our interest, the idea of an American tax is very pleasing to the landed men, who therefore readily receive and propagate these sentiments wherever they have influence.
If such a bill should be brought in, it is hard to say what would be the event of it, or what would be the effects. Those who oppose it, though they should be strong enough to throw it out, would be stigmatized as Americans, betrayers of Old England, &c., and perhaps, our friends by this means being excluded, a majority of our adversaries may get in, and then the act infallibly passes the following session. To avoid the danger of such exclusion, perhaps little opposition will be given, and then it passes immediately. I know not what to advise on this occasion, but that we should all do our endeavours on both sides of the water to lessen the present unpopularity of the American cause, conciliate the affections of the people here towards us, increase by all possible means the number of our friends, and be careful not to weaken their hands and strengthen those of our enemies by rash proceedings on our side, the mischiefs of which are inconceivable. Some of our friends have thought that a publication of my Examination here might answer some of the above purposes by removing prejudices, refuting falsehoods, and demonstrating our merits with regard to this country. It is accordingly printed, and has a great run. I have another piece in hand, which I intend to put out about the time of the meeting of Parliament, if those I consult with shall judge that it may be of service.1
The next session of Parliament will probably be a short one, on account of the following election, and I am now advised by some of our great friends here to see that out, not returning to America till the spring. My presence indeed is necessary there to settle some private affairs. Unforeseen and unavoidable difficulties have hitherto obstructed our proceedings in the main intent of my coming over, and perhaps (though I think my being here has not been altogether unserviceable) our friends in the Assembly may begin to be discouraged and tired of the expense. If that should be the case I would not have you propose to continue me as agent at the meeting of the new Assembly. My endeavours to serve the province, in what I may while I remain here, shall not be lessened by that omission.
I am glad you have made a trial of paper money, not a legal tender. The quantity being small may perhaps be kept in full credit notwithstanding; and if that can be avoided, I am not for applying here again very soon for a repeal of the restraining act. I am afraid an ill use will be made of it. The plan of our adversaries is to render Assemblies in America useless, and to have a revenue, independent of their grants, for all the purposes of their defence and supporting governments among them. It is our interest to prevent this. And, that they may not lay hold of our necessities for paper money, to draw a revenue from that article whenever they grant us the liberty we want, of making it a legal tender, I wish some other method may be fallen upon of supporting its credit. What think you of getting all the merchants, traders, and principal people of all sorts, to join in petitions to the Assembly for a moderate emission, the petition being accompanied with a mutual engagement to take it in all dealings at the rates fixed by law? Such an engagement had a great effect in fixing the value and rates of our gold and silver. Or, perhaps, a bank might be established that would answer all purposes. Indeed I think with you, that those merchants here, who have made difficulties on the subject of the legal tender, have not understood their own interest. For there can be no doubt that, should a scarcity of money continue among us, we shall take off less of their merchandise, and attend more to manufacturing, and raising the necessities and superfluities of life among ourselves, which we now receive from them. And perhaps this consequence would attend our making no paper money at all of any sort, that, being thus by want of cash driven to industry and frugality, we should gradually become more rich without their trade than we can possibly be with it, and, by keeping in the country the real cash that comes into it, have in time a quantity sufficient for all our occasions. But I suppose our people will scarce have patience to wait for this.
I have received the printed votes, but not the laws. I hear nothing yet of any objection made by the Proprietaries to any of them at the Board of Trade.
Please to present my duty to the Assembly, with thanks for their care of me, and assure them of my most faithful services. With sincerest esteem and respect, I am, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
[1 ]Probably the piece entitled Causes of the American Discontent before 1768. See infra.