GOD GAVE THEM THEIR MONEY: Ben Franklin several times wrote about the difficulty of planning and executing plans for self-defense during the French and Indian war (1754 - 1763) because of the insistence by the Proprietaries (the families who had been granted large tracts of land in the New World by the British crown) that no plan be approved that included taxing the proprietary estates in America. Since these wealthy Proprietaries often lived in Europe, they were removed from the dangers of the war and felt no incentive to compromise.
"These public quarrels were all at bottom owing to the proprietaries, our hereditary governors, who, when any expense was to be incurred for the defense of their province, with incredible meanness instructed their deputies to pass no act for levying the necessary taxes, unless their vast estates were in the same act expressly excused; and they had even taken bonds of these deputies to observe such instructions.... War being in a manner commenced with France, the government of Massachusetts Bay projected an attack upon Crown Point, and sent Mr. Quincy to Pennsylvania, and Mr. Pownall, afterward Governor Pownall, to New York, to solicit assistance... [The Pennsylvania Assembly] voted an aid of ten thousand pounds, to be laid out in provisions. But the governor refusing his assent to their bill ... unless a clause were inserted exempting the proprietary estate from bearing any part of the tax that would be necessary, the Assembly, tho' very desirous of making their grant to New England effectual, were at a loss how to accomplish it. Mr. Quincy labored hard with the governor to obtain his assent, but he was obstinate."
Ben Franklin was convinced that if the colonies had been permitted to self-tax themselves AND the proprietaries for their own defense, instead of borrowing money and soldiers from Great Britain and then having to repay the costs by taxes levied from overseas, the Revolutionary War would have been avoided. "I am still of opinion it would have been happy for both sides of the water if it [his plan to organize central self-defense for the American colonies] had been adopted. The colonies, so united, would have been sufficiently strong to have defended themselves; there would then have been no need of troops from England; of course, the subsequent pretence for taxing America, and the bloody contest it occasioned, would have been avoided. "#benfranklin