The blustery December storms of outrage cleared dramatically in January. It soon became apparent that more was taking place off-stage, so to speak, than the sentiments expressed in the newspapers would suggest by themselves. Along with the clearing, Franklin would soon face the much colder effects of official action and plans.
John Dunning by Joshua Reynolds. Courtesy of National Portrait
Gallery, London. ©National Portrait Gallery, London
Scarcely three days after he had written to his son William in New Jersey and to Speaker Cushing in Boston, disclosing what he had done, the Lords’ Committee on Plantations of the Privy Council issued a summons informing Franklin that the petition from the Massachusetts House would be heard forthwith. The notice was dated January 8. The hearing was to be held on the eleventh. It directed Franklin to attend.
From its presentation to Dartmouth in August until now, Franklin had been in the dark about the course the petition for the governor’s removal had taken. It had lain for some months with one of the King’s secretaries be-