Imágenes de páginas

from this country, to preside in that meeting, or to confer with the said delegates, acquaint themselves fully with the true grievances of the colonies, and settle the means of composing all dissentions, such means to be afterwards ratified by your majesty, if found just and suitable; your petitioners are persuaded, from their thorough knowlege of that country and people, that such a measure might be attended with the most salutary effects, prevent much mischief, and restore the harmony which so long subsisted, and is so necessary to the prosperity and happiness of all your majesty's subjects in every part of your extensive dominions; which that beaven may preser entire to your majesty and your descendants, is the sincere prayer of your majesty's most datiful subjects and servants.

To the Right Hon. Lord Dartmouth, fc. MY LORD,

BEING deeply apprehensive of the impending calamities that threaten the nation and its colonies, through the present unhappy dissentions, I have attentively considered by what possible means those calamities may be prevented. The great importance of a business which concerns us all, will, I hope, in some degree excuse me to your lordship, if I presume unasked to offer my humble opinion, that should his majesty think fit to authorise delegates from the several provinces to meet, at such convenient time and place, as in his wisdom shall seem meet, then and there to confer with a commissioner or commissioners to be appointed and empowered by his majesty, on the means of establishing a firm and lasting union between Britain and the American provinces, such a measure might be effectual for that purpose. I cannot, therefore, but wish it may be adopted, as no one can more ardently and sincerely desire the general prosperity of the British dominions, than, my lord, your lordship's most obedient, &c.


Remarks on the Propositions. Art. 1, In consequence of that engagement all the Boston and Massachusetts acts to be suspended, and in compliance with that engagement to be totally repealed.

By this amendment, article 4th will become unnecessary.

Art. 4 and 5, The numerous petitions heretofore sent home by the colony assemblies, and either refuse to be received, or received and neglected, or answered harshly, and the petitioners rebuked for making them, have, I conceive, totally discouraged that method of application, and if even their friends were now to propose to them the recurring again to petitioning, such friends would be thought to trifle with them. Besides, all they desire is now before government in the petition of the congress, and the whole or parts may be granted or refused at pleasure. The sense of the colonies cannot be better obtained by petition from different colonies, than it is by that general petition.

Art. 7, Read, such as they may think necessary.

Art. 11, As it stands, of little importance. The first proposition was, that they should be repealed as unjust. But they may remain, for they will probably not be executed.

Even with the amendment proposed above to article 1, I cannot think it stands as it should do. If the object be merely the preventing present bloodshed, and the other mischiefs to fall on that country in war, it may possibly answer that end; but if a thorough hearty reconciliation is wished for, all cause of heart-burning should be removed, and strict justice be done on both sides. Thus the tea should not only be paid for on the side of Boston, but the damage donc to Boston by the port act should be repaired, because it was done contrary to the custom of all nations, savage as well as civilized, of first demanding satisfaction.

Art. 14, The judges should receive nothing from the king.

As to the other two acts. The Massachusetts must suffer all the hazards and mischiefs of war, rather than admit the alteration of their charters and laws by parliament. “They

who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

HINTS. I doubt the regulating duties will not be accepted, without enacting them, and having the power of appointing the col. lectors in the colonies.

If we mean a hearty reconciliation, we must deal candidly, and use no tricks.

The assemblies are many of them in a state of dissolution. It will require time to make new elections; then to meet and chuse delegates, supposing all could meet. But the assembly of the Massachusetts Bay cannot act under the new constitution, nor meet the new council for that purpose, without acknowleging the power of parliament to alter their charter, which they never will do. The language of the proposal is, Try on your fetters first, and then if you don't like them, petition and we will consider.

Establishing salaries for judges may be a general law. For governors not so, the constitution of colonies differing. It is possible troops may be sent to particular provinces, to burthen them when they are out of favor.

Canada.-We cannot endure despotism over any of our fellow-subjects. We must all be free, or none.

That afternoon I received the following note from Mrs. Howe, inclosing another from lord Howe, viz.

MRS. HOWE's compliments to Dr. Franklin; she has just received the inclosed note from lord Howe, and hopes it will be convenient to him to come to her either to-morrow or Sunday, at any hour most convenient to him, which she begs he will be so good to name.

Grafton street, Friday, Feb. 17, 1775.

[Inclosed in the foregoing]

To the Honorable Mrs. Howe. I WISH you to procure me an opportunity to see Dr. Franklin at your louse to-morrow, or on Sunday morning, for an essential purpose. Grafton street, Friday, 4 o'clock.

Received Friday, 5 o'clock, Feb. 17, 1775.

I had not heard from his lordship for some time, and readily answered, that I would do myself the honor of waiting upon him at her house to-morrow at 11 o'clock.

Mr. Barclay, Dr. Fothergill, and myself, met according to appointment at the doctor's house. I delivered to them the REMARKS I had made on the paper, and we talked thern over. I read, also, the sketches I had made of the petitions and memorials; but they being of opinion, that the repeal of none of the Massachusetts acts could be obtained by my engaging to pay for the tea, the Boston port act excepted, and I insisting on a repeal of all, otherwise declining to make the offer, that measure was deferred for the present, and I pocketed my draughts. They concluded, however, to report my sentiments, and sec if any further concession could be obtained. They observed, that I had signed my remarks, on which I said, that understanding by other means as well as from them, that the ministers had been acquainted with my being consulted in this business, I saw bio occasion for further mystery; and since in conveying and receiving through second hands their sentiments and mine, occasioned delay, and miglit be attended with misapprehension, something being lost or changed by mistake in the conveyance, I did not see why we should not meet, and discuss the points together at once; that if this was thought proper, I should be willing and ready to attend them to the ministerial persons they conferred with. They seemed to approve the proposal, and said they would mention it.

The next morning I met lord Howe, according to appointment. He seemed very cheerful, baving, as I imagine, heard from lord Hyde what that lord might have heard from Mr. Barclay the evening of the 16th, viz. that I had consented to petition and engage payment for the tea; whence it was boped, the ministerial terms of accommodation might take place. He let me know that he was thought of to be sent commissioner for settling the differences in America; adding, with an excess of politeness, that sensible of his own unacquaintedness with the business, and of my knowlege and abilities, he could not think of undertaking it without me; but with me, he should do it most readily; for he should found his expectation of success on my assistance; le therefore had desired this meeting to know my mind upou a proposition of my going with him in some shape or other, as a friend, an assistant, a secretary: that he was very sensible, if he should be so happy as to effect any thing valuable, it must be wholly owing to the advice and assistauce I should afford him; that he should therefore make no scruple of giving me upon all occasions the full honor of it; that he had de. clared to the ministers his opinion of my good dispositions towards peace, and what he now wished was to be authorised by me to say, that I consented to accompany him, and would co-operate with him in the great work of reconciliation; that the influence I had over the minds of people in America, was known to be very extensive; and that I could, if any man could, prevail with them to comply with reasonable proposi. tions. I replied, that I was obliged to his lordship for the favorable opinion he had of me, and for the honor he did me in proposing to make use of my assistance; that I wished to know what propositions were intended for America; that if they were reasonable ones in themselves, possibly I might be able to make them appear such to my countrymen; but if they were otherwise, I doubted whether that could be done by any man, and certainly I should not undertake it. His lordship then said, that he should not expect my assistance without a proper consideration. That the business was of

« AnteriorContinuar »