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its rise from a hint I had given his lordship in a former conversation. It follows in these words.
Lord Chatham's Motion, January 20, 1775. “ That an humble address be presented to his majesty, most humbly to advise and beseech his majesty, that, in order to open the way towards an happy settlement of the dangerous troubles in America, by beginning to allay ferments and soften animosities there; and above all, for preventing in the mean time any sudden and fatal catastrophe at Boston, now suffering under daily irritation of an army before their eyes, posted in their town; it may graciously please bis majesty, that immediate orders may be dispatched to general Gage, for removing his majesty's forces from the town of Boston, as soon as the rigor of the season and other circumstances, indispensable to the safety and accommodation of the said troops, may render the same practicablo.”
I was quite charmed with lord Chatham's speech in support of his motion. He impressed me with the highest idea of him as a great and most able statesman. Lord Camden, another wonderfully good speaker and close reasoner, joined him in the same argument, as did several other lords, who spoke excellently well; but all availed no more than the whistling of the winds. This notion was rejected. Sixteen Scotch peers, and twenty-four bishops, with all the lords in possession or expectation of places, when they vote together unanimously, as they generally do for ministerial measures, make a dead majority that renders all debating ridiculous in itself, since it can answer no end. Full of the high esteem I had imbibed for lord Chatham, I wrote back to lord Stanhope the following note, viz.
It was reported at the time, that his lordship had concluded his speech with the following remarkable words. “If the ministers thus persevere in misadvising and misleading the king, I will not say that they can alienate the affections of his subjects from his crown, but I will affirm, that they will make the crown not worth his wearing. I will not say that the king is betrayed, but I will pronounce that the kingdom is undone.
Dr. Franklin presents his best respects to lord Stanhope, with many thanks to his lordship and lord Chatham, for the cominunication of so authentic a copy of the motion. Dr. F. is filled with admiration of that truly great man. He has seen in the course of his life, sometimes eloquence without wisdom, and often wisdom without eloquence; in the present instance he sees both united, and both as he thinks, in the highest degree possible.
Craven street, Jan. 23, 1775.
As in the course of the debate, some lords in the administration had observed, that it was common and easy to censure their measures, but those who did so proposed notbing better; lord Chatham mentioned that he should not be one of those idle censurers, that he had thought long and closely upon the subject, and proposed soon to lay before their lordships the result of his meditation, in a plan for healing our differences, and restoring peace to the empire, to which bis present motion was preparatory: I much desired to know what his plan was, and intended waiting on him to see if he would cominunicate it to me; but he went the next morning to Hayes, and I was so much taken up with daily business and company, that I could not easily get out to him. A few days after, liowever, lord Mahon called on me, and told me lord Chatham was very desirous of seeing me; when I promised to be with him the Friday following, several engagements prevented my going sooner. On Friday the 27th, I took a post-chaise about 9 o'clock, and got to Hayes about 11, but my attention being engaged in reading a new pamphlet, the postboy drove me a mile or two beyond the gate. His lordship being out on an airing in his chariot, had met me before I reached Hayes, unobserved by me, turned and fol. lowed me, and not finding me there, concluded, as he liad seen me reading, that I had passed by mistake, and sent a servant after me. He expressed great pleasure at my coming, and acquainted me, in a long conversation, with the outlines of his plan, parts of which he read to me. He said he had communicated it only to lord Camden, whose advice he much
relied on, particularly in the law part; and that he would, as soon as he could get it transcribed, put it into my hands for my opinion and advice, but should show it to no other person before he presented it to the house; and he requested me to make no mention of it, otherwise parts might be misunderstood and blown up beforehand, and others perhaps adopted and produced by ministers as their own. I promised the closest secrecy, and kept my word: not even mentioning to any one that I had seen him. I dined with him, his family only present, and returned to town in the evening.
On the Sunday following, being the 29th, his lordship came to town, and called upon me in Craven street. He brought with him his plan transcribed, in the form of an act of parliament, which he put into my hands, requesting me to consider it carefully, and communicate to hin such remarks upon it as should occur to me. His reason for desiring to give me that trouble, was, as he was pleased to say, that he knew no man so thoroughly acquainted with the subject, or so capable of giving advice upon it; that he thought the errors of ministers in American affairs, had been often owing to their not obtaining the best information: that therefore though he had considered the business thoroughly in all its parts, ho was not so confident of his own judgment, but that he came to set it right by mine, as men set their watches by a regalator. He had not determined when he should produce it in the house of lords; but in the course of our conversation, considering the precarious situation of his health, and that if presenting it was delayed, some intelligence might arrive which would make it seem less seasonable, or in all parts not so proper; or the ministry might engage in different measures, and then say if you had produced your plan sooner, we might have attended to it, he concluded to offer it the Wednesday following; and therefore wished to see me upon it the preceding Tuesday, when he would again call upon me, unless I could conveniently come to Hayes. I chose the latter, in respect to his lordship, and because there was less likelihood of interruptious: and I promised to be with him early, that we might have more time. He staid with me near two hours, his equipage waiting at the door; and being there while people were coming from church, it was much taken notice of and talked of, as at that time was every little circumstance that men thought might possibly any way affect American affairs. Such a visit from so great a man, on so important a business, flattered not a little my vanity; and the honor of it gave me the more pleasure, as it happened on the very day twelve months, that the ministry had taken so much pains to disgrace me before the privy council.
I applied myself immediately to the reading and considering the plan, of which, when it was afterwards published, I sent you a copy, and therefore need not insert it here. I put down upon paper, as I went along, some short memorandums for my future discourse with him upon it, which follow, that you may, if you please, compare them with the plan; and if you do so, you will see their drift and purpose, wbich otherwise would make me much writing to explain.
Tuesday, Jan. 31st, 1775. Notes for discourse with lord Chatham on his plan. Voluntary grants and forced taxes, not to be expected of the same people at the same time.
Permanent revenue will be objected to; would not a temporary agreement be best, suppose for 100 years?
Does the whole of the rights claimed in the petition of rights relate to England only?
The American naturalization act gives all the rights of natural born subjects to foreigners residing there seven years. Can it be supposed that the natives there have them not?
If the king should raise armies in America, would Britain like their being brought hither! as the king might bring them when he pleased.
An act of parliament requires the colonies to furnish sundry articles of provision and accommodation to troops quar
€ See vol. IV. p. 109, of this edition.
tered among them, this may be made very burthensome to colonies that are out of favor.
If a permanent revenue, why not the same privileges in trade with Scotland?
Should not the lands conquered by Britain and the colonies in conjunction, be given them (reserving a quit-rent) whence they might form funds to enable them to pay,
Instructions about agents to be withdrawn.
Grants to be for three years, at the end of wbich a new congress and go from three to three years.
Congress to have the general defence of the frontiers, making and regulating new settlements.
into all your wars.
« Defence, extension, and prosperity of”—The late Canada act prevents their extension, and may check their prosperity.
Laws should be secure as well as charters.
Perhaps if the legislative power of parliament is owned in the colonies, they may make a law to forbid the meeting of any congress, &c.
I was at Hayes early on Tuesday, agrecably to my promise, when we entered into consideration of the plan; but though I staid near four hours, his lordship, in the manner of, I think, all eloquent persons, was so full and diffuse in supporting every particular I questioned, that there was not time to go through half my memorandums; he is not easily interrupted, and I had such pleasure in hearing him, that I found little inclination to interrupt him; therefore, considering that neither of us had much expectation that the plan would be adopted entirely as it stood; that in the course of its consideration, if it should be received, proper alterations VOL. L