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rived from America. But the Doctor was not only instrumental in the dismissal of this minister, but perhaps in the appointment of his successor: for, complaining of Lord Hillsborough one day at court, to a person of considerable influence, that person told him that the Americans were represented by his lordship as an unquiet people, not easily satisfied with any ministry; that however it was thought too much occasion had been given them to dislike the present; and he asked him, whether, in case he should be removed, he could name another likely to be more acceptable to the colonies ? Dr. Franklin instantly replied, “ Yes, there is Lord Dartmouth-we liked him very well when he was at the head of the board formerly, and in all probability should again.” This was probably reported:, what influence it may have had is uncertain ; but shortly after Lord Dartmouth was actually appointed to succeed Lord Hillsborough, to the great satisfaction of all the friends of America,
Dr. Franklin, it appears, had about this time a strong inclination to return to America, though well pleased with his residence in England, where, as he writes to his son, “ Nothing can be more agreeable than my situation, more especially as I hope for less embarrassment from the new administration. A general respect paid me by the learned, a number of friends and acquaintance among them, with whom 'I have a pleasing inter
course; a character of so much weight, that it has protected me when some in power would have done me injury, and continued me in an office they would have deprived me of; my company so much desired, that I seldom dine at home in winter, and could spend the whole summer in the countryhouses of inviting friends if I chose it. Learned and ingenious foreigners that come to England, almost all make a point of visiting me (for my repntation is still higher abroad than here); several of the foreign ambassadors have assiduously cultivated my acquaintance, treating me as one of their corps, partly I believe from the desire they have from time to time of hearing something of American affairs, an object become of importance in foreign courts, who begin to hope Britain's alarming power will be diminished by the defection of her colonies ; and partly that they may have an opportunity of introducing me to the gentlemen of their country who desire it. The king too has lately been heard to speak of me with regard. These are flattering circumstances; but a violent longing for home sometimes seizes me, which I can no otherwise subdue, but by promising myself a return next spring, or next autumn, and so forth. As to returning hither, if I once go back, I have no thoughts of it. I am too far advanced in life to
Deputy Postmaster-general of America.
propose three voyages more. I have some important affairs to settle at home; and considering my double expenses here and there, I hardly think my salaries fully compensate the disadvantages. The late change, however, (of the American minister) being thrown into the balance, determines me to stay another winter.”
Lord Dartmouth had heretofore expressed great personal regard to Dr. Franklin, who now found himself upon very good terms with this new minister.
In this year the late Mr. Walsh (then member of parliament for Worcester), who in the preceding summer had made a journey to La Rochelle, in France, to ascertain by experiments, whether the shock given by the torpedo was an electrical efect, communicated the results of his numerous experiments to the Royal Society, in a letter addressed to Dr. Franklin; and for this communication he received the medal provided by Sir Godfrey Copley.
As an explanatory introduction to a transaction of much interest and importance in the annals of
i Notwithstanding, after Dr. Franklin's return to America, in the spring of 1775, the welfare of his country again induced him to cross the Atlantic in 1776, and undertake, at the age of 71, infirm, and exposed to be captured by the enemy, a winter's voyage, to France; whence he had again to cross the Atlantic in his return home, in 1785, being then in his 80th year!
Dr. Franklin, which made a considerable noise at this time, (1773-4) and which has not hitherto been satisfactorily developed to the public, it may be proper to revert a few years back to the history of the colony of Massachusetts ; for which purpose the following short sketch, from an unknown hand, (found among Dr. Franklin's papers) is submitted.
“ From the royal and ministerial assurances given in favor of America in the year 1769, the subsequent repeal in 1770 of five-sixths of the duties which had been imposed in 1767, together with the renewal of the mercantile intercourse between Great Britain and her colonies, many hoped that the contention between the two countries was finally closed.
In all the provinces, excepting Massachusetts, appearances seemed to favor that opinion. Many incidents operated there to the prejudice of that harmony which had begun elsewhere to return. The stationing a military force among
them was a permanent source of uneasiness. The royal army had been brought thither with the avowed design of enforcing submission to the mother-country. Speeches from the throne, and addresses from both houses of parliament, had taught them to look upon the inhabitants as factious turbulent citizens, who aimed at throwing off all subordination to Great Britain; they, on the other hand, were accustomed to look upon the soldiery as instruments of tyranny sent on purpose to
dragoon them out of their liberties. Mutual insults and provocations were the consequence.
“On the evening of the 5th of March, 1770, a tumult between the town's people and a party of the soldiers took place. In this the latter fired on the former, and killed several of them. Moderate men interposed, and prevented a general carnage. The events of this tragical night sunk deep in the minds of the citizens. The anniversary of it was observed with greatsolemnity. Their ablest speakers were successively employed to deliver an annual oration to preserve the remembrance of it fresh in their minds. On these occasions the blessings of liberty--the horrors of slavery—and a variety of such popular topics were displayed in elegant language, and presented to the public view in their most pleasing or most hideous forms.
“ The obstacles to returning harmony, which have already been mentioned, were increased by making the judges in Massachusetts independent of the province. Formerly they had been paid by yearly grants from the assembly; but from the year 1772, Peter Oliver, the chief justice of the superior court, received his salary from the crown. This was resented by the assembly as a species of bribery, tending to bias his judicial determinations in favor of the mother-country. They made it the foundation of an impeachment; but this produced no other consequence than a dissolution of the assembly which prosecuted the uncourtly measure.