The First Postmaster General: Benjamin Franklin against the British ministry



Besides many other grievances, one particular source of popular irritation amongst the colonists, was the proceeding of the ministry against Benjamin Franklin. He had obtained and made public some letters of Hutchinson and others, misrepresenting the occurrences in America and pressing the ministry to support their schemes by military power. The Massachusetts Assembly now petitioned the king to remove these obnoxious persons from office. This was refused, and severe measures were taken against Franklin.

On the following day, after the rejection of the petition, Franklin was dismissed by the British government from the office of postmaster-general of America. These proceedings, and especially the elaborate malignity of insult heaped [during the discussion] upon a man whom they so highly admired and respected, sank deeply into the minds of the Americans. Another act of British power, that was directed with the most childish absurdity against the scientific repute of Franklin, awakened the liveliest derision and disdain in America. For the king, shortly after, transported by the blindest abhorrence of the American philosopher, for whom he had once professed esteem, actually caused the electrical conductors invented by Franklin to be removed from the palace of Buckingham House and replaced by instruments of far less skilful construction and efficient capacity.





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