Imágenes de páginas



DEAR SIR, London, Dec. 12, 1767. The instruction you mention, as proposed by a certain great man, was really a wild one. The reasons you made use of against it were clear and strong, and could not but prevail. It will be time enough to show a dislike to the coalition when it is proposed to Meanwhile we have all the advantage in the agreement of taxation, which our not being represented will continue to give us. I think indeed that such an event is very remote. This nation is indeed too proud to propose admitting American representatives into their parliament; and America is not so humble, or so fond of the honor, as to petition for it." In matrimonial matches, it is said, when one party is willing the match is half made; but where neither party is willing there is no great danger of their coming together. And to be sure such an important business would never be treated of by agents unimpowered and uninstructed; nor would government here act upon the private opinion of agents which might be disowned by their constituents.

The present ministry seem now likely to continue through this session; and this, as a new election approaches, gives them the advantage of getting so many of their friends chosen as may give a stability to their administration. I heartily wish it, because they are all well disposed towards America.

With sincere esteem, I am, dear sir, your affectionate friend and most obedient servant,




London, Dec. 19, 1767. The resolutions of the Boston people concerning trade make a great noise here. Parliament has not yet taken notice of them, but the newspapers are in full cry against America. Colonel Onslow told me. at court last Sunday, that I could not conceive how much the friends of America were run upon and hurt by them, and how much the Grenvillians triumphed. I have just written a paper for next Tuesday's Chronicle, to extenuate matters a little.

Mentioning Colonel Onslow, reminds me of something that passed at the beginning of this session in the house, between him and Mr. Grenville. The latter had been raving against America, as traitorous, rebellious, &c. when the former, who has always been its firm friend, stood up and gravely said, that in reading the Roman history, he found it was a custom among that wise and magnanimous people, whenever the senate was informed of any discontent in the provinces, to send two or three of their body into the discontented provinces, to inquire into the grievances complained of, and report to the senate, that mild measures might be used to remedy what was amiss, before any severe steps were taken to enforce obedience. That this example he thought worthy our imitation in the present state of our colonies; for he did so far agree with the honorable gentleman that spoke just before him, as to allow that there were great discontents among them. He should therefore beg leave to move, that two or three members of parliament be appointed to go over to New England on this service. And that it might not be

supposed he was for imposing burthens on others.

[ocr errors]

that he would not be willing to bear himself, he did, at the same time, declare his own willingness, if the house should think fit to appoint them, to go over thither with that honorable gentleman. Upon this there was a great laugh, which continued some time, and was rather increased by Mr. Grenville's asking, "will the gentleman engage that I shall be safe there? Can I be assured that I shall be allowed to come back again to make the report?" As soon as the laugh was so far subsided as that Mr. Onslow could be heard again, he added: "I cannot absolutely engage for the honorable gentleman's safe return; but if he goes thither upon this service, I am strongly of opinion the event will contribute greatly to the future quiet of both countries." On which the laugh was renewed and redoubled.

If our people should follow the Boston example in entering into resolutions of frugality and industry, full as necessary for us as for them, I hope they will among other things give this reason, that it is to enable them more speedily and effectually to discharge their debts to Great Britain: this will soften a little, and at the same time appear honorable and like ourselves. Yours, &c. B. FRANKLIN.


The following objection against communicating to the colonies the rights, privileges, and powers of the realm, as to parts of the realm, has been made. I have been endeavoring to obviate it, and I communicate [it] to you, in hopes of your promised assistance.

If, say the objectors, we communicate to the colonies the power of sending representatives, and in


consequence expect them to participate in an equal share and proportion of all our taxes, we must grant to them all the powers of trade and manufacturing, which any other parts of the realm within the isle of Great Britain enjoy.-If so, perchance the profits of the Atlantic commerce may converge to some centre in America; to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, or to some of the isles :-if so, then the natural and artificial produce of the colonies, and in course of consequences, the landed interest of the colonies, will be promoted; while the natural and artificial produce and landed interest of Great Britain will be depressed, to its utter ruin and destruction ;-and consequently the balance of the power of government, although still within the realm, will be locally transferred from Great Britain to the colonies. Which consequence, however it may suit a citizen of the world, must be folly and madness to a Briton.

Your friend, &c.


On the back of the foregoing letter of Governor Pownall are the following minutes by Dr. Franklin.

This objection goes upon the supposition, that whatever the colonies gain, Britain must lose; and that if the colonies can be kept from gaining an advantage, Britain will gain it :

If the colonies are fitter for a particular trade than Britain, they should have it, and Britain apply to what it is more fit for. The whole empire is a gainer. And if Britain is not so fit or so well situated for a particular advantage, other countries will get it, if the colonies do not. Thus Ireland was forbid the woollen manufacture, and remains poor; but this has

given to the French the trade and wealth Ireland might have gained for the British empire.

The government cannot long be retained without the union. Which is best (supposing your case), to have a total separation, or a change of the seat of government? It by no means follows, that promoting and advancing the landed interest in America will depress that of Britain: the contrary has always been the fact. Advantageous situations and circumstances will always secure and fix manufactures : Sheffield against all Europe these 300 years past.



London, Jan. 9, 1768. We have had so many alarms of changes which did not take place, that just when I wrote it was thought the ministry would stand their ground. However, immediately after the talk was renewed, and it soon appeared the Sunday changes were actually settled. Mr. Conway resigns, and Lord Weymouth takes his place. Lord Gower is made president of the council in the room of Lord Northington. Lord Shelburne is stript of the American business, which is given to Lord Hillsborough as secretary of state for America, a new distinct department. Lord Sandwich, it is said, comes into the post-office in his place. Several of the Bedford party are now to come in. How these changes may affect us, a little time will show. Little at present is thought of but elections, which gives me hopes that nothing will be done against America this session, though the Boston gazette had occasioned some heats, and the Boston resolutions a prodigious clamor. I have endeavored to palliate matters for them as well as I



« AnteriorContinuar »