Christian Schussele. "Franklin at the Court of St. James, London, 1774".
New York: Thomas Kelly, 1868. 25 x 34 3/4. Steel engraving by Whitechurch. Proof before letters. Very faint mat burn in margins. Otherwise, very good condition.
In June of 1773, the House of Representatives in Massachusetts petitioned the crown for the removal from office of Governor Hutchinson. Benjamin Franklin, as an agent of that body, was assigned the task of presenting its demand in London. This print is of Franklin’s appearance before the privy council at the Cockpit in Whitehall on January 29, 1774. Franklin was in an embarrassing position for he was British deputy postmaster general in North America and also a spokesman for the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Every member of the Privy council attended and spectators came in numbers. News of the Boston Tea Party arrived in London at this time and there was much anti-American feeling. Attending were Lord North and General Gage. Franklin himself did not speak, but was represented by lawyers who strongly urged the removal of Hutchinson. This was rejected and Franklin was deprived of his position as deputy postmaster general. It was after this event that Franklin saw himself as an American and not as an Englishman.