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Letter from Governour Franklin to the Members of the Council and Assembly of New-Jersey: Much positive good would have resulted to the Province had a ,meeting of the General Assembly been held at this time, but as that is not likely to happen he takes leave of them, perhaps for the last time; and recommends to them to defend their constitution in all its branches; they can never place themselves in a happier situation than in your ancient constitutional dependency on Great Britain



Perth-Amboy, June 27, 1776.

The occasion of my calling you together at this time was not only to give you an opportunity of considering the present


distracted state of the Province, and of defending your own and the people' s constitutional rights, if you should choose it, but to communicate to you and to consult you upon some intelligence I have received from his Majesty' s Secretaries of State respecting the business to be transacted by the Commissioners which his Majesty has graciously condescended to appoint for the purpose (among others) of "conferring with proper persons upon such points as may be necessary for effecting a restoration of the publick tranquillity." These Commissioners, I had great reason to expect, would be arrived by the time of your meeting, and I know of no persons of this Province so proper to receive and confer with them as yourselves.

On the whole, gentlemen, much positive good would, in my opinion, have resulted to the Province had a meeting of the General Assembly been held at this juncture. But as that now seems not likely to happen, I shall take my leave of you and the good people you represent, perhaps for the last time. Permit me, before we part, to recommend it to you to defend your Constitution in all its branches. Let me exhort you to avoid, above all things, the traps of independency and republicanism now set for you, however temptingly they may be baited. Depend upon it, you can never place yourselves in a happier situation than in your ancient constitutional dependency on Great Britain. No independent State ever was, or ever can be, so happy as we have been, and might still be, under that Government. I have early and often warned you of the pernicious designs of many pretended patriots, who, under the mask of zeal for reconciliation, have been, from the first, insidiously promoting a system of measures purposely calculated for widening the breach between the two countries, so as to let in an independent republican tyranny — the worst and most debasing of all possible tyrannies. They well know that this has not even a chance of being accomplished but at the expense of the lives and properties of many thousands of the honest people of this country; yet these, it seems, are as nothing in the eyes of such desperate gamesters! But remember, gentlemen, I now tell you, that should they (contrary to all probability) accomplish their baneful purpose, yet their Government will not be lasting. It will never suit a people who have tasted the sweets of British liberty under a British Constitution. When the present high fever shall abate of its warmth, and the people are once more able coolly to survey and compare their past with their present situation, they will, as naturally as the sparks fly upwards, wreak their vengeance on the heads of those who, taking advantages of their delirium, had plunged them into such difficulties and distress.

This, gentlemen, I well know is not language suited to the times; but it is better — it is honest truth, flowing from a heart that is ready to shed its best blood for this country. A real patriot can seldom or ever speak popular language. A false one will suffer himself to speak nothing else. The last will often be popular, because he will always conform himself to the present humours and passions of the people, that he may the better gratify his private ambition and promote his own sinister designs. The first will most generally be unpopular, because his conscience will not permit him to be guilty of such base compliances, and because he will ever serve the people, if in his power, against their own inclinations, though he be sure that he thereby risks his ruin or destruction. I am not insensible of the dangers I am likely to incur, but I do not regard them. It is the part of an ignoble mind to decline doing good for fear of the evil that might follow. I bear no enmity to any man that means well, however we may differ in political sentiments. I most heartily wish you, gentlemen, and the people of this once happy Province, may again enjoy peace and prosperity, and I shall ever particularly honour and esteem such of you and them as have dared, with an honest and manly firmness, in these worst of times, to avow their loyalty to the best of Sovereigns, and manifest their attachment to their legal Constitution. As to my own part, I have no scruple to repeat at this time what I formerly declared to the Assembly, "that no office nor honour in the power of the Crown to bestow, will ever influence me to forget or neglect the duty I owe to my country; nor the most furious rage of the intemperate zealots induce me to swerve from the duty I owe his Majesty."