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William Franklin Appointment, 1762

 

William Franklin (ca. 1730/31-1813) was the thirteenth, and last, of New Jersey's royal governors. He was the natural son of Philadelphia printer and diplomat Benjamin Franklin, through whose influence William was appointed to the New Jersey governorship on 9 September 1762.

Governor Franklin was a popular and capable executive during the early part of his governorship. But despite acceptance of pro-colonist efforts in New Jersey prior to the start of hostilities between Great Britain and the American colonies, Franklin allied himself with the crown during the Revolutionary War. In January 1776, a dispatch from Franklin to British intelligence was intercepted by rebel colonel William Alexander. Franklin was taken into custody, but then released. Following his attempt to convene the legislature, Franklin was arrested in June 1776 and sent under guard to Connecticut, where he was ultimately imprisoned. In October 1778, he was released to British authorities in exchange for John McKinley, former president of Delaware, and was brought to British-occupied New York City. For the next four years, Franklin was directly involved in various overt and covert Loyalist operations based in New York.

Following the American victory at Yorktown and the close of the war, William Franklin sailed for England in September 1782; twenty years to the month after his appointment as royal governor of New Jersey. During his final years in England, he attempted to reestablish relationships with his estranged father and his own natural son, William Temple Franklin (who had become a ward of Benjamin Franklin). These efforts were unsuccessful, although William did establish a close relationship with his granddaughter Ellen, in whose care he died 13 November 1813.

Source: Paul A. Stellhorn and Michael J. Birkner, eds., The Governors of New Jersey, 1664-1974: Biographical Essays (Trenton: New Jersey Historical Commission, 1982), 72-6.

 



 

King George III's commission appointing William Franklin as Captain General and Governor in Chief; of New Jersey was discovered and acquired by royal officials in London in 1861, 48 years after Franklin's death. The three-page, ornate parchment was presented in its original case, and with a fragment of the once-attached royal seal, to Governor Charles Olden of New Jersey to be preserved with the State's official archives. The manuscript is presumed to have traveled with Franklin from New Jersey to Connecticut and then New York, and to have accompanied him on his voyage to England in 1782. The appointment, 1861 letter of transmittal, and transcriptions of both are presented below.

 

 

 

Letter of Transmittal from the Crown of Great Britain

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William Franklin Appointment

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Transcription of Letter of Transmittal


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To
His Excellency
The Governor of New Jersey &c &c &c

10 College, Doctors Commons
London July 16. 1861.

May it please Your Excellency, Having recently found in the shop of a London
Bookseller, (Quaritch 15 Piccadilly) an original Patent under the Great Seal of England appointing William Franklin (a blood-relation I believe of the great philosopher) Governor of New Jersey, inclosed in the official box, and with
a large fragment of the Great

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Seal attached, I do myself the pleasure of requesting your acceptance in your official character of this Document, which I trust may be deemed worthy of a place in your State Library, or amongst your State papers. Wax and parchment are frail and perishable records of the past; – blood, laws, religion, language & literature, “ore perennius,” bind us together for the present, and

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nourish our hopes & sympathies for the future. “Old England” and her children
must ever regard with interest the many ties connecting them with “New England,” and in this spirit I have the honour to remain Your Excellency's
faithful and obedt servant

J. D. Harding

(Her Majesty's Advocate General
in Causes Ecclesiastical & Maritime)

P.S. I have delivered the box at the U:S: Legation here, to Mr. Moran.

 
 

 

Transcription of Franklin Appointment

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George the Third by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith and so forth To our Trusty and Welbeloved William Franklin Esquire, Greeting. Whereas We did by Our Letters Patent under Our Great Seal of Great Britain bearing Date at Westminster the Fourth day of May in the First Year of Our Reign Constitute and appoint Josiah Hardy Esquire, Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over Our Province of Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey in America for and during Our Will and Pleasure as by the said recited Letters Patent Relation being thereunto had may more fully and at large appear. Now Know You that We have Revoked and Determined and by these Presents do Revoke and Determine the said recited Letters Patent and every Clause, Article and thing therein Contained.

And further Know you that We reposing especial Trust and Confidence in the Prudence, Courage and Loyalty of you the said William Franklin, of our Especial Grace, certain Knowledge and meer Motion, have thought fit to Constitute and Appoint And by these Presents Do Constitute and Appoint you the said William Franklin to be our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over Our Province of Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey, to wit, the Divisions of East and West New Jersey in America, which we have thought fit to Reunite into One Province and Settle under One Government.

And We do hereby require and Command you to do and execute all things in due manner that shall belong unto your said Command and the Trust We have reposed in you according to the several Powers and directions granted or Appointed you by this Present Commission and the Instructions and Authorities herewith Given you or by such further Powers, Instructions and Authorities as shall at any time hereafter be granted or Appointed you under our Signet and Sign Manual or by Our Order in our Privy Council and according to such reasonable Laws and Statutes as now are in force or hereafter shall be made and agreed upon by you with the Advice and Consent of Our Council and the Assembly of our said Province under your Government in such manner and form as is hereafter expressed.

And Our Will and Pleasure is that you the said William Franklin after the Publication of these Our Letters Patent do in the First Place take the Oaths appointed to be taken by an Act passed in the First Year of the reign of King George the First of Blessed Memory Entituled An Act for the further Security of his Majesty's Person and Government and the Succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants and for extinguishing the Hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and Secret Abettors, as also that you make and subscribe the Declaration mentioned in an Act of Parliament made in the Twenty Fifth Year of the Reign of King Charles the Second Entituled An Act for preventing Dangers which may happen from Popish Recusants and likewise that you take the usual Oath for the due Execution of the Office and Trust of Our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over Our said Province of Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey as well with regard to the due and impartial Administration of Justice as otherwise And further that you take the Oath required to be taken by Governors of Plantations to do their Utmost that the several Laws relating to Trade and the Plantations be observed, which said Oaths and Declaration Our Council in Our said Province or any three of the Members thereof have hereby full Power and Authority and are required to tender and administer unto you, and in your Absence to Our Lieutenant Governor if there be any upon the Place, all which being duly performed you shall Administer to each of the Members of Our said Council as also to Our Lieutenant Governor if there be any upon the Place the Oaths mentioned in the said Act Entitled An Act for the further Security of his Majesty's Person and Government and the Succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and Secret Abettors, you shall also cause them to make and subscribe the aforementioned Declaration and administer to them the Oath for the due Execution of their Places and Trusts.

And We do hereby Give and Grant unto you full Power and Authority to suspend any of the Members of Our said Council from sitting, Voting and Assisting therein if you shall find just Cause for so doing.

And if it shall at any time happen that by the Death, Departure out of Our said Province, or suspension of any of Our said Councillors or otherwise, there shall be a Vacancy in Our said Council any three whereof We do hereby Appoint to be a Quorum, Our Will and Pleasure is that you Signify the same unto Us by the First opportunity that We may under Our Signet and Sign Manual constitute and appoint others in their stead. But that Our Affairs may not suffer at that Distance for want of a due Number of Councillors if ever it shall happen that there be less than Seven of them residing in Our said Province, We do hereby give and grant unto you the said William Franklin full power and Authority to chuse as many Persons out of the Principal Freeholders, Inhabitants thereof as will make up the full Number of Our said Council to be seven and no more, which Persons so chosen and appointed by you shall be to all Intents and purposes Councillors in Our said Province until either they shall be confirmed by Us or that by the Nomination of others by Us under Our Sign.Manual and Signet Our said Council shall have Seven or more Persons in it.

And We do hereby give and grant unto you full power and Authority with the Advice and Consent of Our said Council from time to time as need shall require to summon and call General Assemblies of the said Freeholders and Planters within your Government in manner and form as shall be directed in Our Instructions which shall be given you together with this Our Commission.

And Our Will and Pleasure is that the Persons thereupon duly Elected by the major part of the Freeholders of the respective Counties and places and so returned shall before their sitting take the Oaths mentioned in the said Act Entitled An Act for the further Security of his Majesty's Person and Government and the Succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended prince of Wales and His open and Secret Abettors, as also make and subscribe the aforementioned Declaration or being of the people called Quakers, shall take the Affirmation and make and subscribe the

 

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Declaration appointed to be taken and made instead of the Oath of Allegiance, Supremacy and Adjuration by an Act passed within Our said Province of Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey in the First Year of the Reign of Our late Royal Grandfather entitled An Act Prescribing the Forms of Declaration of Fidelity the Effect of the Abjuration Oath and Affirmation instead of the forms heretofore required in such Cases and for repealing the former Acts in the like Cases made and provided which Oaths, Affirmation and Declaration you shall commissionate fit Persons under Our Seal of Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey to tender and Administer unto them; and untill the same shall be so taken, made and subscribed no person shall be capable of Sitting though Elected And We do hereby Declare that the Persons so Elected and Qualified shall be called and Deemed the General Assembly of that Our Province.

And you the said William Franklin with the Consent of Our said Council and Assembly or the major part of them respectively shall have full Power and Authority to make, Constitute and Ordain Laws, Statutes and Ordinances for the Publick Peace, Welfare and good Government of our said Province and of the People and Inhabitants thereof and such others as shall resort thereto and for the benefit of Us, Our Heirs and successors which said Laws, Statutes and Ordinances are not to be repugnant but as near as may be agreable unto the Laws and Statutes of this Our Kingdom of Great Britain Provided that all such Laws, Statutes and Ordinances of what nature or duration soever be within Three Months or sooner after the making thereof transmitted unto Us under Our Seal of Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey for our Approbation or Disallowance of the same as also Duplicates thereof by the next Conveyance.

And in Case any or all of the said Laws, Statutes and Ordinances (being not before Confirmed by Us) shall at any time be disallowed and not approved and so signified by Us, Our Heirs or Successors under Our or their Sign Manual and Signet or by Order of Our or their Privy Council unto you the said William Franklin or to the Commander in Chief of Our said Province for the time being then such and so many of the said Laws, Statutes and Ordinances as shall be so disallowed and not approved shall from thenceforth cease, determine and become utterly void and of none Effect, any thing to the Contrary thereof Notwithstanding.

And to the end that nothing may be passed or done by Our said Council or Assembly to the Prejudice of Us, Our Heirs and successors We will and Ordain that you the said William Franklin shall have and enjoy a Negative Voice in the making and passing of all Laws, Statutes and Ordinances, as aforesaid.

And you shall and may likewise from time to time as you shall Judge it necessary adjourn, Prorogue and Dissolve all General Assemblies as aforesaid.

And Our further Will and Pleasure is that you shall and may use and keep the Publick Seal of Our Province of Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey for Sealing all things whatsoever that pass the Great Seal of Our said Province under your Government.

And We do further give and Grant unto You the said William Franklin full power and Authority from time to time and any time hereafter by yourself or by any other to be Authorized by you in that behalf to Administer and give the aforementioned Oaths and Affirmations to all and every such Person and Persons as you shall think fit who shall at any time or times pass into Our said Province or shall be resident or abiding there.

And We do further by these Presents give and grant unto you the said William Franklin full power and Authority with the Advice and Consent of our said Council to Erect, Constitute and Establish such and so many Courts of Judicature and Publick justice within Our said Province under your Government as you and they shall think fit and necessary for the hearing and Determining all Causes as well Criminal as Civil according to Law and Equity and for awarding of Execution thereupon with all reasonable and necessary Powers, Authorities, Fees and Priviledges belonging thereto as also to appoint and Commissionate fit persons in the several parts of your Government to administer the Oaths mentioned in the aforesaid Act, Entituled An Act for the further Security of his Majestey's Person and Government and the Succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants, and for Extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and Secret Abettors as also to tender and Administer the aforesaid Declarations and Affirmation unto such Persons belonging to the said Court as shall be obliged to take the same.

And We do hereby Authorize and Impower You to Constitute and Appoint Judges and in Cases requisite Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, Justices of the Peace and other necessary Officers and Ministers in Our said Province for the better Administration of Justice and putting the Laws in Execution and to Administer or cause to be Administred unto them such Oath or Oaths as are usually given for the due Execution and performance of Offices and Places and for the clearing of Truth in Judicial Causes.

And We do hereby give and grant unto you full Power and Authority where you shall See cause or shall Judge any Offender or Offenders in Criminal matters or for any Fines or Forfeitures due unto Us fit Objects of Our Mercy to pardon all such Offenders and to remit all such Offences, Fines and Forfeitures, Treason and willfull Murder only excepted in which Cases you shall likewise have power upon Extraordinary Occasions to grant Reprieves to the Offenders untill and to the Intent Our Royal Pleasure may be known therein.

And We do by these Presents Authorize and Impower you to Collate any Person or Persons to any Churches, Chappels or other Ecclesiastical Benefices within Our said Province as often as any of them shall happen to be void.

And We do hereby give and grant unto you the said William Franklin by yourself or by your Captains and Commanders by you to be Authorized full power and Authority to Levy, Arm, Muster, Command and employ all Persons whatsoever residing within Our said Province of Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey under your Government and as Occasion shall Serve to March from One place to another or to Embark them for the resisting and withstanding of all Enemies, Pirates and Rebells both at Sea and Land and to Transport such Forces to any of Our Plantations in America (if necessity shall require for the defence of the same against the Invasion or Attempts of any of Our Enemies and such Enemies, Pirates and Rebells if there shall be Occasion to Persue and Prosecute in or out of the Limits of Our said Province and Plantations or any of them and if it shall so please God them to vanquish, apprehend and take, and being taken either according to Law to put to Death or Keep and Preserve alive at your discretion and to Execute Martial Law in time of Invasion or other times when by Law it may be executed and to do and execute all and every other thing and things which to Our Captain General and Governor in Chief doth or ought of Right to belong.

And We do hereby Give and Grant unto you full power and Authority by and with the Advice and Consent of Our said Council to Erect, Raise and Build in Our said Province of Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey such and so many Forts and Platforms, Castles, Cities, Boroughs, Towns and Fortifications, as you by the Advice aforesaid shall judge necessary and the same or any of them to Fortify and Furnish with Ordnance, Ammunition and all sorts of Arms fit and necessary for the security and defence of Our said Province and by the Advice aforesaid the same again or any of them to Demolish or dismantle as may be most Convenient.

And for as much as divers Mutinies and Disorders may happen by Persons Shipped and employed at Sea during the time of War and to the End that such as shall be Shipped and Employed at Sea during the time. of War may be better Governed and Ordered; We do hereby Give and Grant unto you the said William Franklin full Power and Authority to Constitute and Appoint Captains, Lieutenants, Masters of Ships and other Commanders and Officers and to Grant unto such Captains, Lieutenants, Masters of Ships and other Commanders and Officers Commissions to Execute the Law Martial during the time of War according to the Directions of an Act passed in the Twenty Second Year of the Reign of Our late Royal Grandfather entituled An Act for Amending, Explaining and reducing into One Act of Parliament the Laws relating to the Government of his Majesty's Ships, Vessels and Forces by Sea and to use such Proceedings, Authorities, Punishments, Corrections and Executions upon any offender or offenders who shall be Mutinous, Seditious, disorderly or any way unruly either at Sea or during the time of their Abode or Residence in any of the Ports, Harbours or Bays of Our said Province as the Cause shall be found to require according to Martial Law

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And the said Directions during the time of War as aforesaid Provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed to the Enabling you or any by your Authority to hold Plea or have any Jurisdiction of any Offence, Cause, matter or thing Committed or done upon the High Sea or within any of the Havens, Rivers or Creeks of Our said Province under your Government by any Captain, Commander, Lieutenant, Master, Officer, Seaman, Soldier or other Person whatsoever who shall be in actual Service and pay in or on Board any of Our Ships of War or other Vessels acting by Immediate Commission or Warrant from Our Commissioners for executing the Office of Our High Admiral or from Our High Admiral of Great Britain for the time being under the Seal of Our Admiralty But that such Captain, Commander, Lieutenant, Master, Officer, Seaman, Soldier or other Person so Offending shall be left to be Proceeded against and Tried as their Offences shall require either by Commission under Our Great Seal of Great Britain as the Statute of the Twenty Eighth of Henry the Eight directs or by Commission from Our said Commissioners for Executing the Office of Our High Admiral or from Our High Admiral of Great Britain for the time being according to the aforementioned Act for Amending, Explaining and reducing into One Act of Parliament the Laws relating to the Government of His Majesty's Ships, Vessels and Forces by Sea and not otherwise. Provided Nevertheless that all Disorders and Misdeameanours committed on Shore by any Captain, Commander, Lieutenant, Master, Officer, Seaman, Soldier or other Person whatsoever belonging to any of Our Ships of War or other Vessels acting by immediate Commission or Warrant from Our said Commissioners for Executing the Office of Our High Admiral or from Our High Admiral of Great Britain for the time being under the Seal of Our Admiralty may be tried and Punished according to the Laws of the Place where any such Disorders, Offences and Misdemeanours shall be Committed on Shore Notwithstanding such Offender be in Our Actual Service and born in Our Pay on Board any such Our Ships of War or other Vessels acting by immediate Commission or Warrant from Our said Commissioners for Executing the Office of Our High Admiral or Our High Admiral of Great Britain for the time being as aforesaid so as he shall not receive any Protection for the avoiding of Justice for such Offences Committed on Shore from any Pretence of his being employed in Our Service at Sea.

Our further Will and Pleasure is that all Publick money raised or which shall be raised by any Act hereafter to be made within Our said Province be issued out by Warrant from You by and with the Advice and Consent of Our Council and disposed of by you for the support of the Government and not otherwise.

And We do hereby Give you the said William Franklin full Power and Authority to Order and appoint Fairs, Marts and Markets as also such and so many Ports, Harbours, Bays, Havens and other Places for the Convenience and Security of Shipping and for the better Loading and Unloading of Goods and Merchandizes by you with the Advice and Consent of Our said Council shall be thought fit and necessary.

And We do hereby require and Command all Officers and Ministers Civil and Military and all other Inhabitants of Our said Province to be Obedient, Aiding and Assisting unto you the said William Franklin in the Execution of this Our Commission and of the Powers and Authorities herein contained And in Case of Your Death or Absence out of Our said Province to be Obedient, Aiding and Assisting unto such Person as shall be Appointed by Us to be Our Lieutenant Governor or Commander in Chief of Our said Province to whom We do therefore by these Presents give and Grant all and singular the Powers and Authorities herein granted to be by him executed and Enjoyed during Our Pleasure or untill your Arrival within Our said Province.

And if upon your Death or Absence out of Our said Province there be no Person upon the Place Commissionated or appointed by us to be Our Lieutenant Governor or Commander in Chief of Our said Province Our Will and Pleasure is that the Eldest Councillor whose Name is first Placed in Our said Instructions to You and who shall be at the time of your Death or Absence residing within Our said province of New Jersey shall take upon him the Administration of the Government and execute Our said Commission and Instructions and the several Powers and Authorities therein contained in the same manner and to all Intents and Purposes as other Our Governor or Commander in Chief of Our said Province should or ought to do in Case of Your Absence untill your return or in all Cases untill Our further Pleasure be known therein.

And we do hereby Declare, Ordain and appoint that you the said William Franklin shall and may hold, Execute and Enjoy the Office and place of Our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over Our province of Nova Cæsarea or New Jersey together with all and singular the Powers and Authorities hereby Granted unto you for and during Our Will and Pleasure.

In Witness whereof We have Caused these our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the Ninth day of September in the Second Year of our Reign.

 

 

By Writ of Privy Seal

 

 

 


Yorke & Yorke

 

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