Pennsylvania Politics and the Growth of Democracy: 1740- 1776

By Theodore Thayer | Go to book overview
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I N THE SPRING of 1758 Governor Denny and the Assembly fought the tax question all over again. After twice trying to work out a solution with the Governor, the Assembly bundled together all the legislative correspondence relative to the dispute and sent it to Benjamin Franklin. Then, as in the previous year, it framed a bill exempting the Proprietary estates which the Governor signed. By choosing to exempt the Proprietors totally rather than compromise, the Assembly, Denny charged, had deprived the people of real relief for the sake of eventually having the Proprietors at their mercy.1

Most of the money raised by the Assembly went toward aiding General John Forbes who captured Fort Duquesne in November. Forbes had a formidable force consisting of seventeen hundred regulars under Col. Archibald Montgomery and Col. Henry Bouquet and about six thousand provincials from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas.2

General Forbes was not long in learning, as Braddock had discovered, that the greatest difficulty in launching an expedition against a fort in the wilderness interior was the procurement of a sufficient number of draft horses and wagons to haul the tons of supplies and equipment for the army. In the frontier counties horses and wagons were expensive and not plentiful, and few farmers were willing to hire them out unless the compensation was quite generous. Fifteen shillings per day for a wagon-team of four horses and a driver as set by law was not generally considered to be enough by the farmers. Consequently they proceeded to hide their wagons and teams whenever an army agent appeared.3

By May, Col. Bouquet, in charge of procuring wagon-teams, was at his wits' end to know what to do to solve the transportation problem. "Civil authority is so completely non-existent in this county [York]," he wrote, "that, after all the efforts I have made for four days, I have been able to obtain only eight wagons up to the present time."4 After appealing to the magistrates for press warrants, the results were more encouraging. But the problem was not solved. The fact that a

Votes, VI, 4796; Statutes, V, 337-352.
Letters of Thomas and Richard Penn, 189. L. of C.; Shippen Papers, III, 129, HSP.
Statutes, V, 292-293.
Bouquet Papers, No. 21652 ( 1940), 28-29.


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