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[226] security; and his prudence, humanity, and pa-
chap. IX.} 1756.
tience succeeded in establishing the intended line of forts. Recalled to Philadelphia, he found that the voluntary association for defence under the militia law went on with great success. Almost all the inhabitants, who were not Quakers, joined together to form companies which themselves elected their officers. The officers of the companies chose Franklin colonel of their regiment of twelve hundred men, and he accepted the post.

Here again was a new increase of popular power. Franklin, with his military command, might, it was feared, wrest the government from the proprietaries; nor would the metropolis tolerate a militia which had the appointment of its own officers. In the House of Commons, Lord George Sackville charged the situation of affairs in America ‘on the defects of the constitution cf the colonies.’ He would have ‘one power established there.’1 ‘The militia law of Pennsylvania,’ he said, ‘was designed to be ineffectual. It offered no compulsion, and, moreover, gave the nomination of officers to the people.’ The administration hearkened to a scheme for dissolving the Assembly of that province by act of parliament, and disfranchising ‘the Quakers for a limited time,’ till laws for armed defence and for diminishing the power of the people could be framed by others.

After the long councils of indecision, the ministry of Newcastle, shunning altercations with colonial assemblies, gave a military character to the interference

1 Walpole's Memoires of Geo. II., II., 8.

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