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might be introduced; that before it would be settled, America should have opportunity to make her objections and propositions of amendment; that to have it received at all here, it must seem to comply a little with some of the prevailing prejudices of the legislature; that if it was not so perfect as might be wished, it would at least serve as a basis for treaty, and in the mean time prevent mischiefs, and that as his lordship had determined to offer it the next day, there was not time to make changes and another fair copy. I therefore ceased my querying; and though afterwards many people were pleased to do me the honor of supposing I had a considerable share in composing it, I assure you, that the addition of a single word only was made at my instance, viz. “ constitutions" after “charters;" for my filling up at his request a blank with the titles of acts proper to be repealed, which I took from the proceedings of the congress, was no more than might have been done by any copying clerk.
On Wednesday, lord Stanhope, at lord Chatham's request, called upon me, and carried me down to the house of lords which was soon very full. Lord Chatham, in a most excellent speechi, introduced, explained, and supported his plan. When he sat down, lord Dartmouth rose, and very properly said, it contained matter of such weight and magnitude as to require much consideration, and he therefore hoped the noble earl did not expect their lordships to decide upon it by an immediate vote, but would be willing it should lie upon the table for consideration. Lord Chatham answered readily, that he expected nothing more. But lord Sandwich rose, and in a petulant vehement specch, opposed its being received at all, and gave his opinion, that it ought to be immediately rejected; with the contempt it deserved; that he could never believe it to be the production of any British peer; that it appeared to him rather the work of some American; and, turning his faco towards me, who was leaning on the bar, said, be fancied he had in his eye the person who drew it up, one of the bitterest and most mischievous enemies this country had ever known. This drew the eyes of many lords upon me: but as
I had no inducement to take it to myself, I kept my countenance as immoveable as if my features had been made of vood. Then several other lords of the administration gave their sentiments also for rejecting it, of which opinion also was strongly the wise lord Hillsborough; but the dukes of Richmond and Manchester, lord Shelburne, lord Camden, lord Temple, lord Lyttleton and others, were for receiving it, some through approbation, and others for the character and dignity of the house. One lord mentioning with applause, the candid proposal of one of the ministers, lord Dartmouth, his lordship roso again, and said, that having since heard the opinions of so many lords against receiving it to lie upon the table for consideration, he had altered his mind, could not accept the praise offered him, for a candor of which he was now ashamed, and should therefore give his voice for rejecting the plan immediately. I am the more particular in this, as it is a trait of that nobleman's character, who, from his office, is supposed to have so great a share in American affairs, but who has in reality no will or judgment of his own, being, with dispositions for the best measures, easily prevailed with to join in the worst. Lord Chatham, in his reply to lord Sandwich, took notice of his illiberal insi. nuation, that the plan was not the person's who proposed it: declared that it was entirely his own, a declaration he thought himself the more obliged to make, as many of their lordships appeared to have so mean an opinion of it; for if it was so weak or so bad a thing, it was proper in him to take care that no other person should unjustly share in the censure it deserved. That it had been heretofore reckoned his vice not to be apt to take advice; but be made no scruple to declare, that if he were the first minister of this country, and had the care of settling this momentous business, he should not be ashamed of publicly calling to his assistance, a person so perfectly acquainted with the whole of American affairs as the gentleman alluded to and so injuriously reflected on; one, he was pleased to say, whom all Europe held in high estimation, for his knowlege and wisdom, and ranked with our Boyles and Newtons; who was an honor, not to the English nation only, but to human nature! I found it harder to stand this extravagant compliment, than the preceding equally extravagant abuse; but kept as well as I could an unconcerned countenance, as not conceiving it to relate to me.
To hear so many of these hereditary legislators declaiming so veheinently against, not the adopting merely, but even the consideration of a proposal so important in its nature, offered by a person of so weighty a character, one of the first statesmen of the age, who had taken up this country when in the lowest despondency, and conducted it to victory and glory, through a war with two of the mightiest kingdoms in Europe; to hear them censuring his plan, not only for their own misunderstandings of what was in it, but for their ima. ginations of what was not in it, which they would not give themselves an opportunity of rectifying by a second reading; to perceive the total ignorance of the subject in some, the prejudice and passion of others, and the wilful perversion of plain truth in several of the ministers; and upon the whole, to see it so ignominiously rejected by so great a majority, and so hastily too, in breach of all decency, and prudent regard to the character and dignity of their body, as a third part of the national legislature, gave me an exceeding mean opinion of their abilities, and made their claim of sovereignty over three millions of virtuous sensible people in America, seem the greatest of absurdites, since they appeared to have scarce discretion enough to govern a herd of swine. Hereditary legislators! thought I. There would be more propriety, because less hazard of mischief, in having (as in some university of Germany) hereditary professors of mathematics! But this was a hasty reflection; for the elected house of commons is no better, nor ever will be while the electors receive money for their votes, and pay money wherewith ministers may bribe their representatives when chosen.
After this proceeding I expected to hear no more of any negotiation for settling our difference amicably; yet in a day
or two, I had a note from Mr. Barclay, requesting a meeting. at Dr. Fothergill's, the 4th of February in the evening. I attended accordingly, and was surprised by being told that a very good disposition appeared in administration; that the HINTs had been considered, and several of them thought reasonable, and that others might be admitted with small amendments. The good doctor, with his usual philanthropy, expatiated on the miseries of war; that even a bad peace was preferable to the most successful war; that America was growing in strength, and whatever she might be obliged to submit to at present, she would in a few years be in a condition to make her own terms. Mr. Barclay hinted how much it was in my power to promote an agreement; how much it would be to my honor to effect it, and that I miglit expect, not only restoration of my old place, but almost any other I could wish for, &c.-I need not tell you, who know me so well, how improper and disgusting this language was to me. The doctor's was more suitable. Him I answered, that we did not wish for war, and desired nothing but what was reasonable and necessary for our security and well-being. To Mr. Barclay I replied, that the ministry, I was sure, would rather give me a place in a cart to Tyburn, than any other place whatever.—And to both, that I sincerely wished to be serviceable; that I needed no other inducement than to be shown how I might be so; but saw, they imagined more to be in my power than really was; I was then told again that conferences had been held upon the Hints; and the paper being produced was read; that I might hear the observations that bad been made upon them separately, which were as follows.
1, The first article was approved.
2, The second agreed to, so far as related to the repeal of the tea act. But repayment of the duties that had been collected, was refused.
3, The third not approved, as it implied a deficiency of power in the parliament that made those acts.
4, The fourth approved.
5, The fifth agreed to, but with a reserve, that no change prejudicial to Britain was to be expected.
6, The sixth agreed to, so far as related to the appropria tion of the duties: but the appointment of the officers and their salaries, to remain as at present.
7, The seventh relating to aids in time of peace, agreed to. 8, The 8th, relating to the troops, was inadmissible,
9, The ninth could be agreed to, with this difference, that no proportion should be observed with regard to preceding taxes, but each colony should give at pleasure.
10, The tenth agreed to, as to the restitution of Castle William; but the restriction on the crown in building fortresses refused.
11, The eleventh refused absolutely, except as to the Bos. ton port bill, which would be repealed; and the Quebec act might be so far amended, as to reduce that province to its antient limits. The other Massachusetts acts, being real amendments of their constitution, must for that reason be continued, as well as to be a standing example of the power of parliament.
12, The twelfth agreed to, that the judges should be appointed during good behavior, on the assemblies providing permanent salaries, such as the crown should approve of.
13, The thirteenth agreed to, provided the assemblies make provision as in the preceding article.
15, The fifteenth agreed to.
16, The sixteenth agreed to, supposing the duties paid to the colony treasuries.
17, The seventeenth inadmissible.
We had not at this time a great deal of conversation upon these points, for I shortened it by observing, that while the parliament claimed and exercised a power of altering our constitutions at pleasure, there could be no agreement; for wo were rendered unsafe in every privilege we had a right to, and were secure id notbing. And it being hinted how neces