proprietary government of Pennsylvania
lature of that colony was in session; it continued to require all its members to take and subscribe the old qualification appointed by law, which included the promise of allegiance to George the Third; so that Franklin
, though elected for Philadelphia
through the Irish and the Presbyterians, would never take his seat.
had been returned for the county by an almost unanimous vote; supported by patriots who still confided in his integrity, by loyalists who looked upon him as their last hope, by the Quakers who knew his regard for peace, by the proprietary party, whose cause he had always espoused.
Now was the crisis of his fame.
That body, on the fourth, elected nine delegates to the continental congress.
Of these one was too ill to serve; of the rest, Franklin
stood alone as the unhesitating champion of independence; the majority remained to the last its unyielding opponents.
It was known that, two days before the king issued his proclamation, his secretary of state had received from Richard Penn
a copy of the second petition of congress; and that Penn
and Arthur Lee
, who had pressed earnestly to obtain an answer, had been told that ‘as his majesty did not receive it on the throne, no answer would be given.’
The proclamation included Dickinson
among the ‘dangerous and designing men,’ rebels and traitors, whom the civil and military officers were ordered to ‘bring to justice;’ but with the bad logic of wounded vanity he shut his mind against the meaning of the facts; and on the ninth he reported and carried these instructions to the Pennsylvania
delegates: ‘We direct that you exert your utmost endeavors to agree upon ’