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Lesson One

Reading 4

Deborah Franklin’s Account

September 22, 1765

My Dear Child

. . . I am so very poor a writer that I don’t undertake to say anything about the disorder in this part of the world. But to me it seems we are very wicked and so are the people in London and other places on your side of the water. I pray God mend us all. You will see by the papers what work has happened in other places and something has been said relating to raising a mob in this place. I was for 9 days kept in one continued hurry by people to remove me . . . to Burlington for safety. But, on Monday last we had very great rejoicing on account of the change of the Ministry and a preparation for bonfires at night and several houses threatened to be pulled down. Cousin Davenport came and told me that more than twenty people had told him it was his duty to be with me. I said I was pleased to receive civility from anybody so he stayed with me some time. Towards night I said he should fetch a gun or two as we had none. I sent to ask my brother [John Read] to come and bring his gun. . . . We made one room into a magazine. I ordered some sort of defense upstairs such as I could manage myself. I said that when I was advised to remove that I was very sure you had done nothing to hurt anybody nor I had not given any offense to any person at all, nor would I be made uneasy by anybody, nor would I stir or show the least uneasiness. But if anyone came to disturb me I would show a proper resentment and I should be very much affronted . . . I was told that there were 800 men ready to assist anyone that should be molested. . . . Deborah Franklin Dictionary of American Portraits, Dover Publications, Inc., 1967

Source: Leonard W. Labaree, ed., Papers of Benjamin Franklin, Volume 12 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968) pp. 266, 270–71. [NOTE: Spelling has been adjusted for readability.]


  • 1.

    Why did opponents of the Stamp Act in Philadelphia hold John Hughes and Franklin responsible for the Stamp Act?

  • 2.

    Why would the citizens of Philadelphia celebrate when receiving word of the change of ministers in Britain?

3. How does the threatened attack on the Hughes and Franklin homes illustrate the intensity of feelings regarding the Stamp Act?


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