Imágenes de páginas

that the profits of no trade can ever be equal The members chosen, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Mr. "

John Adams, and Mr. Edward Rutledge. to the expense of compelling it, and holding it by fleets and armies. I consider this war

EAGLE, off Bedlow's Island, Sept. 10, 1776. against us, therefore, as both unjust and unwise ; and I am persuaded, that cool and dis- Dr. Franklin, and according to the tenor of

** Lord Howe presents his compliments to passionate posterity will condemn to infamy his favour of the Sth, will attend to have the those who advised it; and that even success will not save from some degree of dishonour, and Rutledge tomorrow morning, at the house

pleasure of meeting him and Messrs. Adams those who have voluntarily engaged to con

on Staten Island, opposite to Amboy, as early duct it.

as the few conveniences for travelling by land “I know your great motive in coming on Staten Island will admit. Lord Howe, upon hither, was the hope of being instrumental in his arrival at the place appointed, will send a a reconciliation; and I believe when you find boat (if he can procure it in time) with a flag that to be impossible, on any terms given you of truce over to Amboy; and requests the to propose, you will then relinquish so odious doctor and the other gentlemen will postpone a command, and return to a more honourable their intended favour of passing over to meet private station. “With the greatest and most sincere re- arrival to attend them there.

him, until they are informed, as above, of his spect, I have the honour to be, my lord, your " In case the weather should prove unfalordship's most obedient humble servant,

vourable for lord Howe to pass in his boat to “B. FRANKLIN."

Staten Island to-morrow, as from the present

appearance there is some reason to suspect, IN CONGRESS, Sept. 2d, 1776.

he will take the next earliest opportunity that Congress being informed that general Sullivan, who offers for that purpose. In this intention he was taken prisoner on Long Island, was come to Philadelphia with a message from lord Howe,

may be further retarded, having been an invaOrdered, that he be admitted, and heard before con lid lately; but will certainly give the most gress.

General Sullivan being admitted, delivered the verbal timely notice of that inability. He, however, message he had in charge from lord Howe, which he flatters himself he shall not have occasion to was desired to reduce to writing, and withdrew. make further excuses on that account."

September 3d.-General Sullivan, having reduced to writing the verbal message from lord Howe, the same was laid before congress and read as follows.

September 13th.-- The committee appointed to conter The following is the purport of the message sent with lord Howe, having returned, made a verbal report. from lord Howe to congress by general Sullivan. Ordered, that they make a report in writing, as soon

That though he could not at present treat with con. as they conveniently can. gress as such, yet he was very desirous of having a September 17th.—The committee appointed to confer conference with some of the members, whom he would with lord Howe, agreeable to order brought in a report consider for the present only as private gentlemen, and in writing, which was read as follows. meet them himself as such, at such place as they should In obedience to the orders of congress, we have bad appoint.

a meeting with lord Howe, it was on Wednesday last That he, in conjunction with general Howe, bad full upon Staten Island, opposite to Amboy, where his powers to compromise the dispute between Great Bri: Jordship received and entertained us with the utmost tain and America on terms advantageous to both; the politeness. obtaining of which, delayed him near two months in His lordship opened the conversation by acquainting England, and prevented his arrival at this place before us, that though he could not treat with us as a com the declaration of independence took place.

mittee of congress, yet as his powers enabled him to That he wished a compact might be settled at this confer and consult with any private gentlemen of in time, when no decisive blow was struck, and neither fluence in the colonies, on the means of restoring praca party could say they were compelled to enter into such between the two countries, he was glad of this oppot agreement.

tunity of conferring with us on that subject, it se That in case congress were disposed to treat, many thought ourselves at liberty to enter into a conference things which they had not as yet asked, might and with him in that character. ought to be granted to them; and that if, upon the con We observed to his lordship, that as our busiden ference, they found any probable ground of an accom. was to hear, he might consider us in what light be modation, the authority of congress must be afterwards pleased, and communicate to us any proposition be acknowledged, otherwise the compact could not be might be authorised to make for the purpose mention complete.

ed; but that we could consider ourselves in no other September 5th.-Resolved, That general Sullivan be character than that in which we were placed by order requested to inform lord Howe, that this congress be of congress. ing the representatives of the free and independent His lordship then entered into a discourse of con states of America, cannot, with propriety, send any siderable length, which contained no explicit propose of its members to confer with his lordship in their pri. tion of peace except one, viz. that the colonies should vate characters; but that, ever desirous of establishing return to their allegiance and obedience to the gorera peace on reasonable terms, they will send a committee ment of Great Britain. The rest consisted principally of their body to know whether he has any authority to of assurances, that there was an exceeding good dis. treat with persons authorised by congress for that pur position in the king and his ministers to make the pose on behalf of America, and what that authority is, government easy to us, with intimalions, that in case and to hear such propositions as he shall think fit to of our submission they would canse the offensive acts make respecting the game.

of parliament to be revised, and the instructions to Ordered, that a copy of the foregoing resolution be governors to be reconsidered; that so, if any just causes delivered to general Sullivan, and that he be directed of complaint were found in the acts, or errors in ce immediately to repair to lord Howe.

vernment were perceived to have crept into the instruc September 6th.-Resolved,

That the committee "to be tions, they might be amended or withdrawn. sent to know whether lord Howe has any authority to We gave it as our opinion to his lordship, that a retreat with persons authorised by congress for that pur turn to the domination of Great Britain was not nos pose, in behalf of America ; and whai that authority is, to be expected. We mentioned the repeated humble and to hear such propositions as he shall think fit to petitions of the colonies to the king and parliament make respecting the same," consist of three.

which had been treated with contempt, and answered

an end to the conference.

only by additional injuries; the unexampled patience | plicated, proposed the reducing it to the simthat it was not till the last act of parliament which de plicity of a single legislative body. This nounced war against us, and put us out of the king's grand idea startled the trading politicians of protection, that we declared our independence. That Pennsylvania; but the philosopher removed colonies in general; that every colony had approved the fears of a considerable number, and at of it, when made; and• all now considered themselves length determined the whole to adopt the

as independent states, and were settling or had settled I their governments accordingly; so that it was not in

principle.” the power of congress to agree for them, that they The same distinguished person adds in a

should return to their former dependent state. That note on this passage, of his printed oration, 19 there was no doubt of their inclination to peace, and

their willingness to enter into a treaty with Britain “ The usual progress of the human mind that might be advantageous to both countries. That leads man from the complex to the simple. though his lordship had at present no power to treat Observe the works of the first mechanics with them as independent states, he might, if there was the same good disposition in Britain, much sooner overloaded with numerous pieces, some of obtain fresh powers from thence, than powers could

be which embarrass, and others diminish their F. obtained by congress from the several colonies to con* sent to a submission.

effect. It has been the same with legislators, His lordship then saying, that he was sorry to find both speculative and practical; struck with that no accommodation was likely to take place, put an abuse, they have endeavoured to correct it

Upon the whole, it did not appear to your committee, by institutions that have been productive of that his lordship’s commission contained any authority still greater abuses. In political economy the of parliament, viz. that of granting pardons, with such unity of the legislative body is the maximum exceptions as the commissioners shall think proper to of simplicity. Franklin was the first who make; and of declaring America or any part of it ho dared to put this idea in practice: The res power of inquiring into the state of America, which pect the Pennsylvanians entertained for him his lordship mentioned to us, and of conferring and induced them to adopt it; but other states ihink proper, and representing the result of such con affected to be terrified at it, and even the versation to the ministry, who, provided the colonies constitution of Pennsylvania has since been would subject themselves, might, after all, or might not at their pleasure, make any alterations in the former

altered." instructions to governors, or propose in parliament any During Dr. Franklin's presidency of the amendment of ihe acts complained of

, we apprehended convention, he drew up the following protest have been too uncertain and precarious to be relied on against the equality of voting in congress; by America, had she still

continued in her state of debut (as he acknowledged at the time) he pendence. Ordered that the above be published.

was dissuaded from endeavouring to carry it JOHN HANCOCK, President. through, from prudential considerations, resAttest, CHAS. THOMPSON, Secretary.

pecting the necessary union at that critica! Congress, in their manifesto, had recom- period, of all the states in confederation. mended to each colony, whose government was not already sufficient, to proceed to the “We, the representatives of the state of institution of such a form, as was necessary to Pennsylvania, in full convention met, having the preservation of internal peace, and suited duly considered the plan of confederation to the then exigency of their affairs, for the formed in congress, and submitted to the defence of their lives, liberties, and properties, several states, for their assent or dissent, do against the hostile invasions and cruel depre- hereby declare the dissent of this state to the dations of their enemies. In conformity with same, for the following reasons, viz. this recommendation, a convention was as

“ 1st. Because the foundation of every consembled at Philadelphia, in July, 1776, for the federation, intended to be lasting, ought to be purpose of settling a new form of government laid in justice and equity, no unfair advantage for the then State of Pennsylvania. Dr. being given to, or taken by, any of the conFranklin was chosen president of this conven- tracting parties. tion. The constitution formed and established “2d. Because it is, in the nature of things,

at that period for Pennsylvania, was the re- just and equal, that the respective states of *sult of the deliberations of that assembly, and the confederacy should be represented in con

may be considered as a digest of Dr. Frank- gress, and have votes there in proportion to lin's principles of government. The single their importance, arising from their numbers of legislature and the plural executive, appear to people, and the share and degree of strength have been his favourite tenets; being, as he they afford to the united body. And therefore believed, less liable to abuse than any form the XVIIth article,* which gives one vote to of responsible government.

the smallest state and no more to the largest, The virtuous and unfortunate duke de la when the difference between them may be as Rochefoucault, in his eulogium of Dr. Frank- ten to one, or greater ; is unjust, and injurious lin, in 1790, thus remarks on this system of to the larger states, since all of them are, by government:

* This afterwards formed part of the 5th article of the " Franklin alone, disengaging the political confederation as agreed to by all the states, except machine from those multiplied movements and Maryland, on the 9th July, 1778: and

finally ratified by

the whole union, on the 1st March, 1781, (the stale o admired counterpoises that rendered it so com- Maryland acceding thereto.)


other articles, obliged to contribute in propor- | have a right to equal votes. Not that we tion to their respective abilities.

mean thereby to avoid granting additional aids, "3d. Because the practice hitherto in con- when the exigence of our common interests gress, of allowing only one vote to each colo- shall appear to us to make them proper and ny, was originally taken up under a convic- necessary; but, leaving to the congress, with tion of its impropriety and injustice, was in- regard to such additional aids, the right of tended to be in some future time corrected, making requisitions as enjoyed by our late and was then and since submitted to only as kings, we would reserve to ourselves the a temporary expedient, to be used in ordinary right of judging of the propriety of these rebusiness, until the means of rectifying the quisitions, or of refusing or complying with same could be obtained: this clearly appears them in part, or in the whole, as to us shall by the resolve of congress, dated September seem best, and of modifying our grants with 6, 1774, being the day of its meeting, which such conditions as we shall judge necessary, resolve is in these words, . That in determin- in like manner as our assemblies might foring questions in this congress, each colony or merly do with regard to requisitions from the province shall have one vote, the congress crown: for it appears to us just and reasonnot being possessed of, or at present able to able, that we should retain the disposition of procure proper materials for ascertaining the what strength we have, above the equal proimportance of each colony.' That importance portion contributed, as aforesaid, by our state has since been supposed to be best found in to the common service, with every power de the numbers of the people ; for the congress, cessary to apply the same, as occasions may not only by their resolution when the issuing arise, for our particular security; this we of bills was agreed to, but by this present con- mean to do from this time forward, unless we federation, have judged, that the contribution are allowed votes in congress, proportioned to towards sinking those bills and to the common the importance of our state, as was originally expense, should be in proportion to such num- intended. bers, when they could be taken, which has 'Signed by order of the convention." not yet been done; and though the larger colonies submitted to his temporary inequality Though this protest was not acted upon, of representation, expecting it would much for the reasons previously assigned by Dr. sooner have been rectified; it never was un- Franklin, it serves however, to show his opiderstood that by the resolution above cited, a nion and arguments in support of a very inpower was given to the smaller states to fix portant question of American legislation, and that inequality upon them for ever, as those is an additional feature in his political mind. small states have now attempted to do, by combining to vote for this 17th article, and thereby to deprive the larger states of their American paper-money beginning to fall just right, acknowledged in the same resolu- into disrepute, in 1776, and immediate suption. Smaller states having given us in ad-plies of arms and ammunition for the use of vance, this striking instance of the injustice the army being absolutely necessary, congress they are capable of, and of the possible effects turned their attention towards Europe, and to of their combination, is of itself a sufficient France in particular, for the purpose of obreason for our determining not to put our- taining aids in money and military stores, as selves in their power, by agreeing to this ar- the only means of resisting the power of Great ticle as it stands connected with those con- Britain, and preserving their newly-acquired cerning the quotas of each state, since being independence. a majority of states in congress, they may by In the latter end of 1776, a commission was the same means, at any time, deprive the appointed for this object; and Dr. Franklin, larger states of any share in the disposition though then in his 71st year, was considered. of our strength and wealth, and the manage- from his talents as a statesman, and reputation ment of our common interests.

as a philosopher, the most suitable person to “ But as the smaller colonies may object, effect the desired end, and was consequently that if the larger are allowed a number of nominated commissioner plenipotentiary to votes in proportion to their importance, the the court of France, in conjunction with Silas smaller will then be equally in danger of be- Deane and Arthur Lee, esquires: the former ing overpowered and governed by them: we, had already been sent to Europe, for the purnot having the least desire of any influence or pose of secretly obtaining and forwarding warpower that is unjust, or unequal, or dispro- like stores, &c., and the other had been em portioned to the burdens we are to bear, do ployed by congress as a private and confideohereby offer our consent to the said 17th arti- tial agent in England. cle as it now stands, provided the quotas to be Previous to Dr. Franklin's departure, he contributed by the larger provinces shall be conceived it would be advisable, on many acreduced to an equality with the smallest, in counts, to be the bearer of propositions for which case all, by contributing equally, will | peace with Great Britain; and with this view

he drew up, and submitted to the secret com- or any powers to treat of peace, will furnish mittee of congress, the following paper : a pretence for Benjamin Franklin's going to

England, where he has many friends and acSketch of Propositions for a Peace, 1776. quaintance, particularly among the best writ

There shall be a perpetual peace between ers and ablest speakers in both houses of parGreat Britain and the United States of Ame- liament, he thinks he shall be able when there, rica, on the following conditions.

if the terms are not accepted, to work up such Great Britain shall renounce and disclaim a division of sentiments in the nation, as all pretence of right or authority to govern in greatly to weaken its exertions against the any of the United States of America.

United States, and lessen its credit in foreign

countries. To prevent those occasions of misunderstanding which are apt to arise, where the

4. The knowledge of there being powers territories of different powers border on each given to the commissioners to treat with Engother, through the bad conduct of frontier in- land, may have some effect in facilitating and habitants on both sides, Britain shall cede to expediting the proposed treaty with France. the United States the provinces or colonies

5. It is worth our while to offer such a sum of Quebec, St. John's, Nova Scotia, Bermu- for the countries to be ceded, since the vacant da, East and West Florida, and the Bahama lands will in time sell for a great part of what Islands, with all their adjoining and interme- we shall give, if not more;

and if we are to diate territories now claimed by her.

obtain them by conquest, after perhaps a long In return for this cession, the United States war, they will probably cost is more than shall pay to Great Britain the sum of

that sum. It is absolutely necessary for us to sterling, in annual payments, that is to say

have them for our own security; and though per annum, for and during the term the sum may seem large to the present geneof

ration, in less than half the term, it will be to years. And shall moreover grant a free trade to the whole United States, a mere trifle. all British subjects throughout the United States and the ceded colonies, and shall guarantee to Great Britain the possession of her

It is uncertain to what extent this plan was islands in the West Indies.

adopted by congress. The propositions were

certainly not such as the British ministry Motives for proposing a Peace at this time. would have listened to a moment, at that pe

riod of the revolutionary war, whatever they 1. The having such propositions in charge, might have been disposed to have done in a will, by the law of nations, be some protec- more advanced state of it. tion to the commissioners or ambassadors, if It is possible, however, that this or some they should be taken.

other proposal for peace with Great Britain 2. As the news of our declared independ- may have been furnished to Dr. Franklin by ence will tend to unite in Britain all parties the secret committee of congress, to serve him against us; so our offering peace with com- in some measure as a protection in case of merce and payments of money, will tend to his capture at sea ; of which there was at that divide them again: for peace is as necessary time the most imminent danger. to them as to us: our commerce is wanted by Dr. Franklin set off on this important mistheir merchants and manufacturers, who will sion from Philadelphia, Oct. 26, 1776, actherefore incline to the accommodation, even companied by two of his grandchildren, Wilthough the monopoly is not continued, since liam Temple Franklin, and Benjamin Frank-, it can be easily made appear, their share of lin Bache : they slept at Chester that night, our growing trade will soon be greater than and the next morning went by land to Marthe whole has been heretofore. Then for the cus Hook, and embarked there that day, in landed interest, who wish an alleviation of the United States' sloop of war Reprisal, taxes, it is demonstrable by figures, that if we mounting sixteen guns, and commanded by should agree to pay, suppose ten millions in captain Wickes. During the passage Dr. one hundred years, viz. one hundred thousand Franklin made daily experiments, by means pounds per annum for that term, it would, be- of the thermometer, of the temperature of the ing faithfully employed as a sinking fund, more sea-water, as he had done on similar occathan pay off all their present national debt. sions, and with the same view of ascertaining It is, besides, a prevailing opinion in England, the ship's being in or out of the gulph stream, that they must in the nature of things, sooner and more or less within soundings. or later lose the colonies, and many think The sloop was frequently chased during they had better be without the government the voyage by British cruisers, and several of them; so that the proposition will, on that times prepared for action; but being a good account, have more supporters and fewer op- sailer, and the captain having received orposers.

ders, not unnecessarily to risk an engage3. As the having such propositions to make, ment, she as often escaped her pursuers. The

crew did not always seem to like avoiding him on his safe arrival, expressing great satiscoming up with the vessels that were occa- faction, as they were warm friends to Amesionally seen, as they were naturally desirous rica, and hoped his being in France would be of getting some prize-money, on this account of advantage to the American cause, &c. &c. probably the captain indulged them on some A magnificent supper closed the evening. occasions, when there was little likelihood of Being much fatigued and weakened by the danger. An opportunity of this kind present- voyage and journey, Dr. Franklin was pered itself on the 27th of November, being then suaded to remain some time at M. Gruel's near the coast of France, though out of sound country house, where he was elegantly and ings. Several sail were seen about noon, commodiously lodged : his strength, indeed, and the sloop brought to, and took a brig from was not equal to an immediate journey to Bourdeaux, bound to Cork, (being Irish pro Paris. During his stay at M. Gruel's he was perty) loaded with lumber and some wine. in hopes of living retired, but the house was She had left Bourdeaux the day before. The almost always full of visiters; from whom, captain found by the brig's reckoning, that however, much useful information was obtainhe was then only sixteen leagues from land. ed respecting the state of affairs at court, and In the afternoon of the same day he came up the character of persons in power, &c. Dr. with, and took another brig, from Rochefort, Franklin also learnt with great satisfaction, belonging to Hull, bound to Hamburgh, with that a supply had been obtained from the brandy and flax-seed : early the next morn- French government, of two hundred brass ing land was in sight from the mast-head; it field-pieces, thirty thousand firelocks, and proved to be Belleisle; a pilot came on board, some other military stores; which were then and the sloop was brought to an anchor in the shipping for America, and would be convor. evening. On the 29th she ran into Quiberon ed by a ship of war. Bay, where she continued till December 3d, Dr. Franklin at that time did not assume when finding the contrary winds likely to any public character, thinking it prudent first continue, which prevented her entering the to know whether the court was ready and Loire, the captain procured a fishing-boat to willing to receive publicly commissioners put Dr. Franklin and his grandsons on shore from the congress; and that he might neither at Auray, about six leagues distant, where embarrass the ministry on the one hand, nor they were landed in the evening. Auray subject himself and his colleagues to the proved to be a wretched place. No post- hazard of a disgraceful refusal on the other

, haises to be hired, and obliged to send to he dispatched an express to Mr. Deane, then Vannes for one, which did not arrive till next in Paris, with the letters he had for him from day; when the party reached that town, late the committee of congress, and a copy of their in the evening. Dr. Franklin, in the little joint commission, that he might make the journal he kept, and from which the above proper inquiries, and give him the necessary details are taken, adds : “ The carriage was information : meantime it was generally supa miserable one, with tired horses, the even- posed at Nantes that Dr. Franklin was sent ing dark, scarce a traveller but ourselves on to negotiate, and that opinion appeared to the road; and to make it more comfortable, give great pleasure. the driver stopped near a wood we were to On the 15th December, Dr. Franklin left pass through, to tell us that a gang of eighteen Nantes, and shortly after arrived safely at robbers infested that wood, who but two weeks Paris, where he continued to reside till the ago had robbed and murdered some travellers 7th January following, when he removed with on that very spot."

his family to Passy, (a village beautifully The same journal contains the following situated about a league from the capital.) and remark, “ December 6. On the road yester- took up his abode in a large and handsotne day,” (travelling to Nantes,) “we met six or house, with extensive gardens, belonging to seven country-women, in company, on horse- Mons. Le Ray de Chaumont, a great and use back and astride: they were all of fair white ful friend to the American cause : here Dr. and red complexions, but one among them Franklin continued during the whole of his was the fairest woman I ever beheld. Most residence in France—being about eight years of the men have good complexions, not and a half. swarthy like those of the North of France, in The following extracts from letters written which I remember that, except about Abbe- by him to one of his intimate friends, shortly ville, I saw few fair people.”

after his arrival in Paris, fully show his sentiArriving at Nantes on the 7th December, ments relative to the state of American a grand dinner was prepared on the occasion politics at that period, and furnish some inby some friends of America, at which Dr. sight as to the nature of his mission to France. Franklin was present, and in the afternoon went to meet a large party at the country seat

To Dr. Ingenhauz. of monsieur Gruel, a short distance from town, - "I long laboured in England with where crowds of visiters came to compliment great zeal and sincerity to prevent the breach

« AnteriorContinuar »