FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706-1790), Signer (Pennsylvania). Document signed ("B. Franklin"), as member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Philadelphia, 16 July 1764. 1 page, 8vo, matted and framed.
FRANKLIN AND THE PENNSYLVANIA ASSEMBLY APPROPRIATE FUNDS TO HELP PUT DOWN THE PAXTON BOYS
Franklin, in his capacity as a member of the Pennsylvania Colonial Assembly, authorizes a payment "to Messrs. Baynton & Wharton on Order the sum of Five Hundred Pounds on Part of Money due to Robert Callender from the Government on Acct. of Provisions by him supplied to the provincial Troops." The document is also signed by John Penn, Joseph Galloway, and John Baynton, a Philadelphia merchant. Penn was grandson of the first Quaker governor, William Penn, and was himself governor at the outbreak of the Revolution. Galloway, a close friend of Franklin, became (like Franklin's son William) a staunch loyalist. He fled to England when British troops left Philadelphia in 1778, and published pamphlets and testified before the House of Commons, severely criticizing General Howe's conduct of the war. There is also an autograph receipt, signed by representatives of Baynton & Wharton, in the lower left corner. This appropriation was likely connected to the violence of the "Paxton Boys" in late 1763 and early 1764. A band of some 250 western Pennsylvania settlers (mainly Scots-Irish Presbyterians), frustrated by what they considered insufficient military protection provided by the Assembly, took up arms and began attacking neighboring Indian tribes and even made menacing gestures towards the Assembly leaders in Philadelphia. Franklin was instrumental in quelling this mob action. He raised a defense force and negotiated with the Paxton leaders to end their campaign. The settlers, however, turned their wrath from the battlefield to the ballot box, and voted Franklin (along with Galloway) out of office in the fall elections.