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The Pennsylvania Militia





1. The Quaker Origins



Pennsylvania was founded on pacifist Quaker principles. Still, it had to maintain good order which required the application of force on occasion. Many Quaker merchants supplied rum to the Amerindians, inducing them to commit atrocities against the colonists as early as 1682. Some Quakers were willing to allow for a military-police force to stop the illicit rum trade.(1) Moreover, the Quakers had a brutal system of criminal law which mandated the use of force in punishment. Early in the colony's history there were no less than a dozen offenses which were punishable by death, including riotiuous assembly,(2) an act usually suppressed by militia or other military force.

The Society of Friends [Quakers] who settled Pennsylvania were pacifist whose religious teachings compelled them to avoid scrupulously war and violence.(3) They opposed enactment of a militia law, but the Duke of York and the Stuart monarchy initially compelled them to make such a law. In 1671 Pennsylvania enacted a short-lived militia law under what is commonly known as the Laws of the Duke of York. The law required,



that every person who can bear arms from 16 to 60 years of age be always provided with a convenient proportion of powder and bullet for service for their Mutual Defence, upon a penalty for their neglect . . . . That the quantity of powder and shot . . . be at least one pound of powder and 2 pounds of bullet. And if the Inhabitants . . . shall not be found sufficiently provided with arms, His Royal Highness the Governor is willing to furnish them.(4)



The early militia law was soon abandoned under pressures from the pacifist Society of Friends.

Later claims to the contrary notwithstanding, William Penn was not wholly a pacifist despite his Quaker leanings. He enjoyed certain residual powers to create a militia, based on the original colonial charter. One clause of the charter provided that the proprietor be known as Captain-General and that, as such, he had the power to "doe all . . . which to the charge and office of a Captain general of an Army belongeth." That charter had noted that "in soe remote a Countrey, and scituate neare many Barbarous Nations," and with Amerindians living nearby, to say nothing of "enemies, pirates and robbers," a militia was absolutely necessary. It ordered him to "levy, muster and traine all sorts of men, of any condition soever, . . . to make Warre." The militia could vanquish, capture or kill the enemies as it chose to do.(5)

In September 1681 there was some military force present in the colony because "the Deputy Governor is arrived there and at his landing was received by a troop of horse and a company of foot, with drums beating and colours flying. . . ." There is a strong suggestion that the force was militia because "both the horse and the foot (excepting two persons) being English, Dutch and Swedes, born in the Countrey."(6)

By 1682 there were at least 3000 Quakers in Pennsylvania, more than enough to provide quite an adequate reservoir for a militia.(7) In 1683 Penn had suggested that the Lord of Trades in London create a common assembly to seek common resolutions to common problems, specifically, the development of common military policy against the French and perhaps the Amerindians. In case of war the king's commissioner would be commander-in-chief and he and the council would assign quotas of militiamen to the various colonies.(8) In Penn's Frame of Government of 1663 there was no direct mention of a militia, but several times, in articles VII, IX, X XI and XIII, he mentioned maintenance of peace and security.(9)

In 1700 Pennsylvania denied the right to bear arms to any "colored person whatsoever." Blacks who were convicted of carrying "any weapons whatsoever" were to be given 21 lashes on the bare back. The Act for the Trial of Negroes also contained the following provision, "that if any Negro shall presume to carry any guns, swords, pistols, fowling pieces, clubs or other arms or weapons" he shall be punished. The act also forbade "large numbers of Negroes congregating or meeting" under penalty of 39 lashes.(10) This law was reaffirmed just five years later,(11) and was not repealed until 1780. The law had as its primary intention the prevention of slave insurrection, but has as its secondary effect the exclusion of blacks from militia duty, save as non-combatants.

Non-Quakers throughout the colonial period had urged that a militia law be re-enacted. The Quakers stood strongly against such a law, effectively opposing enactment of any military proposal, long after they had ceased to constitute a majority among the state's population. Opposition to Quaker pacifism began early and continued throughout the colonial period. Representing the Lower Counties, now part of Delaware, Robert French wrote to the governor in 1701,



We desire your Honour to represent to his Majesty the weak and naked condition of the Lower Counties, as we are the frontiers of the Province, and daily threatened with an approaching war, not being able to furnish ourselves with Arms and Ammunition for our Defense, having consumed our small stocks . . . which hath proved very disadvantageous for the Kingdom of England, Yet that his Majesty hath not been pleased to take notice of us in the way of Protection, having neither standing Militia, nor Persons impowered to command the People in Case of Invasion. . . .(12)



In December 1703 John Evans arrived in Pennsylvania to assume the position of lieutenant-governor. He was accompanied by William Penn's oldest son, William, Jr. Evans and Penn were enthusiastic about promoting the military cooperation of the province with the lower counties [Delaware] and New York. Evans wanted to assist New York in building and staffing the forts as a buttress against the French and cooperating with the lower counties in maintaining a militia. The Speaker of the Assembly, David Lloyd, used every delaying tactic known to avoid voting on Evans' proposals. Evans responded by organizing a militia in Philadelphia by executive order. The militiamen were exempted from watch duty, and constables, on orders from Quaker leaders, arrested those who failed to report for watch duty. Caught in the power struggle between the legislature and governor, few men reported for the next militia muster in Philadelphia. The city council supported the lieutenant-governor who proclaimed his power to muster a militia and, by proclamation, ordered those arrested for failure to stand watch to be freed and reiterated watch exemption for militiamen. Penn supported Evans and personally appeared to fend off the constables who were arresting militiamen who did not stand watch. An ensuing altercation involved no less personages than the lieutenant-governor, an alderman, the city mayor, Penn, and the city recorder. Evans accused them of opposing his militia less from principle than from a generalized dislike of his administration.(13)

The matter of the militia remained unsolved until early November 1705 when Amerindian raiding parties killed militia on guard at Tulpehocken, near Reading, and in the Kittatinny Mountains. Simultaneously, a group of neutrals arrived from Nova Scotia, bringing with them a warning that the French had "seduced" their Amerindian allies into a scheme to raid into English settlements in Pennsylvania. On 20 November the Assembly sent Evans a bill entitled "An Act for the Better Ordering and Regulating such as are Willing and Desirous to be United for Military Purposes Within this Province." The bill permitted the organization of a volunteer militia, which Evans considered better than nothing, and about all he could ever expect to get from Lloyd and his fellow Quakers. At the same time word arrived that Amerindians had raided Moravian towns in Northampton County and that as many as 2000 refugees from the frontier were preparing to seek refuge in Philadelphia. Continued reports of Amerindian depravations poured into Evans' office. In December 1705 a militia near Gnadenhütten {"tents of grace"] had been annihilated and in January 1706 Amerindian warriors raided into the Blue Mountains as far south as the Maryland border. Evans used the newly enacted legislation to send 500 militia to accompany General Shirley's 50 British regulars into the wilderness.(14)

In 1708 Queen Anne appointed Colonel Samuel Vetch to recruit militiamen to accompany her army in an expedition against French Canada. Despite the fact that Pennsylvania had no militia the Queen ordered Vetch to impress 150 Pennsylvania militiamen and as many volunteers as he could enlist. The province did fill its quota with volunteers, mostly backwoodsmen who were no friends to the Quaker pacifist policy.(15) Still, the Province entered the fourth decade of the eighteenth century without a proper militia law. The Quakers dominated the legislature and refused to take action to defend the province with any sort of military organization or policy.

As King George's War broke out the governor called again for a militia law. "I shall return once more to beseech you, out of the sincerest affection for your interests, to act as undoubtedly will be expected of you by His Majesty, for the security of the part of his dominions."(16) The Quaker dominated legislature denied the wisdom of building a string of frontier forts or of creating a militia. New Jersey would protect the province from attack from the sea. The governor had argued that the Quakers had allowed for police protection against robbers and they must then permit a militia to be formed for protection against foreign enemies. The Quakers responded that there was a great difference between an invasion and a robbery, although they thought that there was a close affinity between burglars and soldiers.(17) The speaker of the Assembly asked the governor to respect the honest religious convictions of the members.



We beseech the Governour would judge favourably of our words and actions, and believe that whatever can be reasonably expected from loyal and faithful subjects of the Crown, lovers of liberty, their families and their country, as far as is agreeable with our religious persuasions, he may expect from us; but if anything inconsistent with these be required of us, we hold it our duty to obey God rather than man.(18)



Governor George Thomas addressed with the Assembly, making the following arguments. The Quaker dominated Assembly must represent all the people of the province. As Protestants it was their duty to defend their religion against Roman Catholicism. By refusing to arm they encouraged their enemies to prey upon their weakness. An offensive war may be subject to rejection on moral grounds, but not so a defensive war. Penn carried the military title of Captain-General, suggesting that he must lead his people during a just war.(19) These arguments fell on deaf ears. Having failed to convince with logic, on 14 November 1743, Thomas, on his own authority, issued



a proclamation requiring the inhabitants to prepare themselves in the best manner they can, to repel any attack that may be made upon us, and to commission the best qualified [men] to levy, muster and train them ... obliging them to appear well armed and accoutred at convenient stated times for their instruction in military discipline and whenever else it shall be necessary for the defence of the Province.(20)



The volunteer militia formed not the 400 men Thomas hoped for, but 700 men. Benjamin Franklin reported that the announcement of so successful a recruitment was accompanied by much merriment, the firing of cannon and the drinking of toasts to "his Majesty's Arms."(21)

All was not well. As the enumeration of the volunteers was made it became apparent that many of the recruits were bonded servants and indentured apprentices. The Quakers who had opposed slavery and a compulsory militia now objected to the enlistment of these two classes. It may be argued that both servants and apprentices constituted a class of white slaves who were often as badly treated as black slaves. Servants were purchased from ship owners who recruited them in Europe, often without the people involved having any clear understanding of the situation, and sold for periods of seven years, more or less, of unrestricted service. The Quaker farmers and merchants had come to depend on this laboring class in the same way the southern plantation owners depended on black slaves. Utilization of these servants were a major reason for Quaker prosperity. Many servants preferred the risks, adventures and discipline of the militia to service with their owners. The Quakers argued that the recruitment of servants and apprentices must end, or, if not terminated, they must be compensated by either being paid for the lost time or by extending the time of the servants' indentures. The legislature refused to fund, equip, arm or pay the militiamen until this problem was concluded to its satisfaction. The problem was never fully resolved, but the servants and apprentices remained for the time being. The governor was as strong in his conviction as were the Quakers.(22)

The Quakers continued the debate, arguing that oversubscription allowed the release of several hundred indented militiamen. The Assembly directed these charges against the governor: "that servants were encouraged to enlist, and that the names of those enlisted were directed to be concealed." Moreover, masters who objected to the recruitment of their charges received "severe treatment" from the governor's recruiting agents. The assembly even charged that the actions of recruiters "gave the servants an opportunity of escaping from their masters and the King's service, which many of them did." The king preferred to transport white servants to the importation of black slaves, and the enlistment of servants interfered with the king's policy.(23) The governor suggested that the legislature offer a bounty to free whites who would volunteer for militia service, but it refused, citing as usual its religious objections to military service.(24) He berated the assembly in these words,



Although your principles will not allow you to raise men, or even, it seems, to support them when they are raised, you are ready enough to censure the conduct of others, who have been more zealous in the execution of His Majesty's Command. When you want an addition to paper money, your Province is represented as very populous, and your trade very great, but when you are called upon for men or money, your numbers and your abilities are very much diminished.(25)



Militia officers now entered the debate. It would demoralize the now well-trained militia to remove some militiamen for no reason other than their being indented servants. Some of the servants had made excellent militiamen. Releasing them would be a great waste of the time and effort already invested in their training. They argued that many servants were recruited in militias in other colonies and that some servants escaped from Pennsylvania only to enlist in militia or regular military service elsewhere. Were they to release the servants and apprentices many of them would just run away and enlist in the militia elsewhere. The officers wondered how they could be certain that a particular militiaman was an apprentice or a servant. If a man should deny this was so, how would they know? They rejected any idea of allowing masters to attend musters with the intention of removing their charges. Moreover, they wrote,



We humbly beg leave to say further that we are of opinion that these soldiers, whether they be indented servants or apprentices, or freemen who came voluntarily to the officers and enlisted themselves and took the Oath before a magistrate, as prescribed by Act of Parliament, and have since received near two month's subsistence, cannot be legally discharged without the command of the colonel of the regiment.(26)



The legislature's argument was silly. It had little to do with servants and much to do with resentment over Governor Thomas' successful action taken against its wishes. They were also probably piqued over Franklin's successful effort to embarrass the Quaker members while lauding Thomas. Over the previous twenty years some 60,000 persons had emigrated to Pennsylvania, many as indented servants. The militia had enrolled 700 men total, of which 276 were servants or apprentices. The loss was really quite insignificant. Still, the legislature decided to salvage its pride by compensating those masters who had lost the services of apprentices or servants. The total cost was £2600, more than the governor's bounty system would have cost. The Pennsylvania volunteers joined those from New England in the ill-fated expedition against Cartagena and suffered heavy losses.(27)

There were two other problems at hand. First, the Quakers charged that the militiamen were a godless and rowdy group and lobbied to remove them from Philadelphia. The Assembly refused to build, or allow to be built, quarters for militiamen within the city, citing their religious conviction against bearing arms. The governor attempted to sole the problem by stationing them in the countryside. The Quaker response to dispersement presented the governor with a second problem. An Act of Parliament had set a limit of four pence per day for billeting any soldier. Quakers especially, to show their contempt for the militia, and to discourage militiamen from lodging with them, charged as much as sixteen pence per day. Since the average enlisted militiaman earned but £0/16/4 per month while in actual service, the cost became prohibitive. The legislature refused to make any law that would serve to enforce the British law.(28)

Franklin orchestrated an effort to support Thomas and his militia system. It was not the best system, but it certainly was the best any man could do under the circumstances. Franklin and his correspondents argued that there were just wars, primarily defensive wars, and a God-fearing population must support wars waged for moral purposes. Newspapers carried pledges of allegiance for king, governor and country.(29)

In October 1741 Thomas asked the legislature to vote financial support for the British expedition in the West Indies; and he asked for volunteers from among the militia to join Wentworth's force. Thomas either lied to the press, or was woefully ill-informed when he claimed that "British troops already have a large part of the Island of Cuba." Again, in the spring of 1742, Thomas asked the militia to supply trained volunteers to fight in His Majesty's Regiment of Foot in the West Indies. Response to both calls was poor.(30) By public subscription the Association Battery was built near Philadelphia and manner by volunteer militia.(31)

But the militia law was still not enacted. In November 1741 Thomas emphasized the poor state of the colony's defenses in an address to the Assembly. He used all the arguments that might conceivably be advanced, including the threat from the French and Amerindians. He even suggested that the colony was open to attack by pirates and privateers and vulnerable to an insurrection of black slaves. He again asked for a real militia bill. The legislature readily admitted that war with France was unavoidable, but that it would not authorize the formation of any military organization. It did vote the amount of £3000 "for the use of the King."(32) The Assembly was still smarting from its defeat on the issue of the enlistment in the militia of apprentices and servants. It took a three page supplement to the American Weekly Mercury to enumerate all the Assembly's complaints and state all its arguments on this issue. The principal argument was as simple as, "whose servants are they, the Quakers' or the King's?"(33)

The non-Quaker inhabitants agreed with their governor. Inhabitants petitioned the Privy Council in London because "no Laws had ever been enacted in that Province for the Defence of it . . . for raising or training any Militia, or in general for providing against any danger from without, either by Indians, Pirates or other Enemies." A report from the Lords of Trade to the Privy Council dated 8 July 1742 had recommended the enactment of a militia law, but no action was taken because Quakers had argued that "by a Charter of Privileges granted to them by the first Proprietor, and by their own Laws, they were exempted from Military service. The Quaker-dominated Assembly argued that from the foundation of the colony up through 1742 "they subsisted without Forts or Militia." Because they were pacifists and had treated their neighbors well they had not been distressed. "They apprehend they might subsist in Security without any Military Force."(34) Still, the legislature was willing to grant occasional monies to the king's military efforts.(35) And the frontiersmen knew how to take care of local problems, with or without governmental funding or sanction.

In November 1743 Governor Thomas again addressed the Assembly on the subject of a militia law and defense of the province. He warned of the growing French menace and the massacres on the western frontier. He asked for additional taxes to support a militia and the building of fortifications and for a militia bill. The legislature admonished him for having squandered the militia he had created earlier in the ill-fated attack on the West Indies. Again, it took no action on his recommendations.(36) Several leading merchants and other inhabitants petitioned the king to order that Pennsylvania create a militia law, but the king, to avoid embarrassing the proprietor, declined to act.(37)

The Lords of Trade, responding to a petition from sundry inhabitants of Pennsylvania, were charged by the Privy Council to study the laws and charters of the province. Were the Quakers, by law and Proprietor's Charter, indeed relieved of any and all military obligations? The Lords of Trade reported to the Privy Council that "it was found that neither the Charter of Privileges, or any Laws then existing, gave them such Right of Exemption from Military service." Was the Penn family obliged to provide for some means of defense other than a militia and such units of the British army as the king chose to deploy? Regarding the proprietor, "it was observed that the Proprietor was no more obliged to be at the Expence of defending them in Case of Emergency" than any other governor, board or corporation in any other colony. The Privy Council "strenuously insisted upon the Efficacy of the Military Power given to Mr. Penn by his Charter" and the Council noted that "this Power, great as it is in Words, can have no effect or Operation without the Aid and Concurrence of the Legislature by enacting penal and compulsory Militia Laws." The legislature was also under grave obligation to appropriate "money for Military purposes."(38)

On 25 October 1743 France signed a treaty known as the Second Family Compact with Spain and on 15 March 1744 joined Spain's war against England. The French made an unsuccessful assault on Annapolis Royal [Port Royal], Nova Scotia, in 1744. On 16 June 1745 Sir Peter Warren captured Fort Louisburg. The French incited Indian raids into Maine while Sir William Johnson led his Iroquois warriors into Canada. The French retaliated by burning Saratoga in late November 1745.

Governor Thomas fully expected the French to increase Indian activity on the western frontier so he declared that henceforth all British subjects in the province were to bear arms in defense of their homes, families and nation. He also ordered enforcement of laws against trading with the French, depending upon frontier militia to enforce, or at least report violations of, the law.(39) He also called for the outfitting of a naval militia in the form of privateers. He advertised for 130 volunteers to sign on for service on the show Cruzier, being outfitted in Philadelphia harbor.(40) The privateers of the naval militia were quite successful, having captured or destroyed 2457 enemy ships by the end of the war.(41)

In April 1746 three British regiments relieved the volunteer colonial militiamen at Louisbourg. The British home war office conceived of another assault on Canada, with two armies leaving the colonies to attack the French. One army would move up the St. Lawrence River toward Quebec while the second would attack Montreal by way of Lake Champlain. Advertisements appeared in both German and English language newspapers throughout the colony, asking for enlistments of 3, 5 and 7 years.(42) The home government would offer land around Louisbourg to survivors.(43) The British demanded 4300 men from the colonies, but they were unable to release any troops from home because all available men were fighting on the Continent. Since Pennsylvania, like the other colonies, was concerned first for its own defense little but debate was heard of the plan. Some argued that it had been the "goal of Englishmen over the century" to capture Canada(44) and therefore it was the duty of all Americans to support that effort in all ways possible. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle on 18 October 1748.

Franklin realized that, although Britain had been at war with Spain since 1739, and with France since 1743, heretofore the war had not seemed real to the people of his province. Only now was it beginning to seem real to Pennsylvanians because of the recruitment of men and the raising of money for distant expeditions. The plan conceived by Franklin was not merely novel, but extra-legal. "I determined," he wrote, "to try what might be done by a voluntary association of the people."





2. Franklin's Voluntary Militia



In the winter of 1747-48, in the midst of a crisis on the Pennsylvania frontier, to say nothing of the defense crisis within the proprietary government, Benjamin Franklin conceived, then planned, and finally headed the formation of a voluntary citizens-militia to provide for the colony's defense. Heretofore, historians have viewed the formation of this unprecedented extra-governmental military force, known as the Association, as one episode in the endemic factional conflict between Quakers and the proprietary government.(45) A group of citizens of Philadelphia decided in December 1747 to form a League for the Defense of the City and Province because Britain was at war with two great and powerful continental European nations and the frontier was essentially defenseless. It was Franklin who conceived the ingenious plan and was, by far, it most forceful proponent. His plan was an attempt to placate all the factions currently debating the best strategy to defend the port of Philadelphia. He realized that the Assembly, with its Quaker majority, would not be coerced into authorizing a militia. Franklin's plan saved it from again being embarrassed by having to vote against a militia act, for the legislature was not required to do anything to authorize or actualize it. The plan even permitted the Friends to remain publicly opposed to a militia without the failure to act having any deleterious effect on the safety of the province.(46)

A group of citizens of Philadelphia decided in December 1747 to form a League for the Defense of the City and Province because Britain was at war with two great and powerful continental European nations and the frontier was essentially defenseless. It was Franklin who conceived the ingenious plan and was, by far, it most forceful proponent. His plan was an attempt to placate all the factions currently debating the best strategy to defend the port of Philadelphia. Since one could not count on the government to create a compulsory militia, the citizens would have to form a private volunteer militia system. Franklin was assured of the support of most of the city's tradesmen, non-Quaker merchants and traders and men of commerce, and most Anglicans and Presbyterians and their clergy. Franklin also enjoyed the support of the farmers in most of rural Pennsylvania, including in Philadelphia County. At that time the county encompassed a large rural area outside the city limits, later to be formed into the counties of Montgomery and Berks. His plan was acceptable to his supporters. Volunteers were to form into companies of 50 to 100 men, arm, train and drill on their own authority, at least until the present emergency was over. The men would elect their own officers, leaders they would trust with their lives. The organizers suggested that responsible citizens of each county choose four deputies to represent them on a General Military Council.(47) Franklin realized that the Assembly, with its Quaker majority, would not be coerced into authorizing a militia. Franklin's plan saved it from again being embarrassed by having to vote against a militia act, for the legislature was not required to do anything to authorize or actualize it. The plan even permitted the Friends to remain publicly opposed to a militia without the failure to act having any deleterious effect on the safety of the province.(48)

Franklin's Association can also be understood as a significant moment in the development of American community life. Franklin's martial action in promoting the Association helped shape the most important pre-revolutionary pattern of community mobilization yet seen in Pennsylvania. Elsewhere, of course, the militia had become a central feature of American culture by the mid-eighteenth century. The development of a militia ethos addressed the need in American communities for both economic growth and social order. It fused economic and moral values in the belief that a town's prosperity depended upon its collective martial condition. The development of a militia depended upon its citizens' general unity and public-spiritedness. Moreover, Franklin developed the booster system as an instrument to increase citizen enthusiasm and broaden support for his militia system. In his propaganda Franklin developed his own vision of the community as a self-contained entity in which all interests were identical and interdependent. Consequently, the fortune of each individual, whether businessman, farmer, or laborer, rested upon the health of the community as a whole, and each was expected to return a portion to the community through voluntary public service and contributions to community institutions or enterprises. Franklin, of course, while instigating his pet project, concealed from public view his real design and purpose, except from a few, carefully selected assistants. In order to promote the impression that the movement reflected the general will of the community, he worked hard a gaining grass roots support, especially among the tradesmen and craftsmen whom he knew only too well.(49)

Using his Pennsylvania Gazette, but especially his anonymously published Plain Truth, as vehicles, Franklin repeatedly warned of the urgency of the present situation.(50) Franklin first projected in a pamphlet entitled Plain Truth; or, Serious Considerations on the Present State of the City of Philadelphia and Province of Pennsylvania, probably published in late 1747.(51) In it Franklin laid the groundwork for the Association, a voluntary predecessor to the militia. He observed that Pennsylvania, the keystone of the British possessions in North America, was the only colony which had made no provision for defense against French invasion. He assumed that the "flourishing City & greatly improving Colony," had available a pool consisting of at least 60,000 potential militiamen, without counting Friends and other conscientious objectors. "The way to secure Peace," said was to be prepared for war.(52) To read the Plain Truth, and, to a far lesser degree, his Gazette, one certainly gained the impression that the creation of the militia marked a turning point in the community's future. Indeed, survival itself hung in the balance. Hence, to avert utter disaster, the project required complete unity and commitment from the entire populace. Simultaneously, Franklin emphasized the importance of the colony's image against the wider tapestry of the greater colonial society. To flourish Pennsylvania had to attract investment, businesses, and inhabitants, since this community had to compete with its neighbors for these scarce resources. Pennsylvania was already an object of ridicule in British North America, both at home and abroad, because of its refusal to create a militia and enact the requisite supporting legislation. Alone among the major cities of British America in 1747, Philadelphia had made no provisions for defense. In part, as we have seen, this failure had not produced crises heretofore only because the city's relatively protected location. This accident of geography had given residents a false sense of security from enemy incursions.

Franklin felt compelled to suppress local dissent in order to present an attractive, unified face to the world. Franklin moved to create the Association only after he sensed a crisis in the assertion of traditional authority. The question of defense and creation of a militia was vitally inter-connected with the continuing power struggle between the proprietary government, which represented the sons of founder William Penn and their followers, and the Quakers who controlled the popularly-elected Assembly. The Assembly jealously guarded its sole right of appropriation, and resented any attempted intrusion into its power. The Quakers' pacifist doctrines provided firm principle to justify a natural disinclination to spend taxpayers' money on any military operation, let alone compel service in person in a popular militia. When the Mother Country demanded some contribution toward England's large and recurring expenses in waging European wars, the Assembly had reluctantly and ambiguously appropriated sums "to the King's use."

In the 1740s, as the colonies were drawn into war, Pennsylvania still had no militia law and Philadelphia possessed no fortifications. Indeed, the colony had made no plans whatever for responding in the case of invasion.(53) Indeed, the Quaker-dominated legislature heretofore had even been reluctant to provide any funds for defense.

During the spring and summer of 1747, Spanish and French privateers had begun to sail along the Atlantic coast just outside Delaware Bay. On the morning of July 13, the war came to Philadelphia. Coastal watchers informed the Council that one hundred French or Spanish privateers had attacked and robbed several isolated plantations on the Delaware River in New Castle County, in what is now Delaware, but which was then part of the Penn family's responsibility. Eventually, estimates of the numbers were later reduced to around twenty. Later the same day they seized Philadelphia pilot John Aris and stripped both man and boat. Aris reported that one of them "spoke good English & enquired after Mr. Allen, Mr. Turner, & Mr. Lawrence"-- Philadelphia gentlemen, the latter two members of the Council. Other pilots who were captured and released a few days later reported that the privateers showed particular interest in Philadelphia; the groups's leader predicted "he should be up at Philadelphia in Six Months."(54) A few of the most bold had even sailed into Philadelphia harbor. Local newspapers carried accounts of their capture of several of the city's merchant ships, but still the Assembly resisted the government's repeated calls for action. As long as it seemed that the privateers threatened only the city's trade, most Pennsylvanians seemed to see little reason for radical action. When the French had landed along the Delaware coast, the Friends had offered no support for military action of any kind. Their elders had informed the governor that "to chuse a Council to make Military Laws and order the Marching of Armed Men, is certainly very contrary to what is practiced here." They also expressed their great concern that there would be insufficient safeguards to prevent accidents.(55)

Governor George Thomas was no fan of Benjamin Franklin or his plan. He saw in Franklin's program a scheme to evade the legal responsibilities of one of His Majesty's provinces. This voluntary, extra-legal militia would not be subject to English law or authority and could, without violating the Mutiny Act and other parliamentary enactments, refuse to carry out his or Council's legitimate orders. Thomas wrote the Secretary of State, pointing out to the home government that Franklin was the most potent legislative voice heard in the opposition to the proprietary government. His influence was great largely because he frequently sided with the Friends, while not being wholly tied to them. Thomas decided to seek to minimize Franklin's influence by asking that the government end Franklin's tenure as Deputy Postmaster-General. "It is my duty to observe to you that Mr. Benjamin Franklin, who holds an office of profit under the General Post Office, is at the head of . . . extraordinary measures taken by the Assembly, writes their Messages and directs their motions."(56) Governor George Thomas had departed for London on the first of June, further limiting the proprietor's ability to motivate and change the legislature. The absence of a proprietor's representative left the province at the will and pleasure of the Assembly. In Thomas' absence, Anthony Palmer, the President of the Provincial Council, served as the acting head of the colony. Still, the Assembly could enact no legislation without royal assent which could be given through a governor. By itself, the Council had no power to appropriate funds for military or any other purpose; or to enact a militia law.

In Philadelphia, the rumor mill ran at full speed. It seemed that everyone knew of some plot. Who was to be the first to desert to the enemy? Would it be the city's Spanish captives? Might it be the enslaved inhabitants consisting of "negroes, & others?" Might indentured servants and slaves steal a ship and escape? Would escaped slaves and servants join the privateers and provide them with the dangerous information of the city's lack of defenses?

With trouble at hand the citizens wanted the government to take action. The city council called in their local members of the Assembly to inquire whether they thought that body would defray costs of possible actions against the invaders. The Speaker, a Quaker, discouraged hasty action, pointing out the unlikelihood that the pacifist principles of the Quaker majority of the Assembly would allow them to approve even defensive measures. He also argued that because the attacks had not occurred within the province itself, "the Government here lay under no obligations of doing any thing unasked."(57) The leaders of the city council then wrote to the Proprietors in London petitioning them to appoint a new governor immediately, or to return Thomas to his old post, to end the deadlock. They pledged their support in demanding of the Assembly what the proprietary government had long demanded: appropriations for defense and a militia law.(58)

The voluntary militia association received overwhelming public support. The German element, frequent supporters of Quaker pacifism, rallied to the cause and many of their young men joined the militia.(59) Both the state and the general public supported lotteries to purchase equipment. Franklin proposed one to raise £3000 by selling £20,000 in tickets and giving prizes of £17,000.(60) Cannon were purchased for Philadelphia and watch stations were well-manned. Militia units appeared all over the province. By 7 December 1747 Franklin's militia was ready to parade before the governor, ladies and gentlemen of the city. Some 600 strong, the militia inaugurated the Quaker city in military pomp and circumstance with the first parade of local talent. Acting governor, called President of Council, Anthony Palmer, was impressed. Franklin recorded that Palmer "expressed great satisfaction to see so large a number of Inhabitants under Arms."(61)

When the Assembly met in its regular session in mid-August, Palmer warned that the privateers' boldness demonstrated that they had thorough knowledge of the city's "defenceless Condition" and warned of the terrible consequences of invasion. The Assembly responded on August 25 that such "Accidents" as the plundering of isolated plantations and seizing of pilots were unavoidable. It discounted reports of threats to invade Philadelphia "as so many Bravados." Moreover, the Assembly chided the Council for needlessly creating alarm with its vivid depiction of a plundered city, and indeed for possibly encouraging invasion by publicizing the city's defenselessness:

Besides, as this Speech from the President & Council may be sent beyond Sea, if it should fall into the Hand of our Enemies it may possibly induce them to make an Attempt they otherwise would not have thought of.

Even if they were not bound by pacifist principles, the Assembly doubted that they would approve spending money on building war- ships or erecting fortifications, for "The Charge which must have arisen would have been great, the Benefit uncertain and small."(62)

Thereafter, the Council was reduced to vain appeals to the Assembly when frightened citizens called for action.

In this stalemate, extra-governmental action appeared to be the only way to defend the colony. Accordingly, on November 17, a pamphlet called Plain Truth and credited to an anonymous "Tradesman of Philadelphia" proposed a remedy: "All we want is Order, Discipline, and a few Cannon." The author promised to present his fellow citizens with "a Form of an Association . . . together with a practicable Scheme for raising the Money necessary for the Defence of our Trade, City, and Country, without laying a Burthen on any Man."(63) Four days later, some 150 tradesmen and mechanics met at Walton's schoolhouse to discuss a scheme for a voluntary citizens' militia, which would be organized into companies based in each ward and led by officers of their own choosing. Two days later, a gathering of the city's "principal Gentlemen, Merchants and others" at Roberts's Coffee House similarly endorsed the proposal, and the following evening 500 men met at the New Building and formally signed an agreement to "form ourselves into an Association." In a few days, more than one thousand signatures had been obtained.(64)

Thus was addressed the need for a disciplined defense force; funds for procuring necessary military equipment were obtained through similarly voluntary and collectivist means. Philadelphia's merchants subscribed £1500 to buy cannon, and a lottery was organized to raise money to construct batteries on the Delaware. No means of obtaining aid was neglected, including the more traditional avenues of petitioning established authorities, as the city appealed to the proprietors for a cannon and the merchants to the Admiralty for a man-of-war to patrol the bay. A petition with some 260 signatures was presented to the Assembly at a special session on November 23, requesting that it take measures to protect the city. Predictably, the request was refused.

The emphasis, however, was upon combined initiative by "the people" themselves. On December 7 the self-styled Associators met en masse at the Court House and received the blessing of the President and Council. On New Year's Day all eleven city companies marched in review and elected their officers, who were then issued rubber-stamped commissions signed by the President and Council. The lottery sold out its 10,000 tickets with uncommon speed, and on February 8 the drawing of prizes was begun. By the end of April two batteries were completed, a smaller one near Society Hill and a Grand Battery at Wicacoa below the city, the latter holding fourteen large cannon lent by Governor George Clinton of New York. A second lottery was launched in June to pay for further defense expenses. The active phase of the Association came to a close when news of the cessation of hostilities reached Philadelphia in mid-August, although the second lottery was carried to completion in order to outfit the Grand Battery.(65)

The Association's methods are so similar to the customary methods of voluntary associations in the nineteenth century that they might seem unexceptionable. First, of course, there is a public call to action that portrays the present situation in the most urgent possible terms- for any successful rhetoric must persuade its audience of the necessity for immediate action. Next, a public meeting is called to present a practical solution, which typically combines the united action of a large number of citizens and the collection of substantial sums of money through individual contributions. Bringing such a project to successful completion typically requires sustained publicity in local media and frequent face-to-face gatherings to maintain the enthusiasm of rank and file members.

A further element of similarity relates to the question of leadership, which of course underlines the absence from my preceding chronology of the central role Benjamin Franklin played in the Association. According to James Logan, Franklin was "the principal Mover and very Soul," of the enterprise. Yet, as he wrote to his friend James Logan on 24 November 1749, he accomplished it all "without much appearing in any part of it himself."(66) This elusiveness, too, is common among the leadership of nineteenth-century voluntary campaigns, be- cause it was found more effective to diffuse credit among a large number of citizens, and even more preferable to portray the project as the spontaneous outpouring of community spirit.(67)

If movements such as the Philadelphia Association were ubiquitous in the nineteenth century, however, it was quite uncommon, indeed in some ways unique, in its own time. Later Americans were accustomed to such large-scale combinations of private and public effort, but it was only the extremity of the situation--in which governing powers had effectively abdicated their responsibility to protect their subjects-that made the formation of an extra-governmental militia acceptable in 1747. Indeed, Proprietor Thomas Penn took an exceedingly dim view of the Association when he learned of it in the spring of 1748. "This Association is founded on a Contempt to Government, and cannot end in anything but Anarchy and Confusion," he fumed to Council Secretary Richard Peters. He saw the Association as a "a Military Common Wealth" in opposition to the established government, and its creation was "little less than Treason."(68) Eventually, if reluctantly, Thomas Penn recognized that the successful organization of the Association had shown Franklin to be "a Sort of Tribune of the People," who "must be treated with regard."(69)

Nonetheless, in the midst of the governmental crisis, the Council welcomed the Association as "the only Method thought on likely to preserve the Lives & Properties of their Fellow-Citizens in case of a Descent."(70) It was, in other words, a temporary expedient, perhaps made more palatable by the fact that it was also a slap in the face for the Council's Quaker opponents. But as Penn perceived, the Association might form a dangerous precedent: "The People in general are so fond of what they call Liberty as to fall into Licentiousness, and when they know they may Act . . . by Orders of their own Substitutes, in a Body, and a Military manner, and independent of this Government, why should they not Act against it." Striking a milder note in the same key, Gary Nash has interpreted the Association as a sign of rising confidence among laboring groups in colonial American cities, its success demonstrating "how effectively the artisans and shopkeepers of Philadelphia could be recruited by someone outside the established circle of political leaders."(71)

The Association's revolutionary potential eluded notice at the time not only because it responded to an emergency but also because of the skillful way in which Franklin proceeded, simultaneously drawing upon the energies of groups generally excluded from civic life while conciliating the warring proprietary and Quaker elites. In fact, it is hard to envision the Association without Franklin, so thoroughly does it bear the marks of his personality and his characteristic methods of operating. It is also, perhaps, not coincidental that these patterns are typical of nineteenth-century boosterism. Further research will be necessary to trace precise lines of descent, but the example of the Association suggests that Franklin was highly influential in establishing patterns of voluntary community action that became central to boosterism.

In his Autobiography, Franklin noted that he had learned the danger of self-assertiveness when trying to gain supporters for his plan for a subscription library. "The Objections, & Reluctances I met with in Soliciting the Subscriptions, made me soon feel the Impropriety of presenting one's self as the Proposer of any useful Project that might be suppos'd to raise one's Reputation in the smallest degree above that of one's Neighbors, when one has need of their Assistance to accomplish that Project." One who would lead, it seemed, must 'seem to follow, and he developed the technique of putting "myself as much as I could out of sight" and presenting the project "as a Scheme of a Number of Friends."(72) It was a practice that he continued in his promotion of the Association.(73)

Franklin's Gazette of August 13, 1747, reported that the New York General Assembly had contributed £130 toward equipping a privateer authorized by Connecticut and Rhode Island "to protect their Trade."

Before authororing The Plain Truth, Franklin, using the Gazette, in late October and early November items praised moderate Quakers. By "moderate Quakers" Franklin meant those who held that their doctrine was not "absolutely against Defensive War." He had also consulted with Tench Francis, the provincial attorney general, William Coleman, a pro-defense Quaker and member of the Philadelphia Common Council, and Provincial Council member Thomas Hopkinson. These men seemed to have tacitly approved an early draft of Franklin's publication of The Plain Truth. His friend Richard Peters attempted to paint the project to the proprietors in the most conciliatory and acceptable terms. The group formed a scheme to assume the character of tradesman, to avoid running afoul of the Quakers. Franklin had convinced Peters to inform the Proprietors of the group's plans. Cleverly, he pointed out that the plan would free the Penns from the costs of undertaking defensive action themselves.(74) Franklin's primary purpose with The Plain Truth to rouse the mass of citizens to action. He distributed the pamphlet free, and the first edition of 2000 copies was quickly exhausted; a second edition appeared in early December. The assumption is that Franklin wrote the article, prepared it for publication and distributed it, but may have enjoyed the support of other backers to finance the printing. In the pamphlet Franklin left no rhetorical stone unturned, and in so doing he presented many of the arguments that would subsequently dominate booster appeals.(75) His primary goal, of course, was to convince his readers that they faced an enormous an emergency, greater than anything known heretofore. His plan anticipated the full participation of thousands of ordinary Pennsylvanians, especially frontiersmen and artisans.

The self-described tradesman of The Plain Truth opened by begging forgiveness for his boldness in speaking publicly, but said that, given the present emergency it was his "duty" to awaken those "who seem to sleep." Franklin clearly wished to impress upon his readers "the Confusion, Terror, and Distress" that invasion would bring. To achieve his ends Franklin was not above committing a few acts of race baiting.



You have, my dear Countrymen, and Fellow Citizens, Riches to tempt a considerable Force to unite and attack you, but are under no Ties or Engagements to unite for your Defence. Hence, on the first Alarm, Terror will spread over All; and as no Man can with Certainty depend that another will stand by him, beyond Doubt very many will seek Safety by a speedy Flight. Those that are reputed rich, will flee, thro' Fear of Torture, to make them produce more than they are able. The Man that has a Wife and Children, will find them hanging on his Neck, beseeching him with Tears to quit the City, and save his Life, to guide and protect them in that Time of general Desolation and Ruin. All will run into Confusion, amid the Cries and Lamentations, and the Hurry and Disorder or Departers, carrying away their Effects. The Few that remain will be unable to resist. Sacking the City will be the first, and Burning it, in all Probability, the last Act of the Enemy. This, I believe, will be the Case, if you have timely Notice. But what must be your Condition, if suddenly surprized, without previous Alarm, perhaps in the Night! Confined to your Houses, you will have nothing to trust to but the Enemy's Mercy. Your best Fortune will be, to fall under the Power of Commanders of King's Ships, able to controul the Mariners; and not into the Hands of licentious Privateers. Who can, with the utmost Horror, conceive the Miseries of the Latter! when your Persons and unbridled Rage, Rapine and Lust, of Negroes, Molattoes, and others, the vilest and most abandoned of Mankind. A dreadful Scene! which some may represent as exaggerated. I think it my Duty to warn you: Judge for yourselves.



To give credence to this vision of hell on earth, Franklin pointed to the behavior of the privateers who invaded the bay the preceding summer. In all, the picture is one of Hobbesian anarchy in which the individual can hope for aid from no other human being. Exploiting other racist fears, he suggested the strong possibility that some Indians might go over to the French. "And what may we expect to be the Consequence, but deserting of Plantations, Ruin, Bloodshed and Confusion!" Franklin insisted that his intended audience, "we, the middling People, the Tradesmen, Shopkeepers, and Farmers of this Province and City," stood to lose the most. The tradesmen were far less able than the wealthy to flee the city if besieged. They would not be able to carry out their possessions and the tools of their trades and were thus more likely to lose all they own. Since they could not easily flee, they would be the ones required to pay all tribute pirates, privateers and others might extort. It was, the pamphlet argued, the wealthy were the ones who had brought them to the present condition of impotence and state of emergency.

Franklin next fabricated an argument based on the social contract as found in English Whig Liberalism derived from John Locke. The Quaker faction, in Franklin's view, had violated the social contract by failing to defend the colony. "Protection is as truly due from the Government to the People, as Obedience from the People to the Government"; while their opponents, "those Great and rich Men, Merchants and others" through resentment and disappointed ambitions refused to take up their civic "duty" to lead their community. Franklin underscored that it was the authorities' abdication of civic responsibility that made necessary the extraordinary voluntary action he was advocating. He made a deliberately calculated appeal to a nascent class consciousness. Yet this rhetoric, for Franklin uncharacteristically divisive, also channeled class resentments in the interest of unified action. Franklin suggested that because traditional elites had neglected their civic duties, it was the right and obligation of all citizens regardless of station to play a significant role in community life. In a less aristocratic but nonetheless stratified age, nineteenth-century boosters would also invoke this ideal of universal participation even as they assumed that businessmen would be the natural aristocracy of their communities. He argued that city and country live under mutual social, political and military obligation.



Is not the whole Province one Body, united by living under the same Laws, and enjoying the same Priviledges? . . . When the Feet are wounded, shall the Head say, It is not me; I will not trouble myself to contrive Relief! Or if the Head is in Danger, shall the Hands say, We are not affected, and therefore will lend no Assistance! No. For so would the Body be easily destroyed: But when all Parts join their Endeavours for its Security, it is often preserved. And such should be the Union between the Country and the Town; and such their mutual Endeavours for the Safety of the Whole.



Franklin rejected the notion that Pennsylvania's trade was peripheral to its well-being, and hence not worth spending money to protect. Like the Council in its appeal to the Assembly, he argued that everyone was somehow touched by trade and would suffer if matters continued to move in the present direction. Increased insurance rates would inevitably "increase the Price of all foreign Goods to the Tradesman and Farmer, who use or consume them," while conversely decreasing the profits of "the Tradesman's Work and the Farmer's Produce."

Franklin pointed out that Pennsylvania was the only British colony that had no provision for defense. Grimly, he warned that if Philadelphia remained unprotected, there would be "a Turning of the Trade to Ports that can be entered with less Danger, and capable of furnishing them with the same Commodities, as New-York, &c." Philadelphia's loss would be the other cities' gain.



A Lessening of Business to every Shopkeeper, together with Multitudes of bad Debts; the high Rate of Goods discouraging the Buyers, and the low Rates of their Labour and Produce rendering them unable to pay for what they had bought: Loss of Employment to the Tradesman, and bad Pay for what little he does: And lastly, Loss of many Inhabitants, who will retire to other Provinces not subject to the like Inconveniencies; whence a Lowering of the Value of Lands, Lots, and Houses.



Although Franklin was no militarist, he was not above employing the argument that defense spending could stimulate an interdependent local economy. Franklin rejected the argument that it would be cheaper for the government to insure its citizens against possible losses. "For what the Enemy takes is clear Loss to us, and Gain to him . . . whereas the Money paid our own Tradesmen for Building and Fitting out a Vessel of Defence, remains in the Country, and circulates among us; what is paid to the Officers and Seamen that navigate her, is also spent ashore, and soon gets into other Hands; the Farmer receives the Money for her Provisions; and on the whole,; nothing is clearly lost to the Country but her Wear and Tear. . . ."

The Association received significant support for nearly all quarters, and no clear opposition, save for quiet shunning by the Society of Friends. Opposition to a militia law came from the pacifist Society of Friends, as Franklin related. Franklin called attention to the simple fact that all the people constituted a single body politic and that all enjoyed freedoms and liberties, not the least of which was to be secure in their homes and property. The frontiersmen had as much right to peace and security as those living in Philadelphia. Moreover, the frontier offered a buffer between the Amerindians and French and the cities of the seaboard. Insurance rates would rise. Traders who obtained their goods, often on credit, from merchants secure in Philadelphia would be robbed and killed, resulting in large commercial losses to the merchants. The enemy would become ever more bold. He suggested that those who could not in good conscience vote for a militia bill should step aside and allow political power to flow to those who were not opposed to arming the colony.



This Province was first settled by the people called Quakers, who, though they do not as the world is now circumstanced, condemn the use of arms in others, yet are principled against bearing arms themselves; and to make any law to compel them thereto, against their consciences, would not only be to violate a fundamental in our constitution, and be a direct breach of our charter of privileges, but would also be in effect to commence persecution against all that part of the inhabitants of the Province.(76)



Plain Truth accomplished its purpose. Ten thousand volunteers stepped forward to answer the call. Franklin recalled his joy at his success.



The pamphlet Plain Truth had a sudden and surprising effect. I was called upon for the instrument of association, and having settled the draft of it with a few friends, I appointed a meeting of the citizens in the large building before mentioned. The house was pretty full; I had prepared a number of printed copies and provided pen & ink dispers'd all over the room. I harangued them a little on the subject, read the paper, and explained it, and then distributed the copies, which were largely signed, not the least objection being made.(77)



Franklin claimed that twelve hundred men had been recruited in the Association on the first night.(78) In reality, it seems probable, that a thousand men actually joined; and that several days elapsed before that number had been gathered.(79) In any event, the success in recruitment far exceeded the expectations of Franklin's friends and associates. When the surrounding country was informed of the scheme, the total number rose to ten thousand. Franklin's won expectations had been surpassed and he was ecstatic: "These all furnished themselves as soon as they could with arms, formed themselves into companies and regiments, chose their own officers, and met every week to be instructed in the manual exercise, and other parts of military discipline. The women by subscriptions among themselves provided silk colours, which they presented to the companies, painted with different devices and mottos, which I supplied.(80)

Almost immediately the several regiments began to organize and to elect their officers. Franklin, rather naturally, was the first choice of the Philadelphia regiment for commander. He declined, believing himself unqualified and recommended Thomas Lawrence, one of the members of the Council, because the latter had significant previous military experience. The Associators elected Abram Taylor, also a Councilor. They gave the second office of lieutenant colonel to Franklin's designate.(81) The company even included one Quaker, Lieutenant Richard Renshaw. Being a Friend he took his pledge of loyalty and fidelity by affirmation.(82) Subsequently the other regiments formed and selected their officers. Early affiliates included Philadelphia County outside the city, and Chester, Bucks and Lancaster counties.(83)

Debate between the Council and the Assembly had already raised the issue of the community's image in the world outside. Franklin took up the theme that Philadelphia's reputation for wealth as well as pacifist principles made it vulnerable in wartime. At present, he warned, all circumstances "render the Appearance of Success to the Enemy far more promising, and therefore highly encrease our Danger." Appearances could be turned to the city's advantage. Once the city was unified in self-defense, "The very Fame of our Strength and Readiness would be a Means of Discouraging our Enemies; for 'tis a wise and true Saying, that One Sword often keeps another in the Scabbard."

He refuted the authority of the Quakers doctrine of non-resistance, offering the alternative virtues of unity and vigilance. He justified his position by citing from the most militaristic sections of the Old Testament. He drew one useful story from Judges wherein the people of Laish were destroyed by a small number of invaders because they had been lulled into a false sense of security. "And they smote them with the Edge of the Sword, and burnt the City with Fire; and there was no Deliverer, because it was far from Zidon." He pointed out that it was, "Not so far from Zidon, however, as Pennsylvania is from Britain."

Most of all, Franklin sought to awaken in his readers a passion for unity that would enable them to transcend their peril.



At present we are like the separate Filaments of Flax before the Thread is form'd, without Strength because without Connection; but Union would make us strong and even formidable: Tho' the Great should neither help nor join us; tho' they should even oppose our Uniting, from some mean Views of their own, yet, if we resolve upon it, and it please God inspire us with the necessary Prudence and Vigour, it may be effected.



Such unity and discipline promised respite from the factional bickerings of previous years, and if it departed from the peaceable vision of Quaker Pennsylvania, Franklin's vision also invoked "that Zeal for the Publick Good, that military Prowess, and that undaunted Spirit" demonstrated by their Puritan neighbors in his birthplace of New England. Once they had done all in their power to defend themselves, they "might then, with more Propriety, humbly ask the Assistance of Heaven, and a Blessing on our lawful Endeavours." His conclusion of the pamphlet echoed the cadence of a traditional Christian blessing:



May the God of Wisdom, Strength and Power, the Lord of the Armies of Israel, inspire us with Prudence in this Time of Danger; take away from us all the Seeds of Contention and Division, and unite the Hearts and Counsels of all of us, of whatever Sect or Nation, in one Bond of Peace, Brotherly Love, and generous Publick Spirit; May he give us Strength and Resolution to amend our Lives, and remove from among us every Thing that is displeasing to him; afford us his most gracious Protection, confound the Designs of our Enemies, and give Peace in all our Borders, is the sincere Prayer of A Tradesman of Philadelphia.



Franklin also engaged in personal and oratorical agitation for his military defense system. He was in a unique situation because he traveled freely among both the tradesmen and the city's upper class, including the Quaker merchants. He began his campaign with his fellow tradesmen. This, of course, confirmed the suspicions of any who might have doubted Franklin's authorship of The Plain Truth. Beginning on 21 November with a meeting of his fellow tradesmen whom he addressed, according to Peters, "as the first Movers in every useful undertaking that had been projected for the good of the City -- Library Company, Fire Companys &c."(84)

Nor did Franklin neglect the city's upper class. According to Richard Peters, secretary of the Province and clerk of the Council, "all the better sort of the People" were given an advance view of the document a day before it was unveiled to the public at a mass meeting, held in the large hall built by supporters of the Great Awakening. Franklin recalled, "The House was pretty full. I had prepared a Number of printed Copies, and provided Pens and Ink dispers'd all over the Room. I harangu'd them a little on the Subject, read the Paper & explain'd it, and then distributed the Copies."(85) Two days after the mass meeting, Franklin began to utilize his Gazette to further the plan. In the November 26 edition, Franklin devoted a much larger than usual amount of space to the news of the mass meeting. Franklin, expressed several the opinion that more than a thousand men would subscribe: "'Tis hop'd the same laudable Spirit will spread itself throughout the Province; it being certain that we have Numbers more than sufficient, to defeat (with the Blessing of God) any Enterprize our Enemies can be supposed to form against us: All we wanted was Union and Discipline."

On 3 December Franklin again used the Gazette to promote his project. On the first page Franklin carried a letter submitted by an anonymous reader, although Franklin doubtless had orchestrated that letter. The writer praised "the lively Picture drawn in Plain Truth, of the Confusion and Distress of a Town surpris'd by lawless Privateers. . . ." The author offered an eyewitness account of the enduring trauma suffered by the citizens of Spanish Portobello after that city was seized by English privateers. He described in vivid sentences the widespread incidences of rape had left psychological wounds that continued to fester long after the privateers withdrew. He also wrote of the more serious than the "Heart-burnings and Discontents" experienced by wives whose husbands had failed to defend them. He described the anguish of wives who had willingly mixed with the invaders, and their later trauma as well as the alienation of their husbands' affection. He related tales of former virgins who, once despoiled, either committed suicide or turned to prostitution. "Industry and Frugality may in Time restore our broken Fortunes," wrote the former inhabitant of Portobello, "our Houses may be rebuilt, and the Breaches in our Walls repair'd: But no Time or Industry can repair these most miserable Breaches in our once happy Families, or restore their Peace and Honour." If such was the damage wreaked by English privateers, Philadelphians might well have asked themselves, what can be expected from those undisciplined, hordes of mixed racial origin, whom the author of Plain Truth had described? This harrowing account provided vivid and seemingly independent corroboration for Franklin's most horrible scenarios.

Franklin reprinted the full text of the form of Association, in the portion in the newspaper generally reserved for official government proclamations. Franklin had thus suggested that the project carried the authority, or at least the endorsement, of the state.(86)

The articles of association was a model contract for a voluntary militia. It began with a simple statement outlining the reasons for the necessity for the undertaking and then outlined the means by which these goals would be accomplished. The document always maintained the clear commitment, that this was a voluntary union comprised of public-spirited individuals. The Gazette explained each article based upon the remarks that Franklin had made at the mass meeting of 24 November. This issue of the Gazette was dominated by the Association as no single topic had been before, suggesting the extent to which Franklin had committed his energies and his reputation to the cause. Franklin explained, for example, that companies would be grouped according to neighborhood in order to ensure that each included men from all stations of life, "for the sake of Union and Encouragement." Franklin asserted that "Where Danger and Duty are equal to All, there should be no Distinction from Circumstances, but All be on the Level." He hoped that the shared experience would counteract factionalism.

Commenting on the provisions for regular training meetings, Franklin noted the propaganda value of public demonstrations: "when 'tis known that we are all prepared, well armed and disciplined, &c. there is Reason to hope such an Emergency may never happen."

Popular election of officers was certainly the most controversial aspect of the association. Franklin defended the idea of the men electing their own officers because it was the device most likely to ensure the effectiveness of a voluntary army. "What can give more Spirit and martial Vigour to an Army of Freemen, than to be led by those of whom they have the best Opinion?" Nonetheless, the President and Council would issue commissions to the officers. This was a typical Franklin compromise. In his view popular election of officers combined with official issuance of commissions would have the effect of preserving "the Prerogative, at the same time that these frequent Elections secure the Liberty of the People." Franklin and his colleagues endeavored to keep the Association ever in the citizens' minds. The Gazette issued on 12 December demonstrated the vigor of the movement. It carried a report of the first public gathering of the association. According to Franklin's report, on the afternoon of Monday, 7 December, "a great body," consisting of nearly 600 volunteer militiamen, had gathered "with their arms" at the State House and had marched to the Court House on Market Street. Franklin addressed the group, speaking about a few organizational questions, though not surprisingly this was not mentioned in the newspaper. The story emphasized the strong connection between the militia movement and the government. It focused on the presence of "His Honour the President, and several of the Gentlemen of the Council." These men had instructed Secretary Peters to inform the militiamen "That their Proceedings were not disapproved by the Government" and that they would "readily" grant commissions to their chosen officers. Franklin's reporting and the governmental action thus assured the public that this gathering did not represent a potentially subversive band consisting of hundreds of armed men. Since many of the militia were members of the laboring classes, and most non-Quakers, some of the upper class had cause for concern about such a horde parading through the heart of the city. Official approbation gave great assurance to all that the militia was restrained by both self-regulation and official sanction. Franklin closed his report with "Tis not doubted but on the first of January, the Day of Election, there will be a very full Appearance of the Associated in this City, all Hands being busy in providing Arms, putting them in Order, and improving themselves in military Discipline."(87)

Two days after the public meeting, the President and Council proclaimed a general fast to be held throughout the province on January 7. This was the first such occasion in Pennsylvania history, and although the council records do not mention him, Franklin claimed in his autobiography that he had proposed the idea, "calling in the Aid of Religion" to support his militia system. He said that he had drawn upon his recollections of New England, where fasts often had been called with an eye to invoking divine protection of the community from external threats.(88) Franklin's proclamation does not mention the Association by name, but supplicates God to both "still the Rage of War," and "unite our Hearts, and strengthen our Hands in every Undertaking that may be for the Publick Good, and for our Defence and Security in this Time of Danger." Franklin published it in broadside form on December 9 and in the December 12 issue of the Gazette. Not surprisingly, the political pulpit rallied to Franklin's support. Several ministers used the occasion of the fast to preach pro-Association sermons. The Presbyterian leader, Reverend Gilbert Tennent, proved to be one of the plan's most vocal supporters. In a memorable sermon, "The Lord is a Man of War" Tennent announced his fullest support for Franklin's plan; and he urged other Protestants to do the same.(89) Sermons by William Currie as well as by Tennent were quickly issued as pamphlets. The ministers' approbation was subsequently reported in the Gazette as further evidence of the Association's support. Later issues of the Gazette presented essays on self-examination to instruct citizens in proper use of a day of fasting.(90)

Franklin was initially chosen as colonel, but "conceiving myself unfit, I declin'd that Station, & recommended Mr. Lawrence, a fine Person and Man of Influence, who was accordingly appointed."(91) Actually, it was Abraham Taylor, a merchant and member of the Provincial Council, who was elected colonel. This was a very political act which cemented the alliance between the Associators and the government. Thomas Lawrence, also a Council member, was elected lieutenant colonel, and Samuel McCall, a merchant and fellow Library Company member, major.(92)

The regiment marched through town to the Court House, separated into divisions. Each regiment fired three volleys and then separated into companies, with each marching away led by its new captain. The Gazette commented, "The whole was performed with the greatest Order and Regularity, and without occasioning the least Disturbance." Franklin proudly reported that there was a great deal of civic pride both among militiamen and the public. Franklin arranged for the publication of the names of the militiamen in the Gazette. Over the next several weeks Franklin would continue to use the newspaper to print the names of the officers of all companies outside Philadelphia.(93) On 12 January the Gazette, published a list of some of the devices and mottos on the flags that each company had displayed. Franklin boasted that these had been provided by "the Women, by Subscriptions among themselves" and that he had suggested designs for the devices and mottos for the various companies.(94)

To attract support for equipping the militia, the Associators sold lottery tickets at £2 apiece, a price designed to attract primarily the wealthy. The Gazette editorialized, "'Tis observable, that the late Lotteries in New-England and New-York, have taken more Months to fill than this has Weeks; it being but 7 Weeks since the first Tickets were ready to sell, tho' the Season has been so severe, as almost to cut off the Communication with the Country and neighbouring Provinces."(95)

The first artillery batteries were ready by April 1748. They were located at Atwood's Wharf and mounted 13 cannon; and near the site later known as the Philadelphia Naval Base on the city's southern edge had 27 cannon.(96) The merchants, traders and businessmen of Philadelphia approved the militia and its fine facilities. The Gazette also reported that the Associators had made preparations for constructing batteries on the Delaware, "and such is the Zeal and Industry of all concern'd, that 'tis not doubted they will be in good Condition very early in the Spring."(97) The newspaper described the construction, in only two days, of the Society Hill battery. "The Building of the Breast-work and Merlons, laying the Platform, &c. was done by a Number of the House-Carpenters of this City, who voluntarily and generously offered their Labour gratis, and perform'd the Work with the greatest Alacrity and surprizing Dispatch."(98)

The plan for discipline and organization and the Manual of Arms were published in the Pennsylvania Journal, with the comment that "the spirit of military discipline being now among the inhabitants of this city, we hope [this plan and] manual [of] exercise will not be unacceptable to our readers."(99)

Benjamin Franklin had labored hard in the cause, for he was wholly dedicated to the passage of a strong and useful militia act.(100) He had won only a partial victory for his militia organization was certainly not sanctioned by act of the Assembly. Legally speaking, it had no constitutional status. Pennsylvania had escaped much of the trouble with the Amerindians that had plagued other provinces for several reasons. The Pennsylvania Amerindians were considered friendly. Initially, Pennsylvania did not display the expansionist tendencies of the other colonies. William Penn had dealt with the Amerindians more fairly than most other provincial leaders. The province had several fair and talented diplomats like Conrad Weiser who negotiated with the Amerindians whenever there were problems. Many Quakers, and some of the German Moravians, were sincere and open in their dealings with the Indians and treated them with true Christian love. The Susquehannocks, Delaware and Shawnee were "nephews" of the Iroquois and, as their vassals, could not make war without the senior confederation's consent. No one doubted that the Iroquois in general were firmly planted in the British camp, if only because of their traditional hatred of the French. The province had no need of militia to contain them.

The Association's primary anticipated use of the militia was seacoast defense, against possible landings of the French fleet. The new militia formed companies of artillery and sought cannon wherewith to arm themselves. Having failed to convince any other officials of the wisdom of supplying the voluntary militia with cannon, Franklin decided to seduce New York Governor Clinton by a clever manipulation.



Meanwhile, Colonel Laurence, William Allen, Abram Taylor, Esqur., and myself were sent to New York by the Associators, commissorant [sic] to borrow some cannon of Governor Clinton. He at first refused us peremptorily; but at dinner with his council, where there was great drinking of Madeira wine as the custom of that place then was, he softened by degrees, and said he would lend us six. After a few more bumpers he advanced to ten; and at length he very good-naturedly conceded eighteen.(101)



The end of the war in 1748 obviated the immediate need for this militia, but it had set a precedent. In the meantime the Crown continued to apply its pressure and to remind the colony of its responsibilities. Palmer and the Council were thus kept constantly searching for new means by which to convince the Assembly that action was needed, as well as means by which to intimidate the Assembly, if necessary. By the same means Palmer and the Council hoped to stir up the man on the street. They were supported in this by many thinking citizens, non-Quakers, who had become disgusted at the constant bickering between the local branches of the government.

With the passing of the original proprietor, conditions changed. Penn's sons rejoined the Church of England. In Pennsylvania, they introduced the infamous walking deeds which cheated the Indians in their land dealings.(102) Non-Quaker, especially German, settlers dealt less fairly with the Amerindians. Expansionist leaders appeared who advocated greater participation in the empire. Settlers moved west of the Allegheny Mountains and into the virgin territory supposedly set aside by treaty for the Amerindians.(103) Mutual massacres and outrages caused many to seek the pacification, even the extermination, of the natives.

In January 1755 the Pennsylvania Assembly voted to grant £20,000 in paper money to help equip the armed forces gathering to resist the French, but Governor Morris, objecting to the paper money clause, vetoed the bill. The Assembly then voted £5000 for "supplies" for the British and American armed forces, but categorically refused to appropriate money for the troops themselves or to pass a militia act. In March the Assembly voted to issue a new tax on property which would raise, it hoped, £50,000. Included in taxable property were the heretofore tax exempt proprietary lands, many of which were undeveloped wilderness. Governor Morris objected, arguing that this tax would bankrupt the Penn family. When the legislature refused to enact an exemption, Morris vetoed the bill. Finally, Franklin persuaded the Assembly to borrow and then appropriate £15,000 for supplies, but not for military pay or the purchase of arms.(104)

In 1755 the population of Pennsylvania stood at approximately 300,000, and was thus easily able to supply a militia of at least 15,000 men. It was burdened by no debt and had saved approximately £15,000 and had annual revenues of about £7000. With its large population base and its complete absence of most specific taxes the colony could easily raise twice that amount. It was, overall, one of the wealthiest of the thirteen colonies. Governor Morris expressed his frustration with the matter to General Braddock and others. He found it most embarrassing that he could provide so little support for the most important and largest military expedition yet undertaken on the province's soil.(105)







3. Braddock's Defeat



The Battle on the Monongahela River, commonly called Braddock's defeat, was preceded by another skirmish known as the Battle of Great Meadows. The conflict was fought about ten miles east of the present-day Uniontown, Pennsylvania, on the Cumberland Road. By the spring of 1754 political authorities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and other colonies had been receiving reports of French activity in the Ohio territory, and, indeed, from Canada south to the Louisiana territory. No French position was more vital to the maintenance of lines of communication and supply than Fort DuQuesne, located on the headwaters of the Ohio River. On 17 April 1754 the French under Contrecoeur took possession of a partially constructed fort begun by the Ohio Company, Indian traders. The fort was protected on two sides by the rivers and on the exposed sides had log and earthen walls twelve feet thick. Outside the walls was a deep ditch and beyond that a log stockade. In late January 1754 Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie "ordered out a Detachment from the Militia to Cover the Works that are Carrying on at our Fort on the Ohio" because he expected "a greater Force than they had in the fall which then consisted of 1500 Men." He hoped his militia would "have a Sufficient Strength there early to oppose them." He was greatly concerned about "the present Temper of the Indians" which he read as "increasingly hostile" to the colony.(106)

On 24 May 1754, a force of some 150 men under George Washington detached from a Virginia regiment commanded by Col. Joshua Fry, encamped at the open place known as the Great Meadows. Here on May 27 Washington learned that a small French force was hidden a few miles to the north. Leaving a guard at the Great Meadows camp, he made a night march and in a surprise attack soon after sunrise killed ten of the French, including the commander, Jumonville, and took 21 prisoners. This was Washington's first battle and the first engagement of the French and Indian War. Washington sent the prisoners to Williamsburg and, returning to Great Meadows, erected there a small fortification, which he called Fort Necessity. In June the rest of the Virginia regiment and Captain Mackay's independent company from South Carolina augmented the force, bringing its total strength to about 360. Colonel Fry had died at Wills Creek, and Washington was now in command of the Virginia militia. Leaving Mackay's company to guard the supplies at Great Meadows, Washington pushed forward thirteen miles to Gist's plantation, cutting the road as he went. After further consideration, however, he decided to fall back to Great Meadows. Here Fort Necessity was enlarged and strengthened, and on July 3 it was attacked by about a mixed force of about 500 French and 400 of their Amerindian allies. The distance from fort to forest made the encounter one of long-range firing in which both sides nearly exhausted their ammunition without either giving or sustaining great damage. Finally, Washington had nearly exhausted both his ammunition, food and other supplies. Washington consented to French terms for capitulation. The English were allowed to leave the fort with arms and colors after giving hostages to guarantee the return of the French prisoners. Washington and his men marched on foot to Virginia, carrying their wounded comrades with them.(107)

General Edward Braddock was appointed commander of all the British forces in America. Braddock was dispatched with two regiments with orders to prepare for a long and elaborate campaign. The first objective of this strategy was Fort Duquesne. The ultimate objective was the expulsion of the French from North America. After Fort Duquesne, the British hoped to capture Fort Niagara and other strong points on the way to Quebec. The French confirmed this was by examining Braddock's papers after the papers.



General Braddock's papers were found, containing the King's Instructions to him, written with reserve, and which were more amplified by a despatch of Colonel Napier, Adjutant-General, written by order of the Duke of Cumberland, to serve as a guide in all his operations, whereby it appeared that General Braddock had orders from the Court of London to prepare, first, material for the reduction of the fort on the Ohio; second, for the reduction of Niagara, under the command of Colonel Shirley, Governor of Boston; third, of Fort St. Frederic, under Colonel Johnson's orders; fourth, for the capture of Beausejour, which was proposed by Colonel Laurence, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. It was ascertained by General Braddock's letters to the Minister, that he was marching at the head of 2000 men for the Ohio; that he had designed Shirley's and Pepperel's regiments, of 1000 men each, for Niagara, and that 4400 Provincials were to attack Fort St. Frederic; that when the fort on the Ohio would be taken, General Braddock was to unite his forces with those of Chouaguen, where we were to be attacked by a body of 4 thousand 3 or 4 hundred men.(108)



Major-General Edward Braddock, only son of Major-General Braddock, was born towards the close of the 17th century. He entered the British Army as an ensign in the grenadier company of the Coldstream Guards on 11 October, 1710. On 1 August, 1716 he was appointed lieutenant. He fought a duel, with sword and pistol, with Colonel Wailer, 26th May, 1718. On the 30 October 1734, he became captain-lieutenant, and on the 10 February 1736 was promoted to a full captaincy, with the Army-rank of lieutenant-colonel. He served in Flanders and became second major of his regiment in 1743. Braddock was present at the battle of Fontenoy on 11 May, 1745. He was then appointed first major of the Coldstreams, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel on 21 November 1745. He became a brigadier-general on 23 April 1746. In 1747 and 1748, Braddock served again in Flanders. In 1753 he was appointed colonel of the 14th Regiment of Foot. In March of the following year he was promoted to the rank of major-general; and on 24 September, he became commander-in-chief of the king's troops in America. He sailed from England on 21 December 1754; arriving at Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 20 February 1755. He was killed on the banks of the Monongahela, in Western Pennsylvania, on 9 July of the same year. In private character he seems to have been a heartless, broken down gambler and spendthrift.(109)

In his Autobiography, Franklin tells us that he had warned Braddock of the potentially dire consequences of sending European troops into the wilderness against savages who fought in their unique style without regard for the courtesies, complexities and chivalry of European warfare. Franklin described a conversation with the general, in which Franklin warned him that his "fine troops" might fall prey to "ambuscades of Indians" during his planned march to the west. The general responded with an assessment of the difference between American militia units like the one commanded by George Washington and the king's own regulars.



The British government not chusing to permit the union of the colonies, as proposed at Albany, and to trust that union with their defence, lest they should thereby grow too military, and feel their own strength, suspicions and jealousies at this time being entertained of them; sent over General Braddock with two regiments of regular English troops for that purpose. This general was I think a brave man, and might probably have made a figure as a good officer in some European war. But he had too much self-confidence, too high an opinion of the validity of regular troops, and too mean a one of both Americans and Indians. George Croghan, our Indian interpreter, joined him on his march with 100 of those people, who might have been of great use to his army as guides, scouts, etc. if he had treated them kindly; but he slighted and neglected them, and they gradually left him.

In conversation with him one day, he was giving me some account of his intended progress. "After taking Fort DuQuesne," says he, "I am to proceed to Niagara; and having taken that, to Frontenac, if the season will allow time; and I suppose it will; for DuQuesne can hardly detain me above three or four days; and then I see nothing that can obstruct my march to Niagara." Having before revolved in my mind the long line his army must make in their march, by a very narrow road to be cut for them through the woods and bushes; and also what I had read of a former defeat of 1500 French who invaded the Iroquois country, I had conceived some doubts and some fears for the event of the campaign. But I ventured only to say, To be sure, Sir, if you arrive well before DuQuesne, with these fine troops so well provided with artillery, that place, not yet compleatly fortified, and as we hear with no very strong garrison, can probably make but a short resistance. The only danger I apprehend of obstruction to your march, is from ambuscades of Indians, who by constant practice are dextrous in laying and executing them. And the slender line near four miles long, which your army must make, may expose it to be attacked by surprise in its flanks, and to be cut like a thread in several pieces, which from their distance cannot come up in time to support each other. He smiled at my ignorance, and replyed, "These savages may indeed be a formidable enemy to your raw American militia; but upon the King's regular and disciplined troops, Sir, it is impossible they should make any impression. I was conscious of an impropriety in my disputing with a military man in matters of his profession, and said no more."(110)



It was Virginia, not Pennsylvania, which dictated the route that Braddock was directed to follow to capture Fort Duquesne. The home government was quite specific in its orders. It ordered him to gather his forces in Virginia and move out the Potomac Valley to Wills Creek, near what is now Cumberland, Maryland. From there he was to proceed west and north to the Youghiogheny, a main branch of the Monongahela, by much the same route that Washington had traveled twice before. After leaving Cumberland, this route twisted and wound through some of the most rugged terrain in the Appalachians. Virginia governor Dinwiddie and the Virginia Company pressured Lord Halifax, head of the Board of Trade to select their route. Initially, Halifax had advocated a much simpler strategy. He wished to move first against Fort Niagara. Once Niagara fell Duquesne would no longer be tenable for the French. To Dinwiddie the honor of the Old Dominion was at stake, and the investments of some of her wealthy citizens were in jeopardy. John Hamburg, a wealthy London Quaker merchant, and a prominent stockholder in the Ohio Company, served as the contact at home. Honor and investment carried the day. Francis Parkman credited Hamburg with forcing the choice of routes. A later writer, Stanley Pargellis credited Dinwiddie's efforts with the success.(111) One of the colonial figures who might have drawn the general's attention was George Washington, but he apparently said nothing. Perhaps he, too, was influenced by loyalty to his native state.(112)

Once the authorities had convinced Halifax to reduce Duquesne as the first objective, a more direct route through Pennsylvania should have been chosen. Had the more northerly route been chosen, the expedition would have moved more quickly and easily. Furthermore, "Virginia could afford neither forage, provisions, wagons or cattle; in all of which Pennsylvania abounded." Again politics entered the picture. Halifax sacrificed these advantages to the selfish interests of Dinwiddie and the Ohio Company. To the home government, Dinwiddie seemed to have been vindicated because of Pennsylvania's grudging and niggardly participation in the war effort. Braddock recognized the situation, and he attempted to circumvent his orders by requesting permission to cut from Carlisle and Shippensburg to the Youghiogheny River. Ostensibly the road would be useful to bring up supplies once Duquesne was neutralized. Franklin thought that by taking the route through Pennsylvania the government might save £40,000. Governor Morris informed Braddock that this "Scheme" was "too ambitious and expensive." Nevertheless Morris requested the Assembly "to make suitable Provision for this necessary Service."(113) As early as February 1755, Governor Morris had received a letter from Braddock's quartermaster, Sir John St. Clair, requesting that a road to be built through Pennsylvania from Shippensburg westward across the mountains to the Ohio. The Assembly refused to pay for a survey which was requested of it. Eventually the Assembly voted funds for the survey. In March Morris appointed Croghan, John Armstrong, James Burd, William Buchanan, and Adam Hoops as commissioners for this enterprise, and the survey was accomplished. In June the Pennsylvania Assembly finally agreed to pay for the construction of the road.(114)

The colonists, not used to seeing the British army in action on American soil, held out high hopes for the success of Braddock's expedition. Some colonial leaders were less confident, as can be seen in correspondence between Virginia Governor Dinwiddie and Maryland Governor Sharpe and Pennsylvania Governor Morris. Dinwiddie advised Sharpe to keep his militia ready and that he had ordered his own militia to send out patrols on the frontier to scout French and Amerindian activities. He advised Morris to muster his militia and see that they were well trained. As a dutiful public servant Dinwiddie added somewhat less than enthusiastically, "I do not doubt of [his] success."(115) He did want to build a string of forts which he wished to have garrisoned not by militia, but by regular soldiers whom he believed to be better suited to the monotonous guard duty than militia. He thought of the forts as places of refuge when the militia was out doing field duty.(116) He asked for assistance from both the home government and the other colonies since he had stripped his own magazines bare to assist Braddock.(117)

After conferring with the governors of New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania at Alexandria in April, Braddock proposed a five-pronged strategy. He hoped to raise a unified military fund to which all the colonies would contribute; to establish a unified Indian policy with Colonel William Johnson in charge; to establish a naval presence on Lake Ontario which would operate out of Oswego; to attack the French forts at Crown Point and Niagara; and to capture Fort Duquesne. When Braddock asked the governors what they had done to contribute to a unified war fund, all the chief executives had to admit that they had asked their assemblies for money without success. The governors were unanimous, however, in agreeing to Braddock's five-point plan. All promised that their respective colonies would raise the necessary funds.(118) The governors were able to do very little to redeem their promises.

Initially, few recruits were enlisted to augment the British regiments; practically no money was voted for the common fund; few wagons were contributed. Braddock was forced to pay for nearly every item needed in his preparations from money appropriated by Parliament, usually at exorbitant prices. The warrants that Shirley and Braddock drew in 1755, exclusive of pay of troops, were for over £120,000.(119) According to later reports of the Board of Trade, all of the colonies did contribute to the common fund.(120) Interest grew and soon Braddock had not only enough troops to fill out his two regiments, the 44th and 48th regiments of foot, but more than enough volunteers to create a wholly American volunteer regiment, known as The Royal Americans.(121) Impressment, however, was enormously unpopular and by 1756 the British recruiters had largely abandoned even the time proved technique of getting prospects drunk and then signing them on as volunteers.

Braddock recognized the situation, and he attempted to circumvent his orders by requesting permission to cut from Carlisle and Shippensburg to the Youghiogheny River. Ostensibly the road would be useful to bring up supplies once Duquesne was neutralized. Franklin thought that by taking the route through Pennsylvania the government might save £40,000.(122) Governor Morris informed Braddock that this "Scheme" was "too ambitious and expensive." Nevertheless Morris requested the Assembly "to make suitable Provision for this necessary Service."(123)

Despite such difficulties, Braddock continued with his preparations. In May he joined his troops at Fredericktown, Maryland, where he was assembling his expedition against Fort Duquesne. He found things decidedly not to his liking. The provinces sent few provincial troops, and he thought the small gathering of friendly Amerindians to be useless.(124) There is much evidence pointing to the disdain Braddock showed the Amerindians. Not the least of the causes is shown in this report of Peters to the Council from a visit to the camp: "that he found Scarrooyady, Andrew Montour and about 40 of our Indians from Aucquick, at the Camp with their wives and families, who were extremely dissatisfied at not being consulted with by the General, and get frequently into high Quarrels, their Squaws bringing them money in Plenty which they got from the Officers who were scandalously fond of them; that he represented the Consequences of the Licentiousness to the General, who issued Orders that no Indian Woman should be admitted into the Camp, and insisted with the Indians that their Women should be sent home."(125) The Amerindians Braddock met were "civilized," largely recruited by various traders such as George Croghan from around their trading posts. They certainly were not the fierce Iroquois who remained close to home. Various mistakes and misunderstandings depleted the ranks of those who remained so that, by the time Braddock reached the Youghiogheny River, only about eight remained.

Braddock had been incensed that the colonials had not provided carriage for his supplies. It was bad enough that he had to purchase his own supplies from resources provided by the home government, but the thought that transportation was also not forthcoming incensed him. Franklin came to his rescue. He prepared a broadside announcing that "Sir John St. Clair the Hussar" was going to invade Pennsylvania and confiscate wagons and impress drivers among the farmers in Lancaster County. The term hussar produced a great chill among the German population. Franklin suggested that willing wagoners with teams would earn substantial pay. Whether inspired by the promise of pay, patriotism or fear of the "hussars" the necessary 150 wagons from Lancaster arrived in Braddock's camp soon after. Waiting for the wagon trains had delayed Braddock's departure by several weeks.(126)

The regular British army and the colonial forces rendez-voused at Fort Cumberland, to start for Fort Duquesne by the route later called Braddock's Road. Dinwiddie provided some arms and ammunition and assisted with the cannon.(127) Wagons and horses were secured from Pennsylvania with Franklin's aid; Indian allies came from Aughwick, but most of them deserted when Braddock ordered their families home. Sharpe relayed a report received from the Maryland militia who accompanied Braddock.



on the 9th of last Month the whole Army (except 600 Men with Sir John St Clair who marched two Days before) went from Wills-Creek & with infinite Difficulty thro' the, worst Roads in the world arrived 10 Days afterwards at the little Meadows where an Abatie was made by Sir John & two Engineers encircling the whole Camp. Here the whole halted 3 Days; then the Barronet with his party moved forwards & the 2d Day after the General with 4 Howitzers, 4 twelve Pounders, 13 Artillery Waggons besides Ammunition Carts followed him & have kept marching on ever since; & this Evening tis expected His Excellency will be within 25 miles of the Fort. Colo Dunbar with the Remainder of the Army four Artillery Officers, 84 Carriages with Ordnance Stores & all the Provision Waggons form the Rear amongst whom I have the honour to be- The Night before last we were alarmed 4 different times by the skulking Indians on whom our Out Guards & Centries fired. We have had 3 People scalpt but it happened thro' their own Imprudence in loitering behind too far, 'Tis said this morning the General has had Advice that 500 Regulars are in full March to the Fort which is the Reason his determined to be there before them. As we have had but very little fresh Provisions since we left the Fort at Wills Creek the Officers as well as the private men have been & still are extremely ill with the Flux many have dyd. To Morrow morning we march again & are to encamp on the Western Side of the Great Meadows. From hence we are to proceed after the General but am fearful it will not be before we have built some Fortification there & left a strong Party of Men with a great Deal of Provisions & Artillery Stores; our Horses being so weak for want of Food & Rest that it is impossible for the whole Rear to join the Front in 25 Days. The Gentl. of this Province are subscribing liberally towards the support of 200 or 300 Men. . . .(128)



The French reported on Braddock's arrival.



General Braddock, on his arrival at Virginia, prepared to take the field early in April. He reserved unto himself the capture of our fort on the Ohio, and seemed to have adopted all his precautions to secure success. Notwithstanding, as he has not been seconded by the Provinces of New England, agreeably to his wishes, and had been obliged to wait an exceeding long time for wagons and other necessaries which the Provinces were to supply, he could not leave Fort Cumberland before the first days of June. Our Indians had reported to us, in the winter, that the English were making great preparations; but Monsieur Duquesne, to whom that intelligence was repeatedly brought, treated it as an empty boast, and said it was only a fire of straw. He, consequently, did not adopt any precautions necessary against so general a movement. In the month of June M. de Vaudreuil arrived, who was told that the government was in a marvellous condition. In the latter part of June, arrived M. Duquesne, who repeated to his successor what he had already written, and, two days after, news was received of the capture of Beausejour.(129)



The army, 2200 strong, started west June 7, but had advanced only to Little Meadows, near present-day Grantsville, Maryland, by June 16. Then, on the advice of Washington, his aide-de-camp, Braddock pushed on rapidly with some 1200 men and a minimum of artillery, leaving a command under Col. Dunbar to bring up the heavier goods. On July 9 the expedition crossed and recrossed the Monongahela near Turtle Creek. Up to this point every precaution had been taken against surprise, but apparently the officers now grew overconfident. A hill commanding the route was left unoccupied and the troops marched in an order too close for safety.

The French began to reenforce Fort Duquesne. "M. Duquesne, who knew that his fort was menaced, had sent a reinforcement thither, totally neglecting the other quarters."



July 16th. We received our orders to march from Quebec to Montreal. The scarcity of has been the cause of our having proceeded by land. We kept along the bank of the river, which is pretty thickly inhabited; arrived on the 22nd at Three Rivers, a small town with an etat-major, and on the 27th at Montreal. The regiments, told off by divisions of four or five companies, had marched and partially one to Fort Frontenac, where we were to form a camp, and to proceed thence to lay siege to Shoyen. That project could not be put into execution, having been obliged to make them march to prevent the enemy besieging Fort St. Frederic, and it became necessary to recall the regiment of La Reyne and our first division, which was already far advanced. The enemy three armies; one destined for the Beautiful river, where they were defeated. The corps was three thousand strong, under the command of General Braddock, whose intention was to Fort Duquesne; they had considerable artillery, much more than was necessary besiege forts in this country, most of which are good for nothing, though they have cost the King considerable.(130)



The French commander at Fort Duquesne dispatched spies to reconnoiter the advancing army and determine its the size, strength and equipment. The French were determined not to be surrounded by English siege guns. They gathered their Amerindian allies, and made preparations.



M. de Contrecoeur, Captain of Infantry, Commandant of Fort Duquesne, on the Ohio, having been informed that the English were taking up arms in Virginia for the purpose of coming to attack him, as advised, shortly afterwards, that they were on the march. He dispatched scouts, who reported to him faithfully their progress. On the 17th instant he was advised that their army, consisting of 3000 regulars from Old England, were within six leagues of this fort. That officer employed the next day in making his arrangements; and on the ninth detached M. de Beaujeu, seconded by Merrs. Dumas and de Lignery, all three Captains, together with four Lieutenants, 6 Ensigns, 20 Cadets, 100 Soldiers, 100 Canadians and 600 Indians, with orders to lie in ambush at a favorable spot, which he had reconnoitred the previous evening. The detachment, before it could reach its place of destination, found itself in presence of the enemy within three leagues of that fort.(131)



M. de Beaujeu who was in command of that fort, notified of their march, and much embarrassed to prevent the siege with his handful of men, determined to go and meet the enemy. He proposed it to the Indians who were with him, who at first rejected his advice and said to him: "No, Father, you want to die and to sacrifice yourself; the English are more than four thousand, and we -- we are only eight hundred, and you want to go and attack them. You see clearly that you have no sense. We ask until tomorrow to make up our minds." They consulted together; they never march without doing so. Next morning M. de Beaujeu left his fort with the few troops he had, and asked the Indians the result of their deliberations. They answered him: "They could not march." M. Beaujeu, who was kind and affable, and possessed sense, said to them: "I am determined to go and meet the enemy. Will you allow us to go alone? I am sure of conquering them." The Indians, thereupon decided to follow him.(132)



From Fort Duquesne Capt. Beaujeu led some 250 French and 600 Indians to oppose Braddock. He had not laid his ambush(133) when the two parties unexpectedly met. A French officer reported this: "This detachment was composed of 72 Regulars, 146 Canadians and 637 Indians."(134) Governor Sharpe relayed the report he received on the Amerindian support of the French.



The Indians who that Day opposed General Braddock were not less than 1500 or 2000 & yet none of the English that were engaged will say they saw a hundred & many of the Officers who were in the Heat of the Action the whole time will not assert that they saw one Enemy, it seems they had most advantageously posted themselves behind the large Trees that grew on the Eminences or Hills that were on the Right Flank & in the Front of our Troops, thence they fired irregularly on the English beneath them who being in a compact Body became a fair mark to their Enemies against whom they fired in platoons almost as fast as they could load, without doing as I conceive any great Execution. The men had not been used to nor had any Idea of this kind of fighting, which dispirited them & Soon threw them into Confusion they refused to obey the Voice of their Officers & having wasted all their Ammunition retired in great Disorder leaving the Enemy Masters of the Field & of all the Artillery Ammunition Baggage & every thing that had passed the River, it is supposed that 800 or 900 Stand of Arms have fallen in to the Enemies hands.(135)



Suddenly, the French appeared before the English army. The guides raced toward the main body through the forest. The enemy was but two hundred yards ahead. Gordon, who had ridden toward the front in hope of finding the guides suddenly found himself confirming the guides' terrified reports. The enemy force was not large, he observed, numbering only about three hundred French and Amerindians. But its sudden appearance shocked him, as it had the scouts and the troops. The French, too, were so surprised that they and their Indian allies halted, confused. Their scheme to ambush Braddock's army at the river had failed and they were without a clear plan of action. Beaujeu recovered from his initial shock and directed his followers against the British flanks. Almost simultaneously Gage recovered and directed his men. His detachment returned fire. The troops fired their initial musket shots came from a distance of about two hundred yards, so they inflicted few casualties, among whom was Beaujeu, who fell dead at the roadside. Dumas described his own role.



In the first moment of combat, one hundred militiamen one-half of our French forces shamefully turned tail, shouting "Every man for himself!" . . . This retreat encouraged the enemy to resound with cries of "Long live the King!," and they advanced quickly toward us. Their artillery, having been prepared during this time, commenced firing. This terrified the Indians, who fled. On the enemy's third discharge of musketry, M. de Beaujeu was killed. . . . It was then, Monseigneur, that by word and gesture I sought to rally the few soldiers who remained. I advanced, with an assurance born of despair. My platoon gave forth with a withering fire which astonished the enemy. It grew imperceptibly, and the Indians, seeing that my attack had caused the enemy to stop shouting, returned to me. Now I sent M. le Chevalier le Borone and M. de Rocheblave to tell the officers in charge of the Indians to seize the enemy's flanks.(136)



The British told of opening fire and putting most of the French to flight and killing Beaujeu.



The engagement took place within four leagues of the fort, on the 9th day of July, at one o'clock in the afternoon, and continued until five. M. de Beaujeu was killed at the first fire. The Indians, who greatly loved him, avenged his death with all the bravery imaginable. They forced the enemy to fly with a considerable loss, which is not at all extraordinary. The Indian mode of fighting is entirely different from that of us Europeans, which is good for nothing in this country. The enemy formed themselves into battle array, presented a front to men concealed behind trees, who at each shot brought down one or two and thus defeated almost the whole of the English, who were for the most part veteran troops that had come over the last winter. . . .(137)



On the fall of their commander, "M. Dumas took command of the French, or rather, they continued each one to do his best in the place they were in." Dumas is the only confirmed eyewitness on the French side to have left an account of the battle. His subordinate Dumas, however, rallied the Indians to seize the hill that Braddock had neglected and to surround the British line.



Mr. de Beaujeu, finding his ambush had failed, decided on an attack. This he made with so much vigor as to astonish the enemy, who were waiting for us in the best possible order; but their artillery, loaded with grape (de cartouche), having opened its fire, our men gave way in turn. The Indians, also, frightened by the report of the cannon rather than by any damage it could inflict, began to yield, when M. de Beaujeu was killed. M. Dumas began to encourage his detachment. He ordered the officers in command of the Indians to spread themselves along the wings so as to take the enemy in flank, whilst he, M. de Lignery and the other officers who led the French, were attacking them in front. This order was executed so promptly that the enemy, who were already shouting their "Long live the King," although now only of defending themselves The fight was obstinate on both sides and success long doubtful ; but the enemy at last gave way. Efforts were made, in vain, to introduce some sort of order in their retreat. The whoop of the Indians, which echoed through the forest, struck terror into the hearts of the entire enemy.(138)



Gordon claimed that the enemy had begun to run down the British flanks before Gage's troops opened fire, that is, before Beaujeu was killed. Thus, Beaujeu himself ordered the move.

Dumas gave the impression that his force almost disintegrated under the opening barrage. Dumas suggested that it took a substantial amount of time to rally his confused, panic-stricken army. The British told of the opening moments of the engagement. Dunbar testified, "We were allarmed by the Indian Hollow, & in an instant, found ourselves attacked on all sides." He thus reported that French attacked first. Cameron's report agreed. "The Firing as a Signal began in the Front, and immediately was follow'd from behind the Hills and Trees all-along each Flank." Gordon gave a particularly full and plausible account:



As soon as the Enemys Indians perceived our Grenadiers, they Divided themselves & Run along our right and Left flanks. The Advanc'd party Coll. Gage order'd to form, which Most of them Did with the front Rank upon the Ground & Begun firing, which they continued for several minutes, Altho' the Indians very soon Dispers'd Before their front & fell upon the flank partys.(139)



An un-named British account, possibly prepared by an enlisted man or minor officer, gave the following report of the confusion in the British line.



In the front were 500 grenadiers called Halket's grenadiers as choice men as could anywhere be seen. These men bore the first brunt of the fire in the front, till at last both Sir John St. Clair, and CoIl. Gage's party were put into the utmost confusion by the Irregularly tumultuous pressing on and crowding of the men behind, who as they were hurried and pushed Irregularly forward, and commanded to march, earnestly requested to be put into some kind of order and instructed how to proceed. You'll perhaps see in some of our newspapers a foolish account from some of the triumvirate, that the foremost ranks falling back upon the rest of the army as yet not formed, threw them into a pannic and Confusion which neither the Intreaties nor threats of the officers could divest them from or persuade them to stand their ground, but this is as false and foolish a gloss as ever was Invented. The affair was quite the reverse and therefore you'll do well not to believe a word of it.(140)



The van of the English, falling back, became entangled with the main body so that order was lost and maneuvering was impossible. For three hours the British stood under a galling fire; then Braddock ordered a retreat. The general was mortally wounded; many of the officers were killed; the retreat became a rout. The French offense, who had briefly assumed the role of defense, quickly recovered from the confusion. Most of the French and Amerindians raced toward the English flanks. As they moved into their new positions, they disappeared from the English line of sight, rendering them virtually invisible. Philip Hughes, one the English reporters, recounted that "the French and Indians crept about in small Parties so that the Fire was quite round us, and in all the Time I never saw one, nor could I on Enquiry find any one who saw ten together." Yet, the enemy warriors could see Braddock's forces.

The French and Indian forces were stationed behind trees on both sides of the road. Another large group of the French and a few Indians occupied a trench at the head of the British column, making it impossible for the British to advance. Gage reported that Braddock's army started to disintegrate even before firing began, on first hearing of the enemy's approach.



the guard in our van came to the right-about, but, by the activity of the officer who commanded them, were stopped from running in, and prevailed on to face again. The detachment was ordered to fix their bayonets, and form in order of battle, with intention of gaining a hill upon our right, which was partly already possessed by an officer's party that was scouring out right flank. The first was obeyed in a good deal of hurry, but none of them would stir to the posts assigned them. Though I had all the assistance that could be expected from the officers, not one platoon could be prevailed upon to stir from its line of march, and a visible terror and confusion appeared amongst the men. By this time, some few shots were fired on the parties who were on the right and left flanks, on which the whole detachment made ready, and notwithstanding all the opposition made by the officers, they threw away their fire, when, I am certain, scarcely two of the men could be seen by them.(141)



Gordon gave the impression of a more disciplined retreat. Junior to Gage, Gordon carried out the former's orders.



The Indians Making their Appearance upon the Rising Ground on our Right, occasion'd an Order for Retiring the Advanc'd Body 50 or 60 paces, there they confusedly form'd again, & a Good many of their Officers were kill'd & wounded by the Indians, who had got possession of the Rising Ground on the Right. There was an Alarum at this time that the Enemy were attacking the Baggage in the Rear, which Occasion'd a second Retreat of the Advanc'd party.(142)



The rising ground on the right was the same high ground that Gage had neglected to secure when he passed it earlier the same afternoon. It now served the French and Amerindians as a point from which to fire down on the British. Within fifteen minutes of the first fire, the enemy formed in a half-moon line. They were almost entirely concealed behind trees, probably with a trench to the foreground. Most importantly, they possessed the strategic knoll. The British advance party retreated, carrying with it the remnants of its vanguard and guides. But Gage's detachment could retreat only so far, for it soon backed into the working party.

The Americans naturally took up positions familiar to them in previous engagements with the natives. As one British officer reported, "ye American though without any orders run up immediately some behind trees. . . ." He blamed this action for putting "ye whole in confusion." The Amerindian concealment was complete for the British "saw nothing but trees." He insisted that the Americans had gained nothing from taking cover. "The greatest part of the Men who were behind trees were either killed or wounded by our own people. . . ." But this officer believed that it would have not profited the men to have held rank because of the position and concealment of the enemy. "We found that we should never gain ye day unless we dislodged them from the rising ground." The grenadiers attempted to gain the high ground, but, after some initial success, they retreated. The men feared the scalping knife and as soon as the troops realized the Amerindians had begun immediately to scalp the men first killed, they panicked.(143)

The French gloated.



The rout was complete. We remained in possession of the field with six brass twelves and sixes, four howitzer-carriages of 50, 11 small royal grenade mortars, all their ammunition, and, generally, their entire baggage. Some deserters, who have come in since, have told us that we had been engaged with only 2000 men, the remainder of the army being four leagues further off. These same deserters have informed us that the enemy were retreating to Virginia, and some scouts, sent as far as the height of' land, have confirmed this by reporting that the thousand men who were not engaged, had been equally panic-stricken and abandoned both provisions and ammunition on the way. On this intelligence, a detachment was dispatched after them, which destroyed and burnt everything that could found. The enemy have left more than 1000 men on the field of battle. They have lost great portion of the artillery and- ammunition, provisions, as also their General, whose names was M. Braddock. and almost all their officers We have had 3 officers killed; 2 officers and 2 cadets wounded. Such a victory, so entirely unexpected, seeing the inequality of the forces is the fruit of Mr Dumas' experience, and of the activity and valor of the officers under his command.(144)



M. de Beaujeu, Captain of our troops, found himself in front of the enemy at 11 o'clock of the forenoon. He attacked them with great vigor, and after a contest of five hours, our detachment succeeded in totally routing a vanguard of 1300 and some men, exclusive of wagoners, under General Braddock, whose rear-guard of 700 men was about eight leagues distant, and not attacked. That vanguard included Halket's regiment, raised to 700 men since its arrival in Virginia; three independent companies of 100 men each; the rest, Provincials. Six hundred remained dead on the field; a very great number wounded -- since dead, by the returns. The General himself was wounded on the occasion, and died some leagues from the field of battle. In a word, of these 1300 men, only about 300 returned; of these, 11 were officers, out of more than 150, their original number. We lost only the Commandant and two other Officers, 30 and some Canadians and Indians, and nearly about the same number of wounded. The entire of the enemy's artillery, his carriages and all the equipment remained on the field of battle, and caused such a considerable booty, that it stopped our troops.(145)



Washington, sent to Dunbar by Braddock, reported the defeat and dispatched wagons for the wounded. There was little to do but determined what to do with the supplies and munitions and care for the wounded and dying, including Braddock. There was no time to bury the dead. No one gave any thought to regrouping and attacking the French. George Croghan thought that the officers had behaved as badly as the men and that there was no chance of their acting responsibly and reorganizing with a thought to salvaging something from the expedition. Washington's description of the retreat has often been quoted.



At length, in despight of every effort to the contrary, [they] broke and run as Sheep before the Hounds, leav'g the Artillery, Ammunition, Provisions, and, every individual thing we had with us a prey to the Enemy; and when we endeavour'd to rally them in hopes of regaining our invaluable loss, it was with as much success as if we had attempted to have stop'd the wild Bears of the Mountains.(146)



The British losses were substantial. The victorious French sent news to Quebec, Montreal and back home of the numbers of captives and captured equipment.



The loss of the enemy is computed at 1500 men. M. de Braddock, their General, and a number of officers have been killed. 13 pieces or artillery, great quantity of balls and shells, cartridge boxes, powder and flour have been taken; 100 beeves, 400 horses, killed or captured, all their wagons taken or broken. Had not our Indians amused themselves plundering, not a man would have escaped. It is very probable that the English will not make any further attempt in that direction, inasmuch as, in retiring, they have burnt a fort they had erected for their retreat. We have lost three officers, whereof M. de Beaujeu is one, 25 soldiers, Canadians or Indians; about as many wounded.(147)



Governor Sharpe shared his knowledge of the terrible defeat with the British authorities. His reports were based on various letters received by courier from Captain Orme and from the interrogation of a few stragglers who had appeared at Fort Cumberland.



I have this Instant received a Letter from Capt. Orme (who is at Fort Cumberland ill of his wounds) in which he gives me a brief Account of the unfortunate Engagement between the Troops commanded by General Braddock & the French from Fort Du Quesne on the Ninth Inst. In the morning of that Day the General passed the Monongahela twice the last time at about 7 miles from the French Fort; a Party of 300 men having passed the River advanced towards the Fort & was immediately followed by another of 200, the General with the Column of Artillery, Baggage & the main Body of the Army got over about One O'Clock when they heard a very heavy & quick Fire in the Front. The General with the main Body immediately advanced in Order to sustain them but the Advanced Detachments giving way & falling back on the main Body caused great Confusion & struck the Men with such a Pannick that afterwards no Military Expedient which could be used had any Effect; they were deaf to the Exhortations of the General & the Officers who advancing sometimes in Bodies & sometimes separately were sacrificed by the Soldiers declining to follow them. The General had five Horses shot under him before he received a wound thro 'his right arm into his Lungs of which he died the fourth Day after. Sir Peter Halkett & the General's Secretary were killed on the Spot. Sir John St Clair is wounded but there is room to hope he will recover. The inclosed is a particular Account of the Officers that fell & of those that survived the Action, the Number of private Centinels killed & wounded is about 600. At the Little Meadows (which lye about 25 Miles westward from Fort Cumberland) The General finding it impracticable for all the Troops to advance farther together selected 1200 of the best & proceeded with the necessary Artillery, Ammunition & Provisions, leaving the main Body of the Convoy under the Command of Colonel Dunbar who had Orders to join him as soon as possible. I collect from some former Letters which I received from the Camp that the General had only four Howitzers four 12 Lbs & 14 Cohorns with him from the Train which with the Ammunition Baggage & Provision are fallen into the hands of the Enemy. When Col. Dunbar (who I have reason to apprehend was about 40 miles behind the General was apprized of this fatal Accident finding the Troops extremely reduced & weakened by this action & Sickness he judged it impossible to attempt any thing farther with probability of Success & is returning to Fort Cumberland with every thing that he is able to bring but as his Horses were reduced & much enfeebled & many Carriages wanted for the wounded men, to prevent their falling into the hands of the Enemy he has destroyed most of the Ammunition & the superfluous Provision that was left in his Care, Capt Orme does not describe to me the Situation of the Place where the Battle happened, how great was the Number of the Enemy, whether they consisted principally of Regular Troops or Indians or wherefore they permitted the English to bring off their wounded. He only says By the particular Disposition of the French & Indians it is impossible to judge of the Numbers the Enemy had that Day in the Field. When I received this account I was on my way to Fort Cumberland with a number of Gentn. & Voluntiers who had entered into an Association to bear Arms & protect our Frontiers where Indian Parties have lately done much mischief, I shall now halt a little & expend a Sum of money (which the Council & Gentn. of the Country had subscribed upon the Assembly's Refusal at their last meeting to grant any Supplies) in purchasing a quantity of fresh Provisions & such things as I think necessary for the Troops & then Escort them with such men as I can persuade to join me to Fort Cumberland where I expect to find Col. Dunbar by that time arrived. I am afraid Colonel Dunbar will not proceed again to Action this summer for want of a Train of Artillery & Ammunition neither do I think it will be an easy matter to reinforce him speedily for tho there are not I suppose in these 3 Colonies less than 80,000 Men fit to bear Arms yet for want of such a Militia Law as the Eastern Colonies enjoy the Benefit of & our Assemblies will not hear of, the People have no last or Notion of Arms or Military Duty & fruitless are all our Endeavours to persuade them to unite their force & exert it for their common safety. . . .(148)



Maryland Governor Sharpe shared his concerns about Braddock's defeat with Robert Hunter Morris, Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania.



You will suppose the News of General Braddocks defeat has thrown the People into the greatest Consternation. I have called the Gentl. of the Council to take their Advice & writ Circulary Letters to have the Slaves, Convicts &c well observed & watched & given Orders for the Militia of the several Cities to be prepared to quell it in case any Insurrection should be occasioned by this Stroke, we are encouraging Subscriptions among the Gentl. & People for the Defence & protection of the Frontiers, whereby I hope & expect to be enabled to raise a hundred or two Men in a very few Days, if the Burgesses in the several Cities do not oppose it as they lately did & persuaded the people that if the Govr should raise Money by such Methods they must not hope to have any more Assemblies convened but that the people must expect & obey Orders of Council & Ordinances instead of Laws made by their Representatives & with their own Consent, thus may these Tribunes impose on the weak minds of the People & while they delude them with the empty sounds of Liberty & Priveledge most effectually contribute to their Destruction & the Loss of His Majestys Dominions indeed if the French Wd determine to make the greatest use of their Victory I question whether 2000 Regular Troops with as many Indians would not descend to the Bay of Chesopeak such an opinion have I of our Militia Wch are about 18000 & any Force that can be mustered in Virg to oppose them. While the above was writing a Gent from Potowmack came & informed me that the Courrier who brought the fatal News. to Coll Innes said also that Sir Peter Halkett was among the slain & that Sir [John] St Clair had lost an Arm & was much wounded & also said that Col. Dunbar with the Rear & Baggage Guard consisting of abt 700 Was retreating to Fort Cumberland, of the safety or Escape of any of the Rest. I despair if what he further relates be true that with the French Regulars that attacked the Genl there were not less than 2000 Indians. . . .(149)



The most enduring of all legends created after Braddock's defeat is the one that claims that he was shot by one of his own men.(150) Sargent(151) claimed that the story was never heard until years after the event, and that this militates against its veracity. He is incorrect, although in fairness we must observe that the original source materials of this legend had not been rediscovered in his time. There are at least several accounts that date to approximately the same time as the battle. The best documented, and probably most reliable, of these came from John Boiling. On August 13, 1755, John Boiling provided an account of the battle in a letter to his son. In passing, he noted that Braddock was "supos'd to have been killed by his own Men."(152) Boiling's source of information is unknown, although most of the rest of his account relied heavily on George Washington's report.

Several soldiers claimed credit for having shot the British commander. One was Captain Robert Allison, allegedly a member of the advance party. When Braddock refused to order a retreat or at least take cover, Allison claimed, he commanded his orderly sergeant to shoot the general. His motivation was pure, Allison claimed, for all he wished to accomplish was to save the lives of those British and American soldiers who had not yet been killed. The orderly failed to shoot Braddock. He merely killed several of the general's horses. Disgusted, Allison decided to commit the deed himself.(153) There is no record of any officer surnamed Allison having served on the expedition, but since the nature of his purported service is unknown, it is possible that he participated in some capacity.(154)

In 1826, the early American historian John F. Watson(155) interviewed Billy Brown, a nonagenarian who as a slave had served an officer in Braddock's army. According to Brown, during the battle "a soldier took aim and shot [an] Indian. Braddock shot the soldier [and] the soldier's Brother shot Bk. he was on foot. the soldier offered to give himself up." Brown gave the man the name of Pritchett. Seven years after this interview, Watson conversed with another supposed survivor of the battle, William Butler. "I asked him particularly who killed Braddock, and he answered promptly one Fawcett, brother of one whom Braddock had just killed in a passion; this last, who killed Braddock, was in the ranks as a non-commissioned officer; the former was a brave major or colonel." Watson believed these accounts and identified "Pritchett" as "Fawcett," a somewhat reasonable confusion, especially since considerable timer had passed since the actual event and Brown's recounting.

Tom Fawcett has long been the main claimant to the title of "the man who killed Braddock." Fauwett, a well-known backwoodsman, was present at the battle. He was listed among the deserters after the event. He survived the massacre by many years. Butler claimed to have seen him in 1830, although most evidence points towards a somewhat earlier death. He was alive in 1812 when he allegedly delivered the following commentary on Braddock when the latter's remains were supposedly exhumed.



You tried to put shame on th' names o' brave men. We was cowards, was we, because we knowed better than to fight Injuns like you red-backed ijits across the ocean is used to fight; because we wouldn't stand up rubbin' shoulders like a passel o' sheep and let the red-skins made sieves outen us! . . . And them boys -- th' ole Virginny Blues -- you made git from behint th' trees and git kilt; and them others you cussed,. . . and cut down with yer saber, my own pore brother, Joe, amongst 'em! -- Why, ef I hadn't stopped ye with a shot, ye'd had us all massacred and scalped!



Many reliable witnesses claimed to have heard Fawcett make a similar claim on numerous occasions. Yet, other witnesses claimed that, upon many other occasions, Fawcett insisted he had not killed Braddock. Sargent devoted much space to the analysis of Fawcett's story.(156) John S. Ritenour,(157) like Sergent, emphasized the many discrepancies to be found in the various versions of Fawcett's story. After surveying the evidence Sergent and Ritenour decided Fawcett was nothing but a drunken illiterate who told his tale to attract attention. Local historians tended to accept and repeat the story that their more professional brethren had rejected. Cumberland, Maryland, historian William Lowdermilk(158) claimed that the discrepancies could be attributed to the fact that Fawcett tended to forget or confuse certain details in old age. He accepted Fawcett's story as did Uniontown, Pennsylvania, physician-historian James Hadden.(159) Hadden, apparently unwittingly, revealed an interesting detail. He noted that Tom Fawcett's brother Joseph, the man whom Braddock had reportedly killed, survived the battle, married, and had children.(160)

There is one other small footnote story within the greater drama. Young Daniel Morgan of Virginia joined the expedition as a wagoner. Having disagreed with an officer, Morgan engaged in a brawl with him. Striking an officer was a capital offense, but Braddock demurred and ordered the common whipping used as the mainstay of discipline in the British army. Sentenced to between 600 and 800 lashes, Morgan reportedly collapsed before the sentence was completed and the commander remitted the remaining strokes.(161) Morgan, of course, carried with him the scars of that flogging for the remainder of his life. He had the small satisfaction of seeing the officer with whom he had the altercation mortally wounded, his lower jaw shot away, in the battle. Morgan carried his hatred of the English army with him through the Revolution.(162)

Dunbar, now in command, ordered quantities of stores destroyed, and retreated rapidly to Fort Cumberland.



On leaving Coll. Dunbar's party at ye meadows, the General had given him orders to remove to Guests, about 50 Miles from ye place of Action, but having a great number of carriages & very bad Horses he could not reach within 12 miles of the place; however by means of an express, we met with provisions a few miles from his Camp where we halted the next night & joyned next Morning. Provision & rest were very seasonable for the Men not having of either for 48 hours. The Men of Coll. Dunbars party hearing of our defeat, were extreamly frightened, nay so much so, that upon seeing 2 or 3 of our own Indians returning, the greatest part began to run away; but were stopp'd when they were convinced of their mistake. Coll. Dunbar having had charge of ye ammunition & provision except wt we had taken with us, & not having Horses to carry them back to ye Fort, he was obliged to destroy the whole, except a little they preserved to support the Men to ye Fort: they brake all ye Shells, buried the shott, burned all ye composition, provision & wagons. Being now very light as to carriages, we returned to the Fort by ye 17th, where ye Men were dressed & most of them are in a good way. The balls that were cut out of ye Wounds were all of them chewed & many Sluggs & other ragged pieces of lead were found in them.(163)



Refusing the request of Virginia and Pennsylvania that he build a fort at Raystown, present Bedford, Pennsylvania, and defend the frontier, Dunbar marched to Philadelphia in August and left the border to suffer Amerindian raids. Captain Garnet, sent by Governor Sharpe to discover the condition on the frontier, reported that conditions were, if anything, worse than expected.



on my Arrival at Conegogee which is 30 Miles beyond Frederick Town I was informed that they had plenty of every thing at the Camp & that Colo Dunbar had determined & was about to leave Fort Cumberland & to march with the Remains of the two Regiments & the three Independant Companies to Philadelphia. This News so soon after the Depredations of the Indians & the General's Defeat had much alarmed & thrown our distant Inhabitants into great Consternation, they concluded that when the Troops should retire from the Frontiers the Enemy would repeat & renew their Devastations & that twas better for them to fly naked & leave their habitations than remain an easy Prey to an enraged & cruel Enemy, who may now have free & uninterrupted Access to these two infatuated & defenceless Colonies, some that were retiring to their Friends in the more populous Parts of this & the neighbouring Provinces I persuaded to return back with Assurances that a sufficient Body of Troops would be left at Fort Cumberland for the Security of that Place & that I would take proper Measures to prevent the Inroads & Incursions of any French or Indian Parties which I hope will be effectually done by the small Forts that I have ordered to be built, one on Tonallaway Creek & three under the North Mountain in each of which I shall place a small Garrison with Orders to them to patroll from one to the other & to Fort Cumberland & in case of Alarms to receive the neighbouring Families into their Protection. The Subscription that has been made in this County & some other Parts of the Province has enabled me to take this Step for the Security of our Frontiers & to continue on foot the Maryland Company which the late Resolves of the Lower House had made me desire the General to distribute between the two Regiments.(164)



Sharpe ordered his legislature into session. The Virginia Assembly also convened as did that of Pennsylvania. He reported that, ". . . .they may be dismissed as heretofore [in] that case I shall not meet our People at all but if the Pensilvanians prepare such a Bill as the Governor can accept I shall immediately convene our Assembly in hopes that as they have heretofore been they will continue Imitators of the Quakers Conduct."(165)



Public reaction varied. The Maryland Gazette printed one of the earliest newspaper accounts of the Battle of the Wilderness. It was apparently based on a letter from "an Officer in the Army" (undoubtedly Orme) and on an interview with "two young Gentleman Volunteers, who went from this Province, and who were in the late Action," (namely, Joseph Hopkins and James Calder). There is, however, no proof that Hopkins and Calder actually served in battle. One assumes that Orme submitted his standard account, but the description in this article differs from Orme's usual account from the beginning of battle to its end. For example, this account reported that as the British "were about to ascend a Hill, they were fired upon, from the Top of the Hill, by a great Number of French and Indians." This account thus suggested that the British army made an attempt to occupy the rising ground. According to William Dunbar the army was "upon the ascent," when attacked. In any event, the Gazette's description of the battle suggests that the correspondent had a poor perspective and did not realize that Gage had received advance notice of the enemy's presence. The reported also said that, "The Officers, with some of the Men, fought gallantly for about 3 Hours." Orme mentioned no incidents of heroism among the men. The Gazette's account was probably made by a member of the militia, perhaps a volunteer from Maryland. But the claim that some of the troops behaved well, while scarcely a revelation, is one of the earliest, if not the earliest, accounts to give some credit to the common soldiers and militiamen.(166)

The Quakers of Pennsylvania seemed to feel that the defeat was divine retribution for the English having disturbed the French settlements on the Ohio.(167) They also reasoned that they would be held faultless because they had contributed to the costs of the expedition, even though the province contributed the least of the northern and mid-Atlantic colonies.(168) Pennsylvania Governor Morris blamed the officers for failing to scout properly and for not exercising sufficient caution.(169) Franklin buried the news on the inside pages of his Pennsylvania Gazette for unknown reasons. He did describe the disaster, having predicted the possibility thereof, as we have seen, in conversation with Braddock. The picture he drew might well have been prepared in advance, during that conversation.



The enemy however did not take the advantage of his army which I apprehended its long line of march exposed it to, but let it advance without interruption till within 9 miles of the place; and then when more in a body, (for it had just passed a river where the front had halted till all were come over) and in a more open part of the woods than any it had passed, attacked its advanced guard, by a heavy fire from behind trees and bushes; which was the first intelligence the general had of an enemy's being near him. This guard being disordered, the general hurried the troops up to their assistance, which was done in great confusion through waggons, baggage and cattle; and presently the fire came upon their flank; the officers being on horseback were more easily distinguished, picked out as marks, and fell very fast; and the soldiers were crowded together in a huddle, having or hearing no orders, and standing to be shot at till two thirds of them were killed, and then being seized with a panic the whole fled with precipitation.



Washington's principal contribution to the discussion was to argue that the British should have used pack mules and horses instead of wagons to transport the materials of war.(170) British officers complained of the poor quality of the troops who panicked. That was an easy, ethnically based excuse since many of the enlisted men were Irish.

Most American historians, following public opinion since the Battle of the Wilderness, judged Braddock unfit to have led this campaign. In the American wilderness, his knowledge of tactics and strategy and deployment of troops was utterly without value. Because of his impulsive and irascible nature and his ignorance of Indian tactics, Braddock was as poor a choice as might conceivably have been made. For most Americans, Braddock was cast in the role of a total fool, albeit a brave one. The indictment continues in this fashion. After blundering into an ambush, was too single-minded and egoistic to allow the Americans under his command to save the day by adapting to the Indian-style tactics the enemy utilized. The judgment is then cast against a larger tapestry of world affairs and conflicting principles. The "haughty, regimented, traditionalist Old World [had] come into conflict with the individualistic, innovative New, to the disgrace of the former.(171) A Virginia burgess, John Bolling (1700-1757) writing to his son on 13 August 1755, summed up the American opinion: "So Much for English generals skill in bush fighting." He thought Braddock "a brave man" and his death "a raly great loss," although he thought him "to have been killed by his own Men, the English troops [who had] run away." Bolling claimed that the English troops would have left Braddock "to be scalped by the Indians" but that Virginia militia had carried him to safety, although 25 out of 29 men who assisted Braddock were killed. He lamented that so many "Virga Troops were cut to pieces" because Braddock "kept his men in regular order, as many as woud stay wth him. . . ."(172)

Francis Parkman was the most fair, if not downright sympathetic, to Braddock of the American writers. He judged that "whatever were his failings, he feared nothing, and his fidelity and honor in the discharge of public trusts were never questioned." Such praise for his courage and honesty was not new. Neither is Parkman's claim that Braddock for the most part conducted his march well, taking all due precautions.(173)

Stanley Pargellis produced two works that have strongly influenced subsequent research on Braddock's Defeat. During the course of his research in the Cumberland Papers at Windsor Castle he discovered a number of documents relevant to the Battle of the Wilderness.(174) Among the most important documents Pargellis located, and reproduced, were the eyewitness accounts of the battle by engineer Harry Gordon and Sir John St. Clair. Pargellis's overall thesis is that Braddock was fully justified in fighting the battle entirely on the basis of continental tactics, but that he misapplied them and was therefore to blame for the disaster. Most contemporary historians have come to conclusions quite opposed to the traditional view of the reasons for Braddock's defeat. They have concluded that the general could not have won even if he had allowed his troops to fight Indian style as Washington is supposed to have suggested. They also insist that the continental tactics he advocated were sound, thus placing the blame for the defeat, not on Braddock, but on incompetent subordinates or on panic by the enlisted men. This is, of course, an elitist view, something one might have expected from contemporary reports emanating from the British officer corps. It is also modernist in that it deprives the citizen-soldier of high status and importance in the battle. It fits well with the disrepute in which contemporary historians have come to view the colonial militia. Braddock, long maligned, has thus been portrayed in modern scholarship in an increasingly favorable light. Whether this is a true and correct assessment or not, it is recent in its origin and contradicts what was commonly held in the period when the judgment was important.(175)

Pargellis finds Orme to be the real cause for Braddock's defeat. Captain was refused a promotion in 1756 because his superiors refused to accept his account of the battle. It seems that Orme was both surprised and disappointed by this judgment. Orme was involved in a serious scandal and that, not his role in Braddock's defeat, was the true cause of the denial of promotion.(176) Braddock's death had deprived Orme of his most important patron, so it is unlikely that Orme would had done anything to jeopardize that patronage. According to Pargellis, Orme was the central figure in a conspiracy to cover up the general's blunders which had brought about the disaster:



Braddock's reputation he valiantly tried to save by throwing the blame for the defeat elsewhere. He could not throw it on the officers, for they, being literate men with powerful correspondents, would deny the allegation. His solution was to praise to excess the "unparalleled good Behaviour" of the officers, and to put the blame, unreservedly, upon that poor dumb ox, the British private soldier. Gage, to excuse his own negligence, reached the same answer. Gordon on the other hand, who had listened to Orme's blandishments, ran to the cover of Cumberland's protection. ... St. Clair said just enough to make it clear to Cumberland where he stood. Gates contented himself with hinting that things were not what they seemed. Stephen knew nothing of these wheels within wheels. . . . No evidence shows that [Washington] was consciously involved in a rather unscrupulous scheme and that he covered up his complicity.(177)



Did Washington cover up for Captain Orme? Pargellis tended to view Washington as a country bumpkin, who accepted blindly whatever his friend Orme told him because he was incapable of making an independent and learned assessment of the battle and the reasons for their defeat. Washington was acutely aware of Orme's report and overall thesis and he agreed with him. The best and most reliable British account of the Battle of the Wilderness came from Orme.(178)

Professor John Shy has become one of the leading critics of the American colonial militia. It is not especially surprising that the Americans suffered fewer casualties than the British at the Battle of the Monongahela in Shy's opinion. The same was to be true of casualty lists at the Battle of Ticonderoga in 1758. He has argued that the British army had consigned the colonists to secondary roles during the Seven Years War, and this was the logical and natural culmination of British policy over the past century. The war, Shy argues, was won by the regular British army, with Americans serving only in supporting roles. Because the British authorities had served to protect the colonists, they remained in America after the war in unprecedented numbers.(179)

Americans believed that their militia in general, and their Colonel Washington in particular, had saved Braddock's army from complete annihilation. Some British officers complained of the poor discipline of the militia and volunteers.(180) Some of the latter criticism can be blamed on the officers' failure to understand that Americans, more or less accustomed to frontier warfare, were not about to stand like a row of ducks in perfect order and allow the French and their Amerindian allies to shoot them down. Logically, they sought cover and fought the French in their own style. Braddock's defeat added its own special chapter to the myth of the invincibility of the American rifleman. The corollary to this is the myth of the absolute worthlessness of the British army on the frontier particularly, and in the New World generally.

When Sir William Johnson informed his Mohawks of the defeat, "they received the Intelligence with little or no Concern, and remained silent for some Minutes, when the whole Body as one Man rose up and told him in Substance, That they were not at all surprised to hear it, as they were Men who had crossed the Great Water, and unacquainted with the Arts of War among the Americans; and as it had happened so, it could not be helped. . . . " Johnson realized that the former vassals of the Iroquois were no longer subject to them. They had experienced victory with the French and nothing could restrain them now. He fully anticipated massacres all along the frontier. With Dunbar's retreat to the seaboard, no substantial force remained to oppose them except the provincial militias. The best he could do was restrain the Iroquois.(181)

Although Braddock's expedition failed, it demonstrated that an army could be marched over the Alleghenies. It taught the troops something of Indian fighting and its many mistakes contributed to the success of the Forbes Expedition. Moreover, it set the tenor for American regard, or lack thereof, for the British army. Americans did not much care whether the British army was feared throughout Europe or not. What they had seen of it was more than sufficient to justify their conclusions. The great standing army was of no value in the wilderness. As long as Americans avoided falling into the trap of fighting continental style, they could handily defeat them.

Braddock's road ran from the Potomac at Will's Creek, present-day Cumberland, Maryland, to the Monongahela at Turtle Creek. The section from Will's Creek to the upper Youghiogheny River was opened by the Ohio Company, probably about 1752. In 1754 Washington improved the road to Great Meadows and extended it to Gist's plantation, about six miles northeast of the present Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

Washington had advanced his idea of the proper way to reduce Fort DuQuesne. Like Braddock, he wanted to set out from Fort Cumberland with 1000 to 1400 men. There the similarity of the two plans of the two men parted company. Washington preferred to use frontiersmen who knew how to survive the wilderness, but those who had been subjected to a significant amount of militia discipline. He gave no thought to carrying siege cannon as Braddock had. Had Washington's plan been followed either in 1755 or 1757, it is hard to understand what the army would have done had it confronted the French force secure within the walls of one of the strongest forts in America. In any event, Washington was to repeat this suggestion in 1757, following Braddock's defeat, when Colonel Henry Bouquet was planning to move more directly westward, beginning at Fort Bedford. Bouquet rejected all parts of Washington's suggestion.(182)

Following Braddock's defeat, the home government had to find a replacement for the fallen commander. The temporary choice was William Shirley. "The Lords Justices, having thought it necessary to appoint without loss of time a Commander-in-Chief of his Majesty's forces in North America, in the room of the late Major General Braddock . . . Major General Shirley is ordered to take upon him . . . the command, with like powers, with which Major-general Braddock held . . . ."(183)

After Braddock's defeat most Americans became disenchanted with the European wars and the never ending struggle between two European rivals with its consequent repercussions for America. No longer did eager subalterns march into towns, line up and beat the drum and blow the trumpet and find dozens of able bodied militiamen ready to try a term of enlistment as volunteers in British regiments. American authorities discouraged the use of standard British impressment techniques. After 1757 the British sent only full-strength regiments to serve in North America.

The psychological impact of Braddock's defeat can be seen in a letter Colonel Bouquet wrote to General Jeffery Amherst in 1763. "I cannot think it advisable to employ regulars in the woods against Savages as they . . . are open to Continual Surprises, nor can they pursue at any Distance their enemy when they have routed them, and should they have the misfortune to be Defeated the whole would be Destroyed if above one day's march from a Fort."(184)

4. Aftermath of Braddock's Defeat



Events then moved in another direction. William Smith, Provost of the Academy of Philadelphia, was an ambitious Anglican clergyman who was suspected of harboring designs to be the first American bishop of the established church. An outspoken member of the proprietary party, Smith expended no love on the Quakers. Early in 1755, he published a booklet entitled A Brief State of the Province of Pennsylvania, an outspoken indictment of the Quakers for their attitude toward defense. He saved a few drops of his venom for the German Moravians for siding with the Friends. The Assembly initially met the Brief State with silence. Franklin thought the Assembly had no inclination to answer Smith's attack because they considered it undignified, but at the same time he felt that they were unwise to ignore it. He privately commented that he saw in Smith's work a potentially effective propaganda piece designed to discredit the Quakers at the next election. Already heard in the streets was the charge against the Friends "They could not or would not do the Duty of Assembly Men in Defending the Country."

Franklin reasoned that he had no choice but to defend the Assembly. He declared that, despite their scruples against bearing arms, whenever they could escape service by granting money for the defense of the country, the Quakers had shown that they could dispense money as freely as any other citizens. "The Pique against them," he argued, "must therefore seem to be Personal and private, and not formed on Views for the Publick Good. I know the Quakers now think it their Duty, when chosen to consider themselves as Representatives of the whole People, and not of their own Sect only; they consider the Public Money as raised from and belonging to the Whole Publick, and not to their Sect only . . . tho' they can neither bear Arms themselves nor compel others to do it." Astonishingly enough, Franklin suggested that if "Quakerism" (as to the matter of defense) were excluded from the Assembly, there would be no necessity to exclude Quakers, who in other respects made good and useful members.(185)

As if to justify Franklin's defense of them, the Assembly, after much debate, voted a bill in March to raise £50,000 for Braddock's campaign by imposing a tax. Rejection of the bill would have seemed like a repudiation of Franklin's leadership and his faith in the Quakers. The legislature voted to borrow £15,000 on one year bills of credit, although there was no clear provision for repayment. Of that money, it appropriated £10,000 for assistance to the people and militia of Massachusetts, leaving only £5000 to go to Braddock and Virginia combined.(186) The governor was much disappointed for he preferred to assist the efforts which would culminate on the home provincial soil.

On July 7, while the governor awaited news from Braddock, he received a report that Shirley and his New England troops had recaptured Louisbourg.(187) For the second time colonial troops had accomplished this feat. This time Pennsylvania had shared in the triumph by investing £10,000 and supplying a number of volunteers. Morris reported the news from Europe which told of the King's visit to the continent. From this news Morris drew the conclusion that "We shall have no War unless the Operations in America bring it on, as in all probability they will before Winter."(188)

The first news of Braddock's engagement, sadly, proved to be inaccurate. On July 14 Governor Morris received a letter from Daniel Claus, written at Canajoharie four days earlier, in which he said: "I wish to God the Report was true we had from Ohio that General Braddock took the French Forts with the Loss of only 500 men, and the French double the number. If once this will be the case all the Indians will flock over to the English, and the rest of the Expeditions won't want of Success."(189) But on 16 July, Morris learned the truth from a dispatch from Colonel Innes at Fort Cumberland: "I have this moment received the most melancholy News of the Defeat of our Troops, The General Killed, and numbers of our Officers, our whole Artillery taken. In short, the Account I have received is so very bad that as please God I intend to make a Stand here, 'tis highly necessary to defend the Frontiers."(190)

Following Braddock's defeat and the subsequent withdrawal of Dunbar's remaining British army to the eastern seaboard, the frontier was inflamed. Dunbar's action was described by one authority as "a cowardly and precipitous retreat."(191) Writing from Cumberland just six days after the battle, Dunbar had the audacity to ask Governor Morris for "ewinter quarters" for his me. "General Braddock's intention to quarter the two regiments with You [Morris] this winter," and announced that he was now on the way "for that Purpose." "I beg you will be so good," he continued, "as to provide Quarters for about an 100 Officers and I believe 1,200 Men . . . . An Hospital will be absolutely necessary. . . . I can't say when I shall have an Opportunity of kissing your Hand". Dunbar reminded Morris that the quartering of troops would be "according to law."(192)

Morris immediately complained about Dunbar's conduct to Governor Shirley, now supreme commander of His Majesty's forces in America. "I am much surprized at his Intention," he wrote. "Winter quarters in the month of July! . . . It gives me some concern," he observed further, "such a panick should prevail as to induce an Army of 1,500 effective Men to . . . make a precipitate retreat . . . leaving the back Inhabitants of this and neighboring provinces exposed to the Incursions of the Indians, & the French at Liberty to draw all their Forces to Niagara."(193) Morris reminded Dunbar of his duty as a military officer. "You must be sensible, that the Grain of a plentiful Harvest may be destroyed by the savages, the Inhabitants driven off their Farms, and all that extensive and Rich Country which lies West of the Sasquehannah be abandoned and laid waste."(194) Shirley backed Morris to the fullest extent. One need not be an expert on military affairs to understand that an army is designed to protect the inhabitants, not vice-versa. "Sure never was anything equal to the defeat, unless the Retreat of 1,500 Men and the Scheme of going into Winter Quarters when his Majesty's Service Stands so in need of the troops. . . . I shall send Colonel Dunbar immediate Orders."(195)

Nothing came of Shirley's good intentions, so Morris ordered the various officers of Philadelphia to prepare for the arrival of Dunbar's army. The mayor and council responded that they knew of no law that authorized them "to make such Provisions, and therefore . . had it not in . . . their power to obey the Order."(196) Governor Morris knew of no such law either so he turned to the Assembly, telling them "that some law should authorize the magistrates to provide quarters for Dunbar's army," because, ready or not, they were coming. "This will prevent all Contests between the Civil and Military Officers, between the Soldiers and People, and be a great means of preserving the internal peace of the Province." Within five days the legislature passed a Quartering Act.(197) But otherwise the legislature and governor deadlocked. This early gridlock blocked all funding and appropriation bills.

Meanwhile, the non-pacifist clergy became active in denouncing the Quaker inactivity from the pulpits throughout the province, but especially on the frontier. Even the Moravians joined the protest when Amerindians burned their mission at Shamokin. The sons of longtime Pennsylvania Indian agent and negotiator, Conrad Weiser, brought word of the approach of a substantial band of French and their allies. The frontier of the entire colony, from the Juniata River to the Susquehanna River was filled with bands of marauding Amerindian warriors, scalping, burning and murdering. Some armed frontiersmen roamed the streets of the eastern city, threatening the Quakers.

The Delaware, heretofore either allied with, or at least friendly toward, the Quakers, attacked along the Pennsylvania frontier, massacring many settlers. Governor Morris ordered that forts be created at Shippensburg, Carlisle and Bedford [then called Ray's Town] to be manned by militia. He also, purely on his own authority, created four companies of militia in Cumberland, the county that encompassed all of southern Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna River.(198) The frontier was threatened because the traditionally friendly Amerindian tribes in western Pennsylvania and the Ohio territory had begun to question the value of friendship with the English. The French and the Amerindian tribes allied to them began to pressure the pro-English tribes and these same Indians had learned of Braddock's defeat and the precipitous retreat of the remaining British force.(199)

Governor Shirley of Massachusetts proved to be a duplicitous character. Instead of blaming Dunbar's cowardice for Pennsylvania's frontier problems, he returned to the old line, that the province had not enacted a proper militia law. As he wrote to the authorities in London,



I can't but attribute, Sir, the present Confusion and Distress of Pennsylvania, principally to the Government's being just now beginning to recover from its principles of non-Defence & the People's being unacquainted to Attacks from Indians & making a stand against them.(200)



In late summer 1755 the Mohawks informed Governor Morris that a group of Wyandots wished to have a conference in Philadelphia. Morris dispatched Conrad Weiser to accompany the Wyandots to his seat of government. They arrived, along with some Iroquois brought in by Andrew Mountour, in early August. Their leaders claimed that, if given sufficient arms and enough presents they would take up the hatchet against the French. Morris gave them presents valued at £57, but did not ask them to fight. They demurred, wishing to obtain muskets, saying that they could also enlist the Delaware and Nanticoke tribes. The assembly now objected to the donation of presents. Franklin intervened, suggesting that, had the other tribes joined the French, no militia or other force could have prevented a destruction of the English colonies.(201)

Preparations accompanied concern all along the frontier. The usually pacifistic German Moravians, frequently the allies of the Friends in the Pennsylvania legislature, grew increasingly concerned about their safety. Suddenly fearing the Amerindians after Braddock's defeat, the Moravian elders complained that "no measure had been taken to avert calamity . . . [and] demanded arms and funding the necessity of some legal means to compel men to join in the defense of property. . . ."(202) They now demanded specifically that the governor over-rule the Quaker-dominated provincial legislature and, with the force of English law and the King's command, implement some militia law similar to that in force in other colonies.(203) The German community, some 300 strong, descended on the legislature in autumn of 1755, demanding that they be given the instruments wherewith to defend themselves. They "complained no measure had been taken to avert calamity . . . [and] demanded arms and funding the necessity of some legal means to compel men to join in the defense . . . ."(204) One major objection was to what are called forts in contemporary government records, but which, in reality, were magazines designed to protect gunpowder and other military supplies and not people. The Germans and others demanded that forts be established for the protection of the inhabitants as well as to protect military stores.(205) The many atrocities committed by Amerindians prompted the assembly to pass legislation that placed a bounty on Indian scalps.(206)

Indeed, the frontier was aflame. Massacres rarely occurred among larger groups or in the towns and cities, but collectively the small atrocities on the frontier took an awful toll in human life. By 16 October the first reports of incursion and massacre by heretofore friendly Delaware Indians were reported as far east as Selinsgrove, where about 25 men, women and children had been butchered.(207) Potentially more dangerous yet was the fact that the Delawares were native to eastern Pennsylvania and could supply the French with valuable intelligence as well as act as guides to a joint French-Amerindian force.(208) From the French side, a priest admitted that their Amerindian allies "kill all they meet, and after having abused the women and maidens, they slaughter and burn them."(209)

The inhabitants of Lancaster approached the legislature with a petition asking for some support and assistance as they were certain that calamity was about to befall them. Specifically, they asked for "Arms and Ammunition for Defence of their Houses and Families." On 22 August the legislature appropriated £1000 "for the King's use" and appointed a committee to oversee the distribution of the funds. Franklin played a key role on that five man committee. By the end of October 500 guns and a commensurate amount of ammunition had been purchased and distributed to the volunteer county militias of Lancaster, Cumberland and York.(210) George Croghan, on his own authority, built a small fort at Aughwick [now Shirleysburg, Huntingdon County].(211) The citizens had two choices available to them, and they chose both. They built their own private forts and they raised county, probably at best semi-legal, militias.(212) Realizing that they would either have to make a stand on the far frontier or in their own counties, several counties chose to send militia expeditions out into the dense forests of the frontier.(213) One caustic observation emerged from Daniel Dulaney's pen. "The Assembly were greatly embarrassed -- an effectual Militia law would have destroyed all Quakerism and the multitude were to be soothed."(214)

As early as 24 December 1754 Governor Morris had placed a militia bill backed by the proprietor before the legislature, whose intention was "to provide at this Time for the Defence and Safety of the Province . . . by establishing a regular militia."(215) Again, on 29 January 1755, he had issued a strong call "in His Majesties Name" to "put this Province in a posture of Defense by establishing a Militia." On 3 November Morris asked the legislature once again to create a regular militia.(216) "I do, therefore, now call upon You & insist on a plain and Categorical Answer, whether You will or will not Establish a Militia; that his Majesty and Ministers may be informed whether at this time of Danger the Province of Pennsylvania is to be put into a posture of defense or not."(217)

On 29 August 1755 Maryland Governor Sharpe wrote to Morris, discussing problems of mutual concern following Braddock's defeat. He informed Morris that he, too, was having problems with his provincial legislature. Like that of Pennsylvania, the Maryland assembly balked at passing a proper militia act.



I am sorry to learn that not even the present melancholy situation of Affairs in this quarter could weigh with your Assembly to grant some Supplies in such a manner as you could accept them, the Example they have set is too grateful to our Folks. for me to give them an Opportunity of pursuing a similar scheme or expressing themselves in such Language unless I shall receive more particular Instructions from England, or the Enemy make an Attempt on Fort Cumberland, which by Wt I can find Govt Innes begins to expect. It is said that his Command a fortnight ago consisted of only 160 Men, if they have since gone off in the same proportion I shall next expect to hear it is entirely relinquished. The Indians have done a good Deal of Mischief in several parts of Virga but they have not made our people any Visits since the Engagement, however the distant Inhabitants are so terrified at the Reports they hear that they are leaving their Plantations very vast & retreating to the more populous parts of the Country. As I have not heard any thing of Coll Dunbar's Return towards us again I presume he is proceeding to join General Shirley Where I hope he will arrive time enough to be of some Service but I can tell him 'twill not a little chagrine Governor Dinwiddie Who cannot bear to think of leaving Fort Du Quesne unattempted again this Summer -- I have already intimated to Sir Thos Robinson how defenceless we are (notwithstanding our Numbers) for Want of a proper Militia Law which I have told him has often & will be always sollicited from our Assembly . . . .(218)



Morris had written to Sharpe on 20 August, complaining about the assembly's inactivity on the militia bill. Sharpe could sympathize since he was having the same problem. He relayed the information to Virginia Governor Dinwiddie with a suggestion.



Govr Morris's Letter dated the 20th together with the Journal of his Assembly's proceedings which I presume you will also by this Opportunity receive from him fully convince me that nothing effectual will be ever done by these Colonies without the Compulsion of an Act of Parliament, in case the Pensilvanians had shewed a different Disposition I should as I before hinted to you have met our People instantly but as their Behaviour has been such as I would not wish to see our Assembly who are fond of following such Precedents imitate there is little room for me to expect any thing from them were they to be convened however I shall consult the Council thereon this morning & proceed according to their Advice. . . .(219)



Meanwhile, the governor was faced with several dilemmas. He was afraid to fortify certain outposts such as Shamokin because he did not want to appear to be staking an even greater claim to land owned by the Six Nations and thus bring them into the war. At the same time both settlers and displaced Ohio Indians demanded fortifications on the frontier. He lacked both the legal authority and the money to build forts, and had no men to occupy them if built. He had no regular force, yet the legislature refused to pass a province-wide militia bill.(220) The settlers had formed both private and county militias, but were on dubious legal grounds.(221) The counties that were most distressed could least afford to fund their own militias. Militia units from neighboring counties had crossed county lines on, again, most dubious legal grounds. As a concerned man he had done what he could do by ordering money, arms, ammunition and supplies to be sent to the frontier volunteer and county militias, but he lacked the legal authority as governor for what he had done.(222)

On 19 November the legislature sent supplies to the distressed inhabitants in Cumberland County. The governor diverted supplies and money initially earmarked to assist the English and sent these to the inhabitants of Berks, York, Lancaster and Cumberland counties, along with arms and gunpowder for provincial and British stores. The inhabitants continued to build "forts," most of which were fortified houses or block houses. The made use of extant stone buildings, such as grist mills, as forts. The county militias remained active, as leaders such as James Read, Thomas McKee, John Harris, John Armstrong and Conrad Weiser rallied their neighbors, distributed arms and supplies, attended to the relief of displaced and homeless settlers, and made up militia rolls.(223) Then the whole of the Great Cove settlement along the Juniata River was decimated. The responsible parties were Delawares and Shawnees, acting without French direction.(224)

The governor's financial woes increased. Bills poured in from Philadelphia for the quartering of Dunbar's "army of occupation." The costs of supplying the frontier were individually small, but collectively significant. And now Shirley and other British authorities wanted Pennsylvania to appropriate £50,000 for another expedition against Fort Duquesne. The legislature was of little help. It had long put off gubernatorial tax requests by offering to appropriate any amount provided he would agree to the taxation of proprietary lands. Penn's family was horrified at the thought, thinking itself possessed of royal prerogatives, and claiming that such a tax would ruin them. In 1755, as earlier, the governor told the legislature he would uphold the proprietary tax exemption by vetoing any bill taxing the Penn's family land.(225)

More petitions poured into both the governor's office and the legislature, demanding that the militia bill be enacted. On 4 November a petition had arrived from the Forks of the Delaware; and by 10 November from Lower and Upper Smithfield, Bethlehem, Easton, Carlisle, and elsewhere. The inhabitants of Paxtang wrote to the assembly, pleading that it "would either enact a Militia Law, or grant a Sufficient Sum of Money to maintain a Number of regular Troops as may be thought necessary to defend our Frontiers."(226)

Even the pacifist Moravians and their Amerindian converts were not exempt from attack by the Delawares, for on 21 November their mission at Gnadenhütten was burned and nearly all there were massacred. The French and Indian War effectively terminated the mission at Gnadenhütten because its location on the frontier exposed it to the vicissitudes of war, and the principles of its members forbade bearing arms. The French and English alike were highly suspicious of these pacifist settlements. The German nationality of its adherents made the Moravians suspect in the eyes of both belligerents. In November 1755 the warring Indians massacred a dozen Christian converts, and on New Year's day following the entire Christian Indian village and its mill and trade buildings were reduced to ashes. The few remaining Moravian Indians took refuge at Nazareth, Bethlehem and Christian's Spring, seeking protection from the persecution. There they labored peacefully in the fields and craft shops owned by their brethren in Christ. Eventually, they established a village of their own called Nain, located on the outskirts of Bethlehem. They practiced a rudimentary Christianity, sheltering the widows and orphans of the war. Visitors marveled at their artistic and architectural accomplishments.(227)

On 7 November 1755 Anthony Morris and 22 other leading Quakers presented a petition to the Assembly. In view of the exigencies of the moment, they were willing to allow an appropriations bill which would contribute toward both the relief of the colonists and provide for defense.

Credit must be given to Benjamin Franklin for pushing the militia bill through the assembly. On 20 November 1755 the militia bill was referred to committee for revision. Benjamin Franklin was a member of the committee and he sought to draft a revised bill that would meet with public acceptance as well as the with the concurrence of the governor, council and Crown. The committee acted rapidly, passing the bill on 21 November. Although the governor disagreed with several parts of it, he signed it into law. By 25 November Pennsylvania, at least temporarily, had a militia law.(228) It exempted many classes, including: all males under age 21, indentured servants, bound apprentices, clergy and members of the Society of Friends, and others who were by honest religious conviction opposed to military service, from having to muster in the militia. By exempting males under age 21 "many able bodied Men fit for the Service of their Country would be excluded."(229) The bill had allowed the militiamen to elect their own officers, although the governor had the power to strike a name for cause. No militiaman could be forced to march more than three days travel from his own home, nor remain on garrison duty for more than three weeks at one time unless expressly engaged before deployment for that purpose. The bill was passed for short term only and would terminate automatically on 30 October 1756.(230) It provided "for regulating such Persons as are willing and desirous to be united for Military Purposes" but had no legal compulsion. The bill also had no clear provision for the disciplining of troops "without which all Bodies of people associated for Military purposes would be absolutely useless."(231)

This militia law, in the words of the minutes, was designed "for the better ordering and regulating such as are willing and desirous to be united for Military Purposes within the Province." There were only four dissenters.(232) Parkman has observed that this militia law was probably a political snare laid by Franklin, and that the Governor avoided trouble by signing it, thereby legalizing a military organization not of the state, yet by it. Parkman concluded that the Governor had thus clamped the trap on those who had set it, for Franklin eventually had to head his creation.(233) Once again the legislature had created what was a basically voluntary association. This association, unlike that created in 1747-48 was legal because it had been authorized by the act of the Assembly. Like the earlier organization this militia still was not directly under the control of the government. It still contained all the questionable elements of the voluntary group.

Franklin commented on the new act, pointing out that the legislature operated under the constraint of respect it held for the Friends. "The doctrine of non-resistance, which was a part of the creed of a large portion of the population, had hitherto prevented the establishment of any efficient militia system." Nonetheless, it was Franklin who drew up the act for recruiting and disciplining a voluntary militia. "It was carried through the House without much difficulty, because care had been taken to leave the Quakers at liberty." The act recognized the Quakers' rights in this manner:



Provided, that nothing in this act shall be understood or construed to give any power or authority to the governor or commander-in chief, and the said officers, to make any articles or rules that shall in the least affect those of the inhabitants of the province who are conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, either in their liberties, persons or estates, nor any other persons of what persuasion or denomination soever, who have not first voluntarily and freely signed the said articles after due consideration as aforesaid. Provided, also, that no regiment, company, or party of volunteers, shall by virtue of this act, be compelled or led more than three days march beyond the inhabited parts of the province; nor detained longer than three weeks in any garrison, without an express engagement for that purpose, first voluntarily entered into and subscribed by every man so to march or remain in garrison.(234)



Franklin wrote a dialogue in defense of this bill which he published in the Pennsylvania Gazette on 18 December 1755. Giving his characters the names "X" and "Y," he stated the case for the act by defending the Quaker exemptions. First, their charter had granted the Quakers immunity from having to bear arms. This had been confirmed by earlier statutes. The Quakers and other conscientious objectors were good taxpayers and would most likely continue to pay taxes even when the proceeds were used for war. Militia volunteers were exempted from paying taxes, or, were permitted to serve in the militia in lieu of being taxed. There was no shortage of volunteers. Many of the old Associators, as well as new men, rushed to enlist in the new militia.

Governor Morris thought the bill had little substance as we can see in a letter he sent to Virginia Governor Dinwiddie on 29 November 1755.



If with this Grant they had made a good Militia Act, I might have done something towards putting the Country into a Posture for Defense; but as they offered me a senseless, partial and impractible Bill, rather than have any more disputes with them, and as it was only to continue in Force till next October, I passed it.



Franklin thought that this was a desirable feature of the bill because the men had a right to entrust their lives to officers of their own choosing.



It seems likely that the people will engage more readily in the service, and face danger with more intrepidity, when commanded by a man that they know and esteem, and on the whole prudence and courage, as well as good will and integrity, they can have reliance, than they would under a man, they either did not know or did not like.(235)



The Crown thought the bill was "rather calculated to exempt Persons from Militia Services than to encourage and promote them." The law in its opinion "is in every respect the most improper and inadequate to the Service which could have been framed and passed. The Crown complained that "No methods are prescribed for Compelling Persons by Proper Penalties to Associate in Defence of their Country." Neither did the law require those who were conscientious objectors to purchase substitutes. "The whole is voluntary, both in respect of inlistment and of subsistence of those who shall be enlisted." There was no provision for discipline and order within the militia. A man who disliked the discipline or who resisted the call to order could simply withdraw from the militia.(236)

Citizens were able to offer only a small amount of the aid and support the frontier required. Some citizens and church and other groups offered small amounts of aid in combatting the Indians. Some solicited volunteer subscriptions of money and food and military supplies. The Assembly appointed commissioners Assembly to dispense those funds. In November 1755 the legislature appropriated £60,000 for defense and appointed a commission to determine the proper way to expend that money. As Franklin wrote on 5 December to William Parsons, the person in charge of the defenses at Easton:



An Act is passed granting £60,000 chiefly for the defense of the Province, and is to be dispos'd of for that purpose, by seven persons, viz., I. Norris, J. Hamilton, J. Mifflin, Jos. Fox, Evan Morgan, Jon. Hughes, and your old Friend. We meet every Day, Sundays not excepted, and have a good Agreemt with the Governor. Three-hundred Men are ordered to be immediately raised on pay, to range the Frontiers, and Blockhouses for Stages to be erected at proper Distances and Garrison'd, so I hope in a little time to see things in a better Posture. A Militia Act is also passed of which, if People are but well dispos'd, a good Use may be made, and Bodies of Men be ready on any Occasion to assist and support the Rangers. All Party laid aside, let you and I use our Influence to Carry this Act into Execution.(237)



Franklin, acting in his capacity as one of commissioners, wrote on 2 November 1755 to James Read at Reading that he was delighted to hear that the arms had arrived and that the people could act as levées en masse.(238) He noted that they were the best he could procure under the circumstances and on short notice. He wished he had better arms to send, "but, they are well fortified, will bear a good charge, and I should imagine they would do good service with swan or buck shot, if not so fit for single ball." He promised to transmit fifty more the next day with some flints, lead swan-shot, and a barrel of gunpowder. Read and Weiser, also commissioners, received and cared for the arms.(239) At least the people had some arms wherewith to defend themselves.

This aid was better than nothing, but still fell far short of the actual needs. Out of desperation Governor Morris appealed to Sir William Johnson, perhaps hoping for full scale Iroquois commitment. "I must take the Freedom to desire on the part of this Government that you would be pleased to send a message to the Six Nations to inform them of this Defection of the Delawares and Shawnees."(240) Morris then described some of the ravages the Amerindians had committed in Pennsylvania.

The unexpected occurred at precisely the right moment. Thomas Penn wrote, offering assistance from the proprietors in the amount of £5,000 to be used for defense of the province. The Governor's reaction to this generous offer was predictable. "Nothing could come more critically than your Generous and free Gift."(241) The proprietors had outmaneuvered the legislature. Its leadership realized that if it refused to accept this offer, which was approximately ten times what the tax on the proprietary lands would have yielded, it would lose much and gain little. The Assembly were at defeated, but it at least had something to report in defeat. The legislature passed a bill exempting from taxation all the proprietary lands. It next turned its attention to the funding of the governor's military aid bill. What emerged was a bill which pleased neither the Governor nor his Council. Morris challenged the wording of the £60,000 appropriation bill, but, acting on the advice of the proprietors, he approved it in January 1756.(242)

In January 1756 the governor's commission authorized Northampton County to offer its militiamen "40 pieces of eight for every Indian they kill & scalp."(243) That county continued to be under almost constant Amerindian attack and sent petitions to Governor Denny asking for assistance and relief through supplies and men enrolled under a militia law.(244)

Next in the line of legislative activity was the militia act. A group of concerned citizens, on 3 March 1756, petitioned to His Majesty's Privy Council, asking it to mandate that the legislature create a militia law for Pennsylvania. They pointed out that



This is not the first Complaint which His Majesty's Subjects, Inhabitants of Pennsylvania, have made of the Distressed State of it arising from the assembly's neglecting to make proper Provision by Law for putting it in a posture of Defence in times of Danger and Hostility.(245)



The king had rejected all previous bills relating to the militia, citing various defects in the technical language. On 3 November the governor asked the legislature to create a stronger militia bill. At the same time, upon advice of Privy Council, the governor ordered that Fort Shirley and other fortified block houses be abandoned in order to concentrate the defense of the colony on stronger forts.(246)

Governor Morris had used the two devices available to him after the king vetoed ill-fated militia act. First, Morris used the Supply Act of 27 November 1755. This law provided money to pay regular troops and to build frontier forts. The fund was administered by seven commissioners, two appointed by the governor and five by the legislature.(247) The governor's plan was to pay volunteer ranging companies, pointing out that these were more acceptable than the deployment of British or other "regular" troops. Morris raised 500 rangers at Shamokin alone. He created other ranging units in and for other frontier counties.(248) These units, like those raised a year earlier under the authority of Penn's charter, did not disband with the expiration of the Militia Act.

Second, the governor called for volunteers who would travel into the Amerindian villages and carry their war home. Seeking a way to encourage volunteers to engage the Amerindians, Morris accepted a proposal made by the inhabitants of Lancaster in November 1755 to offer bounties on Amerindian scalps.(249) This act horrified the Quakers who could not conceive of a practice more barbaric than that of offering bounties for Delaware scalps. Conrad Weiser, one of the province's most skilled and experienced diplomats among the Amerindians, thought that the militiamen would not make any attempt to distinguish friendly from hostile natives.(250) He argued that they would see all Indians as a source of income.(251) Morris stated the bounties in Spanish pieces of eight. Male scalps for those over age 12 brought 120 pieces of eight and similar captives fetched 150 pieces. Females over age 12 brought 50 pieces dead and 130 alive.(252)

Using his Pennsylvania Gazette, Franklin published the whole text of the proposed militia bill on 13 May 1756. He invited his correspondents and subscribers to debate the merits of having a strong and permanent militia system. Most correspondents preferred having a thorough and complete militia act.(253) Franklin would have preferred a stronger bill, but this was a victory considering that the province had been without such a law for decades. He ably defended what law there was in his "A Dialogue between X, Y and Z concerning the Present State of Affairs in Pennsylvania."(254) Franklin did warn the Quakers that unless they took greater measures for their own protection they will "have their Throats cut."(255)

In May 1756 Governor Thomas wrote to the Board of Trade that in his opinion "the Province is in no Condition to defend itself, but must fall easy prey to almost any Invader, without the British Parliament interposes and by proper Laws establishes Order and Discipline."(256) The colony remained without a strong militia law. The King's commission of inquiry concerning the state of military preparedness in the colonies in 1756 referred to Pennsylvania as "the naked and defenseless state." It lamented that Pennsylvania "tho' a considerable colony with more than 40,000 [potential] fighting men in it is in no condition to defend itself, but must fall an easy prey to almost any Invader . . . . Some of the most considerable of the inhabitants who by the Consent and Approbation of the Government entered into an Association purchased arms and formed themselves into Regiments and Companies." The state had failed to prepare because "there is no Law to inforce Military Obedience without which it is impossible" to form a citizen army. But such a "Proper and Equitable Militia Law, however just and necessary it may be, can never be obtained from the Legislature of that Province as now constituted."(257)

The Lords of Trade, following a recommendation by Privy Council in 1742, reminded the legislature and governor of the obligation to enact a militia law, and this time, a bill that would be lawful and thus receive the king's approbation. "This opinion is Confirmed by the practice and usage in all other Colonys, whether the Government be by Charter or by Commission from the Crown." Neither the Privy Council nor the Board of Trade was prepared to enact a militia law over the prerogatives of the legislature. The governor of any colony has the same power to act as a proprietor, "yet no Militia could have been, or ever was, framed, or Military Service executed without an Act of the Legislature."(258) Clearly, Pennsylvania would have no militia law until the Assembly acted.

Captain Joseph Shippen, Jr., wrote to his father, an influential figure in Pennsylvania politics,



I am grieved to hear that there will be no Militia Law. I am of opinion that a proper one equally binding upon all Men to take up Arms in defence of their Country should have been in full force last Spring that the Provincial Troops which were raised might have had the opportunity of distressing the Enemy in their own Country, while the Militia should garrison the forts on our Frontiers. It is however possible this may be done still, if proper measures are taken . . . . (259)



Franklin defended the law in two articles, published in February and March 1756 in the Gentleman's Magazine. He argued that the law was good, but far from perfect, and that Pennsylvanians should support what they had while working to make it better. Part of the blame may have been the fault of the governor for forcing the issue too quickly. Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette carried a letter from citizens of Bristol lamenting the lack of a good militia act.



We cannot but lament that for the want of a well regulated national militia, your faithful Subjects of these Kingdoms are not at liberty to prove by their actions to their country and their loyalty to the best of Kings.(260)