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But towards the end of August last, returning from Brighthelmstone, I called to visit my friend Mr. Sargent, at his seat, Halsted, in Kent, agreeably to a former engagement. He let me know, that he had promised to conduct me to lord Stanhope's at Chevening, who expected I would call on him when I came into that neighborhood. We accordingly waited on lord Stanhope that evening, who told me that lord Chatham desired to see me, and that Mr. Sargent's house, where I was to lodge, being in the way, he would call for me there the next morning, and carry me to Hayes. This was done accordingly. That truly great man received me with abundance of civility, inquired particularly into the situation of affairs in America, spoke feelingly of the severity of the late laws against the Massachusetts, gave me some account of his speech in opposing them, and expressed great regard and esteem for the people of that country, who he hoped would continue firm and united in defending by all peaceable and legal means their constitutional rights. I assured him, that I made no doubt they would do so; which he said he was pleased to hear from me, as he was sensible I must be well acquainted with them. I then took occasion to remark to him, that in former cases great empires had crumbled first at their extremities, from this cause--that countries remote from the seat and eye of government, which therefore could not well understand their affairs, for want of full and true information, had never been well governed, but had been oppressed by bad governors, on presumption that complaint was difficult to be made and supported against them at such a distance: hence, such governors had been encouraged to go on, till their oppressions became intolerable: but that this empire had happily found and long been in the practice of a method, whereby every province was well governed, being trusted in a great measure with the government of itself, that bence had risen such satisfaction in the subjects, and such encouragement to new settlements, that had it not been for the late wrong politics, (which would have parliament to be omnipotent, though it ought not to be, unless it could at the same time be omniscient,) we might have gone on extending our western empire, adding province to province as far as the South Sea: that I lamented the ruin which seemed impending over so fine a plan, so well adapted to make all the subjects of the greatest empire happy; and I hoped, that if his lordship, with the other great and wise men of the British nation, would unite and exert themselves, it might yet be rescued out of the mangling hands of the present set of blundering ministers; and that the union and harmony between Britain and her colonies, so necessary to the welfare of both, might be restored.He replied with great politeness, that my idea of extending our empire in that manner was a sound one, worthy of a great, benevolent, and comprehensive mind: he wished with me for a good understanding among the different parts of the opposition here, as a means of restoring the ancient harmony of the two countries, which he most earnestly desired; but he spoke of the coalition of our domestic parties as attended with difficulty, and rather to be desired than expected: he mentioned an opinion prevailing here, that Americi aiined at setting up for itself as an independent state; or, at least, to get rid of the navigation acts.- I assured him, that having more than once travelled almost from one end of the continent to the other, and kept a great variety of company, eating, drinking, and conversing with them freely, I never had heard in any conversation from any person, drunk or sober, the least expression of a wish for a separation, or a hint that such a thing would be advantageous to America: and as to the navigation act, the main material part of it, that of carrying on trade in British or plantation bottoms, excluding foreign ships from our ports, and navigating with three quarters British seamen, was as acceptable to us as it could be to Britain: that we were even not against regulations of the general commerceby parliament, provided such regulations were bona fide for the benefit of the whole empire, not for the small advantage of one part to the great injury of another, such as the obliging our ships to call in England with our wine and fruit, from Portugal or Spain; the restraints on our inanufactures, in the woollen and hat-making branches, the prohibiting of slitting-mills, steelworks, &c. He allowed that some amendment might be made in those acts; but said those relating to the slitting-mills, trip-hammers, and steel-works, were agreed to by our agents in a compromise on the opposition made here to abating the duty.

In fine, he expressed much satisfaction in my having called upon him, and particularly in the assurances I had given him, that America did not aim at independence; adding, that he should be glad to see me again as often as might be. I said, I should not fail to avail myself of the permission he was pleased to give me, of waiting upon his lordship occasionally, being very sensible of the honor, and of the great advantages and improvement I should reap from his instructive conversation; which indeed was not a mere compliment.

The new parliament was to meet the 29th of November, (1774). About the beginning of that month, being at the Royal Society, Mr. Raper, one of our members, told me there was a certain lady who had a desire of playing with me at chess, fancying she could beat me, and had requested him to bring me to her: it was, he said, a lady with whose acquaintance he was sure I should be pleased, a sister of lord Howe's, and he hoped I would not refuse the challenge. I said, I had been long out of practice, but would wait upon the lady when he and she should think fit. He told me where her house was, and would have me call soon and without further introduction, which I undertook to do; but thinking it a little awkward, I postponed it; and on the 30th, meeting him again at the feast of the society election, being the day after the parliament met, he put me in mind of my promise, and that I had not kept it, and would have me name a day when he said he would call for me and conduct me. I named the Friday following. He called accordingly: I went with bim, played a few games with the lady, whom I found of very sensible conversation and pleasing behavior, which induced me to agree most readily to an appointment for another meeting a few days afterwards: though I had not the least apprehension that any political business could have any connection with this new acquaintance.

On the Thursday preceding this chess party, Mr. David Barclay called on me, to have some discourse concerning the meeting of merchants to petition parliament. When that was over, he spoke of the dangerous situation of American affairs, the hazard that a civil war might be brought on by the present measures, and the great merit that person would have who could contrive some means of preventing so terrible a calamity, and bring about a reconciliation. He was then pleased to add, that he was persuaded, from my knowlege of both countries, my character and influence in one of them, and my abilities in business, no man had it so much in his power as myself. I naturally answered, that I should be very happy if I could in any degree be instrumental in so good a work, but that I saw no prospect of it; for, though I was sure the Americans were always willing and ready to agree upon any equitable terms, yet I thought an accommodation impracticable, unless both sides wished it; and by what I could judge from the proceedings of the ministry, I did not believe they had the least disposition towards it; that they rather wished to provoke the North American people into an open rebellion, wbich might justify a military execution, and thereby gratify a grounded malice which I conceived to exist here against the whigs and dissenters of that country. Mr. Barclay apprehended I judged too hardly of the ministers; he was persuaded they were not all of that temper, and he fancied they would be very glad to get out of their present embarrassment on any terms, only saving the honor and dignity of government. He wished, therefore, that I would think of the matter, and he would call again and converse with me further upon it. I said I would do so, as he requested it, but I had no opinion of its answering any purpose. We parted upon this. But two days after I received a letter from him, inclosed in a note from Dr. Fothergill, both which follow.

Youngsbury, near Ware, 3d 12 mo. 1774. ESTEEMED FRIEND,

AFTER we parted on Thursday last, I accidentally met our mutual friend Dr. Fothergill, in my way home, and intimated to him the subject of our discourse; in consequence of which, I received from him an invitation to a further con. ference on this momentous affair, and I intend to be in town to-morrow accordingly, to meet at his house between four and five o'clock; and we unite in the request of thy company. We are neither of us insensible, that the affair is of that magnitude as should almost deter private persons from meddling with it; at the same time we are respectively such wellwishers to the cause, that nothing in our power ought to be left undone, though the utmost of our efforts may be unavailable. I am thy respectful friend, DAVID BARCLAY.

Dr. Franklin, Craven street.

DR. FOTHERGILL presents his respects to Dr. Franklin, and hopes for the favor of his company in Harper street to morrow evening, to meet their mutual friend David Bar. clay, to confer on American affairs. As near five o'clock as may be convenient.

Harper street, sd inst.

The time thus appointed was the evening of the day on which I was to have my second chess party with the agreeable Mrs. Howe, whom I met accordingly. After playing as long as we liked, we fell into a little chat, partly on a mathematical problem,m and partly about the new parliament then just met, when she said, “ And what is to be done with this dispute between Great Britain and the colonies? I hope we

* This lady (which is a little unusual in ladies,) has a good deal of mathematical knowlege.

[Note of Dr. Franklin.] VOL. I.

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