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CHAPTER V: Transactions in Great-Britain, in consequence of the proceedings of Congress, in 1774. - David Ramsay, The History of the American Revolution, vol. 1 
The History of the American Revolution, Foreword by Lester H. Cohen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1990). Vol. 1.
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Transactions in Great-Britain, in consequence of the proceedings of Congress, in 1774.
Some time before the proceedings of Congress reached England, it was justly apprehended that a non-importation agreement would be one of the measures they would adopt. The ministry apprehending that this event, by distressing the trading and manufacturing towns, might influence votes against the court, in the election of a new parliament, which was of course to come on in the succeeding year, suddenly dissolved the parliament, and immediately ordered a new one to be chosen. It was their design to have the whole business of elections over, before the inconveniences of a non-importation agreement could be felt. The nation was thus surprised into an election without knowing that the late American acts, had driven the colonies into a firm combination, to support, and make a common cause, with the people of Massachusetts. A new parliament was returned, which met in thirty-four days after the proceedings of Congress were first published in Philadelphia, and before they were known in Great-Britain.1774 This, for the most part consisted, either of the former members, or of those who held similar sentiments.
 On the 30th of November, the king in his speech to his new parliament informed them,
that a most daring spirit of resistance and disobedience to the laws, unhappily prevailed in the province of Massachusetts, and had broke forth in fresh violences of a very criminal nature, and that these proceedings had been countenanced and encouraged in his other colonies, and unwarrantable attempts had been made to obstruct the commerce of his kingdoms by unlawful combinations, and that he had taken such measures, and given such orders as he judged most proper and effectual, for carrying into execution the laws which were passed in the last session of the late parliament, relative to the province of Massachusetts.
An address which was proposed in the house of commons in answer to this speech, produced a warm debate. The minister was reminded of the great effects he had predicted from the late American acts. “They were to humble that whole continent, without further trouble, and the punishment of Boston, was to strike so universal a panic on all the colonies, that it would be totally abandoned, and instead of obtaining relief, a dread of the same fate would awe the other provinces to a most respectful submission.” An address re-echoing the royal speech, was nevertheless carried by a great majority. A similar address was carried, after a spirited debate, in the upper house, but the lords Richmond, Portland, Rockingham, Stamford, Stanhope, Torrington, Ponsonby, Wycombe and Camden, entered a protest against it, which concluded with these remarkable words.
Whatever may be the mischievous designs, or the inconsiderate temerity which leads others to this desperate course, we wish to be known as persons who have disapproved of measures so injurious in their past effects, and future tendency, and who are not in haste, without enquiry or information, to commit ourselves in declarations, which may precipitate our country into all the calamities of a civil war.
Soon after the meeting of the new parliament, the proceedings of the Congress reached Great-Britain.1774 The first impression made by them, was in favour of  America. Administration seemed to be staggered, and their opposers triumphed, in the eventual truth of their prediction, that an universal confederacy to resist Great-Britain, would be the consequence of the late American acts. The secretary of state, after a days perusal, during which a council was held, said that the petition of Congress to the King, was a decent and proper one. He also cheerfully undertook to present it, and afterwards reported, that his majesty was pleased very graciously to receive it, and to promise to lay it before his two houses of parliament. From these favourable circumstances, the sanguine friends of America, concluded that it was intended to make the petition, the foundation of a change of measures, but these hopes were of short duration.
The warmer partisans of administration, placed so much confidence in the efficacy of the measures, they had lately taken to bring the Americans to obedience, that they regarded the boldest resolutions of Congress, as the idle clamors of an unruly multitude, which proper exertions on the part of Great-Britain would speedily silence. So much had been asserted and contradicted by both parties, that the bulk of the people could form no certain opinion, on the subject.
The parliament adjourned for the christmas holidays, without coming to any decision on American affairs.1775 As soon as they met in January, a number of papers, containing information, were laid before them. These were mostly letters from governors, and other servants of his majesty, which detailed the opposition of the colonists, in language calculated to give a bad impression of their past conduct, and an alarming one of their future intentions.
It was a circumstance unfavourable to the lovers of peace, that the rulers of Great-Britain received almost the whole of their American intelligence from those, who had an interest in deceiving them. Governors, judges, revenue-officers, and other royal servants, being both appointed and paid by Great-Britain, fancied that zeal for the interest of that country, would be the most likely way to ensure their farther promotion. They were therefore,  in their official dispatches, to government, often tempted to abuse the colonists, with a view of magnifying their own watchfulness and recommending themselves to Great-Britain. The plain, simple language of truth, was not acceptable to courtly ears. Ministers received and caressed those, and those only, whose representations coincided with their own views and wishes. They who contended that by the spirit of the English constitution British subjects, residing on one side of the Atlantic, were entitled to equal privileges with those who resided on the other, were unnoticed, while the abettors of ministerial measures were heard with attention.
Jan. 20In this hour of national infatuation lord Chatham, after a long retirement, resumed his seat in the house of lords, and exerted his unrivalled eloquence, in sundry attempts to dissuade his countrymen from attempting to subdue the Americans by force of arms. The native dignity of his superior genius, and the recollection of his important services, entitled him to distinguished notice. His language, voice, and gesture, were calculated to force conviction on his hearers. Though venerable for his age, he spoke with the fire of youth. He introduced himself with some general observations on the importance of the American quarrel. He enlarged on the dangerous events that were coming on the nation, in consequence of the present dispute. He arraigned the conduct of ministers with great severity, and reprobated their whole system of American politics, and moved that an humble address, be presented to his majesty, most humbly to advise and beseech him to dispatch orders to general Gage, to remove his majesty’s forces from the town of Boston. His lordship supported this motion in a pathetic animated speech, but it was rejected by a great majority. From this and other circumstances it soon became evident, that the Americans could expect no more favour from the new parliament, than they had experienced from the late one.1775 A majority in both houses was against them, and resolved to compel them to obedience; but a respectable minority in their favour was strongly seconded by petitions from the merchants and manufacturers,  throughout the kingdom, and particularly by those of London and Bristol. As these were well apprised of the consequences that must follow from a prosecution of coercive measures, and deeply interested in the event, they made uncommon exertions to prevent their adoption. They circumstantially pointed out the various evils that would result from them, and faithfully warned their countrymen of the danger, to which their commercial interests were exposed.
When the petition from the merchants of London was read in the house of commons, it was moved to refer it to the committee appointed to take into consideration the American papers; but it was moved by way of amendment on the ministerial side, that it should be referred to a separate committee, to meet on the 27th, the day succeeding that appointed for the consideration of American papers. This, though a dishonorable evasion, was carried by a majority of more than two to one.
A similar fate attended the petitions from Bristol, Glasgow, Norwich, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Woolverhampton, Dudley, and some other places. These on their being presented, were in like manner consigned to what the opposition humorously termed, the committee of oblivion.
About the same time a petition was offered from Mr. Bollan, Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Lee, stating that they were authorized by Congress to present their petition to the king, which his majesty had referred to that house, and that they were enabled to throw great light on the subject, and praying to be heard at the bar, in support of the said petition. The friends of the ministry alledged, that as Congress was not a legal body, nothing could be received from them. It was in vain replied, that the Congress, however illegal as to other purposes, was sufficiently legal for presenting a petition, and that as it was signed by the individual members of Congress, it might be received as a petition from individuals. That the signers of it were persons of great influence in America, and it was the right of all subjects to have their petitions heard.
1775In the course of the debate on Lord Chatham’s motion for addressing his majesty to withdraw his troops from Boston, it had been observed by some lords in administration, that it was common and easy to censure their measures, but those who did so, proposed nothing better.Feb. 1st Lord Chatham answered, that he should not be one of those idle censurers, that he had thought long and closely upon the subject, and purposed soon to lay before their lordships the result of his meditations, in a plan for healing the differences between Great-Britain and the colonies, and for restoring peace to the empire. When he had matured his plan, he introduced it into the house, in the form of a bill for settling the troubles in America. In this he proposed that the colonists should make a full acknowledgement of the supremacy of the legislature, and the superintending power of the British parliament. The bill did not absolutely decide on the right of taxation, but partly as a matter of grace, and partly as a compromise, declared and enacted, “that no tollage tax, or other charge, should be levied in America, except by common consent in their provincial assemblies.” It asserted the right of the king to send a legal army to any part of his dominions at all times, but declared, “that no military force could ever be lawfully employed to violate or destroy the just rights of the people.” It also legalised the holding a Congress in the ensuing May for the double purpose “of recognising the supreme legislative authority, and superintending power of parliament over the colonies, and for making a free grant to the king, his heirs and successors, of a certain and perpetual revenue, subject to the disposition of parliament, and applicable to the alleviation of the national debt.” On these conditions the bill proposed, “to restrain the powers of the admiralty courts to their ancient limits, and suspended for a limited time, those acts which had been complained of by Congress.” It proposed to place the judges in America on the same footing, as to the holding of their salaries and offices, with those in England, and secured to the colonies all the privileges, franchises, and immunities, granted by their several charters and constitutions.1775 His lordship introduced this  plan with a speech, in which he explained and supported every part of it. When he sat down, lord Dartmouth rose and said, “it contained matter of such magnitude as to require consideration, and therefore hoped, that the noble Earl did not expect their lordships to decide upon it by an immediate vote, but would be willing it should lie on the table for consideration.” Lord Chatham answered, “that he expected no more,” but lord Sandwich rose, and in a petulant speech opposed its being received at all, and gave his opinion, “that it ought immediately to be rejected with the contempt it deserved. That he could not believe it to be the production of any British peer—that it appeared to him rather the work of some American,” and turning his face towards Dr. Franklin, who was leaning on the bar, said, “he 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 turned the eyes of many lords on the insulted American, who, with that self command, which is peculiar to great minds, kept his countenance unmoved. Several other lords of the administration gave their sentiments also, for rejecting lord Chatham’s conciliatory bill, urging that it not only gave a sanction to the traiterous proceedings of the Congress already held, but legalised their future meeting. They enlarged on the rebellious temper and hostile disposition of the Americans, and said, “that, though the duty on tea was the pretence, the restrictions on their commerce, and the hopes of throwing them off, were the real motives of their disobedience, and that to concede now, would be to give up the point forever.”
The Dukes of Richmond and Manchester, lord Camden, lord Lyttleton and others, were for receiving lord Chatham’s conciliatory bill—some from approbation of its principles, but others only from a regard to the character and dignity of the house.
1775Lord Dartmouth who, from indecision rarely had any will or judgment of his own, and who with dispositions for the best measures, could be easily prevailed upon to join in support of the worst, finding the opposition from  his coadjutors in administration unexpectedly strong, turned round and gave his voice with them for immediately rejecting the plan; lord Chatham, in reply to lord Sandwich, declared,
the bill proposed by him to be entirely his own, but he made no scruple to declare, that if he were the first minister of the 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 the American affairs as the gentleman alluded to, and so injuriously reflected upon [(]Dr. Franklin). One whom all Europe held in high estimation for his knowledge and wisdom, and ranked with her Boyles and her Newtons—who was an honour, not only to the English nation, but to human nature.
The plan proposed by lord Chatham was rejected, by a majority of 64 to 32, and without being admitted to lie on the table. That a bill on so important a subject, offered by one of the first men of the age, and who, as prime minister of the nation, had but a few years before taken up Great-Britain when in the lowest despondency, and conducted her to victory and glory, through a war with two of the most powerful kingdoms of Europe, should be rejected without any consideration, or even a second reading, was not only a breach of decency, but a departure from that propriety of conduct which should mark the proceedings of a branch of the national legislature. It could not but strike every thinking American, that such legislators, influenced by passion, prejudice, and party spirit, many of whom were totally ignorant of the subject, and who would not give themselves an opportunity by a second reading, or farther consideration, to inform themselves better, were very unfit to exercise unlimited supremacy over three millions of virtuous, sensible people, inhabiting the other side of the globe.
On the day after the rejection of lord Chatham’s bill, a petition was presented to the house of commons, from the planters of the sugar colonies residing in Great-Britain, and the merchants of London trading to the colonies.1775 In this they stated, that the British property in  the West-India islands amounted to upwards of 30 millions, and that a further property of many millions was employed in the commerce created by the said islands, and that the profits and produce of these immense capitals which ultimately centered in Great-Britain, would be deranged and endangered by the continuance of the American troubles. The petitioners were on the 16th of the next month admitted to a hearing, when Mr. Glover, as their agent, ably demonstrated the folly and danger of persevering in the contest, but without any effect. The immediate coercion of the colonies was resolved upon, and the ministry would not suffer themselves to be diverted from its execution. They were confident of success, if they could once bring the controversy to the decision of arms. They expected more from conquest than they could promise themselves by negotiation or compromise. The free constitutions of the colonies and their rapid progress in population, were beheld with a jealous eye, as the natural means of independence. They conceived the most effectual method of retaining them long, would be to reduce them soon. They hoped to be able to extinguish remonstrance and debate by such a speedy and decisive conquest, as would give them an opportunity to new model the colonial constitutions, on such principles as would have prevented future altercations on the subject of their chartered rights. Every representation that tended to retard or obstruct the coercion of the colonies, was therefore considered as tending only to prolong the controversy. Confident of victory, and believing that nothing short of it would restore the peace of the empire, the ministry turned a deaf ear to all petitions and representations. They even presumed that the petitioners, when they found Great-Britain determined on war, would assist in carrying it on with vigour, in order to expedite the settlement of the dispute.1775 They took it for granted, that when the petitioning towns were convinced that a renewal of the commercial intercourse between the two countries would be sooner obtained by going on, than turning back, that the same interest which led them at first to petition, would lead them afterwards to support coercive  measures, as the most effectual and shortest way of securing commerce from all future interruptions.
The determination of ministers to persevere was also forwarded by hopes of the defection of New-York from her sister colonies. They flattered themselves, that when one link of the continental chain gave way, it would be easy to make an impression on the disjointed extremities.
Every attempt to close the breach which had been opened by the former parliament, having failed, and the ministry having made up their minds on the mode of proceeding with the colonists, their proposed plan was briefly unfolded. This was to send a greater force to America, and to bring in a temporary act to put a stop to all the foreign trade of the New England colonies, till they should make proper submissions and acknowledgments. An address to his majesty was at the same time moved for, to “beseech him to take the most effectual measures, to enforce due obedience to the laws and authority of the supreme legislature.”
Truly critical was that moment to the union of the empire. A new parliament might, without the charge of inconsistency, have repealed acts, passed by a former one, which had been found inconvenient on experiment; but pride and passion, under the specious names of national dignity and zeal for the supremacy of parliament, induced the adoption of measures, for immediately compelling the submission of the colonies.
The repeal of a few acts of parliament would, at this time, have satisfied America. Though she had been extending her claims, yet she was still willing that Great-Britain should monopolize her trade, and that the parliament should regulate it for the common benefit of the empire; nor was she disposed to abridge his majesty of any of his usual prerogatives. This authority was sufficient for the Mother Country to retain the colonists in a profitable state of subordination, and yet not so much as to be inconsistent with their claims, or the security of their most important interests. Britain viewed the matter in a different light.1775 To recede at this time, would be to acknowledge, that the ministry had hitherto been in the  wrong, a concession rarely made by private persons, but more rarely still by men in public stations. The leading members in parliament, not distinguishing the opposition of freemen to unconstitutional innovations, from the turbulence of licentious mobs breaking over the bounds of law and constitution, supposed that to redress grievances, was to renounce sovereignty. This inference, in some degree, resulted from the broad basis which they had assigned to the claims of the Mother Country. If, as was contended, on the part of Great-Britain, they had a right to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever, and the power of parliament over them was absolute and unlimited, they were precluded from rescinding any act of theirs, however oppressive, when demanded as a matter of right. They were too highly impressed with ideas of their unlimited authority to repeal any of their laws, on the principle, that they had not a constitutional power to enact them, and too unwise to adopt the same measure on the ground of political expediency. Unfortunately for both countries, two opinions were generally believed, neither of which was perhaps true in its utmost extent, and one of which was most assuredly false. The ministry and parliament of England proceeded on the idea, that the claims of the colonists amounted to absolute independence, and that a fixed resolution to renounce the sovereignty of Great-Britain was concealed, under the specious pretext of a redress of grievances. The Americans on the other hand, were equally confident that the Mother Country not only harboured designs unfriendly to their interests, but seriously intended to introduce arbitrary government. Jealousies of each other were reciprocally indulged to the destruction of all confidence, and to the final dismemberment of the empire.
In discussing the measures proposed by the minister for the coercion of the colonies, the whole ground of the American controversy was traversed.1775 The comparative merits of concession and coercion were placed in every point of view. Some of the minority in both houses of parliament, pointed out the dangers that would attend a war with America—the likelihood of the interference of  other powers—the probability of losing, and the impossibility of gaining any thing more than was already possessed. On the other hand, the friends of the ministry asserted that the Americans had been long aiming at independence—that they were magnifying pretended grievances to cover a premeditated revolt—that it was the business and duty of Englishmen, at every hazard to prevent its completion, and to bring them back to a rememberance that their present greatness was owing to the Mother Country; and that even their existence had been purchased at an immense expence of British blood and treasure. They acknowledged the danger to be great, but said “it must be encountered; that every day’s delay increased the evil, and that it would be base and cowardly to shift off for the present an unavoidable contest, which must fall with accumulated weight on the heads of their posterity.” The danger of foreign interference was denied, and it was contended that an appearance of vigorous measures, with a farther reinforcement of troops at Boston, would be sufficient to quell the disturbances; and it was urged, that the friends of government were both strong and numerous, and only waited for proper support, and favourable circumstances, to declare themselves.
After long and warm debates, and one or two protests, the ministerial plans were carried by great majorities. In consequence thereof, on the 9th of February, 1775, a joint address, from both lords and commons, was presented to his majesty, in which
they returned thanks for the communication of the papers relative to the state of the British colonies in America, and gave it as their opinion, that a rebellion actually existed in the province of Massachusetts, and beseeched his majesty that he would take the most effectual measures to enforce due obedience to the laws and authority of the supreme legislature, and begged in the most solemn manner to assure his majesty that it was their fixed resolution, at the hazard of their lives and properties, to stand by his majesty against all rebellious attempts, in the maintenance of the just rights of his majesty, and the two houses of parliament.
1775The lords, Richmond, Craven, Archer, Abergaveny, Rockingham, Wycombe, Courtenay, Torrington, Ponsonby, Cholmondeley, Abingdon, Rutland, Camden, Effingham, Stanhope, Scarborough, Fitzwilliam and Tankerville, protested against this address,
as founded on no proper parliamentary information, being introduced by refusing to suffer the presentation of petitions against it (though it be the undoubted right of the subject to present the same)—as following the rejection of every mode of conciliation—as holding out no substantial offer of redress of grievances, and as promising support to those ministers who had inflamed America, and grossly misconducted the affairs of Great-Britain.
By the address, against which this protest was entered, the parliament of Great-Britain passed the Rubicon. In former periods, it might be alledged that the claims of the colonies were undefined, and that their unanimous resolution to defend them was unknown; but after a free representation from twelve provinces had stated their rights, and pledged themselves to each other to support them, and their determinations were known, a resolution that a rebellion actually existed, and that at the hazard of their lives and properties, they would stand by his majesty against all rebellious attempts, was a virtual declaration of war. Both parties were now bound in consequence of their own acts, to submit their controversy to the decision of arms. Issue was joined by the approbation Congress had given to the Suffolk resolves, and by this subsequent joint address of both houses of parliament to his majesty. It is probable that neither party, in the beginning, intended to go thus far, but by the inscrutable operations of providence, each was permitted to adopt such measures as not only rent the empire, but involved them both, with their own consent, in all the calamities of a long and bloody war. The answer from the throne to the joint address of parliament, contained assurances of taking the most speedy and effectual measures for enforcing due obedience to the laws, and authority of the supreme legislature.1775 This answer was accompanied with a message to the commons, in  which they were informed that some augmentation to the forces by sea and land would be necessary. An augmentation of 4383 men to the land forces, and of 2000 seamen, to be employed for the ensuing year, was accordingly asked for, and carried without difficulty. By the first it was stated, that the force at Boston would be ten thousand men, a number supposed to be sufficient for enforcing the laws. Other schemes, in addition to a military force, were thought advisable for promoting the projected coercion of the colonies.Feb. 10 With this view a punishment was proposed, so universal in its operation, that it was expected the inhabitants of the New-England colonies, to obtain a riddance of its heavy pressure, would interest themselves in procuring a general submission to parliament. Lord North moved for leave to bring in a bill to restrain the trade and commerce of the provinces of Massachusetts Bay, and New-Hampshire, the colonies of Connecticut and Rhode-Island, and Providence Plantations in North-America, to Great-Britain, Ireland, and the British islands in the West-Indies, and to prohibit such provinces and colonies from carrying on any fishery on the banks of Newfoundland, or other places therein to be mentioned, under certain conditions, and for a limited time. The motion for this bill was supported, by declaring that as the Americans had refused to trade with the Mother Country, they ought not to be permitted to trade with any other. It was known that the New-England colonies earned on a circuitous trade and fishing, on the banks of Newfoundland, to a great extent. To cut them off from this resource, they were legislatively forbidden to fish, or to carry on foreign trade. It was presumed that the wants of a large body of people, deprived of employment, would create a clamor in favour of reconciliation.
The British ministry expected to excite the same temper in the unemployed New-England men, that Congress meant to raise by the non-importation agreement, among the British merchants and manufacturers. The motion for this bill brought into view, the whole of the American controversy.1775 The opposers of it said, that its cruelty  exceeded the examples of hostile rigour with avowed enemies; for that in the most dangerous wars, the fishing craft was universally spared—they desired the proposer of the bill to recollect, that he had often spoken of the multitude of friends he had in those provinces, and that now he confounded the innocent with the guilty—friends with enemies, and involved his own partizans in one common ruin with his opposers. They alledged farther, that the bill would operate against the people of Great-Britain, as the people of New England were in debt to them, and had no other means of paying that debt, but through the fishery, and the circuitous trade dependent on it. It was observed, that the fishermen being cut off from employment must turn soldiers, and that therefore while they were provoking the Americans to resistance by one set of acts, they were furnishing them with the means of recruiting an army by another. The favourers of the bill denied the charge of severity, alledging that the colonists could not complain of any distress the bill might bring on them, as they not only deserved it, but had set the example, that they had entered into lawful combinations to ruin the merchants and manufacturers of Great-Britain. It was said, that if any foreign power had offered a similar insult or injury, the whole nation would have demanded satisfaction. They contended that it was a bill of humanity and mercy; for, said they, the colonists have incurred all the penalties of rebellion, and are liable to the severest military execution. Instead of inflicting the extent of what they deserved, the bill only proposes to bring them to their senses, by restricting their trade. They urged farther that the measure was necessary, for said they, “the Americans have frequently imposed on us, by threatening to withdraw their trade, hoping through mercantile influence to bend the legislature to their demands—that this was the third time they had thrown the commerce of Great-Britain into a state of confusion. That both colonies and commerce were better lost than preserved on such terms.[”] They added farther, that they must either relinquish their connexion with America, or fix it on such a basis as would prevent  a return of these evils.1775 They admitted the bill to be coercive, but said, “That the coercion which put the speediest end to the dispute, was eventually the most merciful.”
In the progress of the bill, a petition from the merchants and traders of London, who were interested in the American commerce, was presented against it. They were heard by their agent, Mr. David Barclay, and a variety of witnesses were examined before the house. In the course of their evidence it appeared that in the year 1764, the four provinces of New-England employed in their several fisheries no less than 45,880 ton of shipping, and 6002 men; and that the produce of their fisheries that year, in foreign markets, amounted to 322,220£. 16s. sterling. It also appeared that the fisheries had very much increased since that time—that all the materials used in them, except salt, and the timber of which the vessels were built, were purchased from Great-Britain; and that the net proceeds of the whole were remitted thither. All this information was disregarded.March 30 After much opposition in both houses, and a protest in the house of lords, the bill was, by a great majority, finally ratified. So intent was the ministry and parliament on the coercion of the colonists, that every other interest was sacrificed to its accomplishment. They conceived the question between the two countries to be simply whether they should abandon their claims, and at once give up all the advantages arising from sovereignty and commerce, or resort to violent measures for their security.
Since the year 1769, when a secretary of state officially disclaimed all views of an American revenue, little mention had been made of that subject, but the decided majority which voted with the ministry on this occasion, emboldened lord North once more to present it to the view of his countrymen; he therefore brought into parliament a scheme which had the double recommendation of holding forth the semblance of conciliation, and the prospect of an easement of British taxes, by a productive revenue from the colonies. This was a resolution which passed on the 20th of February.
1775Resolved, That when the governor, council, and assembly, or general court, of any of his majesty’s provinces or colonies in America, shall propose to make provision according to the condition, circumstances, and situations of such province or colony, for contributing their proportion for the common defence, (such proportion to be raised under the authority of the general court or general assembly of such province or colony, and disposable by parliament) and shall engage to make provision also for the support of the civil government, and the administration of justice in such province or colony, it will be proper, if such proposal shall be approved by his majesty and the two houses of parliament, and for so long as such provision shall be made accordingly, to forbear, in respect of such province or colony, to levy any duty, tax, or assessment, except only such duties as it may be expedient to continue to levy or to impose for the regulation of commerce, the net produce of the duties last mentioned, to be carried to the account of such province or colony respectively.
This was introduced by the minister in a long speech, in which he asserted that it would be an infallible touch stone to try the Americans; “if” said he, “their opposition is only founded on the principles which they pretend, they must agree with this proposition, but if they have designs in contemplation different from those they avow, their refusal will convict them of duplicity.” The oppositions to the minister’s motion originated among those who had supported him in previous questions. They objected to the proposal that in effect it was an acknowledgment of something grievous in the idea of taxing America by parliament, and that it was therefore a departure from their own principles. They contended that it was improper to make concessions to rebels with arms in their hands, or to enter into any measures for a settlement with the Americans, in which they did not, as a preliminary, acknowledge the supremacy of parliament.1775 The minister was likely to be deserted by some of his partizans, till others explained the consistency of the scheme with their former declarations.  It was asked, “what shall parliament lose by acceding to this resolution? Not the right of taxing America, for this is most expressly reserved. Not the profitable exercise of this right, for it proposed to enforce the only essential part of taxation, by compelling the Americans to raise not only what they, but what we, think reasonable. We are not going to war for trifles and a vain point of honor, but for substantial revenue.” The minister farther declared, that he did not expect his proposition to be generally relished by the Americans. But said he, if it does no good in the colonies, it will do good here, it will unite the people of England, by holding out to them a distinct object of revenue. He added farther, as it tends to unite England, it is likely to disunite America, for if only one province accepts the offer, their confederacy, which only makes them formidable, will be broken.
The opposers of ministry attacked the proposition with the combined force of wit and argument. They animadverted on the inconsistency of holding forth the same resolution as a measure of concession, and as an assertion of authority. They remarked that hitherto it had been constantly denied that they had any contest about an American revenue—that the whole had been a dispute about obedience to trade-laws, and the general legislative authority of parliament, but now ministers suddenly changed their language, and proposed to interest the nation—console the manufacturers and animate the soldiery, by persuading them that it is not a contest for empty honour, but for the acquisition of a substantial revenue. It was said that the Americans would be as effectually taxed, without their consent, by being compelled to pay a gross sum, as by an aggregate of small duties to the same amount. That this scheme of taxation exceeded in oppression any that the rapacity of mankind had hitherto devised. In other cases a specific sum was demanded, and the people might reasonably presume that the remainder was their own; but here they were wholly in the dark as to the extent of the demand.
1775This proposition, however for conciliation, though illy  relished by many of the friends of ministry, was carried on a division of 274 to 88. On its transmission to the colonies, it did not produce the effects of disunion expected from it. It was unanimously rejected. The reason for this cannot be expressed better than in the act of Congress on that subject, which after a recital of the said conciliatory motion, proceeded in the following words,
The Congress took the said resolution into consideration, and are thereupon of opinion,
That the colonies of America are entitled to the sole and exclusive privilege of giving and granting their own money. That this involves a right of deliberating whether they will make any gift, for what purposes it shall be made, and what shall be its amount; and that it is a high breach of this privilege for any body of men, extraneous to their Constitutions, to prescribe the purposes for which money shall be levied on them, to take to themselves the authority of judging of their conditions, circumstances, and situations, and of determining the amount of the contribution to be levied.
That as the colonies possess a right of appropriating their gifts, so are they entitled at all times to enquire into their application, to see that they be not wasted among the venal and corrupt for the purpose of undermining the civil rights of the givers, nor yet be diverted to the support of standing armies, inconsistent with their freedom and subversive of their quiet. To propose therefore, as this resolution does, that the monies given by the colonies shall be subject to the disposal of parliament alone, is to propose that they shall relinquish this right of enquiry, and put it in the power of others to render their gifts ruinous, in proportion as they are liberal.
That this privilege of giving, or of withholding our monies, is an important barrier against the undue exertion of prerogative, which, if left altogether without controul, may be exercised to our great oppression; and all history shews how efficacious is its intercession for redress of grievances, and re-establishment of rights, and how improvident it would be to part with so powerful a mediator.
1775We are of opinion that the proposition contained in  this resolution is unreasonable and insidious: Unreasonable, because, if we declare we accede to it, we declare without reservation, we will purchase the favour of parliament, not knowing at the same time at what price they will please to estimate their favour; it is insidious, because, individual colonies, having bid and bidden again, till they find the avidity of the seller too great for all their powers to satisfy, are then to return into opposition, divided from their sister colonies whom the minister will have previously detached by a grant of easier terms, or by an artful procrastination of a definitive answer.
That the suspension of the exercise of their pretended power of taxation being expressly made commensurate with the continuance of our gifts, these must be perpetual to make that so. Whereas no experience has shewn that a gift of perpetual revenue secures a perpetual return of duty or of kind disposition. On the contrary, the parliament itself, wisely attentive to this observation, are in the established practice of granting their supplies from year to year only.
Desirous, and determined as we are to consider, in the most dispassionate view, every seeming advance towards a reconciliation made by the British parliament, let our brethren of Britain reflect what would have been the sacrifice to men of free spirits had even fair terms been proffered, as these insidious proposals were, with circumstances of insult and defiance. A proposition to give our money; accompanied with large fleets and armies, seems addressed to our fears rather than to our freedom. With what patience would Britons have received articles of treaty from any power on earth when born on the point of a bayonet by military Plenipotentiaries?
We think the attempt unnecessary to raise upon us by force or by threats our proportional contributions to the common defence, when all know, and themselves acknowledge, we have fully contributed, whenever called upon to do so in the character of freemen.
We are of opinion it is not just that the colonies should be required to oblige themselves to other contributions, while Great-Britain possesses a Monopoly of their trade. 1775 This of itself lays them under heavy contribution. To demand, therefore, additional aids in the form of a tax, is to demand the double of their equal proportion, if we are to contribute equally with the other parts of the empire, let us equally with them, enjoy free commerce with the whole world. But while the restrictions on our trade shut to us the resources of wealth, is it just we should bear all other burthens, equally with those to whom every resource is open?
We conceive that the British parliament has no right to intermeddle with our provisions for the support of civil government, or administration of justice. The provisions we have made are such as please ourselves, and are agreeable to our own circumstances: They answer the substantial purposes of government and of justice, and other purposes than these should not be answered. We do not mean that our people shall be burthened with oppressive taxes, to provide sinecures for the idle or the wicked, under colour of providing for a civil list. While parliament pursue their plan of civil government within their own jurisdiction, we also hope to pursue ours without molestation.
We are of opinion the proposition is altogether unsatisfactory; because it imports only a suspension of the mode, not a renunciation of the pretended right to tax us: Because too it does not propose to repeal the several acts of parliament, passed for the purposes of restraining the trade, and altering the form of government of one of our colonies; extending the boundaries and changing the government of Quebec; enlarging the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty and vice-admiralty; taking from us the rights of a trial by jury of the vicinage, in cases affecting both life and property; transporting us into other countries to be tried for criminal offences; exempting by mock-trial the murderers of colonists from punishment; and quartering soldiers on us in times of profound peace. Nor do they renounce the power of suspending our own legislatures, and for legislating for us themselves, in all cases whatsoever. On the contrary, to shew they mean no discontinuance of injury, they pass acts, at the very  time of holding out this proposition, for restraining the commerce and fisheries of the provinces of New-England, and for interdicting the trade of other colonies with all foreign nations, and with each other. This proves unequivocally they mean not to relinquish the exercise of indiscriminate legislation over us.
Upon the whole, this proposition seems to have been held up to the world, to deceive it into a belief that there was nothing in dispute between us but the mode of levying taxes; and that the parliament having now been so good as to give up this, the colonies are unreasonable if not perfectly satisfied: whereas, in truth, our adversaries still claim a right of demanding adlibitum, and of taxing us themselves to the full amount of their demand, if we do comply with it. This leaves us without any thing we can call property. But, what is of more importance, and what in this proposal they keep out of sight, as if no such point was now in contest between us, they claim a right to alter our charters and establish laws, and leave us without any security for our lives or liberties. The proposition seems also to have been calculated more particularly to lull into fatal security, our well affected fellow subjects on the other side of the water, till time should be given for the operation of those arms, which a British minister pronounced would instantaneously reduce the “cowardly” sons of America to unreserved submission. But when the world reflects, how inadequate to justice are these vaunted terms; when it attends to the rapid and bold succession of injuries, which, during a course of eleven years, have been aimed at these colonies; when it reviews the pacific and respectful expostulations, which, during that whole time, were the sole arms we opposed to them; when it observes that our complaints were either not heard at all, or were answered with new and accumulated injuries; when it recollects that the minister himself on an early occasion declared, “that he would never treat with America, till he had brought her to his feet,” and that an avowed partisan of ministry has more lately denounced against us the dreadful sentence “delenda est Carthago,” that this was done  in presence of a British senate, and being unreproved by them,1775 must be taken to be their own sentiment, (especially as the purpose has already in part been carried into execution, by their treatment of Boston and burning of Charlestown); when it considers the great Armaments with which they have invaded us, and the circumstances of cruelty with which these have commenced and prosecuted hostilities; when these things, we say, are laid together and attentively considered, can the world be deceived into an opinion that we are unreasonable, or can it hesitate to believe with us, that nothing but our own exertions may defeat the ministerial sentence of death or abject submission.
Other plans for conciliation with the colonies, founded on principles very different from those which were the basis of lord North’s conciliatory motion, were brought forward in the house of commons, but without receiving its approbation.March 22 The most remarkable of these was proposed by Mr. Edmund Burke, in a speech which for strength of argument, extent of information, and sublimity of language, would bear a comparison with the most finished performance that ancient or modern times have produced. In his introduction to this admirable speech, he examined and explained the natural and accidental circumstances of the colonies, with respect to situation, resources, number, population, commerce, fisheries and agriculture, and from those considerations shewed their importance. He then enquired into their unconquerable spirit of freedom; and he traced it to its original sources; from these circumstances he inferred the line of policy which should be pursued with regard to America—he shewed that all proper plans of government must be adapted to the feelings, established habits, and received opinions of the people. On these principles he reprobated all plans of governing the colonies by force; and proposed as the ground work of his plan, that the colonists should be admitted to an interest in the constitution.1775 He then went into an historical detail of the manner in which British privileges had been extended to Ireland, Wales, and the counties palatine of Chester and Durham—the  state of confusion previously to that event—and the happy consequences which followed it. He contended that a communication to the members of an interest in the constitution, was the great ruling principle of British government. He therefore proposed to go back to the old policy for governing the colonies. He was for a parliamentary acknowledgment of the legal competency of the colony assemblies for the support of their government in peace, and for public aids in time of war—and of the futility of parliamentary taxation as a method of supply. He stated that much had been given in the old way of colonial grant, that from the year 1748 to 1763, the journals of the house of commons repeatedly acknowledged that the colonies not only gave, but gave to satiety; and that from the time in which parliamentary imposition had superseded the free gifts of the provinces, there was much discontent, but little revenue. He therefore moved six resolutions affirmatory of these facts, and grounded on them resolutions for repealing the acts complained of by the Americans, trusting to the liberality of their future voluntary contributions. This plan of conciliation, which promised immediate peace to the whole empire, and a lasting obedience of the colonies, though recommended by the charms of the most persuasive eloquence, and supported by the most convincing arguments, was by a great majority rejected.
March 27Mr. D. Hartley, not discouraged by the negative which had been given to Mr. Burke’s scheme, came forward with another for the same purpose. This proposed that a letter of requisition should be sent to the colonies by a secretary of state, on a motion from the house for a contribution to the expences of the whole empire. He meant to leave to the provincial assemblies the right to judge of the expedience of the grant—its amount and application. In confidence that the colonies would give freely when called on in this constitutional way, he moved to suspend the acts complained of by the Americans. This was also rejected. Another plan which shall be more particularly explained was digested in private by Dr. Franklin, on the part of the Americans, and Dr. Fothergill and David  Barclay on behalf of the British ministry.1775 There appeared a disposition to concede some thing considerable on both sides, but the whole came to nothing, in consequence of an inflexible determination to refuse a repeal of the act of parliament for altering the chartered government of Massachusetts; Dr. Franklin agreed, that the tea destroyed should be paid for—the British ministers, that the Boston port act should be repealed, but the latter contended, “that the late 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.” On the other hand it was declared by Dr. Franklin, “that while the parliament claimed and exercised a power of internal legislation for the colonies, and of altering American constitutions at pleasure, there could be no agreement, as that would render the Americans unsafe in every privilege they enjoyed, and would leave them nothing in which they could be secure.”
This obstinate adherence to support parliament in a power of altering the laws and charters of the provinces, particularly to enforce their late laws for new modelling the chartered constitution of Massachusetts, was the fatal rock by dashing on which the empire broke in twain; for every other point, in dispute between the two countries, seemed in a fair way for an amicable compromise.
The fishery bill was speedily followed by another, for restraining the trade and commerce of the colonies and provinces of New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and South-Carolina: The reasons assigned for this were the same with those offered for the other. These provinces had adopted the continental association. The British minister thought it proper, that as they had voluntarily interdicted themselves from trade with Great-Britain, Ireland, and the West-Indies, they should be restrained from it with all other parts of the world. He contended that the inhabitants of the colonies might render this act a dead letter, by relinquishing their own resolutions, as then they would meet with no restraint in carrying on trade in its ancient legal channel.1775 It is remarkable, that three of the associated colonies, viz. New-York,  Delaware and North-Carolina, were omitted in this restraining bill. Whatever might be the view of the British ministry for this discrimination, it was considered in the colonies as calculated to promote disunion among them. It is certain, that the colonies which were exempted from its operation, might have reaped a golden harvest from the exemption in their favour, had they been disposed to avail themselves of it. But such was the temper of the times, that a renunciation of immediate advantage in favour of the public was fashionable. The selfish passions which in seasons of peace are too often the cause of quarrels, were hushed by the pressure of common danger. The exempted colonies spurned the proffered favour, and submitted to the restraints imposed on their less favoured neighbours, so as to be equal sharers of their fate. The indulgence granted to New-York, in being kept out of this restraining bill, was considered by some as a premium for her superior loyalty. Her assembly had refused to approve the proceedings of the Congress, and had, in some other instances, discovered less warmth than the neighbouring legislatures. Much was expected from her moderation. At the very time the British parliament was framing the restraining acts just mentioned, the constitutional assembly of New-York petitioned the British parliament for a redress of their grievances. Great stress had been laid on the circumstance that Congress was not a legal assembly, and the want of constitutional sanction had been assigned as a reason for the neglect with which their petition had been treated. Much praise had been lavished on the colony of New-York for its moderation, and occasion had been taken, from their refusing to approve the proceedings of the Congress to represent the resolutions and claims of that body to be more the ebullitions of incendiaries, than the sober sentiments of the temperate citizens.1775 It was both unexpected and confounding to those who supported these opinions, that the representation and remonstrance of the very loyal assembly of New-York stated, “that an exemption from internal taxation, and the exclusive right of providing for their own civil government, and the administration of justice in  the colony, were esteemed by them as their undoubted and unalienable rights.”
A motion being made in the house of commons for bringing up this representation and remonstrance of the assembly of New-York, it was amended on the suggestion of lord North, by adding, “in which the assembly claim to themselves rights derogatory to, and inconsistent with the legislative authority of parliament, as declared by the declaratory act.” The question, so amended, being put, it passed in the negative. The fate of this representation extinguished the hopes of those moderate persons, both in the parent state and the colonies, who flattered themselves that the disputes subsisting between the two countries might be accommodated by the mediation of the constitutional assemblies. Two conclusions were drawn from this transaction, both of which were unfriendly to a reconciliation. The decided language with which the loyal assembly of New-York claimed exemption from parliamentary taxation, proved to the people of Great-Britain that the colonists, however they might differ in modes of opposition, or in degrees of warmth, were nevertheless, united in that fundamental principle. The rejection of their representation proved that nothing more was to be expected from proceeding in the constitutional channel of the legal assemblies, than from the new system of a continental Congress. Solid revenue and unlimited supremacy were the objects of Great-Britain, and exemption from parliamentary taxation that of the most moderate of the colonies. So wide were the claims of the two countries from each other, that to reconcile them on any middle ground seemed to be impossible.
APPENDIX NO. I
Some special transactions of Dr. Franklin in London, in behalf of America.
1775While the breach between Great-Britain and the colonies, was daily increasing, the enlightened and liberal, who loved peace, and the extension of human happiness, saw with regret the approaching horrors of a civil war, and wished to avert them. With these views Dr. Fothergill, Mr. David Barclay and Dr. Franklin, held sundry conferences in London on American affairs. The two former were English gentlemen of most amiable characters, and highly esteemed by the British ministry. The last was by birth an American, but a citizen of the world, who loved and was beloved by all good men. He was also agent for several of the colonies. At one of their conferences held at the house of Dr. Fothergill on the 4th December, 1774, before the proceedings of Congress had reached England—a paper drawn up by the last, at the request of the two first, was submitted to their joint consideration, which with a few additions proposed and agreed to by common consent was as follows.
Hints for conversation upon the subjects of terms, that might probably produce a durable union between Britain and the colonies.
1st. The tea destroyed to be paid for.
2d. The tea duty act to be repealed, and all the duties that have been received upon it to be repaid into the treasuries of the several provinces from which they have been collected.
3d. The acts of navigation to be all re-enacted in the colonies.
4th. A naval officer to be appointed by the crown to see that these acts are observed.
5th. All the acts restraining manufactories in the colonies to be reconsidered.
6th. All duties arising on the acts for regulating trade with the colonies to be for the public use of the respective colonies and paid into their treasuries.
1775 The collectors and custom house officers to be appointed by each governor and not sent from England.
7th. In consideration of the Americans maintaining their own peace establishment, and the monopoly Britain is to have of their commerce, no requisition is to be made from them in time of peace.
8th. No troops to enter and quarter in any colony, but with the consent of its legislature.
9th. In time of war on requisition by the king with consent of parliament, every colony shall raise money by the following rules in proportion, viz. If Britain on account of the war, raises three shillings in the pound to its land tax, then the colonies to add to their last general provincial peace tax, a sum equal to one fourth part thereof, and if Britain on the same account pays four shillings in the pound, then the colonies to add to their last peace tax, a sum equal to the half thereof, which additional tax is to be granted to his majesty, and to be employed in raising and paying men for land or sea service, and furnishing provisions, transports, or for such other purposes as the king shall require and direct, and though no colony may contribute less, each may add as much by voluntary grant as it shall think proper.
10th. Castle William to be restored to the province of Massachusetts Bay, and no fortress to be built by the crown in any province, but with the consent of its legislature.
11th. The late Massachusetts and Quebec acts to be repealed, and a free government granted to Canada.
12th. All judges to be appointed during good behavior, with equally permanent salaries to be paid out of the province revenues by appointment of the assemblies, or if the judges are to be appointed during the pleasure of the crown, let the salaries be during the pleasure of the assemblies as heretofore.
13th. Governors to be supported by the assemblies of each province.
14th. If Britain will give up her monopoly of the American commerce, then the aid above mentioned to be given in time of peace, as well as in time of war.
1775 15th. The extension of the act of Henry the 8th, concerning treasons to the colonies to be formally disowned by parliament.
16th. The American admiralty courts to be reduced to the same powers they have in England, and the acts establishing them to be re-enacted in America.
17th. All power of internal legislation in the colonies to be disclaimed by parliament.
On reading this paper a second time, Dr. Franklin gave his reasons at length for each article. Some of his reasons were as follows.
On the first article he observed, that when the tea was destroyed at Boston, Great-Britain had a right to reparation, and would certainly have had it on demand, as was the case when injuries were done by mobs in the time of the stamp act, or she might have a right to return an equal injury if she rather chose to do that; but Great-Britain could not have a right both to reparation and to return an equal injury, much less had she a right to return the injury ten or twenty fold, as she had done by blocking up the port of Boston. All which extra injury ought to be repaired by Great-Britain. That therefore if paying for the tea was agreed to, as an article fit to be proposed, it was merely from a desire of peace, and in compliance with the opinions of Dr. Fothergill and David Barclay, expressed at their first meeting; that this was indispensible, that the dignity of Great-Britain required it, and that if this was agreed to, every thing else would be easy.
On the second, it was observed that the tea duty act should be repealed as having never answered any good purpose, as having been the cause of the present mischief, and never likely to be executed. That the act being considered as unconstitutional by the Americans, and what parliament had no right to enact they must consider all the money extorted by it as so much wrongfully taken, and of which therefore restitution ought to be made, and the rather as it would furnish a fund out of which the tea destroyed would be best defrayed.
1775On the third and fourth articles it was observed, that the Americans were frequently charged with views of abolishing  the navigation act, but that in truth those parts of it, which were of most importance to Britain, as tending to increase its naval strength, were as acceptable to the colonists as they could be to the inhabitants of the Parent State, since they wished to employ their own ships in preference to those of foreigners, and they had no desire to see foreign ships enter their ports. That it would prevent disputes if they were re-enacted in the colonies, as that would demonstrate their consent to them, and then if all the duties arising on them were to be collected by officers appointed and paid in the respective governments, and the produce paid into their treasuries, the acts would be better and more faithfully executed, and at much less expence, and a great source of misunderstanding between the two countries removed—that the extension of the admiralty jurisdiction so much complained of would then no longer be necessary.
In support of the 7th article it was observed, that if every distinct part of the king’s dominions supported its own government in time of peace, it was all that could justly be required of it. That all the other confederated colonies had done so from their beginning, that their taxes for that purpose were very considerable, that new countries had many expences which old ones were free from, the work being done to their land by their ancestors, such as making roads and bridges, erecting churches, courthouses, forts, quays and other public buildings, founding schools and places of education, hospitals and almshouses—that the voluntary subscriptions and legal taxes for such purposes taken together amounted to more than was paid by equal estates in Great-Britain; that it would be best not to take money from the Americans as a contribution to its public expence in time of peace, first for that just so much less would be got from them in commerce, and secondly, that coming into the hands of British ministers accustomed to prodigality of public money, it would be squandered and dissipated without answering any general good purposes.1775 That on the whole it would be best for both countries, that no aids should be asked from the colonies in time of peace,  that it would then be their interest to grant bountifully, and exert themselves, in time of war, the sooner to put an end to it.
In support of the 8th article, it was said, that if the king could bring into any one part of his dominions troops raised in any other part of them, without the consent of the legislature of the part to which they were brought, he might bring armies raised in America to England without the consent of parliament.
The 9th article was drawn in compliance with an idea of Dr. Fothergill, that the British government would probably not be satisfied with the promise of voluntary grants in time of war from the American assemblies, of which the quantity must be uncertain, that therefore it would be best to proportion them in some way to the shilling in the pound raised in England.
In support of the 10th article, was urged the injustice of seizing that fortress which had been built at an immense charge by the province, for the defence of their port against national enemies, and turning it into a citadel for awing the town, restraining their trade, blocking up their port, and depriving them of their privileges. That a great deal had been said of their injustice in destroying the tea, but here was a much greater injustice uncompensated, that castle having cost the province £300,000.
In support of the 11th article, it was said, that as the Americans had assisted in the conquest of Canada, at a great expence of blood and treasure, they had some right to be considered in the settlement of it; that the establishing an arbitrary government on the bank of their settlements would be dangerous to them all. That as to amending the Massachusetts government, though it might be shewn that every one of these pretended amendments were real mischiefs, yet, that as charters were compacts between two parties, the king and the people, no alteration could be made in them even for the better, but by the consent of both parties; that the parliamentary claim and exercise of power to alter American charters, had rendered all their constitutions uncertain and set them  quite afloat.1775 That by this claim of altering laws and charters at will they deprived the colonists of all rights and privileges whatever, but what they should hold at their pleasure. That this was a situation they could not be in and must risque life and every thing rather than submit to it.
The 12th article was explained by stating the former situation of the judges in most of the colonies, viz. that they were appointed by the crown and paid by the assemblies, that the appointment being during the pleasure of the crown, the salary had been during the pleasure of the assembly; that when it was urged against the assemblies that their making judges dependent on them for their salaries, was aiming at an undue influence over the courts of justice, the assemblies usually replied, that making them dependent on the crown for continuance in their places was also retaining an undue influence over those courts, and that one undue influence was a proper balance for another; but that whenever the crown would consent to the appointment of judges only during good behaviour, the assemblies would at the same time grant their salaries to be permanent during their continuance in office; that instead of agreeing to this equitable offer the crown now claimed to make the judges in the colonies dependant on its favour for place, as well as salary, and both to be continued at its pleasure. This the colonies must oppose as inequitable, as putting both the weights into one of the scales of justice.
In favour of the 123th it was urged that the governors sent to the colonies were often men of no estate or principle, who came merely to make fortunes, and had no natural regard for the country they were to govern. That to make them quite independent of the people, was to make them careless of their conduct, and giving a loose to their rapacious and oppressive dispositions. That the dependence of the governors on the people for their salaries could never operate to the prejudice of the king’s service, or to the disadvantage of Britain, since each governor was bound by a particular set of instructions which he had given surety to observe, and all the laws he assented  to were subject to be repealed by the crown.1775 That the payment of the salaries by the people was more satisfactory to them, and was productive of a good understanding between governors and governed, and that therefore the innovations lately made at Boston and New-York, should be laid aside.
The 14th article was expunged on the representation of Dr. Fothergill and David Barclay, that the monopoly of the American commerce would never be given up, and that the proposing of it would only give offence, without answering any good purpose.
The 15th article was readily agreed to.
The 16th was thought to be of little consequence, if the duties were given to the colony treasuries.
The 17th it was thought could hardly be obtained, but it was supported by Dr. Franklin, alleging that without it, any compact made with the Americans, might be evaded by acts of the British parliament, restraining the intermediate proceedings, which were necessary for carrying it into effect.
This paper of hints was communicated to lord Dartmouth by Dr. Fothergill, who also stated the arguments which in conversation had been offered in support of them. When objections were made to them, as being humiliating to Great-Britain Dr. Fothergill replied “that she had been unjust, and ought to bear the consequences, and alter her conduct—that the pill might be bitter, but it would be salutary and must be swallowed; that sooner or later these or similar measures must be followed, or the empire would be divided and ruined.”
These hints were handed about amongst ministers, and conferences were held on them. The result was on the 4th of February 1775 communicated to Dr. Franklin, in the presence of Dr. Fothergill and David Barclay, which as far as concerned the leading articles, was as follows:
1. The first article was approved.
2. The second agreed to so far as related to 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 the 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 appropriation of the duties, but the appointment of the officers and of their salaries to remain as at present.
7. The seventh relating to aids in time of war, agreed to.
8. The eighth relating to 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 Boston port bill which would be repealed, and the Quebec act might be so far amended, as to reduce that province to its ancient 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 behaviour, 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.
At this interview the conversation was shortened by Dr. Franklin’s observing, that while the parliament claimed and exercised a power of internal legislation for the colonies, and of altering American constitutions, at pleasure, there could be no agreement, as that would render the Americans unsafe in every privilege they enjoyed,  and would leave them nothing, in which they could be secure.1775 It being hinted how necessary an agreement was for America, since it was so easy for Britain to burn all her seaport towns, Dr. Franklin replied,
that the chief part of his little property consisted of houses in such towns, that they might make bonfires of them whenever they pleased. That the fear of losing them would never alter his resolution of resisting to the last extremity, that claim of parliament, and that it behoved Great-Britain to take care what mischief she did to America, for that sooner or later she would certainly be obliged to make good all damages with interest.
On the 16th of February, 1775, the three before mentioned gentlemen met, when a paper was produced by David Barclay entitled, “A plan which it is believed would produce a permanent union between Great-Britain and her colonies.[”] This, in the first article, proposed a repeal of the tea act, on payment being made for the tea destroyed. Dr. Franklin agreed to the first part, but contended that all the other Massachusetts acts should also be repealed, but this was deemed inadmissible. Dr. Franklin declared that the people of Massachusetts would suffer all the hazards and mischiefs of war, rather than admit the alteration of their charters and laws, by parliament. He was for securing the unity of the empire, by recognising the sanctity of charters, and by leaving the provinces to govern themselves, in their internal concerns, but the British ministry could not brook the idea of relinquishing their claim to internal legislation for the colonies, and especially to alter and amend their charters. The first was for communicating the vital principles of liberty to the provinces, but the latter though disposed to redress a few of their existing grievances, would by no means consent to a repeal of the late act of parliament, for altering the chartered government of Massachusetts, and least of all to renounce all claim to future amendments of charters, or of internal legislation for the colonies.
1775Dr. Franklin laboured hard to prevent the breach from becoming irreparable, and candidly stated the outlines  of a compact which he supposed would procure a durable union of the two countries, but his well meant endeavors proved abortive, and in the mean time he was abused as the fomenter of those disturbances which he was anxiously endeavouring to prevent. That the ministry might have some opening to proceed upon, and some salvo for their personal honor, he was disposed to engage, that pecuniary compensation should be made for the tea destroyed, but he would not give up essential liberty, for the purpose of procuring temporary safety. Finding the ministry bent on war, unless the colonists would consent to hold their rights, liberties and charters at the discretion of a British parliament, and well knowing that his countrymen would hazard every thing, rather than consent to terms so degrading as well as inconsistent with the spirit of the British constitution, he quitted Great-Britain in March 1775, and returned to Philadelphia. Dr. Fothergill, his worthy coadjutor in the great business of peace, wrote to him on the evening before he left London. “That whatever specious pretences were offered, they were all hollow, and that to get a larger field on which to fatten a herd of worthless parasites, was all that was intended.” With this conviction founded on personal observations, as well as the testimony of his esteemed friend, who in the course of his daily visits among the great, in the practice of his profession, had an opportunity of knowing their undisguised sentiments, Dr. Franklin joined his countrymen, and exerted his great abilities in conducting them through a war he had in vain laboured to prevent.