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State of the Colonies in 1733

There were a few Spanish settlements along the coast, north of Florida, in the 16th and early 17th century but what is now Georgia was originally just the southern portion of the Carolina grant. Hoping to provide a second chance for adventurous members of the English under class, King George II, in 1732, granted Georgia to James Edward Oglethorpe, an English general. In addition to its lofty social goals the new Colony was also intended to provide additional protection for its northern colonial partners. Prior to Oglethorpe and his party settling the area in 1733, Fort King George was the only English occupation in the area. The Fort, which was established in 1721, was the Southern-most post in the Colonies and was situated to provide a buffer against Spanish and French intrusion from the South.

In 1738, General Oglethorpe brought a large military contingent to Georgia and the following year his troops provided a strong showing against the Spanish in King George's War ( the War of Austrian Succession in Europe). General Oglethorpe led his men into St. Augustine and although they were not able to obtain a victory there, when the Spanish sailed into Georgia seeking retaliation two years later, he and his soldiers were able to drive the Spanish back to Florida for, what turned out to be, the last time.

One of the Southern Colonies, Georgia started out as a Proprietary colony but eventually became a Royal colony in 1752.

Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia 1733(1)

Personal: James Franklin reprinted BF's "Anthony Afterwit" essay in the Rhode Island Gazette, 25 January, with a reply entitled "The Tea Table." BF responded to James's overture of friendly literary rivalry and cooperation by reprinting "The Tea Table" in the 31 May PG. BF probably hired James Parker as a journeyman printer in May before seeing the New York Gazette advertisement, 17 May, for Parker as a runaway apprentice. Franklin encouraged him to return to New York and serve out his apprenticeship. BF inscribed the date 1 July on a copy of the "little book" or art of virtue that systematically recorded his personal faults. It may not, however, have been the original.

Another BF translation from the French appeared on 5 July (an earlier one appeared on 30 Nov 1732; his first known translation from the German had appeared on 8 Feb 1732). By 1733, BF had probably begun to study Italian. BF travelled to New England, 30 Aug to 13 Oct, visiting his family and friends in Boston, and, on the way back, his brother James in Rhode Island.

BF's South Carolina printing partner, Thomas Whitmarsh, died about 20 Sept, and two months later (26 Nov) BF sponsored Louis Timothee as his new South Carolina partner. At the same time, he took over Timothee's tasks as librarian of the Library Company (about mid-November). And on 3 December, BF evidently began acting as Secretary/Treasurer of the St. John's Lodge.

BF and Christ Church: On 16 Sept, while BF was away, Deborah had their son Francis Folger Franklin baptized in Christ Church. Deborah continued to worship at the Anglican Christ Church, to which Deborah had belonged before her marriage to Franklin. Francis Folger Franklin was buried there on 21 Nov 1736; for Deborah's attendance, see 30 June 1737; Franklin contributed to a fund for refurbishing the church on 7 May 1739; and Sarah Franklin was baptized there, 27 Oct 1743. By the mid-century, Franklin subscribed to three seats in the church. Deborah, William, and Sarah attended. Though never a member himself, Franklin financially supported the church and was buried in its graveyard, beside his wife and son Francis Folger.

Business: The second session of the Assembly for 1732-33 met 19 to 24 March and the third session, 6 to 11 Aug. The Assembly for 1733 met on 15 to 17 Oct, and the second session met from 17 Dec to 19 Jan 1734. Franklin purchased a lampblack house on 21 March, and began advertising lampblack on 19 April. On 27 June, he repaid Robert Grace £10 of the money that Grace had loaned (or guaranteed?) him to buy out Hugh Meredith. By then, he had probably repaid all or most of what he had borrowed from Grace and Coleman.

Miller lists seventeen imprints (nos. 63-79) for 1733, but one, Jerman's Almanac, was not printed (16 Nov), and another (13 Dec) was a second edition of Poor Richard for 1734. Five imprints were brief job printings: Benjamin Eastburn's Delaware Survey Warrant; a penal bond [ante 20 Nov]; a power of attorney [ante 30 Aug]; Benjamin Eastburn's Pennsylvania Survey Warrant; and Thomas Penn's bookplate (ante 25 June). Three were government printings: The Laws of the Province of New Jersey (29 Nov), and two for Pennsylvania: Laws (21 March 1733/4) and Votes and Proceedings (post 17 Aug 1734). Surprisingly, neither the Votes nor Franklin's accounts record any payments by the Province of Pennsylvania. For the proprietors he printed Articles of Agreement (ante 25 June), and for Joseph Morgan, he printed The Temporal Interest of North America (30 Aug). With Andrew Bradford, he published a new version of the Psalms (21 Sept).

Besides his newspaper, he brought out at his own risk Poor Richard (16 Nov), a brief catalogue of the Library Company books (no. 71), and perhaps James Logan's Charge to the Grand Inquest (24 Sept).

During 1733, the Pennsylvania Gazette continued to develop into colonial America's best newspaper. The misdated PG for 26 July read "From July 12 to July 19, 1733." The error proves that Franklin kept the type standing for the top part of page one of the paper, changing only the date and the number (no. 243 was also reprinted in error) for each new issue. A new advertisement on 15 March listed "Good Rhode Island Cheese, and Cod-Fish, sold by the Printer hereof." He also advertised the Franklin family's "superfine CROWN SOAP," 16 Nov. BF had more business than he could easily handle. Andrew Bradford criticized him in the 4 Oct AWM for his tardiness in printing the New Jersey Laws.

Social Life and Activities: In 1733, BF missed only the 10 September and 8 October Library Company directors' meetings while he was visiting New England. On 19 Feb, he donated six books to the Library Company, including Locke's Two Treatises on Government. On 7 May, he was reelected a Library Company director, again listed first and therefore probably had the most votes and acted as the executive officer. When Louis Timothee moved to South Carolina, Franklin volunteered "to officiate for him as Librarian until his current Year should be expired" (10 Dec), thus allowing Timothee to be paid the remainder of his salary as librarian.

He faithfully attended the Freemasons' meetings on the first Monday night of the month; missing only 2 April, 2 and 29 September (the latter two while he was visiting New England). And he probably attended almost all the Friday night Junto meetings.

Intellectual Interests: By April, BF and Breintnall had been experimenting with nature printing. Breintnall lost "a Sheet and half of Prints of Leaves, being Part of a compleat Set" (26 April).

Politics: Patrick Gordon had been appointed by Hannah (d. 1727) and Springett Penn (d. 1732) as governor of Pennsylvania. With the death of Springett Penn, a new commission had to be issued to Gordon, and rumor reported that Gordon was to be replaced. So the House, meeting 6 to 11 Aug, cast doubt upon Gordon's authority. Naturally Gordon was furious with the House Speaker, Andrew Hamilton. Paternal feelings exacerbated the disagreement. Gordon's daughters and Hamilton's daughter, Margaret, quarreled in August 1730, with some lingering bitterness on both sides, and recently, one of Gordon's daughters believed that Hamilton's son James had offended her (17 Oct). Further, Isaac Norris, Jr., had unsuccessfully courted Margaret Hamilton; and Hamilton and Norris, Sr., had each accused the other of taking excessive legal fees. The upshot was that Gordon and the Norrises worked to have Hamilton defeated and that Hamilton opposed Norris's election. Gov. Gordon probably inspired a vicious article against Hamilton in Bradford's 27 Sept Mercury (see Carter and other citations at 27 Sept). BF's conciliatory poem "Against Party-Malice and Levity, usual at and near the Time of Electing Assembly-Men" in the Gazette (28 Sept (b)) had no effect. At the election, BF's patron Andrew Hamilton was defeated (1 Oct), but so was Isaac Norris, Sr.

An article in Bradford's 4 Oct Mercury, which Katherine D. Carter attributed to Isaac Norris, Sr., celebrated Hamilton's defeat. A reply in the 11 October Gazette was quickly answered. An especially vicious attack in the 18 October Mercury charged Hamilton with being arbitrary and evil. BF replied with "A Half Hour's Conversation with a Friend" (16 Nov). When the Bucks County delegate William Paxson died in December, Hamilton was elected, 27 Dec, and took his seat, 31 Dec.

In 1785 BF claimed the foundation of the American revolution was laid in 1733 by a clause in a bill to subject the colonies to being governed by Royal instructions. He probably had in mind a resolve by the House of Commons that the colonies were "subject" to England (10 May). The British Parliament passed the Molasses Act, 17 May 1733, setting heavy duties on molasses and favoring the Caribbean over the mainland colonies.

Writings: "Slippery Sidewalks," and "Chatterbox," 11 Jan; "On Drunkenness," 1 Feb; "Remarks on a South Carolina Currency Scheme," 31 May; "A Scolding Wife," 5 July; "On Ill-Natured Speaking," 11 July; "A Meditation on a Quart Mugg," 19 July; "On Literary Style," 2 Aug; "Blackamore," 30 Aug; "Against Party-Malice and Levity, usual at and near the Time of Electing Assembly-Men," 28 Sept; "Half-Hour's Conversation with a Friend," 16 Nov; Poor Richard, 16 Nov; and "Brave Men at Fires," 20 Dec.

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Foot Notes:

1. Excerpts from J. A. Leo Lemay, University of Delaware