Front Page Titles (by Subject) DXCVI: TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY - The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VI Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775
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DXCVI: TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY - Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VI Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775 
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. VI (Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775).
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TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY
London, 25 February, 1775.
In my last I mentioned to you my showing your plan of union to Lords Chatham and Camden. I now hear that you had sent it to Lord Dartmouth. Lord Gower, I believe, alluded to it when in the House he censured the Congress severely as first resolving to receive a plan for uniting the colonies to the mother country, and afterwards rejecting it, and ordering their first resolution to be erased out of their minutes. Permit me to hint to you that it is whispered here by ministerial people that yourself and Mr. Jay, of New York, are friends to their measures, and give them private intelligence of the views of the popular or country part in America. I do not believe this; but I thought it a duty of friendship to acquaint you with the report.1
I have not heard what objections were made to the plan in the Congress, nor would I make more than this one, that, when I consider the extreme corruption prevalent among all orders of men in this old, rotten state, and the glorious public virtue so predominant in our rising country, I cannot but apprehend more mischief than benefit from a closer union. I fear they will drag us after them in all the plundering wars which their desperate circumstances, injustice, and rapacity may prompt them to undertake; and their wide-wasting prodigality and profusion is a gulf that will swallow up every aid we may distress ourselves to afford them.
Here numberless and needless places, enormous salaries, pensions, perquisites, bribes, groundless quarrels, foolish expeditions, false accounts or no accounts, contracts and jobs, devour all revenue, and produce continual necessity in the midst of natural plenty. I apprehend, therefore, that to unite us intimately will only be to corrupt and poison us also. It seems like Mezentius’ coupling and binding together the dead and the living.
However, I would try any thing, and bear any thing that can be borne with safety to our just liberties, rather than engage in a war with such relations, unless compelled to it by dire necessity in our own defence.
But, should that plan be again brought forward, I imagine that before establishing the union, it would be necessary to agree on the following preliminary articles.
1. The Declaratory Act of Parliament to be repealed.
2. All acts of Parliament, or parts of acts, laying duties on the colonies to be repealed.
3. All acts of Parliament altering the charters, or constitutions, or laws of any colony, to be repealed.
4. All acts of Parliament restraining manufactures to be repealed.
5. Those parts of the navigation acts, which are for the good of the whole empire, such as require that ships in the trade should be British or Plantation built, and navigated by three fourths British subjects, with the duties necessary for regulating commerce, to be reënacted by both Parliaments.
6. Then, to induce the Americans to see the regulating acts faithfully executed, it would be well to give the duties collected in each colony to the treasury of that colony, and let the governor and Assembly appoint the officers to collect them, and proportion their salaries. Thus the business will be cheaper and better done, and the misunderstandings between the two countries, now created and fomented by the unprincipled wretches, generally appointed from England, be entirely prevented.
These are hasty thoughts submitted to your consideration.
You will see the new proposal of Lord North, made on Monday last, which I have sent to the committee.1 Those in administration, who are for violent measures, are said to dislike it. The others rely upon it as a means of dividing, and by that means subduing us. But I cannot conceive that any colony will undertake to grant a revenue to a government that holds a sword over their heads with a threat to strike the moment they cease to give or do not give so much as it is pleased to expect. In such a situation, where is the right of giving our own property freely or the right to judge of our own ability to give? It seems to me the language of a highwayman, who, with a pistol in your face, says: “Give me your purse, and then I will not put my hand into your pocket. But give me all your money, or I will shoot you through the head.” With great and sincere esteem, I am, etc.,
[1 ]Galloway was one of the delegates to the first Congress from Pennsylvania. Neither his sentiments nor his aims accorded with those of the prominent patriots who were assembled on that occasion. He proposed a plan of reconciliation, which was disapproved and rejected. Dr. Gordon relates the circumstances as follows: “Mr. Galloway became a member at the earnest solicitation of the Assembly, and refused compliance till they had given him instructions agreeable to his own mind, as the rule of his conduct. These instructions they suffered him to draw up. They were briefly to state the rights and the grievances of America, and to propose a plan of amicable accommodation of the differences between Great Britain and the colonies, and of a perpetual union. On the 28th of September a plan was proposed by him, which was debated a whole day, when the question was carried, six colonies to five, that it should be resumed and further considered; but it at length fell through.”—History, etc., Vol. I., p. 490.
[1 ]This proposal, which was introduced into Parliament by Lord North on the 20th of February, is as follows: “That when the Governor, Council, and Assembly, or General Court of his Majesty’s provinces, or colonies, shall propose to make provision according to their respective conditions, circumstances, and situations, for contributing their proportion to the common defence, such proportion to be raised under the authorities of the General Court, or General Assembly, of such province or colony, and disposable by Parliament; and shall engage to make provision also for the support of the civil government, and the administration of justice in such province or colony, it will be proper, if such proposal shall be approved by his Majesty in Parliament, and for so long as such provision shall be made accordingly, to forbear in respect of such province or colony, to levy any duties, tax, or assessment, or to impose any further duty, tax, or assessment, except only such duties as it may be expedient to impose for the regulation of commerce; the net produce of the duties last mentioned to be carried to the account of such province, colony, or plantation respectively.”—Almon’s Parliamentary Register, Vol. I., p. 169.