« AnteriorContinuar »
by the king's subjects on both sides the At- groundless. I therefore think, that on a total lantic?
repeal of all duties, laid expressly for the pur“ A. I do not see how that method can be pose of raising a revenue on the people of deemed repugnant to the rights of the crown. America without their consent, the present If the Americans are put into their former uneasiness would subside; the agreements not situation, it must be by an act of parliament; to import would be dissolved; and the comin the passing of which by the king, the rights merce flourish as heretofore ; and I am conof the crown are exercised, not infringed. It firmed in this sentiment by all the letters I is indifferent to the crown whether the aids have received from America, and by the opireceived from America are granted by parlia- nions of all the sensible people who have ment here, or by the assemblies there, provid- | lately come from thence,-crown officers exed the quantum be the same; and it is my cepted. I know, indeed, that the people of opinion, that more will be generally granted Boston are grievously offended by the quarterthere voluntarily, than can ever be exacted ing of troops among them, as they think, conor collected from thence by authority of par- trary to law, and are very angry with the liament. As to the rights of fellow-subjects board of commissioners, who have calumniat(I suppose you mean the people of Britain) Ied them to government; but as I suppose the cannot conceive how those will be infringed withdrawing of those troops may be a conseby that method. They will still enjoy the quence of reconciliating measures taking right of granting their own money, and may place; and that the commission also will be still
, if it pleases them, keep up their claim to either dissolved, if found useless, or filled with the right of granting ours; a right they can more temperate and prudent men, if still never exercise properly, for want of a suf- deemed useful and necessary; I do not imaficient knowledge of us, our circumstances and gine these particulars would prevent a return abilities (to say nothing of the little likelihood of the harmony so much to be wished."* there is that we should ever submit to it) • 7th. If they are relieved in part only, what therefore a right that can be of no good use to do you, as a reasonable and dispassionate man, them; and we shall continue to enjoy in fact and an equal friend to both sides, imagine will the right of granting our money, with the be the probable consequences?' opinion, now universally prevailing among us, “A. I imagine, that repealing the offensive that we are free subjects of the king, and that duties in part will answer no end to this counfellow-subjects of one part of his dominions try: the commerce will remain obstructed, are not sovereigns over fellow-subjects in any and the Americans go on with their schemes other part. If the subjects on the different offrugality, industry, and manufactures, to their sides of the Atlantic have different and oppo- own great advantage. How much they may site ideas of “justice and propriety," no one tend to the prejudice of Britain, I cannot say; " method” can possibly be consistent with perhaps not so much as some apprehend, since both. The best will be, to let each enjoy she may in time find new markets. But I their own opinions, without disturbing them, think, if the union of the two countries conwhen they do not interfere with the common tinues to subsist, it will not hurt the general good.
interest; for whatever wealth Britain loses by • 6th. And if this method were actually al- the failing of its trade with the colonies, Amelowed, do you not think it would encourage rica will gain; and the crown will receive the violent and factious part of the colonists, equal aids from its subjects upon the whole, if to aim at still farther concessions from the not greater. mother country?
“And now I have answered your questions, “ A. I do not think it would. There may be as to what may be, in my opinion, the consea few among them that deserve the name of quences of this or that supposed measure, I will factious and violent, as there are in all coun- go a little farther, and tell you, what I fear is tries; but these would have little influence, if the great majority of sober reasonable peo
*" The opposition (to lord Rockingham's adminisple were satisfied. If any colony should hap tration") says lord Chesterfield, “ are for taking vigor. pen to think, that some of your regulations of ous, as they call them, but I call them violent measures ; trade are inconvenient to the general interests ed by the troops we have there. For my part, I never saw of the empire, or prejudicial to them without a froward child mended by whipping: and I would being beneficial to you, they will state these not have the mother beconie a step mother.” Letter, inatters to parliament in petitions as hereto " It is a certain maxim," pleads Mr. Burke, “ that fore; but will, I believe, take no violent steps ment, the more the subject will be disinclined to resist
the fewer causes of dissatisfaction are left by govern. to obtain what they may hope for in time from and rebel!" "I confess I do not feel the least alarm the wisdom of government here. I know of from the discontents which are to arise from putting nothing else they can have in view: the notion of this empire, from giving, by an act of free grace tion that prevails here, of their being desirous and indulgence, to two millions of my fellow.citizens, to set up a kingdom or commonwealth of their some share of those rights, upon which I have always
been taught to value mysell." Burke's Speeches in own, is to my certain knowledge entirely ( 1774 and 1775.
more likely to come to pass in reality. J ap- ' more than it did in theirs.— I hope, howerer, prehend, that the ministry, at least the Ame- that this may all prove false prophecy, and rican part of it, being fully persuaded of the that you and I may live to see as sincere and right of parliament, think it ought to be en- perfect a friendship established between our forced, whatever may be the consequences; respective countries, as has so many years and at the same time do not believe, there is subsisted between Mr. Strahan, and his truly even now any abatement of the trade between affectionate old friend, the two countries on account of these disputes;
“ B. FRANKLIN." or, that if there is, it is small, and cannot long continue. They are assured by the crown
“ M. Dubourg,* Paris. officers in America, that manufactures are impossible there; that the discontented are few,
LONDON, October 2, 1770. and persons of little consequence; that almost “I see with pleasure, that we think pretty all the people of property and importance are much alike on the subjects of English Amesatisfied, and disposed to submit quietly to the rica. We of the colonies have never insisted taxing power of parliament; and that if the that we ought to be exempt from contributing revenue-acts are continued, and those duties to the common expenses necessary to support only that are called anti-commercial be re- the prosperity of the empire. We only assert, pealed, and others perhaps laid in their stead, that having parliaments of our own, and not the power ere long will be patiently submit- having representatives in that of Great Britain, ted to, and the agreements not to import be our parliaments are the only judges of what broken, when they are found to produce no we can and what we ought to contribute in change of measures here. From these and this case; and that the English parliament has similar misinformations, which seem to be no right to take our money without our consent. credited, I think it likely, that no thorough re- In fact, the British empire is not a single state, dress of grievances will be afforded to Ameri- it comprehends many; and though the parliaca this session. This may inflame matters ment of Great Britain has arrogated to itself still more in that country ; farther rash mea- the power of taxing the colonies, it has no sures there may create more resentment here, more right to do so, than it has to tax Hanthat may produce not merely ill-advised dis- over. We have the same king, but not the solutions of their assemblies, as last year, but same legislatures. attempts to dissolve their constitution ;* more The dispute between the two countries troops may be sent over, which will create has already lost England many millions stermore uneasiness; to justify the measures of ling, which it has lost in its commerce, and government, your writers will revile the America has in this respect been a proporAmericans in your newspapers, as they have tionable gainer. This commerce consisted already begun to do, treating them as miscre- principally of superfluities; objects of luxury ants, rogues, dastards, rebels, &c. to alienate and fashion, which we can well do without; the minds of the people here from them, and and the resolution we have formed of importwhich will tend farther to diminish their af- ing no more till our grievances are redressed, fections to this country. Possibly, too, some has enabled many of our infant manufactures to of their warm patriots may be distracted take root; and it will not be easy to make our enough to expose themselves by some mad people abandon them in future, even should a action to be sent for hither, and government connexion more cordial than ever succeed the here may be indiscreet enough to hang them, present troubles. I have indeed, no doubt on the act of Henry VIII. Mutual provoca- that the parliament of England will finally tions will thus go on to complete the separa- abandon its present pretensions, and leave us tion; and instead of that cordial affection, that to the peaceable enjoyment of our rights and once and so long existed, and that harmony, privileges.
B. FRANKLIN." so suitable to the circumstances, and so necessary to the happiness, strength, safety, and welfare of both countries, an implacable malice
“ Governor Franklin. and mutual hatred, such as we now see sub
" LONDON, August 17, 1772 sisting between the Spaniards and Portuguese, the Genoese and Corsicans, from the same
“Dear Son,—At length we have got rid original misconduct in the superior govern- takes his place, to the great satisfaction of all
of lord Hillsborough, and lord Dartmouth ments, will take place: the sameness of nation, the similarity of religion, manners, and lan- the friends of America. You will hear it said guage, not in the least preventing in our case, among you (I suppose) that the interest of the
Ohio planters has ousted him, but the truth * This was afterwards attempted by the British le. is, what I wrote you long since, that all his gislature, in the case of the province of Massachusett's brother ministers disliked him extremely, and
† The lords and commons very prudently concurred in an address for this purpose, and the king rery gracious * Translator of Dr. Franklin's Philosophical Works, ly assured them of his compliance with their wishes.
wished for a fair occasion of tripping up his a week each, I made two more visits, and reheels; so seeing that he made a point of de-ceived the same answer. The last time was feating our scheme, they made another of sup on a levee day, when a number of carriages porting it, on purpose to mortify him, which were at his door. My coachman driving up, they knew his pride could not bear. I do not alighted and was opening the coach door, mean they would have done this if they had when the porter, seeing me, came out, and thought our proposal bad in itself, or his op- surlily chid the coachman for opening the position well founded; but I believe if he had door before he had inquired whether my lord been on good terms with them, they would was at home; and then turning to me, said, not have differed with him for so small a mat- " My lord is not at home." I have never ter. The king too was tired of him and of his since been nigh him, and we have only administration, which had weakened the af- abused one another at a distance. fection and respect of the colonies for a royal trast, as you observe, is very striking between government, with which (I may say it to you) his conversation with the chief justice, and his I used proper means from time to time that letter to you concerning your province. I his majesty should have due information and know him to be as double and deceitful as any convincing proofs. More of this when I see man I ever met with. But we have done you. The king's dislike made the others with him, I hope, for ever. His removal has more firmly united in the resolution of dis- I believe been meditated ever since the death gracing H., by setting at nought his famous of the princess dowager. For I recollect, report. But now that business is done, per- that on my complaining of him about that haps our affair may be less regarded in the time to a friend at court
, whom you may cabinet and suffered to linger, and possibly guess, he told me, we Americans were repremay yet miscarry. Therefore let us beware sented by Hillsborough as an unquiet people, of every word and action, that may betray a not easily satisfied with any ministry, that confidence in its success, lest we render our- however it was thought too much occasion selves ridiculous in case of disappointment. had been given us to dislike the present: and We are now pushing for a completion of the asked me, whether, if he should be removed business, but the time is unfavourable, every I could name another likely to be more acbody gone or going into the country, which ceptable to us. I said, yes, there is lord Dartgives room for accidents.
mouth : we liked him very well when he was "I am writing by Falconer, and therefore at the head of the board formerly, and probain this only add that I am ever your affection- bly should like him again. This I heard no ate father,
B. FRANKLIN. more of, but I am pretty sure it was reported " P. S. The regard lord Dartmouth has al- it had any effect.
where I could wish it, though I know not that ways done me the honour to express for me, “As to my situation here, nothing can be gives me room to hope being able to obtain more agreeable, especially as I hope for less more in favour of our colonies upon occasion, embarrassment from the new minister. A than I could for some time past."
general respect paid me by the learned, a number of friends and acquaintance among
them with whom I have a pleasing interTo the same.
course ; a character of so much weight that it has protected me when some in power
would " LONDON, August 19, 1772.
have done me injury, and continued me in an ** DEAR Son, I received yours of June 30. office they would have deprived me of; my I am vexed that my letter to you, written at company is so much desired that I seldom Glasgow, miscarried; not so much that you dine at home in winter, and could spend the did not receive it, as that it is probably in whole summer in the country houses of inviting other hands. It contained some accounts of friends if I chose it. Learned and ingenious what passed in Ireland, which were for you foreigners that come to England, almost all only.
make a point of visiting me, for my reputation • As lord Hillsborough in fact got nothing is still higher abroad than here; several of the out of me, I should rather suppose he threw foreign ambassadors have assiduously cultime away as an orange that would yield no vated my acquaintance, treating me as one juice, and therefore not worth more squeez- of their corps, partly I believe from the deing. When I had been a little while return- sire they have from time to time of hearing ed to London, I waited on him to thank him something of American affairs, an object befor his civilities in Ireland, and to discourse come of importance in foreign courts, who with him on a Georgia affair
. The porter begin to hope Britain's alarming power told me he was not at home. I left my card, be diminished by the defection of her colonies; went another time, and received the same an- and partly that they may have an opportunity swer, though I knew he was at home, a friend of introducing me to the gentlemen of their of mine being with him. After intermissions of country who desire it. The king too has
lately been heard to speak of me with great mouth succeeds him, who has much more faregard. These are flattering circumstances, vourable dispositions towards the colonies. but a violent longing for home sometimes He has heretofore expressed some personal seizes me, which I can no otherways subdue regard for me, and I hope now to find our bubut by promising myself a return next spring siness with the board more easy to transact or next fall, and so forth. As to returning Your observations on the state of the hither, if I once go back I have no thoughts Islands did not come to hand till after lord of it. I am too far advanced in life to pro- Rochford had withdrawn his petition. His pose three voyages more. I have some im- lordship and the promoters of it were so roastportant affairs to settle at home, and considered on the occasion, that I believe another of ing my double expenses here and there, I the kind will not very soon be thought of. hardly think my salaries fully compensate the The proprietor was at the expense of the opdisadvantages. The late change however be position, and as I knew it would not be neces ing thrown into the balance determines me to sary, and thought it might be inconvenient to stay another winter.
our affairs, I did not openly engage in it, but I "P. S. August 22. I find I omitted con- gave some private assistance that I believe gratulating you on the honour of your elec- was not without effect; I think too that Mr. tion into the Society for propagating the Gos- Jackson's opinion was of great service. I pel. There you match indeed my Dutch would lodge a copy of your paper in the planthonour. But you are again behind, for last ation office against any similar future applicanight I received a letter from Paris of which tions if you approve of it. I only think the the inclosed is an extract, acquainting me Island holders make too great a concession to that I am chosen Associe etranger (foreign the crown, when they suppose it may have a member) of the Royal Academy there. There right to quit-rent. It can have none in my are but eight of these Associés etrangers in opinion on the old grants from Indians, all Europe, and those of the most distinguish- Swedes, and Dutch, where none was reserved. ed names for science. The vacancy I have And I think those grants so clearly good as to the honour of filling, was made by the death need no confirmation : to obtain which I supof the late celebrated M. Van Swieten of Vi- pose is the only motive for offering such quitenna. This mark of respect from the first rent. I imagine too, that it may not be amiss academy in the world, which abbe Nolet, one to affix a caveat in the plantation office in the of its members, took so much pains to preju- behalf of holders of property in those Islands, dice against my doctrines, I consider as a against any grant of them that may be ap. kind of victory without ink shed, since I never plied for, till they have had timely notice, and answered him. I am told he has but one of an opportunity of being fully heard. Mr. his sect now remaining in the academy. All Jackson is out of town, but I shall confer with the rest who have in any degree acquainted him on the subject as soon as he returns. themselves with electricity, are, as he calls "I am ever, my dear friend, yours most afthem, Franklinists. B. FRANKLIN."
To the same. “ LONDON, August 22, 1772.
" London, Dec. 2, 1772 “ DEAR FRIEND,-I acknowledged before “ DEAR FRIEND,—I am glad you are rethe receipt of your favour of May 14, since turned again to a seat in the assembly, where which I have no line from you. It will be a your abilities are so useful and necessary in pleasure to render any service to Mr. Tilgh- the service of your country. We must not in man whom you recommended.
the course of public life expect immediate ap “The acts passed in your winter and spring probation and immediate grateful acknowsessions I have not yet received, nor have I ledgment of our services. But let us persevere heard from Mr. Wilmot that they have been through abuse and even injury. The internal presented.
satisfaction of a good conscience is always “Lord Hillsborough, mortified by the com- present, and time will do us justice in the minds mittee of council's approbation of our grant, in of the people, even those at present the most opposition to his report, has resigned. I be- prejudiced against us. lieve when he offered to do so, he had such an “I have given Dr. Denormandie a recomopinion of his importance that he did not think mendation to a friend in Geneva, for which it would be accepted; and that it would be place he set out this morning; and I shall be thought prudent rather to set our grant aside glad of any opportunity of serving him when than part with him. His colleagues in the he returns to London. I see by the Pennsylministry were all glad to get rid of him, and vania Gazette, of October 21,
that perhaps for this reason joined more readily in continued speaker, and myself agent, but I giving him that mortification. Lord Dart- have no line from you or the committee rela
tive to instructions. Perhaps I shall hear from | lord Dartmouth, his lordship sent for me to you by Falconer. I find myself upon very discourse with me upon it. After a long augood terms with our new minister, lord Dart- dience, he was pleased to say, that notwithmouth, who we have reason to think means standing all I had said or could say,
in support - well to the colonies. I believe all are now and justification of the petition, he was sure sensible that nothing is to be got by contest the presenting it at this time could not posing with or oppressing us. Two circum- sibly produce any good: that the king would stances have diverted me lately. One was, be exceedingly offended, but what steps his that being at the court of exchequer on some majesty would take upon it was uncertain; business of my own, I there met with one of perhaps he would require the opinion of the the commissioners of the stamp office, who judges or government lawyers, which would told me he attended with a memorial from surely be against us; perhaps he might lay it that board, to be allowed in their accounts before parliament, and so the censure of both the difference between their expense in en houses would be drawn down upon us: the deavouring to establish those offices in Ameri- most favourable thing to be expected was, a ca, and the amount of what they received, severe reprimand to the assembly, by order which from Canada and the West India of his majesty, the natural consequence of islands was but about fifteen hundred pounds, which must be more discontent and uneasiwhile the expense, if I remember right, was ness in the province. That possessed as he was above twelve thousand pounds, being for with great good will for New England, he was stamps and stamping, with paper and parch- extremely unwilling that one of the first acts ment returned upon their hands, freight, &c. of his administration, with regard to the MassaThe other is the present difficulties of the chusetts, should be of so unpleasant a nature. India company and of government on their That minds had been heated and irritated on account. The company have accepted bills both sides the water, but he hoped those heats which they find themselves unable to pay, were now cooling, and he was averse to the though they have the value of two millions in addition of fresh fuel ; that as I had delivered tea and other India goods in their stores, the petition to him officially, he must present perishing under a want of demand. Their it if I insisted upon it; but he wished I would credit thus suffering, and their stock falling first consult my constituents, who might posone hundred and twenty per cent., whereby sibly, on reconsideration, think fit to order its the government will lose the four hundred being deferred. I answered that the great thousand pounds per annum, it having been majority with which the petition and the restipulated that it should no longer be paid if solves on which it was founded were carried the dividend fell to that mark. And although through the house, made it scarce expectable it is known that the American market is lost that their order would be countermanded; by continuing the duty on tea, and that we that the slighting, evading, or refusing to reare supplied by the Dutch, who doubtless take ceive petitions from the colonies, on some late the opportunity of smuggling other India occasions by the parliament, had occasioned a goods among us with the tea, so that for the total loss of the respect for and confidence in five years past we might probably have other- that body, formerly subsisting so strongly in wise taken off the greatest part of what the America, and brought on a questioning of company have on hand, and so have prevented their authority: that his lordship might obtheir present embarrassment, yet the honour serve that petitions came no more from thence of government is supposed to forbid the repeal to parliament, but to the king only: that the of the American tea duty; while the amount king appeared now to be the only connexion of all the duties goes on decreasing, so that between the two countries; and that as a the balance of this year does not (as I have it continued union was essentially necessary to from good authority) exceed eighty pounds, the well being of the whole empire, I should after paying the collection; not reckoning the be sorry to see that link weakened, as the immense expense of guarda costas, &c. Can other had been; that I thought it a dangerous an American help smiling at these blunders ?— thing for any government to refuse receiving though in a national light they are truly de petitions, and thereby prevent the subjects plorable.
from giving vent to their griefs. His lordship “ With the sincerest esteem and inviolable interrupted me by replying, that he did not
achment, I am, my dear friend, ever most refuse to deliver the petition; that it should affectionately yours,
B. FRANKLIN." never justly be said of him, that he inter
rupted the complaints of his majesty's sub
jects; and that he must and would present it, “ Thomas Cushing.
as he had said before, whenever I should
absolutely require it; but for motives of pure “ LONDON, Dec. 2, 1772
good will to the province, he wished me not “SIR,—The above is a copy of my last. A to insist on it till I should receive fresh orfew days after my leaving your petition with ders. Finally, considering that since the pe