Digital Paxton: Digital Collection, Critical Edition, and Teaching Platform

Historiographic Battles

Writers published numerous histories of the Pennsylvania colony during the late-1750s, each purporting to shed new understanding on the present conflict. Central of those narratives was whom to blame. Authors variously pointed fingers at the fecklessness of Pennsylvania Proprietors and the pacifism of Quaker Assembly members.
William Smith, A Brief State of the Province of Pennsylvania (London, 1755).
Episcopalian priest William Smith attributed the colony’s troubles to Quaker opposition to a militia. His attacks on the Society of Friends eventually alienated him from Benjamin Franklin, whose ally—and recent Quaker convert—Joseph Galloway penned a lengthy retort, A True and Impartial State of the Province of Pennsylvania (1759).
Richard Jackson, An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania (London, 1759).
This anonymously-published book attacked the Penn family (who were no longer Quakers) and the proprietary nature of the colonial government while defending the actions of Quakers in the assembly during the Seven Years’ War. While originally credited to Benjamin Franklin, it was actually authored by Richard Jackson.
Anonymous (likely Thomas Penn), Criticism of Franklin’s Historical Review (London, 1759 or 1760). 
This anonymous, unpublished manuscript critiques Historical Review. The manuscript was written in 1759 or 1760, almost certainly by Thomas Penn.
Anonymous (likely James Claypoole), Franklin and the Quakers (Philadelphia, 1764).
Franklin’s associations with the Quakers complicated his political career. Franklin appears in the foreground of this etching, holding a sack labeled “Pennsylvania money.” Israel Pemberton appears inferentially: To the left, prominent Quaker merchant Abel James distributes tomahawks from a barrel labeled “I.P.”

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