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Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. VI Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775 [1904]

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Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, including the Private as well as the Official and Scientific Correspondence, together with the Unmutilated and Correct Version of the Autobiography, compiled and edited by John Bigelow (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). The Federal Edition in 12 volumes. Vol. VI (Letters and Misc. Writings 1772-1775). http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2460

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About this Title:

Volume 6 of a 12 volume collection of the works of Franklin edited by the New York lawyer and politician John Bigelow. Vol. 5 contains a essays and letters written between 1772 and 1775.

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The text is in the public domain.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [a]

FEDERAL EDITION

Limited to 1,000 signed and numbered sets.

The Connoisseur’s Federal Edition of the Writings of Benjamin Franklin is limited to four hundred signed and numbered sets, of which this is

Number_________________

We guarantee that no limited, numbered edition, other than the Federal, shall be printed from these plates.

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lf1438-06_figure_001.jpg
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Benjamin Franklin

From the painting by Stephen Elmer

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The Works of Benjamin Franklin in Twelve Volumes

Federal Edition

Edition: current; Page: [i]
The Works of Benjamin Franklin
Including the Private as well as the Official and Scientific Correspondence Together with The Unmutilated and Correct Version of the Autobiography
Compiled and Edited by John Bigelow

“Strange that Ulysses does a thousand things so well.”

Iliad, B. 11, 335
Volume VI
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
New York and London
The Knickerbocker Press
1904
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

The Knickerbocker Press, New York

Edition: current; Page: [iii]

CONTENTS OF VOLUME VI

  • 1772-1773
  • CCCCLXX.—The Settlement on the Ohio River—Dr. Franklin’s Answer to Report. (Continued) page 3
  • 1773
  • CCCCLXXI.—To Thomas Cushing, January 5th . . . . . . 58

    Conversation with Lord Dartmouth—Condition of the India Company.

  • CCCCLXXII.—To Mrs. Deborah Franklin, January 6th . . . . 62

    His birthday.

  • CCCCLXXIII.—To Joseph Galloway, January 6th . . . . . 63

    Franklin’s remuneration as agent in England—A qualification of his lecture on office-holding.

  • CCCCLXXIV.—To Mrs. Deborah Franklin, February 2d . . . . . 65
  • CCCCLXXV.—To John Bartram February 10th . . . 66
  • CCCCLXXVI.—To Anthony Benezet, February 10th . . . . . 67
  • CCCCLXXVII.—To Messrs. Abel James and Benjamin Morgan, February 10th 68

    Depressed state of the silk business in England.

    Edition: current; Page: [iv]
  • CCCCLXXVIII.—To James Johnston, February 10th . . . . . . 69

    American senna.

  • CCCCLXXIX.—To William Franklin, February 14th . . . . . . 70

    The ministry’s trouble with the East India Company—Distress in the manufacturing districts.

  • CCCCLXXX.—To Humphrey Marshall, February 14th . . . . . 72

    The spots on the sun—Dr. Wilson’s hypothesis.

  • CCCCLXXXI.—To Wm. Marshall, February 14th . . . . . . 74

    Scruples about oaths.

  • CCCCLXXXII.—To Mrs. Deborah Franklin, February 14th . . . . 75

    Presents for his wife and daughter—The death of the “good bishop’s” gray squirrel.

  • CCCCLXXXIII.—To Mr. Josiah Davenport, February 14th . . . . 76

    His opinion of the punctuality of cousins.

  • CCCCLXXXIV.—To Joseph Galloway, February 14th . . . . . . 77

    The effect in England of the loss of the tea market in America.

  • CCCCLXXXV.—From M. de Saussure, February 23d . . . . . . 80

    Lightning conductors—The attraction of mountains—Volcanic eruptions—The torpedo.

  • CCCCLXXXVI.—To Mr. Colden, March 3d . . 84
  • CCCCLXXXVII.—From John Winthrop, March 4th . . . . . . 84

    Dr. Priestley.

  • CCCCLXXXVIII.—To Mrs. Mecom, March 9th . . 87

    Sober second thought.

    Edition: current; Page: [v]
  • CCCCLXXXIX.—To Thomas Cushing, March 9th . 88

    Governor Hutchinson’s speech—Duty on tea.

  • CCCCXC.—To M. Dubourg, March 10th . 90

    On the analogy between magnetism and electricity.

  • CCCCXCI.—To M. Dubourg, March 10th . 93

    The causes of cold.

  • CCCCXCII.—To William Franklin, March 15th . . . . . . 94
  • CCCCXCIII.—To Abel James and Benjamin Morgan, March 15th . . 94
  • CCCCXCIV.—From M. Dubourg, March 25th . 95

    On the choice of glass for the Leyden experiment.

  • CCCCXCV.—To M. Le Roy, March 30th . . 99

    Pointed conductors.

  • CCCCXCVI.—To Thomas Cushing, April 3d . 101

    Lord Dartmouth’s plans for conciliation.

  • CCCCXCVII.—To William Franklin, April 6th . 101

    Bishop of St. Asaph.

  • CCCCXCVIII.—To His Daughter, April 6th . 103

    The importance to housekeeping of keeping accounts.

  • CCCCXCIX.—To Mr. Galloway, April 6th . 104

    The Bishop of St. Asaph’s sermon about the colonies—The advantages of a war between England and France—The grant.

  • D.—To Mr. Coombe, April 6th . . 105
  • DI.—To Dean Woodward, April 10th . 106

    Slavery in America.

  • DII.—To William Deane, April 11th . 107

    A new carriage wheel—Stove for consuming its own smoke.

  • DIII.—To M. Dubourg . . . . 109

    On the prevailing views of life and death.

    Edition: current; Page: [vi]
  • DIV.—To Messrs. Dubourg and Dalibard . . . . . . 112

    Concerning the mode of rendering meat tender by electricity.

  • DV.—To M. Dubourg, May 4th . . 115

    Dr. Stark.

  • DVI.—To Thomas Cushing, May 6th . 115

    Governor Hutchinson to the Assembly of Massachusetts—Lord Dartmouth’s conversation about it—The Assembly’s answer.

  • DVII.—To M. Dubourg, June 1st . . 120
  • DVIII.—To Mr. Colden, June 2d . . 123

    The indolence of age.

  • DIX.—To Thomas Cushing, June 2d . 124

    Petition to the king, and answer.

  • DX.—To Thomas Cushing, June 4th . 125

    Duty on tea.

  • DXI.—From Samuel Cooper, June 14th . . . . . . 126

    Massachusetts Assembly and the Hutchinson letters.

  • DXII.—To M. Le Roy, June 22d . . 130

    Hospitals—Effect of cold air on diseases.

  • DXIII.—From Thomas Cushing, June 25th 131

    Hutchinson’s letters—Petition for his removal.

  • DXIV.—To M. Dubourg, June 29th . . 133

    The causes of taking cold.

  • DXV.—Preparatory Notes and Hints for Writing a Paper concerning What is Called Catching Cold . . . . . . 133
  • DXVI.—Queries on Electricity, from Dr. Ingenhousz, with Answers by Dr. Franklin . . . 145 Edition: current; Page: [vii]
  • DXVII.—To Thomas Cushing, July 7th . 150

    Controversy with Governor Hutchinson—Resolves of the Virginia House of Burgesses commended—Franklin justifies himself—Arthur Lee.

  • DXVIII.—To Thomas Cushing, July 7th . 154

    The king’s answer to the American petitions—English feeling toward America—Captain Calef—Sir Francis Bernard’s project.

  • DXIX.—To Samuel Mather, July 7th . 162

    Dissenters’ petition—Discoverers of America before Columbus—The proceedings against America.

  • DXX.—To Samuel Cooper, July 7th . 166

    Stoves for public buildings.

  • DXXI.—To Samuel Cooper, July 7th . 168

    The unanimity of the people of Massachusetts in favor of liberty—Hutchinson’s letters.

  • DXXII.—To Mrs. Mecom, July 7th . . 170
  • DXXIII.—To Samuel Franklin, July 7th . 172
  • DXXIV.—To Jonathan Williams, July 7th 172
  • DXXV.—To William Franklin, July 14th 173

    Meeting with Lord North—Dartmouth—Anecdote of Hillsborough.

  • DXXVI.—To Benjamin Rush, July 14th . 177

    Colds produced by contagion—Their various causes.

  • DXXVII.—To Anthony Benezet, July 14th . 180
  • DXXVIII.—To Mr. Foxcroft, July 14th . 181
  • DXXIX.—To Samuel Danforth, July 25th . 183
  • DXXX.—To John Winthrop, July 25th . 184
  • DXXXI.—To Samuel Cooper, July 25th . 185
  • DXXXII.—To Thomas Cushing, July 25th . 187
  • DXXXIII.—To John Winthrop, July 25th . 188
  • DXXXIV.—To William Franklin, August 3d . . . . . . 189 Edition: current; Page: [viii]
  • DXXXV.—To Thomas Cushing, August 24th 190

    Presentation of the address for the removal of Hutchinson and Oliver.

  • DXXXVI.—To William Franklin, September 1st . . . . . 192

    Resolutions of the New England townships—Project for a union with Ireland—Hutchinson’s letters.

  • DXXXVII.—To Mrs. Deborah Franklin, September 1st . . . . 194
  • DXXXVIII.—An Edict by the King of Prussia, September 5th . . . 195
  • DXXXIX.—To Thomas Cushing, September 12th . . . . . . 201

    Project to avoid repealing the American tea duty.

  • DXL.—To John Baskerville, September 21st . . . . . . 203

    Sale of printers’ types—Chinese paper.

  • DXLI.—Rules for Reducing a Great Empire to a Small One, September . . . . . 204
  • DXLII.—To Thomas Cushing, September 23d . . . . . . 216
  • DXLIII.—To Thomas Percival, September 25th . . . . . . 216

    Unwholesomeness of manufactories—Moist air not unwholesome.

  • DXLIV.—To John Ingenhousz, September 30th . . . . . . 219

    Torpedo—Magnetic needle—Nairne’s electric machine—Magazines at Purfleet.

  • DXLV.—To William Franklin, October 6th . . . . . . 222

    The power of Parliament to legislate for the colonies denied—Lord Mansfield’s opinion of “The Prussian Edict.”

  • DXLVI.—From Mrs. Deborah Franklin, October 29th . . . . 225 Edition: current; Page: [ix]
  • DXLVII.—From His Daughter Sally, October 30th . . . . . 226
  • DXLVIII.—To Thomas Cushing, November 1st . . . . . . 228

    Proposed accommodation with Great Britain—Petition for removing the governors.

  • DXLIX.—To an Engraver, November 3d . 231

    Art of printing on china-ware—Its use in teaching moral lessons.

  • DL.—To Joseph Galloway, November 3d . . . . . . 233
  • DLI.—To William Franklin, November 3d . . . . . . 234
  • DLII.—Of the Stilling of Waves by Means of Oil, November 7th . 235
  • DLIII.—From Thomas Cushing, December 10th . . . . . 250

    Preparations for the “Tea Party.”

  • DLIV.—From Thomas Cushing and others, December 21st . . 254

    “The Tea Party.”

  • DLV.—Preface to an Abridgement of the Book of Common Prayer . 257
  • 1774
  • DLVI.—To Thomas Cushing, January 5th . . . . . . 265

    Petition for the removal of the governors presented by Lord Dartmouth—Duel between Mr. Temple and Mr. Whately.

  • DLVII.—To William Franklin, January 5th . . . . . . 267

    Insinuations against Mr. Galloway—Franklin proposes to return to America.

    Edition: current; Page: [x]
  • DLVIII.—To Josiah Tucker, February 12th . . . . . . 269

    Reply to offensive charges and insinuations.

  • DLIX.—To Thomas Cushing, February 15th . . . . . . 277

    Proceedings before the Privy Council on the petition for the removal of Governor Hutchinson—Dr. Franklin dismissed from his office of Deputy Postmaster-General.

  • DLX.—To Joseph Galloway, February 18th . . . . . . 300

    The Pennsylvania Assembly—Duty on tea—Hutchinson’s letters.

  • DLXI.—The Georgia Agency, February 24th . . . . . . 302
  • DLXII.—To Samuel Cooper, February 25th . . . . . . 311

    The Hutchinson letters—French edition of Franklin’s writings.

  • DLXIII.—On the Rise and Progress of the Differences between Great Britain and Her American Colonies . . . . . 312
  • DLXIV.—From the Committee of the Assembly of Georgia, March 14th . . . . . . 327

    The difference between the upper and lower house of the Georgia legislature about Franklin’s reappointment as agent.

  • DLXV.—Queries Relating to the Colonies to be Discussed with Lord C——m . . . . . 330
  • DLXVI.—To the Marquis De Condorcet, March 20th . . . . 331

    Answers to questions about America.

    Edition: current; Page: [xi]
  • DLXVII.—To John Baptist Beccaria, March 20th . . . . . . 332

    An English translation of his book—Electrical experiments.

  • DLXVIII.—To Joseph Priestley . . . 334

    Effect of vegetation on noxious air.

  • DLXIX.—To Thomas Cushing, March 22d . 335
  • DLXX.—To Thomas Cushing, April 2d . 336

    Petition of Americans in London to Parliament—Alarm of the manufacturers—New measures hostile to the colonies impending.

  • DLXXI.—To Joseph Priestley, April 10th . 338

    On the inflammability of the surface of certain rivers in America.

  • DLXXII.—To Thomas Cushing, April 16th . 341
  • DLXXIII.—To Thomas Cushing, April 28th . 342
  • DLXXIV.—To Mrs. Deborah Franklin, April 28th . . . . 343

    Proposes to return to Philadelphia—Illness of Mr. Hewson.

  • DLXXV.—To Thomas Cushing, June 1st . 344

    Massachusetts affairs—Lord Chatham—The post-office.

  • DLXXVI.—To Thomas Cushing, June 30th . 346
  • DLXXVII.—To Mr. Coombe, July 22d . . 347

    Speech of the good bishop—Poetry—Eloquence in a preacher, its uses.

  • DLXXVIII.—To Mrs. Deborah Franklin, July 22d . . . . . . 348
  • DLXXIX.—To Thomas Cushing, July 27th . 349
  • DLXXX.—To William Franklin, September 7th . . . . . 349

    Prolongs his stay in England—The Bostonians ought not to pay for the tea used at the “Tea Party”—Sir William Johnson.

  • DLXXXI.—To Peter Timothy, September 7th . . . . . . 351 Edition: current; Page: [xii]
  • DLXXXII.—From Samuel Cooper, September 9th . . . . . 352

    Excitement in Massachusetts—General Gage—Josiah Quincy, Jr.

  • DLXXXIII.—To Thomas Cushing, September 15th . . . . . . 356
  • DLXXXIV.—To Mrs. Mecom, September 26th . 358

    False reports respecting his conduct.

  • DLXXXV.—To Thomas Cushing, September 27th . . . . . . 360
  • DLXXXVI.—To Richard Bache, September 30th . . . . . . 361

    Introducing Thomas Paine.

  • DLXXXVII.—To Joseph Galloway, October 12th . . . . . . 362

    New elections in England—Lord Percy—Franklin’s situation.

  • DLXXXVIII.—A Parable on Persecution, October . . . . . . 364
  • DLXXXIX.—A Parable on Brotherly Love . 368
  • DXC.—Franklin’s Account of His Connection with Governor Hutchinson’s Letters . . 370
  • DXCI.—The Result of England’s Persistence in Her Policy towards Her Colonies Illustrated, October . . . . . 411
  • DXCII.—On a Proposed Act of Parliament for Preventing Emigration, November . . . 413
  • 1775
  • DXCIII.—To Thomas Cushing, January 28th . . . . . . 421

    Lord Chatham’s motion for conciliatory measures—More troops sent to America—General Gage.

    Edition: current; Page: [xiii]
  • DXCIV.—To Charles Thomson, February 5th . . . . . . 423

    Petition of the First Congress to Parliament—Its reception—Lord Camden—Lord Chatham’s speech and plan.

  • DXCV.—To James Bowdoin, February 25th . . . . . . 428

    Conduct of the Ministry—Firmness and union of the colonies recommended.

  • DXCVI.—To Joseph Galloway, February 25th . . . . . . 430

    Plan of union sent to England—Objections to a union—Lord North’s policy to divide rather than unite.

  • DXCVII.—To Josiah Quincy, February 26th . . . . . . 434
  • DXCVIII.—Franklin’s Account of the Negotiations in London for Effecting a Reconciliation between Great Britain and the American Colonies, March 22d . . . . . . 435
Edition: current; Page: [1]

The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Volume VI

CORRESPONDENCE AND MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS

Edition: current; Page: [2] Edition: current; Page: [3]

CCCCLXX: SETTLEMENT ON THE OHIO RIVER
DR. FRANKLIN’S ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING REPORT (Continued.)

From the foregoing detail of facts it is obvious—

1. That the country southward of the Great Kenhawa, at least as far as the Cherokee River, originally belonged to the Shawanese.

2. That the Six Nations, in virtue of their conquest of the Shawanese, became the lawful proprietors of that country.

3. That the king, in consequence of the grant from the Six Nations, made to his Majesty at Fort Stanwix in 1768, is now vested with the undoubted right and property thereof.

4. That the Cherokees never resided nor hunted in that country, and have not any kind of right to it.

Edition: current; Page: [4]

5. That the House of Burgesses of the colony of Virginia have, upon good grounds, asserted (such as properly arise from the nature of their stations and proximity to the Cherokee country) that the Cherokees had not any just pretensions to the territory southward of the Great Kenhawa.

And, lastly, that neither the Six Nations, the Shawanese, nor Delawares do now reside or hunt in that country.

From these considerations it is evident no possible injury can arise to his Majesty’s service, to the Six Nations and their confederacy, or to the Cherokees, by permitting us to settle the whole of the lands comprehended within our contract with the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. If, however, there has been any treaty held with the Six Nations, since the cession made to his Majesty at Fort Stanwix, whereby the faith of the crown is pledged both to the Six Nations and the Cherokees, that no settlements should be made beyond the line marked on their Lordships’ report; we say, if such an agreement has been made by the orders of government with these tribes (notwithstanding, as the Lords Commissioners have acknowledged, “the Six Nations had ceded the property in the lands to his Majesty”), we flatter ourselves that the objection of their Lordships in the second paragraph of their report will be entirely obviated, by a specific clause being inserted in the king’s grant to us, expressly prohibiting us from settling any part of the same, until such time as we shall have first obtained his Majesty’s allowance, and full consent of the Cherokees, Edition: current; Page: [5] and the Six Nations and their confederates for that purpose.

III. In regard to the third paragraph of their Lordships’ report, that it was the principle of the Board of Trade, after the treaty of Paris, “to confine the western extent of settlements to such a distance from the sea-coast, as that these settlements should lie within the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom,” etc., we shall not presume to controvert it; but it may be observed that the settlement of the country over the Alleghany Mountains, and on the Ohio, was not understood, either before the treaty of Paris, nor intended to be so considered by his Majesty’s proclamation of October, 1763, “as without the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom,” etc.; for, in the year 1748, Mr. John Hanbury, and a number of other gentlemen, petitioned the king for a grant of five hundred thousand acres of land over the Alleghany Mountains, and on the river Ohio and its branches; and the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations were then pleased to report to the Lords committee of his Majesty’s most honorable Privy Council, “That the settlement of the country lying to the westward of the great mountains, as it was the centre of the British dominions, would be for his Majesty’s interest and the advantage and security of Virginia and the neighboring colonies.”

And on the 23d of February, 1748-9, the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations again reported to the Lords of the committee of the Privy Council, that they had “fully set forth the great Edition: current; Page: [6] utility and advantage of extending our settlements beyond the great mountains (‘which report has been approved of by your Lordships’); and as, by these new proposals, there is a great probability of having a much larger tract of the said country settled than under the former, we are of opinion that it will be greatly for his Majesty’s service, and the welfare and security of Virginia, to comply with the prayer of the petition.”

And on the 16th of March, 1748-9, an instruction was sent to the governor of Virginia to grant five hundred thousand acres of land over the Alleghany Mountains to the aforesaid Mr. Hanbury and his partners (who are now part of the company of Mr. Walpole and his associates); and that instruction sets forth that “such settlements will be for our interest, and the advantage and security of our said colony, as well as the advantage of the neighboring ones; inasmuch as our loving subjects will be thereby enabled to cultivate a friendship, and carry on a more extensive commerce, with the nations of Indians inhabiting those parts; and such examples may likewise induce the neighboring colonies to turn their thoughts towards designs of the same nature.” Hence, we apprehend, it is evident that a former Board of Trade, at which the late Lord Halifax presided, was of opinion that settlements over the Alleghany Mountains were not against the king’s interest, nor at such a distance from the sea-coast, as to be without “the reach of the trade and commerce of this kingdom,” nor where its authority or jurisdiction could not be exercised. But the report under Edition: current; Page: [7] consideration suggests that two capital objects of the proclamation of 1763 were, to confine future settlements to the “sources of the rivers which fall into the sea from the west and northwest” (or, in other words, to the eastern side of the Alleghany Mountains), and to the three new governments of Canada, East Florida, and West Florida; and to establish this fact, the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations recite a part of that proclamation.

But if the whole of this proclamation is considered, it will be found to contain the nine following heads, viz.:1

1. To declare to his Majesty’s subjects that he had erected four distinct and separate governments in America, viz., Quebec, East Florida, West Florida, and Granada.

2. To ascertain the respective boundaries of these four new governments.

3. To testify the royal sense and approbation of the conduct and bravery, both of the officers and soldiers of the king’s army, and of the reduced officers of the navy, who had served in North America, and to reward them by grants of land in Quebec, and in East and West Florida, without fee or reward.

4. To hinder the governors of Quebec, East Florida, and West Florida from granting warrants of survey, or passing patents for lands beyond the bounds of their respective governments.

5. To forbid the governors of any other colonies or plantations in America from granting warrants or Edition: current; Page: [8] passing patents for lands beyond the heads or sources of any of the rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the west or northwest, or upon any lands whatever “which, not having been ceded to or purchased by the king, are reserved to the said Indians, or any of them.”

6. To reserve, “for the present,” under the king’s sovereignty, protection, and dominion, “for the use of the said Indians,” all the lands not included within the limits of the said three new governments, or within the limits of the Hudson’s Bay Company; as also all the lands lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers which fall into the sea from the west and northwest, and forbidding the king’s subjects from making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking possession of the lands so reserved, without his Majesty’s leave and license first obtained.

7. To require all persons who had made settlements on land not purchased by the king from the Indians, to remove from such settlements.

8. To regulate the future purchases of lands from the Indians, within such parts as his Majesty, by that proclamation, permitted settlements to be made upon.

9. To declare that the trade with the Indians should be free and open to all his Majesty’s subjects, and to prescribe the manner how it shall be carried on.

And, lastly, to require all military officers, and the superintendent of Indian affairs, to seize and appre hend all persons who stood charged with treasons, Edition: current; Page: [9] murders, etc., and who had fled from justice and taken refuge in the reserved lands of the Indians, to send such persons to the colony where they stood accused.

From this proclamation, therefore, it is obvious that the sole design of it, independent of the establishment of the three new governments, ascertaining their respective boundaries, rewarding the officers and soldiers, regulating the Indian trade, and apprehending felons, was to convince the Indians “of his Majesty’s justice and determined resolution to remove all reasonable cause of discontent,” by interdicting all settlements on land not ceded to, or purchased by, his Majesty; and declaring it to be, as we have already mentioned, his royal will and pleasure, “for the present, to reserve, under his sovereignty, protection and dominion, for the use of the Indians, all the lands and territories lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers which fall into the sea from the west and northwest.” Can any words express more decisively the royal intention? Do they not explicitly mention that the territory is, at present, reserved, under his Majesty’s protection, for the use of the Indians? And as the Indians had no use for those lands which are bounded westerly by the southeast side of the river Ohio, either for residence or hunting, they were willing to sell them; and accordingly did sell them to the king in November, 1768, the occasion of which sale will be fully explained in our observations on the succeeding paragraphs of the report. Of course, the proclamation, so far as it regarded the settlement of the lands included within Edition: current; Page: [10] that purchase, has absolutely and undoubtedly ceased. The late Mr. Grenville, who was, at the time of issuing this proclamation, the minister of this kingdom, always admitted that the design of it was totally accomplished, so soon as the country was purchased from the natives.

IV. In this paragraph the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations mention two reasons for his Majesty’s entering into engagements with the Indians, for fixing a more precise and determinate boundary line than was settled by the proclamation of October, 1763, viz.:

First—Partly for want of precision in the one intended to be marked by the proclamation of 1763.

Secondly—And partly from a consideration of justice in regard to legal titles to lands.

We have, we presume, fully proved, in our observations on the third paragraph, that the design of the proclamation, so far as related to lands westward of the Alleghany Mountains, was for no other purpose than to reserve them, under his Majesty’s protection, for the present, for the use of the Indians; to which we shall only add that the line established by the proclamation, so far as it concerned the lands in question, could not possibly be fixed and described with more precision than the proclamation itself describes it; for it declares that “all the lands and territories lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers which fall into the sea from the west and northwest,” should be reserved under his Majesty’s protection.

Neither, in our opinion, was his Majesty induced Edition: current; Page: [11] to enter into engagements with the Indians, for fixing a more precise and determinate boundary, “partly from a consideration of justice, in regard to legal titles to lands,” for there were none such (as we shall prove) comprehended within the tract now under consideration.

But for a full comprehension of all the reasons for his Majesty’s “entering into engagements with the Indians, for fixing a more precise and determinate boundary line” than was settled by the royal proclamation of October, 1763, we shall take the liberty of stating the following facts. In the year 1764, the king’s ministers had it then in contemplation to obtain an act of Parliament for the proper regulation of the Indian commerce, and providing a fund, by laying a duty on the trade, for the support of superintendents, commissaries, interpreters, etc., at particular forts in the Indian country, where the trade was to be carried on; and as a part of this system it was thought proper, in order to avoid future complaints from the Indians, on account of encroachments on their hunting-grounds, to purchase a large tract of territory from them, and establish, with their consent, a respectable boundary line, beyond which his Majesty’s subjects should not be permitted to settle.

In consequence of this system, orders were transmitted to Sir William Johnson, in the year 1764, to call together the Six Nations, lay this proposition of the boundary before them, and take their opinion upon it. This, we apprehend, will appear evident from the following speech, made by Sir William to Edition: current; Page: [12] the Six Nations, at a conference which he held with them at Johnson Hall, May the 2d, 1765.

Brethren:

The last, but the most important affair I have at this time to mention is, with regard to the settling a boundary between you and the English. I sent a message to some of your nation some time ago, to acquaint you that I should confer with you at this meeting upon it. The king, whose generosity and forgiveness you have already experienced, being very desirous to put a final end to disputes between his people and you concerning lands, and to do you strict justice, has fallen upon the plan of a boundary between our provinces and the Indians, which no white man shall dare to invade, as the best and surest method of ending such like disputes, and securing your property to you beyond a possibility of disturbance. This will, I hope, appear to you so reasonable, so just on the part of the king, and so advantageous to you and your posterity, that I can have no doubt of your cheerfully joining with me in settling such a division line, as will be best for the advantage of both white men and Indians, and as shall best agree with the extent and increase of each province, and the governors, whom I shall consult upon that occasion, so soon as I am fully empowered; but in the meantime I am desirous to know in what manner you would choose to extend it, and what you will agree heartily to, and abide by, in general terms. At the same time I am to acquaint you that whenever the whole is settled, and that it shall appear you have Edition: current; Page: [13] so far consulted the increasing state of our people as to make any convenient cessions of ground where it is most wanted, then you will receive a considerable present in return for your friendship.”

To this speech the sachems and warriors of the Six Nations, after conferring some time among themselves, gave an answer to Sir William Johnson, and agreed to the proposition of the boundary line; which answer, and the other transactions of this conference, Sir William transmitted to the office of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.

From a change of the administration, which formed the above system of obtaining an act of Parliament for regulating the Indian trade and establishing the boundary line, or from some other public cause, unknown to us, no measures were adopted, until the latter end of the year 1767, for completing the negotiations about this boundary line. But in the meantime, viz., between the years 1765 and 1768, the king’s subjects removed in great numbers from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and settled over the mountains; upon which account the Six Nations became so irritated that in the year 1766 they killed several persons, and denounced a general war against the middle colonies; and to appease them, and to avoid such a public calamity, a detachment from the forty-second regiment of foot was that year sent from the garrison of Fort Pitt, to remove such settlers as were seated at Red-Stone Creek, etc.; but the endeavors and threats of this detachment proved ineffectual, and they returned to the garrison Edition: current; Page: [14] without being able to execute their orders. The complaints of the Six Nations, however, continuing and increasing, on account of the settling of their lands over the mountains, General Gage wrote to the governor of Pennsylvania on the 7th of December, 1767, and after mentioning these complaints, he observed:

“You are a witness how little attention has been paid to the several proclamations that have been published, and that even the removing those people from the lands in question, which was attempted this summer by the garrison at Fort Pitt, has been only a temporary expedient. We learn they are returned again to the same encroachments, on Red-Stone Creek and Cheat River, in greater numbers than ever.”

On the 5th of January, 1768, the governor of Pennsylvania sent a message to the General Assembly of the province, with the foregoing letter from General Gage; and on the 13th the Assembly, in the conclusion of a message to the governor on the subject of Indian complaints, observed:

“To obviate which cause of their discontent, and effectually to establish between them and his Majesty’s subjects a durable peace, we are of opinion that a speedy confirmation of the boundary, and a just satisfaction made to them for their lands on this side of it, are absolutely necessary. By this means all their present complaints of encroachments will be removed, and the people on our frontiers will have a sufficient country to settle or hunt in, without interfering with them.”

On the 19th of January, 1768, Mr. Galloway, the Speaker of the Assembly of Pennsylvania, and the Edition: current; Page: [15] committee of correspondence, wrote on the subject of the Indians’ disquietude, by order of the House, to their agents, Richard Jackson and Benjamin Franklin in London, and therein they said:

“That the delay of the confirmation of the boundary the natives have warmly complained of, and that, although they have received no consideration for the lands agreed to be ceded to the crown on our side of the boundary, yet that its subjects are daily settling and occupying those very lands.”

In April, 1768, the legislature of Pennsylvania finding that the expectations of an Indian war were hourly increasing, occasioned by the settlement of the lands over the mountains, not sold by the natives, and flattering themselves that orders would soon arrive from England for the perfection of the boundary line, they voted the sum of one thousand pounds, to be given as a present, in blankets, strouds, etc., to the Indians upon the Ohio, with a view of moderating their resentment until these orders should arrive. And the governor of Pennsylvania being informed that a treaty was soon to be held at Fort Pitt by George Croghan, deputy agent of Indian affairs, by order of General Gage and Sir William Johnson, he sent his secretary and another gentleman, as commissioners from the province, to deliver the above present to the Indians at Fort Pitt.

On the 2d of May, 1768, the Six Nations made the following speech at that conference:

Brother:

It is not without grief that we see our country Edition: current; Page: [16] settled by you, without our knowledge or consent and it is a long time since we complained to you of this grievance, which we find has not as yet been redressed; but settlements are still extending farther into our country; some of them are made directly on our war-path, leading into our enemies’ country, and we do not like it. Brother, you have laws among you to govern your people by; and it will be the strongest proof of the sincerity of your friendship, to let us see that you remove the people from our lands; as we look upon it, they will have time enough to settle them, when you have purchased them, and the country becomes yours.”

The Pennsylvania commissioners, in answer to this speech, informed the Six Nations that the governor of that province had sent four gentlemen with his proclamation and the act of assembly (making it felony of death without benefit of clergy, to continue on Indian lands) to such settlers over the mountains as were seated within the limits of Pennsylvania, requiring them to vacate their settlements, but all to no avail; that the governor of Virginia had likewise, to as little purpose, issued his proclamations and orders; and that General Gage had twice ineffectually sent parties of soldiers to remove the settlers from Red-Stone Creek and Monongahela.

As soon as Mr. Jackson and Dr. Franklin received the foregoing instructions from the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, they waited upon the American minister, and urged the expediency and necessity of the boundary line being speedily concluded; and, in Edition: current; Page: [17] consequences thereof, additional orders were immediately transmitted to Sir William Johnson for that purpose.

It is plain, therefore, that the proclamation of October, 1763, was not designed, as the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations have suggested, to signify the policy of this kingdom against settlements over the Alleghany Mountains, after the king had actually purchased the territory; and that the true reasons for purchasing the lands comprised within that boundary were to avoid an Indian rupture, and give an opportuntiy to the king’s subjects quietly and lawfully to settle thereon.

V. Whether the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations are well founded in their declarations, that the lands under consideration “are out of all advantageous intercourse with this kingdom,” shall be fully considered in our observations on the sixth paragraph; and, as to “the various propositions for erecting new colonies in the interior parts,” which, their Lordships say, “have been, in consequence of the extension of the boundary line, submitted to the consideration of government, particularly in that part of the country wherein are situated the lands now prayed for, and the dangers of complying with such proposals have been so obvious as to defeat every attempt for carrying them into execution,” we shall only observe on this paragraph, that, as we do not know what these propositions were, or upon what principle the proposers have been defeated, it is impossible for us to judge whether they are any ways applicable to our case. Edition: current; Page: [18] Consistent, however, with our knowledge, no more than one proposition for the settlement of a part of the lands in question has been presented to government, and that was from Dr. Lee, thirty-two other Americans, and two Londoners, in the year 1768, praying that his Majesty would grant to them, without any purchase money two millions five hundred thousand acres of land, in one or more surveys, to be located between the thirty-eighth and forty-second degrees of latitude, over the Alleghany Mountains, and on condition of their possessing these lands twelve years without the payment of any quit-rent, (the same not to begin until the whole two millions five hundred thousand acres were surveyed,) and that they should be obliged to settle two hundred families in twelve years. Surely, the Lords Commissioners did not mean this proposition as one that was similar and would apply to the case now reported upon; and especially as Dr. Lee and his associates did not propose, as we do, either to purchase the lands, or pay the quit-rents to his Majesty, neat and clear of all deductions, or be at the whole expense of establishing and maintaining the civil government of the country.

VI. In the sixth paragraph the Lords Commissioners observe that “every argument on the subject, respecting the settlement of the lands in that part of the country now prayed for, is collected together with great force and precision in a representation made to his Majesty by the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, in March, 1768.”

That it may be clearly understood, what was the Edition: current; Page: [19] occasion of this representation, we shall take the liberty of mentioning that, on the 1st of October, 1767, and during the time that the Earl of Shelburne was Secretary of State for the southern department, an idea was entertained of forming, “at the expense of the crown,” three new governments in North America, viz.: one at Detroit, on the waters between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, one in the Illinois country, and one on the lower part of the river Ohio; and, in consequence of such idea, a reference was made by his Lordship to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, for their opinion upon these proposed new governments.

Having explained the cause of the representation, which is so very strongly and earnestly insisted upon by the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, as containing “every argument on the subject of the lands which is at present before your Lordships,” we shall now give our reasons for apprehending that it is so far from applying against our case, that it actually declares a permission would be given to settle the very lands in question.

Three principal reasons are assigned in the representation, as conducive to “the great object of colonizing upon the continent of North America,” viz.:

First—Promoting the advantageous fishery carried on upon the northern coast.

Secondly—Encouraging the growth and culture of naval stores, and of raw materials, to be transported hither, in exchange for perfect manufactures and other merchandise.

Thirdly—Securing a supply of lumber, provisions, Edition: current; Page: [20] and other necessaries, for the support of our establishments in the American islands.

On the first of these reasons, we apprehend, it is not necessary for us to make many observations; as the provinces of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, and the colonies southward of them, have not, and from the nature of their situation and commerce will not, promote the fishery more, it is conceived, than the proposed Ohio colony. These provinces are, however, beneficial to this kingdom in culture and exportation of different articles; as it is humbly presumed the Ohio colony will likewise be, if the production of staple commodities is allowed to be within that description.

On the second and third general reasons of the representation, we shall observe that no part of his Majesty’s dominions in North America will require less encouragement “for the growth and culture of naval stores and raw materials, and for the supplying the islands with lumber, provisions,” etc., than the solicited colony on the Ohio; and for the following reasons:

First. The lands in question are excellent, the climate temperate; the native grapes, silk-worms, and mulberry-trees are everywhere; hemp grows spontaneously in the valleys and low lands; iron ore is plenty in the hills; and no soil is better adapted for the culture of tobacco, flax, and cotton, than that of the Ohio.

Secondly. The country is well watered by several navigable rivers, communicating with each other; and by which, and a short land carriage of only forty Edition: current; Page: [21] miles, the produce of the lands of the Ohio can, even now, be sent cheaper to the seaport town of Alexandria, on the river Potomac (where General Braddock’s transports landed his troops), than any kind of merchandise is at this time sent from Northampton to London.

Thirdly. The river Ohio is, at all seasons of the year, navigable for large boats, like the west country barges, rowed only by four or five men; and, from January to the month of April, large ships may be built on the Ohio, and sent laden with hemp, iron, flax, silk, to this kingdom.

Fourthly. Flour, corn, beef, ship-plank, and other necessaries can be sent down the stream of Ohio to West Florida, and from thence to the islands, much cheaper, and in better order, than from New York or Philadelphia.

Fifthly. Hemp, tobacco, iron, and such bulky articles can also be sent down the stream of the Ohio to the sea, at least fifty per centum cheaper than these articles were ever carried by land carriage, of only sixty miles, in Pennsylvania; where wagonage is cheaper than in any other part of North America.

Sixthly. The expense of transporting British manufactures from the sea to the Ohio colony will not be so much as is now paid, and must ever be paid, to a great part of the counties of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.

From this state of facts, we apprehend, it is clear that the lands in question are altogether capable, and will advantageously admit, from their fertility, Edition: current; Page: [22] situation, and the small expense attending the exporting the produce of them to this kingdom, of conducing to “the great object of colonizing upon the continent of North America”; but, that we may more particularly elucidate this important point, we shall take the freedom of observing that it is not disputed, but even acknowledged by the very report now under consideration, that the climate and the soil of the Ohio are as favorable as we have described them; and, as to the native silk-worms, it is a truth that above ten thousand weight of cocoons was, in August, 1771, sold at the public filature in Philadelphia; and that the silk produced from the native worm is of a good quality, and has been much approved of in this city.

As to hemp, we are ready to make it appear that it grows as we have represented, spontaneously, and of a good texture, on the Ohio. When, therefore, the increasing dependence of this kingdom upon Russia for this very article is considered, and that none has been exported from the sea-coast American colonies, as their soil will not easily produce it, this dependence must surely be admitted as a subject of great national consequence, and worthy of the serious attention of government. Nature has pointed out to us, where any quantity of hemp can be soon and easily raised; and by that means, not only a large amount of specie may be retained yearly in this kingdom, but our own subjects can be employed most advantageously, and paid in the manufactures of this kingdom. The state of the Russian trade is briefly thus:

Edition: current; Page: [23]
From the year 1722 to 1731, two hundred and fifty ships were, on a medium, sent each year to St. Petersburg, Narva, Riga, and Archangel, for hemp 250 ships
And from the year 1762 to 1771, five hundred ships were also sent for that purpose 500
Increase in ten years 250 ships

Here, then, it is obvious that in the last ten years there was, on a medium, an increase of two hundred and fifty ships in the Russian trade. Can it be consistent with the wisdom and policy of the greatest naval and commercial nation in the world, to depend wholly on foreigners for the supply of an article, in which is included the very existence of her navy and commerce? Surely not; and especially when God has blessed us with a country yielding naturally the very commodity which draws our money from us, and renders us dependent on Russia for it.1

Edition: current; Page: [24]

As we have only hitherto generally stated the small expense of carriage between the waters of the Potomac and those of the Ohio, we shall now endeavor to show how very ill-founded the Lords of Trade and Plantations are, in the fifth paragraph of their report, viz., that the lands in question “are out of all advantageous intercourse with this kingdom.” In order, however, that a proper opinion may be formed on this important article, we shall take the liberty of stating the particular expense of carriage, even during the last French war, when there was no back carriage from Ohio to Alexandria; as it will be found, it was even then only about a halfpenny per pound, as will appear from the following account, the truth of which we shall fully ascertain, viz.:

From Alexandria to Fort Cumberland, by water, per hundred weight 1s. 7d.
From Fort Cumberland to Red—Stone Creek, at fourteen dollars per wagon—load, each wagon carrying fifteen hundred weight 4 2
5s. 9d.

Note.—The distance was then seventy miles, but by a new wagon road, lately made, it is now but forty miles; a saving of course of above one half the 5s. 9d. is at present experienced.

If it is considered that this rate of carriage was in time of war, and when there were no inhabitants on the Ohio, we cannot doubt but every intelligent mind will be satisfied that it is now much less than is daily paid in London for the carriage of coarse woollens, Edition: current; Page: [25] cutlery, iron-ware, etc., from several counties in England.

The following is the cost of carriage from Birmingham, etc., viz.:

From Birmingham to London, is 4s. per cwt.
From Walsall in Staffordshire 5 per cwt.
From Sheffield 8 per cwt.
From Warrington 7 per cwt.

If the lands which are at present under consideration are, as the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations say, “out of all advantageous intercourse with this kingdom,” we are at a loss to conceive by what standard that board calculates the rate of “advantageous intercourse.” If the king’s subjects, settled over the Alleghany Mountains, and on the Ohio, within the new-erected county of Bedford, in the province of Pennsylvania, are altogether clothed with British manufactures, as is the case, is that county “out of all advantageous intercourse with this kingdom?” If merchants in London are now actually shipping British manufactures for the use of the very settlers on the lands in question, does that exportation come within the Lords Commissioners’ description of what is “out of all advantageous intercourse with this kingdom?” In short, the Lords Commissioners admit, upon their own principles, that it is a political and advantageous intercourse with this kingdom, when the settlements and settlers are confined to the eastern side of the Alleghany Mountains. Shall, then, the expense of carriage, even of the very coarsest and heaviest cloths, or other articles, from the Edition: current; Page: [26] mountains to the Ohio, only about seventy miles, and which will not at most increase the price of carriage above a halfpenny a yard, convert the trade and connection with the settlers on the Ohio into a predicament “that shall be,” as the Lords Commissioners have said, “out of all advantageous intercourse with this kingdom”?

On the whole, “if the poor Indians in the remote parts of North America, are now able to pay for the linens, woollens, and iron-ware they are furnished with by English traders, though Indians have nothing but what they get by hunting, and the goods are loaded with all the impositions fraud and knavery can contrive to enhance their value, will not industrious English farmers,” employed in the culture of hemp, flax, silk, etc., “be able to pay for what shall be brought to them in the fair way of commerce”; and especially when it is remembered that there is no other allowable market for the sale of these articles, than in this kingdom? And if “the growths of the country find their way out of it, will not the manufactures of this kingdom, where the hemp, etc., must be sent to, find their way into it?”

Whether Nova Scotia, and East and West Florida have yielded advantages and returns equal to the enormous sums expended in founding and supporting them, or even advantages such as the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, in their representation of 1768, seemed to expect, it is not our business to investigate; it is, we presume, sufficient for us to mention that those “many principal persons in Pennsylvania,” as is observed in the representation Edition: current; Page: [27] “whose names and association lie before your Majesty in Council, for the purpose of making settlements in Nova Scotia,” have, several years since, been convinced of the impracticability of exciting settlers to move from the middle colonies and settle in that province; and even of those who were prevailed on to go to Nova Scotia, the greater part of them returned with great complaints against the severity and length of the winters.

As to East and West Florida, it is, we are persuaded, morally impossible to force the people of the middle provinces, between thirty-seven and forty degrees north latitude, (where there is plenty of vacant land in their own temperate climate,) to remove to the scorching, unwholesome heats of those provinces.1 The inhabitants of Montpellier might as soon and easily be persuaded to remove to the northern parts of Russia, or to Senegal.

In short, it is contending with nature, and the experience of all ages, to attempt to compel a people born and living in a temperate climate, and in the neighborhood of a rich, healthful, and uncultivated country, to travel several hundred miles to a seaport in order to make a voyage to sea, and settle either in Edition: current; Page: [28] extreme hot or cold latitudes. If the county of York was vacant and uncultivated, and the more southern inhabitants of this island were in want of land, would they suffer themselves to be driven to the north of Scotland? Would they not, in spite of all opposition, first possess themselves of that fertile county? Thus much we have thought necessary to remark, in respect to the general principles laid down in the representation of 1768; and we hope we have shown that the arguments therein made use of do not in any degree militate against the subject in question, but that they were intended and do solely apply to “new colonies proposed to be established,” as the representation says, “at an expense to this kingdom, at the distance of above fifteen hundred miles from the sea, which, from their inability to find returns wherewith to pay for the manufactures of Great Britain, will be probably led to manufacture for themselves, as they would,” continues the representation, “be separated from the old colonies by immense tracts of unpeopled desert.”

It now only remains for us to inquire whether it was the intention of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations in 1768, that the territory which would be included within the boundary line then negotiating with the Indians (and which was the one that was that year perfected) should continue a useless wilderness, or be settled and occupied by his Majesty’s subjects.

The very representation itself, which, the present Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations say, contains “every argument on the subject,” furnishes Edition: current; Page: [29] us an ample and satisfactory solution to this important question. The Lords Commissioners in 1768, after pronouncing their opinion against the proposed three new governments, as above stated, declare “they ought to be carefully guarded against, by encouraging the settlement of that extensive tract of sea-coast hitherto unoccupied; which,” say their Lordships, “together with the liberty the inhabitants of the middle colonies will have (in consequence of the proposed boundary line with the Indians) of gradually extending themselves backwards, will more effectually and beneficially answer the object of encouraging population and consumption, than the erection of new governments; such gradual extension might, through the medium of a continual population, upon even the same extent of territory, preserve a communication of mutual commercial benefits between its extremest parts and Great Britain, impossible to exist in colonies separated by immense tracts of unpeopled desert.

Can any opinion be more clear and conclusive in favor of the proposition which we have humbly submitted to his Majesty? For their Lordships positively say that the inhabitants of the middle colonies will have liberty of gradually extending themselves backwards. But is it not very extraordinary that after near two years’ deliberation the present Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations should make a report to the Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council, and therein expressly refer to that opinion of 1768, in which they say “every argument on the subject is collected together with great force Edition: current; Page: [30] and precision,” and yet that almost in the same breath their Lordships should contravene that very opinion, and advise his Majesty “to check the progress of these settlements,” and that “settlements in that distant part of the country ought to be discouraged as much as possible, and another proclamation should be issued declaratory of his Majesty’s resolution, not to allow for the present any new settlement beyond the line,” to wit, beyond the Alleghany Mountains? How strange and contradictory is this conduct! But we forbear any strictures upon it, and shall conclude our remarks on this head by stating the opinion at different times of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations on this subject.

In 1748 their Lordships expressed the strongest desire to promote settlements over the mountains and on the Ohio.

In 1768 the then Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations declared (in consequence of the boundary line at that time negotiating) that the inhabitants of the middle colonies would have liberty of gradually extending themselves backwards.

In 1770 the Earl of Hillsborough actually recommended the purchase of a tract of land over the mountains sufficient for a new colony, and then went down to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury to know whether their Lordships would treat with Mr. Walpole and his associates for such purchase.

In 1772 the Earl of Hillsborough and the other Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations made a report on the petition of Mr. Walpole and his associates, and referred to the representation of the Board Edition: current; Page: [31] of Trade in 1768 “as containing every argument on the subject, collected together with force and precision,” which representation declared, as we have shown, “that the inhabitants of the middle colonies will have liberty to extend backwards” on the identical lands in question, and yet, notwithstanding such reference, so strongly made from the present Board of Trade to the opinion of that board, the Earl of Hillsborough and the other Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations have now, in direct terms, reported against the absolute engagement and opinion of the board in 1768.

It may be asked, what was intended by the expressions in the representation of 1768 “of gradually extending themselves backwards”? It is answered, they were only in contradistinction to the proposal of erecting at that time three new governments at Detroit, etc., and “thereby exciting,” as the representation says, “the stream of population to various distant places.” In short, it was, we think, beyond all doubt, the “precise” opinion of the Lords Commissioners in 1768, that the territory within the boundary line then negotiating and since completed, would be sufficient at that time to answer the object of population and consumption, and that until that territory was fully occupied, it was not necessary to erect the proposed three new governments “at an expense to this kingdom,” in places, as their Lordships observed, “separated by immense tracts of unpeopled desert.”

To conclude our observations on the sixth paragraph, we would just remark that we presume we Edition: current; Page: [32] have demonstrated that the inhabitants of the middle colonies cannot be compelled to exchange the soil and climate of these colonies, either for the severe colds of Nova Scotia and Canada, or the unwholesome heats of East and West Florida. Let us next inquire what would be the effect of confining these inhabitants, it if was practicable, within narrow bounds, and thereby preventing them from exercising their natural inclination of cultivating lands; and whether such restriction would not force them into manufactures, to rival the mother country. To these questions, the Lords Commissioners have with much candor replied, in their representation of 1768. “We admit,” said their Lordships, “as an undeniable principle of true policy, that, with a view to prevent manufactures, it is necessary and proper to open an extent of territory for colonization, proportioned to an increase of people, as a large number of inhabitants, cooped up in narrow limits, without a sufficiency of land for produce, would be compelled to convert their attention and industry to manufactures.” But their Lordships at the same time observe: “That the encouragement given to the settlement of the colonies upon the sea-coast, and the effect which such encouragement has had, has already effectually provided for this object.”

In what parts of North America this encouragement has thus provided for population, their Lordships have not mentioned. If the establishment of the government of Quebec, Nova Scotia, and the island of St. John’s, or East and West Florida, was Edition: current; Page: [33] intended by their Lordships as that effectual provision, we shall presume to deny the proposition, by asserting, as an undoubted truth, that, although there is at least a million of subjects in the middle colonies, none have emigrated from thence, and settled in these new provinces; and for that reason, and from the very nature of colonization itself, we affirm that none will ever be induced to exchange the healthy, temperate climate of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, for the extreme colds or heats of Canada and Nova Scotia, or East and West Florida.

In short, it is not in the power of government to give any encouragement, that can compensate for a desertion of friends and neighbors, dissolution of family connection, and abandoning a soil and climate infinitely superior to those of Canada, Nova Scotia, or the Floridas. Will not therefore the inhabitants of the middle provinces, whose population is great beyond example,1 and who have already made some advances in manufactures, “by confining them to their present narrow limits,” be necessarily compelled to convert their whole attention to that object? How then shall this, in the nature of things, be prevented, except, as the Lords Commissioners have justly remarked, “by opening an extent of territory proportioned to their increase?” But where shall a Edition: current; Page: [34] territory be found proper for “the colonization of the inhabitants of the middle colonies”? We answer, in the very country which the Lords Commissioners have said that the inhabitants of these colonies would have liberty to settle in; a country which his Majesty has purchased from the Six Nations; one where several thousands of his subjects are already settled; and one where, the Lords Commissioners have acknowledged, “a gradual extension might, through the medium of a continued population, upon even the same extent of territory, preserve a communication of mutual commercial benefits between its extremest parts and Great Britain.”1

VII. This paragraph is introduced by referring to the extract of a letter from the commander-in-chief of his Majesty’s forces in North America, laid by the Earl of Hillsborough before the Lords Commissioners for Trades and Plantations. But, as their Lordships have not mentioned either the general’s name, or the time when the letter was written, or what occasioned his delivering his opinion upon the subject of colonization in general, in the “remote countries,” we can only conjecture that General Gage Edition: current; Page: [35] was the writer of the letter, and that it was written about the year 1768, when the plan of the three new governments was under the consideration of the then Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, and before the lands on the Ohio were bought from, and the boundary line established with, the Six Nations.

Indeed, we think it clear that the general had no other lands, at that time, under his consideration, than what he calls “remote countries,” such as the Detroit, Illinois, and the lower parts of the Ohio; for he speaks of “foreign countries,” from which it “would be too far to transport some kind of naval stores,” and for the same reason could not, he says, supply the sugar islands “with lumber and provisions.” He mentions, also, “planting colonies at so vast a distance that the very long transportation (of silk, wine, etc.) must probably make them too dear for any market,” and where “the inhabitants could not have any commodities to barter for manufactures, except skins and furs.” And what, in our opinion, fully evinces that the general was giving his sentiments upon settlements at Detroit, etc., and not on the territory in question, is, that he says, “It will be a question, likewise, whether colonization of this kind could be effected without an Indian war, and fighting for every inch of the ground.”

Why the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations should encumber their report with the opinion of General Gage on what he calls the settlement of a “foreign country,” that could not be effected without “fighting for every inch of ground,” Edition: current; Page: [36] and how their Lordships could apply that case to the settlement of a territory purchased by his Majesty near four years ago, and now inhabited by several thousand British subjects, whom the Indians themselves living on the northern side of the Ohio (as shall be fully shown in the course of these observations) have earnestly requested may be immediately governed, we confess we are wholly at a loss to comprehend.

VIII. The eighth paragraph highly extols, not only the accuracy and precision of the foregoing representation of the Lords of Trade in 1768, (which, as has been before observed, expressed that the inhabitants of the middle colonies would have liberty to settle over the mountains and on the Ohio,) but also the above-mentioned letter from the commander-in-chief in America; and at the same time introduces the sentiments of Mr. Wright, governor of Georgia, “on the subject of large grants in the interior parts of America.”

When this letter was written; what was the occasion of the governor’s writing it; whether he was then, from his own knowledge, acquainted with the situation of the country over the mountains, with the disposition of the middle colonies, with the capability of the Ohio country, from its soil, climate, or communication with the river Potomac, etc., to supply this kingdom with silk, flax, hemp, etc.; and whether the principal part of Mr. Wright’s estate is on the sea-coast in Georgia, are facts which we wish had been stated, that it might be known whether Governor Wright’s “knowledge and experience in Edition: current; Page: [37] the affairs of the colonies ought,” as the Lords of Trade mention, “to give great weight to his opinion,” on the present occasion.

The doctrine insisted upon by Governor Wright appears to us reducible to the following propositions, viz.:

1. That if a vast territory be granted to any set of gentlemen, who really mean to people it, and actually do so, it must draw and carry out a great number of people from Great Britain.

2. That they will soon become a kind of separate and independent people; who will set up for themselves, will soon have manufactures of their own, will neither take supplies from the mother country nor the provinces at the back of which they are settled; that, being at such a distance from the seat of government, from courts, magistrates, etc., and out of the control of law and government, they will become a receptacle for offenders, etc.

3. That the sea-coast should be thickly settled with inhabitants, and be well cultivated and improved, etc.

4. That his ideas are not chimerical; that he knows something of the situation and state of things in America; and, from some little occurrences that have happened, he can very easily figure to himself what may, and, in short, what will certainly happen, if not prevented in time.

On these propositions we shall take the liberty of making a few observations.

To the first we answer we shall, we are persuaded, satisfactorily prove that in the middle colonies, viz.: Edition: current; Page: [38] New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, there is hardly any vacant land, except such as is monopolized by great landholders, for the purpose of selling at high prices; that the poor people of these colonies, with large families of children, cannot pay these prices; and that several thousand families, for that reason, have already settled upon the Ohio; that we do not wish for, and shall not encourage, one single family of his Majesty’s European subjects to settle there, (and this we have no objection to be prevented from doing,) but shall wholly rely on the voluntary superflux of the inhabitants of the middle provinces for settling and cultivating the lands in question.

On the second it is not, we presume, necessary for us to say more, than that all the conjectures and suppositions “of being a kind of separate and independent people,” etc., entirely lose their force, on the proposition of a government being established on the grant applied for, as the Lords of Trade themselves acknowledged.

On the third we would only briefly remark that we have fully answered this objection in the latter part of our answer to the sixth paragraph.

And as the fourth proposition is merely the governor’s declaration of his knowledge of something of the situation and state of things in America, and that from some little occurrences, that have already really happened, he can very easily figure to himself what may and certainly will happen if not prevented in time, we say that, as the governor has not mentioned what these little occurrences are, we cannot Edition: current; Page: [39] pretend to judge whether what he figures to himself is in any ways relative to the object under consideration, or, indeed, what else it is relative to.

But, as the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations have thought proper to insert in their report the above-mentioned letters from General Gage and Governor Wright, it may not be improper for us to give the opinion of his Majesty’s House of Burgesses of the dominion of Virginia on the very point in question, as conveyed to his Majesty in their address of the 4th of August, 1767, and delivered the latter end of that year to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, by Mr. Montague, agent for the colony. The House of Burgesses say: “We humbly hope that we shall obtain your royal indulgence, when we give it as our opinion that it will be for your Majesty’s service, and the interest of your American dominions in general, to continue the encouragements” (which were a total exemption from any consideration-money whatsoever, and a remission of quit-rent for ten years, and of all kinds of taxes for fifteen years) “for settling those frontier lands.” By this means, the House observed, “new settlements will be made by people of property, obedient subjects to government; but if the present restriction should continue, we have the strongest reason to believe that country will become the resort of fugitives and vagabonds, defiers of law and order, and who in time may form a body dangerous to the peace and civil government of this colony.”

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We come now to the consideration of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh paragraphs.

In the ninth, the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations observe “that, admitting the settlers over the mountains and on the Ohio to be as numerous as report states them to be” (and which we shall, from undoubted testimony, prove to be not less than five thousand families, of at least six persons to a family, independent of some thousand families, which are also settled over the mountains, within the limits of the province of Pennsylvania), yet their Lordships say “it operates strongly in point of argument against what is proposed.” And their Lordships add: “If the foregoing reasoning has any weight, it ought certainly to induce the Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council to advise his Majesty to take every method to check the progress of these settlements, and not to make such grants of the land as will have an immediate tendency to encourage them.”

Having, we presume, clearly shown that the country southward of the Great Kenhawa, quite to the Cherokee River, belonged to the Six Nations, and not to the Cherokees; that now it belongs to the king, in virtue of his Majesty’s purchase from the Six Nations; that neither these tribes nor the Cherokees do hunt between the Great Kenhawa and the land opposite to the Scioto River; that, by the present boundary line, the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations would sacrifice to the Cherokees an extent of country of at least eight hundred miles in length, which his Majesty has bought and Edition: current; Page: [41] paid for; that the real limits of Virginia do not extend westward, beyond the Alleghany Mountains; that, since the purchase of the country from the Six Nations, his Majesty has not annexed it, nor any part of it, to the colony of Virginia; that there are no settlements made under legal titles, on any part of the lands we have agreed for, with the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury; that, in the year 1748, the strongest marks of royal encouragement were given to settle the country over the mountains; that the suspension of this encouragement, by the proclamation of October, 1763, was merely temporary, until the lands were purchased from the natives; that the avidity to settle these lands was so great that large settlements were made thereon before they were purchased; that, although the settlers were daily exposed to the cruelties of the savages, neither a military force nor repeated proclamations could induce them to vacate these lands; that the soil of the country over the mountains is excellent, and capable of easily producing hemp, flax, silk, tobacco, iron, wine, etc.; that these articles can be cheaply conveyed to a seaport for exportation; that the charge of carriage is so very small, it cannot possibly operate to the prevention of the use of British manufactures; that the king’s purchasing the lands from the Indians, and fixing a boundary line with them, was for the very purpose of his subjects’ settling them; and that the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, in 1768, declared that the inhabitants of the middle colonies would have liberty for that purpose.

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And to this train of facts let us add that, at the congress held with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix in 1768, when his Majesty purchased the territory on the Ohio, Messrs. Penn also bought from these Nations a very extensive tract of country over the Alleghany Mountains and on that river, joining to the very lands in question; that in the spring of 1769 Messrs. Penn opened their land-office in Pennsylvania, for the settling the country which they had so bought at Fort Stanwix; and all such settlers as had seated themselves over the mountains, within the limits of Pennsylvania, before the lands were purchased from the natives, have since obtained titles for their plantations; that, in 1771, a petition was presented to the Assembly of the province of Pennsylvania, praying that a new county may be made over these mountains; that the legislature of that province, in consideration of the great number of families settled there, within the limits of that province, did that year enact a law for the erection of the lands over the mountains, into a new county, by the name of Bedford County; that, in consequence of such law, William Thompson was chosen to represent it in the General Assembly; that a sheriff, coroner, justices of the peace, constables, and other civil officers are appointed and do reside over the mountains; that all the king’s subjects, who are not less than five thousand families, who have made locations and settlements on the lands southward of, and adjoining to, the southern line of Pennsylvania, live there without any degree of order, law, or government; that, being in this lawless situation, continual Edition: current; Page: [43] quarrels prevail among them; that they have already infringed the boundary line, killed several Indians, and encroached on the lands on the opposite side of the Ohio; and that disorders of the most dangerous nature, with respect to the Indians, the boundary line, and the old colonies, will soon take place among these settlers, if law and subordination are not immediately established among them. Can these facts be possibly perverted so as to operate, either in point of argument or policy, against the proposition of governing the king’s subjects on the lands in question?

It ought to be considered, also, that we have agreed to pay as much for a small part of the cession made at Fort Stanwix, as the whole cession cost the crown, and at the same time to be at the entire expense of establishing and supporting the proposed new colony.1

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The truth is, the inhabitants already settled on this tract of country are in so ungoverned and lawless a situation that the very Indians themselves complain of it; so that, if they are not soon governed, an Indian war will be the inevitable consequence. This, we presume, is evident, both from the correspondence of General Gage with the Earl of Hillsborough, and a speech of the chiefs of the Delawares, Munsies, and Mohickons, living on the Ohio, to the governors of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, lately transmitted by the General to his Lordship.

In this speech these nations observed that, since the sale of the lands to the king on the Ohio—

“Great numbers more of your people have come over the great mountains and settled throughout the country; and we are sorry to tell you that several quarrels have happened between your people and ours, in which people have been killed on both sides; and that we now see the nations round us and your people ready to embroil in a quarrel, which gives our nations great concern, as we, on our parts, want to live in friendship with you. As you have always told us, you have laws to govern your people by, but we do not see that you have; therefore, brethren, unless you can fall upon some method of governing your people who live between the great mountains and the Ohio River, and who are very numerous, it will be out of the Indians’ power to govern their young men; for, we assure you, the black clouds begin to gather fast in this country, and, if something is not soon done, these clouds will deprive Edition: current; Page: [45] us of seeing the sun. We desire you to give the greatest attention to what we now tell you, as it comes from our hearts, and a desire we have to live in peace and friendship with our brethren the English, and therefore it grieves us to see some of the nations about us and your people ready to strike each other. We find your people are very fond of our rich land; we see them quarrelling with each other every day about land, and burning one another’s houses, so that we do not know how soon they may come over the River Ohio, and drive us from our villages; nor do we see you, brothers, take any care to stop them.”

This speech, from tribes of such great influence and weight upon the Ohio, conveys much useful information: it establishes the fact of the settlers over the mountains being very numerous; it shows the entire approbation of the Indians in respect to a colony being established on the Ohio; it pathetically complains of the king’s subjects not being governed; and it confirms the assertion mentioned by the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations in the eighth paragraph of their report, “that, if the settlers are suffered to continue in the lawless state of anarchy and confusion, they will commit such abuses as cannot fail of involving us in quarrels and disputes with the Indians, and thereby endanger the security of his Majesty’s colonies.”

The Lord Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, however, pay no regard to all these circumstances, but content themselves with observing: “We see nothing to hinder the government of Virginia Edition: current; Page: [46] from extending the laws and constitution of that colony to such persons as may have already settled there under legal titles.” To this we repeat that there are no such persons as have settled under legal titles; and even admitting there were, as their Lordships say, in the eleventh paragraph, it appears to them, “some possessions derived from grants made by the governor and council of Virginia,” and allowing that the laws and constitution of Virginia did, as they unquestionably do not, extend to this territory, have the Lords Commissioners proposed any expedient for governing those many thousand families, who have not settled under legal titles, but only agreeably to the ancient usage of location? Certainly not. But, on the contrary, their Lordships have recommended that his Majesty should be advised to take every method to check the progress of their settlements; and thereby leave them in their present lawless situation, at the risk of involving the middle colonies in a war with the natives, pregnant with a loss of subjects, loss of commerce, and depopulation of their frontier counties.

Having made these observations, it may next be proper to consider how the laws and constitution of Virginia can possibly be extended so as effectually to operate on the territory in question. Is not Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia, at least four hundred miles from the settlements on the Ohio? Do not the laws of Virginia require that all persons guilty of capital crimes shall be tried only in Williamsburg? Is not the General Assembly held there? Is not the Court of King’s Bench, or the superior Edition: current; Page: [47] court of the dominion, kept there? Has Virginia provided any fund for the support of the officers of these distant settlements, or for the transporting oftenders, and paying the expense of witnesses travelling eight hundred miles (viz., going and returning), and during their stay at Williamsburg? And will not these settlers be exactly (for the reasons assigned) in the situation described by Governor Wright, in the very letter which the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations have so warmly recommended, viz.: “such persons as are settled at the back of the provinces; being at a distance from the seat of government, courts, magistrates, etc., they will be out of the reach and control of law and government, and their settlement will become a receptacle and a kind of asylum for offenders”?

On the eleventh paragraph, we apprehend, it is not necessary to say much. The reservatory clause proposed in our memorial is what is usual in royal grants; and in the present case the Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council, we hope, will be of opinion it is quite sufficient; more especially as we are able to prove to their Lordships that there are no “possessions,” within the boundaries of the lands under consideration, which are held “under legal titles.”

To conclude: As it has been demonstrated that neither royal nor provincial proclamations, nor the dread and horror of a savage war, were sufficient, even before the country was purchased from the Indians, to prevent the settlement of the lands over the mountains, can it be conceived that, now the Edition: current; Page: [48] country is purchased, and the people have seen the proprietors of Pennsylvania, who are the hereditary supporters of British policy in their own province, give every degree of encouragement to settle the lands westward of the mountains, the legislature of the province, at the same time, effectually corroborate the measure, and several thousand families, in consequence thereof, settle in the new county of Bedford, the inhabitants of the middle colonies will be restrained from cultivating the luxuriant country of the Ohio, joining to the southern line of Pennsylvania? But, even admitting that it might formerly have been a question of some propriety, whether the country should be permitted to be settled, that cannot surely become a subject of inquiry now, when it is an obvious and certain truth that at least thirty thousand British subjects are already settled there. Is it fit to leave such a body of people lawless and ungoverned? Will sound policy recommend this manner of colonizing and increasing the wealth, strength, and commerce of the empire? Or will it point out that it is the indispensable duty of government to render bad subjects useful subjects; and for that purpose immediately to establish law and subordination among them, and thereby early confirm their native attachment to the laws, traffic, and customs of this kingdom?

On the whole, we presume that we have, both by facts and sound argument, shown that the opinion of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations on the object in question is not well founded; and that if their Lordships’ opinion should be Edition: current; Page: [49] adopted, it would be attended with the most mischievous and dangerous consequences to the commerce, peace, and safety of his Majesty’s colonies in America.

We therefore hope the expediency and utility of erecting the lands agreed for into a separate colony, without delay, will be considered as a measure of the soundest policy, highly conducive to the peace and security of the old colonies, to the preservation of the boundary line, and to the commercial interests of the mother country.

APPENDIX NO. I: BY THE KING
A PROCLAMATION

George R.

Whereas we have taken into our royal consideration the extensive and valuable acquisitions in America, secured to our crown by the late definitive treaty of peace, concluded at Paris the 10th of February last; and being desirous that all our loving subjects, as well of our kingdoms as of our colonies in America, may avail themselves, with all convenient speed, of the great benefits and advantages which must accrue therefrom to their commerce, manufactures, and navigation, we have thought fit, with the advice of our Privy Council, to issue this our royal proclamation, hereby to publish and declare to all our loving subjects, that we have, with the advice of our said Privy Council, granted our letters patent under our great seal of Great Britain, to erect within the countries and islands, ceded and confirmed to us by the said treaty, Edition: current; Page: [50] four distinct and separate governments, styled and called by the names of Quebec, East Florida, West Florida, and Grenada, and limited and bounded as follows, viz.:

First, The government of Quebec, bounded on the Labrador coast by the River St. John, and from thence by a line drawn from the head of that river, through the Lake St. John, to the south end of the Lake Nipissim, from whence the said line, crossing the River St. Lawrence and the Lake Champlain in forty-five degrees of north latitude, passes along the highlands which divide the rivers that empty themselves into the said River St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the sea; and also along the north coast of the Baie des Chaleurs, and the coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Cape Rosières, and from thence crossing the mouth of the River St. Lawrence by the west end of the Island of Anticosti, terminates at the aforesaid River St. John.

Secondly, The government of East Florida, bounded to the westward by the Gulf of Mexico and the Appalachicola River; to the northward, by a line drawn from that part of the said river where the Chatahouchee and Flint rivers meet, to the source of St. Mary’s River, and by the course of the said river to the Atlantic Ocean; and to the east and south by the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Florida, including all islands within six leagues of the sea-coast.

Thirdly, The government of West Florida, bounded to the southward by the Gulf of Mexico, including all islands within six leagues of the coast from the River Appalachicola to Lake Pontchartrain; to the westward by the said lake, the Lake Maurepas, and the River Mississippi; to the northward, by a line drawn due east from that part of the Mississippi which lies in thirty-one degrees north latitude, to the River Appalachicola or Chatahouchee; and to the eastward by the said river.

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Fourthly, The government of Grenada, comprehending the island of that name, together with the Grenadines, and the Islands of Dominico, St. Vincent, and Tobago.

And to the end that the open and free fishery of our subjects may be extended to, and carried on upon, the coast of Labrador and the adjacent islands, we have thought fit, with the advice of our said Privy Council, to put all that coast from the River St. John to Hudson’s Straits, together with the islands of Anticosti and Madelaine, and all other smaller islands lying upon the said coast, under the care and inspection of our governor of Newfoundland.

We have also, with the advice of our Privy Council, thought fit to annex the islands of St. John and Cape Breton, or Isle Royale, with the lesser islands adjacent thereto, to our government of Nova Scotia.

We have also, with the advice of our Privy Council aforesaid, annexed to our province of Georgia all the lands lying between the rivers Altamaha and St. Mary’s.

And whereas it will greatly contribute to the speedy settling our said new governments, that our loving subjects should be informed of our paternal care for the security of the liberties and properties of those who are and shall become inhabitants thereof, we have thought fit to publish and declare, by this our proclamation, that we have, in our letters patent under the great seal of Great Britain, by which the governments are constituted, given express power and direction to our governors of our said colonies respectively, that, so soon as the state and circumstances of the said colonies will admit thereof, they shall, with the advice and consent of the members of our council, summon and call General Assemblies within the said governments respectively, in such manner and form as is used and directed in those colonies and provinces in America which are under our immediate Edition: current; Page: [52] government. And we have also given power to the said governors, with the consent of our said councils and the representatives of the people, so to be summoned as aforesaid, to make, constitute, and ordain laws, statutes, and ordinances for the public peace, welfare, and good government of our said colonies, and of the people and inhabitants thereof, as near as may be, agreeably to the laws of England, and under such regulations and restrictions as are used in other colonies; and, in the meantime and until such assemblies can be called as aforesaid, all persons inhabiting in, or resorting to, our said colonies, may confide in our royal protection for the enjoyment of the benefit of the laws of our realm of England; for which purpose we have given power under our great seal to the governors of our said colonies respectively, to erect and constitute, with the advice of our said councils respectively, courts of judicature and public justice within our said colonies, for the hearing and determining all causes, as well criminal as civil, according to law and equity, and, as near as may be, agreeably to the laws of England; with liberty to all persons, who may think themselves aggrieved by the sentence of such courts, in all civil cases, to appeal, under the usual limitations and restrictions, to us, in our Privy Council.

We have also thought fit, with the advice of our Privy Council as aforesaid, to give unto the governors and councils of our said three new colonies upon the continent, full power and authority to settle and agree with the inhabitants of our said new colonies, or with any other person who shall resort thereto, for such lands, tenements, and hereditaments as are now or hereafter shall be in our power to dispose of, and them to grant to any such person or persons, upon such terms, and under such moderate quit-rents, services, and acknowledgments, as Edition: current; Page: [53] have been appointed and settled in other colonies, and under such other conditions as shall appear to us to be necessary and expedient for the advantage of the grantees, and the improvement and settlement of our said colonies.

And whereas we are desirous, upon all occasions, to testify our royal sense and approbation of the conduct and bravery of the officers and soldiers of our armies, and to reward the same, we do hereby command and empower our governors of our said three new colonies, and other our governors of our several provinces on the continent of North America, to grant, without fee or reward, to such reduced officers as have served in North America during the late war, and are actually residing there, and shall personally apply for the same, the following quantities of land, subject, at the expiration of ten years, to the same quit-rents as other lands are subject to in the province within which they are granted, as also subject to the same conditions of cultivation and improvement, viz.:

  • To every person having the rank of a field-officer, five thousand acres.
  • To every captain, three thousand acres.
  • To every subaltern or staff-officer, two thousand acres.
  • To every non-commissioned officer, two hundred acres.
  • To every private man, fifty acres.

We do likewise authorize and require the governors and commanders-in-chief of all our said colonies upon the continent of North America to grant the like quantities of land, and upon the same conditions, to such reduced officers of our navy of like rank, as served on board our ships of war in North America at the times of the reduction of Louisburg and Quebec in the late war, and who shall personally apply to our respective governors for such grants.

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And whereas it is just, and reasonable, and essential to our interest and security of our colonies, that the several nations and tribes of Indians, with whom we are connected, and who live under our protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the possession of such parts of our dominions and territories as, not having been ceded to, or purchased by, us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their hunting-grounds; we do therefore, with the advice of our Privy Council, declare it to be our royal will and pleasure, that no governor, or commander-in-chief, in any of our colonies of Quebec, East Florida, or West Florida, do presume, upon any pretence whatever, to grant warrants of survey, or pass any patents, for lands beyond the bounds of their respective governments, as described in their commissions; as also that no governor or commander-in-chief of our other colonies or plantations in America, do presume for the present, and until our further pleasure be known, to grant warrants of survey, or pass patents, for any lands beyond the heads or sources of any of the rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the west or northwest; or upon any lands whatever, which, not having been ceded to, or purchased by, us, as aforesaid, are reserved to the said Indians, or any of them.

And we do further declare it to be our royal will and pleasure, for the present, as aforesaid, to reserve under our sovereignty, protection, and dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the land and territories not included within the limits of our said three new governments, or within the limits of the territory granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company; as also all the land and territories lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers which fall into the sea from the west and northwest as aforesaid; and we do hereby strictly forbid, on pain of our displeasure, Edition: current; Page: [55] all our loving subjects from making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking possession of any of the lands above reserved, without our especial leave and license for that purpose first obtained.

And we do further strictly enjoin and require all persons whatever, who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any lands within the countries above described, or upon any other lands, which, not having been ceded to, or purchased by, us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such settlements.

And whereas great frauds and abuses have been committed in the purchasing lands of the Indians, to the great prejudice of our interests, and to the great dissatisfaction of the said Indians; in order, therefore, to prevent such irregularities for the future, and to the end that the Indians may be convinced of our justice, and determined resolution to remove all reasonable cause of discontent, we do, with the advice of our Privy Council, strictly enjoin and require, that no private person do presume to make any purchase from the said Indians, of any lands reserved to the said Indians, within those parts of our colonies where we have thought proper to allow settlement; but that, if at any time any of the said Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said lands, the same shall be purchased only for us, in our name, at some public meeting or assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that purpose by the governor or commander-in-chief of our colony respectively, within which they shall lie: and, in case they shall lie within the limits of any proprietaries, conformable to such directions and instructions as we or they shall think proper to give for that purpose. And we do, by the advice of our Privy Council, declare and enjoin, that the trade with the said Edition: current; Page: [56] Indians shall be free and open to all our subjects whatever, provided that every person, who may incline to trade with the said Indians, do take out a license for carrying on such trade, from the governor or commander-in-chief of any of our colonies respectively, where such person shall reside, and also the security to observe such regulations as we shall at any time think fit, by ourselves or commissaries, to be appointed for this purpose, to direct and appoint for the benefit of the said trade. And we do hereby authorize, enjoin, and require the governors and commanders-in-chief of all our colonies respectively, as well those under our immediate government, as those under the government and direction of proprietaries, to grant such licenses without fee or reward, taking especial care to insert therein a condition, that such license shall be void, and the security forfeited, in case the person to whom the same is granted, shall refuse or neglect to observe such regulations as we shall think proper to proscribe as aforesaid.

And we do further expressly enjoin and require all officers whatever, as well military as those employed in the management and direction of Indian affairs within the territories reserved, as aforesaid, for the use of the said Indians, to seize and apprehend all persons whatever, who, standing charged with treasons, misprisions of treasons, murders, or other felonies or misdemeanors, shall fly from justice and take refuge in the said territory, and to send them under a proper guide to the colony where the crime was committed of which they shall stand accused, in order to take their trial for the same.

Given at our Court of St. James’s the seventh day of October, 1763, in the third year of our reign.

God save the King.

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APPENDIX NO. II: STATE OF THE KING’S RENTS IN NORTH AMERICA

Consideration money paid to the king for the lands. The time the lands are exempted from quit-rent. Quit-rents received. Expense to this country for the support of the civil government of the colonies.
Island of St. John, None. 20 years. None.
Nova Scotia, None. 10 years. And yet no quit-rents have been received, though the colony was established 22 years ago. } £ s d
707,320 19 71/8
Canada, None.
Massachusetts, } None. { Wholly exempt from quit-rents and all payments to the crown. }
Connecticut, } None.
Rhode Island, } None.
New Hampshire, None. None. None.
New York, None. { This colony was restored to the crown in the year 1693-4, and yet from that time very little quit-rents have been received. } None. None.
New Jersey, } None. { Wholly exempt from quit-rents and all payments to the crown. } None.
Pennsylvania, }
Maryland, }
Virginia, None. { This colony was reassumed by the crown in the year 1626, and yet, for a great number of years, the quit-rents were not paid at all,—never with any regularity till within a very few years, and now from what is paid there is a deduction of at least 20 per cent. } None.
N. & S. Carolina, None.
Georgia, None. { This colony was settled in the year 1735, and yet no quit-rents have been received. } None. £ s d
214,610 3 11/4
E. & W. Florida, None. 10 years. None. 90,900 0 0
But it is proposed to pay for the colony on the Ohio. { £10,460 7s 3d; which is all the money the whole country (of which this is only a small part) cost government for the cession from the Six Nations. The quit-rents to commence in twenty years from the time of the survey of each lot or plantation, and to be paid into the hands of such person as his Majesty shall appoint to receive the same, net and clear of all deductions whatsoever, for collections or otherwise. } { All the expenses of the civil government of this colony, to be borne and paid by the proprietors.
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Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
5 January, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
CCCCLXXI

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 2d of December past, enclosing some original letters from persons in Boston, which I hope got safe to hand. I have since received your favor of October 27th, which, containing in a small compass so full an enumeration of our grievances, the steps necessary to remove them, and the happy effects that must follow, I thought that though marked private it might be of use to communicate it to Lord Dartmouth; the rather, too, as he would there find himself occasionally mentioned with proper respect, and learn that his character was esteemed in the colonies. Accordingly I wrote him a few lines, and enclosed it a day or two before I was to wait on his Lordship, that he might have a little time to consider the contents.1

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When I next attended him, he returned me the letter with great complaisance in his countenance; said he was glad to find that people in America were disposed to think so favorably of him; that they did him but justice in believing he had the best disposition towards them, for he wished sincerely their welfare, though possibly he might not always think with them, as to the means of obtaining that end; that the heads of complaint in your letter were many, some of them requiring much consideration, and therefore it could scarce be expected that a sudden change should be made in so many measures, supposing them all improper to be continued, which perhaps might not be the case. It was, however, his opinion that, if the Americans continued quiet, and gave no fresh offence to government, those measures would be reconsidered, and such relief given as upon consideration should be thought reasonable.

I need not remark that there is not much in such general discourse; but I could then obtain nothing more particular, except that his Lordship expressed in direct terms his disapprobation of the instruction for exempting the colonies from taxation; which, however, was, as he said, in confidence to me, relying that no public mention should be made of his opinion on that head.

In the meantime, some circumstances are working in our favor with regard to the duties. It is found by the last year’s accounts transmitted by the commissioners, that the balance in favor of Britain is but about eighty-five pounds, after payment of Edition: current; Page: [60] salaries, etc., exclusive of the charge of a fleet to enforce the collection. Then it is observed that the India Company is so out of cash, that it cannot pay the bills drawn upon it, and its other debts; and at the same time so out of credit, that the Bank does not care to assist them, whence they find themselves obliged to lower their dividend; the apprehension of which has sunk their stock from two hundred and eighty to one hundred and sixty, whereby several millions of property are annihilated, occasioning private bankruptcies and other distress, besides a loss to the public treasury of four hundred thousand pounds per annum, which the company are not to pay into it as heretofore, if they are not able to keep up their dividend at twelve and a half. And, as they have at the same time tea and other India goods in their warehouses, to the amount of four millions, as some say, for which they want a market, and which, if it had been sold, would have kept up their credit, I take the opportunity of remarking in all companies the great imprudence of losing the American market, by keeping up the duty on tea, which has thrown that trade into the hands of the Dutch, Danes, Swedes, and French, who, according to the reports and letters of some custom-house officers in America, now supply by smuggling, the whole continent, not with tea only, but accompany that article with other India goods, amounting, as supposed, in the whole to five hundred thousand pounds sterling per annum. This gives some alarm, and begins to convince people more and more of the impropriety of quarrelling with America, who Edition: current; Page: [61] at that rate might have taken off two millions and a half of those goods within these five years that the combination has subsisted, if the duty had not been laid, or had been speedily repealed.

But our great security lies, I think, in our growing strength, both in numbers and wealth; that creates an increasing ability of assisting this nation in its wars, which will make us more respectable, our friendship more valued, and our enmity feared; thence it will soon be thought proper to treat us not with justice only, but with kindness, and thence we may expect in a few years a total change of measures with regard to us; unless, by a neglect of military discipline, we should lose all martial spirit, and our western people become as tame as those in the eastern dominions of Britain, when we may expect the same oppressions; for there is much truth in the Italian saying, Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you. In confidence of this coming change in our favor, I think our prudence is meanwhile to be quiet, only holding up our rights and claims on all occasions in resolutions, memorials, and remonstrances; but bearing patiently the little present notice that is taken of them. They will all have their weight in time, and that time is at no great distance. With the greatest esteem, I have the honor to be, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [62]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
6 January, 1773
London
Deborah Franklin
Franklin, Deborah
CCCCLXXII

TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN

My Dear Child:

I feel some regard for this 6th of January, as my old nominal birthday, though the change of style has carried the real day forward to the 17th, when I shall be, if I live till then, sixty-seven years of age. It seems but the other day since you and I were ranked among the boys and girls, so swiftly does time fly! We have, however, great reason to be thankful, that so much of our lives has passed so happily; and that so great a share of health and strength remains, as to render life yet comfortable.

I received your kind letter of November 16th by Sutton. The apples are not yet come on shore, but I thank you for them. Captain All was so good as to send me a barrel of excellent ones, which serve me in the meantime. I rejoice to hear that you all continue well. But you have so used me to have something pretty about the boy, that I am a little disappointed in finding nothing more of him than that he is gone up to Burlington. Pray give in your next, as usual, a little of his history.

All our friends here are pleased with your remembering them, and send their love to you. Give mine to all that inquire concerning me, and a good deal to our children. I am ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [63]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
6 January, 1773
London
Joseph Galloway
Galloway, Joseph
CCCCLXXIII

TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY, ESQ.

Dear Friend:

I have received your favors of October 18th and 30th. I am obliged greatly to you and Mr. Rhodes for your friendly interposition in the affair of my salary. As I never made any bargain with the House, I accept thankfully whatever they please to give me, and shall continue to serve them as long as I can afford to stay here. Perhaps it may be thought that my other agencies contribute more than sufficient for that purpose, but the Jersey allowance, though well paid, is a very small one; that from Georgia, £100 only, is some years in arrear, and will not be continued, as their appointment is by a yearly act, which, I am told, the governor will not again pass with my name in it; and from Boston I have never received a farthing, perhaps never shall, as their governor is instructed to pass no salary to an agent whose appointment he has not assented to. In these circumstances, with an almost double expense of living by my family remaining in Philadelphia, the losses I am continually suffering in my affairs there through absence, together with my now advanced age, I feel renewed inclinations to return and spend the remainder of my days in private life, having had rather more than my share of public bustle. I only wish first to improve a little, for the general advantage of our country, the favorable appearances arising from the change of our American minister, and Edition: current; Page: [64] the good light I am told I stand in with the successor. If I be instrumental in [illegible] things in good train, with a prospect of their [illegible] on a better footing than they have had for some years past, I shall think a little additional time well spent, though I were to have no allowance for it at all.

I must, however, beg you will not think of retiring from public business. You are yet a young man, and may still be greatly serviceable to your country. It would be, I think, something criminal to bury in private retirement so early all the usefulness of so much experience and such great abilities. The people do not indeed always see their friends in the same favorable light; they are sometimes mistaken, and sometimes misled; but sooner or later they come right again, and redouble their former affection. This, I am confident, will happen in your case, as it often has in the case of others. Therefore, preserve your spirits and persevere, at least to the age of sixty, a boundary I once fixed for myself, but have gone beyond it.

I am afraid the bill, Wilcocks on Col. Alex. Johnstone, for £166 15 3½ must be returned with a protest. I shall know in a day or two.

I shall consult Mr. Jackson, and do in the island affair what shall be thought best for securing your interest and that of all concerned.

By our spring ships I shall write you more fully. At present I can only add that I am with unalterable esteem and affection,

Yours most sincerely,
B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [65]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
2 February, 1773
London
Deborah Franklin
Franklin, Deborah
CCCCLXXIV

TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN

My Dear Child:

Since my last I have got the apples on shore, and they come out very good. Accept my best thanks. Mr. Bache, of New York, has also kindly sent me two barrels; Capt. Winn one, and Capt. Falconer one. I told you before that Capt. All gave me one, so that I am now plentifully supplied.

I know you love to have a line from me by every packet, so I write, though I have little to say, having had no letter from you since my last, of January 6th.

In return for your history of your grandson, I must give you a little of the history of my godson. He is now twenty-one months old, very strong and healthy, begins to speak a little, and even to sing. He was with us a few days last week, grew fond of me, and would not be contented to sit down to breakfast without coming to call pa, rejoicing when he had got me into my place. When seeing me one day crack one of the Philadelphia biscuits into my tea with the nut-crackers, he took another and tried to do the same with the tea-tongs. It makes me long to be at home to play with Ben.

My love to him and our children, with all inquiring friends. Mrs. Stevenson presents her affectionate respects, and Sally her duty.

I am ever, my dear Debby,
Your loving husband,
B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [66]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
10 February, 1773
London
John Bartram
Bartram, John
CCCCLXXV

TO JOHN BARTRAM

My Dear Good Old Friend:

I am glad to learn that the turnip-seed and the rhubarb grow with you, and that the turnip is approved. It may be depended on, that the rhubarb is the genuine sort. But, to have the root in perfection, it ought not to be taken out of the ground in less than seven years. Herewith I send you a few seeds of what is called the cabbage turnip. They say that it will stand the frost of the severest winter, and so make a fine early feed for cattle in the spring, when their other fodder may be scarce. I send also some seed of the Scotch cabbage; and some peas that are much applauded here, but I forget for what purpose, and shall inquire and let you know in my next.

I think there has been no good opportunity of sending your medal since I received it, till now. It goes in a box to my son Bache, with the seeds. I wish you joy of it. Notwithstanding the failure of your eyes, you write as distinctly as ever. With great esteem and respect, I am, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [67]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
10 February, 1773
London
Anthony Benezet
Benezet, Anthony
CCCCLXXVI

TO ANTHONY BENEZET1

Dear Friend:

I received with pleasure yours of September 13th, as it informed me of your welfare. With this I send you one of Young’s Night Thoughts—the largest print I could find. I thank you for the four copies you sent me of your translation of the French book; I have given two of them to friends here, whom I thought the subject might suit. I have commenced an acquaintance with Mr. Granville Sharpe, and we shall act in concert in the affair of slavery. The accounts you send me relating to Surinam are indeed terrible. Go on and prosper in your laudable endeavors, and believe me ever, my dear friend,

Yours most affectionately,
B. Franklin.

I send you a few copies of a pamphlet written at Paris by a well-wisher to our country. It is a little system of morals that may give distinct ideas on that subject to youth, and perhaps on that account not unfit for a school-book. I will send you more if you desire it.

Edition: current; Page: [68]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
10 February, 1773
London
Abel James
James, Abel
Benjamin Morgan
Morgan, Benjamin
CCCCLXXVII

TO MESSRS. ABEL JAMES AND BENJAMIN MORGAN

Gentlemen:

I duly received your favor of [mutilated], and have, after a long delay, got the [silk?] from the custom-house. The throwsters appointed to inspect it there, in order to ascertain the bounty, valued it at fifteen shillings the small pound, the whole taken together, and afterwards wanted to buy it of me at that price. But suspecting their offer to be too low, I have shown it to others, who say it is much undervalued. Our friend Freeman advises its being sold by auction at the last, and recommends the same broker. Every one I have consulted is of the same opinion. He will have a sale about April next.

The Spitalfield’s silk business is very dead at present. The enormous paper credit which circulated so freely some time since, enabled the master manufacturers to employ more men and make more goods than the market really required, and the blow such credit has lately received, obliges them to stop their work until they can dispose of the great quantity of goods on hand, which some say is enough for a twelvemonth to come.

So the disbanded workmen are starving, though great sums are collected to distribute among them in charity. Several have applied to me to ship them to America, but having no account that such workmen are wanted there, I was obliged to refuse Edition: current; Page: [69] them. One came to me with the enclosed letter, and showed me several written characters from different masters he had worked with, all strongly in his favor for ingenuity and skill in his business, as well as his sobriety and industry. He was a Quaker, and seemed a sensible young man, so that I was strongly inclined to send him, till I understood he had a wife and young family, which would make it too expensive, though he said his wife was a work-woman in the business, and one child could also be serviceable. He is endeavoring to get subscriptions to pay the passage-money, but I suppose will hardly succeed, as people here would rather maintain the workmen idle for a while, than pay toward sending them to America.

I am much obliged to the managers for their present of four pounds of the silk, and shall consider what purpose I can apply it to that may best contribute to the encouragement of the produce. Please to offer them my thankful acknowledgments, and assure them of my most faithful services.

With great esteem and respect, I am, gentlemen,

Your most obedient humble servant,
B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
10 February, 1773
London
James Johnston
Johnston, James
CCCCLXXVIII

TO JAMES JOHNSTON

Sir:

I received your letter with the sample of North American senna, which I put into the hands Edition: current; Page: [70] of a friend who is a great botanist as well as a physician, and has made some trial of it. He tells me that to render it merchantable here, the stalks should be picked out, and the leaves packed up neatly, as that is which comes from the Levant. Perhaps among your druggists you might see some of those packages and so inform yourself of the manner. He has not yet had sufficient experience of it to be decisive in his opinion of its qualities in comparison with other senna, but thinks it likely that it may answer the same purposes. Of the quality that may be in demand here, I have yet been able to obtain no intelligence.

I am, sir, your humble servant,
B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
14 February, 1773
London
William Franklin
Franklin, William
CCCCLXXIX

TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN

Dear Son:

The opposition are now attacking the ministry on the St. Vincent’s affair, which is generally condemned here, and some think Lord Hillsborough will be given up, as the adviser of that expedition. But, if it succeeds, perhaps all will blow over. The ministry are more embarrassed with the India affairs. The continued refusal of North America to take tea from hence, has brought infinite distress on the company. They imported great quantities in faith that that agreement could not hold; and now they can neither pay their debts Edition: current; Page: [71] nor dividends; their stock has sunk to the annihilating near three millions of their property, and government will lose its four hundred thousand pounds a year; while their teas lie on hand. The bankruptcies brought on partly by this means have given such a shock to credit as has not been experienced here since the South Sea year. And this has affected the great manufacturers so much as to oblige them to discharge their hands, and thousands of Spaitalfields and Manchester weavers are now starving, or subsisting on charity. Blessed effects of pique, and passion in government, which should have no passions. Yours, etc.,1

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [72]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
14 February, 1773
London
Humphrey Marshall
Marshall, Humphrey
CCCCLXXX

TO HUMPHREY MARSHALL ON THE SPOTS IN THE SUN—DR. WILSON’S NEW HYPOTHESIS

Sir:

A considerable time after its arrival, I received the box of seeds you sent me the beginning of last year, with your observations on spots in the sun. The seeds I distributed among some of my friends who are curious; accept my thankful acknowledgments for them. The observations I communicated to our astronomers of the Royal Society, who are much pleased with them, and hand them about from one to another; so that I have had little opportunity of examining them myself, they not being yet returned to me.

Here are various opinions about the solar spots. Some think them vast clouds of smoke and soot arising from the consuming fuel on the surface, which at length take fire again on their edges, consuming and daily diminishing till they totally disappear. Others think them spots of the surface, in which the fire has been extinguished, and which by degrees is rekindled. It is, however, remarkable that, though large spots are seen gradually to become small ones, no one has observed a small spot gradually become a large one; at least I do not remember to have met with such an observation. If this be so, it should seem they are suddenly formed of their full size; and perhaps, if there were more such constant and diligent observers as you, some Edition: current; Page: [73] might happen to be observing at the instant such a spot was formed, when the appearances might give some ground of conjecture by what means they were formed.

The professor of astronomy at Glasgow, Dr. Wilson, has a new hypothesis. It is this: that the sun is a globe of solid matter, all combustible, perhaps, but whose surface only is actually on fire to a certain depth, and all below that depth unkindled, like a log of wood, whose surface to half an inch deep may be burning coal, while all within remains wood. Then he supposes, by some explosion similar to our earthquakes, the burning part may be blown away from a particular district, leaving bare the unkindled part below, which then appears a spot, and only lessens as the fluid burning matter by degrees flows in upon it on all sides, and at last covers or rekindles it.

He founds this opinion in certain appearances of the edges of the spots as they turn under the sun’s disk, or emerge again on the other side; for, if there are such hollows in the sun’s face as he supposes and the bright border round their edges be the fluid burning matter flowing down the banks into the hollow, it will follow that, while a spot is in the middle of the sun’s disk, the eye, looking directly upon the whole, may discern that border all round; but when the hollow is moved round to near the edge of the disk, then, though the eye which now views it aslant can see full the farthest bank, yet that which is nearest is hidden, and not to be distinguished; and when the same spot comes to emerge again on the other side of the sun, the bank Edition: current; Page: [74] which before was visible is now concealed, and that concealed which before was visible, gradually changing, however, till the spot reaches the middle of the disk, when the bank all round may be seen as before. Perhaps your telescope may be scarce strong enough to observe this. If it is, I wish to know whether you find the same appearances. When your observations are returned to me, and I have considered them, I shall lodge them among the papers of the Society, and let you know their sentiments.

With great esteem and regard, I am,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
14 February, 1773
London
Wm. Marshall
Marshall, Wm.
CCCCLXXXI

TO WM. MARSHALL

Reverend Sir:

I duly received your respected letter of October 30th, and am very sensible of the propriety and equity of the act passed to indulge your friends in their scruples, relating to the mode of taking an oath, which you plead for so ably by numerous reasons. That act, with others, has now been sometime laid before his Majesty in council. I have not yet heard of any objection to it; but if such should arise, I shall do my utmost to remove them, and obtain the royal assent. Believe me, Reverend Sir, to have the warmest wishes for the increase of religious as well as civil liberty throughout the world; and that I am, with great regard, your most obedient humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [75]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
14 February, 1773
London
Deborah Franklin
Franklin, Deborah
CCCCLXXXII

TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN

My Dear Child:

I wrote to you a few days since by the packet. In a box directed to Mr. Bache, I sent a striped cotton and silk gown for you, of a manufacture now much the mode here. There is another for Sally. People line them with some old silk gown, and they look very handsome. There goes also a bedstead for Sally, sent on Capt. All’s telling Mrs. Stevenson that you wished it had been sent with the bed. She sends also some little things for Benny Boy.

Now, having nothing very material to add, let us trifle a little. The fine large gray squirrel you sent, who was a great favorite in the bishop’s family, is dead. He had got out of his cage in the country, rambled, and was rambling over a common three miles from home, when he met a man with a dog. The dog pursuing him, he fled to the man for protection; running up to his shoulder, who shook him off, and set the dog on him, thinking him to be, as he said afterwards, some varment or other. So poor Mungo, as his mistress called him, died. To amuse you a little, and nobody out of your own house, I enclose you a little correspondence between her and me on the melancholy occasion. Skugg, you must know is a common name by which all squirrels are called here, as all cats are called Puss. Miss Georgianna is the bishop’s youngest daughter but one. There are five in all. Mungo was buried in the Edition: current; Page: [76] garden, and the enclosed epitaph put upon his monument. So much for squirrels.1

My poor cousin Walker, in Buckinghamshire, is a lacemaker. She was ambitious of presenting you and Sally with some netting of her work, but as I knew she could not afford it, I chose to pay for it at her usual price, 3/6 per yard. It goes also in the box. I name the price that, if it does not suit you to wear it, you may know how to dispose of it.

I have desired Miss Haydock to repay you the £8 6s. sterling, which I have laid out for her here on account of her silk. I think it is not the color she desired. I suppose her relation, Mrs. Forster, who took the management of it, will give her the reason.

My love to Sally and the dear boy. I am ever your affectionate husband,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
14 February, 1773
London
Josiah Davenport
Davenport, Josiah
CCCCLXXXIII

TO JOSIAH DAVENPORT

Loving Cousin:

I was sorry to hear of your failing in your business. I hear you now keep a little shop, and therefore send you four dozen of Evans’ maps, which, if you can sell, you are welcome to apply the money towards clothing your boys, or to any other purpose. Enoch seems a solid, sensible lad, and I hope will do well. If you will be advised [illegible], think of any place in the post-office. Edition: current; Page: [77] The money you [illegible] will slip through your fingers, and you will run behindhand imperceptibly, when your securities must suffer, or your employers. I grow too old to run such risks, and therefore wish you to propose nothing more of the kind to me. I have been hurt too much by endeavoring to help Cousin Ben Mecom. I have no opinion of the punctuality of cousins. They are apt to take liberties with relations they would not take with others, from a confidence that a relation will not sue them, and though I believe you now resolve and intend well in case of such an appointment, I can have no dependence that some unexpected misfortune or difficulty will not embarrass your affairs and render you again insolvent. Don’t take this unkind. It is better to be thus free with you than to give you expectations that cannot be answered. I should be glad to see you in some business that would require neither stock nor credit and yet might afford a comfortable subsistence, being ever, your affectionate cousin,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
14 February, 1773
London
Joseph Galloway
Galloway, Joseph
CCCCLXXXIV

TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY, ESQ.

Dear Friend:

I wrote to you the 6th of last month in answer to your favors of October 18th and 30th; since which I have no line from you, the New York January packet not being yet arrived.

Edition: current; Page: [78]

The bill on Col. Johnstone, which I mentioned as likely to be protested, is since paid. The gentleman trifled about it a good deal; first refused to accept it, then came to me and desired it might be sent to him again and he would accept it; then when it became due he wanted longer time. The drawer, I think, should be informed of this, that he may be cautious. The man seems honestly disposed, but appears embarrassed in his money affairs. This, indeed, is at present a more common case than usual, owing [illegible] the great blow paper credit has received, which first fell upon the India Company, and by degrees became general. Hence, a great stop of employment among the manufacturers, added to the mischiefs mentioned in mine of December 2d, of which retaining the duty on tea in America, and thereby the loss of that market, are now acknowledged to be the cause. The ministry now would have the company save its honor by petitioning for the repeal of that duty; and the company has it under consideration. They see government will be obliged, for its own sake, to support them, and therefore must repeal the duty, whether they petition for it or not, and ’t is said they are not willing to ask it as a favor, lest that should be made a foundation for some additional demand upon them. A fine hobble they are all got into by their unjust and blundering politics with regard to the colonies.

I thank you for proposing the two members I mentioned. I have now some others to propose, viz.: Dr. Barbeu Dubourg of Paris, a man of very extensive learning and an excellent philosopher, who Edition: current; Page: [79] is ambitious of the honor, as is Lord Stanhope for himself and son, Lord Mahon, who will be proposed by Dr. de Normandy; there is also Mr. Sam’l Dun, a very ingenious mathematician and universal mechanic, very fond of America, and would be an acquisition if we could get him there and employ him; he writes to the society, and is also very desirous of the honor. There is another gentleman, who, I believe, would be pleased with it, though he has not mentioned it; I mean the president of the Royal Society, Sir John Pringle, Bart. It is usual for the Academy of Sciences at Paris always to choose the president of the English Royal Society one of their foreign members, and it is well taken here as a mark of respect, and I think it would also be well taken by the society if you should choose him. By the way, is the ten shillings a year expected of foreign members? I have been asked that question. Here no contribution is yet taken of them. I send the society some printed pieces that will be indeed in the next volume of the Philosophical Transactions here; but as that will not come out till midsummer, it may be agreeable to have them sooner.

Enclosed I send an account of the presenting two more of your acts to the king in council; as yet I hear of no objection to any of the former thirty, of which I sent a list per January packet as presented December 22d.

With unalterable attachment, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [80]
M. de Saussure
de Saussure, M.
23 February, 1773
Naples
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
CCCCLXXXV

FROM M. DE SAUSSURE1

Sir:

I have received with the greatest pleasure the two letters, which you did me the honor to write to me; the one of October the 8th, the other of December 1st. As they were both addressed to me at Geneva, and as I left that place at the beginning of October to come to Italy to pass the winter, they reached me very late, and I have thus been debarred the privilege of showing you, by a prompt reply, how much I feel flattered by the honor of your correspondence. The letter on the action of pointed conductors, and the accompanying Essay, contain experiments and reasonings perfectly conclusive, and which leave no doubt as to the utility of these ingenious preservatives.

If I had been acquainted with these new experiments, I should have made use of them with great advantage in a short apologetic memoir, which I published in October, 1771, for the information of some people who were terrified at a conductor which I had erected at Geneva before the house I lived in. This memoir, however, met with the desired success. It reassured everybody, and I had the pleasure of watching the electricity from the clouds during the whole course of the last summer. Several persons even followed this example, and raised conductors either upon their houses or before them. M. de Edition: current; Page: [81] Voltaire was one of the first. He does the same justice to your theory that he did to that of the immortal Newton.

The project of the Royal Society is well worthy of the zeal of that illustrious body for the advancement of useful knowledge; and I should be much pleased if I could in any way aid them in the execution of this project.1 Had I been at Geneva, I should have made it my duty and pleasure to take a journey to the mountains in the neighborhood, to ascertain with precision the dimensions of the mountains and valleys which I thought best suited for the execution of this design. I do not believe, however, that, among those with which I am acquainted, there is any place exactly suited to give certain information on the subject to which their researches are directed. In the Jura, there is no summit sufficiently high, since the Dole, the mountain which rises highest above the level of our lake, does not reach seven hundred toises above this level.

Then it must be considered that the Jura, as well as the Alps, form continued chains of mountains, all connected together, or, at least, situated at very short distances from each other. There is no single mountain, or, at least, I know of none, of sufficient height. You often find deep valleys, surrounded by high mountains, but behind these mountains are Edition: current; Page: [82] other valleys and other mountains, so that the deviations which might be observed in the plumb-line, would be the complex effect of the combined attractions of all these mountains; and, in order to deduce from them a comparison between the density of the earth and that of these mountains, much labor and many calculations would be required. As far as I am able to judge, it appears to me that some large rock, rising out of the open sea, like the Peak of Teneriffe, would be the most suitable place for this attempt.

The memoir upon this subject, which you did me the honor to send, I have transmitted to Lord Stanhope, at Geneva, that he may confer respecting it with M. de Luc, who, having attended particularly to the height of mountains, in connection with his observations of the barometer, is the best man in the world to give valuable information on this subject. It is now, doubtless, well known that Signor Beccaria of Turin, who has measured a degree of the meridian at the foot of the Alps, has had an opportunity to observe great deviations of the plumb-line, and would thus be enabled to furnish useful hints to the Royal Society.

I have the pleasure of often seeing here Sir William Hamilton, who has the kindness to take me to the most interesting places in the neighborhood of Naples, those which establish his theory of volcanoes ancient and modern, and prove that the whole Bay of Naples, from the sea to the Apennines, has been thrown up from the bottom of the sea by subter ranean fires, and is thus the product of volcanoes Edition: current; Page: [83] rather than the theatre of their ravages. We are also much devoted to electricity. The little machine, which Mr. Nairne made for him, is really excellent, and much the best they have ever had in this part of Italy. Sir William Hamilton, knowing that I had the honor of writing to you, has requested me to present his compliments.

I regret extremely that I was not at Geneva to receive M. de Normandy. I should have been delighted to have had this opportunity to prove to you how highly I value your recommendation. If you have any commands for me in Naples, I shall still be able to receive them here, and you may address them to Sir William Hamilton. We propose to try together some experiments on the electricity of the vapors of Vesuvius, although, to say the truth, I regard them merely as conductors, which establish a communication between the earth and the higher regions of the atmosphere.

Sir William Hamilton has also done me the kindness to invite me to witness some experiments he has tried with the torpedo. These experiments are not decisive, because the fishes we had were small, and gave only slight shocks, but no sign whatever of electricity appeared. We are waiting for some larger ones, in order to continue this investigation, according to the mode which you have yourself marked out.

Accept my assurances of the high consideration and esteem with which I have the honor to be,

Sir, etc.,
De Saussure.
Edition: current; Page: [84]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
3 March, 1773
London
Colden
Colden
CCCCLXXXVI

TO MR. COLDEN

Dear Sir:

I received yours of January 7th, enclosing a bill, Ritchie on Hyndman, Lancaster, & Co., for £100, which I hope will be paid. We have had too many bad ones of late.

I am, with great regard,
Your most obedient, humble servant,
B. Franklin.
John Winthrop
Winthrop, John
4 March, 1773
Cambridge, New England
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
CCCCLXXXVII

FROM JOHN WINTHROP

Dear Sir:

I received your favor of September 18th. I return you many thanks for Dr. Priestley’s piece on impregnating water with fixed air. If this should prove an effectual remedy for the sea-scurvy, it would be indeed a most important discovery. I am extremely concerned to hear that Dr. Priestley is so poorly provided for, while so many are rolling about here in gilt chariots, with very ample stipends. I admire his comprehensive genius, his perspicuity and vigor of composition, his indefatigable application, and his free, independent spirit, and wish it were in my power to do him any kind of service. It would give me great pleasure to see him well settled in America; though indeed I am inclined to think he can prosecute his learned labors to greater advantage in England. A man of his abilities would do honor to any of the colleges. At present there is Edition: current; Page: [85] no vacancy among them; but if there were, I believe, sir, you judge perfectly right, that his religious principles would hardly be thought orthodox enough. Indeed, I doubt whether they would do at the Rhode Island College, any more than in the others. That college is entirely in the hands of the Baptists, and intended to continue so, and I never understood that Dr. Priestley was of their persuasion. However, I cannot but hope that his great and just reputation will procure something valuable for him, and adequate to his merit.

I have looked over his treatise of Optics, which you were so good as to present to our library, with great satisfaction, and met with many articles, especially from the foreign publications, which were new to me. It is indeed a most noble collection of every thing relating to that science.

In my last I ventured to mention a little slip concerning the satellites of Saturn. It would be miraculous if, in so large a work collected from such a number of books and on such a variety of matters, there should not be many such. I noted the few that occurred to me in the chapters taken from those authors I was most acquainted with, and beg leave to enclose a list of the principal of them. There are not above two or three of them that are of any consequence; however, such as it is, the list is at Dr. Priestley’s service, if you think it worth sending to him. It may help to remove a few trifling inaccuracies from that valuable work.

I have enclosed the newspaper you mention, that gave an account of the thunder-storm we had here Edition: current; Page: [86] a few years ago. As you are collecting facts on this subject, I looked over my old almanacs where I had made some memoranda relating to your admirable lightning bells. I think it would not be worth while to transcribe them all, nor can I collect any thing from them but what is commonly known. In general, it seems that the bells hardly ever ring in the summer without a shower; they sometimes ring when there is no thunder or lightning, but do not always ring when there is. When there is a thunder-shower, they generally ring most briskly while the cloud is yet at some distance, and cease as soon as it rains hard. In winter they frequently ring briskly in snow-storms, and twice they have done so after the weather was cleared up, and while the new-fallen snow was driving about with the wind, as you have done me the honor already to publish.

In looking for the newspaper before mentioned, I met with another, which gives an account of damage done by lightning in some places in Connecticut in 1771. As perhaps you have not seen it, I enclose it with the other; also a letter sent me with another account. In my almanacs I found also a few minutes relating to some uncommon appearances of the Aurora Borealis. I do not know that they can be of any use, but if they will afford you the least amusement I will readily transcribe them.

In addition to my newspaper account I would mention that besides the strokes of lightning on the college and the elm-tree, July 2, 1768, there was another discharge that afternoon on a cornfield, at a little distance from the college towards the southeast. Edition: current; Page: [87] It spoiled the corn,1 which was of some height, in a circle of about twenty feet in diameter. That near the centre was burnt down to the roots, as I was informed by the owner. I did not hear of it till some days after, and when I saw the place it had been replanted with cabbages. The corn near the circumference of the circle was only scorched, and I saw the leaves withered and drooping. The place struck was about midway between a tree on one side and the well-pole and chimney of the house on the other, and as I judge about eighty feet distant from each; and there was nothing near so high on the other sides for a considerable distance. Hence, their protection did not extend eighty feet. If a person had been standing in that corn, I suppose there is no doubt that he would have been killed. And therefore a person in the midst of an open plain is by no means secure from the stroke of lightning. The best security seems to be to have something high, as a tree, for example, near him, but not too near; perhaps from thirty or forty to ten or fifteen feet, or rather to be near two such trees.

I am, etc.,
John Winthrop.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
9 March, 1773
London
James Mecom
Mecom, James
CCCCLXXXVIII

TO MRS. JAMES MECOM

Dear Sister:

I received your kind letter of December 30th, and rejoice to find you were well. I Edition: current; Page: [88] may, possibly, have the greater pleasure of seeing you before the year is out. I have desired Cousin Williams to give you the money he may recover from Hall. I would only mention to you that when I was in Boston in 175 [mutilated] brother John then living, an old man, whose name I have forgotten, applied to me with a bond of our father’s of about fifteen or seventeen pounds, if I remember right, desiring I would pay it, which I declined, with this answer, that as I had never received any thing from the estate, I did not think myself obliged to pay any of the debts. But I had another reason, which was that I thought the care of those matters belonged more properly to my brother. If you know that person, I wish you would now, out of Hall’s money, pay that debt; for I remember his mildness on the occasion with some regard.

My love to Jenny. I am ever,
Your affectionate brother,
B. Franklin.

I have not yet seen Capt. Jenkins, but will inquire him out when I next go to the city.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
9 March, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
CCCCLXXXIX

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 2d of December and the 5th of January past. Since which I have received your favor of November Edition: current; Page: [89] 28th, enclosing the Votes and Proceedings of the Town of Boston, which I have reprinted here, with a preface. Herewith I send you a few copies.

Governor Hutchinson’s speech, at the opening of your January session, has been printed and industriously circulated here by (as I think) the ministerial people, which I take to be no good sign. The Assembly’s answer to it is not yet arrived, and, in the meanwhile, it seems to make impression on the minds of many not well acquainted with the dispute. The tea duty, however, is under the consideration of Parliament, for a repeal, on a petition from the East India Company, and no new measures have been talked of against America, or are likely to be taken during the present session. I was therefore preparing to return home by the spring ships, but have been advised by our friends to stay till the session is over; as the commission sent to Rhode Island, and discontents in your province, with the correspondence of the towns, may possibly give rise to something here, when my being on the spot may be of use to our country. I conclude to stay a little longer. In the meantime I must hope that great care will be taken to keep our people quiet; since nothing is more wished for by our enemies than, by insurrections, we should give a good pretence for increasing the military among us and putting us under more severe restraints. And it must be evident that, by our rapidly increasing strength, we shall soon become of so much importance that none of our just claims of privilege will be, as heretofore, unattended to, nor any security we can wish for our rights be Edition: current; Page: [90] denied us. With great respect, I have the honor to be, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
10 March, 1773
London
M. Dubourg
Dubourg, M.
CCCCXC

TO M. DUBOURG

Sir:

As to the magnetism which seems produced by electricity, my real opinion is that these two powers of nature have no affinity with each other, and that the apparent production of magnetism is purely accidental. The matter may be explained thus:

1st. The earth is a great magnet.

2dly. There is a subtile fluid, called the magnetic fluid, which exists in all ferruginous bodies, equally attracted by all their parts, and equally diffused through their whole substance; at least where the equilibrium is not disturbed by a power superior to the attraction of the iron.

3dly. This natural quantity of the magnetic fluid, which is contained in a given piece of iron, may be put in motion so as to be more rarefied in one part and more condensed in another; but it cannot be withdrawn by any force that we are yet made acquainted with, so as to leave the whole in a negative state, at least relatively to its natural quantity; neither can it be introduced so as to put the iron into a positive state, or render it plus. In this respect, therefore, magnetism differs from electricity.

Edition: current; Page: [91]

4thly. A piece of soft iron allows the magnetic fluid which it contains to be put in motion by a moderate force; so that, being placed in a line with the magnetic pole of the earth, it immediately acquires the properties of a magnet, its magnetic fluid being drawn or forced from one extremity to the other; and this effect continues as long as it remains in the same position, one of its extremities becoming positively magnetized, and the other negatively. This temporary magnetism ceases as soon as the iron is turned east and west, the fluid immediately diffusing itself equally through the whole iron, as in its natural state.

5thly. The magnetic fluid in hard iron, or steel, is put in motion with more difficulty, requiring a force greater than the earth to excite it; and, when once it has been forced from one extremity of the steel to the other, it is not easy for it to return; and thus a bar of steel is converted into a permanent magnet.

6thly. A great heat by expanding the substance of this steel and increasing the distance between its particles, affords a passage to the magnetic fluid, which is thus again restored to its proper equilibrium; the bar appearing no longer to possess magnetic virtue.

7thly. A bar of steel, which is not magnetic, being placed in the same position, relatively to the pole of the earth, which the magnetic needle assumes, and in this position being heated and suddenly cooled, becomes a permanent magnet. The reason is, that while the bar was hot, the magnetic Edition: current; Page: [92] fluid which it naturally contained was easily forced from one extremity to the other by the magnetic virtue of the earth; and that the hardness and condensation, produced by the sudden cooling of the bar, retained it in this state without permitting it to resume its original situation.

8thly. The violent vibrations of the particles of a steel bar, when forcibly struck in the same position, separate the particles in such a manner during their vibration, that they permit a portion of the magnetic fluid to pass, influenced by the natural magnetism of the earth; and it is afterwards so forcibly retained by the reapproach of the particles, when the vibration ceases, that the bar becomes a permanent magnet.

9thly. An electric shock passing through a needle in a like position, and dilating it for an instant, renders it, for the same reason, a permanent magnet, that is, not by imparting magnetism to it, but by allowing its proper magnetic fluid to put itself in motion.

10thly. Thus there is not in reality more magnetism in a given piece of steel after it is become magnetic, than existed in it before. The natural quantity is only displaced or repelled. Hence it follows, that a strong apparatus of magnets may charge millions of bars of steel, without communicating to them any part of its proper magnetism, only putting in motion the magnetism which already existed in these bars.

I am chiefly indebted to that excellent philosopher of Petersburg, Mr. Æpinus, for this hypothesis, Edition: current; Page: [93] which appears to me equally ingenious and solid. I say chiefly, because, as it is many years since I read his book, which I have left in America, it may happen that I may have added to or altered it in some respect; and if I have misrepresented any thing, the error ought to be charged to my account.

If this hypothesis appears admissible, it will serve as an answer to the greater part of your questions. I have only one remark to add, which is, that however great the force is of magnetism employed, you can only convert a given portion of steel into a magnet of a force proportioned to its capacity of retaining its magnetic fluid in the new position in which it is placed, without letting it return. Now this power is different in different kinds of steel, but limited in all kinds whatever.

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
10 March, 1773
M. Dubourg
Dubourg, M.
CCCCXCI

TO M. DUBOURG

I shall not attempt to explain why damp clothes occasion colds, rather than wet ones, because I doubt the fact; I imagine that neither the one nor the other contribute to this effect, and that the causes of colds are totally independent of wet and even of cold. I propose writing a short paper on this subject, the first moment of leisure I have at my disposal. In the meantime I can only say that, having Edition: current; Page: [94] some suspicions that the common notion which, attributes cold to the property of stopping the pores and obstructing perspiration, was ill founded, I engaged a young physician, who is making some experiments with Sanctorius’ balance, to estimate the different proportions of his perspirations, when remaining one hour quite naked, and another warmly clothed. He pursued the experiment in this alternate manner for eight hours successively, and found his perspiration almost doubled during those hours in which he was naked.

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
15 March, 1773
London
William Franklin
Franklin, William
CCCCXCII

TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN

Dear Son:

I wrote you pretty largely by Capt. All, and sent you sundry things, particularly the plated boiler you wrote for. I have nothing to add, but to let you know I continue well. Enclosed I send you the Boston pamphlet with my preface. I grow tired of my situation here, and really think of returning in the fall. My love to Betsey.

I am ever your affectionate father,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
15 March, 1773
London
Abel James
James, Abel
Benjamin Morgan
Morgan, Benjamin
CCCCXCIII

TO ABEL JAMES AND BENJAMIN MORGAN

Gentlemen:

In mine of February 10th, I mentioned a silk weaver who was desirous of going to Edition: current; Page: [95] America; and endeavoring to get subscriptions among his friends to defray the expense of his and family’s passage. He now tells me they have been so kind as to double the sum he requested, and that he is to go in Sutton. He takes with him a good certificate from the meeting; and I beg leave to recommend him to the notice and encouragement of the silk committee, as far as they may find him deserving. For though it may be most advantageous to our country, while the bounty continues so high, to send all our raw silk hither, yet as the bounty will gradually diminish and at length cease, I should think it not amiss to begin early the laying a foundation for the future manufacture of it; and perhaps this person, if he finds employment, may be a means of raising hands for that purpose. His name is Joseph Clark.

By the enclosed you will see when the silk will probably be sold. I hope to send you a good account of it, and am, with great esteem, gentlemen, your most obedient, humble servant,

B. Franklin.
M. Dubourg
Dubourg, M.
25 March, 1773
Paris
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
CCCCXCIV

FROM M. DUBOURG

Sir:

If I have rightly understood your principles, the glass to be used in the Leyden experiment ought to combine these two qualities: first, it should be impermeable to the electric fluid; secondly, it should Edition: current; Page: [96] not be impermeable to the action of this fluid; or, to express the same thing in other words, the electric fluid must not be able to pass from one surface to the other, but its afflux on one of the surfaces of the glass must have the power to excite an efflux on the opposite surface.

Glass generally unites these two qualities, but not every kind of glass. There is even glass that the electric fluid passes through almost as readily as it enters metals. This is a property natural to some kinds of glass, and accidental to others. It would seem astonishing that no philosopher had yet thought of seeking out the causes of all these differences, if natural philosophy alone were equal to the task; but there is need of the aid of chemistry, which certainly may throw some light on so interesting a subject.

I would not propose to the chemists to analyze the different kinds of glass, permeable or impermeable to electricity; but to endeavor to imitate them, which would be much easier for them to do.

Pure vitrifiable earth is without doubt the only ingredient in rock crystal, which may be considered as a true natural glass; but art has not yet succeeded in obtaining for us a glass so pure, and there is even very little reason to hope that such perfection can ever be attained.

There is no earth known so vitrifiable as not to require some auxiliary solvent to facilitate its vitrification. Now solvents are distinguished into three principal kinds—which are, saline solvents, metallic solvents, and earthly solvents; for there are different Edition: current; Page: [97] kinds of earths, which, although each singly is refractory, yet serve as mutual solvents, as there are also many kinds of salts, and many kinds of metals, which may be used as solvents for the vitrifiable earths, and which may be combined in different proportions with the same earths. We ought not to be more surprised to find glass more or less permeable to electricity, than to find it pervious and impervious to light. Since there is transparent glass and opaque glass, or glass of various colors, why should there not be glass which is a conductor, and that which is a non-conductor, of electricity?

It would not be a problem of difficult solution for a chemist, but yet it would be a labor requiring considerable time, to furnish us with a comparative table of the diffierent kinds of glass possessing either of these qualities in all their various degrees. The places merely, occupied by your greenish American glass, as well as by the white London glass, would indicate at the first glance the mixture of ingredients of which they are respectively composed.

On the other hand, as the intensity of heat to which the substance of the glass is exposed, whether in melting or annealing, may cause the evaporation of some of these ingredients, and as this heat is not equally powerful in every part of the furnace, it is not very surprising that you should have found considerable difference between several glass globes from the same manufactory, as you inform us.

Independently of the natural properties of one kind of glass or another, arising from their particular composition, great differences may also result from Edition: current; Page: [98] the different thicknesses of their masses, were it from this consideration alone that the heat could not be precisely the same, nor the rapidity of cooling very nearly equal, in the different layers of very thick glass; without taking into the account that it seems almost impossible that the action of the electric fluid in motion should be effectually conveyed from one surface to another of a very massive body.

Lastly; it is equally easy to conceive that a considerable degree of heat, by rarefying the substance of thin glass, should open its pores to the electric fluid; but that the degree of heat must be in proportion to the thickness of the glass; and that Mr. Kinnersley found a heat of only two hundred and ten degrees (the point at which water boils, according to Fahrenheit’s thermometer), necessary to render the very thin glass of a Florence flask permeable to the electric shock, while Mr. Cavendish required a heat of four hundred degrees to make glass a little thicker permeable to the common stream.

My reason for wishing that some chemist would have the goodness to enlighten us upon all these points is, that too much pains cannot be taken to spare the lovers of natural philosophy any unnecessary expense; because this may turn some entirely aside from its pursuit, and somewhat damp the zeal of many others. I am, etc.,

M. Dubourg.
Edition: current; Page: [99]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
30 March, 1773
London
M. Le Roy
Le Roy, M.
CCCCXCV

TO M. LE ROY

Dear Sir:

You punish my delay of writing to you very properly by not writing to me. It is long since I have had the pleasure of hearing from you. But it is my fault, and I must for my own sake write to you oftener, though I have little to say, or you will quite forget me.

I thank you for your advice to send an English copy of my writings to the Academy, and shall do it as soon as the new edition now in hand here is finished.

I am glad you see some weight in the experiments I sent you concerning pointed rods. Mr. Wilson is grown angry that his advice was not followed in making them blunt for the public magazines of gunpowder, and has published a pamphlet reflecting on the Royal Society, the committee, and myself, with some asperity, and endeavoring to alarm the city with the supposed danger of pointed rods drawing the lightning into them and blowing them up. I find it is expected from me that I make some answer to it, and I shall do so, though I have an extreme aversion to public altercation on philosophic points, and have never yet disputed with any one who thought fit to attack my opinions. I am obliged to you for the experiment of the point and ring.

There is no being sure of any thing before it happens; but, considering the weight of your reputation, I think there is little reason to doubt the success of your friends’ endeavors to procure from Edition: current; Page: [100] our Society here the honor of adding you to their number at the next election. In the meantime will you for my sake confer the same kind of honor on our young Society at Philadelphia. When I found that our first volume of American Transactions was favorably received in Europe, and had procured us some reputation, I took the liberty of nominating you for a member, and you were accordingly chosen at a full meeting in Philadelphia on the 15th of January last. I sent a copy of that volume to the Academy of Sciences at Paris when it first came out, but I do not remember to have heard that they ever received it. I think it was Mr. Magalhaens1 who undertook to convey it. If it miscarried I will send another, and by the first opportunity one for yourself.

Two ships are now fitting out here by the Admiralty, at the request of the Royal Society, to make a voyage to the north pole or to go as near to it as the ice will permit. If they return safe we shall probably obtain some new geographical knowledge and some addition to natural history.

With the greatest esteem and respect, I am, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [101]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
3 April, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
CCCCXCVI

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

My last was of the 9th past, since which nothing material has occurred relating to the colonies. The Assembly’s answer to Governor Hutchinson’s speech is not yet come over, but I find that even his friends here are apprehensive of some ill consequences from his forcing the Assembly into that dispute; and begin to say it was not prudently done, though they believe it meant well. I enclose for you two newspapers, in which it is mentioned. Lord Dartmouth the other day expressed his wish to me, that some means could be fallen upon to heal the breach. I took the freedom to tell him that he could do much in it, if he would exert himself. I think I see signs of relenting in some others. The Bishop of St. Asaph’s sermon before the Society for Propagating the Gospel is much talked of, for its catholic spirit and favorable sentiments relating to the colonies. I will endeavor to get a copy to send you. With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
6 April, 1773
London
William Franklin
Franklin, William
CCCCXCVII

TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN

Dear Son:

I received yours of February 2d, with the papers of information that accompany it.

Edition: current; Page: [102]

I have sent to Mr. Galloway one of the Bishop of St. Asaph’s sermons, before your Society for Propagating the Gospel. I would have sent you one, but you will receive it of course as a member. It contains such liberal and generous sentiments, relating to the conduct of government here towards America, that Sir John Pringle says it was written in compliment to me. But, from the intimacy of friendship in which I live with the author, I know he has expressed nothing but what he thinks and feels; and I honor him the more, that, through the mere hope of doing good, he has hazarded the displeasure of the court, and of course the prospect of further preferment. Possibly, indeed, the ideas of the court may change; for I think I see some alarms at the discontents in New England, and some appearance of softening in the disposition of government, on the idea that matters have been carried too far there. But all depends upon circumstances and events. We govern from hand to mouth. There seems to be no wise, regular plan.

I saw Lord Dartmouth about two weeks since. He mentioned nothing to me of your application for additional salary, nor did I to him, for I do not like it. I fear it will embroil you with your people.

While I am writing comes to hand yours of March 2d. My letter by the October packet must have been sent, as usual, to the office by the bellman. That being, as you inform me, rubbed open, as some of yours to me have been, gives an additional circumstance of probability to the conjecture made in mine of December 2d. For the future I shall send letters of consequence Edition: current; Page: [103] to the office, when I use the packet conveyance, by my clerk.

Your accounts of the numbers of people, births, burials, etc., in your province will be very agreeable to me, and particularly so to Dr. Price. Compared with former accounts they will show the increase of your people, but not perfectly, as I think a great many have gone from New Jersey to the more southern colonies.

The Parliament is like to sit till the end of June, as Mr. Cooper tells me. I had thoughts of returning home about that time. The Boston Assembly’s answer to the governor’s speech, which I have just received, may possibly produce something here to occasion my longer stay. I am your affectionate father,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
6 April, 1773
London
Sally Franklin
Franklin, Sally
CCCCXCVIII

TO HIS DAUGHTER

Dear Sally:

I received your pleasing letter of January 5th. I am glad you have undertaken the care of the housekeeping, as it will be an ease to your mother, especially if you can manage to her approbation. That may perhaps be at first a difficulty. It will be of use to you if you get a habit of keeping exact accounts; and it will be some satisfaction to me to see them. Remember, for your encouragement in good economy, that whatever a child saves of its Edition: current; Page: [104] parents’ money, will be its own another day. Study Poor Richard a little, and you may find some benefit from his instructions. I long to be with you all, and to see your son. I pray God to bless him and you; being ever. Your affectionate father,

B. Franklin.

P. S.—Mrs. Stevenson and daughter send their love to you. The latter is near lying-in again. Her boy, my godson, is a very fine child, and begins to talk.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
6 April, 1773
London
Joseph Galloway
Galloway, Joseph
CCCCXCIX

TO MR. GALLOWAY

Dear Sir:

I wrote to you on the 14th February, and on the 15th of March, since which I have received no line from you. This just serves to cover a sermon of my friend the Bishop of St. Asaph. You will find it replete with very liberal sentiments respecting America. I hope they will prevail here and be the foundation of a better understanding between the two countries. He is the more to be honored by us for this instance of his good-will, as his censure of the late conduct towards the colonies, however tenderly expressed, cannot recommend him at court, or conduce in the least to his promotion.

The Parliament is busy about India affairs, and as yet see no end of the business. It is thought they will sit till the end of June. An alliance with France and Spain is talked of; and a war with Prussia. But Edition: current; Page: [105] this may blow over. A war with France and Spain would be of more advantage to American liberty; every step would then be taken to conciliate our friendship, our grievances would be redressed, and our claims allowed. And this will be the case sooner or later. For as the House of Bourbon is most vulnerable in its American possessions, our hearty assistance in a war there must be of the greatest importance.

The affair of the grant goes on but slowly. I do not yet clearly see land. I begin to be a little of the sailor’s mind when they were landing a cable out of a store into a ship, and one of ’em said: “ ’T is a long heavy cable. I wish we could see the end of it.” “D—n me,” says another, “if I believe it has any end; somebody has cut it off.”

I beg leave to recommend to your civilities Mr. Robert Hare, who does me the favor to carry this letter. He bears an excellent character among all that know him here, and purposes settling in America to carry on there the brewing business.

With the sincerest esteem and affection, I am ever yours,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
6 April, 1773
London
Coombe
Coombe
D

TO MR. COOMBE

Dear Friend:

I received a few welcome lines from you acquainting me with your safe arrival at Edition: current; Page: [106] Philadelphia, and promising me a long letter, which I suppose has miscarried. So I know nothing of your reception and engagements, your views, pursuits, or studies, or which would please you best from hence, new poetry or new sermons; for the better chance, therefore, of hitting your taste, I send you a sample of each, perhaps the best we have had since Pope and Tillotson. The poetry is allowed by the wits here to be neat classical satire. Finding a vacant niche in it, I have, with my pen, stuck up there a certain enemy of America. The just, liberal, and benevolent sentiments in my friend the Bishop’s sermon, do honor both to his head and heart; and the more, as he knows the doctrine cannot be relished at court, and therefore cannot conduce to his promotion. My respects to your good father, and believe me ever.

Your affectionate friend,
B. Franklin.

P. S.—Give me leave to recommend to your acquaintance and civilities, the bearer, Mr. Robert Hare, who bears an excellent character here, and has views of settling in America.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
10 April, 1773
London
Dean Woodward
Woodward, Dean
DI

TO DEAN WOODWARD

Reverend Sir:

Desirous of being revived in your memory, I take this opportunity, by my good friend Mrs. Blacker, of sending you a printed piece, and a Edition: current; Page: [107] manuscript, both on a subject you and I frequently conversed upon with concurring sentiments, when I had the pleasure of seeing you in Dublin. I have since had the satisfaction to learn that a disposition to abolish slavery prevails in North America, that many of the Pennsylvanians have set their slaves at liberty, and that even the Virginia Assembly have petitioned the king for permission to make a law for preventing the importation of more into that colony. This request, however, will probably not be granted, as their former laws of that kind have always been repealed, and as the interest of a few merchants here has more weight with government, than that of thousands at a distance.

Witness a late fact. The gaol distemper being frequently imported and spread in Virginia by the ships transporting convicts, occasioning the death of many honest, innocent people there, a law was made to oblige those ships arriving with that distemper to perform a quarantine. But the two merchants of London, contractors in that business, alleging that this might increase the expense of their voyages, the law was at their instance repealed here. With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
11 April, 1773
London
William Deane
Deane, William
DII

TO WILLIAM DEANE

Dear Sir:

Miss Martin that was, now Mrs. Blacker, being about to return to Dublin, I cannot Edition: current; Page: [108] omit the opportunity it gives me of chatting a little with one whose conversation afforded me so much pleasure and instruction while I was there.

I know of nothing new here worth communicating to you, unless perhaps the new art of making carriage-wheels, the felloes of one piece, bent into a circle and surrounded by a hoop of iron, the whole very light and strong, there being no crossed grain in the wood, which is also a great saving of timber. The wood is first steamed in the vapor from boiling water, and then bent by a forcible machine. I have seen pieces of wood so bent of six inches wide, and three and a half thick, into a circle of four feet diameter. These, for duration, can only be exceeded by your iron wheels. Pray, have you completed that ingenious invention?

What is become of honest Mr. Ketilby? Does he go on with his printing schemes, or has he got into some better employment?

They tell us here that some person with you has discovered a new moving power, that may be of use in mechanical operations; that it consists in the explosion of iron tears chilled suddenly from the melting state in cold water. That explosion I have often seen in drops of glass with wonder, understanding it no more than they did in the time of Hudibras, who makes a simile of it, which I repeat, because it is probably so long since you read it:

  • Honor is like that glassy bubble,
  • That gives philosophers so much trouble;
  • Whose least part cracked, the whole does fly,
  • And wits are cracked to find out why.”
Edition: current; Page: [109]

May I ask you if you know any thing of the application of this power, of which I have not at present the smallest conception?

I have completed my stove, in which the smoke of the coal is all turned into flame, and operates as fuel in heating the room. I have used it all this winter, and find it answers even beyond my expectations. I propose to print a little description of its use and construction, and shall send you a copy.

I hope Billy and Jennie continue, and always will continue, as happy as when I knew them. My best wishes attend them, being as ever, with sincere esteem,

Dear sir,
Your most obedient, humble servant,
B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
M. Dubourg
Dubourg, M.
DIII

TO M. DUBOURG

Your observations on the causes of death, and the experiments which you propose for recalling to life those who appeared to be killed by lightning, demonstrate equally your sagacity and your humanity. It appears that the doctrines of life and death in general are yet but little understood.

A toad buried in sand will live, it is said, till the sand becomes petrified, and then, being enclosed in the stone, it may still live for we know not how many ages. The facts which are cited in support of this opinion are too numerous and too circumstantial not to deserve a certain degree of credit. As we are Edition: current; Page: [110] accustomed to see all the animals with which we are acquainted eat and drink, it appears to us difficult to conceive how a toad can be supported in such a dungeon; but if we reflect that the necessity of nourishment which animals experience in their ordinary state proceeds from the continual waste of their substance by perspiration, it will appear less incredible that some animals in a torpid state, perspiring less because they use no exercise, should have less need of aliment, and that others, which are covered with scales or shells, which stop perspiration, such as land and sea turtles, serpents, and some species of fish, should be able to subsist a considerable time without any nourishment whatever. A plant, with its flowers, fades and dies immediately if exposed to the air without having its root immersed in a humid soil, from which it may draw a sufficient quantity of moisture to supply that which exhales from its substance and is carried off continually by the air. Perhaps, however, if it were buried in quicksilver it might preserve for a considerable space of time its vegetable life, its smell, and color. If this be the case, it might prove a commodious method of transporting from distant countries those delicate plants which are unable to sustain the inclemency of the weather at sea, and which require particular care and attention. I have seen an instance of common flies preserved in a manner somewhat similar. They had been drowned in Madeira wine, apparently about the time when it was bottled in Virginia to be sent hither (to London). At the opening of one of the bottles at the house of a friend where I then was three drowned flies fell into Edition: current; Page: [111] the first glass that was filled. Having heard it remarked that drowned flies were capable of being revived by the rays of the sun, I proposed making the experiment upon these. They were, therefore, exposed to the sun upon a sieve which had been employed to strain them out of the wine. In less than three hours two of them began by degrees to recover life. They commenced by some convulsive motions of the thighs, and at length they raised themselves upon their legs, wiped their eyes with their forefeet, beat and brushed their wings with their hind feet, and soon after began to fly, finding themselves in Old England, without knowing how they came thither. The third continued lifeless till sunset, when losing all hopes of him, he was thrown away.

I wish it were possible, from this instance, to invent a method of embalming drowned persons in such a manner that they may be recalled to life at any period, however distant; for having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to any ordinary death the being immersed in a cask of Madeira wine with a few friends till that time, to be then recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But since in all probability we live in an age too early and too near the infancy of science to hope to see such an art brought in our time to its perfection, I must for the present content myself with the treat which you are so kind as to promise me of the resurrection of a fowl or a turkey-cock.

I am, etc.,
B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [112]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
M. Dubourg
Dubourg, M.
Dalibard
Dalibard
DIV

TO MESSRS. DUBOURG AND DALIBARD1

My Dear Friends:

My answer to your questions concerning the mode of rendering meat tender by electricity, can only be founded upon conjecture; for I have not experiments enough to warrant the facts. All that I can say at present is, that I think electricity might be employed for this purpose, and I shall state what follows as the observations or reasons which make me presume so.

It has been observed that lightning, by rarefying and reducing into vapor the moisture contained in solid wood, in an oak, for instance, has forcibly separated its fibres, and broken it into small splinters; that, by penetrating intimately the hardest metals, as iron, it has separated the parts in an instant, so as to convert a perfect solid into a state of fluidity; it is not then improbable, that the same subtile matter, passing through the bodies of animals with rapidity, should possess sufficient force to produce an effect nearly similar.

The flesh of animals, fresh killed in the usual manner, is firm, hard, and not in a very eatable state, because the particles adhere too forcibly to each other. At a certain period, the cohesion is weakened, and, in its progress towards putrefaction, which tends to produce a total separation, the flesh becomes what we call tender, or is in that state most proper to be used as our food.

Edition: current; Page: [113]

It has frequently been remarked, that animals killed by lightning putrefy immediately. This cannot be invariably the case, since a quantity of lightning, sufficient to kill, may not be sufficient to tear and divide the fibres and particles of flesh, and reduce them to that tender state which is the prelude to putrefaction. Hence it is, that some animals killed in this manner will keep longer than others. But the putrefaction sometimes proceeds with surprising celerity. A respectable person assured me that he once knew a remarkable instance of this. A whole flock of sheep in Scotland, being closely assembled under a tree, were killed by a flash of lightning; and, it being rather late in the evening, the proprietor, desirous of saving something, sent persons early the next morning to flay them; but the putrefaction was such, and the stench so abominable, that they had not the courage to execute their orders, and the bodies were accordingly buried in their skins. It is not unreasonable to presume, that, between the period of their death and that of their putrefaction, a time intervened in which the flesh might be only tender, and only sufficiently so to be served at table. Add to this, that persons, who have eaten of fowls killed by our feeble imitation of lightning (electricity), and dressed immediately, have asserted that the flesh was remarkably tender.

The little utility of this practice has perhaps prevented its being much adopted. For, though it some times happens, that a company unexpectedly arriving at a country-house, or an unusual conflux of travellers to an inn, may render it necessary to kill a Edition: current; Page: [114] number of animals for immediate use; yet, as travellers have commonly a good appetite, little attention has been paid to the trifling inconvenience of having their meat a little tough. As this kind of death is nevertheless more sudden, and consequently less severe, than any other, if this should operate as a motive with compassionate persons to employ it for animals sacrificed for their use, they may conduct the process thus:

Having prepared a battery of six large glass jars (each from twenty to twenty-four pints) as for the Leyden experiment, and having established a communication, as usual, from the interior surface of each with the prime conductor, and having given them a full charge (which, with a good machine, may be executed in a few minutes, and may be estimated by an electrometer), a chain which communicates with the exterior of the jars must be wrapped round the thighs of the fowl; after which the operator, holding it by the wings, turned back and made to touch behind, must raise it so high that the head may receive the first shock from the prime conductor. The animal dies instantly. Let the head be immediately cut off to make it bleed, when it may be plucked and dressed immediately. This quantity of electricity is supposed sufficient for a turkey of ten pounds’ weight, and perhaps for a lamb. Experience alone will inform us of the requisite proportions for animals of different forms and ages. Probably not less will be required to render a small bird, which is very old, tender, than for a larger one, which is young. It is easy to furnish the requisite quantity of electricity, Edition: current; Page: [115] by employing a greater or less number of jars. As six jars, however, discharged at once, are capable of giving a very violent shock, the operator must be very circumspect, lest he should happen to make the experiment on his own flesh, instead of that of the fowl.

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
4 May, 1773
M. Dubourg
Dubourg, M.
DV

TO M. DUBOURG

——The young physician whom I mentioned is dead, and all the notes which he had left of his curious experiments are by some accident lost between our friends Sir John Pringle and Dr. Huck (Saunders); but these gentlemen, if the papers cannot be recovered, it is to be presumed, will repeat the experiments themselves.1

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
6 May, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DVI

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I have received none of your favors since that of November 28th. I have since written to you of the following dates: December 2d, January 5th, March 9th, and April 3d, which I hope got safe to hand.

Edition: current; Page: [116]

The Council and Assembly’s answer to Governor Hutchinson’s speech I caused to be printed here as soon as I received them. His reply I see since printed also, but their rejoinder is not yet come. If he intended, by reviving that dispute, to recommend himself, he has greatly missed his aim; for the administration are chagrined with his officiousness, their intention having been to let all contention subside and by degrees suffer matters to return to the old channel. They are now embarrassed by his proceedings; for if they lay the governor’s despatches, containing the declaration of the General Court, before Parliament, they apprehend measures may be taken that will widen the breach, which would be more particularly inconvenient at this time, when the disturbed state of Europe gives some apprehensions of a general war. On the other hand, if they do not lay them before Parliament, they give advantage to opposition against themselves, on some future occasion, in a charge of criminal neglect. Some say he must be a fool; others that, through some misinformation, he really supposed Lord Hillsborough to be again in office.

Yesterday I had a conversation with Lord Dartmouth, of which I think it right to give you some account. On my saying that I had no late advices from Boston, and asking if his Lordship had any, he said: “None since the governor’s second speech; but what difficulties that gentleman has brought us all into by his imprudence! Though I suppose he meant well, yet what can now be done? It is impossible that Parliament can suffer such a declaration Edition: current; Page: [117] of the General Assembly, asserting its independency, to pass unnoticed.” “In my opinion,” said I, “it would be better and more prudent to take no notice of it. It is words only. Acts of Parliament are still submitted to there. No force is used to obstruct their execution. And, while that is the case, Parliament would do well to turn a deaf ear, and seem not to know that such declarations had ever been made. Violent measures against the province will not change the opinion of the people. Force could do no good.” “I do not know,” said he, “that force would be thought of; but perhaps an act may pass to lay them under some inconveniences till they rescind that declaration. Can they not withdraw it? I wish they could be persuaded to reconsider the matter and do it of themselves voluntarily, and thus leave things between us on the old footing—the points undiscussed. Don’t you think,” continued his Lordship, “such a thing possible?” “No, my Lord,” said I, “I think it is impossible. If they were even to wish matters back in the situation before the governor’s speech, and the dispute obliterated, they cannot withdraw their answers till he first withdraws his speech, which methinks would be an awkward operation that perhaps he will hardly be directed to perform. As to an act of Parliament, laying that country under inconveniences, it is likely that it will only put them, as heretofore, on some method of incommoding this country till the act is repealed; and so we shall go on injuring and provoking each other instead of cultivating that good-will and harmony so necessary to the general welfare.”

Edition: current; Page: [118]

He said that might be, and he was sensible our divisions must weaken the whole; “for we are yet one empire,” said he, “whatever may be the sentiments of the Massachusetts Assembly;” but he did not see how that could be avoided. He wondered, as the dispute was now of public notoriety, Parliament had not already called for the despatches; and he thought he could not omit much longer the communicating them, however unwilling he was to do it, from his apprehension of the consequences. “But what,” his Lordship was pleased to say, “if you were in my place, would or could you do? Would you hazard the being called to account in some future session of Parliament for keeping back the communication of despatches of such importance?” I said his Lordship could best judge what in his situation was the fittest for him to do. “I could only give my poor opinion with regard to Parliament, that, supposing the despatches laid before them, they would act most prudently in ordering them to lie on the table, and take no further notice of them. For were I as much an Englishman as I am an American, and ever so desirous of establishing the authority of Parliament, I protest to your Lordship I cannot conceive of a single step the Parliament can take to increase it that will not tend to diminish it, and after abundance of desirous they must finally lose it. The loss in itself perhaps would not be of much consequence, because it is an authority they can never well exercise for want of due information and knowledge, and therefore it is not worth hazarding the mischief to preserve it.”

Edition: current; Page: [119]

Then adding my wishes that I could be of any service in healing our differences, his Lordship said: “I do not see any thing of more service than prevailing on the General Assembly, if you can do it, to withdraw their answers to the governor’s speech.” “There is not,” says I, “the least probability they will ever do that; for the country is all of one mind upon the subject. Perhaps the governor may have represented to your Lordship that these are the opinions of a party only, and that great numbers are of different sentiments, which may in time prevail. But if he does not deceive himself, he deceives your Lordship; for in both Houses, notwithstanding the influence appertaining to his office, there was not, in sending up those answers, a single dissenting voice.” “I do not recollect,” says his Lordship, “that the governor has written any thing of that kind. I am told, however, by gentlemen from that country, who pretend to know it, that there are many of the governor’s opinion, but they dare not show their sentiments.” “I never heard,” said I, “that any one has suffered violence for siding with the governor.” “Not violence, perhaps,” said his Lordship, “but they are reviled and held in contempt, and people do not care to incur the disesteem and displeasure of their neighbors.”

As I knew Governor Bernard had been in with his Lordship just before me, I thought he was probably one of these gentlemen informants, and therefore said: “People who are engaged in any party or have advised any measures are apt to magnify the numbers of those who would have understood as approving Edition: current; Page: [120] their measures.” His Lordship said that was natural to suppose might be the present case; for whoever observed the conduct of parties here must have seen it a constant practice, and he agreed with me that though a nemine contradicente did not prove the absolute agreement of every man in the opinion voted, it, at least, demonstrated the great prevalence of that opinion.

Thus ended our conference. I shall watch this business till the Parliament rises, and endeavor to make people in general as sensible of the inconveniences to this country that may attend a continuance of the contest, as the Spitalfields weavers seem already to be in their petition to the king, which I herewith send you. I have already the pleasure to find that my friend, the Bishop of St. Asaph’s sermon is universally approved and applauded, which I take to be no bad symptom. With sincere esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
1 June, 1773
London
M. Dubourg
Dubourg, M.
DVII

TO M. DUBOURG

Sir:

I wish, with you, that some chemist (who should, if possible, be at the same time an electrician) would, in pursuance of the excellent hints contained in your letter, undertake to work upon glass with the view you have recommended. By means of a perfect knowledge of this substance, with respect to its electrical Edition: current; Page: [121] qualities, we might proceed with more certainty as well in making our own experiments, as in repeating those which have been made by others in different countries, which, I believe, have frequently been attended with different success on account of differences in the glass employed, thence occasioning frequent misunderstandings and contrariety of opinions.

There is another circumstance much to be desired with respect to glass, and that is, that it should not be subject to break when highly charged in the Leyden experiment. I have known eight jars broken out of twenty, and, at another time, twelve out of thirty-five. A similar loss would greatly discourage electricians desirous of accumulating a great power for certain experiments. We have never been able hitherto to account for the course of such misfortunes. The first idea which occurs is, that the positive electricity, being accumulated on one side of the glass, rushes violently through it, in order to supply the deficiency on the other side and to restore the equilibrium. This, however, I cannot conceive to be the true reason, when I consider that, a great number of jars being united, so as to be charged and discharged at the same time, the breaking of a single jar will discharge the whole; for, if the accident proceeded from the weakness of the glass, it is not probable that eight of them should be precisely of the same degree of weakness, as to break every one at the same instant, it being more likely that the weakest should break first, and, by breaking, secure the rest; and again, when it is necessary to produce a certain effect, by means of the whole charge passing Edition: current; Page: [122] through a determined circle (as, for instance, to melt a small wire), if the charge, instead of passing in this circle, rushed through the sides of the jars, the intended effect would not be produced; which, however is contrary to fact. For these reasons, I suspect, that there is, in the substance of the glass, either some little globules of air, or some portions of unvitrified sand or salt, into which a quantity of the electric fluid may be forced during the charge, and there retained till the general discharge; and that the force being suddenly withdrawn, the elasticity of the fluid acts upon the glass in which it is enclosed, not being able to escape hastily without breaking the glass. I offer this only as a conjecture, which I leave to others to examine.

The globe which I had that could not be excited, though it was from the same glass-house which furnished the other excellent globes in my possession, was not of the same frit. The glass which was usually manufactured there, was rather of the green kind, and chiefly intended for drinking-glasses and bottles; but, the proprietors being desirous of attempting a trial of white glass, the globe in question was of this frit. The glass not being of a perfect white, the proprietors were dissatisfied with it, and abandoned their project. I suspected that too great a quantity of salt was admitted into the composition, but I am no judge of these matters.

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [123]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
2 June, 1773
London
Colden
Colden
DVIII

TO MR. COLDEN

Dear Sir:

I received yours of April 7th enclosing Coningham and Nesbit’s bill on D. Harvey & Co. for £200, with which your account is credited. In my last I acknowledged the receipt of Christie’s renewed bill for £338 17 2½.

I am glad the last year’s accounts are to come by the next packet, for then we shall have the whole settled and passed together, there having been a delay for some time, occasioned by the mislaying of a preceding account at the office. If at the settlement any thing new should be required in the mode of rendering your accounts, I shall acquaint you with it.

I admire your good father’s rare felicity in retaining so long his health and spirits, and particularly that vigor of his mental faculties which enables him still to amuse himself with abstruse philosophical disquisitions. For my own part, every thing of difficult discussion, and that requires close attention of mind, and an application of long continuance, grows rather irksome to me, and where there is not some absolute necessity for it, as in the settlement of accounts, or the like, I am apt to indulge the indolence usually attending age, in postponing such business from time to time; though continually resolving to do it. This has been the case with regard to your father’s philosophical piece on the principles of vital motion, which he did me the honor some time since to desire my opinion of. I have read it carefully, and long Edition: current; Page: [124] intended to read it with close attention, and still intend it, but what with business that takes up so much of my time, interruptions of various kinds, and the indolence I have above confessed, I have hitherto put it off. In my voyage home which I am now preparing for, I promise myself to study it thoroughly, so that if I have the happiness once more of meeting him, we may discourse of it together. In the meantime, present my best respects to him, and believe me, with great regard, dear sir,

Your most obedient, humble servant,
B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
2 June, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DIX

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

Since my last of the 6th past, I have been honored with yours of March 6th and 24th, enclosing a petition to the king, and a letter to Lord Dartmouth. On considering the whole, I concluded that a longer delay of presenting the first petition and remonstrance was not likely to answer any good purpose, and therefore immediately waited on Lord Dartmouth, and delivered to him the letter, and the second petition, at the same time re-delivering the first, and pressed his Lordship to present them to his Majesty, which he promised to do.

Enclosed I send you the answer I have just received from him, as this day’s packet (the mail for which is to be made up and despatched in a few Edition: current; Page: [125] hours) is the earliest opportunity, the ships for Boston not being to sail till the beginning of next week. By one of them I shall send a copy, with what observations occur to me on the occasion, which the time will not now permit me to write. In the meanwhile I would just beg leave to say that I hope the House will come to no hasty resolves upon it. The longer they deliberate, the more maturely they consider, the greater weight will attend their resolutions. With sincere respect, I am, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
4 June, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DX

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

The above is a copy of mine per packet, which enclosed the original of his Majesty’s answer to our petitions and remonstrance. I now send an exact copy of the same, which I did intend to accompany with some observations and my sentiments on the general state of our affairs in this country, and the conduct proper for us to hold on this occasion. But, beginning to write, I find the matter too copious, and the subject, on reflection, too important to be treated of in a hasty letter; and, being told the ships sail to-morrow, I must postpone it to another opportunity.

It was thought at the beginning of the session that the American duty on tea would be taken off. But now the wise scheme is to take off so much duty here Edition: current; Page: [126] as will make tea cheaper in America than foreigners can supply us, and confine the duty there, to keep up the exercise of the right.

They have no idea that any people can act from any other principle but that of interest; and they believe that three pence in a pound of tea, of which one does perhaps drink ten pounds in a year, is sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American.

I purpose soon to write you very fully. As to the letters1 I communicated to you, though I have not been able to obtain leave to take copies or publish them, I have permission to let the originals remain with you as long as you may think it of any use to have them in possession. With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Samuel Cooper
Cooper, Samuel
14 June, 1773
Boston
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
DXI

FROM SAMUEL COOPER

Dear Sir:

We have received high eulogiums upon the replies of our Council and Commons from gentlemen of the most respectable characters in the other colonies, where there evidently appears an increasing regard for this province, and an inclination to unite for the common safety. Virginia has led the way by proposing a communication and correspondence between all the assemblies through the continent. Edition: current; Page: [127] The letter from their committee for this purpose was received here with no little joy, and the proposal agreed to in the most ready and respectful manner. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire have already chosen committees, so that all New England is now united with Virginia in this salutary plan, and the accession of most, if not all, of the other colonies is not doubted. This opens a most agreeable prospect to the friends of our common rights.

In my last I mentioned to you my having had a sight of some letters that had been transmitted to the Speaker, with leave to communicate them to me and some others in confidence. I soon apprehended from the nature of the contents and the number of persons to whom they were directed to be shown, that they could not long remain secret. However, I have preserved inviolable the trust reposed in me. Some, not named by you as confidants, had hints from London that such letters were come or coming, and began to suspect they were concealed in favor of the writers. The secret was kept till the meeting of the General Court, when so many members had obtained such general intimations of it as to render them extremely inquisitive and solicitous. At last it was thought best to communicate them to the House, with the restrictions that accompanied them here. The House could not act upon them with those restrictions, but the substance of them was known everywhere, and the alarm given. Soon after, copies of them were brought into the House, said to have come from England by the last ships.

Many members scrupled to act upon these copies Edition: current; Page: [128] while they were under such public engagements to the unknown proprietor of the originals. As the matter was now so public, and the restrictions could answer no good end, no view of the sender, but on the contrary might prevent in a great measure a proper use of the letters for the public benefit, and for weakening the influence and power of the writers and their friends, and disarming their revenge, it was judged most expedient, by the gentlemen to whom they were first shown, to allow the House such a use of the originals as they might think necessary to found their proceedings upon for the common safety. By whom and to whom they were sent is still a secret, known only to three persons here, and may still remain so, if you desire it.

I forgot to mention that, upon the first appearance of the letters in the House, they voted, by a majority of one hundred and one to five, that the design and tendency of them were to subvert the constitution and introduce arbitrary power. Their committee upon this matter reported this day a number of resolutions, which are to be printed by to-morrow morning, and every member furnished with a copy, that they may compare them with the letters; and to-morrow at three o’clock in the afternoon is the time appointed to decide upon the report. The acceptance of it by a great majority is not doubted.

Should the vessel that is to carry this letter remain long enough, I will send you a copy of the resolutions. Nothing could have been more seasonable than the arrival of these letters. They have had great effect; they make deep impressions wherever they are Edition: current; Page: [129] known; they strip the mask from the writers, who, under the professions of friendship to their country, now plainly appear to have been endeavoring to build up themselves and their families upon its ruins. They and their adherents are shocked and dismayed; the confidence reposed in them by many is annihilated; and administration must soon see the necessity of putting the provincial power of the crown into other hands, if they mean it should operate to any good effect. This, at present, is almost the universal sentiment.

The House have this day sent up the letters to the Board, which, I believe, will concur with them in the substance and spirit of their proceedings. We are highly indebted to our friends in London, and to you, sir, in particular, for so important a communication, and hope, while it supports the cause of truth and justice, and promotes the deliverance of this abused and oppressed country, it will be attended with no disadvantage to them.

The inconveniences that may accidently arise from such generous interpositions are abundantly compensated by the reflection that they tend to the security and happiness of millions. I trust, however, that nothing of this kind will occur to disturb the agreeable feelings of those who, in this instance, have done such extensive good. With great esteem, I am, etc.,

Samuel Cooper.
Edition: current; Page: [130]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
22 June, 1773
London
M. Le Roy
Le Roy, M.
DXII

TO M. LE ROY

However glad I was of the occasion, I forbore indulging myself in the pleasure of congratulating by the first post, my dear double confrère, on his election into our Royal Society, because Mr. Walsh undertook to give you the information, which would make a second expense unnecessary, and I saw I should soon have this opportunity by the favor of M. Poissonnière. I rejoice in the event, as you seemed anxiously concerned about it, and as we have done ourselves honor in distinguishing and associating a merit so universally known and acknowledged.

I am pleased to hear that you are engaged in the consideration of hospitals. I wish any observations of mine could be of use to you, they should be at your service. But it is a subject I am very little acquainted with. I can only say that, if a free and copious respiration is of use in diseases, that seems, from the experiments I mentioned to M. Dubourg, to be best obtained by light covering and fresh air continually changing; the moisture on the skin, when the body is warmly covered, being a deception, and the effect, not of greater transpiration, but of the saturation of the air included under and in the bedclothes, which therefore can absorb no more, and so leaves it on the surface of the body. From these experiments I am convinced of what I indeed before suspected, that the opinion of perspiration being checked by cold is an error, as well as that of rheum being occasioned by Edition: current; Page: [131] cold. But as this is heresy here, and perhaps may be so with you, I only whisper it and expect you will keep my secret. Our physicians have begun to discover that fresh air is good for people in the smallpox and other fevers. I hope in time they will find out that it does no harm to people in health.

We have nothing new here in the philosophic way. I shall like to hear how M. Lavoisier’s doctrine supports itself, as I suppose it will be controverted.

With the greatest esteem, I am ever, dear sir,

Yours most affectionately,
B. Franklin.

P. S.—Enclosed I send you some pamphlets relative to our American affairs for your amusement. Sir John Pringle bids me present his compliments. He interested himself much in the election.

Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
25 June, 1773
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
DXIII

FROM THOMAS CUSHING

Province of Massachusetts Bay,
Sir:

The House of Representatives have lately had divers letters, signed Thomas Hutchinson, Andrew Oliver, etc., laid before them, attested copies of which you have enclosed; and after maturely considering their contents, they have voted as their sense that the tendency and design of said letters appear to have been to overthrow the constitution of this government, and to introduce arbitrary power into this province; and have passed sundry resolves Edition: current; Page: [132] respecting these letters, which accompany this letter. They have also agreed upon and passed a petition to his Majesty, which you will receive with this enclosure, praying that his Excellency, Thomas Hutchinson, governor, and Andrew Oliver, lieutenant-governor, of this province, be removed from the posts they hold within this government; which petition you are desired, as soon as possible, to present to his Majesty; and, as the persons aforenamed have by their conduct rendered themselves very obnoxious, and have entirely lost the confidence of this people, you are desired to use your interest and influence to support said petition, that it may have its desired effect; and you are further directed to employ Arthur Lee as counsel upon this occasion, and any other counsel you may think proper.

You are desired also to take effectual care that the several petitions, relative to the governor and judges of the Superior Court receiving their support from the crown, independent of the grants of the people, may be (if they have not already been) immediately laid before his Majesty, and strenuously supported; as they are matters that very nearly and essentially affect our happy constitution, the preservation of which in a great measure depends upon their meeting with a favorable reception and answer. I have the honor to be, etc.,

Thomas Cushing,
Speaker.
Edition: current; Page: [133]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
29 June, 1773
London
M. Dubourg
Dubourg, M.
DXIV

TO M. DUBOURG

Dear Friend:

I have not time now to write what I intended upon the cause of colds, or rheums; and my opinions on that head are so singular here that I am almost afraid to hazard them abroad. In the meantime, be so kind as to tell me at your leisure whether in France you have a general belief, that moist air, and cold air, and damp shirts or sheets, and wet floors, and beds that have not been lately used, and clothes that have not been lately worn, and going out of a warm room into the air, and leaving off a long-worn waistcoat, and wearing leaky shoes, and sitting near an open door or window, or in a coach with both glasses down, are all or any of them capable of giving the distemper we call a cold, and you a rheum, or catarrh? Or are these merely English ideas?

I am ever, with the greatest esteem and respect,

Dear sir, yours, etc.,
B. Franklin.

DXV: PREPARATORY NOTES AND HINTS FOR WRITING A PAPER CONCERNING WHAT IS CALLED CATCHING COLD

Definition of a Cold

It is a siziness and thickness of the blood, whereby the smaller vessels are obstructed, and the Edition: current; Page: [134] perspirable matter retained, which being retained offends both by its quantity and quality; by quantity, as it outfills the vessels, and by its quality, as part of it is acrid, and being retained, produces coughs and sneezing by irritation.

How this Siziness is Produced

1. By being long exposed in a cold air, without exercise; cold thickens glue.

2. By a diminished perspiration, either first from breathing and living in moist air, or, second, from the clogging of the pores by clammy sweat dried on and fastening down the scales of the skin; or, thirdly, by cold constringing the pores partially or totally, sleeping or waking; or, fourthly, by having eat food of too gross particles for free perspiration, as oysters, pork duck, etc. People are found frequently costive after much bathing.

3. By repletion, as when more is thrown into the habit by eating and drinking than common perspiration is capable of discharging in due time; whence the vessels are distended beyond their spring, and the quantity of contained fluid, that should be briskly moved to preserve or acquire a due thinness, is too weighty for their force, whence a slow motion,—thence viscidity. This repletion is increased by a constipation of the belly happening at the same time. In an approaching cold, more water is made than usual.

4. By cooling suddenly in the air after exercise. Exercise quickening the circulation, produces more Edition: current; Page: [135] perspirable matter in a given time than is produced in rest. And though more is likewise usually discharged during exercise, yet on sudden quitting of exercise, and standing in the air, the circulation and production of perspirable matter still continuing some time, the over quantity is retained. It is safer not to go into water too cold.

5. By particular effluvia in the air, from some unknown cause. General colds throughout a country. By being in a coach close, or small room with a person having a cold.

6. By relaxation of the solids, from a warm and moist air, so that they are too weak to give due motion to the fluids.

Of partial colds affecting parts only of the body.

Causes of feverishness attending colds.

Ill consequences often attending colds, as pleurisies, consumptions, etc. Some never taking cold, some frequently; cause of the difference.

Present remedies for a cold should be warming, diluting, bracing.

Means of preventing cold; temperance, choice of meats and drinks, warm rooms, and lodging and clothing in winter; dry air, care to keep the belly open, and frequent discharge of water; warm bathing to cleanse the skin; rubbing after sweat, especially in the spring.

Difficulties that first put me on thinking on this subject. People get cold by less, and not by more, viz.:

  • By putting a damp shirt on a dry body,—Yes.
  • By putting on a dry shirt on a wet body, though this wets the shirt ten times more,—No.Edition: current; Page: [136]
  • By sitting in a room where the floor has been newly washed,—Yes.
  • By going into a river and staying there an hour (no sheets so wet),—No.
  • By wetting the feet only,—Yes.
  • By wetting all the clothes through to the body, and wearing them a whole day,—No.
  • By sitting in a room against a crevice,—Yes.
  • By sitting as long in the open air,—No.

Few of these effects take place if the vessels are kept empty.

Reapers in Pennsylvania:—

  • Drinking cold water when they are hot.
  • If it makes them sweat, they are safe.
  • If not, they fall ill, and some die.
  • People hot should drink by spoonfuls; the reason.

Taking cold.—The disorder only called so in English, and in no other language.

American Indians in the woods, and the whites in imitation of them, lie with their feet to the fire in frosty nights, and take no cold while they can keep their feet warm.

Feet and hands apt to be cold in that disorder, and why? Is it the siziness, or the greater evaporation?

Hottentots grease themselves,—occasions other evacuations more plentiful. Greasing keeps the body warm. Bad to hold the water too long. Parts colder when first unclothed than afterwards, why?

It was a disgrace among the ancient Persians to cough or spit.

Edition: current; Page: [137]

Probably as it argued intemperance.

Vessels when too full leak. Quicksilver through leather. Thin fluid leaked evaporates. Corners of eyes, etc. Sizy will not all evaporate. What is left corrupts. Hence consumptions. Hectic fevers from absorption of putrid pus. It ferments the blood like yeast.

People seldom get cold at sea, though they sleep in wet clothes. Constant exercise, moderate living. Bad cooks. Yet air is very moist. Wet floors. Sea surrounding, etc.

Exercise cures a cold. Bishop Williams riding several times from London, or Exeter, or Salisbury.

Bark good for a cold, taken early.

Particular parts more accustomed to discharge the irritating perspirable matter, as under the arms in some, feet in others, etc.

Experiment of two razors.

Every pain or disorder now ascribed to a cold.

It is the covering excuse of all intemperance.

Numbers of people in a close room, and exercising there, fill the air with putrid particles.

People killed by House of Commons, breathing the air through holes in ceiling.

Think they get cold by coming out of such hot rooms; they get them by being in.

Those who live in hotter rooms (stoves) get no colds.

Germans and all the Northern people.

Alderman and turtle.

People remark they were very well before a cold, and ate hearty. Wonder how they catched it.

Edition: current; Page: [138]

Signs of Temperance

  • Mouth not clammy after sleep.
  • Saliva thin and watery.
  • Eyelids not stuck together with hard glue.
  • Voice clear.
  • No phlegm to raise.

Advice for mode of general temperance without appearing too singular.

Supper not bad after preparatory light dinner.

May be rectified by slight breakfast next morning. He must be too full that one excess will much disorder.

Time of great meal mended of late.

One hour variation of compass in twenty years.

After dinner not fit for business.

People from the country get cold when they come to London, and why? Full living, with moist air. London air generally moist, why? Much putrid air in London. Silver, etc.

Cooks and doctors should change maxims.

Common sense more common among the common Scotch.

Those who do not compare cannot conceive the difference between themselves and themselves in full or spare living.

  • Wet newspapers, why give colds.
  • Old libraries and damp old books.
  • Putrid animal matter in paper size.
  • Courts should not sit after dinner.
  • Juries fast, a good institution.
Edition: current; Page: [139]

Chess—Impatience of deliberation because more difficult. Writing, etc.

Most follies arise from full feeding. Reasons pro and con not at all present.

  • Temperate nation wisest.
  • Dining entertainments bad.
  • Remains of barbarism,—expensive.
  • Full feeding of children stupefies.

Fasting strengthens reason rather than subdues passion.

People often do not get cold when they think they do, and do when they think they do not.

Causes of cold are primary and secondary.

Colds are of different kinds, putrid and plethoric.

Scarce any air abroad so unwholesome as air in a close room often breathed.

Warm air dissolves more moisture than cold.

In hot countries men wrap themselves in wet sheets to sleep.

A general service to redeem people from the slavish fear of getting cold by showing them where the danger is not, and that where it is, it is in their power to avoid it.

Surfeit, an expression formerly used, now laid aside.

Costiveness occasioning colds, how to be prevented.

Colds formerly called rheums and catarrhs.

Particular foods said to engender rheums.

Query.—Is Mr. Wood more or less subject to catch cold since he betook himself to his low diet?

Answer (by Mr. Wood).—He now finds himself much more healthy, and much less liable to catch Edition: current; Page: [140] cold. What few colds he now catches are so very slight, that he is not sensible of them, but from the urine, which is then not so clear.

I caused the above question to be asked Mr. Wood, and obtained the answer. It is the Mr. Wood who lives upon a pound of flour in a pudding.

B. Franklin.

Dampier, speaking of the customs of the people at Mindanoo (p. 330) says: “You see abundance of people in the river from morning to night washing their bodies or clothes; they strip and stand naked till they have done; then put them on and march out again.”

Dr. Gregory says: “All that class of diseases which arise from catching cold, is only found among the civilized part of mankind. An old Roman or an Indian, in the pursuit of war or hunting, would plunge into a river whilst in a profuse sweat, without fear, and without danger. The greater care we take to prevent catching cold, by the various contrivances of modern luxury, the more we become subject to it. We can guard against cold only by rendering ourselves superior to its influence. There is a striking instance of this in the vigorous constitutions of children who go thinly clad in all seasons and weathers.”

The coats of the vessels are a kind of network, which contains the fluids only when not so pressed as to enlarge the pores of the net, or when the fluids are not so pressed as to break the cohesion of the globules or particles, so as to make them small Edition: current; Page: [141] enough to come through. When the vessels are full, occasioned by a course of full living, they labor in carrying on the circulation; their spring or power of contraction and compressing the fluids they contain, being over strained is weakened, the circulation proceeds more slowly, the fluids thicken and become more gluey, both for want of due churning and because less heat is produced in the body. Such a body requires more aid of clothing and fire to preserve its warmth.

If a person in that state of body walks a mile or two, or uses any other exercise that warms him, the fluids are rarefied by the heat, distend the vessels still more, and the thinner parts of the fluids in tender places force out through the pores of the vessels in form of a gluey water, viz.: at the eyes, within the nose, and within the lungs. This is moderate exercise.

If the exercise is increased it comes through every pore in the skin, and is called sweat.

The more volatile parts of this extravasated fluid evaporate, and fly off in the air; the gluey part remains, thickens, and hardens more or less, as it becomes more or less dry; in the nose and on the lungs, where air is continually coming and going, it soon becomes a mucus, but can hardly grow drier because surrounded with moist parts and supplied with more moisture. What oozes out of the corner of the eye when shut, as in sleep, hardens into what is called a kind of gum, being in fact dry glue.

This in a morning almost sticks the eyelids together.

Edition: current; Page: [142]

With such mucous matter the nose is sometimes almost stopped, and must be cleared by strong blowing.

In the windpipe and on the lungs it gathers and is impacted, so as sometimes to induce a continual coughing and hawking to discharge it.

If not easily discharged, but remaining long adhering to the lungs, it corrupts and inflames the parts it is in contact with; even behind the ears and between the parts of the body so constantly in contact, that the perspirable matter, sweat, etc., cannot easily escape from between them; the skin is inflamed by it, and a partial putrefaction begins to take place, they corrupt and ulcerate. The vessels being thus wounded, discharge greater and continual quantities. Hence consumption.

Part of the corrupted matter, absorbed again by the vessels and mixed with the blood, occasions hectic fevers.

When the body has sweated, not from a dissolution of fluids, but from the force above mentioned, as the sweat dries off, some clammy substance remains in the pores, which closes many of them, wholly or in part. The subsequent perspiration is hereby lessened.

The perspirable matter consists of parts approaching to putrefaction, and therefore destined by nature to be thrown off, that living bodies might not putrefy, which otherwise, from their warmth and moisture, they would be apt to do.

These corrupting particles, if continually thrown off, the remainder of the body continues uncorrupt, or approaches no nearer to a state of putrefaction. Just as in boiling water, no greater degree of heat Edition: current; Page: [143] than the boiling heat can be acquired, because the particles that grow hotter, as fast as they become so, fly off in vapor. But if the vapor could be retained, water might be made much hotter, perhaps red-hot, as oil may, which is not so subject to evaporation. So if the perspirable matter is retained it remixes with blood, and produces first, a slight putrid fever, attending always what we call a cold, and when retained in a great degree, more mischievous putrid diseases.

In hot countries, exercise of body with the heat of the climate create much of this putrid perspirable matter, which ought to be discharged. A check is in those countries very pernicious; putrid malignant violent fevers, and speedy death, the consequence.

Its discharge is also checked another way besides that of closing the pores, viz., by being in an air already full of it, as in close rooms containing great numbers of people, play-houses, ball-rooms, etc.

For air containing a quantity of any kind of vapor, becomes thereby less capable of imbibing more of that vapor, and finally will take no more of it.

If the air will not take it off from the body, it must remain in the body; and the perspiration is as effectually stopped, and the perspirable matter as certainly retained, as if the pores were all stopped.

A lock of wet wool contained in a nutmeg-grater, may dry, parting with its moisture through the holes of the grater. But if you stop all those holes with wax it will never dry. Nor, if exposed to the open air, will it dry when the air is as moist as itself. On the contrary, if already dry, and exposed to moist air, it would acquire moisture.

Edition: current; Page: [144]

Thus people in rooms heated by a multitude of people, find their own bodies heated; thence the quantity of perspirable matter is increased that should be discharged, but the air, not being changed, grows so full of the same matter, that it will receive no more. So the body must retain it. The consequence is that next day, perhaps sooner, a slight putrid fever comes on, with all the marks of what we call a cold, and the disorder is supposed to be got by coming out of a warm room, whereas it was really taken while in that room.

Putrid ferments beget their like.—Small-pox—Wet rotten paper, containing corrupt glue. The cold fever communicable by the breath to others, etc.

Urine retained, occasions sneezing, etc.

Coughing and spitting continually, marks of intemperance.

People eat much more than is necessary.

Proportionable nourishment and strength is not drawn from great eating.

The succeeding meals force the preceding through half-undigested.

Small meals continue longer in the body, and are more thoroughly digested.

The vessels being roomy can bear and receive without hurt, an accidental excess.

They can concrete more easily.

There is less quantity of corrupting particles produced.

  • Putrid fish very bad.
  • Black Hole in the Indies.
Edition: current; Page: [145]

DXVI: QUERIES ON ELECTRICITY, FROM DR. INGENHOUSZ,1 WITH ANSWERS BY DR. FRANKLIN

QUESTION I

If the electrical fluid is truly accumulated on the inside of a Leyden phial, and expelled in the same proportion from the other side, why are the particles of glass not all thrown outwards, when the phial being overcharged breaks, or is perforated by a spontaneous explosion?

ANSWER

By the circumstances that have appeared to me, in all the jars that I have seen perforated at the time of their explosion, I have imagined that the charge did not pass by those perforations. Several single jars, that have broke while I was charging them, have shown, besides the perforation in the body, a trace on both sides of the neck, where the polish of the glass was taken off the breadth of a straw, which proved that great part at least of the charge, probably all, had passed over that trace. I was once present at the discharge of a battery containing thirty jars, of which eight were perforated and spoilt at the time of the discharge, yet the effect of the charge on the bodies upon which it was intended to operate did not appear to be diminished. Another time I was Edition: current; Page: [146] present when twelve out of twenty jars were broken at the time of the discharge, yet the effect of the charge, which passed in the regular circuit, was the same as it would have been if they had remained whole. Were those perforations an effect of the charge within the jar forcing itself through the glass to get at the outside, other difficulties would arise and demand explanation. 1. How it happens that in eight bottles, and in twelve, the strength to bear a strong charge should be so equal, that no one of them would break before the rest, and thereby save his fellows, but all should burst at the same instant. 2. How it happens that they bear the force of the great charge till the instant that an easier means of discharge is offered them, which they make use of, and yet the fluid breaks through at the same time.

My conjecture is that there has been, in the place where the rupture happens, some defect in the glass, some grain of sand perhaps, or some little bubble in the substance nearly void, where, during the charging of the jar, the electric fluid is forced in and confined till the pressure is suddenly taken off by the discharge, when, not being able to escape so quickly, it bursts its way out by its elastic force. Hence all the ruptures happen nearly at the same instant with the regular discharge, though really a little posterior, not being themselves discharges, but the effects of a discharge which passed in another channel.

QUESTION II

When a strong explosion is directed through a pack Edition: current; Page: [147] of cards or a book, having a piece of tinfoil between several of its leaves, the electrical flash makes an impression in some of those metallic leaves, by which it seems as if the direction of the electric explosion had gone from the outside towards the inside, when on the other metallic leaves, the impression is in such a direction that it indicates the current of electrical fire to have made its way from the inside of the phial towards the outside, so that it appears to some electricians that, in the time of the explosion of an electrical phial, two streams of electrical fire rush at the same time from both surfaces, and meet or cross one another.

ANSWER

These impressions are not effects of a moving body, striking with force in the direction of its motion; they are made by the burs rising in the neighboring perforated cards, which rise accidently, sometimes on one side of a card, and sometimes on the other, in consequence of certain circumstances in the form of their substances or situations. In a single card, supported without touching others, while perforated by the passing fluid, the bur generally rises on both sides, as I once showed to Mr. Symmer at his house. I imagine that the hole is made by a fine thread of electric fluid passing, and augmented to a bigger thread at the time of the explosion, which, obliging the parts of a card to recede every way, condenses a part within the substance, and forces a part out on each side, because there is least resistance.

Edition: current; Page: [148]

QUESTION III

When a flash of lightning happens to hit a flat piece of metal, the metal has sometimes been pierced with several holes, whose edges were turned some the one way and some the other, so that it has appeared to some philosophers that several streams of electrical fire had rushed in one way and some the opposite way. Such an effect of lightning has been published lately by Father Barletti.

ANSWER

This will be answered in my remarks on Mr. Barletti’s book; which remarks, when finished, I will send you.

QUESTION IV

Though, from the very charging of the Leyden phial, it seems clear that the electrical fluid does in reality not prevade the substance of glass, yet it is still difficult to conceive how such a subtile fluid may be forced out from one side of a very thick pane of glass, by a similar quantity of electrical fire thrown upon the other surface, and yet that it does not pass through any substance of glass, however thin, without breaking it. Is there some other fact or illustration besides those to be found in your public writings, by which it may be made more obvious to our understanding that electrical fire does not enter at all the very substance of glass, and yet may force from the opposite surface an equal quantity; or that it really enters the pores of the glass without breaking it? Is Edition: current; Page: [149] there any comparative illustration or example in nature by which it may be made clear that a fluid thrown upon one surface of any body may force out the same fluid from the other surface without passing through the substance?

ANSWER

That the electric fluid, by its repulsive nature, is capable of forcing portions of the same fluid out of bodies without entering them itself appears from this experiment. Approach an isolated body with a rubbed tube of glass, the side next the tube will then be electrized negatively, the opposite positively. If a pair of cork balls hang from that opposite side, the electrical fluid forced out of the body will appear in those balls, causing them to diverge. Touch that opposite side, and you thereby take away the positive electricity. Then remove the tube, and you leave the body all in a negative state. Hence it appears that the electric fluid appertaining to the glass tube did not enter the body, but retired with the tube, otherwise it would have supplied the body with the electricity it had lost.

With regard to powder magazines, my idea is that, to prevent the mischief which might be occasioned by the stones of their walls flying about in case of accidental explosion, they should be constructed in the ground; that the walls should be lined with lead, the floor lead, all a quarter of an inch thick and the joints well soldered; the cover copper, with a little scuttle to enter the whole, in the form of a canister for tea. If the edges of the cover-scuttle fall into a copper Edition: current; Page: [150] channel containing mercury, not the smallest particle of air or moisture can enter to the powder, even though the walls stood in water or the whole was under water.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 July, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DXVII

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I thank you for the pamphlets you have sent me, containing the controversy between the governor and the two Houses. I have distributed them where I thought they might be of use. He makes perhaps as much of his argument as it will bear, but has the misfortune of being on the weak side, and so is put to shifts and quibbles, and the use of much sophistry and artifice, to give plausibility to his reasonings. The Council and the Assembly have greatly the advantage in point of fairness, perspicuity, and force. His precedents of acts of Parliament binding the colonies, and our tacit consent to those acts, are all frivolous. Shall a guardian, who has imposed upon, cheated, and plundered a minor under his care, who was unable to prevent it, plead those impositions after his ward has discovered them, as precedents and authorities for continuing them. There have been precedents, time out of mind, for robbing on Hounslow Heath, but the highwayman who robbed there yesterday does nevertheless deserve hanging.

I am glad to see the resolves of the Virginia House Edition: current; Page: [151] of Burgesses.1 There are brave spirits among that people. I hope their proposal will be readily complied with by all the colonies. It is natural to suppose, as you do, that, if the oppressions continue, a congress may grow out of that correspondence. Nothing would more alarm our ministers; but, if the colonies agree to hold a congress, I do not see how it can be prevented.

The instruction relating to the exemption of the commissioners I imagine is withdrawn; perhaps the others also, relating to the agents, but of that I have heard nothing. I only wonder that the governor should make such a declaration of his readiness to comply with an intimation in acting contrary to any instructions, if he had not already, or did not soon expect a repeal of those instructions. I have not and shall never use your name on this or any similar occasion.

I note your directions relating to public and private letters, and shall not fail to observe them. At the same time I think all the correspondence should be in the Speaker’s power to communicate such extracts only as he should think proper for the House. It is extremely embarrassing to an agent to write letters concerning his transactions with ministers, which letters he knows are to be read in the House, where there may be governor’s spies, who carry away parts, or perhaps take copies, that are echoed back hither Edition: current; Page: [152] privately; if they should not be, as sometimes they are, printed in the Votes. It is impossible to write freely in such circumstances, unless he would hazard his usefulness, and put it out of his power to do his country any further service. I speak this now, not upon my own account, being about to decline all public business, but for your consideration with regard to future agents.

And, now we speak of agents, I must mention my concern, that I should fall under so severe a censure of the House, as that of neglect in their business. I have submitted to the reproof without reply in my public letter, out of pure respect. It is not decent to dispute a father’s admonitions. But to you in private, permit me to observe that, as to the two things I am blamed for not giving the earliest notice of, viz., the clause in the act relating to dockyards, and the appointment of salaries for the governor and judges, the first only seems to have some foundation. I did not know, but perhaps I ought to have known, that such a clause was intended. And yet in a Parliament, that during the whole session refused admission to strangers, wherein near two hundred acts were passed, it is not so easy a matter to come at the knowledge of every clause in every act, and to give opposition to what may affect one’s constituents; especially when it is not uncommon to smuggle clauses into a bill, whose title shall give no suspicion, when an opposition to such clauses is apprehended. I say this is no easy matter. But, had I known of this clause, it is not likely I could have prevented its passing in the present disposition of government Edition: current; Page: [153] towards America; nor do I see that my giving earlier notice of its having passed could have been of much service.

As to the other, concerning the governor and judges, I should hardly have thought of sending the House an account of it, if the minister had mentioned it to me; as I understood from their first letter to me, that they had already the best intelligence “of its being determined by administration to bestow large salaries on the attorney-general, judges, and governor of the province.” I could not therefore possibly “give the first notice of this impending evil.” I answered, however, “that there was no doubt of the intention of making governors, and some other officers, independent of the people for their support; and that this purpose will be persisted in, if the American revenue is found deficient to defray the salaries.” This censure, though grievous, does not so much surprise me, as I apprehended all along from the beginning, that between the friends of an old agent, my predecessor, who thought himself hardly used in his dismission, and those of a young one impatient for the succession, my situation was not likely to be a very comfortable one, as my faults could scarce pass unobserved.1

Edition: current; Page: [154]

I think of leaving England in September. As soon as possible after my arrival in America, I purpose, God willing, to visit Boston, when I hope to have the pleasure of paying my respects to you. I shall then give every information in my power, and offer every advice relating to our affairs, not so convenient to be written, that my situation here for so many years may enable me to suggest for the benefit of our country. Some time before my departure I shall put your papers into the hands of Mr. Lee, and assist him with my counsel while I stay, where there may be any occasion for it. He is a gentleman of parts and ability; and, though he cannot exceed me in sincere zeal for the interest and prosperity of the province, his youth will easily enable him to serve it with more activity. I am, sir, very respectfully, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 July, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DXVIII

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

The Parliament is at length prorogued, without meddling with the state of America. Their time was much employed in the East India business; and perhaps it was not thought prudent to lay before Edition: current; Page: [155] them the advices from New England, though some threatening intimations had been given of such an intention. The king’s firm answer, as it is called, to our petitions and remonstrances, has probably been judged sufficient for the present. I forwarded that answer to you by the last packet, and sent a copy of it by a Boston ship the beginning of last month. Therein we are told that “his Majesty has well weighed the subject-matter and the expressions contained in those petitions; and that, as he will ever attend to the humble petitions of his subjects, and be forward to redress every real grievance, so he is determined to support the constitution, and resist with firmness every attempt to derogate from the authority of the supreme legislature.

By this it seems that some exception is taken to the expressions of the petitions, as not sufficiently humble, that the grievances complained of are not thought real grievances, that Parliament is deemed the supreme legislature, and its authority over the colonies supposed to be the constitution. Indeed, the last idea is expressed more fully in the next paragraph, where the words of the act are used, declaring the right of the crown, with the advice of Parliament, to make laws of sufficient force and validity to bind its subjects in America in all cases whatsoever.

When one considers the king’s situation, surrounded by ministers, counsellors, and judges, learned in the law, who are all of this opinion, and reflects how necessary it is for him to be well with his Parliament, from whose yearly grants his fleets and Edition: current; Page: [156] armies are to be supported, and the deficiencies of his civil list supplied, it is not to be wondered at that he should be firm in an opinion established, as far as an act of Parliament could establish it, by even the friends of America at the time they repealed the Stamp Act; and which is so generally thought right by his Lords and Commons, that any act of his, countenancing the contrary, would hazard his embroiling himself with those powerful bodies. And from hence it seems hardly to be expected from him, that he should take any step of that kind. The grievous instructions, indeed, might be withdrawn without their observing it, if his Majesty thought fit to do so; but, under the present prejudices of all about him, it seems that this is not yet likely to be advised.

The question then arises, how are we to obtain redress? If we look back into the Parliamentary history of this country we shall find that, in similar situations of the subjects here, redress would seldom be obtained but by withholding aids when the sovereign was in distress, till the grievances were removed. Hence the rooted custom of the Commons to keep money bills in their own disposition, not suffering even the Lords to meddle in grants, either as to quantity, manner of raising, or even in the smallest circumstance. This country pretends to be collectively our sovereign. It is now deeply in debt. Its funds are far short of recovering their par since the last war; another would distress it still more. Its people diminish, as well as its credit. Men will be wanted as well as money. The colonies are rapidly Edition: current; Page: [157] increasing in wealth and numbers. In the last war they maintained an army of twenty-five thousand. A country able to do that is no contemptible ally. In another war they may perhaps do twice as much with equal ease. Whenever a war happens our aid will be wished for, our friendship desired and cultivated, our good-will courted. Then is the time to say, “Redress our grievances. You take money from us by force, and now you ask it of voluntary grant. You cannot have it both ways. If you choose to have it without our consent, you must go on taking it in that way, and be content with what little you can so obtain. If you would have our free gifts, desist from your compulsive methods, and acknowledge our rights, and secure our future enjoyment of them.” Our claims will then be attended to, and our complaints regarded.

By what I perceived not long since, when a war was apprehended with Spain, the different countenance put on by some great men here towards those who were thought to have a little influence in America, and the language that began to be held with regard to the then minister for the colonies, I am confident that if that war had taken place he would have been immediately dismissed, all his measures reversed, and every step taken to recover our affection and procure our assistance. Thence I think it fair to conclude that similar effects will probably be produced by similar circumstances.

But as the strength of an empire depends not only on the union of its parts, but on their readiness for united exertion of their common force; and as the Edition: current; Page: [158] discussion of rights may seem unseasonable in the commencement of actual war, and the delay it might occasion be prejudicial to the common welfare; as likewise the refusal of one or a few colonies would not be so much regarded if the others granted liberally, which perhaps by various artifices and motives they might be prevailed on to do; and as this want of concert would defeat the expectation of general redress that otherwise might be justly formed; perhaps it would be best and fairest for the colonies, in a general congress now in peace to be assembled, or by means of the correspondence lately proposed, after a full and solemn assertion and declaration of their rights, to engage firmly with each other that they will never grant aids to the crown in any general war, till those rights are recognized by the king and both Houses of Parliament; communicating at the same time to the crown this their resolution. Such a step I imagine will bring the dispute to a crisis; and, whether our demands are immediately complied with, or compulsory measures thought of to make us rescind them, our ends will finally be obtained; for even the odium accompanying such compulsory attempts will contribute to unite and strengthen us, and in the meantime all the world will allow that our proceeding has been honorable.

No one doubts the advantage of a strict union between the mother country and the colonies, if it may be obtained and preserved on equitable terms. In every fair connection each party should find its own interest. Britain will find hers in our joining with her in every war she makes, to the greater Edition: current; Page: [159] annoyance and terror of her enemies; in our employment of her manufactures, and enriching her merchants by our commerce; and her government will feel some additional strengthening of its hands by the disposition of our profitable posts and places. On our side, we have to expect the protection she can afford us, and the advantage of a common umpire in our disputes, thereby preventing wars we might otherwise have with each other; so that we can without interruption go on with our improvements, and increase our numbers. We ask no more of her, and she should not think of forcing more from us.

By the exercise of prudent moderation on her part, mixed with a little kindness; and by a decent behavior on ours, excusing where we can excuse from a consideration of circumstances, and bearing a little with the infirmities of her government, as we would with those of an aged parent, though firmly asserting our privileges, and declaring that we mean at a proper time to vindicate them, this advantageous union may still be long continued. We wish it, and we may endeavor it, but God will order it as to his wisdom shall seem most suitable. The friends of liberty here wish we may long preserve it on our side of the water, that they may find it there, if adverse events should destroy it here. They are therefore anxious and afraid, lest we should hazard it by premature attempts in its favor. They think we may risk much by violent measures, and that the risk is unnecessary, since a little time must infallibly bring us all we demand or desire, and bring it to us in peace and safety. I do not presume to advise. There are many wiser Edition: current; Page: [160] men among you, and I hope you will be directed by a still superior wisdom.

With regard to the sentiments of people in general here, concerning America, I must say that we have among them many friends and well-wishers. The Dissenters are all for us, and many of the merchants and manufacturers. There seems to be, even among the country-gentlemen, a general sense of our growing importance, a disapprobation of the harsh measures with which we have been treated, and a wish that some means may be found of perfect reconciliation. A few members of Parliament in both Houses, and perhaps some in high office, have in a degree the same ideas, but none of these seem willing as yet to be active in our favor, lest adversaries should take advantage, and charge it upon them as a betraying the interests of this nation. In this state of things, no endeavor of mine, or our other friends here, “to obtain a repeal of the acts so oppressive to the colonists, or the orders of the crown so destructive of charter rights of our province in particular, can expect a sudden success.” By degrees, and a judicious improvement of events, we may work a change in minds and measures, but otherwise such great alterations are hardly to be looked for.

I am thankful to the House for their kind attention, in repeating their grant to me of six hundred pounds. Whether the instruction restraining the governor’s assent is withdrawn or not, or is likely to be, I cannot tell, having never solicited or even once mentioned it to Lord Dartmouth, being resolved to owe no obligation to the favor of any minister. If, Edition: current; Page: [161] from a sense of right, that instruction should be recalled, and the general principle on which it was founded is given up, all will be very well; but you can never think it worth while to employ an agent here, if his being paid or not is to depend on the breath of a minister, and I should think it a situation too suspicious, and therefore too dishonorable for me to remain in a single hour. Living frugally, I am under no immediate necessity; and, if I serve my constituents faithfully, though it should be unsuccessfully, I am confident they will always have it in their inclination, and some time or other in their power, to make their grants effectual.

A gentleman of our province, Captain Calef, is come hither as an agent for some of the eastern townships, to obtain a confirmation of their lands. Sir Francis Bernard seems inclined to make use of this person’s application for promoting a separation of that country from your province, and making it a distinct government; to which purpose he prepared a draft of a memorial for Calef to present, setting forth not only the hardship of being without security in the property of their improvements, but also of the distress of the people there for want of government; that they were at too great a distance from that of the government in the Massachusetts to be capable of receiving the benefits of government from thence, and expressing their willingness to be separated and formed into a new province, etc.

With this draft Sir Francis and Mr. Calef came to me to have my opinion. I read it, and observed to Edition: current; Page: [162] them that though I wished the people quieted in their possessions, and would do any thing I could to assist in obtaining the assurance of their property, yet, as I knew the province of Massachusetts had a right to that country of which they were justly tenacious, I must oppose that part of the memorial, if it should be presented. Sir Francis allowed the right, but proposed that a great tract of land between the Merrimack and Connecticut rivers, which had been alloted to New Hampshire, might be restored to our province, by order of the crown, as a compensation. This, he said, would be of more value to us than that eastern country, as being nearer home, etc. I said I would mention it in my letters, but must in the meantime oppose any step taken in the affair before the sentiments of the General Court should be known as to such an exchange, if it were offered. Mr. Calef himself did not seem fond of the draft, and I have not seen him or heard any thing further of it since; but I shall watch it.

Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the House, and believe me with sincere and great esteem, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 July, 1773
London
Samuel Mather
Mather, Samuel
DXIX

TO SAMUEL MATHER1

Reverend Sir:

By a line of the 4th past, I acknowledged the receipt of your favor of March 18th, Edition: current; Page: [163] and sent you with it two pamphlets. I now add another, a spirited address to the bishops who opposed the Dissenters’ petition. It is written by a dissenting minister at York. There is preserved at the end of it a little fugitive piece of mine, written on the same occasion.

I perused your tracts with pleasure. I see you inherit all the various learning of your famous ancestors, Cotton and Increase Mather, both of whom I remember. The father, Increase, I once, when a boy, heard preach at the Old South for Mr. Pemberton, and remember his mentioning the death of “that wicked old persecutor of God’s people, Louis XIV.,” of which news had just been received, but which proved premature. I was, some years afterwards, at his house at the North End, on some errand to him, and remember him sitting in an easy chair, apparently very old and feeble. But Cotton I remember in the vigor of his preaching and usefulness.

You have made the most of your argument to prove that America might be known to the ancients. There is another discovery of [mutilated] by the Norwegians, which you have not mentioned, unless it be under the words “of old viewed and observed,” page 7. About twenty-five years since, Professor Kalm, a learned Swede, was with us in Pennsylvania. He contended that America was discovered by their northern people long before the time of Columbus, which I doubting, he drew up and gave me, some time after, a note of those discoveries, which I send you enclosed. It is his own handwriting, and his own English, very intelligible for the time he had been Edition: current; Page: [164] among us. The circumstances give the account a great appearance of authenticity. And if one may judge by the description of the winter, the country they visited should be southward of New England, supposing no change since that time of the climate. But if it be true, as Krantz, I think, and other historians tell us, that old Greenland, once inhabited and populous, is now rendered uninhabited by ice, it should seem that the almost perpetual northern winter had gained ground to the southward, and if so, perhaps more northern countries might anciently have had vines than can bear them in these days.

The remarks you have added, on the late proceedings against America, are very just and judicious; and I cannot at all see any impropriety in your making them, though a minister of the gospel. This kingdom is a good deal indebted for its liberties to the public spirit of its ancient clergy, who joined with the barons in obtaining Magna Charta, and joined heartily in forming the curses of excommunication against the infringers of it. There is no doubt but the claim of Parliament, of authority to make laws binding on the colonists in all cases whatsoever, includes an authority to change our religious constitution, and establish Popery or Mahometanism, if they please, in its stead; but, as you intimate, power does not infer right; and, as the right is nothing, and the power, by our increase, continually diminishing, the one will soon be as insignificant as the other. You seem only to have made a small mistake, in supposing they modestly avoided to declare they had a right, Edition: current; Page: [165] the words of the act being, “that they have and of right ought to have, full power, etc.”

Your suspicion “that sundry others, besides Governor Bernard, had written hither their opinions and counsels, encouraging the late measures to the prejudice of our country, which have been too much heeded and followed,” is, I apprehend, but too well founded. You call them “traitorous individuals,” whence I collect that you suppose them of our own country. There was among the twelve Apostles one traitor who betrayed with a kiss. It should be no wonder, therefore, if among so many thousand true patriots as New England contains, there should be found even twelve Judases ready to betray their country for a few paltry pieces of silver. Their ends, as well as their views, ought to be similar. But all these oppressions evidently work for our good. Providence seems by every means intent on making us a great people. May our virtues public and private grow with us, and be durable, that liberty, civil and religious, may be secured to our posterity, and to all from every part of the Old World that take refuge among us.

With great esteem, and my best wishes for a long continuance of your usefulness, I am, reverend sir, your most obedient humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [166]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 July, 1773
London
Samuel Cooper
Cooper, Samuel
DXX

TO SAMUEL COOPER1

I congratulate you on the finishing of your new meeting-house. I have considered, as well as I can, without being on the spot, the intention of warming it by some machine in the cold, damp seasons. It must be a matter of difficulty to warm sensibly all the air in so large and so lofty a room, especially if the fire is not kept up in it constantly on the weekdays as well as on Sundays. For, though the machine is very large and made very hot, yet the space of air and quantity of wall to be warmed is so great, that it must be long before any considerable effect will be produced. Then it will descend by the walls and windows, which being very cold by the preceding week’s absence of fire, will cool that descending air so much in so long a descent, that it will fall very heavily and uncomfortably upon the heads of all that happened to sit under it, and will proceed in cold currents along the floor to the warming machine wherever it is situated. This must continue till the walls are warmed, for which I think one day is by no means sufficient, and that therefore a fire kindled in the morning of the Sabbath will afford no comfort to the congregation that day, except to a few that sit near it, and some inconvenience to the rest from the currents above mentioned.

If, however, your people, as they are rich, can afford it, and may be willing to indulge themselves, Edition: current; Page: [167] should choose to keep up a constant fire in the winter months, you may have from this country a machine for the purpose, cast from the same patterns with those now used at the Bank, or that in Lincoln’s Inn Hall, which are placed in the middle of the respective rooms. The smoke of these descends, and passing under ground, rises in some chimney at a distance. Yours must be a chimney built, I suppose, without the house; and, as it ought to draw well to prevent your being troubled with smoke (as they often are at the Bank), it should be on the south side; but this I fear would disfigure your front. That at Lincoln’s Inn Hall draws better. They are in the front of temples, cast in iron, with columns, cornices, and every member of elegant architecture.

And I mention casting them from the same patterns or moulds, because, those being already made, a great deal of work and expense will thereby be saved. But if you can cast them in New England, a large vase, or an antique altar, which are more simple forms, may answer the purpose as well, and be more easily executed. Yet after all, when I consider the little effect I have observed from these machines in those great rooms, the complaints of people who have tried Buzaglo’s stoves in halls, and how far your meeting-house must exceed them in all its dimensions, I apprehend that after a great deal of expense, and a good deal of dust on the seats and in the pews, which they constantly occasion, you will not find your expectations answered. And persuaded as I am, from philosophic considerations, that no one ever catches the disorder we call a cold from Edition: current; Page: [168] cold air, and therefore never at meeting, I should think it rather advisable to those who cannot well bear it, to guard against the short inconvenience of cold feet (which only takes place towards the end of the service), by basses or bearskin cases to put the legs in, or by small stoves with a few coals under foot, more majorum.

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 July, 1773
London
Samuel Cooper
Cooper, Samuel
DXXI

TO SAMUEL COOPER

Dear Sir:

I received your very valuable favors of March 15th and April 23d. It rejoices me to find your health so far restored that your friends can again be benefited by your correspondence.

The governor was certainly out in his politics, if he hoped to recommend himself there, by entering upon that dispute with the Assembly. His imprudence in bringing it at all upon the tapis, and his bad management of it, are almost equally censured. The Council and Assembly on the other hand have, by the coolness, clearness, and force of their answers, gained great reputation.

The unanimity of our towns in their sentiments of liberty gives me great pleasure, as it shows the generally enlightened state of our people’s minds, and the falsehood of the opinion, much cultivated here by the partisans of arbitrary power in America, Edition: current; Page: [169] that only a small fraction among us were discontented with the late measures. If that unanimity can be discovered in all the colonies, it will give much greater weight to our future remonstrances. I heartily wish, with you, that some line could be drawn, some bill of rights established for America, that might secure peace between the two countries, so necessary for the prosperity of both. But I think little attention is like to be afforded by our ministers to that salutary work, till the breach becomes greater and more alarming, and then the difficulty or repairing it will be greater in a tenfold proportion.

You mention the surprise of gentlemen to whom those letters have been communicated,1 at the restrictions with which they were accompanied, and which they suppose render them incapable of answering any important end. One great reason of forbidding their publication was an apprehension, that it might put all the possessors of such correspondence here upon their guard, and so prevent the obtaining more of it. And it was imagined that showing the originals to so many as were named, and to a few such others as they might think fit, would be sufficient to establish their authenticity, and to spread through the province so just an estimation of the writers as to strip them of all their deluded friends, and demolish effectually their interest and influence. The letters might be shown even to some of the governor’s and lieutenant-governor’s partisans, and spoken of to everybody; for there was no restraint proposed to talking of them, but only to copying. Edition: current; Page: [170] However, the terms given with them could only be those with which they were received.

The great defect here is, in all sorts of people, a want of attention to what passes in such remote countries as America; an unwillingness to read any thing about them if it appears a little lengthy, and a disposition to postpone the consideration even of the things they know they must at last consider, that so they may have time for what more immediately concerns them, and with all, enjoy their amusements, and be undisturbed in the universal dissipation. In other respects, though some of the great regard us with a jealous eye, and some are angry with us, the majority of the nation rather wish us well, and have no desire to infringe our liberties. And many console themselves under the apprehension of declining liberty here, that they or their posterity shall be able to find her safe and vigorous in America. With sincere and great esteem, I am, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 July, 1773
London
Jane Mecom
Mecom, Jane
DXXII

TO MRS. JANE MECOM

Dear Sister:

I believe it is long since I have written any letters to you. I hope you will excuse it. I am oppressed with too much writing, and am apt to postpone when I presume upon some indulgence.

I received duly yours of January 19th, April 20th, May 5th, and May 15th.

Edition: current; Page: [171]

Our relations, Jenkins and Paddock, came to see me. They seem to be clever, sensible men.

Is there not a little affectation in your apology for the incorrectness of your writing? Perhaps it is rather fishing for commendation. You write better, in my opinion, than most American women. Here indeed the ladies write generally with more elegance than the gentlemen.

By Capt. Hatch went a trunk containing the goods you wrote for. I hope they will come safe to hand and please. Mrs. Stevenson undertook the purchasing them with great readiness and pleasure. Teasdale, whom you mention as selling cheap, is broke and gone. Perhaps he sold too cheap. But she did her best.

I congratulate you on the marriage of your daughter. My love to them. I am obliged to good Dr. Cooper for his prayers.

Your shortness of breath might perhaps be relieved by eating honey with your bread instead of butter, at breakfast.

Young Hubbard seems a sensible boy, and fit, I should think, for a better business than the sea. I am concerned to hear of the illness of his good mother.

If Brother John had paid that bond, there was no occasion to recall it for you to pay it; for I suppose he might have had effects of our father’s to pay it with. I never heard how it was managed.

Mrs. Stevenson presents her respects, and I am ever,

Your affectionate brother,
B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [172]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 July, 1773
London
Samuel Franklin
Franklin, Samuel
DXXIII

TO MR. SAMUEL FRANKLIN

Loving Cousin:

I received your kind letter of November 6th, and was glad to hear of the welfare of yourself and family, which I hope continues.

Sally Franklin is lately married to Mr. James Pearce, a substantial young farmer at Ewell, about twelve miles from London, a very sober, industrious man, and I think it likely to prove a good match.

I would not have you be discouraged at a little dulness of business, which is only occasional. A close attention to your shop and industrious application to business will always secure more than an equal share, because every competitor will not have those qualities. Some of them, therefore, must give way to you, and the constant growth of the country will increase the trade of all that steadily stand ready for it. I send you a little old piece of mine, which more particularly explains this sentiment.

I am ever your affectionate kinsman,
B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 July, 1773
London
Jonathan Williams
Williams, Jonathan
DXXIV

TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS

Dear Cousin:

In looking over your letters I find in that of November 12th mention of a prize of £20 which you have drawn. It never came into my Edition: current; Page: [173] hands, and I cannot find that Smith, Wright, & Gray know any thing of it. If I knew the No. of the ticket I could inquire farther.

I am much obliged by your care in Hall’s affair, and glad you have recovered so much of that debt and are likely to get the rest. I hope it will be of service to my dear sister. The goods for her were sent per Capt. Hatch, in a trunk consigned to you.

I wish you success in your new plan of business, and shall certainly embrace every opportunity I may have of promoting it.

Upon your recommendation I went to see the black poetess and offered her any services I could do her. Before I left the house I understood her master was there, and had sent her to me, but did not come into the room himself, and I thought was not pleased with the visit. I should perhaps have inquired first for him; but I had heard nothing of him, and I have heard nothing since of her.

My love to Cousin Grace and your children.

I am, yours affectionately,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
14 July, 1773
London
William Franklin
Franklin, William
DXXV

TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN

Dear Son:

I am glad to find by yours of May 4th that you have been able to assist Josiah Davenport a little; but vexed that he and you should think of putting me upon a solicitation which it is impossible Edition: current; Page: [174] for me to engage in. I am not upon terms with Lord North to ask any such favor from him. Displeased with something he said relating to America, I have never been at his levees since the first. Perhaps he has taken that amiss. For the last week we met occasionally at Lord le Despencer’s in our return from Oxford, where I had been to attend the solemnity of his installation, and he seemed studiously to avoid speaking to me. I ought to be ashamed to say that on such occasions I feel myself to be as proud as anybody. His lady indeed was more gracious. She came and sat down by me on the same sofa, and condescended to enter into a conversation with me agreeably enough, as if to make some amends. Their son and daughter were with them. They stayed all night, so that we dined, supped, and breakfasted together, without exchanging three sentences. But had he ever so great a regard for me I could not ask that office, trifling as it is, for any relation of mine. And detesting as I do the whole system of American customs, believing they will one day bring on a breach through the indiscretions and insolence of those concerned in the collection, I should never wish to see one so near to me in that business. If you think him capable of acting as deputy secretary, I imagine you might easily obtain that for him of Mr. Morgan.

He has lately been with me, is always very complaisant, and, understanding I was about returning to America, requested my interest to obtain for him the agency for your province. His friend, Sir Watkin Lewes, who was formerly candidate for the same Edition: current; Page: [175] great place, is now high sheriff of London, and in the way of being Lord Mayor. The new sheriffs-elect are (could you think it?) both Americans, viz., Mr. Sayre, the New Yorker, and Mr. William Lee, brother to Dr. Lee. I am glad you stand so well with Lord Dartmouth. I am likewise well with him, but he never spoke to me of augmenting your salary. He is truly a good man, and wishes sincerely a good understanding with the colonies, but does not seem to have strength equal to his wishes. Between you and me, the late measures have been, I suspect, very much the king’s own, and he has in some cases a great share of what his friends call firmness. Yet, by some painstaking and proper management, the wrong impressions he has received may be removed, which is perhaps the only chance America has for obtaining soon the redress she aims at. This entirely to yourself.

And, now we are among great folks, let me tell you a little of Lord Hillsborough. I went down to Oxford with and at the instance of Lord le Despencer, who is on all occasions very good to me, and seems of late very desirous of my company. Mr. Todd too was there, who has some attachment to Lord Hillsborough, and, in a walk we were taking, told me, as a secret, that Lord Hillsborough was much chagrined at being out of place, and could never forgive me for writing that pamphlet against his report about the Ohio. “I assured him,” says Mr. Todd, “that I knew you did not write it; and the consequence is, that he thinks I know the contrary, and wanted to impose upon him in your favor; and Edition: current; Page: [176] so I find he is now displeased with me, and for no other cause in the world.” His friend Bamber Gascoign, too, says, that they well know it was written by Dr. Franklin, who was one of the most mischievous men in England.

That same day Lord Hillsborough called upon Lord le Despencer, whose chamber and mine were together in Queen’s College. I was in the inner room shifting, and heard his voice, but did not see him, as he went down stairs immediately with Lord le Despencer, who mentioning that I was above, he returned directly and came to me in the pleasantest manner imaginable. “Dr. Franklin,” said he, “I did not know till this minute that you were here, and I am come back to make you my bow. I am glad to see you at Oxford, and that you look so well,” etc. In return for this extravagance, I complimented him on his son’s performance in the theatre, though indeed it was but indifferent, so that account was settled. For as people say, when they are angry, If he strikes me, I ’ll strike him again; I think sometimes it may be right to say, If he flatters me, I ’ll flatter him again. This is lex talionis, returning offences in kind. His son, however (Lord Fairford), is a valuable young man, and his daughters, Ladies Mary and Charlotte, most amiable young women. My quarrel is only with him, who, of all the men I ever met with, is surely the most unequal in his treatment of people, the most insincere, and the most wrong-headed; witness, besides his various behavior to me, his duplicity in encouraging us to ask for more land, ask for enough to make a province (when we at first Edition: current; Page: [177] asked only for two millions five hundred thousand acres), were his words, pretending to befriend our application, then doing every thing to defeat it; and reconciling the first to the last, by saying to a friend that he meant to defeat it from the beginning; and that his putting us upon asking so much was with that very view, supposing it too much to be granted. Thus, by the way, his mortification becomes double. He has served us by the very means he meant to destroy us, and tripped up his own heels into the bargain. Your affectionate father,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
14 July, 1773
London
Benjamin Rush
Rush, Benjamin
DXXVI

TO BENJAMIN RUSH

Dear Sir:

I received your favor of May 1st, with the pamphlet, for which I am much obliged to you. It is well written. I hope that in time the endeavors of the friends to liberty and humanity will get the better of a practice that has so long disgraced our nation and religion.

A few days after I received your packet for M. Dubourg, I had an opportunity of forwarding it to him per M. Poissonniére, physician of Paris, who kindly under took to deliver it. M. Dubourg has been translating my book into French. It is nearly printed, and he tells me he purposes a copy for you.

I shall communicate your judicious remark, relating to the septic quality of the air transpired by Edition: current; Page: [178] patients in putrid diseases, to my friend Dr. Priestley. I hope that after having discovered the benefit of fresh cool air applied to the sick, people will begin to suspect that possibly it may do no harm to the well. I have not seen Dr. Cullen’s book, but am glad to hear that he speaks of catarrhs or colds by contagion. I have long been satisfied from observation, that besides the general colds now termed influenzas (which may possibly spread by contagion, as well as by a particular quality of the air), people often catch cold from one another when shut up together in close rooms, coaches, etc., and when sitting near and conversing so as to breathe in each other’s transpiration; the disorder being in a certain state. I think, too, that it is the frouzy, corrupt air from animal substances, and the perspired matter from our bodies, which being long confined in the beds not lately used, and clothes not lately worn, and books long shut up in close rooms, contains that kind of putridity which occasions the colds observed upon sleeping in, wearing, and turning over such bed-clothes, or books, and not their coldness or dampness. From these causes, but more from too full living with too little exercise, proceed, in my opinion, most of the disorders which for about one hundred and fifty years past the English have called colds.

As to Dr. Cullen’s cold or catarrh a frigore, I question whether such an one ever existed. Travelling in our severe winters, I have suffered cold sometimes to an extremity only short of freezing, but this did not make me catch cold. And, for moisture, I have been in the river every evening two or three Edition: current; Page: [179] hours for a fortnight together, when one would suppose I might imbibe enough of it to take cold if humidity could give it; but no such effect ever followed. Boys never get cold by swimming. Nor are people at sea, or who live at Bermudas, or St. Helena, small islands, where the air must be ever moist from the dashing and breaking of waves against their rocks on all sides, more subject to colds than those who inhabit part of a continent where the air is driest. Dampness may indeed assist in producing putridity and those miasmata which infect us with the disorder we call a cold; but of itself can never by a little addition of moisture hurt a body filled with watery fluids from head to foot.1

Edition: current; Page: [180]

With great esteem, and sincere wishes for your welfare, I am, sir,

Your most obedient, humble servant,
B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
14 July, 1773
London
Anthony Benezet
Benezet, Anthony
DXXVII

TO ANTHONY BENEZET

Dear Friend:

I received your favor of April 24th with the pamphlets, for which I thank you. I am Edition: current; Page: [181] glad to hear that such humane sentiments prevail so much more generally than heretofore; that there is reason to hope our colonies may in time get clear of a practice that disgraces them, and, without producing any equivalent benefit, is dangerous to their very existence.

I hope ere long to have the pleasure of seeing you, and conversing with you more fully on that and other subjects than I can now do by writing.

In the meantime, believe me ever, dear friend,

Yours most affectionately,
B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
14 July, 1773
London
Foxcroft
Foxcroft
DXXVIII

TO MR. FOXCROFT

Dear Friend:

I received yours of June 7th, and am glad to find by it that you are safely returned from your Virginia journey, having settled your affairs there to satisfaction, and that you found your family well at New York.

I feel for you in the fall you had out of your chair. I have had three of those squelchers in different journeys, and never desire a fourth.

I do not think it was without reason that you continued so long one of St. Thomas’ disciples; for there was always some cause for doubting. Some people always ride before the horse’s head. The draft of the patent is at length got into the hands of Edition: current; Page: [182] the Attorney-General, who must approve the form before it passes the seals, so one would think much more time can scarce be required to complete the business; but ’t is good not to be too sanguine. He may go into the country, and the Privy Councillors likewise, and some months elapse before they get together again; therefore, if you have any patience, use it.

I suppose Mr. Finlay will be some time at Quebec in settling his affairs. By the next packet you will receive a draft of instructions for him.

In mine of December 2d, upon the post-office accounts to April, 1772, I took notice to you that I observed I had full credit for my salary; but no charge appeared against me for money paid on my account to Mrs. Franklin from the Philadelphia office. I supposed the thirty pounds currency per month was regularly paid, because I had had no complaint from her for want of money, and I expected to find the charge in the accounts of the last year—that is, to April 3, 1773; but nothing of it appearing there, I am at a loss to understand it, and you take no notice of my observation above mentioned. The great balance due from that office begins to be remarked here, and I should have thought the officer would, for his own sake, not have neglected to lessen it by showing what he had paid on my account. Pray, my dear friend, explain this to me.

I find by yours to Mr. Todd that you expected soon another little one. God send my daughter a good time, and you a good boy. Mrs. Stevenson is pleased with your remembrance of her, and joins with Mr. Edition: current; Page: [183] and Mrs. Hewson and myself in best wishes for you and yours.

I am ever yours affectionately,
B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
25 July, 1773
London
Samuel Danforth
Danforth, Samuel
DXXIX

TO SAMUEL DANFORTH

Dear Sir:

It gave me great pleasure to receive so cheerful an epistle from a friend of half a century’s standing, and to see him commencing life anew in so valuable a son. I hope the young gentleman’s patent will be as beneficial to him, as his invention must be to the public.

I see by the papers that you continue to afford her your services, which makes me almost ashamed of my resolutions for retirement. But this exile, though an honorable one, is become grievous to me, in so long a separation from my family, friends, and country, all which you happily enjoy; and long may you continue to enjoy them. I hope for the great pleasure of once more seeing and conversing with you; and, though living on in one’s children, as we both may do, is a good thing, I cannot but fancy it might be better to continue living ourselves at the same time. I rejoice, therefore, in your kind intentions of including me in the benefits of that inestimable stone, which, curing all diseases (even old age itself), will enable us to see the future glorious state of our America, enjoying in full security her own liberties, Edition: current; Page: [184] and offering in her bosom a participation of them to all the oppressed of other nations. I anticipate the jolly conversation we and twenty more of our friends may have a hundred years hence on this subject, over that well-replenished bowl at Cambridge Commencement. I am, dear sir, for an age to come, and for ever, with sincere esteem and respect, your most obedient, humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
25 July, 1773
London
John Winthrop
Winthrop, John
DXXX

TO JOHN WINTHROP

Dear Sir:

I am glad to see that you are elected into the Council, and are about to take part in our public affairs. Your abilities, integrity, and sober attachment to the liberties of our country, will be of great use in this tempestuous time in conducting our little bark into safe harbor. By the Boston newspapers, there seems to be among us some violent spirits, who are for an immediate rupture. But I trust the general prudence of our country will see that by our growing strength we advance fast to a situation in which our claims must be allowed; that by a premature struggle we may be crippled, and kept down another age; that, as between friends, every affront is not worth a duel, between nations every injury not worth a war, so between the governed and governing every mistake in government, Edition: current; Page: [185] every encroachment on right, is not worth a rebellion.

It is, in my opinion, sufficient for the present that we hold them forth on all occasions, not giving up any of them, using at the same time every means to make them generally understood and valued by the people; cultivating a harmony among the colonies, that their union in the same sentiments may give them greater weight; remembering withall, that this Protestant country (our mother, though lately an unkind one) is worth preserving, and that her weight in the scale of Europe, and her safety in a great degree, may depend on our union with her. Thus conducting, I am confident we may, in a few years, obtain every allowance of, and every security for, our inestimable privileges, that we can wish or desire. With great and sincere esteem, I am, etc.

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
25 July, 1773
London
Samuel Cooper
Cooper, Samuel
DXXXI

TO SAMUEL COOPER

Dear Sir:

I wrote to you on the 7th instant pretty fully, and am since favored with yours of June 14th. I am much pleased with the proposal of the Virginia Assembly, and the respectful manner in which it has been received by ours. I think it likely to produce very salutary effects.1

Edition: current; Page: [186]

I am glad to know your opinion, that those letters came seasonably, and may be of public utility. I accompanied them with no restriction relating to myself. My duty to the province, as their agent, I thought required the communication of them as far as I could. I was sensible I should make enemies there, and perhaps I might offend government here; but those apprehensions I disregarded. I did not expect that my sending them could be kept a secret; but since it is such hitherto, I now wish it may continue so, because the publication of the letters, contrary to my engagement, has changed the circumstances. If they serve to diminish the influence and demolish the power of the parties, whose correspondence has been, and probably would have continued to be, so mischievous to the interest and rights of the province, I shall on that account be more easy under any inconveniences I may suffer, either here or there; and shall bear, as well as I can, the imputation of not having taken sufficient care to insure the performance of my promise.

I think government can hardly expect to draw any future service from such instruments, and one would suppose they must soon be dismissed. We shall see.

I hope to be favored with the continuance of your correspondence and intelligence while I stay here; it is highly useful to me, and will be, as it always has been, pleasing everywhere. I am ever, dear sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [187]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
25 July, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DXXXII

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I am favored with yours of June 14th and 16th, containing some copies of the resolves of the committee upon the letters.1 I see by your account of the transaction, that you could not well prevent what was done. As to the report of other copies being come from England, I know that could not be. It was an expedient to disengage the House. I hope the possession of the originals, and the proceedings upon them, will be attended with salutary effects to the province, and then I shall be well pleased.

I observe that you mention that no person besides Dr. Cooper and one of the committee knew they came from me. I did not accompany them with any request of being myself concealed; for, believing what I did to be in the way of my duty as agent, though I had no doubt of its giving offence, not only to the parties exposed, but to administration here, I was regardless of the consequences. However, since the letters themselves are now copied and printed, contrary to the promise I made, I am glad my name has not been heard on the occasion; and, as I do not see it could be of any use to the public, I now wish it may continue unknown; though I hardly expect it. As to yours, you may rely on my never mentioning it, except that I may be obliged to show your letter in my own vindication to the person only, who might Edition: current; Page: [188] otherwise think he had reason to blame me for breach of engagement. It must surely be seen here that, after such a detection of their duplicity, in pretending a regard and affection to the province, while they were undermining its privileges, it is impossible for the crown to make any good use of their services, and that it can never be for its interest to employ servants who are under such universal odium. The consequence, one would think, should be their removal. But perhaps it may be to titles, or to pensions, if your revenue can pay them. I am, with great esteem, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
25 July, 1773
London
John Winthrop
Winthrop, John
DXXXIII

TO JOHN WINTHROP

Your remark on the passage of Castillioneus will be read at the Society at their next meeting. I thank you much for the papers and accounts of damage done by lightning, which you have favored me with. The conductors begin to be used here. Many country-seats are provided with them, some churches, the powder magazines at Purfleet, the queen’s house in the park, etc.; and M. Le Roy, of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, has lately given a memoir recommending the use of them in that kingdom, which has been long opposed and obstructed by Abbé Nollet. Of the Duke of Tuscany he says: “Ce prince, qui ne connoit pas de délassement plus agréable des Edition: current; Page: [189] soins pénibles du gouvernement, que l’étude de la physique, a ordonné, l’année dernière, qu’on établît de ces barres au-dessus de tous les magasins à poudre de ses états; on dit que la république de Venise a donné les mêmes ordres.”

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
3 August, 1773
West Wycomb
William Franklin
Franklin, William
DXXXIV

TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN

Lord le Despencer’s,
Dear Son:

I am come hither to spend a few days and breathe a little fresh air.

Nothing material has occurred since mine per Sutton, except the final hearing at the cockpit relating to Governor Wentworth, against whose conduct the Board of Trade had reported, and the hearing was at the instance of his friends against the report. Their lordships have not yet given their determination, but it is thought he is in no danger.

As to the Ohio affair, it is scarcely likely to be got through this summer, for reasons I have already given you.

Our paper-money account not being yet considered here, together with the Massachusetts affairs, will, I believe, keep me another winter in England.

Temple is just returned to school from his summer vacation. He always behaves himself so well as to increase my affection for him every time he is with me.

Edition: current; Page: [190]

As you are likely to have a considerable landed property, it would be well to make your will, if you have not already done it, and secure that property to him. Our friend Galloway will advise you in the matter. Whatever he may come to possess, I am persuaded he will make a good use of it, if his temper and understanding do not strangely alter.

I am in this house as much at my ease as if it was my own; and the gardens are a paradise. But a pleasanter thing is the kind countenance, the facetious and very intelligent conversation of mine host, who having been for many years engaged in public affairs, seen all parts of Europe, and kept the best company in the world, is himself the best existing.

I wear the buttons (for which I thank you) on a suit of light gray which matches them. All the connoisseurs in natural productions are puzzled with them, not knowing any thing similar.

With love to Betsey, I am ever your affectionate father,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
24 August, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DXXXV

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I received duly your several favors of June 25th, 26th, and 30th, with the papers enclosed. My Lord Dartmouth being at his country-seat in Staffordshire, I transmitted to him the address for the Edition: current; Page: [191] removal of the governor and lieutenant-governor, and Mr. Bollan and I jointly transmitted the letter to his Lordship from both Houses. I delivered to Mr. Bollan one set of the authenticated copies of the letters, and we shall cooperate in the business we are charged with.

I am told that the governor has requested leave to come home; that some great persons about the court do not think the letters, now they have seen them, a sufficient foundation for the resolves; that therefore it is not likely he will be removed, but suffered to resign, and that some provision will be made for him here. But nothing, I apprehend, is likely to be done soon, as most of the great officers of state, who compose the Privy Council, are in the country, and likely to continue till the Parliament meets, and perhaps the above may be chiefly conjectured.

I have informed Mr. Lee that, in case there should be a hearing, I was directed to engage him as counsel for the province; that, though I had received no money, I would advance what might be necessary; those hearings by counsel being expensive. I purpose writing to you again by the packet, and am, with the greatest respect, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.

P. S.—No determination is yet public on the case of Mr. Lewis against Governor Wentworth, which has been a very costly hearing to both sides.

Edition: current; Page: [192]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
1 September, 1773
London
William Franklin
Franklin, William
DXXXVI

TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN

Dear Son:

I have now before me yours of July 5th and 6th. The August packet is not yet arrived. Dr. Cooper of New York’s opinion of the author of the sermon, however honorable to me, is injurious to the good bishop; and therefore I must say, in justice and truth, that I knew nothing of his intention to preach on the subject, and saw not a word of the sermon till it was printed. Possibly some preceding conversation between us may have turned his thoughts that way; but, if so, that is all.

I think the resolutions of the New England townships must have the effect they seem intended for, viz., to show that the discontents were really general, and their sentiments concerning their rights unanimous, and not the faction of a few demagogues, as their governors used to represent them here; and therefore not useless, though they should not as yet induce government to acknowledge their claims; that people may probably think it sufficient for the present to assert and hold forth their rights, secure that sooner or later they must be admitted and acknowledged. The declaratory law here had too its use, viz., to prevent or lessen at least a clamor against the ministry that repealed the Stamp Act, as if they had given up the right of this country to govern America. Other use indeed it could have none; and I remember Lord Mansfield told the Lords, when upon that bill, that it was nugatory. To be sure, in a dispute between Edition: current; Page: [193] two parties about rights, the declaration of one party can never be supposed to bind the other.

It is said there is now a project on foot to form a union with Ireland, and that Lord Harcourt is to propose it at the next meeting of the Irish Parliament. The eastern side of Ireland are averse to it; supposing that when Dublin is no longer the seat of their government it will decline, the harbor being but indifferent, and that the western and southern ports will rise and flourish on its ruins, being good in themselves, and much better situated for commerce. For these same reasons, the western and southern people are inclined to the measure, and it is thought it may be carried. But these are difficult affairs and usually take longer time than the projectors imagine. Mr. Crowley, the author of several proposals for uniting the colonies with the mother country, and who runs about much among the ministers, tells me the union of Ireland is only the first step towards a general union. He is for having it done by the Parliament of England, without consulting the colonies, and he will warrant, he says, that if the terms proposed are equitable, they will all come in one after the other. He seems rather a little cracked upon the subject.

It is said here that the famous Boston letters1 were sent chiefly, if not all, to the late Mr. Whately. They fell into my hands, and I thought it my duty to give some principal people there a sight of them, very much with this view, that, when they saw the measures they complained of took their rise in a great degree from the representations and recommendations Edition: current; Page: [194] of their own countrymen, their resentment against Britain on account of those measures might abate, as mine had done, and a reconciliation be more easily obtained. In Boston they concealed who sent them, the better to conceal who received and communicated them. And perhaps it is as well that it should continue a secret. Being of that country myself, I think those letters more heinous than you seem to think them; but you had not read them all, nor perhaps the Council’s remarks on them. I have written to decline their agency, on account of my return to America. Dr. Lee succeeds me. I only keep it while I stay, which perhaps will be another winter.

I grieve to hear of the death of my good old friend, Dr. Evans. I have lost so many since I left America, that I begin to fear that I shall find myself a stranger among strangers when I return. If so, I must come again to my friends in England. I am ever your affectionate father,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
1 September, 1773
London
Deborah Franklin
Franklin, Deborah
DXXXVII

TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN

My Dear Child:

. . . There is a new translation of my book at Paris and printed there, being the third edition in French. A fifth edition is now preparing here. To the French edition they have prefixed a print of me, which, though a copy of Edition: current; Page: [195] that by Chamberlin, has got so French a countenance, that you would take me for one of that lively nation. I think you do not mind such things or I would send you one. I am ever, my dear Debby,

Your affectionate husband,
B. Franklin.

DXXXVIII: AN EDICT BY THE KING OF PRUSSIA1

We have long wondered here at the supineness of the English nation, under the Prussian impositions upon its trade entering our port. We did not, till lately, know the claims, ancient and modern, that hang over that nation; and therefore could not suspect that it might submit to those impositions from a sense of duty or from principles of equity. The following Edict, just made public, may, if serious, throw some light upon this matter.

[“Frederic, by the grace of God, King of Prussia, etc., etc., etc., to all present and to come (à tous présens et à venir), health. The peace now enjoyed throughout our dominions, having afforded us leisure to apply ourselves to the regulation of commerce, the improvement of our finances, and at the same time the easing our domestic subjects in their taxes; for these causes, and other good considerations us thereunto moving, we hereby make known that, after having deliberated these affairs in our council, present Edition: current; Page: [196] our dear brothers, and other great officers of the state, members of the same; we, of our certain knowledge, full power, and authority royal, have made and issued this present Edict, viz.:

Whereas it is well known to all the world, that the first German settlements made in the island of Britain were by colonies of people subject to our renowned ducal ancestors, and drawn from their dominions, under the conduct of Hengist, Horsa, Hella, Uffa, Cerdicus, Ida, and others; and that the said colonies have flourished under the protection of our august house for ages past; have never been emancipated therefrom; and yet have hitherto yielded little profit to the same; and whereas we ourself have in the last war fought for and defended the said colonies against the power of France, and thereby enabled them to make conquests for the said power in America, for which we have not yet received adequate compensation; and whereas it is just and expedient that a revenue should be raised from the said colonies in Britain, towards our indemnification; and that those who are descendants of our ancient subjects, and thence still owe us due obedience, should contribute to the replenishing of our royal coffers (as they must have done, had their ancestors remained in the territories now to us appertaining); we do therefore hereby ordain and command that, from and after the date of these presents, there shall be levied and paid to our officers of the customs, on all goods, wares, and merchandises, and on all grain and other produce of the earth, exported from the said island of Britain, and on all goods of whatever Edition: current; Page: [197] kind imported into the same, a duty of four and a half per cent. ad valorem, for the use of us and our successors. And, that the said duty may more effectually be collected, we do hereby ordain that all ships or vessels bound from Great Britain to any other part of the world, or from any other part of the world to Great Britain, shall in their respective voyages touch at our port of Koningsberg, there to be unladen, searched, and charged with the said duties.

And whereas there hath been from time to time discovered in the said island of Great Britain, by our colonists there, many mines or beds of iron-stone; and sundry subjects of our ancient dominion, skilful in converting the said stone into metal, have in time past transported themselves thither, carrying with them and communicating that art; and the inhabitants of the said island, presuming that they had a natural right to make the best use they could of the natural productions of their country for their own benefit, have not only built furnaces for smelting the said stone into iron, but have erected plating-forges, slitting-mills, and steel-furnaces, for the more convenient manufacturing of the same; thereby endangering a diminution of the said manufacture in our ancient dominion; we do therefore hereby further ordain that, from and after the date hereof, no mill or other engine for slitting or rolling of iron, or any plating-forge to work with a tilt-hammer, or any furnace for making steel, shall be erected or continued in the said island of great Britain. And the lord-lieutenant of every county in the said island is hereby commanded, on information of any such erection within his county, Edition: current; Page: [198] to order, and by force to cause, the same to be abated and destroyed; as he shall answer the neglect thereof to us at his peril. But we are nevertheless graciously pleased to permit the inhabitants of the said island to transport their iron into Prussia, there to be manufactured, and to them returned; they paying our Prussian subjects for the workmanship, with all the costs of commission, freight, and risk, coming and returning; any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

We do not, however, think fit to extend this our indulgence to the article of wool; but, meaning to encourage, not only the manufacturing of woollen cloth, but also the raising of wool, in our ancient dominions, and to prevent both, as much as may be, in our said island, we do hereby absolutely forbid the transportation of wool from thence, even to the mother country, Prussia; and, that those islanders may be further and more effectually restrained in making any advantage of their own wool in the way of manufacture, we command that none shall be carried out of one county into another; nor shall any worsted, bay, or woollen yarn, cloth, says, bays, kerseys, serges, frizes, druggets, cloth-serges, shalloons, or any other drapery stuffs, or woollen manufactures whatsoever, made up or mixed with wool in any of the said counties, be carried into any other county, or be water-borne even across the smallest river or creek, on penalty of forfeiture of the same, together with the boats, carriages, horses, etc., that shall be employed in removing them. Nevertheless, our loving subjects there are hereby permitted (if they think proper) to Edition: current; Page: [199] use all their wool as manure for the improvement of their lands.

And whereas the art and mystery of making hats hath arrived at great perfection in Prussia, and the making of hats by our remoter subjects ought to be as much as possible restrained; and forasmuch as the islanders before mentioned, being in possession of wool, beaver, and other furs, have presumptuously conceived they had a right to make some advantage thereof, by manufacturing the same into hats, to the prejudice of our domestic manufacture; we do therefore hereby strictly command and ordain, that no hats or felts whatsoever, dyed or undyed, finished or unfinished, shall be loaded or put into or upon any vessel, cart, carriage, or horse, to be transported or conveyed out of one county in the said island into another county, or to any other place whatsoever, by any person or persons whatsoever; on pain of forfeiting the same, with a penalty of five hundred pounds sterling for every offence. Nor shall any hat-maker, in any of the said counties, employ more than two apprentices, on penalty of five pounds sterling per month; we intending hereby that such hat-makers, being so restrained, both in the production and sale of their commodity, may find no advantage in continuing their business. But, lest the said islanders should suffer inconveniency by the want of hats, we are further graciously pleased to permit them to send their beaver furs to Prussia; and we also permit hats made thereof to be exported from Prussia to Britain; the people thus favored to pay all costs and charges of manufacturing, interest, Edition: current; Page: [200] commission to our merchants, insurance and freight going and returning, as in the case of iron.

And, lastly, being willing further to favor our said colonies in Britain, we do hereby also ordain and command, that all the thieves, highway and street robbers, housebreakers, forgerers, murderers, s—d—tes, and villains of every denomination, who have forfeited their lives to the law of Prussia, but whom we, in our great clemency, do not think fit here to hang, shall be emptied out of our gaols into the said island of Great Britain, for the better peopling of that country.

We flatter ourselves that these our royal regulations and commands will be thought just and reasonable by our much favored colonists in England; the said regulations being copied from their statutes of 10th and 11th William III. c. 10, 5th George II. c. 22, 23d George II. c. 26, 4th George I. c. 11, and from other equitable laws made by their Parliaments; or from instructions given by their princes; or from resolutions of both houses, entered into for the good government of their own colonies in Ireland and America.

And all persons in the said island are hereby cautioned not to oppose in any wise the execution of this our Edict, or any part thereof, such opposition being high treason; of which all who are suspected shall be transported in fetters from Britain to Prussia, there to be tried and executed according to the Prussian law.

Such is our pleasure.

Given at Potsdam, this twenty-fifth day of the Edition: current; Page: [201] month of August, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-three, and in the thirty-third year of our reign.

By the King in his Council.

Rechtmaessig, Sec.

Some take this edict to be merely one of the king’s jeux d’esprit; others suppose it serious, and that he means a quarrel with England; but all here think the assertion it concludes with, “that these regulations are copied from acts of the English Parliament respecting their colonies,” a very injurious one; it being impossible to believe that a people distinguished for their love of liberty, a nation so wise, so liberal in its sentiments, so just and equitable towards its neighbors, should, from mean and injudicious views of petty immediate profit, treat its own children in a manner so arbitrary and tyrannical!

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
12 September, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DXXXIX

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

The above is a copy of my last by the packet. Enclosed is the original letter therein mentioned. His Lordship continues in the country, but is expected, Secretary Pownall tells me, the beginning of next month.

To avoid repealing the American tea duty, and yet find a vent for tea, a project is executing to send Edition: current; Page: [202] it from hence on account of the East India Company, to be sold in America, agreeable to a late act, empowering the Lords of the Treasury to grant licenses to the company to export tea thither, under certain restrictions, duty free. Some friends of government, as they are called, in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, etc., are to be favored with the commission, who undertake, by their interest, to carry the measure through in the colonies. How the other merchants, thus excluded from the tea trade, will like this, I cannot foresee. Their agreeement, if I remember right, was not to import tea till the duty shall be repealed. Perhaps they will think themselves still obliged by that agreement, notwithstanding this temporary expedient; which is only to introduce the tea for the present, and may be dropped next year, and the duty again required, the granting or refusing such license from time to time remaining in the power of the Treasury. And it will seem hard, while their hands are tied, to see the profits of that article all engrossed by a few particulars.

Enclosed I take the liberty of sending you a small piece of mine, written to expose, in as striking a light as I could, to the nation the absurdity of the measures towards America, and to spur the ministry if possible to a change of those measures.1 Please to present my duty to the House, and respects to the committee. I have the honor to be, with much esteem, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [203]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
21 September, 1773
London
John Baskerville
Baskerville, John
DXL

TO JOHN BASKERVILLE

Dear Sir:

I duly received your favor, and some time after the packet containing the specimens and your valuable present to Shaftesbury, excellently printed, for which I hold myself greatly obliged to you. The specimens I shall distribute by the first ship among the printers of America, and I hope to your advantage. I suppose no orders will come unaccompanied by bills or money, and I would not advise you to give credit, especially as I do not think it will be necessary.

The sheet of Chinese paper, from its size, is a great curiosity. I see the marks of the mould in it. One side is smooth; that, I imagine, is the side that was applied to the smooth side of the kiln on which it was dried. The little ridges on the other side I take to be marks of a brush passed over it to press it against that face in places where it might be kept off by air between, which would otherwise prevent its receiving the smoothness. But we will talk further of this when I have the pleasure of seeing you.

You speak of enlarging your foundery. Here are all the matrices of Rumford’s and James’ founderies to be sold. There seems to be among them some tolerable Hebrews and Greeks, and some good blacks. I suppose you know them. Shall I buy any of them for you? I thank you for your kind invitation. Perhaps I may embrace it for a few days. My best respects to good Mrs. Baskerville, and believe me ever, with great esteem, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [204]

DXLI: RULES FOR REDUCING A GREAT EMPIRE TO A SMALL ONE

PRESENTED TO A LATE MINISTER1

An ancient sage valued himself upon this, that, though he could not fiddle he knew how to make a great city of a little one. The science that I, a modern simpleton, am about to communicate, is the very reverse.

I address myself to all ministers who have the management of extensive dominions, which from their very greatness have become troublesome to govern, because the multiplicity of their affairs leaves no time for fiddling.

1. In the first place, gentlemen, you are to consider that a great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges. Turn your attention, therefore, first to your remotest provinces; that, as you get rid of them, the next may follow in order.

2. That the possibility of this separation may always exist, take special care the provinces are never incorporated with the mother country; that they do not enjoy the same common rights, the same privileges in commerce; and that they are governed by severer laws, all of your enacting, without allowing them any share in the choice of the legislators. By carefully making and preserving such distinctions, you will (to keep to my simile of the cake) act like a Edition: current; Page: [205] wise gingerbread-baker, who, to facilitate a division, cuts his dough half through in those places where, when baked, he would have it broken to pieces.

3. Those remote provinces have perhaps been acquired, purchased, or conquered, at the sole expense of the settlers, or their ancestors; without the aid of the mother country. If this should happen to increase her strength, by their growing numbers ready to join in her wars; her commerce, by their growing demand for her manufactures; or her naval power, by greater employment for her ships and seamen, they may probably suppose some merit in this, and that it entitles them to some favor; you are therefore to forget it all, or resent it all, as if they had done you injury. If they happen to be zealous Whigs, friends of liberty, nurtured in revolution principles, remember all that to their prejudice, and contrive to punish it; for such principles, after a revolution is thoroughly established, are of no more use; they are even odious and abominable.

4. However peaceably your colonies have submitted to your government, shown their affection to your interests, and patiently borne their grievances, you are to suppose them always inclined to revolt, and treat them accordingly. Quarter troops among them, who by their insolence may provoke the rising of mobs, and by their bullets and bayonets suppress them. By this means, like the husband who uses his wife ill from suspicion, you may in time convert your suspicions into realities.

5. Remote provinces must have governors and judges to represent the royal person and execute Edition: current; Page: [206] everywhere the delegated parts of his office and authority. You ministers know that much of the strength of government depends on the opinion of the people, and much of that opinion on the choice of rulers placed immediately over them. If you send them wise and good men for governors, who study the interests of the colonists, and advance their prosperity, they will think their king wise and good, and that he wishes the welfare of his subjects. If you send them learned and upright men for judges, they will think him a lover of justice. This may attach your provinces more to his government, You are therefore to be careful whom you recommend to those offices. If you can find prodigals who have ruined their fortunes, broken gamesters or stockjobbers, these may do well as governors; for they will probably be rapacious, and provoke the people by their extortions. Wrangling proctors and pettifogging lawyers, too, are not amiss; for they will be forever disputing and quarrelling with their little Parliaments. If withal they should be ignorant, wrongheaded, and insolent, so much the better. Attorney’s clerks and Newgate solicitors will do for chief-justices, especially if they hold their places during your pleasure; and all will contribute to impress those ideas of your government that are proper for a people you would wish to renounce it.

6. To confirm these impressions and strike them deeper, whenever the injured come to the capital with complaints of maladministration, oppression, or injustice, punish such suitors with long delay, enormous Edition: current; Page: [207] expense, and a final judgment in favor of the oppressor. This will have an admirable effect every way. The trouble of future complaints will be prevented, and governors and judges will be encouraged to further acts of oppression and injustice; and thence the people may become more disaffected, and at length desperate.

7. When such governors have crammed their coffers and made themselves so odious to the people that they can no longer remain among them with safety to their persons, recall and reward them with pensions. You may make them baronets too, if that respectable order should not think fit to resent it. All will contribute to encourage new governors in the same practice, and make the supreme government detestable.

8. If when you are engaged in war, your colonies should vie in liberal aids of men and money against the common enemy, upon your simple requisition, and give far beyond their abilities, reflect that a penny taken from them by your power is more honorable to you than a pound presented by their benevolence; despise therefore their voluntary grants, and resolve to harass them with novel taxes. They will probably complain to your Parliament, that they are taxed by a body in which they have no representative and that this is contrary to common right. They will petition for redress. Let the Parliament flout their claims, reject their petitions, refuse even to suffer the reading of them, and treat the petitioners with the utmost contempt. Nothing can have a better effect in producing the alienation proposed; for, Edition: current; Page: [208] though many can forgive injuries, none ever forgave contempt.

9. In laying these taxes, never regard the heavy burdens those remote people already undergo, in defending their own frontiers, supporting their own provincial government, making new roads, building bridges, churches, and other public edifices; which in old countries have been done to your hands by your ancestors, but which occasion constant calls and demands on the purses of a new people. Forget the restraint you lay on their trade for your own benefit, and the advantage a monoply of this trade gives your exacting merchants. Think nothing of the wealth those merchants and your manufacturers acquire by the colony commerce; their increased ability thereby to pay taxes at home; their accumulating, in the price of their commodities, most of those taxes, and so levying them from their consuming customers; all this, and the employment and support of thousands of your poor by the colonists, you are entirely to forget. But remember to make your arbitrary tax more grievous to your provinces, by public declarations importing that your power of taxing them has no limits; so that, when you take from them without their consent a shilling in the pound, you have a clear right to the other nineteen. This will probably weaken every idea of security in their property, and convince them that under such a government they have nothing they can call their own; which can scarce fail of producing the happiest consequences!

10. Possibly, indeed, some of them might still comfort Edition: current; Page: [209] themselves, and say; “Though we have no property, we have yet something left that is valuable; we have constitutional liberty, both of person and of conscience. This King, these Lords, and these Commons, who it seems are too remote from us to know us, and feel for us, cannot take from us our Habeas Corpus right, or our right of trial by a jury of our neighbors; they cannot deprive us of the exercise of our religion, alter our ecclesiastical constitution, and compel us to be Papists, if they please, or Mahometans.” To annihilate this comfort, begin by laws to perplex their commerce with infinite regulations, impossible to be remembered and observed; ordain seizures of their property for every failure; take away the trial of such property by jury, and give it to arbitrary judges of your own appointing, and of the lowest characters in the country, whose salaries and emoluments are to arise out of the duties or condemnations, and whose appointments are during pleasure. Then let there be a formal declaration of both houses, that opposition to your edicts is treason, and that persons suspected of treason in the provinces may, according to same obsolete law, be seized and sent to the metropolis of the empire for trial; and pass an act, that those there charged with certain other offences shall be sent away in chains from their friends and country to be tried in the same manner for felony. Then erect a new court of Inquisition among them, accompanied by an armed force, with instructions to transport all such suspected persons; to be ruined by the expense, if they bring over evidences to prove their innocence, or be found guilty Edition: current; Page: [210] and hanged if they cannot afford it. And, lest the people should think you cannot possibly go any further, pass another solemn declaratory act, “that King, Lords, Commons had, have, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the unrepresented provinces in all cases whatsoever. This will include spiritual with temporal, and, taken together, must operate wonderfully to your purpose; by convincing them that they are at present under a power something like that spoken of in the Scriptures, which can not only kill their bodies, but damn their souls to all eternity, by compelling them, if it pleases, to worship the Devil.

11. To make your taxes more odious, and more likely to procure resistance, send from the capital a board of officers to superintend the collection, composed of the most indiscreet, ill-bred, and insolent you can find. Let these have large salaries out of the extorted revenue, and live in open, grating luxury upon the sweat and blood of the industrious; whom they are to worry continually with groundless and expensive prosecutions before the above-mentioned arbitrary revenue judges; all at the cost of the party prosecuted, though acquitted, because the king is to pay no costs. Let these men, by your order, be exempted from all the common taxes and burdens of the province, though they and their property are protected by its laws. If any revenue officers are suspected of the least tenderness for the people, discard them. If others are justly complained of, protect and reward them. If any of the under officers Edition: current; Page: [211] behave so as to provoke the people to drub them, promote those to better offices; this will encourage others to procure for themselves such profitable drubbings, by multiplying and enlarging such provocations, and all will work towards the end you aim at.

12. Another way to make your tax odious, is to misapply the produce of it. If it was originally appropriated for the defence of the provinces, and the better support of government, and the administration of justice, where it may be necessary, then apply none of it to that defence; but bestow it where it is not necessary, in augmenting salaries or pensions to every governor who has distinguished himself by his enmity to the people, and by calumniating them to their sovereign. This will make them pay it more unwillingly, and be more apt to quarrel with those that collect it and those that imposed it; who will quarrel again with them; and all shall contribute to your own purpose, of making them weary of your government.

13. If the people of any province have been accustomed to support their own governors and judges to satisfaction, you are to apprehend that such governors and judges may be thereby influenced to treat the people kindly and to do them justice. This is another reason for applying part of that revenue in larger salaries to such governors and judges, given, as their commissions are, during your pleasure only; forbidding them to take any salaries from their provinces; that thus the people may no longer hope any kindness from their governors, or (in crown cases) Edition: current; Page: [212] any justice from their judges. And, as the money thus misapplied in one province is extorted from all, probably all will resent the misapplication.

14. If the Parliaments of your provinces should dare to claim rights, or complain of your administration, order them to be harassed with repeated dissolutions. If the same men are continually returned by new elections, adjourn their meetings to some country village, where they cannot be accommodated and there keep them during pleasure; for this, you know, is your prerogative; and an excellent one it is, as you may manage it to promote discontents among the people, diminish their respect, and increase their disaffection.

15. Convert the brave, honest officers of your navy into pimping tide-waiters and colony officers of the customs. Let those who in time of war fought gallantly in defence of the commerce of their countrymen, in peace be taught to prey upon it. Let them learn to be corrupted by great and real smugglers; but (to show their diligence) scour with armed boats every bay, harbor, river, creek, cove, or nook throughout the coast of your colonies; stop and detain every coaster, every wood-boat, every fisherman; tumble their cargoes and even their ballast inside out and upside down; and, if a pennyworth of pins is found unentered, let the whole be seized and confiscated. Thus shall the trade of your colonists suffer more from their friends in time of peace, than it did from their enemies in war. Then let these boats’ crews land upon every farm in their way, rob their orchards, steal their pigs and poultry, and insult the Edition: current; Page: [213] inhabitants. If the injured and exasperated farmers, unable to procure other justice, should attack the aggressors, drub them, and burn their boats; you are to call this high treason and rebellion, order fleets and armies into their country, and threaten to carry all the offenders three thousand miles to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Oh, this will work admirably!

16. If you are told of discontents in your colonies, never believe that they are general, or that you have given occasion for them; therefore do not think of applying any remedy, or of changing any offensive measure. Redress no grievance, lest they should be encouraged to demand the redress of some other grievance. Grant no request that is just and reasonable, lest they should make another that is unreasonable. Take all your informations of the state of the colonies from your governors and officers in enmity with them. Encourage and reward these leasing-makers; secrete their lying accusations, lest they should be confuted; but act upon them as the clearest evidence; and believe nothing you hear from the friends of the people. Suppose all their complaints to be invented and promoted by a few factious demagogues, whom if you could catch and hang, all would be quiet. Catch and hang a few of them accordingly; and the blood of the martyrs shall work miracles in favor of your purpose.1

Edition: current; Page: [214]

17. If you see rival nations rejoicing at the prospect of your disunion with your provinces, and endeavoring to promote it; if they translate, publish, and applaud all the complaints of your discontented colonists, at the same time privately stimulating you to severer measures, let not that offend you. Why should it, since you all mean the same thing?

18. If any colony should at their own charge erect a fortress to secure their port against the fleets of a foreign enemy, get your governor to betray that fortress into your hands. Never think of paying what it costs the country, for that would look at least like some regard for justice; but turn it into a citadel to awe the inhabitants and curb their commerce. If they should have lodged in such fortress the very arms they bought and used to aid you in your conquests, seize them all; it will provoke, like ingratitude added to robbery. One admirable effect of these operations will be to discourage every other colony from erecting such defences, and so their and your enemies may more easily invade them, to the great disgrace of your government, and, of course, the furtherance of your project.

19. Send armies into their country under pretence of protecting the inhabitants; but, instead of garrisoning the forts on their frontiers with those troops to prevent incursions, demolish those forts and order the troops into the heart of the country, that the savages may be encouraged to attack the frontiers, Edition: current; Page: [215] and that the troops may be protected by the inhabitants. This will seem to proceed from your ill-will or your ignorance, and contribute further to produce and strengthen an opinion among them that you are no longer fit to govern them.1

20. Lastly, invest the general of your army in the provinces with great and unconstitutional powers, and free him from the control of even your own civil governors. Let him have troops enough under his command, with all the fortresses in his possession; and who knows but (like some provincial generals in the Roman empire, and encouraged by the universal discontent you have produced) he may take it into his head to set up for himself? If he should, and you have carefully practised the few excellent rules of mine, take my word for it, all the provinces will immediately join him; and you will that day (if you have not done it sooner) get rid of the trouble of governing them, and all the plagues attending their commerce and connection from thenceforth and forever.2

Edition: current; Page: [216]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DXLII

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

Nothing of importance has occurred since my last. This serves chiefly to cover a newspaper in which I have stated a few of the American grievances that were omitted in my “Receipt for Diminishing a Great Empire.” These odd ways of presenting matters to the public view sometimes occasion them to be more talked of and more attended to.

With great respect, I am, sir, etc.,
B. Franklin.1
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
25 September, 1773
West Wycombe
Thomas Percival
Percival, Thomas
DXLIII

TO THOMAS PERCIVAL2

the Seat of Lord le Despencer,
Dear Sir:

I have received here your favor of the 18th, enclosing your very valuable paper of the Edition: current; Page: [217] enumeration of Manchester. Such inquiries may be as useful as they are curious, and if once made general would greatly assist in the prudent government of a State.

The difference of deaths between one in twenty-eight at Manchester, and one in one hundred and twenty at Morton is surprising. It seems to show the unwholesomeness of the manufacturing life, owing perhaps to the confinement in small, close rooms, or in larger with numbers, or to poverty and want of necessaries, or to drinking, or to all of them. Farmers who manufacture in their own families what they have occasion for and no more, are perhaps the happiest people and the healthiest.

It is a curious remark that moist seasons are the healthiest. The gentry of England are remarkably afraid of moisture and of air. But seamen, who live in perpetually moist air, are always healthy, if they have good provisions. The inhabitants of Bermuda St. Helena, and other islands far from continents, surrounded with rocks, against which the waves continually dashing, fill the air with spray and vapor, and where no wind can arrive that does not pass over much sea, and of course bring much moisture; these people are remarkably healthy. And I have long thought that mere moist air has no ill effect on the constitution, though air impregnated with vapors from putrid marshes is found pernicious, not from the moisture, but the putridity. It seems strange that a man, whose body is composed in great part of moist fluids, whose blood and juices are so watery, who can swallow quantities of water and small beer daily Edition: current; Page: [218] without inconvenience, should fancy that a little more or less moisture in the air should be of such importance. But we abound in absurdity and inconsistency.

Thus, though it is generally allowed that taking the air is a good thing, yet what caution against air! What stopping of crevices! What wrapping up in warm clothes! What stuffing of doors and windows, even in the midst of summer! Many London families go out once a day to take the air, three or four persons in a coach, one perhaps sick; these go three or four miles, or as many turns in Hyde Park, with the glasses both up close, all breathing over and over again the same air they brought out of town with them in the coach, with the least change possible, and rendered worse and worse every moment. And this they call taking the air. From many years’ observations on myself and others, I am persuaded we are on a wrong scent in supposing moist or cold air the causes of that disorder we call a cold. Some unknown quality in the air may perhaps produce colds, as in the influenza, but generally I apprehend that they are the effect of too full living in proportion to our exercise.

Excuse, if you can, my intruding into your province, and believe me ever with sincere esteem, dear sir, Your most obedient humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [219]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
30 September, 1773
London
John Ingenhousz
Ingenhousz, John
DXLIV

TO JOHN INGENHOUSZ

My Dear Friend:

I rejoiced as much as any friend could do at the news we received here from time to time of your success in your profession, and of the safe recovery of your illustrious patients of that most amiable family. But it grieved us all, at the same time, to hear that you did not yourself enjoy health in that country. Surely their known goodness will graciously give you leave of absence, if you have but the courage to request it, and permit you to come and reside in England, which always agreed well with your constitution. All your friends here will be made happy by such an event.1

I had purposed to return to America this last summer, but some events in our colony affairs induced me to stay here another winter. Some time in May or June next I believe I shall leave England. May I hope to see you here once more?

I shall be glad to see the work of the Abbé Fontana on that disease of wheat. As yet I have not heard that it is come to England.

Sir William Hamilton writes from Naples, that Edition: current; Page: [220] after many experiments he has not been able to perceive any certain signs of electricity in the torpedo. It is perhaps best that there should be two opinions on this subject, for that may occasion a more thorough examination of it, and finally make us better acquainted with it.

It is not difficult to construct a needle, so as to keep pointing to the meridian of any one place, whatever may be the variation in that place. But to point always to the meridian, wherever the needle may be removed, is, I apprehend, not possible.

Mr. Nairne has, as you have heard, finished a very fine electric machine. I have seen sparks from the prime conductor thirteen inches in length. He has added a large battery, and produces a discharge from it sufficiently strong to blast growing vegetables, as lightning is supposed to do. From a greater force used, perhaps some more discoveries may be made. I am much pleased with the account you give me of your new machine of white velvet rubbed upon hare-skin.

Last year the Board of Ordnance applied to the Royal Society here for their opinion of the propriety of erecting conductors to secure the powder magazines at Purfleet. The Society appointed a committee to view the magazines, and report their advice. The members appointed were Messrs. Cavendish, Watson, Delaval, Robertson, Wilson, and myself. We accordingly, after reviewing them, drew up a report, recommending conductors to each, elevated ten feet above the roof, and pointed at the ends. Mr. Delaval did not attend; all the rest agreed in the Edition: current; Page: [221] Report, only Mr. Wilson objected to pointing the rods, asserting that blunt ends or knobs would be better. The work, however, was finished according to our direction. He was displeased that his opinion was not followed, and has written a pamphlet against points. I have not answered it, being averse to disputes. But in a new translation and edition of my book, printed lately at Paris, in two volumes, quarto, you will see some new experiments of mine, with the reasonings upon them, which satisfied the committee. They are not yet printed in English, but will be in a new edition now printing at Oxford, and perhaps they will be in the next Transactions.

It has been a fashion to decry Hawkesworth’s book; but it does not deserve the treatment it has met with. It acquaints us with new people having new customs, and teaches us a good deal of new knowledge.

Captain Phips has returned, not having been able to approach the Pole nearer than eighty-one degrees, the ice preventing.

M. Tremont, an ingenious young Italian, who was lately here, gave me a little spy-glass of his making, upon Père Boscovich’s principles, the ocular lens being a composition of different glasses instead of the objective. It is indeed a very good one.

Sir John Pringle is returned from Scotland, better in health than heretofore. He always speaks of you with respect and affection, as does Dr. Huck and all that knew you.

I am ever, with the sincerest esteem, dear sir,

Your faithful and most obedient servant,
B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [222]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
6 October, 1773
London
William Franklin
Franklin, William
DXLV

TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN

Dear Son:

I wrote to you on the 1st of last month, since which I have received yours of July 29th, from New York. I know not what letters of mine Governor Hutchinson could mean as advising the people to insist on their independency. But whatever they were, I suppose he has sent copies of them hither, having heard some whisperings about them.1 I shall, however, be able at any time to justify every thing I have written; the purport being uniformly this, that they should carefully avoid all tumults and every violent measure, and content themselves with verbally keeping up their claims and holding forth their rights whenever occasion requires; secure that, from the growing importance of America, those claims will erelong be attended to and acknowledged.

From a long and thorough consideration of the subject, I am indeed of opinion that the Parliament has no right to make any law whatever, binding on the colonies; that the king, and not the king, Lords, and Commons collectively, is their sovereign; and that the king, with their respective Parliaments, is their only legislator. I know your sentiments differ from mine on these subjects. You are a thorough government man, which I do not wonder at, nor do I aim at converting you. I only wish you to Edition: current; Page: [223] act uprightly and steadily, avoiding that duplicity which, in Hutchinson, adds contempt to indignation. If you can promote the prosperity of your people, and leave them happier than you found them, whatever your political principles are, your memory will be honored.

I have written two pieces here lately for the Public Advertiser, on American affairs, designed to expose the conduct of this country toward the colonies in a short, comprehensive, and striking view, and stated, therefore, in out-of-the-way forms, as most likely to take the general attention. The first was called “Rules by Which a Great Empire may be Reduced to a Small One”; the second, “An Edict of the King of Prussia.” I sent you one of the first, but could not get enough of the second to spare you one, though my clerk went the next morning to the printer’s and wherever they were sold. They were all gone but two. In my own mind I preferred the first, as a composition, for the quantity and variety of the matter contained, and a kind of spirited ending of each paragraph. But I find that others here generally prefer the second.

I am not suspected as the author, except by one or two friends; and have heard the latter spoken of in the highest terms, as the keenest and severest piece that has appeared here for a long time. Lord Mansfield, I hear, said of it, that it was very able and very artful indeed; and would do mischief by giving here a bad impression of the measures of government; and in the colonies, by encouraging them in their contumacy. It is reprinted in the Chronicle, where Edition: current; Page: [224] you will see it, but stripped of all the capitalizing and italicizing, that intimate the allusions and mark the emphasis of written discourses, to bring them as near as possible to those spoken. Printing such a piece all in one even small character, seems to me like repeating one of Whitefield’s sermons in the monotony of a schoolboy.

What made it the more noticed here, was that people in reading it were, as the phrase is, taken in, till they had got half through it, and imagined it a real edict, to which mistake I suppose the king of Prussia’s character must have contributed. I was down at Lord le Despencer’s, when the post brought that day’s papers. Mr. Whitehead was there, too, (Paul Whitehead, the author of Manners,) who runs early through all the papers, and tells the company what he finds remarkable. He had them in another room, and we were chatting in the breakfast parlor, when he came running in to us out of breath, with the paper in his hand. “Here!” says he, “here’s news for ye! Here ’s the king of Prussia claiming a right to this kingdom!” All stared, and I as much as anybody; and he went on to read it. When he had read two or three paragraphs, a gentleman present said: “Damn his impudence; I dare say we shall hear by next post, that he is upon his march with one hundred thousand men to back this.” Whitehead, who is very shrewd, soon after began to smoke it, and looking in my face, said, “I ’ll be hanged if this is not some of your American jokes upon us.” The reading went on, and ended with abundance of laughing, and a general verdict that Edition: current; Page: [225] it was a fair hit; and the piece was cut out of the paper and preserved in my Lord’s collection.

I do not wonder that Hutchinson should be dejected. It must be an uncomfortable thing to live among people who, he is conscious, universally detest him. Yet I fancy he will not have leave to come home, both because they know not well what to do with him, and because they do not very well like his conduct. I am ever your affectionate father,

B. Franklin.
Deborah Franklin
Franklin, Deborah
Ocktober ye 29, 1773
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
DXLVI

FROM MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN

My Dear Child:

I have bin verey much distrest a boute you as I did not aney letter nor one word from you nor did I hear one word from oney bodey that you wrote to so I muste submit and inde (?) to submit to what I am to bair I did write by Capt Folkner to you but he is gon down and when I read it over I did not like t and so if this donte send it I shante like it as I donte send you aney news now I donte go abrode.

I shall tell you what Consernes my selef our youngest Grand son is the foreed child us a live he has had the Small Pox and had it very fine and got a brod a gen. Capt All will tell you aboute him and Benj Franklin Beache, but as it is so dificall to writ I have deserd him to tell you, I have sent a squerel for your friend and wish her better luck it is a very fine one I Edition: current; Page: [226] have had very bad luck they one kild and another run a way all thow they are bred up tame I have not a Caige as I donte know where the man lives that makes them my love to Salley Franklin my love to all our Cusins as thow menshond remember me to Mr. and Mrs. Weste doe you ever hear any thing of Ninely Evans as was

I thanke you for the silke and hat it at the womons to make it up but have it put up as you wrote [torn] (?) I thonke it it is very prittey; what was the prise? I desier to give my love to every bodey [torn] I shold love Billey wes in town 5 or 6 day whan the child was in the Small Pox Mr Franklin [torn] not sene him yit I am to tell a verey pirtey thing about Ben the players is cume to town and they am to ackte on Munday he wanted to see a play he unkill Beache had given him a doler his mama asked him wather he wold give it for a ticket, or buy his Brother a neckles he sed his Brother a necklas he is a charmm child as ever was Borne my Grand cheldren are the Best in the world Salley will write I cante aney mor I am your a feckshone wife,

D. Franklin.
Sally Bache
Bache, Sally
30 October, 1773
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
DXLVII

FROM HIS DAUGHTER SALLY

Dear and Honored Sir:

We are all much disappointed at your not coming home this fall. I was in great hopes of seeing you and presenting you with Edition: current; Page: [227] two of the finest boys in the world. Do not let any thing, my dear sir, prevent your coming to your family in the spring, for indeed we want you here much. I give you many thanks for the very elegant silk; I never knew what it was to be proud of a new garment before—this I shall wear with pride and pleasure. Little William is just out of the small pox; had it most delightfully. He is for size and temper beyond all the boys of his age in America. How can Mrs. Stevenson wish for girls; the boy babies are infinitely cleverer. I dare say by this time she would not change her youngest grandson for a girl; I am sure I would not part with Will for a dozen girls. I have not seen Mr. Bache’s letter, but suppose he has given you an account of Ben’s manly behavior on his journey to New York, where he went in high expectation of meeting you, and would have stayed for the September packet, could they have had any hopes of your being in her. I must mention to you that I am no longer housekeeper; it gave my dear mamma so much uneasiness, and the money was given to me in a manner which made it impossible to save any thing by laying in things beforehand, so that my housekeeping answered no good purpose, and I have the more readily given it up, though I think it my duty, and would willingly take the care and trouble off of her, could I possibly please and make her happy. The dining-room wants new paper; the border, which is a gold one, never was put up; the handsome picture is in it, and it would make a sweet room if it was nicely done up. We have no plates or dishes fit to set before your friends, and the queen’s ware Edition: current; Page: [228] is thought very elegant here, particularly the spriged. I just mention this, as it would be much cheaper for you to bring them than to get them here, and you have them much handsomer. Mamma has sent a fine fellow in Mungo’s room1; the ground ones never can be tamed, they say; however, we will try to get some and send them. I have no news to write, as I know very little that passes out of the nursery, where indeed it is my greatest pleasure to be. After my mother and Mrs. Bache had done writing, a son of your old friend Potts, of Potts Grove, called to ask for a letter. Mentioning his name will, I know, be enough, and as my little boy wants me, I must conclude. With love to Mrs. Stevenson, Mr. and Mrs. Hewson, I am as ever, my dear papa, your dutiful and affectionate daughter.

S. Bache.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
1 November, 1773
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DXLVIII

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I duly received your favor of the 26th of August, with the letter enclosed for Lord Dartmouth, which I immediately sent to him. As soon as he comes to town, I shall wait upon his Lordship, and discourse with him upon the subject of it; and I shall immediately write to you what I can collect from the conversation.

Edition: current; Page: [229]

In my own opinion, the letter of the two Houses of the 29th of June, proposing, as a satisfactory measure, the restoring things to the state in which they were at the conclusion of the late war, is a fair and generous offer on our part, and my discourse here is, that it is more than Britain has a right to expect from us; and that, if she has any wisdom left, she will embrace it, and agree with us immediately; for that the longer she delays the accommodation, which finally she must for her own sake obtain, the worse terms she may expect, since the inequality of power and importance, that at present subsists between us, is daily diminishing, and our sense of our own rights, and of her injustice, continually increasing. I am the more encouraged to hold such language, by perceiving that the general sense of the nation is for us; a conviction prevailing that we have been ill used, and that a breach with us would be ruinous to this country.

The pieces I wrote, to increase and strengthen those sentiments, were more read and talked of and attended to than usual. The first, as you will see by the enclosed, has been called for and reprinted in the same paper, besides being copied in others, and in the magazines. A long, labored answer has been made to it, (by Governor Bernard, it is said,) which I send you. I am told it does not satisfy those in whose justification it was written, and that a better is preparing. I think with you that great difficulties must attend an attempt to make a new representation of our grievances, in which the point of right should be kept out of sight, especially as the concurrence Edition: current; Page: [230] of so many colonies seems now necessary. And therefore it would certainly be best and wisest for Parliament (which does not meet till after the middle of January) to make up the matter themselves, and at once reduce things to the state desired. There are not wanting some here who believe this will really be the case; for that, a new election being now in view, the present members are likely to consider the composing all differences with America as a measure agreeable to the trading and manufacturing part of the nation, and that the neglecting it may be made use of by their opponents to their disadvantage.

I have as yet received no answer to the petition for removing the governors.1 I imagine that it will hardly be complied with, as it would embarrass government to provide for them otherwise, and it will be thought hard to elect men who have exposed themselves by adhering to what is here called the interests and rights of this country. But this I only conjecture, as I have heard nothing certain about it. Indeed I should think continuing them in their places would be rather a punishment than a favor. For what comfort can men have in living among a people with whom they are the objects of universal odium?

I shall continue here one winter longer, and use my best endeavors, as long as I stay, for the service of our country. With great esteem, I have the honor to be, sir, etc.

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [231]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
3 November, 1773
London
DXLIX

TO AN ENGRAVER1

Sir:

I was much pleased with the specimens you so kindly sent me of your new art of engraving. That on the china is admirable. No one would suppose it any thing but painting. I hope you meet with all the encouragement you merit and that the invention will be, what inventions seldom are, profitable to the inventor.

Now we are speaking of inventions; I know not who pretends to that of copper-plate engravings for earthen-ware and I am not disposed to contest the honor with anybody as the improvement in taking impressions not directly from the plate, but from printed paper applicable by that means to other than flat forms, is far beyond my first idea. But I have reason to apprehend, that I might have given the hint on which that improvement was made; for, more than twenty years since, I wrote to Dr. Mitchell from America, proposing to him the printing of square tiles, for ornamenting chimneys from copper plates, describing the manner in which I thought it might be done, and advising the borrowing from the booksellers the plates that had been used in a thin folio, called Moral Virtue Delineated for the purpose.

The Dutch Delft-ware tiles were much used in Edition: current; Page: [232] America, which are only or chiefly Scripture histories, wretchedly scrawled. I wished to have those moral prints which were originally taken from Horace’s poetical figures, introduced on tiles, which, being about our chimneys, and constantly in the eyes of children when by the fireside, might give parents an opportunity, in explaining them, to impress moral sentiments; and I gave expectations of great demand for them if executed. Dr. Mitchell wrote to me, in answer, that he had communicated my scheme to several of the principal artists in the earthen way about London, who rejected it as impracticable; and it was not till some years after that I first saw an enamelled snuff-box, which I was sure was from a copper plate, though the curvature of the form made me wonder how the impression was taken.

I understand the china work in Philadelphia is declined by the first owners. Whether any others will take it up and continue it, I know not.

Mr. Banks is at present engaged in preparing to publish the botanical discoveries of his voyage. He employs ten engravers for the plates, in which he is very curious, so as not to be quite satisfied in some cases with the expression given by either the graver, etching, or mezzotinto, particularly where there is a woolliness, or a multitude of small points, on a leaf. I sent him the largest of the specimens you sent, containing a number of sprigs. I have not seen him since, to know whether your manner would not suit some of his plants better than the more common methods. With great esteem, I am, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [233]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
3 November, 1773
London
Joseph Galloway
Galloway, Joseph
DL

TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY

Sir:

There is at present great quietness here, and no prospect that the war between the Turks and Russians will spread farther in Europe. The last harvest is allowed to have been generally plentiful in this country; and yet, such was the preceding scantiness of crops, that it is thought there is no corn to spare for exportation, which continues the advantages to our corn provinces.

The Parliament is not to meet till after the middle of January. It is said there is a disposition to compose all differences with America before the next general election, as the trading and manufacturing part of the nation are generally our well-wishers, think we have been hardly used, and apprehend ill consequences from a continuance of the measures that we complain of; and that, if those measures are not changed, an American interest will be spirited up at the election against the present members who are in, or friends to administration. Our steady refusal to take tea from hence for several years past has made its impressions. The scheme for supplying us without repealing the act, by a temporary license from the treasury to export tea to America, free of duty, you are before this time acquainted with. I much want to hear how that tea is received. If it is rejected, the act will undoubtedly be repealed, otherwise I suppose it will be continued; and when we have got into the use of the Company’s tea, and the Edition: current; Page: [234] foreign correspondences that supply us at present are broken off, the licenses will be discontinued, and the act enforced.

I apprehend the better understanding, that lately subsisted in our provincial administration, will hardly be continued with the new governor; but you will soon see. I wish for the full letter you promise me by the next packet, which is now daily expected. With unalterable esteem and attachment, I am, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
3 November, 1773
London
William Franklin
Franklin, William
DLI

TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN

Dear Son:

I wrote you pretty fully by the last packet, and having had no line from you of later date than the beginning of August, and little stirring here lately, I have now little to write.

In that letter I mentioned my having written two papers, of which I preferred the first, but the public the last. It seems I was mistaken in judging of the public opinion; for the first was reprinted some weeks after in the same paper, the printer giving for reason, that he did it in compliance with the earnest request of many private persons, and some respectable societies; which is the more extraordinary, as it had been copied in several other papers, and in the Gentleman’s Magazine. Such papers may seem to have a tendency to increase our divisions; but I intend a contrary effect, and hope, by comprising in Edition: current; Page: [235] little room, and setting in a strong light, the grievances of the colonies, more attention will be paid to them by our administration, and that, when their unreasonableness is generally seen, some of them will be removed, to the restoration of harmony between us.

B. Franklin.

DLII: OF THE STILLING OF WAVES BY MEANS OF OIL1

read at the royal society, june 2, 1774.

Extract of a Letter from Dr. Brownrigg to Dr. Franklin dated Ormathwaite, 27 January, 1773.

By the enclosed from an old friend, a worthy clergyman at Carlisle, whose great learning and extensive knowledge in most sciences would have more distinguished him, had he been placed in a more conspicuous point of view, you will find that he had heard of your experiment on Derwent Lake, and has thrown together what he could collect on that subject; to which I have subjoined one experiment from the relation of another gentleman.

Extract of a Letter from the Reverend Mr. Farish to Dr. Brownrigg.

I some time ago met with Mr. Dun, who surprised me with an account of an experiment you had tried Edition: current; Page: [236] upon the Derwent Water, in company with Sir John Pringle and Dr. Franklin. According to his representation, the water, which had been in great agitation before, was instantly calmed upon pouring in only a very small quantity of oil, and that to so great a distance about the boat as seemed incredible. I have since had the same accounts from others, but I suspect all of a little exaggeration. Pliny mentions this property of oil as known particularly to the divers, who made use of it in his days, in order to have a more steady light at the bottom.1 The sailors, I have been told, have observed something of the same kind in our days, that the water is always remarkably smoother in the wake of a ship that has been newly tallowed than it is in one that is foul. Mr. Pennant also mentions an observation of the like nature made by the seal-catchers in Scotland. (British Zoloogy, vol. iv., Article “Seal.”) When these animals are devouring a very oily fish, which they always do under water, the waves above are observed to be remarkably smooth, and by this mark the fishermen know where to look for them. Old Pliny does not usually meet with all the credit I am inclined to think he deserves. I shall be glad to have an authentic account of the Keswick experiment, and if it comes up to the representations that Edition: current; Page: [237] have been made of it, I shall not much hesitate to believe the old gentleman in another more wonderful phenomenon he relates, of stilling a tempest only by throwing up a little vinegar into the air.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 November, 1773
London
Wm. Brownrigg
Brownrigg, Wm.

TO DR. BROWNRIGG

Dear Sir:

I thank you for the remarks of your learned friend at Carlisle. I had, when a youth, read and smiled at Pliny’s account of a practice among the seamen of his time, to still the waves in a storm by pouring oil into the sea; which he mentions, as well as the use made of oil by the divers; but the stilling a tempest by throwing vinegar into the air had escaped me. I think with your friend, that it has been of late too much the mode to slight the learning of the ancients. The learned, too, are apt to slight too much the knowledge of the vulgar. The cooling by evaporation was long an instance of the latter. The art of smoothing the waves by oil is an instance of both.

Perhaps you may not dislike to have an account of all I have heard, and learnt, and done in this way. Take it if you please as follows:

In 1757, being at sea in a fleet of ninety-six sail bound against Louisbourg, I observed the wakes of two of the ships to be remarkably smooth, while all the others were ruffled by the wind, which blew fresh. Being puzzled with the differing appearance, I at last pointed it out to our captain, and asked him the Edition: current; Page: [238] meaning of it. “The cooks,” said he, “have, I suppose, been just emptying their greasy water through the scuppers, which has greased the sides of those ships a little.” And this answer he gave me with an air of some little contempt, as to a person ignorant of what everybody else knew. In my own mind I at first slighted his solution, though I was not able to think of another; but recollecting what I had formerly read in Pliny, I resolved to make some experiment of the effect of oil on water, when I should have opportunity.

Afterwards being again at sea in 1762, I first observed the wonderful quietness of oil on agitated water in the swinging glass lamp I made to hang up in the cabin, as described in my printed papers.1 This I was continually looking at and considering as an appearance to me inexplicable. An old sea captain, then a passenger with me, thought little of it, supposing it an effect of the same kind with that of oil put on water to smooth it, which he said was a practice of the Bermudians when they would strike fish, which they could not see if the surface of the water was ruffled by the wind. This practice I had never before heard of, and was obliged to him for the information; though I thought him mistaken as to the sameness of the experiment, the operations being different as well as the effects. In one case the water is smooth till the oil is put on, and then becomes agitated. In the other it is agitated before the oil is applied, and then becomes smooth. The same gentleman told me, he had heard it was a Edition: current; Page: [239] practice with the fishermen of Lisbon when about to return into the river (if they saw before them too great a surf upon the bar, which they apprehended might fill their boats in passing) to empty a bottle or two of oil into the sea, which would suppress the breakers and allow them to pass safely. A confirmation of this I have not since had an opportunity of obtaining, but discoursing of it with another person who had often been in the Mediterranean, I was informed that the divers there, who, when under water in their business, need light, which the curling of the surface interrupts by the refractions of so many little waves, let a small quantity of oil now and then out of their mouths, which rising to the surface smooths it, and permits the light to come down to them. All these informations I at times revolved in my mind, and wondered to find no mention of them in our books of experimental philosophy.

At length being at Clapham, where there is, on the common, a large pond, which I observed one day to be very rough with the wind, I fetched out a cruet of oil, and dropped a little of it on the water. I saw it spread itself with surprising swiftness upon the surface; but the effect of smoothing the waves was not produced; for I had applied it first on the leeward side of the pond, where the waves were greatest; and the wind drove my oil back upon the shore. I then went to the windward side where they began to form; and there the oil, though not more than a teaspoonful, produced an instant calm over a space several yards square, which spread amazingly, and extended itself gradually till it reached the lee side, Edition: current; Page: [240] making all that quarter of the pond, perhaps half an acre, as smooth as a looking-glass.

After this I contrived to take with me, whenever I went into the country, a little oil in the upper hollow joint of my bamboo cane, with which I might repeat the experiment as opportunity should offer, and I found it constantly to succeed.

In these experiments, one circumstance struck me with particular surprise. This was the sudden, wide, and forcible spreading of a drop of oil on the face of the water, which I do not know that anybody has hitherto considered. If a drop of oil is put on a highly polished marble table, or on a looking glass that lies horizontally, the drop remains in its place, spreading very little. But, when put on water, it spreads instantly many feet round, becoming so thin as to produce the prismatic colors, for a considerable space, and beyond them so much thinner as to be invisible, except in its effect of smoothing the waves at a much greater distance. It seems as if a mutual repulsion between its particles took place as soon as it touched the water, and a repulsion so strong as to act on other bodies swimming on the surface, as straw, leaves, chips, etc., forcing them to recede every way from the drop, as from a centre, leaving a large clear space. The quantity of this force, and the distance to which it will operate, I have not yet ascertained; but I think it is a curious inquiry, and I wish to understand whence it arises.

In our journey to the north, when we had the pleasure of seeing you at Ormathwaite, we visited the celebrated Mr. Smeaton, near Leeds. Being about Edition: current; Page: [241] to show him the smoothing experiment on a little pond near his house, an ingenious pupil of his, Mr. Jessop, then present, told us of an odd appearance on that pond which had lately occurred to him. He was about to clean a little cup in which he kept oil, and he threw upon the water some flies that had been drowned in the oil. These flies presently began to move, and turned round on the water very rapidly, as if they were vigorously alive, though on examination he found they were not so. I immediately concluded that the motion was occasioned by the power of the repulsion above mentioned, and that the oil, issuing gradually from the spongy body of the fly, continued the motion. He found some more flies drowned in oil, with which the experiment was repeated before us. To show that it was not any effect of life recovered by the flies, I imitated it by little bits of oiled chips and paper, cut in the form of a comma, of the size of a common fly; when the stream of repelling particles issuing from the point made the comma turn round the contrary way. This is not a chamber experiment; for it cannot be well repeated in a bowl or dish of water on a table. A considerable surface of water is necessary to give room for the expansion of a small quantity of oil. In a dish of water, if the smallest drop of oil be let fall in the middle, the whole surface is presently covered with a thin greasy film proceeding from the drop; but as soon as that film has reached the sides of the dish, no more will issue from the drop, but it remains in the form of oil; the sides of the dish putting a stop to its dissipation by prohibiting the farther expansion of the film.

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Our friend Sir John Pringle, being soon after in Scotland, learned there that those employed in the herring fishery could at a distance see where the shoals of herrings were, by the smoothness of the water over them, which might possibly be occasioned, he thought, by some oiliness proceeding from their bodies.

A gentleman from Rhode Island told me, it had been remarked that the harbor of Newport was ever smooth while any whaling vessels were in it; which probably arose from hence, that the blubber which they sometimes bring loose in the hold, or the leakage of their barrels, might afford some oil to mix with that water, which from time to time they pump out, to keep their vessel free, and that some oil might spread over the surface of the water in the harbor, and prevent the forming of any waves.

This prevention I would thus endeavor to explain.

There seems to be no natural repulsion between water and air, such as to keep them from coming into contact with each other. Hence we find a quantity of air in water; and if we extract it by means of the air-pump, the same water again exposed to the air will soon imbibe an equal quantity.

Therefore air in motion, which is wind, in passing over the smooth surface of water, may rub, as it were, upon that surface, and raise it into wrinkles, which, if the wind continues, are the elements of future waves.

The smallest wave once raised does not immediately subside and leave the neighboring water quiet; but in subsiding raises nearly as much of the water Edition: current; Page: [243] next to it, the friction of the parts making little difference. Thus a stone dropped into a pool raises first a single wave round itself; and leaves it by sinking to the bottom; but that first wave subsiding raises a second, the second a third, and so on in circles to a great extent.

A small power continually operating will produce a great action. A finger applied to a weighty suspended bell can at first move it but little; if repeatedly applied though with no greater strength, the motion increases till the bell swings to its utmost height, and with a force that cannot be resisted by the whole strength of the arm and body. Thus the small first-raised waves, being continually acted upon by the wind, are, though the wind does not increase in strength, continually increased in magnitude, rising higher, and extending their bases, so as to include a vast mass of water in each wave, which in its motion acts with great violence.

But if there is a mutual repulsion between the particles of oil, and no attraction between oil and water, oil dropped on water will not be held together by adhesion to the spot whereon it falls; it will not be imbibed by the water; it will be at liberty to expand itself; and it will spread on a surface that, besides being smooth to the most perfect degree of polish, prevents, perhaps by repelling the oil, all immediate contact, keeping it at a minute distance from itself; and the expansion will continue till the mutual repulsion between the particles of the oil is weakened and reduced to nothing by their distance.

Now I imagine that the wind, blowing over water Edition: current; Page: [244] thus covered with a film of oil, cannot easily catch upon it, so as to raise the first wrinkles, but slides over it, and leaves it smooth as it finds it. It moves a little the oil indeed, which being between it and the water, serves it to slide with, and prevents friction, as oil does between those parts of a machine that would otherwise rub hard together. Hence the oil dropped on the windward side of a pond proceeds gradually to leeward, as may be seen by the smoothness it carries with it, quite to the opposite side. For the wind being thus prevented from raising the first wrinkles, that I call the elements of waves, cannot produce waves, which are to be made by continually acting upon, and enlarging those elements, and thus the whole pond is calmed.

Totally therefore we might suppress the waves in any required place, if we could come at the windward place where they take their rise. This in the ocean can seldom if ever be done. But perhaps something may be done on particular occasions, to moderate the violence of the waves when we are in the midst of them, and prevent their breaking where that would be inconvenient.

For, when the wind blows fresh, there are continually rising on the back of every great wave a number of small ones, which roughen its surface, and give the wind hold, as it were, to push it with greater force. This hold is diminished, by preventing the generation of those small ones. And possibly too when a wave’s surface is oiled, the wind in passing over it may rather in some degree press it down, and contribute to prevent its rising again, instead of promoting it.

Edition: current; Page: [245]

This, as mere conjecture, would have little weight, if the apparent effects of pouring oil into the midst of waves were not considerable, and as yet not otherwise accounted for.

When the wind blows so fresh, as that the waves are not sufficiently quick in obeying its impulse, their tops being thinner and lighter are pushed forward, broken, and turned over in a white foam. Common waves lift a vessel without entering it; but these when large sometimes break above and pour over it, doing great damage.

That this effect might in any degree be prevented, or the height and violence of waves in the sea moderated, we had no certain account; Pliny’s authority for the practice of seamen in his time being slighted. But discoursing lately on this subject with his Excellency Count Bentinck, of Holland, his son the Honorable Captain Bentinck, and the learned Professor Allemand, (to all whom I showed the experiment of smoothing in a windy day the large piece of water at the head of the Green Park,) a letter was mentioned, which had been received by the Count from Batavia, relative to the saving of a Dutch ship in a storm by pouring oil into the sea. I much desired to see that letter, and a copy of it was promised me, which I afterward received.

Extract of a Letter from Mr. Tengnagel to Count Bentinck, dated at Batavia, 5 January, 1770

Near the islands Paul and Amsterdam, we met with a storm, which had nothing particular in it Edition: current; Page: [246] worthy of being communicated to you, except that the captain found himself obliged for greater safety in wearing the ship, to pour oil into the sea, to prevent the waves breaking over her, which had an excellent effect, and succeeded in preserving us. As he poured out but a little at a time, the East India Company owes perhaps its ship to only six demi-ames of oil-olive. I was present upon deck when this was done; and I should not have mentioned this circumstance to you, but that we have found people here so prejudiced against the experiment, as to make it necessary for the officers on board and myself to give a certificate of the truth on this head, of which we made no difficulty.

On this occasion I mentioned to Captain Bentinck a thought which had occurred to me in reading the voyages of our late circumnavigators, particularly where accounts are given of pleasant and fertile islands which they much desired to land upon, when sickness made it more necessary, but could not effect a landing through a violent surf breaking on the shore, which rendered it impracticable. My idea was that possibly by sailing to and fro at some distance from such lee-shore, continually pouring oil into the sea, the waves might be so much depressed and lessened before they reached the shore, as to abate the height and violence of the surf, and permit a landing, which, in such circumstances, was a point of sufficient importance to justify the expense of the oil that might be requisite for the purpose. That gentleman, Edition: current; Page: [247] who is ever ready to promote what may be of public utility, though his own ingenious inventions have not always met with the countenance they merited, was so obliging as to invite me to Portsmouth, where an opportunity would probably offer, in the course of a few days, of making the experiment on some of the shores about Spithead, in which he kindly proposed to accompany me, and to give assistance with such boats as might be necessary. Accordingly, about the middle of October last, I went with some friends to Portsmouth, and a day of wind happening, which made a lee-shore between Haslar Hospital and the point near Jillkecker, we went from the Centaur with the long-boat and barge towards that shore. Our disposition was this, the long-boat was anchored about a quarter of a mile from the shore; part of the company were landed behind the point (a place more sheltered from the sea), who came round and placed themselves opposite to the long-boat, where they might observe the surf, and note if any change occurred in it upon using the oil. Another party, in the barge, plied to windward of the long-boat, as far from her as she was from the shore, making trips of about half a mile each, pouring oil continually out of a large stone bottle, through a hole in the cork, somewhat bigger than a goose-quill. The experiment had not, in the main point, the success we wished, for no material difference was observed in the height or force of the surf upon the shore; but those who were in the long-boat could observe a tract of smoothed water, the whole of the distance in which the barge poured the oil, and gradually spreading in Edition: current; Page: [248] breadth towards the long-boat. I call it smoothed, not that it was laid level, but because, though the swell continued, its surface was not roughened by the wrinkles, or smaller waves, before mentioned, and none or very few white caps (or waves whose tops turn over in foam) appeared in that whole space, though to windward and leeward of it there were plenty; and a wherry, that came round the point under sail, in her way to Portsmouth, seemed to turn into that tract of choice, and to use it from end to end as a piece of turnpike road.

It may be of use to relate the circumstances of an experiment that does not succeed, since they may give hints of amendment in future trials; it is therefore I have been thus particular. I shall only add what I apprehend may have been the reason of our disappointment.

I conceive that the operation of oil on water is: first, to prevent the raising of new waves by the wind; and, secondly, to prevent its pushing those before raised with such force, and consequently their continuance of the same repeated height, as they would have done if their surface were not oiled. But oil will not prevent waves being raised by another power—by a stone, for instance, falling into a still pond; for they then rise by the mechanical impulse of the stone, which the greasiness on the surrounding water cannot lessen or prevent, as it can prevent the winds catching the surface and raising it into waves. Now waves once raised, whether by the wind or any other power, have the same mechanical operation, by which they continue to rise and fall, as a pendulum Edition: current; Page: [249] will continue to swing a long time after the force ceases to act by which the motion was first produced; that motion will, however, cease in time; but time is necessary. Therefore, though oil spread on an agitated sea may weaken the push of the wind on those waves whose surfaces are covered by it, and so, by receiving less fresh impulse, they may gradually subside; yet a considerable time, or a distance through which they will take time to move, may be necessary to make the effect sensible on any shore in a diminution of the surf; for we know that, when wind ceases suddenly, the waves it has raised do not as suddenly subside, but settle gradually, and are not quite down till after the wind has ceased. So, though we should, by oiling them, take off the effect of wind on waves already raised, it is not to be expected that those waves should be instantly levelled. The motion they have received will, for some time, continue; and, if the shore is not far distant, they arrive there so soon, that their effect upon it will not be visibly diminished. Possibly, therefore, if we had begun our operations at a greater distance, the effect might have been more sensible. And perhaps we did not pour oil in sufficient quantity. Future experiments may determine this.

I was, however, greatly obliged to Captain Bentinck for the cheerful and ready aids he gave me; and I ought not to omit mentioning Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, General Carnoc, and Dr. Blagden, who all assisted at the experiment, during that blustering, unpleasant day, with a patience and activity that could only be inspired by a zeal for the improvement Edition: current; Page: [250] of knowledge, such especially as might possibly be of use to men in situations of distress.

I would wish you to communicate this to your ingenious friend, Mr. Farish, with my respects; and believe me to be, with sincere esteem, dear sir,

Your most obedient humble servant,
B. Franklin.
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
10 December, 1773
Boston
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
DLIII

FROM THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I have duly received your several favors of August 24th and September 1st, with the papers inclosed, which I shall communicate to the House as soon as they meet.

Capts. Hall, Bruce, and Coffin are arrived with a quantity of tea shipped (in pursuance of a late act of Parliament) by the East India Company, to the address of Richard Clark & Sons, Thos. and Elisha Hutchinson, Benjamin Faneuil, and Joshua Winslow, Esq. Capt. Loring is hourly expected with more of the same article consigned to the same persons; this has greatly alarmed the people here, who have had several meetings upon the occasion. Inclosed you have a paper containing their proceedings and resolutions, by which you will perceive that they insist upon the consignees sending back the tea, and have determined it never shall be landed or pay any duty here. The colonists have been long complaining of the Parliament’s taxing them without their consent. Edition: current; Page: [251] They have frequently remonstrated against the exercise of a power they deem unconstitutional; their petitions have been neglected if not rejected. However, within about twelve or fifteen months past they have, by administration and by their friends in Great Britain, been led to expect that their grievances would be redressed and the revenue acts repealed, and from some accounts received the last winter from your side the water, they had reason to expect the Tea Act would have been repealed the very last session, instead of which the Parliament, at that very session when the people expected to have obtained relief, passed an act empowering the East India Company to ship their tea to America. This they considered as a new measure to establish and confirm a tax on the colonists, which they complained of as unjust and unrighteous, and consequently has renewed and increased their distress, and it is particularly increased by this act, as it is introductive of monopolies and of all the consequent evils thence arising. But their greatest objection is from its being manifestly intended more effectually to secure the payment of the duty on tea laid by an act passed in the 7th of George the Third, which act in its operation deprives the colonists of the exclusive right of taxing themselves; they further apprehend that this late act was passed with a view not only to secure the duty aforesaid, but to lay a foundation of enhancing it, and in a like way, if this should succeed, to lay other duties, and that it demonstrates an indisposition in ministry that the Parliament should grant them relief. Impressed with these sentiments, the people say they Edition: current; Page: [252] have been amused, they have been deceived, and at a time when they had reason to expect they should have been relieved they find administration pursuing fresh measures to establish and confirm those very acts which, if persisted in, must reduce them to abject slavery. This is the source of their distress, a distress that borders upon despair, and they know not where to fly for relief. This is the cause of the present great uneasiness and has been the occasion of the extraordinary measures pursued by the people here and in several of the principal colonies, for you must observe the same spirit prevails in Philadelphia and New York. Philadelphia began and passed their resolutions above a month ago, New York catched it from them, and so it passed on to this government, and if administration had put their invention upon the utmost stretch to contrive a plan of union for the colonies, I cannot well conceive of any one measure that would tend more effectually to unite the colonies than the present act empowering the East India Company to export their tea to America, and if they should have it in contemplation to show any marks of resentment upon the colonies for their conduct relative to this matter, it is thought they ought to begin with the people among yourselves, as many of them have for these three of four months past been repeatedly notifying our merchants of this manœuvre and advising them not by any means to suffer tea to be landed; if they designed to preserve their freedom, they have been blowing the coals. We have got into a flame, and where it will end God only knows. In short, sir, our affairs are brought to a very serious Edition: current; Page: [253] crisis; and the court party themselves, as I am informed, plainly see that the people are so thoroughly roused and alarmed, and discover such a determined resolution not any longer to suffer these impositions, that they begin to think it absolutely necessary the measures of administration with respect to America should be altered; they find that the spirit runs higher than in the time of the Stamp Act, and that the opposition is more systematical, so that they fear nothing less than the repeal of the revenue acts and a radical redress of American grievances will save us from a rupture with Great Britain, which may prove fatal to both countries.

The people here are far from desiring that the connection between Great Britain and America should be broken. Esto perpetua is their ardent wish, but upon terms only of equal liberty. May the Great Governor of the Universe overrule the councils of the nation and direct and influence to such measures as may be productive of such a happy connection.

This will be delivered you by Mr. John Sprague, a young gentleman who goes for London with a view to improve himself in the study of physic. I must refer you to him for a more particular and circumstantial account of the state of affairs here, and recommend him to your friendly notice.

I conclude with great respect, your most obedient humble servant.

Thomas Cushing.
Benjamin Franklin, Esq.
(Private.)
Edition: current; Page: [254]
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
21 December, 1773
Boston
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
DLIV

FROM THOMAS CUSHING AND OTHERS, COMMITTEE, ETC.

Sir:

It has been the expectation of many of the colonists that the last session of Parliament would have put a final end to those grievances under which they had so long been oppressed, and against which they had so long in vain remonstrated. They expected that the revenue acts would have been repealed and that they should no more have had reason to complain of the unconstitutional exertions of parliamentary power; they were naturally led to form these expectations from the conduct of administration, who lately encouraged them with assurances that if all things remained quiet in America, these unhappy dissentions would soon terminate in a lasting union; but how, sir, were they surprised to find they had been deceived; to find that the Parliament, at the very time they expected relief, pursued new measures for effectively securing and enhancing the oppressive revenues, and with this view, by an act passed the last session, impowered the East India Company to ship their teas to America. From this act they readily saw that they had nothing to hope from the favor of administration, but that they rather discovered an indisposition that the Parliament should grant them any relief. They considered the act as introductive to monopolies, which, besides the train of evils that attend them in a commercial view, are forever dangerous to public liberty, more especially under the direction and influence of Edition: current; Page: [255] government. They also looked upon it pregnant with new grievances, paving the way to further impositions, and in its consequences threatening the final destruction of American liberties. Thrown by this idea into a state of desperation, the united voice of the people, not only in this province, but in New York and Pennsylvania, and as far as we can learn in all the colonies, was, that they would never suffer the tea to be landed, but would prefer any species of hazard and danger to a tame submission to measures which, if pursued, must reduce them to a state of abject slavery. Administration could not have invented a method so effectual for raising the spirit of the colonies, or promoting among them an entire union of sentiment. At the same time the people on your side the water have for several months been repeatedly informing our merchants of this manœuvre and advising them, as they regarded their sacred rights, to withstand the landing of the teas by the most vigorous opposition.

While the minds of the people were impressed with these sentiments the vessels arrived with the teas, consigned to Messrs. Richard Clark & Sons, Thomas and Elisha Hutchinson, Benjamin Faneuil and Joshua Winslow, Esqrs. Previous to this the town of Boston had several meetings, in order to induce the assignees to resign their trust, but to no purpose, and immediately upon the arrival of the vessels aforesaid, that every measure possible might be taken to prevent confusion and disorder, while the minds of all were in great agitation, the people in this and many of the neighboring towns assembled Edition: current; Page: [256] in the Old South Meeting House (Faneuil Hall not being capacious enough to contain the people that attended), to prevail with the consignees to send back the teas, and if possible to preserve it from that destruction which the resentment of the people might justly lead them to expect. You will see by the enclosed papers the measures they took and the resolves they passed, and will wonder, perhaps, that these resolves and measures were in vain. They not only treated with the consignees, but with the owners and masters of these vessels, but all without success. Despairing to effectuate any method of accommodation, after having tried all that could be devised to no purpose, they dissolved the meeting, which, agreeable to their constant and declared design, had protected the teas from destruction. Nigh twenty days were now passed since the arrival of one of the tea vessels, commanded by Capt. Hall, at which time, according to Act of Parliament, it was in the power of the custom-house officers to take the teas into their own possession in order to secure the duties. There were just grounds to think that they intended to do it the minute the twenty days were expired, and that they would attempt to land them by force and overbear any opposition that might be made by a second effusion of blood. Under these apprehensions the teas, the evening of the 16th instant, were destroyed by a number of persons unknown and in disguise. Such was the obstinacy of the consignees, their advisers and coadjutors, such their aversion to all conciliating measures, that they are almost universally condemned, and some even of the court party among Edition: current; Page: [257] us acknowledged that the destruction of the teas must be imputed to these obstinate enemies of our liberties, who never would consent to any method proposed for its preservation, and who perhaps wished to irritate and inflame the minds of an injured, oppressed people to measures of violence, of which afterwards they hoped to make their own advantages.

The House of Representatives, at the last session, appointed us a committee to write to their agent. In pursuance of this appointment we have given you this information of the present state of our affairs, and doubt not you will make such an improvement of this intelligence as shall be most for the interest of this province in particular, and of the colonies in general.

We are, with respect, your most humble servants,

Thomas Cushing,
Sam’l Rhoades,
John Hancock,
Wm. Phillips.
Benjamin Franklin, Esq.

DLV: PREFACE TO “AN ABRIDGMENT OF THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.”1

The editor of the following abridgment of the Liturgy of the Church of England thinks it but Edition: current; Page: [258] decent and respectful to all, more particularly to the reverend body of clergy, who adorn the Protestant religion by their good works, preaching, and example, that he should humbly offer some reasons for such an undertaking. He addresses himself to the serious and discerning. He professes himself to be a Protestant of the Church of England, and holds in the highest veneration the doctrines of Jesus Christ. He is a sincere lover of social worship, deeply sensible of its usefulness to society; and he aims at doing some service to religion, by proposing such abbreviations and omissions in the forms of our Liturgy (retaining every thing he thinks essential) as might, if adopted, procure a more general attendance. For, besides the differing sentiments of many pious and well-disposed persons in some speculative points, who in general Edition: current; Page: [259] have a good opinion of our Church, it has often been observed and complained of, that the Morning and Evening Service, as practised in England and elsewhere, are so long, and filled with so many repetitions, that the continued attention suitable to so serious a duty becomes impracticable, the mind wanders, and the fervency of devotion is slackened. Also the propriety of saying the same prayer more than once in the same service is doubted, as the service is thereby lengthened without apparent necessity; our Lord having given us a short prayer as an example, and censured the heathen for thinking to be heard because of much speaking.

Moreover, many pious and devout persons, whose age or infirmities will not suffer them to remain for hours in a cold church, especially in the winter Edition: current; Page: [260] season, are obliged to forego the comfort and edification they would receive by their attendance at divine service. These, by shortening the time, would be relieved; and the younger sort, who have had some principles of religion instilled into them, and who have been educated in a belief of the necessity of adoring their Maker, would probably more frequently, as well as cheerfully, attend divine service, if they were not detained so long at any one time. Also many well-disposed tradesmen, shopkeepers, artificers, and others, whose habitations are not remote from churches, could, and would, more frequently at least, find time to attend divine service on other than Sundays, if the prayers were reduced to a much narrower compass.

Formerly there were three services performed at different times of the day, which three services are now usually joined in one. This may suit the convenience of the person who officiates, but is too often inconvenient and tiresome to the congregation. If this abridgment, therefore, should ever meet with acceptance, the well-disposed clergy who are laudably desirous to encourage the frequency of divine service, may promote so great and good a purpose by repeating it three times on a Sunday, without so much fatigue to themselves as at present. Suppose, at nine o’clock, at eleven, and at one in the evening; and by preaching no more sermons than usual of a moderate length; and thereby accommodate a greater number of people with convenient hours.

These were general reasons for wishing and proposing an abridgment. In attempting it we do not Edition: current; Page: [261] presume to dictate even to a single Christian. We are sensible there is a proper authority in the rulers of the Church for ordering such matters; and whenever the time shall come when it may be thought not unreasonable to revise our Liturgy, there is no doubt but every suitable improvement will be made, under the care and direction of so much learning, wisdom, and piety, in one body of men collected. Such a work as this must then be much better executed. In the meantime this humble performance may serve to show the practicability of shortening the service near one half, without the omission of what is essentially necessary; and we hope, moreover, that the book may be occasionally of some use to families, or private assemblies of Christians.

To give now some account of particulars. We have presumed upon this plan of abridgment to omit the First Lesson, which is taken from the Old Testament, and retain only the Second from the New Testament, which, we apprehend, is more suitable to teach the so-much-to-be-revered doctrine of Christ, and of more immediate importance to Christians; although the Old Testament is allowed by all to be an accurate and concise history, and, as such, may more properly be read at home.

We do not conceive it necessary for Christians to make use of more than one creed. Therefore, in this abridgment are omitted the Nicene Creed and that of St. Athanasius. Of the Apostle’s Creed we have retained the parts that are most intelligible and most essential. And as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are there confessedly and avowedly a part of Edition: current; Page: [262] the belief, it does not appear necessary, after so solemn a confession, to repeat again, in the Litany, the Son and Holy Ghost, as that part of the service is otherwise very prolix.

The Psalms being a collection of odes written by different persons, it hath happened that many of them are on the same subject and repeat the same sentiments—such as those that complain of enemies and persecutors, call upon God for protection, express a confidence therein, and thank him for it when afforded. A very great part of the book consists of repetitions of this kind, which may therefore well bear abridgment. Other parts are merely historical, repeating the mention of facts more fully narrated in the preceding books, and which, relating to the ancestors of the Jews, were more interesting to them than to us. Other parts are local, and allude to places of which we have no knowledge, and therefore do not affect us. Others are personal, relating to the particular circumstances of David or Solomon, as kings, and can therefore seldom be rehearsed with any propriety by private Christians. Others imprecate, in the most bitter terms, the vengeance of God on our adversaries, contrary to the spirit of Christianity, which commands us to love our enemies, and to pray for those that hate us and despitefully use us. For these reasons it is to be wished that the same liberty were by the governors of our Church allowed to the minister with regard to the reading Psalms, as is taken by the clerk with regard to those that are to be sung, in directing the parts that he may judge most Edition: current; Page: [263] suitable to be read at the time, from the present circumstances of the congregation, or the tenor of his sermon, by saying, “Let us read” such and such parts of the Psalms named. Until this is done our abridgment, it is hoped, will be found to contain what may be most generally proper to be joined in by an assembly of Christian people. The Psalms are still apportioned to the days of the month, as heretofore, though the several parts for each day are generally a full third shorter.

We humbly suppose the same service contained in this abridgment might properly serve for all the saint’s days, fasts, and feasts, reading only the Epistle and Gospel appropriated to each day of the month.

The Communion is greatly abridged, on account of its great length; nevertheless, it is hoped and believed that all those parts are retained which are material and necessary.

Infant Baptism in Churches being performed during divine service, would greatly add to the length of that service, if it were not abridged. We have ventured, therefore, to leave out the less material parts.

The Catechism, as a compendium of systematic theology, which learned divines have written folio volumes to explain, and which, therefore, it may be presumed, they thought scarce intelligible without such expositions, is, perhaps, taken altogether, not so well adapted to the capacities of children as might be wished. Only those plain answers, therefore, which express our duty towards God, and our duty towards our neighbor, are retained here. The rest is Edition: current; Page: [264] recommended to their reading and serious consideration, when more years shall have ripened their understanding.

The Confirmation is here shortened.

The Commination, and all cursing of mankind, is, we think, best omitted in this abridgment.

The form of solemnization of Matrimony is often abbreviated by the officiating minister, at his discretion. We have selected what appear to us the material parts, and which, we humbly hope, will be deemed sufficient.

The long prayers in the service for the Visitation of the Sick seem not so proper, when the afflicted person is very weak and in distress.

The Order for the Burial of the Dead is very solemn and moving; nevertheless, to preserve the health and lives of the living, it appeared to us that this service ought particularly to be shortened. For numbers standing in the open air with their hats off, often in tempestuous weather, during the celebration, its great length is not only inconvenient, but may be dangerous to the attendants. We hope, therefore, that our abridgment of it will be approved by the rational and prudent.

The Thanksgiving of women after childbirth being, when read, part of the service of the day, we have also, in some measure, abridged that.

Having thus stated very briefly our motives and reasons, and our manner of proceeding in the prosecution of this work, we hope to be believed, when we declare the rectitude of our intentions. We mean not to lessen or prevent the practice of religion, but Edition: current; Page: [265] to honor and promote it. We acknowledge the excellency of our present Liturgy, and, though we have shortened it, we have not presumed to alter a word in the remaining text; not even to substitute who for which in the Lord’s Prayer, and elsewhere, although it would be more correct. We respect the characters of bishops and other dignitaries of our Church, and, with regard to the inferior clergy, we wish that they were more equally provided for, than by that odious and vexatious as well as unjust method of gathering tithes in kind, which creates animosities and litigations, to the interruption of the good harmony and respect which might otherwise subsist between the rectors and their parishioners.

And thus, conscious of upright meaning, we submit this abridgment to the serious consideration of the prudent and dispassionate, and not to enthusiasts and bigots; being convinced in our own breasts, that this shortened method, or one of the same kind better executed, would further religion, increase unanimity, and occasion a more frequent attendance on the worship of God.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
5 January, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLVI

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I received the honor of yours dated October 28th, with the journals of the House and Mr. Turner’s election sermon. I waited on Lord Dartmouth, on his return to town, and learned that he Edition: current; Page: [266] had presented to his Majesty a petition for the removal of the governors. No subsequent step had yet been taken upon it, but his Lordship said the king would probably refer the consideration of it to a committee of council, and that I should have notice to be heard in support of it. By the turn of his conversation, though he was not explicit, I apprehend the petition is not likely to be complied with, but we shall see. His Lordship expressed, as usual, much concern at the differences subsisting, and wished they would be accommodated. Perhaps his good wishes are all that is in his power.

The famous letters having unfortunately engaged Mr. Temple and Mr. Whately in a duel, which, being interrupted, would probably be renewed, I thought it incumbent on me to prevent, as far as I could, any further mischief, by declaring publicly the part I had in the affair of those letters, and thereby at the same time to rescue Mr. Temple’s character from an undeserved and groundless imputation, that bore hard upon his honor, viz., that of taking the letters from Mr. Whately, and in breach of confidence. I did this with the more pleasure, as I believe him a sincere friend to our country. I am told by some that it was imprudent in me to avow the obtaining and sending those letters, for that administration will resent it. I have not much apprehension of this, but if it happens I must take the consequences. I only hope it will not effect any friend on your side of the water, for I have never mentioned to whom they were transmitted.

A letter of mine to you, printed in one of the Boston Edition: current; Page: [267] papers, has lately been reprinted here, to show, as the publisher expresses it, that I am “one of the most determined enemies of the welfare and prosperity of Great Britain.” In the opinion of some, every one who wishes the good of the whole empire may nevertheless be an enemy to the welfare of Great Britain, if he does not wish its good exclusively of every other part, and to see its welfare built on their servitude and wretchedness. Such an enemy I certainly am. But methinks it is wrong to print letters of mine at Boston, which give occasion to these reflections.

I shall continue to do all I possibly can this winter towards an accommodation of our differences; but my hopes are small. Divine Providence first infatuates the power it designs to ruin. With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
5 January, 1774
London
William Franklin
Franklin, William
DLVII

TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN

Dear Son:

I received yours of October 29th, and November 2d. Your December packet is not yet arrived.

No insinuations of the kind you mention, concerning Mr. Galloway, have reached me, and if they had, it would have been without the least effect; as I have always had the strongest reliance on the steadiness of his friendship, and on the best grounds, the Edition: current; Page: [268] knowledge I have of his integrity, and the often repeated disinterested services he has rendered me. My return will interfere with nobody’s interest or influence in public affairs, as my intention is to decline all interest in them, and every active part, except where it can serve a friend, and to content myself with communicating the knowledge of them which my situation may have furnished me with, and be content with giving my advice for the public benefit, where it may be asked, or where I shall think it may be attended to; for, being now about entering my sixty-ninth year, and having lived so great a part of my life to the public, it seems but fair that I should be allowed to live the small remainder to myself and to my friends.

If the honorable office you mention will be agreeable to him, I heartily wish it him. I only hope that, if offered to him, he will insist on its being not during pleasure, but quamdiu se bene gesserit.

Our friend Temple, as you will see by the papers, has been engaged in a duel, about an affair in which he had no concern. As the combat was interrupted, and understood to be unfinished, I thought it incumbent on me to do what I could for preventing further mischief, and so declared my having transmitted the letters in question. This has drawn some censure upon myself; but, as I grow old, I grow less concerned about censure, when I am satisfied that I act rightly; and I have the pleasure of having exculpated a friend, who lay undeservedly under an imputation much to his dishonor.

I am now seriously preparing for my departure to Edition: current; Page: [269] America. I propose sending my luggage, books, instruments, etc., by All or Falconer, and taking my passage to New York in one of the spring or summer packets, partly for settling some business with the post-office there, and partly that I may see you on my way to Philadelphia, and learn thereby more perfectly the state of affairs there. Your affectionate father,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
12 February, 1774
London
Josiah Tucker
Tucker, Josiah
DLVIII

TO JOSIAH TUCKER

Reverend Sir:

Being informed by a friend that some severe strictures on my conduct and character had appeared in a new book published under your respectable name, I purchased and read it. After thanking you for those parts of it that are so instructive on points of great importance to the common interests of mankind, permit me to complain that, if by the description you give in pages 180, 181, of a certain American patriot, whom you say you need not name, you do, as is supposed, mean myself, nothing can be further from the truth than your assertion that I applied or used any interest, directly or indirectly, to be appointed one of the stamp officers for America. I certainly never expressed a wish of the kind to any person whatever; much less was I, as you say, “more than ordinary assiduous on this head.” I have heretofore seen in the newspapers Edition: current; Page: [270] insinuations of the same import, naming me expressly; but being without the name of the writer, I took no notice of them. I know not whether they were yours, or were only your authority for your present charge; but now that they have the weight of your name and dignified character, I am more sensible of the injury; and I beg leave to request that you will reconsider the grounds on which you have ventured to publish an accusation that, if believed, must prejudice me extremely in the opinion of good men, especially in my own country, whence I was sent expressly to oppose the imposition of that tax. If on such reconsideration and inquiry you find, as I am persuaded you will, that you have been imposed upon by false reports, or have too lightly given credit to hearsays in a matter that concerns another’s reputation, I flatter myself that your equity will induce you to do me justice by retracting that accusation. In confidence of this, I am, with great esteem, reverend sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Josiah Tucker
Tucker, Josiah
21 February, 1774
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin

FROM JOSIAH TUCKER1

Sir:

The letter which you did me the honor to send to Gloucester, I have just received in London, Edition: current; Page: [271] where I have resided many weeks, and am now returning to Gloucester. On inquiry I find that I was mistaken in some circumstances relating to your conduct about the Stamp Act, though right as to the substance. These errors shall be rectified the first opportunity. After having assured you that I am no dealer in anonymous newspaper paragraphs, nor have a connection with any who are, I have the honor to be, sir, your humble servant,

J. Tucker.
Dr. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
21 February, 1774
London
Josiah Tucker
Tucker, Josiah

TO JOSIAH TUCKER

Reverend Sir:

I received your favor of yesterday. If the substance of what you have charged me with is right, I can have but little concern about any mistakes in the circumstances; whether they are rectified or not will be immaterial. But, knowing the substance to be wrong, and believing that you can have no desire of continuing in an error prejudicial to any man’s reputation, I am persuaded you will not take it amiss, if I request you to communicate to me the particulars of the information you have received, that I may have an opportunity of examining them; and I flatter myself I shall be able to satisfy you that Edition: current; Page: [272] they are groundless. I propose this method as more decent than a public altercation, and suiting better the respect due to your character. With great regard, I have the honor to be, reverend sir, your most obedient humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Josiah Tucker
Tucker, Josiah
24 February, 1774
Gloucester
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin

FROM J. TUCKER

Sir:

The request made in your last letter is so very just and reasonable, that I shall comply with it very readily. It has long appeared to me, that you much exceeded the bounds of morality in the methods you pursued for the advancement of the supposed interest of America. If it can be proved that I have unjustly suspected you, I shall acknowledge my error with as much satisfaction as you can have in reading my recantation of it. As to the case more immediately referred to in your letters, I was repeatedly informed that you had solicited the late Mr. George Grenville for a place or agency in the distribution of stamps in America. From which circumstance I myself concluded that you had made interest for it on your own account; whereas I am now informed there are no positive proofs of your having solicited to obtain such a place for yourself, but that there is sufficient evidence still existing of your having applied for it in favor of another person. If this latter should prove to be the fact, as I am assured it will, I am willing to suppose, from several expressions in both your letters, that you will readily acknowledge Edition: current; Page: [273] that the difference in this case between yourself and your friend is very immaterial to the general merits of the question. But if you should have distinctions in this case which are above my comprehension, I shall content myself with observing that your great abilities and happy discoveries deserve universal regard; and that, as on these accounts I respect and esteem you, so I have the honor to be, sir, your very humble servant,

J. Tucker.
Dr. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
26 February, 1774
London
Josiah Tucker
Tucker, Josiah

TO JOSIAH TUCKER

Reverend Sir:

I thank you for the frankness with which you have communicated to me the particulars of the information you had received, relating to my supposed application to Mr. Grenville for a place in the American stamp office. As I deny that either your former or later informations are true, it seems incumbent on me, for your satisfaction, to relate all the circumstances fairly to you, that could possibly give rise to such mistakes.

Some days after the Stamp Act was passed, to which I had given all the opposition I could with Mr. Grenville, I received a note from Mr. Whately, his secretary, desiring to see me the next morning. I waited upon him accordingly, and found with him several other colony agents. He acquainted us that Mr. Grenville was desirous to make the execution of the act as little inconvenient and disagreeable to the Edition: current; Page: [274] Americans as possible; and therefore did not think of sending stamp officers from hence, but wished to have discreet and reputable persons appointed in each province from among the inhabitants, such as would be acceptable to them; for, as they were to pay the tax, he thought strangers should not have the emoluments. Mr. Whately therefore wished us to name for our respective colonies, informing us that Mr. Grenville would be obliged to us for pointing out to him honest and responsible men, and would pay great regard to our nominations. By this plausible and apparently candid declaration we were drawn in to nominate; and I named for our province Mr. Hughes, saying, at the same time, that I knew not whether he would accept of it, but, if he did, I was sure he would execute the office faithfully. I soon after had notice of his appointment. We none of us, I believe, foresaw or imagined that this compliance with the request of the minister would or could have been called an application of ours, and adduced as a proof of our approbation of the act we had been opposing, otherwise I think few of us would have named at all; I am sure I should not. This, I assure you, and can prove to you by living evidence, is a true account of the transaction in question, which, if you compare with that you have been induced to give of it in your book, I am persuaded you will see a difference that is far from being “a distinction above your comprehension.

Permit me further to remark that your expression of there being “no positive proofs of my having solicited to obtain such a place for myself,” implies that Edition: current; Page: [275] there are nevertheless some circumstantial proofs sufficient at least to support a suspicion. The latter part, however, of the same sentence, which says, “there is sufficient evidence still existing of my having applied for it in favor of another person,” must, I apprehend, if credited, destroy that suspicion, and be considered as positive proof of the contrary; for, if I had interest enough with Mr. Grenville to obtain that place for another, is it likely that it would have been refused me, had I asked it for myself?

There is another circumstance, which I would offer to your candid consideration. You describe me as “changing sides, and appearing at the bar of the House of Commons to cry down the very measure I had espoused, and direct the storm that was falling upon that minister.” As this must have been after my supposed solicitation of the favor for myself or my friend, and as Mr. Grenville and Mr. Whately were both in the House at the time, and both asked me questions, can it be conceived that, offended as they must have been with such a conduct in me, neither of them should put me in mind of this my sudden changing of sides, or remark it to the House, or reproach me with it, or require my reasons for it? And yet all the members then present know that not a syllable of the kind fell from either of them, or from any of their party.

I persuade myself by this time you begin to suspect you may have been misled by your informers. I do not ask who they are, because I do not wish to have particular motives for disliking people who in general may deserve my respect. They too may Edition: current; Page: [276] have drawn consequences beyond the information they received from others, and, hearing the office had been given to a person of my nomination, might as naturally suppose I had solicited it, as Dr. Tucker, hearing that I had solicited it, might “conclude” it was for myself.

I desire you to believe that I take kindly, as I ought, your freely mentioning to me “that it has long appeared to you that I much exceeded the bounds of morality in the methods I pursued for the advancement of the supposed interests of America.” I am sensible there is a good deal of truth in the adage that our sins and our debts are always more than we take them to be; and though I cannot at present, on examination of my conscience, charge myself with any immorality of that kind, it becomes me to suspect that what has long appeared to you may have some foundation. You are so good as to add that, “if it can be proved you have unjustly suspected me, you shall have a satisfaction in acknowledging the error.” It is often a hard thing to prove that suspicions are unjust, even when we know what they are; and harder, when we are unacquainted with them. I must presume, therefore, that, in mentioning them, you had an intention of communicating the grounds of them to me, if I should request it, which I now do, and, I assure you, with a sincere desire and design of amending what you may show me to have been wrong in my conduct, and to thank you for the admonition. In your writings I appear a bad man; but, if I am such, and you can thus help me to become in reality a good one, I shall esteem it more than a sufficient Edition: current; Page: [277] reparation to, reverend sir, your most obedient humble servant,

B. Franklin.1

Feb. 7, 1775, no answer has yet been received to the above letter.

B. F.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
15 February, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLIX

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I wrote a line to you by the last packet, just to acquaint you there had been a hearing on our petition. I shall now give you the history of it as succinctly as I can.

We had long imagined that the king would have considered that petition, as he had done the preceding one, in his cabinet, and have given an answer without a hearing, since it did not pray punishments or disabilities on the governors. But on Saturday, the 8th of January, in the afternoon, I received notice from the clerk of the council that the Lords of the Committee for Plantation Affairs would, on the Tuesday following at twelve, meet at the Cockpit, to take into consideration the petition referred to them by his Majesty, and that my attendance was required.

I sent directly to Mr. Arthur Lee, requesting a meeting, that we might consult upon it. He was not at his chambers, but my note was left for him. Edition: current; Page: [278] Sunday morning I went to Mr. Bollan and communicated the affair to him. He had received a similar notice. We considered whether it was best to employ other counsel, since Mr. Lee, he said, could not be admitted as such, not being yet called to the bar. He thought it not advisable. He had sometimes done it in colony cases and found lawyers of little service. Those who are eminent, and hope to rise in their profession, are unwilling to offend the court, and its disposition on this occasion was well known. But he would move to be heard in behalf of the council of the province, and thence take occasion to support the petition himself.

I went and sent again to Mr. Lee’s chambers in the Temple, but could not meet with him, and it was not till near the end of the week that I learnt he was at Bath. On Monday, very late in the afternoon, I received another notice, that Mr. Mauduit, agent for the governor and lieutenant-governor, had asked and obtained leave to be heard by counsel on the morrow in their behalf. This very short notice seemed intended to surprise us. On Tuesday we attended at the Cockpit, and, the petition being read, I was called upon for what I had to offer in support of it, when, as had been concerted between us, I acquainted their Lordships that Mr. Bollan, then present, in pursuance of their notice, would speak to it.

He came forward and began to speak; but objection was immediately made by some of the Lords, that he, being only agent for the council, which was not a party to this petition, could not properly be heard on it. He, however, repeatedly endeavored to Edition: current; Page: [279] obtain leave to speak, but without effect; they would scarce hear out a sentence, and finally set him aside. I then said that, with the petition of the House of Representatives, I had received their resolutions which preceded it, and a copy of the letters on which those resolutions were founded, which I would lay before their Lordships in support of the petition.

The resolutions were accordingly read; but, when the letters were taken up, Mr. Wedderburn, the solicitor-general, brought there as counsel for the governors, began to object, and inquire how they were authenticated, as did also some of the Lords. I said the authentications were annexed. They wanted to know the nature of them. I said that would appear when they were read, and prayed they would hear them. Lord Chief-Justice De Grey asked whom the letters were directed to; and, taking them in his hand, observed there was no address prefixed to any of them. I said that, though it did not appear to whom they were directed, it appeared who had written them; their names were subscribed; the originals had been shown to the gentlemen themselves, and they had not denied their handwriting; and the testifications annexed proved these to be true copies.

With difficulty I obtained leave to have the authentications read; and the solicitor-general proceeding to make observations as counsel for the governors, I said to their Lordships that it was some surprise to me to find counsel employed against the petition; that I had no notice of that intention till late in the preceding day; that I had not purposed troubling Edition: current; Page: [280] their Lordships with the hearing of counsel, because I did not conceive that any thing could possibly arise out of the petition, any point of law or of right, that might require the discussion of lawyers; that I apprehended this matter before their Lordships was rather a question of civil or political prudence, whether, on the state of the fact that the governors had lost all trust and confidence with the people, and become universally obnoxious, it would be for the interest of his Majesty’s service to continue them in those stations in that province; that I conceived this to be a question of which their Lordships were already perfect judges, and could receive no assistance in it from the arguments of counsel; but, if counsel was to be heard on the other side, I must then request leave to bring counsel in behalf of the Assembly, and that their Lordships would be pleased to appoint a further day for the hearing, to give time for preparing the counsel.

Mr. Mauduit was then asked if he would waive the leave he had, of being heard by counsel, that their Lordships might proceed immediately to consider the petition. He said he was requested by the governors to defend them, and they had promised to defray the expense, by which he understood that they expected he should employ counsel; and then, making me some compliments, as if of superior abilities, said he should not against me, hazard the defence of his friends by taking it upon himself. I said I had intended merely to lay the papers before their Lordships, without making a single comment on them. But this did not satisfy; he chose to be heard by Edition: current; Page: [281] counsel. So finally I had leave to be heard by counsel also in behalf of the petition. The solicitor-general, finding his cavils against the admission of the letters were not supportable, at last said that, to save their Lordships’ time, he would admit the copies to be true transcripts of the originals, but he should reserve to himself a right, when the matter came on again, of asking certain questions, such as how the Assembly came into possession of them, through what hands, and by what means they were procured. “Certainly,” replied Lord Chief-Justice De Grey, somewhat austerely, “and to whom they were directed; for the perfect understanding of the passages may depend on that and other such circumstances. We can receive no charge against a man founded on letters directed to nobody, and perhaps received by nobody. The laws of this country have no such practice.” Lord President, near whom I stood, as I was putting up my papers, asked me if I intended to answer such questions. In that, I said, I shall take counsel. The day appointed for the hearing was the 29th of January.

Several friends now came to me and advised me to retain Mr. Dunning, formerly solicitor-general, and very able in his profession. I wished first to consult with Mr. Lee, supposing he might rather be for his friend, Mr. Sergeant Glynn. I found Mr. Lee was expected in town about the latter end of the week, and thought to wait his coming; in the meantime I was urged to take Mr. Dunning’s advice as to my own conduct if such questions should be asked me. I did so, and he was clear that I was not and could not be Edition: current; Page: [282] obliged to answer them if I did not choose it, which I informed him was the case, being under a promise not to divulge from whom I received the letters. He said he would attend, however, if I desired it, and object in my behalf to their putting such questions.

A report now prevailed through the town that I had been grossly abused by the solicitor-general at the council board. But this was premature. He had only intended it, and mentioned that intention. I heard, too, from all quarters, that the ministry and all the courtiers were highly enraged against me for transmitting those letters. I was called an incendiary, and the papers were filled with invectives against me. Hints were given me that there were some thoughts of apprehending me, seizing my papers, and sending me to Newgate. I was well informed that a resolution was taken to deprive me of my place; it was only thought best to defer it till after the hearing, I suppose, because I was there to be so blackened that nobody should think it injustice. Many knew, too, how the petition was to be treated, and I was told, even before the first hearing, that it was to be rejected with some epithets, the Assembly to be censured, and some honor done the governors. How this could be known one cannot say. It might be only conjecture.

The transactions relating to the tea had increased and strengthened the torrent of clamor against us. No one had the least expectation of success to the petition, and, though I had asked leave to use counsel, I was half inclined to waive it, and save you the expense, but Mr. Bollan was now strongly for it, as Edition: current; Page: [283] they had refused to hear him. And, though fortified by his opinion, as he had long experience in your affairs, I would at first have ventured to deviate from the instructions you sent me in that particular, supposing you to allow some discretionary liberty to your agents; yet, now that he urged it as necessary, I employed a solicitor and furnished him with what materials I could for framing a brief; and Mr. Lee, coming to town, entered heartily into the business, and undertook to engage Sergeant Glynn, who would readily have served us, but being in a fit of the gout, which made his attendance uncertain, the solicitor retained Mr. Dunning and Mr. John Lee, another able man of the profession.

While my mind was taken up with this business, I was harassed with a subpœna from the chancellor to attend his court the next day, at the suit of Mr. William Whately concerning the letters. This man was under personal obligations to me, such as would have made it base in him to commence such a suit of his own motion against me, without any previous notice, claim, or demand; but if he was capable of doing it at the instance of the ministry, whose banker he is, for some pension money, he must be still baser.

The briefs being prepared and perused by our counsel, we had a consultation at Mr. Dunning’s chambers in Lincoln’s Inn. I introduced Mr. Arthur Lee as my friend and successor in the agency. The brief, as you will see by a copy I send you, pointed out the passages of the letters which were applicable in support of the particular charges contained in the resolutions Edition: current; Page: [284] and petition. But the counsel observed, we wanted evidence to prove those passages false; the counsel on the other side would say, they were true representations of the state of the country; and, as to the political reflections of the writers, and their sentiments of government, their aims to extend and enforce the power of Parliament and diminish the privileges of their countrymen, though these might appear in the letters and need no other proof, yet they would never be considered here as offences, but as virtues and merits. The counsel therefore thought it would answer no good end to insist on those particulars; and that it was more advisable to state as facts the general discontent of the people, that the governors had lost all credit with them, and were become odious etc.; facts of which the petition was itself full proof, because otherwise it could not have existed; and then show that it must in such a situation be necessary for his Majesty’s service, as well as the peace of the province, to remove them. By this opinion, great part of the brief became unnecessary.

Notwithstanding the intimations I had received, I could not believe that the solicitor-general would be permitted to wander from the question before their Lordships into a new case, the accusation of another person for another matter, not cognizable before them, who could not expect to be there so accused, and therefore could not be prepared for his defence. And yet all this happened, and in all probability was preconcerted; for all the courtiers were invited, as to an entertainment, and there never was such an appearance of privy councillors on any occasion, not less Edition: current; Page: [285] than thirty-five, besides an immense crowd of other auditors.

The hearing began by reading my letter to Lord Dartmouth, enclosing the petition, then the petition itself, the resolves, and lastly the letters, the solicitor-general making no objections, nor asking any of the questions he had talked of at the preceding board. Our counsel then opened the matter, upon their general plan, and acquitted themselves very handsomely; only Mr. Dunning, having a disorder on his lungs that weakened his voice exceedingly, was not so perfectly heard as one could have wished. The solicitor-general then went into what he called a history of the province for the last ten years, and bestowed plenty of abuse upon it, mingled with encomium on the governors. But the favorite part of his discourse was levelled at your agent, who stood there the butt of his invective ribaldry for near an hour, not a single Lord adverting to the impropriety and indecency of treating a public messenger in so ignominious a manner, who was present only as the person delivering your petition, with the consideration of which, no part of his conduct had any concern. If he had done a wrong in obtaining and transmitting the letters, that was not the tribunal where he was to be accused and tried. The cause was already before the chancellor. Not one of their Lordships checked and recalled the orator to the business before them, but, on the contrary, a very few excepted, they seemed to enjoy highly the entertainment, and frequently burst out in loud applauses. This part of his speech was thought so good, that they have since printed it, in Edition: current; Page: [286] order to defame me everywhere, and particularly to destroy my reputation on your side of the water; but the grosser parts of the abuse are omitted, appearing, I suppose, in their own eyes, too foul to be seen on paper; so that the speech, compared to what it was, is now perfectly decent. I send you one of the copies. My friends advise me to write an answer, which I purpose immediately.

The reply of Mr. Dunning concluded. Being very ill, and much incommoded by standing so long, his voice was so feeble as to be scarce audible. What little I heard was very well said, but appeared to have little effect.

Their Lordships’ Report, which I send you, is dated the same day. It contains a severe censure, as you will see, on the petition and the petitioners; and, as I think, a very unfair conclusion from my silence, that the charge of surreptitiously obtaining the letters was a true one; though the solicitor, as appears in the printed speech, had acquainted them that the matter was before the chancellor; and my counsel had stated the impropriety of my answering there to charges then trying in another court. In truth I came by them honorably, and my intention in sending them was virtuous, if an endeavor to lessen the breach between two states of the same empire be such, by showing that the injuries complained of by one of them did not proceed from the other, but from traitors among themselves.1

It may be supposed that I am very angry on this Edition: current; Page: [287] occasion, and therefore I did purpose to add no reflections of mine on the treatment the Assembly and their agent have received, lest they should be thought the effects of resentment and a desire of exasperating. But, indeed, what I feel on my own account is half lost in what I feel for the public. When I see that all petitions and complaints of grievances are so odious to government, that even the mere pipe which conveys them becomes obnoxious, I am at a loss to know how peace and union are to be maintained or restored between the different parts of the empire. Grievances cannot be redressed unless they are known; and they cannot be known but through complaints and petitions. If these are deemed affronts, and the messengers punished as offenders, who will henceforth send petitions? And who will deliver them? It has been thought a dangerous thing in any state to stop up the vent of griefs. Wise governments have therefore generally received petitions with some indulgence, even when but slightly founded. Those who think themselves injured by their rulers are sometimes, by a mild and prudent answer, convinced of their error. But where complaining is a crime, hope becomes despair.

The day following I received a written notice from the secretary of the general post-office, that his Majesty’s postmaster-general found it necessary to dismiss me from my office of deputy postmaster-general in North America. The expression was well chosen, for in truth they were under a necessity of doing it; it was not their own inclination; they had no fault to find with my conduct in the office; they Edition: current; Page: [288] knew my merit in it, and that if it was now an office of value it had become such chiefly through my care and good management; that it was worth nothing when given to me; it would not then pay the salary allowed me, and unless it did I was not to expect it; and that it now produces near three thousand pounds a year clear to the treasury here. They had besides a personal regard for me. But as the post-offices in all the principal towns are growing daily more and more valuable by the increase of correspondence, the officers being paid commissions instead of salaries, the ministers seem to intend, by directing me to be displaced on this occasion, to hold out to them all an example, that if they are not corrupted by their office to promote the measures of administration, though against the interests and rights of the colonies, they must not expect to be continued. This is the first act for extending the influence of government in this branch. But as orders have been some time since given to the American postmaster-general, who used to have the disposition of all places under him, not to fill vacancies of value till notice of such vacancies had been sent hither and instructions thereupon received from hence, it is plain that such influence is to be a part of the system, and probable that those vacancies will for the future be filled by officers from this country. How safe the correspondence of your Assembly committees along the continent will be through the hands of such officers may now be worth consideration, especially as the post-office act of Parliament allows a postmaster to open letters if warranted so to do by the order of a secretary of state, Edition: current; Page: [289] and every provincial secretary may be deemed a secretary of state in his own province.

It is not yet known what steps will be taken by government with regard to the colonies, or to our province in particular. But as inquiries are making of all who come from thence concerning the late riot and the meetings that preceded it, and who were speakers and movers at these meetings, I suspect there is some intention of seizing persons, and perhaps of sending them hither. But of this I have no certainty. No motion has yet been made in the House of Commons concerning our affairs, and that made in the House of Lords was withdrawn for the present. It is not likely, however, that the session will pass over without some proceeding relating to us, though perhaps it is not yet settled what the measures shall be.

With my best wishes for the prosperity of the province, I have the honor to be, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.

While acting as agent for the colonies in London, certain letters were placed in Franklin’s hands, which had been written in Boston by Governor Hutchinson, Lieutenant-Governor Oliver, Charles Paxton, Nathaniel Rogers, and G. Rome, to Thomas Whately, at the time a member of Parliament and private secretary to Mr. Grenville, one of the cabinet. After Mr. Whately’s death, these letters were handed, by some person still unknown, to Dr. Franklin, with permission to show them to some of his correspondents in Boston, but upon the conditions that they were not to be printed, that no copies should Edition: current; Page: [290] be taken of them; that they should be shown only to a few leading people of the government; and that they should be carefully returned. The Doctor, finding they were in no sense private letters, but were from an official source and designed and calculated to exert an important influence upon the government, to the manifest prejudice of the colonies, sent them to Thomas Cushing, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts, who exhibited them to a few confidential friends.

The sentiments expressed in them were about as unpalatable on this side of the Atlantic at that time as any thing they could have written. “There must be an abridgment,” Hutchinson wrote, “of what are called English liberties; for a colony cannot enjoy all the liberty of a parent state.” He recommended not only coercive measures, but also a material change in the system of chartered government. He expressed “hopes that provisions for dissolving commercial combinations, and for inflicting penalties upon those who do not renounce them, would be made by Parliament.”

These communications were deemed to be of such a treacherous character, the principal, if not all the writers, being native-born Americans, that no efforts on the part of Mr. Cushing were sufficient to prevent their being made public. As Hutchinson afterwards told the king, “the people abroad compelled their publication, or would not be satisfied without it.” The Massachusetts legislature promptly sent to Franklin a petition addressed to the king for the removal of the governor and lieutenant-governor. The presentation of this petition before the council placed Franklin in what was probably the most painful and embarrassing position of his life. Franklin’s account of the foul treatment which he received at the hands of the privy council, as set forth in his correspondence, Edition: current; Page: [291] is confirmed by witnesses interested in extenuating the conduct of the council to the utmost.

The report of the “Examination” here given, was made by Mr. Israel Mauduit, the counsel for Hutchinson and his friends. He was the petitioner against the application of the Massachusetts Assembly to have them recalled.

Examination of Dr. Franklin at the Council-Chamber, January 11, 1774. Present: Lord President, the Secretaries of State, and many other Lords.

Dr. Franklin’s letter and the address, Mr. Pownall’s letter, and Mr. Mauduit’s petition were read.

Mr. Wedderburn.

The address mentions certain papers; I could wish to be informed what are those papers.

Dr. Franklin.

They are the letters of Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Oliver.

Court.

Have you brought them?

Dr. Franklin.

No; but here are attested copies.

Court.

Do you mean to found a charge upon them? If you do, you must produce the letters.

Dr. Franklin.

These copies are attested by several gentlemen at Boston, and a notary public.

Mr. Wedderburn.

My Lords, we shall not take advantage of any imperfection in the proof. We admit that the letters are Mr. Hutchinson’s and Mr. Oliver’s handwriting; reserving to ourselves the right of inquiring how they were obtained.

Dr. Franklin.

I did not expect that counsel would have been employed on this occasion.

Court.

Had you not notice sent you of Mr. Mauduit’s having petitioned to be heard by counsel, on behalf of the governor and lieutenant-governor?

Dr. Franklin.

I did receive such notice; but I thought this had been a matter of politics, not of law, and have not brought my counsel.

Edition: current; Page: [292]
Court.

Where a charge is brought, the parties have a right to be heard by counsel or not, as they choose.

Mr. Mauduit.

My Lords, I am not a native of that country, as these gentlemen are. I know well Dr. Franklin’s abilities, and wish to put the defence of my friends upon a parity with the attack; he will not, therefore, wonder that I choose to appear before your Lordships with the assistance of counsel. My friends, in their letters to me, have desired (if any proceedings, as they say, should be had upon this address) that they may have a hearing in their own justification, that their innocence may be fully cleared, and their honor vindicated; and have made provision accordingly. I do not think myself at liberty, therefore, to give up the assistance of my counsel, in defending them against this unjust accusation.

Court.

Dr. Franklin may have the assistance of counsel, or go on without it, as he shall choose.

Dr. Franklin.

I desire to have counsel.

Court.

What time do you want?

Dr. Franklin.

Three weeks.

Ordered, that the further proceedings be on Saturday, 29th instant.

The Privy Council met on the day appointed; and Mr. Vaughan tells us: “It was in consequence of the letter which Dr. Franklin wrote about the letters to the Public Advertiser after the duel, that Mr. Wedderburn ventured to make the most odious personal allusions.” Mr. Mauduit, he continues, has prudently omitted part of them in his account of the proceedings before the Privy Council. They are given here altogether, however (as well as they could be collected), and the nature of the censures passed in English upon Dr. Franklin’s character.

“The letters could not have come to Dr. Franklin,” said Mr. Wedderburn “by fair means. The writers did not give them to him; nor yet did the deceased correspondent, Edition: current; Page: [293] who from our intimacy would otherwise have told me of it. Nothing, then, will acquit Dr. Franklin of the charge of obtaining them by fraudulent or corrupt means, for the most malignant of purposes, unless he stole them from the person who stole them. This argument is irrefragable.

“I hope, my Lords, you will mark and brand the man, for the honor of this country, of Europe, and of mankind. Private correspondence has hitherto been held sacred, in times of the greatest party rage, not only in politics but religion.” “He has forfeited all the respect of societies and of men. Into what companies will he hereafter go with an unembarrassed face, or the honest intrepidity of virtue? Men will watch him with a jealous eye; they will hide their papers from him, and lock up their escritoires. He will henceforth esteem it a libel to be called a man of letters; homo trium1 literarum!

“But he not only took away the letters from one brother, but kept himself concealed till he nearly occasioned the murder of the other. It is impossible to read his account, expressive of the coolest and most deliberate malice, without horror” [Here he read the letter dated December 25, 1773; Dr. Franklin being all the time present.] “Amidst these tragical events, of one person nearly murdered, of another answerable for the issue, of a worthy governor hurt in his dearest interests, the fate of America in suspense; here is a man who, with the utmost insensibility of remorse, stands up and avows himself the author of all. I can compare it only to Zanga, in Dr. Young’s Revenge.

  • “ ‘Know then ’t was I;
  • I forged the letter, I disposed the picture;
  • I hated, I despised, and I destroy.’ ”
Edition: current; Page: [294]

I ask, my Lords, whether the revengeful temper attributed, by poetic fiction only, to the bloody African, is not surpassed by the coolness and apathy of the wily American?”

Mr. Vaughan adds: “Unfortunately for Mr. Wedderburn, the events of the war did not correspond with his systems. Unfortunately, too, for his ‘irrefragable argument,’ Dr. Franklin afterwards took an oath in chancery that, at the time that he transmitted the letters, he was ignorant of the party to whom they had been addressed, having himself received them from a third person, and for the express purpose of their being conveyed to America. Unfortunately, also, for Mr. Wedderburn’s ‘worthy governor,’ that governor himself, before the arrival of Dr. Franklin’s packet in Boston, sent over one of Dr. Franklin’s own ‘private’ letters to England, expressing some little coyness, indeed, upon the occasion, but desiring secrecy, lest he should be prevented from procuring more useful intelligence from the same source. Whether Mr. Wedderburn, in his speech, intended to draw a particular case and portraiture, for the purpose only of injuring Dr. Franklin, or meant that his language and epithets should apply generally to all, whether friends or foes, whose practice should be found similar to it, is a matter that must be left to be adjusted between Governor Hutchinson and Mr. Wedderburn.

“It was not singular, perhaps, that, as a man of honor, Dr. Franklin should surrender his name to public scrutiny in order to prevent mischief to others, and yet not betray his coadjutor (even to the present moment) to relieve his own fame from the severest obloquy; but perhaps it belonged to few besides Dr. Franklin, to possess mildness and magnanimity enough, to refrain from intemperate expressions and measures against Mr. Wedderburn and his supporters, after all that had passed.”

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Dr. Priestley gave the following account of Wedderburn’s speech, in a communication to the editor of the Monthly Magazine, dated at Northumberland, November 10, 1802:

“On the morning of the day on which the cause was to be heard, I met Mr. Burke in Parliament Street, accompanied by Dr. Douglas, afterwards Bishop of Carlisle; and after introducing us to each other, as men of letters, he asked me whither I was going; I said I could tell him whither I wished to go. He then asked me where that was; I said to the Privy Council, but that I was afraid I could not get admission. He then desired me to go along with him. Accordingly I did; but, when we got to the anteroom, we found it quite filled with persons as desirous of getting admission as ourselves. Seeing this, I said we should never get through the crowd. He said, ‘Give me your arm,’ and, locking it fast in his, he soon made his way to the door of the Privy Council. I then said: ‘Mr. Burke, you are an excellent leader’; he replied: ‘I wish other persons thought so too.’

After waiting a short time, the door of the Privy Council opened, and we entered the first; when Mr. Burke took his stand behind the first chair next to the president, and I behind that next to his. When the business was opened, it was sufficiently evident, from the speech of Mr. Wedderburn, who was counsel for the governor, that the real object of the court was to insult Dr. Franklin. All this time, he stood in a corner of the room, not far from me, without the least apparent emotion.

Mr. Dunning, who was the leading counsel on the part of the colony, was so hoarse that he could hardly make himself heard; and Mr. Lee, who was the second, spoke but feebly in reply; so that Mr. Wedderburn had a complete triumph. At the sallies of his sarcastic wit, all the members of the council, the president himself Edition: current; Page: [296] (Lord Gower) not excepted, frequently laughed outright. No person belonging to the council behaved with decent gravity, except Lord North, who, coming late, took his stand behind the chair opposite to me.

When the business was over, Dr. Franklin, in going out, took me by the hand in a manner that indicated some feeling. I soon followed him, and, going through the anteroom, saw Mr. Wedderburn there, surrounded by a circle of his friends and admirers. Being known to him, he stepped forward, as if to speak to me; but I turned aside, and made what haste I could out of the place.

The next morning, I breakfasted with the Doctor, when he said he had never before been so sensible of the power of a good conscience; for that if he had not considered the thing for which he had been so much insulted, as one of the best actions of his life, and what he should certainly do again in the same circumstances, he could not have supported it. He was accused of clandestinely procuring certain letters, containing complaints against the governor, and sending them to America, with a view to excite their animosity against him, and thus to embroil the two countries; but he assured me, that he did not even know that such letters existed, until they were brought to him as agent for the colony, in order to be sent to his constituents; and the cover of the letters, on which the direction had been written, being lost, he only guessed at the person to whom they were addressed, by the contents.

That Dr. Franklin, notwithstanding he did not show it at the time, was much impressed by the business of the Privy Council, appeared from this circumstance. When he attended there, he was dressed in a suit of Manchester velvet; and Silas Deane told me that, when they met at Paris to sign the treaty between France and America, he purposely put on that suit.”

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In reference to this account, after it appeared in print, the following particulars were communicated to William Temple Franklin by Dr. Bancroft:

“Dr. Franklin did not ‘stand in a corner of the room,’ ” says Dr. Bancroft, who was for many years one of Dr. Franklin’s intimate friends, and was present during the whole transaction before the Privy Council; “he stood close to the fireplace, on that side which was at the right hand of those who were looking toward the fire; in front of which, though at some distance, the members of the Privy Council were seated at a table. I obtained a place on the opposite side of the fireplace, a little farther from the fire; but Dr. Franklin’s face was directed towards me, and I had a full, uninterrupted view of it, and his person, during the whole time in which Mr. Wedderburn spoke. The Doctor was dressed in a full-dress suit of spotted Manchester velvet, and stood conspicuously erect, without the smallest movement of any part of his body, The muscles of his face had been previously composed, so as to afford a placid, tranquil expression of countenance, and he did not suffer the slightest alteration of it to appear during the continuance of the speech, in which he was so harshly and improperly treated. In short, to quote the words which he employed concerning himself on another occasion, he kept his ‘countenance as immovable as if his features had been made of wood.’ This was late on Saturday afternoon. I called on him in Craven Street at an early hour on Monday morning, and, immediately after the usual salutation, he put into my hands a letter which had just been delivered to him. It was from the postmaster-general, and informed him that the king had no further occasion for his (Dr. Franklin’s) services, as deputy postmaster-general in America.

It is a fact that he, as Dr. Priestley mentions, signed the treaties of commerce and eventual alliance with Edition: current; Page: [298] France, in the clothes which he had worn at the Cockpit, when the preceding transaction occurred. It had been intended, as you may recollect, that these treaties should be signed on the evening of Thursday, the 5th of February, and when Dr. Franklin had dressed himself for the day, I observed that he wore the suit in question; which I thought the more extraordinary, as it had been laid aside for many months. This I noticed to Mr. Deane; and soon after, when a messenger came from Versailles, with a letter from Mr. Gerard, the French plenipotentiary, stating that he was so unwell, from a cold, that he wish to defer coming to Paris to sign the treaties until the next evening, I said to Mr. Deane, ‘Let us see whether the Doctor will wear the same suit of clothes to-morrow; if he does, I shall suspect that he is influenced by a recollection of the treatment which he received at the Cockpit.’ The morrow came, and the same clothes were again worn, and the treaties signed. After which these clothes were laid aside, and, so far as my knowledge extends, never worn afterwards. I once intimated to Dr. Franklin the suspicion which his wearing these clothes on that occasion had excited in my mind, when he smiled, without telling me whether it was well or ill founded. I have heard him sometimes say that he was not insensible to injuries, but that he never put himself to any trouble or inconvenience to retaliate.”

The profound sensation produced by the publication of the Hutchinson letters, and the unmerited obloquy which his part in the matter brought upon Dr. Franklin, decided him, before leaving England, to prepare the detailed account of his connection with these letters, which will be found farther on. He does not reveal the source from which the letters came to him, but Mr. C. Francis Adams, upon the authority of his grandfather, President John Adams, says: “Scarcely a doubt can remain that Edition: current; Page: [299] Sir John Temple was the man who procured the Hutchinson letters and had them delivered to Franklin.”1 This account was not published till it appeared in William Temple Franklin’s edition of his grandfather’s works, in 1817. Franklin probably found it would do no good to make any such defence in the fury of the storm; and before it had subsided, he had left England, the rupture between the countries had become complete, and the press of England was closed against any thing he might write in vindication of himself or the colonies, until after time and events had given him a far more effective vindication than any he could have penned.2

From whom Franklin really received these letters, is one of those historical puzzles which has exercised the ingenuity of eminent scholars on both sides of the Atlantic. The most satisfactory theory that has yet been presented may be found in a minute furnished by Mr. Bancroft to Mr. Robert C. Winthrop, and read by the latter at a meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Feb. 14, 1878.3 Mr. Bancroft’s conclusion, in which Mr. Winthrop expressed his concurrence, is that the Hutchinson letters referred to “were written to produce an effect on George Grenville; that they were sent by Thomas Whately to George Grenville; that they were shown by George Grenville to Lord Temple, and that at Grenville’s death they remained among his papers. The custody of the letters under any hypothesis belonged to the executor of Grenville or to the executor of T. Whately. It came to be agreed by all that the letters were never in the hands of the executor of T. Whately. There remains, then, no other place in which to search for them Edition: current; Page: [300] except among the papers left by Grenville. John Temple, as I believe from his own repeated assertions, ferreted out the matter, and formed the plan of sending them to be read in Boston. But the communication of the papers was made to Franklin by a member of Parliament. For this, the consent of the executor or executors of George Grenville must have been gained. Perhaps Lord Temple was Grenville’s executor; I know not; but whoever was charged with the custody of the papers would hardly have suffered them to be used without Lord Temple’s consent.”

The Diary and Letters of Governor Hutchinson, recently edited by one of his great-grandsons, though it does not furnish any thing decisive of this question, nor even show what was Hutchinson’s own impression, goes far to confirm Mr. Bancroft’s view, which, as we understand it, is, that John Temple procured the papers to be given to Franklin, and “the member of Parliament” was merely a passive instrument in the matter, and brought upon the stage merely to screen the principal.

The letters had not long been before the public before Hutchinson discovered that his native country could no longer be a home to him; he took refuge in England, where a small pension was assigned him. He died at Brompton in 1780.—Editor.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
18 February, 1774
London
Joseph Galloway
Galloway, Joseph
DLX

TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY

Dear Friend:

The acts of the February session, 1773, are at last presented, of which I have lately acquainted Edition: current; Page: [301] the committee.1 They are now before the Board of Trade. I do not yet hear of any objection to the paper-money bill, and hope there can be none that we shall not get over. I observe there is no declaration of the value of the bills, whether proclamation or sterling. Possibly, if this should be taken notice of, it may be thought too loose and uncertain; but it may escape their observation, and, if necessary you can by a little supplement ascertain it.

The treatment of the tea in America has excited great wrath here; but how that will vent itself is not yet known, except that some part of it has fallen upon me; perhaps from a suspicion that I instigated the opposition to its importation. This, however, is not the given reason. My returning Hutchinson’s and Oliver’s letters to Boston is held out to the public as the great offence for which I am deprived of my office. I will explain to you my conduct in that matter.

Those letters, which had, at the time, been shown about here to several persons, fell into the hands of a gentleman, who produced them to me, to convince me of the truth of a fact, the possibility of which I had in conversation denied; namely, that the sending troops to Boston, and other measures so offensive to the people of New England, did not arise from any inimical disposition in this country towards them, but were projected, proposed, and solicited by some of the principal and best esteemed of their own people. I was convinced accordingly by perusing those letters, and thought it might have a good effect if I Edition: current; Page: [302] could convince the leaders there of the same truth, since it would remove much of their resentment against Britain as a harsh, unkind ——1

DLXI: THE GEORGIA AGENCY

Mr. Farley, from the committee appointed to examine the journals of the Upper House respecting their proceedings on the ordinance for appointing a provincial agent, and the several bills sent from this House, reported, that by the journals of the Upper House their proceedings on the ordinance for appointing a provincial agent are as follows:

Die Lunæ, 24 January, 1774.

A message was brought from the Commons House by Mr. Clay, with on ordinance for reappointing Benjamin Franklin, Esq., agent to solicit the affairs of this province in Great Britain, and desiring the concurrence of this House thereto.

The engrossed ordinance from the Commons House for reappointing Benjamin Franklin, Esq., agent to solicit the affairs of this province in Great Britain, was read the first time, and ordered to be read the second time on Thursday next.

Die Jovis, 27 January, 1774.

The order of the day being read for reading a second time the ordinance from the Commons House Edition: current; Page: [303] for reappointing Benjamin Franklin, Esq., agent to solicit the affairs of this province in Great Britain.

A motion being made was seconded, that the second reading of the ordinance from the Commons House for reappointing Benjamin Franklin, Esq., agent to solicit the affairs of this province in Great Britain be adjourned, and the House being informed that some disagreeable accounts had been received from the back country, which may probably require the immediate attention of the legislature, it is, therefore, ordered that the second reading of the said ordinance be adjourned to Thursday next.

Die Jovis, 3 February.

The order of the day being read for reading the ordinance from the Commons House for reappointing Benjamin Franklin, Esq., agent to solicit the affairs of this province in Great Britain.

Ordered, That the second reading of the said ordinance be adjourned till to-morrow morning.

A motion was made that a committee be appointed to inquire into the conduct of Benjamin Franklin, Esq., during the time he was appointed agent of this province, and that the committee have orders to send for persons, papers, and records, and do make their report to this House forthwith.

Ordered, That Mr. Stokes, Mr. Johnston, and Mr. Hume be the committee.

Mr. Stokes, from the committee appointed to inquire into the conduct of Benjamin Franklin, Esq., during the time he was appointed agent of this province, reported that the committee in pursuance of Edition: current; Page: [304] the order of this honorable House did meet, and on examining the several ordinances for appointing the said Benjamin Franklin agent of this province, do find that the said Benjamin Franklin was agent of this province for the years 1768, 1769, and 1770. That this committee proceeded to examine his Honor the President and several other members of the committee appointed to correspond with the said Benjamin Franklin as agent, and that they severally informed the committee that they did not recollect the ever seeing or hearing read any letter or paragraph of a letter from the said Benjamin Franklin as agent, save and except one general letter soon after his first appointment, declaring his being satisfied with the salary provided for him, and that he would endeavor to serve the province as far as was in his power, or words to that effect, all which is humbly submitted to this honorable Board, and the said report, being again read by the Clerk, was approved by the House.

Die Veneris, 4 February, 1774.

The order of the day being read for the second reading of the ordinance from the Commons House for reappointing Benjamin Franklin, Esq., agent to solicit the affairs of this province in Great Britain, and the question being put that the said ordinance be now read a second time,—

It passed in the negative. Nemine contradicente.

Resolved (nemine contradicente), That the ordinance be rejected.

Your committee further report that by the said Edition: current; Page: [305] journals it appears the Upper House have proceeded on the several bills sent from this House (as your committee apprehends) in the usual forms.

The House having taken the said report into consideration,—

Ordered, That Mr. Farley, Mr. Andrew, Doctor Jones, Mr. Shruder, and Mr. Simpson be a committee to enquire into the several matters set forth in the journals of the Upper House respecting the conduct of Benjamin Franklin, Esq., since his appointment as Agent for this Province, and particularly during the years 1768, 1769, and 1770, and report their opinion thereon to the House, and that they have power to send for persons, papers, and records.

Monday, 28 February, 1774.

Mr. Farley from the committee appointed to enquire into the several matters set forth in the journals of the Upper House respecting the conduct of Benjamin Franklin, Esq., since his appointment as agent for this province, and particularly during the years 1768, 1769, and 1770, report that it appears to your committee, by an ordinance passed the 11th day of May, 1768, Benjamin Franklin, Esq., was appointed agent to solicit the affairs of this province in Great Britain for one whole year.

That in an ordinance for reappointing the said Benjamin Franklin to that office passed the 27th of February, 1770, the preamble sets forth, and whereas the dissolution of the said Assembly immediately following prevented the said ordinance from going through its regular forms, and whereas Edition: current; Page: [306] the said Benjamin Franklin, notwithstanding the want of such an appointment, hath continued to transact the business of this province in Great Britain, be it therefore ordained, etc., that the said Benjamin Franklin was also reappointed agent by an ordinance passed the 10th of May, 1770, and by the journals of the Commons House of the 21st of December, 1770, it appears that the Upper House had agreed to the reappointment of him for the year 1771.

That it appears very extraordinary to your committee that the objection lately made to Mr. Franklin by the Upper House, unfair as it is, should not have taken place in September last, when they agreed to a like ordinance, reappointing the same gentleman as agent.

Your committee further report that the committee appointed to correspond with the said Benjamin Franklin, as agent, transmitted their instructions to him by letter dated 19th of May, 1768, a duplicate whereof was sent the 26th of the same month; that the committee received an answer thereto from Mr. Franklin, by letter, dated the 9th of August, 1768, directed to James Habersham, Esq.

That the said committee transmitted letters to Mr. Franklin bearing date the 11th, 23d, and 28th days of May, 1770, and in that of the 23d they say perhaps it may be necessary to make an apology for an intermission in our correspondence with you as a committee, which, however, you will be pleased to believe did not arise from the least doubt of your intentions or abilities to serve us, but from circumstances arising from the dissolution of the late Assembly which Edition: current; Page: [307] are now subsided. That those letters were severally answered by Mr. Franklin in his of the 10th of August, 1770, directed to the Hon. James Habersham, Esq., and the rest of the gentlemen of the committee of correspondence for the province of Georgia, which letter is entered in the minute-book of the said committee.

That in the journals of the Commons House, and also in the printed copy thereof of the 7th of November, 1769, are two letters dated the 3d of April and the 7th of June, 1769, received from Mr. Franklin as agent on the public business of this province.

That the said Benjamin Franklin, as well during the continuance of his agency as since the expiration thereof, has exerted his utmost abilities to serve his constituents, as appears by many paragraphs in letters received from him (exclusive of those before mentioned), particularly in one bearing date the 1st of May, 1771, wherein was enclosed the draft of a petition to his Majesty in Council relative to the claim of lands by the assigns of Sir William Baker, deceased,—which said paragraphs of letters and draft of petition were (as your committee are informed) communicated to several members of the Upper House, to the Commons House of Assembly, and also to most of the members of the Committee of Correspondence.

That upon the evidence of the several facts above stated, your committee have.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of your committee, that the determination of the Upper House on the enquiry into the conduct of the said Benjamin Edition: current; Page: [308] Franklin, Esquire, during his agency for this province, is uncandid and contains unjust resolutions on the public reputation of that gentleman.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of your committee, that the said Benjamin Franklin hath, on all occasions since his first appointment as agent, and now especially during the years 1768, 1769, and 1770, been indefatigable in negotiating the affairs of this province, and hath faithfully executed every matter given him in charge either from the Commons House of Assembly or by the Committee of Correspondence.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of your committee, that the thanks of the Commons House be given to the said Benjamin Franklin, Esquire, for the just discharge of the important trust reposed in him, and that Mr. Speaker, be requested to acquaint him therewith, and assure him that the House retains a grateful sense of his repeated offers and endeavors to serve the province, and the same being taken into immediate consideration.

Resolved, That the House doth agree with the committee in their report.

Motion being made that the House do enter into the following resolutions, viz.:

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this House, that the power of appointing an agent to solicit and transact the public affairs of the inhabitants of this province in Great Britain is a right and privilege which is and ought to be exclusively lodged in the representatives of the people.

Resolved, That Benjamin Franklin, Esquire, be agent for one whole year, commencing from this Edition: current; Page: [309] second day of March, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, to represent, solicit, and transact the affairs of this province in Great Britain, and he is hereby fully authorized and empowered to follow and pursue all such instructions as he shall from time to time receive from the Commons House of Assembly or the committee apointed to correspond with him.

Resolved, That the Honorable William Young, Esq., Noble Wimberly Jones, Joseph Clay, Samuel Farley, Thomas Shruder, John Simpson, Thomas Netherclift, Thomas Young, and David Zubly, Esquires, shall be and they are hereby appointed a committee to correspond with the said Benjamin Franklin, and give him such orders and instructions from time to time as they shall judge to be for the service of this Province, and the said agent is directed in all his correspondence to address his letters to the first named in the above committee, and the other members thereof, who shall as soon as may be summon the members of the said committee to meet and take under consideration the matters contained in such letters, and in case of the absence from Savannah of the person first in nomination, then any other member of the committee who shall be present, and proceed to business, but no letter to be opened or the seal broke upon any pretence whatsoever before five of the said committee are present.

Resolved, That the said Benjamin Franklin be allowed and paid for his agency the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds sterling money of Great Britain for the term aforesaid, over and above his charges and Edition: current; Page: [310] disbursements, on his application to his Majesty or the several offices and boards in negotiating the affairs of this province in Great Britain.

Resolved, That this House will provide in the next general tax act the said sum of one hundred and fifty pounds, to be paid to the said Benjamin Franklin, Esquire, for his agency, and also all other charges and disbursements attending the same.

A debate arising thereon, and the question being put upon the several resolutions, they passed in the affirmative. The members for the resolutions were Mr. Farley, Doctr. Jones, Mr. Clay, Mr. Zubley, Mr. Thos. Young, Doctr. Houstoun, Mr. Netherclift, Mr. Powell, Mr. Trentlen, Mr. Simpson, Sir Pat’k Houston, Mr. Andrew, Mr. Maxwell, Mr. Sallens, Mr. Stirk, Mr. Millen, and Mr. Shruder; the members against the said resolutions were Mr. Hall and Mr. Jamieson.

Motion being made that it be a direction to the committee of correspondence that they do transmit by the earliest opportunity to Benjamin Franklin, Esquire, agent for this province, a copy of the address of this House to his Majesty, and instruct him to use his utmost endeavors to support the same. A debate arising thereon, and the question being put, it passed in the affirmative. The members for the motion were, Mr. Farley, Mr. Zubley, Doctr. Jones, Mr. Clay, Mr. Shruder, Mr. Henry Yonge, Mr. Isaac Young, Mr. Thomas Young, Mr. Netherclift, Mr. Hillen, Mr. Trentlen, Mr. Stirk, Mr. Sallens, Mr. Andrew, Mr. Maxwell, Mr. Powell, Sir Patrick Houstoun, and Doctr. Houstoun. The members against the motion were Mr. Hall and Mr. Jamieson.

Edition: current; Page: [311]

Certified to be a true extract from the original journals.

Richd Cungm Crooke, Clk.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
25 February, 1774
London
Samuel Cooper
Cooper, Samuel
DLXII

TO SAMUEL COOPER

Dear Sir:

I have written a pretty full account to the Speaker of the treatment their petition and their agent have received here. My letter went to Symes, and probably you may have seen it before this can reach you; therefore, and because I have a little disorder in my eyes at present, I do not repeat any part of it to you, nor can I well send a copy to him.

You can have no conception of the rage the ministerial people have been in with me, on account of my transmitting those letters. It is quite incomprehensible. If they had been wise, they might have made a good use of the discovery, by agreeing to lay the blame of our differences on those from whom, by those letters, it appeared to have arisen, and by a change of measures, which would then have appeared natural, and restored the harmony between the two countries.

I send, directed to you a set of the late French edition of my Philosophical Papers.1 There are in it several pieces not in the English. When you have Edition: current; Page: [312] looked them over, please to give them to Mr. Winthrop, for the college library. I am ever, dear sir, yours most affectionately,

B. Franklin.

DLXIII: ON THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND HER AMERICAN COLONIES1

To the Printer of the Public Advertiser:

Sir:

The enclosed paper was written just before Lord Hillsborough quitted the American department. An expectation then prevailing, from the good character of the noble lord who succeeded him, that the grievances of the colonies would, under his administration, be redressed, it was laid aside; but, as not a single measure of his predecessor has since been even attempted to be changed, and, on the contrary, new ones have been continually added, further to exasperate these people, render them desperate, and drive them, if possible, into open rebellion, it may not be amiss now to give it to the public, as it shows in detail the rise and progress of those differences which are about to break the empire in pieces.

I am, sir, yours, etc.,
A. P.
Edition: current; Page: [313]
Sir:

It is a bad temper of mind that takes a delight in opposition, and is ever ready to censure ministry in the gross, without discrimination. Charity should be willing to believe that we never had an administration so bad, but there might be some good and some wise men in it, and that even such is our case at present. The Scripture saith: “By their works shall ye know them.” By their conduct, then, in their respective departments, and not by their company or their party connections, should they be distinctly and separately judged.

One of the most serious affairs to this nation that has of late required the attention of government is our misunderstanding with the colonies. They are in the department of Lord Hillsborough, and, from a prevailing opinion of his abilities, have been left by the other ministers very much to his management. If, then, our American business has been conducted with prudence, to him chiefly will be due the reputation of it.

Soon after the commencement of the last war, it became an object with the ministers of this country to draw a revenue from America. The first attempt was by a Stamp Act. It soon appeared that this step had not been well considered; that the rights, the ability, the opinions, and temper of that great people had not been sufficiently attended to. They complained that the tax was unnecessary, because their Assemblies had ever been ready to make voluntary grants to the crown in proportion to their abilities when duly required so to do; and unjust, because they had no representative in the British Parliament, Edition: current; Page: [314] but had Parliaments of their own, wherein their consent was given, as it ought to be, in grants of their own money. I do not mean to enter into this question. The Parliament repealed the act as inexpedient, but in another act asserted a right of taxing America, and in the following year laid duties on the manufactures of this country exported thither. On the repeal of the Stamp Act, the Americans had returned to their wonted good-humor and commerce with Britain, but this new act for laying duties renewed their uneasiness. They were long since forbidden by the Navigation Act to purchase manufactures of any other nation; and, supposing that act well enforced, they saw that by this indirect mode it was in the power of Britain to burthen them as much as by any direct tax, unless they could lay aside the use of such manufactures as they had been accustomed to purchase from Britain, or make the same themselves.

In this situation were affairs when my Lord —— entered on the American administration. Much was expected from his supposed abilities, application, and knowledge of business in that department. The newspapers were filled with his panegyrics, and our expectations raised perhaps inconveniently.

The Americans determined to petition their sovereign, praying his gracious interposition in their favor with his Parliament, that the imposition of these duties, which they considered as an infringement of their rights, might be repealed. The Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay had voted that it should be proposed to the other colonies to concur in that Edition: current; Page: [315] measure. This, for what reason I do not easily conceive, gave great offence to his Lordship; and one of his first steps was to prevent these concurring petitions. To this end he sent a mandate to that Assembly (the Parliament of that country), requiring them to rescind that vote, and desist from the measure, threatening them with dissolution in case of disobedience. The governor communicated to them the instructions he received to that purpose. They refused to obey, and were dissolved! Similar orders were sent at the same time to the governors of the other colonies, to dissolve their respective Parliaments if they presumed to accede to the Boston proposition of petitioning his Majesty, and several of them were accordingly dissolved.

Bad ministers have ever been averse to the right subjects claim of petitioning and remonstrating to their sovereign; for through that channel the prince may be apprised of the mal-administration of his servants; they may sometimes be thereby brought into danger; at least such petitions afford a handle to their adversaries, whereby to give them trouble. But, as the measure to be complained of was not his Lordship’s, it is rather extraordinary that he should thus set his face against the intended complaints. In his angry letters to America, he called the proposal of these petitions “a measure of most dangerous and factious tendency, calculated to inflame the minds of his Majesty’s subjects in the colonies, to promote an unwarrantable combination, and to excite and encourage an open opposition to, and denial of, the authority of the Parliament, and to subvert the true spirit of the Edition: current; Page: [316] constitution”; and directed the governors, immediately on the receipt of these orders, to exert their utmost influence to defeat this flagitious attempt.

Without entering into the particular motives to this piece of his Lordship’s conduct, let us consider a little the wisdom of it. When subjects conceive themselves oppressed or injured, laying their complaints before the sovereign, or the governing powers, is a kind of vent to griefs, that gives some ease to their minds; the receiving with at least an appearance of regard their petitions, and taking them into consideration, gives present hope, and affords time for the cooling of resentment; so that even the refusal, when decently expressed and accompanied with reasons, is made less unpleasant by the manner, is half approved, and the rest submitted to with patience. But when this vent to popular discontents is denied, and the subjects are thereby driven to desperation, infinite mischiefs follow. Many princes have lost part, and some the whole of their dominions, and some their lives, by this very conduct of their servants. The Secretary for America, therefore, seems in this instance not to have judged rightly for the service of his excellent master.

But supposing the measure of discouraging and preventing petitions a right one, were the means of effecting this end judiciously chosen? I mean, the threatening with dissolution and the actual dissolving of the American Parliaments. His Lordship probably took up the idea from what he knows of the state of things in England and Ireland, where, to be re-chosen upon a dissolution, often gives a candidate Edition: current; Page: [317] great trouble, and sometimes costs him a great deal of money. A dissolution may therefore be both fine and punishment to the members, if they desire to be again returned. But, in most of the colonies, there is no such thing as standing candidate for election. There is neither treating nor bribing. No man ever expresses the least inclination to be chosen. Instead of humble advertisements, entreating votes and interest, you see, before every new election, requests of former members, acknowledging the honor done them by preceding elections, but setting forth their long service and attendance on the public business in that station, and praying that, in consideration thereof, some other person may be chosen in their room. Where this is the case, where the same representatives may be, and generally are, after a dissolution, chosen, without asking a vote or giving even a glass of cider to an elector, is it likely that such a threat could contribute in the least to answer the end proposed? The experience of former governors might have instructed his Lordship, that this was a vain expedient. Several of them, misled by their English ideas, had tried this practice to make Assemblies submissive to their measures, but never with success. By the influence of his power in granting offices, a governor naturally has a number of friends in an assembly; these, if suffered to continue, might, though a minority, frequently serve his purpose, by promoting what he wishes, or obstructing what he dislikes. But if, to punish the majority, he in a pet dissolves the House, and orders a new election, he is sure not to see a single friend in the new assembly. Edition: current; Page: [318] The people are put into an ill humor by the trouble given them, they resent the dissolution as an affront, and leave out every man suspected of having the least regard for the governor. This was the very effect of my Lord’s dissolutions in America, and the new assemblies were all found more untractable than the old ones.

But besides the imprudence of this measure, was it constitutional? The crown has doubtless the prerogative of dissolving parliaments, a prerogative lodged in its hands for the public good, which may in various instances require the use of it. But should a king of Great Britain demand of his Parliament the recision of any vote they had passed, or forbid them to petition the throne, on pain of dissolution, and actually dissolve them accordingly, I humbly conceive the minister who advised it would run some hazard—of censure at least,—for thus using the prerogative to the violation of common right, and breach of the constitution. The American Assemblies have no means of impeaching such a minister; but there is an Assembly, the Parliament of England, that have that power, and in a former instance exercised it well, by impeaching a great man, Lord Clarendon, for having, though in one instance only, endeavored to introduce arbitrary government into the colonies.

The effect this operation of the American Secretary had in America, was not a prevention of those petitions, as he intended, but a despair in the people of any success from them, since they could not pass to the throne but through the hands of one who showed himself so extremely averse to the existence of them. Edition: current; Page: [319] Thence arose the design of interesting the British merchants and manufacturers in the event of their petitions, by agreements not to import goods from Great Britain till their grievances were redressed. Universal resentment occasioned these agreements to be more generally entered into, and the sending of troops to Boston, who daily insulted the Assembly1 and townsmen, instead of terrifying into a compliance with his measures, served only to exasperate and sour the minds of the people throughout the continent, make frugality fashionable, when the consumption of British goods was the question, and determine the inhabitants to exert every nerve in establishing manufactures among themselves.

Boston having grievously offended his Lordship, by the refractory spirit they had shown in re-choosing those representatives whom he esteemed the leaders of the opposition there, he resolved to punish that town by removing the Assembly from thence to Cambridge, a country place about four miles distant. Here too his Lordship’s English and Irish ideas seem to have misled him. Removing a Parliament from London or Dublin, where so many of the inhabitants are supported by the expense of such a number of wealthy lords and commoners, and have a dependence on that support, may be a considerable prejudice to a city deprived of such advantage; but the removal of the Assembly, consisting of frugal, honest farmers, from Boston, could only effect the interest Edition: current; Page: [320] of a few poor widows, who keep lodging-houses there. Whatever manufactures the members might want, were still purchased at Boston. They themselves indeed suffered some inconvenience, in being perhaps less commodiously lodged, and being at a distance from the records; but this, and the keeping them before so long prorogued, when the public affairs required their meeting, could never reconcile them to ministerial measures; it could serve only to put them more out of humor with Britain and its government so wantonly exercised, and to so little purpose. Ignorance alone of the true state of that country can excuse (if it may be excused) these frivolous proceedings.

To have good ends in view, and to use proper means to obtain them, shows the minister to be both good and wise. To pursue good ends by improper means argues him, though good, to be but weak. To pursue bad ends, by artful means, shows him to be wicked, though able. But when his ends are bad, and the means he uses improper to obtain these ends, what shall we say of such a minister? Every step taken for some time past in our treatment of America, the suspending their legislative powers for not making laws by direction from hence; the countenancing their adversaries by rewards and pensions, paid out of the revenues extorted from them by laws to which they have not given their assent; the sending over a set of rash, indiscreet commissioners to collect that revenue, who by insolence of behavior, harassing commerce, and perpetually accusing the good people (out of whose substance they are supported) to government Edition: current; Page: [321] here, as rebels and traitors, have made themselves universally odious there, but here are caressed and encouraged; together with the arbitrary dissolution of Assemblies, and the quartering troops among the people, to menace and insult them; all these steps, if intended to provoke them to rebellion, that we might take their lives and confiscate their estates, are proper means to obtain a bad end. But if they are intended to conciliate the Americans to our government, restore our commerce with them, and secure the friendship and assistance which their growing strength, wealth, and power may, in a few years, render extremely valuable to us, can any thing be conceived more injudicious, more absurd! His Lordship may have in general a good understanding; his friends say he has; but in the political part of it, there must surely be some twist, some extreme obliquity.

A Well-wisher to the King and all his Dominions.

To the Printer of the Public Advertiser:

Sir:

Your correspondent Britannicus inveighs violently against Dr. Franklin for his ingratitude to the ministry of this nation, who have conferred upon him so many favors. They gave him the post-office of America; they made his son a governor; and they offered him a post of five hundred a year in the salt-office, if he would relinquish the interests of his country; but he has had the wickedness to continue true to it, and is as much an American as ever. As Edition: current; Page: [322] it is a settled point of government here, that every man has his price, it is plain they are bunglers in their business, and have not given him enough. Their master has as much reason to be angry with them, as Rodrigue, in the play with his apothecary, for not effectually poisoning Pandolpho, and they must probably make use of the apothecary’s justification, viz.:

Scene IV.—: Rodrigue and Fell, the Apothecary.

Rodrigue.

You promised to have this Pandolpho upon his bier in less than a week; ’t is more than a month since, and he still walks and stares at me in the face.

Fell.

True; and yet I have done my best endeavors. In various ways I have given the miscreant as much poison as would have killed an elephant. He has swallowed dose after dose; far from hurting him, he seems the better for it. He hath a wonderfully strong constitution. I find I cannot kill him but by cutting his throat, and that, as I take it, is not my business.

Rodrigue.

Then it must be mine.”

To the Printer of the Public Advertiser:

Sir:

Nothing can equal the present rage of our ministerial writers against our brethren in America, who have the misfortune to be whigs in a reign when whiggism is out of fashion, who are besides Protestant dissenters and lovers of liberty. One may Edition: current; Page: [323] easily see from what quarter comes the abuse of those people in the papers; their struggle for their rights is called rebellion, and the people rebels; while those who really rebelled in Scotland (1745) for the expulsion of the present reigning family, and the establishment of Popery and arbitrary power, on the ruins of liberty and Protestantism, who entered England and trampled on its belly as far as Derby, to the astonishment of this great city, and shaking the public credit of the nation, have now all their sins forgiven on account of their modish principles, and are called, not rebels, but by the softer appellation of insurgents! These angry writers use their utmost efforts to persuade us that this war with the colonies (for a war it will be) is a national cause, when in fact it is a ministerial one. Administration wants an American revenue to dissipate in corruption. The quarrel is about a paltry three-penny duty on tea. There is no real clashing of interests between Britain and America. Their commerce is to their mutual advantage, or rather most to the advantage of Britain, which finds a vast market in America for its manufactures, and as good pay, I speak from knowledge, as in any country she trades to upon the face of the globe. But the fact needs not my testimony; it speaks for itself; for if we could elsewhere get better pay and better prices, we should not send our goods to America.

The gross calumniators of that people, who want us to imbrue our hands in brother’s blood, have the effrontery to tell the world that the Americans associated in resolutions not to pay us what they owe us, Edition: current; Page: [324] unless we repealed the Stamp Act. This is an infamous falsehood; they knew it to be such. I call upon the incendiaries, who have advanced it, to produce their proofs. Let them name any two that entered into such an association, or any one that made such a declaration. Absurdity marks the very face of this lie. Every one acquainted with trade knows that a credited merchant, daring to be concerned in such an association, could never expect to be trusted again. His character on the Exchange of London would be ruined forever. The great credit given them since that time, nay, the present debt due from them, is itself a proof of the confidence we have in their probity. Another villainous falsehood advanced against the Americans is that though we have been at such expense in protecting them, they refuse to contribute their part to the public general expense of the empire. The fact is that they never did refuse a requisition of that kind. A writer, who calls himself Sagittarius (I suppose from his flinging about, like Solomon’s fools, firebrands, arrows, and death), in the Ledger of March 9th, asserts that the “experiment has been tried, and that they did not think it expedient to return even an answer.” How does he prove this? Why, “the colony agents were told by Mr. Grenville that a revenue would be required from them to defray the expenses of their protection.” But was the requisition ever made? Were circulars ever sent, by his Majesty’s command, from the Secretary of State to the several colony governments, according to the established custom, stating the occasion and requiring such supplies as were suitable to Edition: current; Page: [325] their abilities and loyalty? And did they then refuse, not only compliance, but an answer? No such matter; agents are not the channel through which requisitions are made. If they were told by Mr. Grenville that “a revenue would be required, and yet the colonies made no offer, no grant, nor laid any tax,” does it follow that they would not have done it if they had been required? Probably they thought it time enough when the requisition should come, and in fact it never appeared there to this day. In the last war they all gave so liberally, that we thought ourselves bound in honor to return them a million. But we are disgusted with their free gifts; we want to have something that is obtained by force, like a mad landlord who should refuse the willing payment of his full rents, and choose to take less by way of robbery.

This shameless writer would cajole the people of England with the fancy of their being kings of America, and that their honor is at stake by the Americans disputing their government. He thrusts us into the throne cheek-by-jole with majesty, and would have us talk, as he writes, of our subjects in America, and our sovereignty over America; forgetting that the Americans are subjects of the king, not our subjects, but our fellow-subjects; and that they have Parliaments of their own, with the right of granting their own money by their own representatives, which we cannot deprive them of but by violence and injustice.

Having by a series of iniquitous and irritating measures provoked a loyal people almost to desperation, we now magnify every act of an American mob into rebellion, though the government there disapprove Edition: current; Page: [326] it and order prosecution, as is now the case with regard to the tea destroyed. And we talk of nothing but troops and fleets, and force, of blocking up ports, destroying fisheries, abolishing charters, etc., etc. Here mobs of English sawyers can burn sawmills; mobs of English laborers destroy or plunder magazines of corn; mobs of English coal-heavers attack houses with fire-arms; English smugglers can fight regularly the king’s cruising vessels, drive them ashore, and burn them, as lately on the coast of Wales and on the coast of Cornwall; but upon these accounts we hear no talk of England’s being in rebellion; no threats of taking away its Magna Charta, or repealing its Bill of Rights; for we all know that the operations of a mob are often unexpected, sudden, and soon over, so that the civil power can seldom prevent or suppress them, not being able to come in before they have dispersed themselves; and therefore it is not always accountable for their mischiefs.

Surely the great commerce of this nation with the Americans is of too much importance to be risked in a quarrel which has no foundation but ministerial pique and obstinacy.

To us in the way of trade comes now, and has long come, all the superlucration arising from their labors. But will our reviling them as cheats, hypocrites, scoundrels, traitors, cowards, tyrants, etc., etc., according to the present court mode in all our papers, make them more our friends, more fond of our merchandise. Did ever any tradesman succeed, who attempted to drub customers into his shop? And will honest John Bull, the farmer, be long satisfied with Edition: current; Page: [327] servants that before his face attempt to kill his plough-horses?

A Londoner.
Samuel Young
Young, Samuel
14 March, 1774
Savannah
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
DLXIV

FROM SAMUEL YOUNG AND OTHERS, COMMITTEE OF THE LOWER HOUSE OF THE PROVINCE OF GEORGIA

Sir:

Truly sensible of your well experienced fidelity and merit, immediately on the meeting of the General Assembly, the Commons House passed an ordinance reappointing you as Agent, which was rejected by the Upper House for reasons best known to themselves. It was necessary, however, that something should appear to account for their mysterious conduct, and the enclosed is a copy of the minutes extracted from their journals by a committee of the Lower House appointed for that purpose.

Your conduct has been so generally approved that the representatives of the people could not suffer those measures to pass over unnoticed, and they therefore directly entered into such resolutions as they thought sufficient to do justice to a reputation which is of itself so sacred and well known as to require no foreign support, a copy of which you have also enclosed.

It sometimes happens in societies as in private life that small injuries are suffered and winked at until they increase and become too intolerable to be any longer borne; the Commons of Georgia, upon a Edition: current; Page: [328] presumption that any gentleman nominated by them would receive no opposition from either of the other legislative branches, from time to time have made it their practice to prepare an ordinance and send it to the Upper House for their concurrence. This has at length been misconstrued into a right, and they now suppose no agent for the people can be properly appointed unless they join in the nomination.

Perfectly convinced of their exclusive right, the Commons House have entered into a resolution (a copy of which you will also herewith receive) reappointing you their Agent, and we are directed to entreat that you will do just honor to their choice by your acceptance of the office, and upon such presumption we are instructed to acquaint you that the province has lately been much alarmed and terrified by the incursions of some discontented Creek Indians, who have perpetrated many murders, and otherwise committed great depredations on the persons and property of many settlers lately residing on our frontier, formed by the lands lately ceded to his Majesty.

Although the party of Indians which committed these outrages consists of about fifty of the lower Creeks only, and their treacherous and cruel behavior is disapproved of and condemned by their countrymen in the Upper Creek nation, yet, when satisfaction comes to be demanded, it is much to be feared that their incapacity to give such [sic] as should (and probably will) be insisted upon, may be the unavoidable means of bringing on a general war with that powerful nation, whose number of fighting men, we have Edition: current; Page: [329] every reason to believe, from the best authority, amounts to full four thousand.

As this province is very far from being able to carry on of itself so expensive and dangerous a war, the two branches of the legislative body have separately furnished his Excellency the Governor, with addresses to the king, which he has promised to cause to be presented by the earliest opportunity. The Commons House, for reasons which you will undoubtedly see through, thought administration the properest channel for their address to pass to his Majesty. They, however, directed us to furnish you with the enclosed copy, and desire that you will add another proof of your attachment to this province by exerting your utmost influence in support of our application to the crown for troops to reduce the savages to a proper sense of their conduct, and bring them to terms of peace and justice. We have nothing further to add but that we are with great esteem and respect,

Sir, your most obedient servants,
Willm. Young,
W. Jones,
Joseph Clay,
Tho. Shruder,
Saml. Farley,
T. Netherclift,
D. Zubley, Junr.
Benjamin Franklin, Esquire,
Agent for the Province of Georgia.
Edition: current; Page: [330]

DLXV: QUERIES

Indorsed “Queries relating to the colonies to be discussed with Lord C——m.”1

Q. What were the original ideas upon which the colonies were settled?

What was the state of their government during the first reign?

Were they established at the expense of government here?

Did the Parliament make any grants to defray or aid the first charge, or for protecting the settlers?

Was the Parliament advised with by the crown concerning the terms of settlement? Did it form any regulations thereupon? Did it understand itself to have any power over them?

Did not the colonists go over free from the laws of this country, with a right to adopt such of them as they should judge convenient to their circumstances and reject others? And did they not, in fact, do so?

Were they not first reduced to any submission to Parliament in the time of the great rebellion?

Has it not been by degrees since the Restoration that the Parliament has assumed a power of legislation for America?

What is the present state of power assumed by Parliament over the colonies?

Edition: current; Page: [331]

What changes may be advantageously for both countries made therein?

What would be the best constitution for the colonies as connected with this country? And how is it to be obtained?

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
20 March, 1774
London
Marquis de Condorcet
de Condorcet, Marquis
DLXVI

TO THE MARQUIS DE CONDORCET

Sir:

I am ashamed that my late continued embarras in public affairs should have so long prevented my answering the letter you honored me with, of the 2d of December last.

I transmitted your queries to our society at Philadelphia, where they will be well considered, and full answers will be sent to you. On my return thither, which I am now preparing for, I shall take care, if not done, to urge the doing it as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I can inform you, as to question first, that, though there is in Pennsylvania abundance of limestone and marble, no flint has been found there by the English; yet it is supposed that flint is to be met with in some part of the country, since heads of arrows made of it by the ancient inhabitants are sometimes found in ploughing the fields. Thus, small sea-shells are found intermixed with the substance of rock-stone in some of our highest mountains, and such I think as are not now to be met with on our coasts. Several skeletons, supposed by their tusks to be of elephants, have been found near the Edition: current; Page: [332] Ohio, an account of which may be found in the English Philosophical Transactions.

As to question second, observations, have been made in America of the variation of the needle, and, as well as I can remember, it is found to differ a degree in about twenty years.

As to question third, the height of the barometer, by many years’ observation, is said to vary between 28.59 and 30.78. The conjectures from these changes are still uncertain.

As to question fourth, the negroes, who are free, live among the white people, but are generally improvident and poor. I think they are not deficient in natural understanding, but they have not the advantages of education. They make good musicians.

As to question fifth, I do not know that any marks of volcanoes, any lava, or pumice-stone, have been met with in North America. Pit-coal is found in many places, and very good, but little used, there being plenty of wood.

These answers are very short. I hope to procure you such as shall be more full and satisfactory.

With great respect, I have the honor to be, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
20 March, 1774
London
John Baptist Beccaria
Beccaria, John Baptist
DLXVII

TO JOHN BAPTIST BECCARIA

Reverend and Dear Sir:

I have received several of your favors lately, relating to the edition of your Edition: current; Page: [333] book in English, which I have put into the hands of the translator, who will observe your directions. The work is now in the press, and goes on pretty fast. I am much obliged by your kind assistance in procuring the impressions from the plates. They are not yet arrived here; but the money, which I find by a note from you to Dr. Priestly amounts to one hundred and forty-three livres of Piedmont, will be paid by the bookseller, Mr. Nourse, in my absence, to any person you may order to receive it.

Mr. Walsh, the same ingenious member of our society who went to France to make experiments on the torpedo, has lately hit on a new discovery in electricity which surprises us a little. You know that finding air, made rarer by the pump or by heat, gave less obstruction to the passage of electricity than when in its denser state, we were apt to think a perfect vacuum would give it no resistance at all. But he, having, by boiling the mercury, made a perfect vacuum in a long bent Torricellian tube, has found that vacuum absolutely to resist the passage of the electric fluid during two or three days, or till some quantity of air, the smallest imaginable, is admitted into it. This, if verified by future experiments, may afford some new light to the doctrine ——1

Edition: current; Page: [334]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
Joseph Priestley
Priestley, Joseph
DLXVIII

TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY1

—— That the vegetable creation should restore the air which is spoiled by the animal part of it, looks like a rational system, and seems to be of a piece with the rest. Thus fire purifies water all the world over. It purifies it in distillation, when it raises it in vapors, and lets it fall in rain; and further still by filtration, when, keeping it fluid, it suffers that rain to percolate the earth. We knew before, that putrid animal substances were converted into sweet vegetables, when mixed with the earth and applied as manure; and now it seems that the same putrid substances, mixed with the air, have a similar effect. The strong, thriving state of your mint in putrid air seems to show that the air is mended by taking something from it, and not by adding to it. I hope this will give some check to the rage of destroying trees that grow near houses, which has accompanied our late improvements in gardening, from an opinion of their being unwholesome. I am certain, from long observation, that there is nothing unhealthy in the air of woods; for we Americans have everywhere our country habitations in the midst of woods, and no people on earth enjoy better health, or are more prolific. ——

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [335]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
22 March, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLXIX

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I received your favor of January 23d. I suppose we never had since we were a people so few friends in Britain. The violent destruction of the tea seems to have united all parties here against our province, so that the bill now brought into Parliament for shutting up Boston as a port till satisfaction is made, meets with no opposition. An alteration in our charter relating to the choice of the council is also talked of, but it is not certain that it will be proposed at present. I cannot but hope that the affair of the tea will have been considered in the Assembly before this time, and satisfaction proposed if not made; for such a step will remove much of the prejudice now entertained against us, and put us again on a fair footing in contending for our old privileges as occasion may require. I am not well enough to bustle or to write much, and can only add my best wishes for the prosperity of my country.

With great respect and esteem, I have the honor to be, sir,

Your most obedt. humble servt.,
B. Franklin.

P. S.—By the inquiries that I hear are made, I suspect there may be a design to seize some persons who are supposed to be ringleaders, and bring them here for trial.

It is talked here that authentic advices are received Edition: current; Page: [336] assuring government that Messrs. Hancock and Adams were seen at the head of the mob that destroyed the tea, openly encouraging them. I oppose this report by alleging the improbability that, when the lower actors thought it prudent to disguise themselves, any of the principal inhabitants should appear in the affair.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
2 April, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLXX

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

My last was of the 22d past, since which I have received none of your favors. I mentioned that the bill brought into Parliament for punishing Boston met with no opposition. It did, however, meet with a little before it got through, some few of the members speaking against it in the House of Commons, and more in the House of Lords. It passed, however, by a very great majority in both, and received the royal assent on Thursday, the 31st past. You will have a copy of it from Mr. Lee.

In mine of February 2d, I informed you that, after the treatment I had received at the council board, it was not possible for me to act longer as your agent, apprehending I could as such be of no further use to the province. I have nevertheless given what assistance I could, as a private man, by speaking to members of both Houses, and by joining in the petitions of the natives of America now happening to be in London, which were ably drawn by Mr. Lee, to be Edition: current; Page: [337] presented separately to the several branches of the legislature. They serve, though without other effect, to show our sentiments, and that we did not look on and let the act pass without bearing our testimony against it. And, indeed, though called petitions (for under another name they would not have been received) they are rather remonstrances and protests.

By the enclosed extract of a letter from Wakefield in Yorkshire to a friend of mine, you will see that the manufacturers begin to take the alarm. Another general non-importation agreement is apprehended by them, which would complete their ruin. But great pains are taken to quiet them with the idea that Boston must immediately submit, and acknowledge the claims of Parliament, for that none of the other colonies will adhere to them. A number of the principal manufacturers from different parts of the kingdom are now in town, to oppose the new duty on foreign linens, which they fear may provoke the Germans to lay discouragements on British manufactures. They have desired me to meet and dine with them on Wednesday next, where I shall have an opportunity of learning their sentiments more fully, and communicating my own.

Some alterations of the constitution of Massachusetts are now hotly talked of; though what they are to be, seems hardly yet settled. One thing memtioned is the appointment of the council by mandamus. Another, giving power to the governor to appoint magistrates without consent of council. Another, the abolishing of town meetings, or making it unlawful to hold them, till the business to be proposed Edition: current; Page: [338] has been certified to the governor, and his permission obtained. A motion has also been made in the House of Commons, with a view to conciliate, as is said; that all the duty acts should be revised, and, in the revision and re-enacting, without formally or expressly repealing the tea duty (which would hurt the dignity of Parliament), sink or omit it, and add an equal value in some of the coasting port duties; and the tea duty, being thus taken out of the way, it is supposed will have the salutary effect of preventing the other colonies from making a common cause with ours. Some advantages in trade are at the same time to be given to America for the same purpose, such as carrying wine and fruit directly from Spain and Portugal, without touching in England.

I send enclosed the proceedings of the Lords on Wednesday, which show their zeal in the business, by appointing a committee to sit during the recess in the Easter holidays. With great esteem, I am, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
10 April, 1774
Joseph Priestley
Priestley, Joseph
DLXXI

TO JOSEPH PRIESTLEY

Craven Street,
Dear Sir:

In compliance with your request, I have endeavored to recollect the circumstances of the American experiments I formerly mentioned to you, of raising a flame on the surface of some waters there.

When I passed through New Jersey, in 1764, I Edition: current; Page: [339] heard it several times mentioned, that, by applying a lighted candle near the surface of some of their rivers, a sudden flame would catch and spread on the water, continuing to burn for near half a minute. But the accounts I received were so imperfect that I could form no guess at the cause of such an effect, and rather doubted the truth of it. I had no opportunity of seeing the experiment; but, calling to see a friend who happened to be just returning home from making it himself, I learned from him the manner of it; which was to choose a shallow place, where the bottom could be reached by a walking-stick, and was muddy; the mud was first to be stirred with the stick, and, when a number of small bubbles began to arise from it, the candle was applied. The flame was so sudden and so strong that it catched his ruffle and spoiled it, as I saw. New Jersey having many pine trees in many parts of it, I then imagined that something like a volatile oil of turpentine might be mixed with the waters from a pine swamp, but this supposition did not quite satisfy me. I mentioned the fact to some philosophical friends on my return to England, but it was not much attended to. I suppose I was thought a little too credulous.

In 1765, the Reverend Dr. Chandler received a letter from Dr. Finley, president of the college in that province, relating the same experiment. It was read at the Royal Society, November 21st of that year, but not printed in the Transactions; perhaps because it was thought too strange to be true, and some ridicule might be apprehended, if any member should attempt to repeat it, in order to ascertain or Edition: current; Page: [340] refute it. The following is a copy of that account.

“A worthy gentleman, who lives a few miles’ distance, informed me that in a certain small cove of a mill-pond, near his house, he was surprised to see the surface of the water blaze like inflamed spirits. I soon after went to the place, and made the experiment with the same success. The bottom of the creek was mudded, and when stirred up, so as to cause a considerable curl on the surface, and a lighted candle held within two or three inches of it, the whole surface was in a blaze, as instantly as the vapor of warm inflammable spirits, and continued, when strongly agitated, for the space of several seconds. It was at first imagined to be peculiar to that place; but upon trial it was soon found that such a bottom in other places exhibited the same phenomenon. The discovery was accidentally made by one belonging to the mill.”

I have tried the experiment twice here in England, but without success. The first was in a slow running water with a muddy bottom. The second in a stagnant water at the bottom of a deep ditch. Being some time employed in stirring this water, I ascribed an intermitting fever, which seized me a few days after, to my breathing too much of that foul air, which I stirred up from the bottom, and which I could not avoid while I stooped, endeavoring to kindle it. The discoveries you have lately made, of the manner in which inflammable air is in some cases produced, may throw light on this experiment and explain its succeeding in some cases, and not in others.

Edition: current; Page: [341]

With the highest esteem and respect, I am, dear sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
16 April, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLXXII

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

The above are copies of my two last. The torrent is still violent against America. A bill is brought in to alter the charter appointing the council by the crown, giving power to the governors to nominate and commission magistrates without consent of council, and forbidding any town meeting to be held in the province (except the annual one for choosing town officers) without the permission of the governor, and for that business only for which such permission shall be requested. The manner of appointing jurors is likewise to be altered. And another bill is to provide for the security of persons who may be concerned in executing or enforcing acts of Parliaments there, by directing the trials for any thing done by them to be in some neighboring province or in Great Britain at the discretion of the governor. I hope to get the breviates of those bills in time to send by this ship. They will meet with opposition in both Houses; but there is little hope that they will not pass, we having very few friends in Parliament at present. The House will probably sit till some time in June, perhaps longer, and till they hear the effect of these measures in America. I Edition: current; Page: [342] think to stay here as long as they sit, Mr. Lee being about to go abroad for a few months. General Gage has been hastily commissioned and sent away to be your governor. It is given out that copies of several letters of mine to you are sent over here to the ministers, and that their contents are treasonable, for which I should be prosecuted if copies could be made evidence. I am not conscious of any treasonable intention, and I know that much violence must be used with my letters before they can be construed into treason, yet having lately seen two of my actions, one my endeavor to lessen the difference between the two countries, the other to stop a dangerous quarrel between individuals, and which I should have thought and still think to be good actions, condemned as bad ones by high authority, I am not to wonder if less than a small lump in my forehead is voted a horn. And you will not wonder if my future letters contain mere relations of facts, without any of my sentiments upon them, which perhaps I have been too forward in offering. With the greatest respect I have the honor to be, sir,

Your most obedient, humble servant,
B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
28 April, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLXXIII

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I have written several letters to you lately by different conveyances, and sent you the bills Edition: current; Page: [343] passed and about to be passed relating to our province. I now send the reports of the committee of the Lords, which seems hard upon us, as every thing written by any officer of government is taken for undoubted truth. I can now only add that I am, as ever, with great respect to the House and yourself, sir,

Your most obedient and most humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
28 April, 1774
London
Deborah Franklin
Franklin, Deborah
DLXXIV

TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN

My Dear Love:

I hoped to have been on the sea in my return by this time; but find I must stay a few weeks longer, perhaps for the summer ships. Thanks to God, I continue well and hearty; and I hope to find you so, when I have the happiness once more of seeing you.

Your goddaughter, Amelia Evans that was (now Mrs. Barry), is gone again with her husband and children to Tunis, where she is to live some time, while her husband, who is captain of a ship, trades in those seas. Enclosed I send the affectionate, sensible letter she wrote to me on taking leave.

My blessing to the children. Mrs. Hewson’s have lately had the small-pox; the eldest in the common way very full, the youngest by inoculation lightly, and both are now well. But Mr. Hewson is down with a terrible fever, and till yesterday his life was Edition: current; Page: [344] despaired of. We now begin to hope his recovery. I shall give you another line by the packet of next week, and am, as ever, dear Debby, your affectionate husband,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
1 June, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLXXV

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I received your respected favor of March 31st, with another of the same date from the committee. The latest of my letters which had then come to your hands, was of January 7th, since which I have written several, containing a full account of the hearing on the petition, the intended acts against our province, the petition presented by the natives of America at this time residing here, and the appointment of General Gage as governor. And in the course of last month I sent you, by various conveyances, under covers, with only a line or two, copies of the acts themselves, and other public papers and pamphlets. With this I enclose a list of your new council, the Quebec bill, an abstract of the resolutions for laying duties on that province, and some papers containing the two protests of the Lords, and a list of those who have voted against the bills.

Lord Chatham, being ill at the time, could not be present, or he would probably have voted on the same side. He has since appeared in the House, and delivered his sentiments fully on the American measures, Edition: current; Page: [345] blamed us for destroying the tea, and our declarations of independence on the Parliament; but condemned strongly the measures taken here in consequence, and spoke honorably of our province and people, and of their conduct in the late war.1

Mr. Lee has gone to make the tour of France and Italy, and probably will be absent near a year. Just before his departure he drew up, at my instance, a kind of answer to the Lords’ committee’s report, for which I furnished him with most of the materials. I enclose a copy of it. I had resigned your agency to him, expecting to leave England about the end of this month; but on his departure he has returned me all the papers, and I feel myself now under a kind of necessity of continuing, till you can be acquainted with this circumstance, and have time to give further orders.

I shall apply to Lord Dartmouth, agreeably to the directions of the committee, and write to them fully, as soon as I have his Lordship’s answer.

Your friendly concern on my account, lest the project for a subscription post-office in America should Edition: current; Page: [346] prove prejudicial to me, is very obliging; but you must have learnt, before this time, that it was then superfluous, my place having been taken from me on the 31st of January. As the salary I received in that office is now ceased, and I have been lately at near two hundred pounds’ expense on the province’s account in various ways, I am obliged to request that some means may be fallen upon of making me a remittance here; for I have little expectation that the instruction will be recalled on my application. With great esteem, I have the honor to be, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
30 June, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLXXVI

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I received your favor of April 30th. By the next Boston ship I shall send you all the perfected acts lately passed relating to our province, of which I sent you copies while in the state of bills. Till then I defer any remarks on them. At present, I only send copies of two more letters of Mr. Hutchinson’s. The Chancery suit goes on against me on account of the former. With great respect, I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [347]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
22 July, 1774
London
Coombe
Coombe
DLXXVII

TO MR. COOMBE1

Dear Friend:

I received with great pleasure yours of May 15th, as it informed me of your health and happiness. I thank you for your sermon, which I read with satisfaction. I am glad that of my good bishop pleased you. I enclose a speech of his on the same subject. It is deemed here a masterpiece of eloquence. I send also the last edition of some lines of your friend Goldsmith, with the addition of my friend Whitefoord’s epitaph, whom you may remember. Also the “Heroic Postscript,” the author of which is yet unknown. He may be fond of fame as a poet; but, if he is, his prudence predominates at present, and prevails with him to shun it.

That which you are acquiring, as an orator, gives me pleasure as your friend; and it will give you the most solid satisfaction, if you find that by your eloquence you can turn many to righteousness. Without this effect, the preacher or the priest, in my opinion, is not merely sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal, which are innocent things; he is rather like the cunning man in the Old Bailey, who conjures and Edition: current; Page: [348] tells fools their fortunes to cheat them out of their money.

Mrs. Stevenson and Mrs. Hewson return your compliments, with their best wishes. We have lost Mr. Hewson, and a great loss it was. My respects to your good father. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me, yours most affectionately,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
22 July, 1774
London
Deborah Franklin
Franklin, Deborah
DLXXVIII

TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN

My Dear Child:

I have had no line from you by several late opportunities. I flatter myself it is owing not to indisposition, but to the opinion of my having left England, which indeed I hope soon to do.

I enclose a letter I have just received from your goddaughter, Mrs. Barry. I wrote to you before that she had married the captain of a ship in the Levant trade. She is now again at Tunis, where you will see she has lately lain in of her third child. Her father, you know, was a geographer,1 and his daughter has some connection, I think, with the whole globe; being born herself in America, and having her first child in Asia, her second in Europe, and now her third in Africa.

Mrs. Stevenson presents her best respects. She too is very happy in her two grandsons. Her daughter, Edition: current; Page: [349] our poor Polly, who lately lost her good husband, has become rich by the death of her aunt. I am ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
27 July, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLXXIX

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

The last line I have been favored with from you is of the 30th of April. I have since written to you several times. I hope our correspondence is not intercepted.

This serves to cover a pamphlet or two just published here,1 of which I shall send you a number, as I think it may be of use in America to see what sentiments are entertained here; and believing they may be of use here, I have been at some expense in promoting the publication. With great respect, I am, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 September, 1774
London
William Franklin
Franklin, William
DLXXX

TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN

Dear Son:

I am glad you have met with my friend Barrows. I wish you to cultivate his acquaintance, and that of Mrs. Barrows, who is an amiable Edition: current; Page: [350] woman. I am much obliged to Mr. Panton for his information relating to Mr. Parker’s affairs. Cousin Jonathan Williams is now with me, and engaged in posting and settling my accounts, which will be done before the next packet, when I shall send what concerns Parker.

You mention that my presence is wished for at the Congress, but no person besides in America has given me the least intimation of such a desire, and it is thought by the great friends of the colonies here, that I ought to stay till the result of the Congress arrives, when my presence here may be useful. All depends on the Americans themselves. If they make, and keep firmly, resolutions not to consume British manufactures till their grievances are redressed, this ministry must fall, and the laws be repealed. This is the opinion of all the wise men here.

I hear nothing of the proposal you have made for a congress of governors. I do not wonder so much as you do, that the Massachusetts have not offered payment for the tea. First, because of the uncertainty of the act, which gives them no security that the port shall be opened on their making that payment. Secondly, no precise sum is demanded. Thirdly, no one knows what will satisfy the custom-house officers, nor who the others are that must be satisfied, nor what will satisfy them. And fourthly, they are in the king’s power, after all, as to how much of the port shall be opened. As to “doing justice before they ask it,” that should have been thought of by the legislature here before they demanded it of Edition: current; Page: [351] the Bostonians. They have extorted many thousand pounds from America unconstitutionally, under color of acts of Parliament, and with an armed force. Of this money they ought to make restitution. They might first have taken out payment for the tea, and returned the rest. But you, who are a thorough courtier, see every thing with government eyes.

I am sorry for the loss of Sir William Johnson, especially at this time of danger from an Indian war.1 I see by the papers that you were with him at the time. A Spanish war is now seriously apprehended, and the stocks of course are falling. The August packet is hourly expected, when I hope to hear of your safe return and health.

Your affectionate father,
B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
7 September, 1774
London
Peter Timothy
Timothy, Peter
DLXXXI

TO PETER TIMOTHY, CHARLESTON, S. C.

Dear Sir:

I received your favor of May 26th, and am much obliged by your kind invitation to your house, which I should certainly accept with pleasure if I should ever go to Carolina.

You wish me to correspond with you on public affairs. Those relating to America have been, and still continue, in so disagreeable a situation that I cannot write to you upon them with pleasure. Much Edition: current; Page: [352] depends on yourselves. If at the intended Congress your deputies are nearly unanimous in declaring your rights, and in resolving firmly against all importations from hence till those rights are acknowledged here, you cannot well fail of carrying your point. This ministry must go out, and give place to men of juster and more generous principles. If you divide, you are lost.

I believe I shall stay here another winter, and shall be glad to hear of the welfare of you and yours. My love and blessing to my little namesake. If you send me any of your papers by the packet, I shall receive them free of expense; for, though I now pay for my letters, they do not charge me for newspapers.

I am ever, dear sir, etc.,
B. Franklin.
Samuel Cooper
Cooper, Samuel
9 September, 1774
Boston
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
DLXXXII

FROM SAMUEL COOPER

Dear Sir:

My last was on the 15th of August, in which I gave you some account of the state of our affairs. About twenty of the council appointed by the king took the oath; since which, one half, not being able to stand the public odium, have resigned. All who now hold the commissions, not living in Boston, have retired here, under the protection of the army. Our superior court of justice met here, with the chief-justice at their head; but the juries, to a man, refused to serve. The courts through the Edition: current; Page: [353] province are at an end. Sheriffs, justices, and clerks have either made their peace with the people, by solemnly promising not to act upon the new laws, or have fled to this poor proscribed town as an asylum. The lieutenant-governor, who was obliged to resign his commission as counsellor, at his house in Cambridge, being surrounded with four thousand people; and his neighbors, Sewall, the attorney-general, sheriff Phips, and Borland, live in Boston. Town meetings are held all over the provinces; even at Salem and in Danvers, while General Gage resided there with a regiment and two additional companies. He, indeed, ordered a warrant to be made out against the committee of correspondence in Salem, who called the meeting. Two gave bonds for their appearance, three refused and were let alone. The justice, I am told, who issued the warrant has since acknowledged his error, and asked pardon of the people.

These things have been effected chiefly by county meetings, composed from delegates of the several towns. A provincial congress of delegates from all the counties is soon to be held at Concord. The people say their all is at stake; they act only on the defensive; should they allow the new regulations to take place, property and life are at the mercy of men incensed against them, and they should soon be incapable of making any opposition, even a commercial one. The people assembled at Cambridge were landholders, led by captains of the towns, representatives, and committeemen. The selectmen and committee of correspondence for this town went from hence to Edition: current; Page: [354] confer with them, and prevent things from coming to extremities; for a rumor had been propagated that the whole country, incensed at the governor’s taking the provincial powder by a party of soldiers from Charlestown, and inflamed by false reports, were coming to Boston to demand the restitution of the powder, in the face of the army. Happily this did not prove true; and, if there were any misapprehensions in the body, they were removed by the representations of the gentlemen from Boston, who observed to them that the governor had a right to dispose of the provincial military stores, though not those that belonged to the towns, which he had not as yet touched.

This movement of the governor occasioned, however, an extensive alarm. Reports flew through the country that he was disarming the inhabitants of Boston, and seizing all the ammunition through the province; and that the fleet and army had attacked the town. These false reports being credited for awhile, many thousands of people, especially in the western parts of the province, were immediately in arms, and in full march for this place, to relieve their brethren or share their fate. Thousands were in motion from Connecticut; for the New England provinces are one in sentiment and spirit upon these matters; but, being informed of facts, they quietly returned home, sending their messengers from all quarters, signifying their determination to act unitedly upon any warrantable occasion.

I forgot to mention that Commissioner Hallowell passed through Cambridge while the body was there. Edition: current; Page: [355] He had gone by some time when it was stated by somebody that it might be proper to have a conference with him. A number of men on horseback instantly set out to bring him back, but were stopped immediately by some gentlemen from Boston, and dissuaded from their purpose. A single horseman of his own head went on, and, coming up to him in a chaise with a companion and a servant on horseback, told him he must stop and go back. Hallowell snapped his pistol twice at him, got upon his servant’s horse, rode with the utmost speed to town, followed by the horseman, till he came within call of the guard at the entrance of the town.

An apprehension was soon spread through the camp that the country was coming in against them in armed multitudes. The guards were doubled, cannon were placed on the Neck, and the army lay on their arms through the night. The entrance into this town is now fortifying by the soldiery. The selectmen have remonstrated to the governor that, if he goes on, the inhabitants are so uneasy they must abandon the town; which they declare they had rather do, and see it in flames, than be totally enslaved in it. Transports are despatched to New York and Quebec for more troops, though we have already five regiments, with a large train; one more at the castle, and another coming from Salem. At that place about thirty chests of tea lately arrived from London, which the inhabitants will not permit to be landed. What, my dear sir, will be the end of these things? The country seems determined to run all hazards in defence of their rights.

Edition: current; Page: [356]

I send this by Mr. Quincy, a gentleman bred to the law, highly esteemed for his parts and learning, a warm friend to the rights of America. He has published a pamphlet on the Port Bill, and been encouraged by some of the most respectable gentlemen among us to make a visit to England, as he is capable of giving the best account of our affairs. To him I must refer you for further particulars. I have written facts to the best of my knowledge, and, leaving you to reason or conjecture from them, I am, etc.,

Samuel Cooper.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
15 September, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLXXXIII

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I received last week only your favor of June 27th, and I have received no other from you since that of April 30th. You complain of hearing seldom from me, and yet I have written oftener this year than ever before. I apprehend our letters are intercepted. I hope you have received mine of June 1st, for in that you will find the dates of many of the letters I had written before that time; and I wish that for the future you would be so good as to mention the dates of those you receive, as I shall always do for your satisfaction of those I receive from you.

I rejoice to find that the whole continent have so justly, wisely, and unanimously taken up our cause as their own. This is an unexpected blow to the ministry, who relied on our being neglected by every Edition: current; Page: [357] other colony; this they depended on as another circumstance that must force our immediate submission, of which they were likewise perfectly sure. They are now a little disconcerted, but I hear yet from that quarter no talk of retreating or changing of measures. The language of those about the court rather is that the king must now go on, whatever may be the consequence. On the other hand, our friends are increasing and endeavoring to unite. I have been taking pains among them, to show the mischief that must arise to the whole from a dismembering of the empire, which all the measures of the present mad administration have a tendency to accomplish, and which can only be prevented by such a union of the friends of liberty in both Houses as will compel a change of that administration and those measures. I must not now relate to you with whom I have conferred, nor the conversation I have had on this subject, lest my letter fall into wrong hands; but I may say I have reason to think a strong push will be made at the very beginning of the session to have all the late acts reversed, and a solemn assurance given America that no future attempts shall be made to tax us without our consent. Much depends on the proceedings of the Congress. All sides are inquiring when an account of them may be expected. And I am advised by no means to leave England till they arrive. Their unanimity and firmness will have great weight here, and probably unhorse the present wild riders.

I enclose a copy of mine mentioned above. Since that date I have written several short letters to you, Edition: current; Page: [358] including the Bishop of St. Asaph’s speech (which is admired here as a masterpiece of eloquence and wisdom), an address to Protestant Dissenters, and sundry other pieces and papers that I have been instrumental in writing, printing, or publishing here. It would encourage me, if you could find time to acknowledge the receipt of such things, and let me know how they were approved. Nothing material has passed here in public affairs since the rising of Parliament. Great preparations are now making for the election of a new one; and a war with Spain is apprehended, but will be avoided if possible.

I am, sir, with great esteem and respect, your most obedient, humble servant,

B. Franklin.

P. S.—The bishop’s speech has had four editions, the last of 5,000 in number.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
26 September, 1774
London
Jane Mecom
Mecom, Jane
DLXXXIV

TO MRS. JANE MECOM

Dear Sister:

I hope you continue in health, as I do, thanks to God. But I wish to know how you fare in the present distress of our dear country. I am apprehensive, that the letters between us, though very innocent ones, are intercepted. They might restore to me yours at least, after reading them; especially as I never complain of broken, patched-up Edition: current; Page: [359] seals (of late very common), because I know not on whom to fix the fact.

I see in a Boston paper of August 18th, an article expressing, “that it is generally believed Dr. Franklin has received a promise of being restored to the royal favor, and promoted to an office superior to that which he resigned.” I have made no public answer to any of the abuses I have received in any of the papers here, nor shall I to this. But as I am anxious to preserve your good opinion, and as I know your sentiments, and that you must be much afflicted yourself, and even despise me, if you thought me capable of accepting any office from this government, while it is acting with so much hostility towards my native country, I cannot miss this first opportunity of assuring you, that there is not the least foundation for such a report; that, so far from having any promise of royal favor, I hear of nothing but royal and ministerial displeasure; which, indeed, as things at present stand, I consider as an honor. I have seen no minister since January, nor had the least communication with them. The generous and noble friends of America in both Houses do indeed favor me with their notice and regard; but they are in disgrace at court, as well as myself. Be satisfied, that I shall do nothing to lessen me in your esteem, or my own. I shall not, by the least concurrence with the present measures, merit any court favor, nor accept of any, if it were offered me, which, however, is not at all likely to happen.

As those here who most interest themselves in behalf of America conceive that my being present at Edition: current; Page: [360] the arrival of the proceedings of the Congress and the meeting of Parliament may be of use, I submit to their judgment, and think it now likely that I shall not return till spring. I am ever, etc.

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
27 September, 1774
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DLXXXV

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

I wrote to you lately by the Boston packet, Capt. Shepherd, and by several preceding conveyances. I should be glad to hear from you what letters of mine came to your hands, as I suspect they are often intercepted.

The ministers have for some time been out of town, as well as those of both Houses who are friends of America. But the latter have frequent communications, for the purpose of dropping their private misunderstandings, and uniting in the public cause, which at present needs all their joint assistance, since a breach with America, hazarded by the late harsh measures, may be ruinous to the general welfare of the British empire. In forwarding this good work among them, as far as my little endeavors may amount to, I have been for some time industriously engaged. I see some letters in your newspapers, said to be written from hence, which represent Lord Chatham as having deserted your cause. I can of my own certain knowledge assure you of the contrary, and that his sentiments are such as you could wish. It Edition: current; Page: [361] was thought the Parliament would meet in November; but the talk now is, that it will be further prorogued till January, that government may be in full possession of the proceedings of the Congress, and the views of the Americans. With great respect, I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
30 September, 1774
London
Richard Bache
Bache, Richard
DLXXXVI

TO RICHARD BACHE

Dear Son:

The bearer, Mr. Thomas Paine, is very well recommended to me, as an ingenious, worthy young man. He goes to Pennsylvania with a view of settling there. I request you to give him your best advice and countenance, as he is quite a stranger there. If you can put him in a way of obtaining employment as a clerk, or assistant tutor in a school, or assistant surveyor (of all which I think him very capable), so that he may procure subsistence at least, till he can make acquaintance and obtain a knowledge of the country, you will do well, and much oblige your affectionate father. My love to Sally and the boys.1

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [362]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
12 October, 1774
London
Joseph Galloway
Galloway, Joseph
DLXXXVII

TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY

Dear Sir:

I wrote to you on the 1st instant by Captain Cook, acquainting you with the disposition of Parliament, since which the elections are going on briskly everywhere for a new one. The electors of London, Westminster, the borough of Southwark and the county of Middlesex, have obliged their candidates to sign a written engagement, that they will endeavor to obtain a repeal of the late oppressive and unconstitutional American laws, and promote a reconciliation between the two countries. Their example will be followed in some other places, and it is thought would have been pretty general in the trading and manufacturing towns, if the suddenness of the dissolution had not hurried things too much.

It being objected to one of the candidates set up for Westminster, Lord Percy, that he is absent on the wicked business of cutting the throats of our American brethren, his friends have thought necessary this morning to publish a letter of his, expressing that he is on good terms with the people of Boston, and much respected by them. These circumstances show that the American cause begins to be more popular here. Yet the court talk boldly of persisting in their measures, and three ships of the line are Edition: current; Page: [363] fitting out for America, which are to be over-manned, to have a double number of marines, and several armed tenders. It is rumored they are to stop all the ports of America.

Many think the new Parliament will be for reversing the late proceedings; but that depends on the court, on which every Parliament seems to be dependent; so much so, that I begin to think the Parliament here of little use to the people; for since a parliament is always to do as a ministry would have it, why should we not be governed by the ministry in the first instance? They could afford to govern us much cheaper, the Parliament being a very expensive machine, that requires a great deal of oiling and greasing at the people’s charge; for they finally pay all the enormous salaries of places, the pensions, and the bribes, now by custom become necessary to induce the members to vote according to their consciences.

My situation here is thought by many to be a little hazardous; for if, by some accident, the troops and people of New England should come to blows, I should probably be taken up; the ministerial people affecting everywhere to represent me as the cause of all the misunderstanding; and I have been frequently cautioned to secure my papers, and by some advised to withdraw. But I venture to stay, in compliance with the wish of others, till the result of the Congress arrives, since they suppose my being here might on that occasion be of use; and I confide on my innocence, that the worst which can happen to me will be an imprisonment upon suspicion, though that is a Edition: current; Page: [364] thing I should much desire to avoid, as it may be expensive and vexatious, as well as dangerous to my health. With great respect and esteem, I am ever, dear sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.

DLXXXVIII: A PARABLE ON PERSECUTION

1. And it came to pass after these things, that Abraham sat in the door of his tent, about the going down of the sun.

2. And behold a man, bowed with age, came from the way of the wilderness, leaning on a staff.

3. And Abraham arose and met him, and said unto him: “Turn in, I pray thee, and wash thy feet, and tarry all night, and thou shalt arise early on the morrow, and go on thy way.”

4. But the man said: “Nay, for I will abide under this tree.”

5. And Abraham pressed him greatly; so he turned and they went into the tent, and Abraham baked unleavened bread, and they did eat.

6. And when Abraham saw that the man blessed not God, he said unto him: “Wherefore dost thou not worship the most high God, Creator of heaven and earth?”

7. And the man answered and said: “I do not worship the God thou speakest of, neither do I call upon his name; for I have made to myself a god, which abideth alway in mine house, and provideth me with all things.”

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8. And Abraham’s zeal was kindled against the man, and he arose and fell upon him, and drove him forth with blows into the wilderness.

9. And at midnight God called unto Abraham, saying: “Abraham, where is the stranger?”

10. And Abraham answered and said: “Lord, he would not worship thee, neither would he call upon thy name; therefore have I driven him out from before my face into the wilderness.”

11. And God said: “Have I borne with him these hundred and ninety and eight years, and nourished him, and clothed him, notwithstanding his rebellion against me; and couldst not thou, that art thyself a sinner, bear with him one night?”

12. And Abraham said: “Let not the anger of the Lord wax hot against his servant; lo, I have sinned; lo, I have sinned; forgive me, I pray thee.”

13. And Abraham arose, and went forth into the wilderness, and sought diligently for the man, and found him, and returned with him to the tent; and when he had entreated him kindly, he sent him away on the morrow with gifts.

14. And God spake again unto Abraham, saying: “For this thy sin shall thy seed be afflicted four hundred years in a strange land.

15. “But for thy repentance will I deliver them; and they shall come forth with power, and with gladness of heart, and with much substance.”

In the year 1774 Lord Kames, in the second volume of his Sketches of the History of Man, introduced the substance of the foregoing parable with these words: “The Edition: current; Page: [366] following parable against persecution was communicated to me by Dr. Franklin of Philadelphia, a man who makes a great figure in the learned world, and who would still make a greater figure for benevolence and candor, were virtue as much regarded in this declining age as knowledge.1

From the manner in which it was here presented to the public, it was naturally inferred and taken for granted that Franklin was its author. Some surprise, therefore, was manifested when it was discovered not long after that a parable of substantially the same import was found in Jeremy Taylor’s Liberty of Prophesying, published in 1657, and which he professed to have found “in the Jews’ books.” Curiosity was now provoked to find whence or from what Jews’ books the parable was taken. At length it was discovered in the Latin dedication to the Senate of Hamburg of a rabbinical work entitled The Rod of Judah. The translator, Genz, gives the story substantially as it is given by Jeremy Taylor. The only important difference is the answer made to Abraham, which in Genz’s preface reads as follows: “I am a fire-worshipper, and ignorant of manners of this kind, for our ancestors have taught us no such observance.” Perceiving with horror from his speech that he had to do with a profane fire-worshipper, and a person alien to the worship of his God, Abraham drove him from his table and his abode, as one whose intercourse was contagious, and as a foe to his religion.2

Genz attributed the authorship of the parable to the Edition: current; Page: [367] nobilisimus Autor Sadus. Following up this trail, the parable was traced to the Bostan, or Flower Garden, of the celebrated Persian poet Saadi. An English translation of it from this ancient poem was published in the Asiatic Miscellany, at Calcutta, in 1789, and is quoted from that work by Bishop Heber in his Life of Jeremy Taylor.1 Saadi also gives the parable as “something that he had heard once,” and not an invention of his own. But here the trail is lost. Whence Saadi derived it is a matter of pure speculation. In his Gulistan there is an allusion to an incident in his life which may throw some light upon the remoter history of the parable. The poet says that while he was a prisoner to the Crusaders, he was set to work “with some Jews” on the trenches before Tripoli. This being a period of high culture among the Jews of Western Asia, it is not unlikely that among the prisoners of that race that fell into the hands of the Christians, some of them may have been men of refinement and learning, like Saadi himself, and may have imparted this parable to him, either as of their own invention or as a tradition. So far as we know, like “Topsy,” it had no parents—it grew.

When the parable was found among the writings of Jeremy Taylor, Franklin, who was then residing in England, was charged with plagiarism. To this the succeeding number of the Repository, in which the charge had appeared, contained a reply from Franklin’s fast and most respected friend, Benjamin Vaughan, disclaiming any pretension on Franklin’s part to have been the author of the parable in question. He said: “This great man, who at the same time that he was desirous of disseminating an amiable sentiment, was an extreme lover of pleasantry, often endeavored to put off the parable in Edition: current; Page: [368] question upon his acquaintance as a portion of Scripture, and probably thought this one of the most successful modes of circulating its moral. This object would certainly have been defeated, had he prefixed to the printed copies of the parable, which he was fond of dispersing, an intimation of its author. He therefore gave no name whatever to it, much less his own. And often as I have heard of his amusing himself on this occasion, I never could learn that he ascribed to himself the merit of the invention. His good humor constantly led him into a train of amusing stories concerning the persons who had mistaken it for Scripture (for he had bound it up as a leaf in his Bible, the better to impose upon them), which, perhaps, made the point of authorship be forgotten.”

In a letter to Vaughan, dated November 2, 1789, Franklin says that he never published it, “nor claimed any other credit from it, than what related to the style and the addition of the concluding threatening and promise.”

Whoever was the original author of this parable, it is very clear that it was Franklin that put the royal image and superscription upon it that gave it its currency throughout the world.—Editor.

DLXXXIX: A PARABLE ON BROTHERLY LOVE

1. In those days there was no worker of iron in all the land. And the merchants of Midian passed by with their camels, bearing spices, and myrrh, and balm, and wares of iron.

2. And Reuben bought an axe of the Ishmaelite merchants, which he prized highly, for there was none in his father’s house.

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3. And Simeon said unto Reuben his brother, “Lend me, I pray thee, thine axe.” But he refused, and would not.

4. And Levi also said unto him: “My brother, lend me, I pray thee, thine axe”; and he refused him also.

5. Then came Judah unto Reuben, and entreated him, saying: “Lo, thou lovest me, and I have always loved thee; do not refuse me the use of thine axe.”

6. But Reuben turned from him, and refused him likewise.

7. Now it came to pass, that Reuben hewed timber on the bank of the river, and his axe fell therein, and he could by no means find it.

8. But Simeon, Levi, and Judah had sent a messenger after the Ishmaelites, with money, and had bought for themselves each an axe.

9. Then came Reuben unto Simeon, and said: “Lo I have lost mine axe, and my work is unfinished; lend me thine, I pray thee.”

10. And Simeon answered him, saying: “Thou wouldest not lend me thine axe, therefore will I not lend thee mine.”

11. Then went he unto Levi, and said unto him: “My brother, thou knowest my loss and my necessity; lend me, I pray thee, thine axe.”

12. And Levi reproached him, saying: “Thou wouldest not lend me thine axe when I desired it, but I will be better than thou, and will lend thee mine.”

13. And Reuben was grieved at the rebuke of Levi, and being ashamed, turned from him, and took not the axe, but sought his brother Judah.

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14. And as he drew near, Judah beheld his countenance as it were covered with grief and shame; and he prevented him, saying: “My brother, I know thy loss; but why should it trouble thee? Lo, have I not an axe that will serve both thee and me? Take it, I pray thee, and use it as thine own.”

15. And Reuben fell on his neck, and kissed him, with tears, saying: “Thy kindness is great, but thy goodness in forgiving me is greater. Thou art indeed my brother, and whilst I live, will I surely love thee.”

16. And Judah said: “Let us also love our other brethren; behold, are we not all of one blood?”

17. And Joseph saw these things, and reported them to his father Jacob.

18. And Jacob said: “Reuben did wrong, but he repented. Simeon also did wrong; and Levi was not altogether blameless.

19. “But the heart of Judah is princely. Judah hath the soul of a king. His father’s children shall bow down before him, and he shall rule over his brethren.”

DXC: AN ACCOUNT OF THE TRANSACTIONS RELATING TO GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON’S LETTERS

Having been from my youth more or less engaged in public affairs, it has often happened to me in the course of my life to be censured sharply for the part I took in them. Such censures I have generally Edition: current; Page: [371] passed over in silence, conceiving, when they were just, that I ought rather to amend than defend; and, when they were undeserved, that a little time would justify me. Much experience has confirmed my opinion of the propriety of this conduct; for, notwithstanding the frequent, and sometimes the virulent attacks which the jostlings of party interests have drawn upon me, I have had the felicity of bringing down to a good old age as fair a reputation (may I be permitted to say it?) as most public men that I have known, and have never had reason to repent my neglecting to defend it.

I should therefore (persisting, as old men ought to do, in old habits) have taken no notice of the late invective of the solicitor-general, nor of the abundant abuse in the papers, were I not urged to it by my friends, who say, that the first, being delivered by a public officer of government before a high and most respectable court, the Privy Council, and countenanced by its report, and the latter having that for its foundation, it behooves me, more especially as I am about leaving this country, to furnish them with the knowledge of such facts as may enable them to justify to others their good opinion of me. This compels me to the present undertaking; for otherwise, having for some time past been gradually losing all public connections, declining my agencies, determined on retiring to my little family, that I might enjoy the remainder of life in private repose, indifferent to the opinion of courtiers, as having nothing to seek or wish among them, and being secure that time would soon lay the dust which prejudice and party Edition: current; Page: [372] have so lately raised, I should not think of giving myself the trouble of writing, and my friends of reading, an apology for my political conduct.

That this conduct may be better understood, and its consistency more apparent, it seems necessary that I should first explain the principles on which I have acted. It has long appeared to me that the only true British policy was that which aimed at the good of the whole British empire, not that which sought the advantage of one part in the disadvantage of the others; therefore all measures of procuring gain to the mother country arising from loss to her colonies, and all of gain to the colonies arising from or occasioning loss to Britain, especially where the gain was small and the loss great, every abridgment of the power of the mother country, where that power was not prejudicial to the liberties of the colonists, and every diminution of the privileges of the colonists, where they were not prejudicial to the welfare of the mother country, I, in my own mind, condemned as improper, partial, unjust, and mischievous, tending to create dissensions, and weaken that union on which the strength, solidity, and duration of the empire greatly depended; and I opposed, as far as my little powers went, all proceedings, either here or in America, that in my opinion had such tendency. Hence it has often happened to me that while I have been thought here too much of an American, I have in America been deemed too much of an Englishman.

From a thorough inquiry (on occasion of the Stamp Act) into the nature of the connection between Edition: current; Page: [373] Britain and the colonies, I became convinced that the bond of their union is not the Parliament, but the king. That, in removing to America, a country out of the realm, they did not carry with them the statutes then existing; for, if they did, the Puritans must have been subject there to the same grievous act of conformity, tithes, spiritual courts, etc., which they meant to be free from by going thither; and in vain would they have left their native country, and all the conveniences and comforts of its improved state, to combat the hardships of a new settlement in a distant wilderness, if they had taken with them what they meant to fly from, or if they had left a power behind them, capable of sending the same chains after them to bind them in America. They took with them, however, by compact, their allegiance to the king, and a legislative power for the making a new body of laws with his assent, by which they were to be governed. Hence they became distinct states, under the same prince, united as Ireland is to the crown, but not to the realm of England, and governed each by its own laws, though with the same sovereign, and having each the right of granting its own money to that sovereign.

At the same time I considered the king’s supreme authority over all the colonies as of the greatest importance to them, affording a dernier ressort for settling all their disputes, a means of preserving peace among them with each other, and a centre in which their common force might be united against a common enemy. This authority I therefore thought, when acting within its due limits, should be ever as Edition: current; Page: [374] carefully supported by the colonists as by the inhabitants of Britain.

In conformity with these principles, and as agent for the colonies, I opposed the Stamp Act, and endeavored to obtain its repeal, as an infringement of the rights of the colonists, of no real advantage to Britain, since she might ever be sure of greater aids from our voluntary grants than she could expect from arbitrary taxes, as by losing our respect and affection, on which much of her commerce with us depended, she would lose more in that commerce than she could possibly gain by such taxes, and as it was detrimental to the harmony which had till then so happily subsisted, and which was so essential to the welfare of the whole. And to keep up, as much as in me lay, a reverence for the king and a respect for the British nation on that side the water, and, on this, some regard for the colonies (both tending to promote that harmony), I industriously, on all occasions, in my letters to America, represented the measures that were grievous to them as being neither royal nor national measures, but the schemes of an administration, which wished to recommend itself for its ingenuity in finance, or to avail itself of new revenues in creating, by places and pensions, new dependencies; for that the king was a good and gracious prince, and the people of Britain their real friends. And on this side the water, I represented the people of America as fond of Britain, concerned for its interest and its glory, and without the least desire of a separation from it. In both cases I thought, and still think, I did not exceed the bounds of truth, and I Edition: current; Page: [375] have the heartfelt satisfaction attending good intentions, even when they are not successful.

With these sentiments I could not but see with concern the sending of troops to Boston; and their behavior to the people there gave me infinite uneasiness, as I apprehended from that measure the worst of consequences, a breach between the two countries. And I was the more concerned when I found that it was considered there as a national measure (since none here opposed it), and as a proof that Britain had no longer a paternal regard for them. I myself in conversation sometimes spoke of it in this light, and I own with some resentment (being myself a native of that country), till I was, to my great surprise, assured by a gentleman of character and distinction (whom I am not at present permitted to name), that not only the measure I particularly censured so warmly, but all the other grievances we complained of, took their rise, not from the government here, but were projected, proposed to administration, solicited, and obtained, by some of the most respectable among the Americans themselves, as necessary measures for the welfare of that country. As I could not readily assent to the probability of this, he undertook to convince me, and he hoped, through me (as their agent here), my countrymen. Accordingly, he called on me some days after, and produced to me these very letters from Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson, Secretary Oliver, and others, which have since been the subject of so much discussion.

Though astonished, I could not but confess myself convinced, and I was ready, as he desired, to convince Edition: current; Page: [376] my countrymen; for I saw, I felt indeed by its effect upon myself, the tendency it must have toward a reconciliation, which for the common good I earnestly wished. It appeared, moreover, my duty to give my constituents intelligence of such importance to their affairs; but there was some difficulty, as this gentleman would not permit copies to be taken of the letters; and, if that could have been done, the authenticity of those copies might have been doubted and disputed. My simple account of them, as papers I had seen, would have been still less certain. I therefore wished to have the use of the originals for that purpose, which I at length obtained, on these express conditions: that they should not be printed; that no copies should be taken of them; that they should be shown only to a few of the leading people of the government; and that they should be carefully returned.

I accepted those conditions, and under the same transmitted the original letters to the Committee of Correspondence at Boston, without taking or reserving any copy of them for myself. I agreed the more willingly to the restraint, from an apprehension that a publication might, considering the state of irritation in which the minds of the people there had long been kept, occasion some riot of mischievous consequence. I had no other scruple in sending them, for, as they had been handed about here to injure that people, why not use them for their advantage? The writers, too, had taken the same liberty with the letters of others, transmitting hither those of Rosne and Auchmuty in confirmation of their own calumnies against Edition: current; Page: [377] the Americans; copies of some of mine, too, had been returned here by officers of government. Why, then, should theirs be exempt from the same treatment? To whom they had been directed here I could only conjecture; for I was not informed, and there was no address upon them when I received them. My letter, in which I enclosed them, expressed more fully the motives above mentioned for sending them, and I shall presently give an extract of so much of it as related to them.

But as it has, on the contrary, been roundly asserted that I did not, as agent, transmit those letters to the Assembly’s Committee of Correspondence; that I sent them to a junto, my peculiar correspondents; that, fearing to be known as the person who sent them, I had insisted on the keeping that circumstance a secret; that I had “shown the utmost solicitude to have that secret kept”; and as this has been urged as a demonstrative proof that I was conscious of guilt in the manner of obtaining them, and therefore feared a discovery so much as to have been afraid of putting my name to the letter in which I enclosed them, and which only appeared to be mine by my well-known handwriting, I would here, previous to that extract, observe, that on the same paper was first written the copy of a preceding letter, which had been first signed by me as usual; and accordingly, the letter now in question began with these words, “The above is a copy of my last”; and all the first part of it was on business transacted by me relating to the affairs of the province, and particularly to two petitions sent to me as agent by the Assembly, to be Edition: current; Page: [378] presented to the king. These circumstances must to every person there have as clearly shown me to be the writer of that letter, as my well-known hand must have done to those peculiar correspondents of my own, to whom it is said I sent it. If then I hoped to be concealed by not signing my name to such a letter, I must have been as silly as that bird, which is supposed to think itself unseen when it has hid only its head. And if I could depend on my correspondents keeping secret a letter and a transaction which they must needs know were mine, I might as well have trusted them with my name, and could have had no motive for omitting it. In truth, all I insisted on was (in pursuance of my engagement), that the letters should not be printed or copied; but I had not at the time the least thought or desire of keeping my part in that transaction a secret; and, therefore, so far from requesting it, I did not so much as give the smallest intimation even that it would be agreeable to me not to be mentioned on the occasion. And if I had had that inclination, I must have been very weak indeed to fancy that the person I wrote to, all the rest of the Committee of Correspondence, five other persons named, and “such others as the committee might think fit to show them to,” with three gentlemen here to whom I had communicated the matter, should all keep as a secret on my account what I did not state as a secret, or request should be concealed.

So much of the letters as relates to the governor’s letters is as follows.

“On this occasion I think it fit to acquaint you, Edition: current; Page: [379] that there has lately fallen into my hands part of a correspondence that I have reason to believe laid the foundation of most, if not all our present grievances. I am not at liberty to tell through what channel I received it; and I have engaged that it shall not be printed, nor copies taken of the whole, or any part of it; but I am allowed to let it be seen by some men of worth in the province, for their satisfaction only. In confidence of your preserving inviolably my engagement, I send you enclosed the original letters, to obviate every pretence of unfairness in copying, interpolation, or omission. The hands of the gentlemen will be well known. Possibly they may not like such an exposal of their conduct, however tenderly and privately it may be managed. But, if they are good men, or pretend to be such, and agree that all good men wish a good understanding and harmony to subsist between the colonies and their mother country, they ought the less to regret that, at the small expense of their reputation for sincerity and public spirit among their compatriots, so desirable an event may in some degree be forwarded. For my own part, I cannot but acknowledge that my resentment against this country, for its arbitrary measures in governing us, conducted by the late minister, has, since my conviction by these papers that those measures were projected, advised, and called for by men of character among ourselves, and whose advice must therefore be attended with all the weight that was proper to mislead, and which could therefore scarce fail of misleading; my own resentment, I say, has by this means been exceedingly Edition: current; Page: [380] abated. I think they must have the same effect with you; but I am not, as I have said, at liberty to make the letters public. I can only allow them to be seen by yourself, by the other gentlemen of the Committee of Correspondence, by Messrs. Bowdoin and Pitts of the Council, and Drs. Chauncey, Cooper, and Winthrop, with a few such other gentlemen as you may think fit to show them to. After being some months in your possession, you are requested to return them to me.

As to the writers, I can easily as well as charitably conceive it possible, that men educated in prepossessions of the unbounded authority of Parliament, etc., may think unjustifiable every opposition, even to its unconstitutional exactions, and imagine it their duty to suppress, as much as in them lies, such opposition. But, when I find them bartering away the liberties of their native country for posts, and negotiating for salaries and pensions extorted from the people; and, conscious of the odium these might be attended with, calling for troops to protect and secure the enjoyment of them; when I see them exciting jealousies in the crown, and provoking it to work against so great a part of its most faithful subjects; creating enmities between the different countries of which the empire consists; occasioning a great expense to the old country for suppressing or preventing imaginary rebellions in the new, and to the new country for the payment of needless gratifications to useless officers and enemies, I cannot but doubt their sincerity even in the political principle they profess, and deem them mere time-servers, seeking Edition: current; Page: [381] their own private emolument, through any quantity of public mischief; betrayers of the interest, not of their native country only, but of the government they pretend to serve, and of the whole English empire.

With the greatest esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, sir, your and the committee’s most obedient humble servant,

B. Franklin.

My next letter is of January 5, 1773, to the same gentleman,1 beginning with these words. “I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 2d of December past, enclosing some original letters from persons at Boston, which I hope got safe to hand”; and then it goes on with other business transacted by me as agent, and is signed with my name as usual. In truth I never sent an anonymous letter to any person in America, since my residence in London, unless where two or more letters happened to be on the same paper, the first a copy of a preceding letter, and the subsequent referring to the preceding; in that case, I may possibly have omitted signing more than one of them, as unnecessary.

The first letter acknowledging the receipt of the papers, is dated “Boston, March 24, 1773,” and begins thus: “I have just received your favor of the 2d December last, with the several papers enclosed, for which I am much obliged to you. I have communicated them to some of the gentlemen you mentioned. Edition: current; Page: [382] They are of opinion that, though it might be inconvenient to publish them, yet it might be expedient to have copies taken and left on this side the water, as there may be a necessity to make some use of them hereafter; however, I read to them what you wrote to me upon the occasion, and told them I could by no means consent copies of them or any part of them should be taken without your express leave; that I would write to you upon the subject, and strictly conform to your directions.”

The next letter, dated April 20, 1773, begins thus: “I wrote you in my last, that the gentlemen to whom I had communicated the papers you sent me under cover of yours of the 2d of December last were of opinion that they ought to be retained on this side the water, to be hereafter employed as the exigency of our affairs may require, or at least that authenticated copies ought to be taken before they are returned. I shall have, I find, a very difficult task properly to conduct this matter, unless you obtain leave for their being retained or copied. I shall wait your directions on this head, and hope they will be such as will be agreeable to all the gentlemen, who unanimously are of opinion that it can by no means answer any valuable purpose to send them here for the inspection of a few persons, barely to satisfy their curiosity.”

On the 9th of March, I wrote to the same person, not having then received the preceding letters, and mentioned my having written to him on the 2d of December and 5th of January; and, knowing what use was made against the people there, of every Edition: current; Page: [383] trifling mob, and fearing lest, if the letters should, contrary to my directions, be made public, something more serious of the kind might happen, I concluded that letter thus: “I must hope that great care will be taken to keep our people quiet, since nothing is more wished for by our enemies, than that by insurrections we should give a good pretence for increasing the military among us, and putting us under more severe restraints. And it must be evident to all, that by our rapidly increasing strength we shall soon become of so much importance, that none of our just claims and privileges will be, as heretofore, unattended to, nor any security we can wish for our rights be denied us.”

Mine of May 6th begins thus: “I have received none of your favors, since that of November 28th. I have since written to you of the following dates, December 2d, January 5th, March 9th, and April 3d, which I hope got safe to hand.” Thus in two out of three letters, subsequent to that of December 2d, which enclosed the governor’s letters, I mentioned my writing that letter, which showed I could have no intention of concealing my having written it; and that therefore the assertion of my sending it anonymously is without probability.

In mine of June 2, 1773, I acknowledge the receipt of his letter of March 24th, and, not being able to answer immediately his request of leave to copy the letters, I said nothing of them then, postponing that subject to an opportunity which was expected two days after, viz., June 4th, when my letter of that date concludes thus: “As to the letters I Edition: current; Page: [384] communicated to you, though I have not been able to obtain leave to take copies or publish them, I have permission to let the originals remain with you, as long as you may think it of any use to have the originals in possession.”

In mine of July 7th, 1773, I answer the above of April 20th as follows; “The letters communicated to you were not merely to satisfy the curiosity of any, but it was thought there might be a use in showing them to some friends of the province, and even to some of the governor’s party, for their more certain information concerning his conduct and politics, though the letters were not made quite public. I believe I have since written to you, that there was no occasion to return them speedily; and though I cannot obtain leave as yet to suffer copies to be taken of them, I am allowed to say that they may be shown and read to whom and as many as you think proper.”

The same person wrote to me June 14, 1773, in these terms: “I have endeavored inviolably to keep to your injunctions with respect to the papers you sent me; I have shown them only to such persons as you directed; no one person, except Dr. Cooper and one of the committee, knows from whom they came or to whom they were sent. I have constantly avoided mentioning your name upon the occasion, so that it need never be known (if you incline to keep it a secret) whom they came from, and to whom they were sent; and I desire, so far as I am concerned, my name may not be mentioned; for it may be a damage to me. I thought it, however, my duty to communicate them as permitted, as they contained Edition: current; Page: [385] matters of importance that very nearly affected the government. And, notwithstanding all my care and precaution, it is now publicly known that all such letters are here. Considering the number of persons who were to see them (not less than ten or fifteen), it is astonishing they did not get air before.” Then he goes on to relate how the Assembly, having heard of them, obliged him to produce them, but engaged not to print them; and that they afterwards did nevertheless print them, having got over that engagement by the appearance of copies in the House, produced by a member, who it was reported had just received them from England. This letter concludes: “I have done all in my power strictly to conform to your restrictions; but, from the circumstances above related, you must be sensible it was impossible to prevent the letters being made public, and therefore hope I shall be free from all blame respecting this matter.”

This letter accounts for its being, unexpectedly to me, made a secret in Boston, that I had sent the letters. The gentleman to whom I sent them had his reasons for desiring not to be known as the person who received and communicated them; but as this would have been suspected, if it were known that I sent them, that circumstance was to be kept a secret. Accordingly they were given to another, to be by him produced by the committee.

My answer to this was of July 25, 1773, as follows: “I am favored with yours of June 14th, containing some copies of the resolves of the committee upon the letters. I see by your account of the Edition: current; Page: [386] transaction, that you could not well prevent what was done. As to the report of other copies being come from England, I think that could not be. It was an expedient to disengage the House. I hope the possession of the originals, and the proceedings upon them, will be attended with salutary effects to the province, and then I shall be well pleased. I observe what you mention, that no person besides Dr. Cooper and one of the committee knew they came from me. I did not accompany them with any request of being myself concealed; for, believing what I did to be in the way of my duty as agent, though I had no doubt of its giving offence, not only to the parties exposed, but to administration here, I was regardless of the consequences. However, since the letters themselves are now copied and printed, contrary to the promise I made, I am glad my name has not been heard on the occasion; and, as I do not see it could be of any use to the public, I now wish it may continue unknown, though I hardly expect it. As to yours, you may rely on my never mentioning it, except that I may be obliged to show your letter in my own vindication to the person only who might otherwise think he had reason to blame me for breach of engagement.”

With the above-mentioned letter of the 14th of June I received one from another of the gentlemen1 to whom the papers had been communicated, which says: “By whom and to whom they were sent is still a secret, known only to three persons here, and may still remain so, if you desire it.” My answer to Edition: current; Page: [387] him of July 25th was: “I accompanied them with no restriction relating to myself; my duty to the province as their agent, I thought, required the communication of them so far as I could. I was sensible I should make enemies there, and perhaps might offend government here; but these apprehensions I disregarded. I did not expect, and hardly still expect, that my sending them could be kept a secret. But since it is such hitherto, I now wish it may continue so, because the publication of the letters, contrary to my engagement, has changed the circumstances.” His reply to this, of the 10th of November, is: “After all the solicitous inquiries of the governor and his friends respecting his letters, it still remains a secret from and to whom they were sent here. This is known, among us, to two only besides myself, and will remain undiscovered, unless further intelligence should come from your side the water than I have reason to think has yet been obtained. I cannot, however, but admire your honest openness in this affair, and noble negligence of any inconveniences that might arise to yourself in this essential service to our injured country.”

To another friend1 I wrote of the same date, July 25th, what will show the apprehensions I was constantly under, of the mischiefs that would attend a breach from the exasperated state of things, and the arguments I used to prevent it, viz.: “I am glad to see that you are elected into the council, and are about to take part in our public affairs. Your abilities, Edition: current; Page: [388] integrity, and sober attachment to the liberties of our country will be of great use, at this tempestuous time, in conducting our little bark into a safe harbor. By the Boston newspapers there seem to be among us some violent spirits, who are for an immediate rupture. But I trust the general prudence of our countrymen will see that by our growing strength we advance fast to a situation in which our claims must be allowed; that by a premature struggle we may be crippled and kept down another age; that, as between friends every affront is not worth a duel, and between nations every injury is not worth a war, so between the governed and the governing, every mistake in government, every encroachment on rights, is not worth a rebellion. It is, in my opinion, sufficient for the present that we hold them forth on all occasions, not giving up any of them; using, at the same time, every means to make them generally understood and valued by the people; cultivating a harmony among the colonies, that their union in the same sentiments may give them greater weight; remembering withal that this Protestant country (our mother, though of late an unkind one) is worth preserving; and that her weight in the scale of Europe, her safety, in a great degree, may depend on our union with her. Thus conducting, I am confident we may within a few years obtain every allowance of, and every security for, our inestimable privileges that we can wish or desire.”

His answer, of December 31st, is: “I concur perfectly with you in the sentiments expressed in your last. No considerate person, I should think, can Edition: current; Page: [389] approve of your desperate remedies, except in desperate cases. The people of America are extremely agitated by the repeated efforts of administration to subject them to absolute power. They have been amused with accounts of the pacific disposition of the ministry, and flattered with assurances that upon their humble petitions all their grievances would be redressed. They have petitioned from time to time; but their petitions have had no other effect than to make them feel more sensibly their own slavery. Instead of redress, every year has produced some new manœuvre, which could have no tendency but to irritate them more and more. The last measure of the East India Company’s sending their tea here, subject to a duty, seems to have given the finishing stroke to their patience. You will have heard of the steps taken at Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, to prevent the payment of this duty, by sending the tea back to its owners. But as this was found impossible at Boston, the destruction of the tea was the consequence. What the event of these commotions will be, God only knows. The people through the colonies appear immovably fixed in their resolution that the tea duty shall never be paid; and, if the ministry are determined to enforce these measures, I dread the consequences; I verily fear they will turn America into a field of blood. But I will hope for the best.”

I am told that administration is possessed of most of my letters sent or received on public affairs for some years past; copies of them having been obtained from the files of the several Assemblies, or as Edition: current; Page: [390] they passed through the post-office. I do not condemn their ministerial industry or complain of it. The foregoing extracts may be compared with those copies, and I can appeal to them with confidence that, upon such comparison, these extracts will be found faithfully made, and that the whole tenor of my letters has been to persuade patience and a careful guarding against all violence, under the grievances complained of; and this from various considerations, such as that the welfare of the empire depended upon the union of its parts; that the sovereign was well disposed towards us, and the body of his nation our friends and well-wishers; that it was the ministry only who were prejudiced against us; that the sentiments of minsters might in time be changed, or the ministers themselves be changed; or that, if those chances failed, at least time would infallibly bring redress, since the strength, weight, and importance of America were continually and rapidly increasing, and its friendship, of course, daily becoming more valuable, and more likely to be cultivated by an attention to its rights. The newspapers have announced that treason is found in some of my letters. It must then be of some new species. The invention of court lawyers has always been fruitful in the discovery of new treasons, and perhaps it is now become treason to censure the conduct of ministers. None of any other kind, I am sure, can be found in my correspondence.

The effect of the governor’s letters on the minds of the people in New England, when they came to be read there, was precisely what had been expected and proposed by sending them over. It was now Edition: current; Page: [391] seen that the grievances which had been so deeply resented as measures of the mother country, were in fact the measures of two or three of their own people. Of course, all that resentment was withdrawn from her, and fell where it was proper it should fall, on the heads of those caitiffs who were the authors of the mischief. Both Houses1 took up the matter in this light, and the House of Representatives agreed to the following resolves, reported by the committee appointed to consider the letters, viz.:

The Committee appointed to consider certain Letters laid before the House of Representatives, reported the following Resolves:

Resolved, That the letters signed Tho. Hutchinson and Andw. Oliver, now under the consideration of this House, appear to be the genuine letters of the present governor and lieutenant-governor of this province, whose handwriting and signatures are well known to many of the members of this House; and that they contain aggravated accounts of facts and misrepresentations, and that one manifest design of them was to represent the matters they treat of in a light highly injurious to this province, and the persons against whom they were written.

Resolved, That though the letters aforesaid, signed Tho. Hutchinson, are said by the governor in his message to this House of June 9th to be “private letters Edition: current; Page: [392] written to a gentleman in London since deceased,” and “that all except the last were written many months before he came to the chair,” yet that they were written by the present governor when he was lieutenant-governor and chief-justice of this province, who has been represented abroad as eminent for his abilities as for his exalted station, and was under no official obligation to transmit private intelligence, and that they therefore must be considered by the person to whom they were sent as documents of solid intelligence; and that this gentleman in London to whom they were written, was then a member of the British Parliament, and one who was very active in American affairs, and therefore that these letters, however secretly written, must naturally be supposed to have, and really had, a public operation.

Resolved, That these “private letters” being written “with express confidence of secrecy” was only to prevent the contents of them being known here, as appears by said letters; and this rendered them the more injurious in their tendency, and really insidious.

Resolved, That the letters signed Tho. Hutchinson, considering the person by whom they were written, the matters they expressly contain, the express reference in some of them for “full intelligence” to Mr. Hallowell, a person deeply interested in the measures so much complained of, and recommendatory notices of divers other persons, whose emoluments arising from our public burdens must excite them to unfavorable representations of us, the measures they suggest, the temper in which they were Edition: current; Page: [393] written, the manner in which they were sent, and the person to whom they were addressed, had a natural and efficacious tendency to interrupt and alienate the affections of our most gracious sovereign King George the Third, from this his loyal and affectionate province; to destroy that harmony and good-will between Great Britain and this colony, which every friend to either would wish to establish; to excite the resentment of the British administration against this province; to defeat the endeavors of our agents and friends to serve us by a fair representation of our state of grievances; to prevent our humble and repeated petitions from reaching the royal ear of our common sovereign; and to produce the severe and destructive measures which have been taken against this province, and others still more so, which have been threatened.

Resolved, As the opinion of this House, that it clearly appears from the letters aforesaid, signed, Tho. Hutchinson and Andw. Oliver, that it was the desire and endeavor of the writers of them that certain acts of the British Parliament for raising a revenue in America might be carried into effect by military force; and, by introducing a fleet and army into this his Majesty’s loyal province to intimidate the minds of his subjects here, and prevent every constitutional measure to obtain the repeal of those acts so justly esteemed a grievance to us, and to suppress the very spirit of freedom.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this House that, as the salaries lately appointed for the governor, lieutenant governor, and judges of this province, Edition: current; Page: [394] directly repugnant to the charter and subversive of justice, are founded on this revenue; and as these letters were written with a design, and had a tendency to promote and support that revenue, therefore there is great reason to suppose the writers of those letters were well knowing to, suggested, and promoted the enacting said revenue acts, and the establishments founded on the same.

Resolved, That, while the writer of these letters, signed Tho. Hutchinson has been thus exerting himself, by his “secret confidential correspondence,” to introduce measures destructive of our constitutional liberty, he has been practising every method among the people of this province to fix in their mind an exalted opinion of his warmest affection for them, and his unremitted endeavors to promote their best interests at the court of Great Britain.

Resolved, as the opinion of this House, That, by comparing these letters signed Tho. Hutchinson, with those signed Andw. Oliver, Cha. Paxton, and Nath. Rogers, and considering what has since in fact taken place conformable thereto, there have been for many years past measures contemplated, and a plan formed, by a set of men born and educated among us, to raise their own fortunes, and advance themselves to posts of honor and profit, not only to the destruction of the charter and constitution of this province, but at the expense of the rights and liberties of the American colonies. And it is further the opinion of this House, that the said persons have been some of the chief instruments in the introduction of a military force into the province, to carry their plans into Edition: current; Page: [395] execution; and, therefore, they have been not only greatly instrumental in disturbing the peace and harmony of the government, and causing and promoting great discord and animosities, but are justly chargeable with the great corruption of morals, and all that confusion, misery, and bloodshed, which have been the natural effects of the introduction of troops.

Whereas, for many years past, measures have been taken by the British administration very grievous to the good people of this province, which this House have now reason to suppose were promoted, if not originally suggested, by the writers of these letters; and many efforts have been made by the people to obtain the redress of their grievances;

Resolved, That it appears to this House that the writers of these letters have availed themselves of disorders that naturally arise in a free government under such oppressions, as arguments to prove that it was originally necessary such measures should have been taken, and that they should now be continued and increased.

Whereas, in the letter signed Cha. Paxton, dated Boston Harbor, June 20, 1768, it is expressly declared that, “unless we have immediately two or three regiments, it is the opinion of all the friends of government that Boston will be in open rebellion”;

Resolved, That this is a most wicked and injurious representation, designed to inflame the minds of his Majesty’s ministers and the nation; and to excite in the breast of our sovereign a jealousy of his loyal subjects of said town, without the least grounds Edition: current; Page: [396] therefor, as enemies of his Majesty’s person and government.

Whereas, certain letters by two private persons, signed T. Moffat and G. Rome, have been laid before the House, which letters contain many matters highly injurious to government and to the national peace;

Resolved, That it has been the misfortune of their government, from the earliest period of it, from time to time, to be secretly traduced and maliciously represented to the British ministry, by persons who were neither friendly to this colony nor to the English Constitution.

Resolved, That this House have just reason to complain of it as a very great grievance, that the humble petitions and remonstrances of the commons of this province are not allowed to reach the hands of our most gracious sovereign, merely because they are presented by an agent, to whose appointment the governor, with whom our chief dispute may subsist, doth not consent; while the partial and inflammatory letters of individuals, who are greatly interested in the revenue acts, and the measures taken to carry them into execution, have been laid before administration, attended to, and determined upon, not only to the injury of the reputation of the people, but to the depriving them of their invaluable rights and liberties.

Whereas, this House are humbly of opinion that his Majesty will judge it to be incompatible with the interest of his crown, and the peace and safety of the good people of this his loyal province, that persons Edition: current; Page: [397] should be continued in places of high trust and authority in it, who are known to have with great industry, though secretly, endeavored to undermine, alter, and overthrow the constitution of the province; therefore,

Resolved, That this House are bound, in duty to the king and their constituents, humbly to remonstrate to his Majesty the conduct of his Excellency Thomas Hutchinson, Esquire, Governor, and the Honorable Andrew Oliver, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor, of this province; and to pray that his Majesty would be pleased to remove them for ever from the government thereof.1

Upon these Resolutions was founded the following petition, transmitted to me to be presented to his Majesty:

Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas

TO THE KING’S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY

Most Gracious Sovereign:

We, your Majesty’s loyal subjects, the representatives of your ancient colony of Massachusetts Bay, in general court legally assembled, by virtue of your Majesty’s writ under the hand and seal of the governor, beg leave to lay this our humble petition before your Majesty.

Nothing but the sense of duty we owe to our sovereign, and the obligation we are under to consult Edition: current; Page: [398] the peace and safety of the province, could induce us to remonstrate to your Majesty concerning the mal-conduct of persons who have heretofore had the confidence and esteem of this people, and whom your Majesty has been pleased, from the purest motives of rendering your subjects happy, to advance to the highest places of trust and authority in the province.

Your Majesty’s humble petitioners, with the deepest concern and anxiety, have seen the discords and animosities which have too long subsisted between your subjects of the parent state and those of the American colonies. And we have trembled with apprehensions that the consequences naturally arising therefrom would at length prove fatal to both countries.

Permit us humbly to suggest to your Majesty, that your subjects here have been inclined to believe that the grievances which they have suffered, and still continue to suffer, have been occasioned by your Majesty’s ministers and principal servants being, unfortunately for us, misinformed in certain facts of very interesting importance to us. It is for this reason that former assemblies have, from time to time, prepared a true state of facts to be laid before your Majesty; but their humble remonstrances and petitions, it is presumed, have by some means been prevented from reaching your royal hand.

Your Majesty’s petitioners have very lately had before them certain papers, from which they humbly conceive it is most reasonable to suppose that there has been long a conspiracy of evil men in this province, Edition: current; Page: [399] who have contemplated measures and formed a plan to advance themselves to power and raise their own fortunes by means destructive of the charter of the province, at the expense of the quiet of the nation, and to the annihilating of the rights and liberties of the American colonies.

And we do, with all due submission to your Majesty, beg leave particularly to complain of the conduct of his Excellency Thomas Hutchinson, Esquire, Governor, and the Honorable Andrew Oliver, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor of this your Majesty’s province, as having a natural and efficacious tendency to interrupt and alienate the affections of your Majesty, our rightful sovereign, from this your royal province; to destroy that harmony and good-will between Great Britain and this colony, which every honest subject should strive to establish; to excite the resentment of the British administration against this province; to defeat the endeavors of our agents and friends to serve us by a fair representation of our state of facts; to prevent our humble and repeated petitions from reaching the ear of your Majesty, or having their desired effect. And, finally, that the said Thomas Hutchinson and Andrew Oliver have been among the chief instruments in introducing a fleet and army into this province, to establish and perpetuate their plans, whereby they have been not only greatly instrumental in disturbing the peace and harmony of the government and causing unnatural and hateful discords and animosities between the several parts of your Majesty’s extensive dominions, but are justly chargeable with Edition: current; Page: [400] all that corruption of morals, and all that confusion, misery, and bloodshed, which have been the natural effects of posting an army in a populous town.

Wherefore we most humbly pray that your Majesty would be pleased to remove from their posts in this government the said Thomas Hutchinson, Esquire, and Andrew Oliver, Esquire; who have, by their above-mentioned conduct, and otherwise, rendered themselves justly obnoxious to your loving subjects, and entirely lost their confidence; and place such good and faithful men in their stead, as your Majesty in your wisdom shall think fit.

In the name and by order of the House of Representatives.

Thomas Cushing, Speaker.

Lord Dartmouth, Secretary of State for the colonies, being in the country when I received this petition, I transmitted it to his Lordship, enclosed in a letter, of which the following is a copy, as also of his answer.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
21 August, 1773
London
Lord Dartmouth
Dartmouth, Lord

TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE EARL OF DARTMOUTH

My Lord:

I have just received, from the House of Representatives of the Massachusetts Bay, their address to the king, which I now enclose, and send to your Lordship, with my humble request, in their behalf, that you would be pleased to present it to his Majesty the first convenient opportunity.

Edition: current; Page: [401]

I have the pleasure of hearing from that province by my late letters, that a sincere disposition prevails in the people there to be on good terms with the mother country; that the Assembly have declared their desire only to be put into the situation they were in before the Stamp Act. They aim at no novelties. And it is said that, having lately discovered, as they think, the authors of their grievances to be some of their own people, their resentment against Britain is thence much abated.

This good disposition of theirs (will your Lordship permit me to say) may be cultivated by a favorable answer to this address, which I therefore hope your goodness will endeavor to obtain. With the greatest respect, I have the honor to be, my Lord, etc.,

B. Franklin,
Agent for the House of Representatives.
Lord Dartmouth
Dartmouth, Lord
25 August, 1773
Sandwell
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin

LORD DARTMOUTH’S ANSWER

Sir:

I have received your letter of the 21st instant, together with an address of the House of Representatives of the Massachusetts Bay, which I shall not fail to lay before the king the next time I shall have the honor of being admitted into his presence. I cannot help expressing to you the pleasure it gives me to hear that a sincere disposition prevails in the people of that province to be on good terms with the mother country, and my earnest hope that the time is at no great distance when every ground of uneasiness will cease, and the most perfect Edition: current; Page: [402] tranquillity and happiness be restored to the breasts of that people.

I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant,

Dartmouth.
Benjamin Franklin, Esq.

No one, who knows Lord Dartmouth, can doubt the sincerity of the good wishes expressed in his letter to me; and if his Majesty’s other servants had fortunately been possessed of the same benevolent dispositions, with as much of that attention to the public interest, and dexterity in managing it, as statesmen of this country generally show in obtaining and securing their places, here was a fine opportunity put into their hands of “reestablishing the union and harmony that formerly subsisted between Great Britain and her colonies,” so necessary to the welfare of both, and upon the easy condition of only “restoring things to the state they were in at the conclusion of the late war.” This was a solemn declaration sent over from the province most aggrieved, in which they acquitted Britain of their grievances, and charged them all upon a few individuals of their own country. Upon the heads of these very mischievous men they imprecated no vengeance, though that of the whole nation was justly merited; they considered it as a hard thing for an administration to punish a governor who had acted from orders, though the orders had been procured by his misrepresentations and calumnies; they therefore only petitioned, “that his Majesty would be pleased to remove Thomas Hutchinson, Esquire, and Andrew Oliver, Esquire, from Edition: current; Page: [403] their posts in that government, and place good and faithful men in their stead.” These men might have been placed or pensioned elsewhere, as others have been; or, like the scape-goats of old, they might have carried away into the wilderness all the offences which have arisen between the two countries, with the burdens of which they, having been the authors of these mischiefs, were most justly chargeable.

But this opportunity ministers had not the wisdom to embrace; they chose rather to reject it, and abuse and punish me for giving it. A court clamor was raised against me as an incendiary; and the very action upon which I valued myself, as it appeared to me a means of lessening our differences, I was unlucky enough to find charged upon me, as a wicked attempt to increase them. Strange perversion!

I was, it seems, equally unlucky in another action, which I also intended for a good one, and which brought on the above-mentioned clamor. The news being arrived here of the publication of those letters in America, great inquiry was made who had transmitted them. Mr. Temple, a gentleman of the customs, was accused of it in the papers. He vindicated himself. A public altercation ensued upon it between him and a Mr. Whately, brother and executor to the person to whom it was supposed the letters had been originally written, and who was suspected by some of communicating them; on the supposition that by his brother’s death they might have fallen into his hands. As the gentleman to whom I sent them had, in his letter to me above recited, given an important reason for his desiring it should be Edition: current; Page: [404] concealed that he was the person who received them, and had for the same reason chosen not to let it be known I sent them, I suffered that altercation to go on without interfering, supposing it would end, as other newspaper controversies usually do, when the parties and the public should be tired of them. But this dispute unexpectedly and suddenly produced a duel. The gentlemen were parted; Mr. Whately was wounded, but not dangerously. This, however, alarmed me, and made me wish I had prevented it; but, imagining all now over between them, I still kept silence till I heard that the duel was understood to be unfinished (as having been interrupted by persons accidentally near), and that it would probably be repeated as soon as Mr. Whately, who was mending daily, had recovered his strength. I then thought it high time to interpose; and, as the quarrel was for the public opinion, I took what I thought the shortest way to settle that opinion, with regard to the parties, by publishing what follows.

To the Printer of the Public Advertiser:

Sir:

Finding that two gentlemen have been unfortunately engaged in a duel about a transaction and its circumstance, of which both of them are totally ignorant and innocent, I think it incumbent upon me to declare (for the prevention of further mischief, as far as such a declaration may contribute to prevent it), that I alone am the person who obtained and transmitted to Boston the letters in question. Mr. W. could not communicate them, because they were never in his possession; and, for the same reason, Edition: current; Page: [405] they could not be taken from him by Mr. T. They were not of the nature of private letters between friends. They were written by public officers to persons in public stations, on public affairs, and intended to procure public measures; they were therefore handed to other public persons, who might be influenced by them to produce those measures. Their tendency was to incense the mother country against her colonies, and, by the steps recommended, to widen the breach, which they effected. The chief caution expressed with regard to privacy was, to keep their contents from the colony agents, who, the writers apprehended, might return them, or copies of them, to America. That apprehension was, it seems, well founded, for the first agent who laid his hands on them thought it his duty1 to transmit them to his constituents.

B. Franklin,
Agent for the House of Representatives of Massachusetts Bay.
Craven Street,

This declaration of mine was at first generally approved, except that some blamed me for not having made it sooner, so as to prevent the duel, but I had not the gift of prophecy; I could not foresee that the gentlemen would fight; I did not even foresee that either of them could possibly take it ill of me. I Edition: current; Page: [406] imagined I was doing them a good office in clearing both of them from suspicion, and removing the cause of their difference. I should have thought it natural for them both to have thanked me, but I was mistaken as to one of them. His wound perhaps at first prevented him, and afterwards he was tutored probably to another kind of behavior by his court connections.

My only acquaintance with this gentleman, Mr. William Whately, was from an application he made to me to do him the favor of inquiring after some land in Pennsylvania, supposed to have been purchased anciently from the first proprietor, by a Major Thomson, his grandfather, of which they had some imperfect memorandums in the family, but knew not whether it might not have been sold or conveyed away by him in his lifetime, as there was no mention of it in his will. I took the trouble of writing, accordingly, to a friend of mine, an eminent lawyer there, well acquainted with such business, desiring him to make the inquiry. He took some pains in it at my request, and succeeded; and in a letter informed me that he had found the land, that the proprietary claimed it, but he thought the title was clear to the heir of Thomson; that he could easily recover it for him, and would undertake it if Mr. Whately should think fit to employ him; or, if he should rather choose to sell it, my friend empowered me to make him an offer of five thousand pounds sterling for it. With this letter I waited upon him about a month before the duel, at his house in Lombard Street, the first time I had ever Edition: current; Page: [407] been in it. He was pleased with the intelligence, and called upon me once or twice afterwards to concert the means of making out his title.

I mention some of these circumstances to show that it was not through any previous acquaintance with him that I came to the knowledge of the famous letters; for they had been in America near a year before I so much as knew where he lived; and the others I mention to show his gratitude. I could have excused his not thanking me for sparing him a second hazard of his life; for, though he might feel himself served, he might also apprehend that to seem pleased would look as if he was afraid of fighting again; or perhaps he did not value his life at any thing; but the addition to his fortune one would think of some value to a banker, and yet the return this worthy gentleman made me for both favors was, without the smallest previous notice, warning, complaint, or request to me, directly or indirectly, to clap upon my back a Chancery suit. His bill set forth: “That he was administrator of the goods and chattels of his late brother Thomas Whately; that some letters had been written to his said brother by the Governors Hutchinson and Oliver, that those letters had been in the custody of his said brother at the time of his death, or had been by him delivered to some other person for perusal, and to be by such person safely kept and returned to said Thomas Whately; that the same had by some means come into my hands; that, to prevent a discovery, I, or some person by my order, had erased the address of the letters to the said Thomas Whately; that, carrying Edition: current; Page: [408] on the trade of a printer. I had, by my agents or confederates, printed and published the same letters in America, and disposed of great numbers; that I threatened to print and sell the same in England; and that he had applied to me to deliver up to him the said letters, and all copies thereof, and desist from printing and publishing the same, and account with him for the profits thereof; and he was in hopes I would have complied with such request, but so it was that I had refused, etc., contrary to equity and good conscience, and to the manifest injury and oppression of him, the complainant; and praying my Lord Chancellor that I might be obliged to discover how I came by the letters, what number of copies I had printed and sold, and to account with him for the profits,” etc., etc. The gentleman himself must have known that every circumstance of this was totally false; that of his brother’s having delivered the letters to some other person for perusal excepted. Those as little acquainted with law as I was (who, indeed, never before had a lawsuit of any kind), may wonder at this as much as I did; but I have now learned that in Chancery, though the defendant must swear the truth of every point in his answer, the plaintiff is not put to his oath, or obliged to have the least regard to truth in his bill, but is allowed to lie as much as he pleases. I do not understand this, unless it be for the encouragement of business.

My answer upon oath was: “That the letters in question were given to me, and came into my hands, as agent for the House of Representatives of the province Edition: current; Page: [409] of Massachusetts Bay; that, when given to me, I did not know to whom they had been addressed, no address appearing upon them; nor did I know before that any such letters existed; that I had not been for many years concerned in printing; that I did not cause the letters to be printed, nor direct the doing it; that I did not erase any address that might have been on the letters, nor did I know that any other person had made such erasure; that I did, as agent to the province, transmit (as I apprehended it my duty to do) the said letters to one of the committee, with whom I had been directed to correspond, inasmuch as in my judgment they related to matters of great public importance to that province, and were put into my hands for that purpose; that I had never been applied to by the complainant, as asserted in his bill, and had made no profits of the letters, nor intended to make any,” etc.

It was about this time become evident that all thoughts of reconciliation with the colony of Massachusetts Bay, by attention to their petitions, and a redress of their grievances, was laid aside; that severity was resolved; and that the decrying and vilifying the people of that country, and me their agent, among the rest, was quite a court measure. It was the ton with all the ministerial folks to abuse them and me, in every company, and in every newspaper; and it was intimated to me, as a thing settled, long before it happened, that the petition for the removal of the governors was to be rejected, the Assembly censured, and myself, who had presented it, was to be punished by the loss of my place in the Edition: current; Page: [410] post-office.1 For all this I was therefore prepared; but the attack from Mr. Whately was, I own, a surprise to me. Under the above-mentioned circumstances of obligation, and without the slightest provocation, I could not have imagined any man base enough to commence, of his own motion, such a vexatious suit against me. But a little accidental information served to throw some light upon the business. An acquaintance2 calling on me, after having just been at the treasury, showed me what he styled a pretty thing, for a friend of his; it was an order for one hundred and fifty pounds, payable to Dr. Samuel Johnson, said to be one half of his yearly pension, and drawn by the secretary of the treasury on this same Mr. Whately. I then considered him as a banker to the treasury for the pension money, and thence as having an interested connection with the administration, that might induce him to act by direction of others in harassing me with this suit; which gave me if possible a still meaner opinion of him than if he had done it of his own accord.

What further steps he or his confederates, the ministers, will take in this cause, I know not. I do not indeed believe the banker himself, finding there are no profits to be shared, would willingly lay out a sixpence more upon the suit; but then my finances are not sufficient to cope at law with the treasury here: especially when the administration has taken Edition: current; Page: [411] care to prevent my constituents of New England from paying me any salary, or reimbursing me any expenses, by a special instruction to the governor, not to sign any warrant for that purpose on the treasury there.

The injustice of thus depriving the people there of the use of their own money, to pay an agent acting in their defence, while the governor, with a large salary out of the money extorted from them by act of Parliament, was enabled to pay plentifully Mauduit and Wedderburn to abuse and defame them and their agent, is so evident as to need no comment. But this they call government!

DXCI: THE RESULT OF ENGLAND’S PERSISTENCE IN HER POLICY TOWARDS THE COLONIES ILLUSTRATED1

Explanation

Great Britain is supposed to have been placed upon the globe; but the colonies (that is, her limbs), being severed from her, she is seen lifting her eyes Edition: current; Page: [412] and mangled stumps to Heaven; her shield, which she is unable to wield, lies useless by her side; her lance has pierced New England; the laurel branch has fallen from the hand of Pennsylvania; the English oak has lost its head, and stands a bare trunk, with a few withered branches; briers and thorns are on the ground beneath it; the British ships have brooms at their topmost heads, denoting their being on sale; and Britannia herself is seen sliding off the world (no longer able to hold its balance), her fragments overspread with the label, Date obolum Belisario.

The Moral

History affords us many instances of the ruin of states by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy, it being a matter of no moment to the state whether a subject grows rich and flourishing on the Thames or the Ohio, in Edinburgh or Dublin. These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections necessarily ensue, by which the whole state is weakened, and perhaps ruined forever.

Edition: current; Page: [e]
lf1438-06_figure_002.jpg

MAGNA Britannia her Colonies REDUCED

Edition: current; Page: [413]

DXCII: ON A PROPOSED ACT OF PARLIAMENT FOR PREVENTING EMIGRATION

To the Printer of the Public Advertiser:

Sir:

You give us in your paper of Tuesday, the 16th of November, what is called “The Plan of an Act to be Proposed at the Next Meeting of Parliament to Prevent the Emigration of Our People.” I know not from what authority it comes, but as it is very circumstantial, I suppose some such plan may be really under consideration, and that this is thrown out to feel the pulse of the public. I shall, therefore, with your leave give my sentiments of it in your paper.

During a century and a half that Englishmen have been at liberty to remove if they pleased to America, we have heard of no law to restrain that liberty, and confine them as prisoners in this island. Nor do we perceive any ill effects produced by their emigration. Our estates, far from diminishing in value through a want of tenants, have been in that period more than doubled; the lands in general are better cultivated; their increased produce finds a ready sale at an advanced price, and the complaint has for some time been, not that we want mouths to consume our meat, but that we want meat for our number of mouths.

Why then is such a restraining law now thought necessary? A paragraph in the same paper from the Edinburgh Courant, may perhaps throw some light Edition: current; Page: [414] upon this question. We are there told, “that one thousand five hundred people have emigrated to America from the shire of Sutherland within these two years, and carried with them seven thousand five hundred pounds sterling, which exceeds a year’s rent of the whole county; that the single consideration of the misery which most of these people must suffer in America, independent of the loss of men and money to the mother country, should engage the attention, not only of the landed interest, but of administration.” The humane writer of this paragraph may, I fancy, console himself with the reflection that perhaps the apprehended future sufferings of those emigrants will never exist; for that it was probable the authentic accounts they had received from friends already settled there, of the felicity to be enjoyed in that country, with a thorough knowledge of their own misery at home, which induced their removal. And, as a politician, he may be comforted by assuring himself that if they really meet with greater misery in America, their future letters lamenting it will be more credited than the Edinburgh Courant, and effectually, without a law, put a stop to the emigration. It seems some of the Scottish chiefs, who delight no longer to live upon their estates in the honorable independence they were born to, among their respecting tenants, but choose rather a life of luxury, though among the dependants of a court, have lately raised their rents most grievously to support the expense. The consuming of those rents in London, though equally prejudicial to the poor county of Sutherland, no Edinburgh newspaper Edition: current; Page: [415] complains of; but now that the oppressed tenants take flight and carry with them what might have supported the landlord’s London magnificence, he begins to feel for the mother country, and its enormous loss of seven thousand five hundred pounds carried to her colonies! Administration is called upon to remedy the evil by another abridgment of English liberty. And surely administration should do something for these gentry, as they do any thing for administration.

But is there not an easier remedy? Let them return to their family seats, live among their people, and, instead of fleecing and skinning, patronize and cherish them, promote their interest, encourage their industry, and make their situation comfortable. If the poor folks are happier at home than they can be abroad, they will not lightly be prevailed with to cross the ocean. But can their lord blame them for leaving home in search of better living, when he first set them the example?

I would consider the proposed law—

  • 1st. As to the necessity of it.
  • 2dly. The practicability.
  • 3dly. The policy, if practicable.
  • And, 4thly. The justice of it.

Pray spare me room for a few words on each of these heads.

1st.: As to the Necessity of it

If any country has more people than can be comfortably subsisted in it, some of those who are Edition: current; Page: [416] incommoded may be induced to emigrate. As long as the new situation shall be far preferable to the old, the emigration may possibly continue. But when many of those who at home interfered with others of the same rank (in the competition for farms, shops, business, offices, and other means of subsistence) are gradually withdrawn, the inconvenience of that competition ceases; the number remaining no longer half starve each other; they find they can now subsist comfortably, and though perhaps not quite so well as those who have left them, yet the inbred attachment to a native country is sufficient to overbalance a moderate difference; and thus the emigration ceases naturally. The waters of the ocean may move in currents from one quarter of the globe to another, as they happen in some places to be accumulated and in others diminished; but no law, beyond the law of gravity, is necessary to prevent their abandoning any coast entirely. Thus the different degrees of happiness of different countries and situations find, or rather make, their level by the flowing of people from one to another; and where that level is once found the removals cease. Add to this that even a real deficiency of people in any country, occasioned by a wasting war or pestilence, is speedily supplied by earlier and more prolific marriages, encouraged by the greater facility of obtaining the means of subsistence. So that a country half depopulated would soon be repeopled, till the means of subsistence were equalled by the population. All increase beyond that point must perish, or flow off into more favorable situations. Such overflowings Edition: current; Page: [417] there have been of mankind in all ages, or we should not now have had so many nations. But to apprehend absolute depopulation from that cause, and call for a law to prevent it, is calling for a law to stop the Thames, lest its waters, by what leave it daily at Gravesend, should be quite exhausted. Such a law, therefore, I do not conceive to be necessary.

2dly.: As to the Practicability

When I consider the attempts of this kind that have been made, first in the time of Archbishop Laud, by orders of council, to stop the Puritans, who were flying from his persecutions into New England, and next by Louis the Fourteenth, to retain in his kingdom the persecuted Huguenots; and how ineffectual all the power of our crown, with which the archbishop armed himself, and all the more absolute power of that great French monarch, were, to obtain the end for which they were exerted; and when I consider, too, the extent of coast to be guarded, and the multitude of cruisers necessary effectually to make a prison of the island for this confinement of free Englishmen, who naturally love liberty, and would probably by the very restraint be more stimulated to break through it, I cannot but think such a law impracticable. The offices would not be applied to for licenses, the ports would not be used for embarkation. And yet the people disposed to leave us would, as the Puritans did, get away by shipsfull.

Edition: current; Page: [418]

3dly.: As to the Policy of the Law

Since I have shown there was no danger of depopulating Britain, but that the place of those that depart will soon be filled up equal to the means of obtaining a livelihood, let us see whether there are not some general advantages to be expected from the present emigration. The new settlers in America, finding plenty of subsistence, and land easily acquired whereon to seat their children, seldom postpone marriage through fear of poverty. Their natural increase is therefore in proportion far beyond what it would have been if they had remained here. New farms are daily everywhere forming in those immense forests; new towns and villages rising; hence a growing demand for our merchandise, to the greater employment of our manufacturers, and the enriching of our merchants. By this natural increase of people, the strength of the empire is increased; men are multiplied, out of whom new armies may be formed on occasion, or the old recruited. The long-extended sea-coast, too, of that vast country, the great maritime commerce of its ports with each other, its many navigable rivers and lakes, and its plentiful fisheries, breed multitudes of seamen, besides those created and supported by its voyages to Europe; a thriving nursery this, for the manning of our fleets in time of war, and maintaining our importance among foreign nations by that navy, which is also our best security against invasions from our enemies. An extension of empire by conquest of inhabited countries is not so easily Edition: current; Page: [419] obtained; it is not so easily secured; it alarms more the neighboring states; it is more subject to revolts, and more apt to occasion new wars.

The increase of dominion by colonies proceeding from yourselves, and by the natural growth of your own people cannot be complained of by your neighbors as an injury; none have a right to be offended with it. Your new possessions are therefore more secure, they are more cheaply gained, they are attached to your nation by natural alliance and affection; and thus they afford an additional strength more certainly to be depended on than any that can be acquired by a conquering power, though at an immense expense of blood and treasure. These, methinks, are national advantages that more than equiponderate with the inconveniences suffered by a few Scotch or Irish landlords, who perhaps may find it necessary to abate a little of their present luxury, or of those advanced rents they now so unfeelingly demand. From these considerations, I think I may conclude, that the restraining law proposed would, if practicable, be impolitic.

4thly.: As to the Justice of it

I apprehend that every Briton who is made unhappy at home, has a right to remove from any part of his king’s dominions into those of any other prince, where he can be happier. If this should be denied me, at least it will be allowed that he has a right to remove into any other part of the same dominions. For by this right so many Scotchmen Edition: current; Page: [420] remove into England, easing its own country of its supernumeraries, and benefiting ours by their industry. And this is the case with those who go to America. Will not these Scottish lairds be satisfied unless a law passes to pin down all tenants to the estate they are born on (adscripti glebæ), to be bought and sold with it? God has given to the beasts of the forest, and to the birds of the air, a right, when their subsistence fails in one country, to migrate to another, where they can get a more comfortable living; and shall man be denied a privilege enjoyed by brutes, merely to gratify a few avaricious landlords? Must misery be made permanent, and suffered by many for the emolument of one; while the increase of human beings is prevented, and thousands of their offspring stifled, as it were, in the birth, that this petty Pharaoh may enjoy an excess of opulence? God commands to increase and replenish the earth; the proposed law would forbid increasing, and confine Britons to their present number, keeping half that number, too, in wretchedness. The common people of Britain and of Ireland contributed by the taxes they paid, and by the blood they lost, to the success of that war which brought into our hands the vast unpeopled territories of North America,—a country favored by Heaven with all the advantages of climate and soil. Germans are now pouring into it, to take possession of it, and fill it with their posterity; and shall Britons and Irelanders, who have a much better right to it, be forbidden a share of it, and, instead of enjoying there the plenty and happiness that might reward their industry, be compelled Edition: current; Page: [421] to remain here in poverty and misery? Considerations such as these persuade me that the proposed law would be both unjust and inhuman.

If then it is unnecessary, impracticable, impolitic, and unjust, I hope our Parliament will never receive the bill, but leave landlords to their own remedy,—an abatement of rents, and frugality of living; and leave the liberties of Britons and Irishmen at least as extensive as it found them. I am, sir, yours, etc.,

A Friend to the Poor.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
28 January, 1775
London
Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas
DXCIII

TO THOMAS CUSHING

Sir:

It gives my mind some ease to learn that such good care is taken both by the general and the town to prevent mischief. I hope that care will continue and be effectual, and that people will be persuaded to wait with patience the event of the application of the Congress to the king, and the subsequent result of the ensuing Congress thereupon.

Lord Chatham moved last week in the House of Lords that an address be presented to his Majesty, humbly beseeching him to withdraw the troops from Boston, as a step towards opening the way to conciliatory measures; but, after a long and warm debate, the motion was rejected by a majority of seventy-seven to eighteen; and open declarations were made, by the ministerial side, of the intention Edition: current; Page: [422] to enforce the late acts. To this end, three more regiments of foot and one of dragoons, seven hundred marines, six sloops of war, and two frigates, are now under orders for America.

Petitions, however, are thronging into the House from all quarters, praying that healing measures may be taken to restore the commerce. The petition from the Congress was brought into each House, among other papers by the ministers, without any particular recommendations from his Majesty that they should be considered.

General Gage’s letters being read in the House of Commons, it appears from one of them that it had been recommended to him by Lord Dartmouth to disarm some of the colonies; which he seems to approve, if it had been practicable, but says it is not, till he is master of the country.

It is impossible to say what turn the Parliament may take before the session is over. All depends on the ministers, who possibly may change their minds when they find the merchants and manufacturers universally dissatisfied with their present conduct; but you cannot rely upon this, and your chief dependence must be on your own virtue and unanimity, which, under God, will in time bring you through all difficulties. I am with great respect, sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Edition: current; Page: [423]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
5 February, 1775
London
Charles Thomson
Thomson, Charles
DXCIV

TO CHARLES THOMSON1

Dear Sir:

I received duly your favors of November 1st, by Captain Falconer, and afterwards that of October 26th, both enclosing the letter from the Congress, and the petition to the king. Immediately on the receipt of the first, I wrote to every one of the other gentlemen nominated, and desired a meeting to consult on the mode of presenting the petition committed to our care. Three of them, viz., Mr. Burke,2 Mr. Wentworth, and Mr. Life, declined being concerned in it, and without consulting each other, gave the same reason, viz., that they had no instructions relating to it. It rested on Mr. Bollan, Mr. Lee, and myself. We took counsel with our best friends, and were advised to present it through Lord Dartmouth, that being the regular official method, and the only one in which we might on occasion call for an answer.3

We accordingly waited on his lordship with it, who would not immediately undertake to deliver it, but requested it might be left with him to peruse, Edition: current; Page: [424] which was done. He found nothing in it improper for him to present, and, afterwards sending for us, he informed us that he had presented the petition to his Majesty, who had been pleased to receive it very graciously, and to command him to tell us it contained matters of such importance that, as soon as they met, he would lay it before his two Houses of Parliament.

We then consulted on the publication, and were advised by wise and able men, friends of America, whose names it will not be proper to mention, by no means to publish it till it should be before Parliament, as it would be deemed disrespectful to the king. We flattered ourselves, from the answer given by Lord Dartmouth, that the king would have been pleased to recommend it to the consideration of Parliament by some message; but we were mistaken. It came down among a great heap of letters of intelligence from governors and officers in America, newspapers, pamphlets, handbills, etc., from that country, the last in the list, and was laid upon the table with them, undistinguished by any particular recommendation of it to the notice of either House; and I do not find that it had any further notice taken of it as yet than that it has been read as well as the other papers.

To draw it into the attention of the House, we petitioned to be heard upon it, but were not permitted; and, by the resolutions of the Committee of the Whole House, which I enclose, you will see that it has made little impression; and from the constant refusal, neglect, or discouragement of American Edition: current; Page: [425] petitions, these many years past, our country will at least be convinced that petitions are odious here, and that petitioning is far from being a profitable means of obtaining redress. A firm, steady, and faithful adherence to the non-consumptive agreement is the only thing to be depended on. It begins already to work (as you will see in the votes of the House), by producing applications from the merchants and manufacturers, and it must finally lead Parliament into reasonable measures.

At present the ministers are encouraged to proceed by the assurance they receive from America that the people are not unanimous; that a very great part of them disapprove the proceedings of the Congress, and would break through them, if there was in the country an army sufficient to support these friends, as they are called, of government. They rely, too, on being able to divide us still further by various means; for they seem to have no conception that such a thing as public spirit or public virtue anywhere exists. I trust they will find themselves totally mistaken. The Congress is in high esteem here among all the friends of liberty, and their papers much admired; perhaps nothing of the kind has been more thoroughly published, or more universally read. Lord Camden spoke highly of the Americans in general, and of the Congress particularly, in the House of Lords. Lord Chatham said that, taking the whole together, and considering the members of the Congress as the unsolicited, unbeseeched choice of a great, free, and enlightened people, their unanimity, their moderation, and their wisdom, he thought Edition: current; Page: [426] it the most honorable assembly of men that had ever been known; that the histories of Greece and Rome gave us nothing equal to it. Lord Shelburne would not admit that the Parliament of Britain could be comparable with it, a Parliament obeying the dictates of a ministry who, in nine cases out of ten, were governed by their under-secretaries.

You will see, among the papers herewith sent, the motion made by Lord Chatham, as preparatory to his plan, viz., that the troops should be removed from Boston. I send, also, a copy of the plan itself, which you may be assured is genuine. The speeches hitherto published as his, during the session, are spurious. The Duke of Richmond and the Duke of Manchester appeared for us also in the debate, and spoke extremely well. Lord Chatham’s bill, though on so important a subject, and offered by so great a character, and supported by such able and learned speakers as Camden, etc., etc., was treated with as much contempt as they could have shown to a ballad offered by a drunken porter. It was rejected on a slight reading, without being suffered even to lie on the table for the perusal of the members.

The House of Commons, too, have shown an equal rashness and precipitation in matters requiring the most weighty deliberation, refusing to hear, and entering hastily into violent measures; and yet this is the government, by whose supreme authority, we are to have our throats cut, if we do not acknowledge, and whose dictates we are implicitly to obey, while their conduct hardly entitles them to common respect.

Edition: current; Page: [427]

The agents have not time to make so many copies of the papers sent with this, and, indeed, of our letter to the Speakers of the several Assemblies, as would be necessary to send one for each; we therefore send only two, one by Falconer, and the other by Lawrence to New York, requesting that you will get them copied at Philadelphia, and forward them northward and southward, one to each speaker, at the earliest conveyance. It is thought by our friends that Lord Chatham’s plan, if it had been enacted here, would have prevented present mischief, and might have been the foundation of a lasting good agreement; for, though in some points it might not perfectly coincide with our ideas and wishes, we should have proposed modifications or variations where we should judge them necessary; in fine, the two countries might have met in perfect union. I hope, therefore, it will be treated with respect by our writers, and its author honored for the attempt; for, though he has put some particulars into it, as I think, by way of complying a little with the general prejudices here, and to make more material parts go better down, yet I am persuaded he would not otherwise be tenacious of those parts, meaning sincerely to make us contented and happy, as far as consistent with the general welfare.

I need not caution you to let no part of this letter be copied or printed. With great esteem, I am, sir, your affectionate friend and humble servant.1

Edition: current; Page: [428]
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
25 February, 1775
London
James Bowdoin
Bowdoin, James
DXCV

TO JAMES BOWDOIN

Dear Sir:

I received your kind letter of September 6th by Mr. Quincy. I thought it might be of use to publish a part of it, which was done accordingly. But the measures it so justly censures are still persisted in, and will, I trust, continue to produce effects directly contrary to those intended. They will unite, instead of dividing us, strengthen and make us more resolute, instead of intimidating us, and work our honor and advantage, instead of the disgrace and ruin designed for us.

A bill is now in hand to confine the trade of the four New England colonies to Britain and the West Indies only, and to prohibit their fishery. Other provinces have done as offensive things, but Whiggism is thought to be more thoroughly the principle in New England, and that is now an unpardonable sin. The rest, however, are to have their punishment in their turn, though perhaps less severe. That is, if this Tory ministry continues in power; but though they have by the late deceptive motion amused many people here, so as to give an appearance as if they intended pacific measures, on which the stocks, which were falling apace, have risen again; yet, when this deceit is understood, and time proves the intended offer to America futile and ineffectual, the redoubled clamor of the trading, manufacturing, and Whig interests here will infallibly overthrow all the enemies of America, and produce Edition: current; Page: [429] an acknowledgment of her rights and satisfaction for her injuries.

If we continue firm and united, and resolutely persist in the non-consumption agreement, this adverse ministry cannot possibly stand another year. And surely the great body of our people, the farmers and artificers, will not find it hard to keep an agreement by which they both save and gain. The traders only can suffer, and where they do really suffer, some compensation should, if possible, be made them. Hitherto the conduct of the colonies has given them great reputation all over Europe. By a brave perseverance, with prudence and moderation, not forward in acting offensively, but resolute in defence when necessary, they will establish a respectable character both for wisdom and courage, and then they will find friends everywhere. The eyes of all Christendom are now upon us, and our honor as a people is become a matter of the utmost consequence to be taken care of. If we tamely give up our rights in this contest, a century to come will not restore us in the opinion of the world; we shall be stamped with the character of dastards, poltroons, and fools, and be despised and trampled upon, not by this haughty, insolent nation only, but by all mankind. Present inconveniences are therefore to be borne with fortitude, and better times expected.

  • “Informes hyemes reducit
  • Jupiter; idem
  • Summovet. Non si male nunc, et olim
  • Sic erit.”

I am much pleased with Mr. Quincy. It is a Edition: current; Page: [430] thousand pities his strength of body is not equal to his strength of mind. His zeal for the public, like that of David for God’s house, will, I fear, eat him up.

I hope Mrs. Bowdoin’s health is fully established. Make my respectful compliments acceptable to her; and believe me ever, with sincere and great esteem, dear sir, etc.,

B. Franklin.

P. S.—I never could learn the cause of Mr. Temple’s being displaced. The ministry refused to give any reason for it. I have imagined that it was a suspicion of his being the author of some pieces in the papers reflecting on their measures.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
25 February, 1775
London
Joseph Galloway
Galloway, Joseph
DXCVI

TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY

Dear Friend:

In my last I mentioned to you my showing your plan of union to Lords Chatham and Camden. I now hear that you had sent it to Lord Dartmouth. Lord Gower, I believe, alluded to it when in the House he censured the Congress severely as first resolving to receive a plan for uniting the colonies to the mother country, and afterwards rejecting it, and ordering their first resolution to be erased out of their minutes. Permit me to hint to you that it is whispered here by ministerial people that yourself and Mr. Jay, of New York, are friends to their measures, and give them private intelligence of Edition: current; Page: [431] the views of the popular or country part in America. I do not believe this; but I thought it a duty of friendship to acquaint you with the report.1

I have not heard what objections were made to the plan in the Congress, nor would I make more than this one, that, when I consider the extreme corruption prevalent among all orders of men in this old, rotten state, and the glorious public virtue so predominant in our rising country, I cannot but apprehend more mischief than benefit from a closer union. Edition: current; Page: [432] I fear they will drag us after them in all the plundering wars which their desperate circumstances, injustice, and rapacity may prompt them to undertake; and their wide-wasting prodigality and profusion is a gulf that will swallow up every aid we may distress ourselves to afford them.

Here numberless and needless places, enormous salaries, pensions, perquisites, bribes, groundless quarrels, foolish expeditions, false accounts or no accounts, contracts and jobs, devour all revenue, and produce continual necessity in the midst of natural plenty. I apprehend, therefore, that to unite us intimately will only be to corrupt and poison us also. It seems like Mezentius’ coupling and binding together the dead and the living.

  • “Tormenti genus, et sanie taboque fluentes,
  • Complexu in misero, longâ sic morte necabat.”

However, I would try any thing, and bear any thing that can be borne with safety to our just liberties, rather than engage in a war with such relations, unless compelled to it by dire necessity in our own defence.

But, should that plan be again brought forward, I imagine that before establishing the union, it would be necessary to agree on the following preliminary articles.

1. The Declaratory Act of Parliament to be repealed.

2. All acts of Parliament, or parts of acts, laying duties on the colonies to be repealed.

3. All acts of Parliament altering the charters, Edition: current; Page: [433] or constitutions, or laws of any colony, to be repealed.

4. All acts of Parliament restraining manufactures to be repealed.

5. Those parts of the navigation acts, which are for the good of the whole empire, such as require that ships in the trade should be British or Plantation built, and navigated by three fourths British subjects, with the duties necessary for regulating commerce, to be reënacted by both Parliaments.

6. Then, to induce the Americans to see the regulating acts faithfully executed, it would be well to give the duties collected in each colony to the treasury of that colony, and let the governor and Assembly appoint the officers to collect them, and proportion their salaries. Thus the business will be cheaper and better done, and the misunderstandings between the two countries, now created and fomented by the unprincipled wretches, generally appointed from England, be entirely prevented.

These are hasty thoughts submitted to your consideration.

You will see the new proposal of Lord North, made on Monday last, which I have sent to the committee.1 Those in administration, who are for Edition: current; Page: [434] violent measures, are said to dislike it. The others rely upon it as a means of dividing, and by that means subduing us. But I cannot conceive that any colony will undertake to grant a revenue to a government that holds a sword over their heads with a threat to strike the moment they cease to give or do not give so much as it is pleased to expect. In such a situation, where is the right of giving our own property freely or the right to judge of our own ability to give? It seems to me the language of a highwayman, who, with a pistol in your face, says: “Give me your purse, and then I will not put my hand into your pocket. But give me all your money, or I will shoot you through the head.” With great and sincere esteem, I am, etc.,

B. Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
26 February, 1775
London
Josiah Quincy
Quincy, Josiah
DXCVII

TO JOSIAH QUINCY

Dear Sir:

I received and perused with great pleasure the letter you honored me with by your amiable and valuable son. I thank you for introducing me to the acquaintance of a person so deserving Edition: current; Page: [435] of esteem for his public and private virtues. I hope for your sake and that of his friends and country, that his present indisposition may wear off and his health be established. His coming over has been of great service to our cause, and would have been much greater if his constitution would have borne the fatigues of being more frequently in company. He can acquaint you so fully with the state of things here that my enlarging upon them will be unnecessary. I most sincerely wish him a prosperous voyage and a happy meeting with his friends and family; and to you, my old dear friend, and the rest of those you love, every kind of felicity; being, with the truest esteem and affection, yours,

B. Franklin.

DXCVIII: AN ACCOUNT OF NEGOTIATIONS IN LONDON FOR EFFECTING A RECONCILIATION BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND THE AMERICAN COLONIES1

On Board the Pennsylvania Packet, Captain Osborne, }
Bound to
Dear Son:

Having now a little leisure for writing, I will endeavor, as I promised you, to recollect Edition: current; Page: [436] what particulars I can of the negotiations I have lately been concerned in, with regard to the misunderstandings between Great Britain and America.

During the recess of the last Parliament, which had passed the severe acts against the province of the Massachusetts Bay, the minority having been sensible of their weakness, as an effect of their want of union among themselves, began to think seriously of Edition: current; Page: [437] a coalition. For they saw in the violence of these American measures, if persisted in, a hazard of dismembering, weakening, and perhaps ruining the British empire. This inclined some of them to propose such an union with each other, as might be more respectable in the ensuing session, have more weight in opposition, and be a body out of which a new ministry might easily be formed, should the ill success of the late measures, and the firmness of the colonies in resisting them, make a change appear necessary to the king.

I took some pains to promote this disposition, in conversations with several of the principal among the minority of both Houses, whom I besought and conjured most earnestly not to suffer, by their little misunderstandings, so glorious a fabric as the present British empire to be demolished by these blunderers; and for their encouragement assured them, as far as my opinions could give any assurance, of the firmness and unanimity of America, the continuance of which was what they had frequent doubts of, and appeared extremely apprehensive and anxious concerning it.

From the time of the affront given me at the Council Board, in January, 1774, I had never attended the levee of any minister. I made no justification of myself from the charges brought against me; I made no return of the injury by abusing my adversaries, but held a cool, sullen silence, reserving myself to some future opportunity; for which conduct I had several reasons not necessary here to specify. Now and then I heard it said, that the Edition: current; Page: [438] reasonable part of the administration was ashamed of the treatment they had given me. I suspected that some who told me this, did it to draw from me my sentiments concerning it, and perhaps my purposes; but I said little or nothing upon the subject. In the meantime, their measures with regard to New England failing of the success that had been confidently expected, and finding themselves more and more embarrassed, they began, as it seems, to think of making use of me, if they could, to assist in disengaging them. But it was too humiliating to think of applying to me openly and directly, and therefore it was contrived to obtain what they could of my sentiments through others.

The accounts from America during the recess all manifested that the measures of administration had neither divided nor intimidated the people there; that, on the contrary, they were more and more united and determined; and that a non-importation agreement was likely to take place. The ministry thence apprehending that this, by distressing the trading and manufacturing towns, might influence votes against the court in the elections for a new Parliament (which were in course to come on the succeeding year), suddenly and unexpectedly dissolved the old one, and ordered the choice of a new one within the shortest time admitted by law, before the inconveniences of that agreement could begin to be felt, or produce any such effect.

When I came to England in 1757, you may remember I made several attempts to be introduced to Lord Chatham (at that time first minister), on account of Edition: current; Page: [439] my Pennsylvania business, but without success. He was then too great a man, or too much occupied in affairs of greater moment. I was therefore obliged to content myself with a kind of non-apparent and unacknowledged communication through Mr. Potter and Mr. Wood, his secretaries, who seemed to cultivate an acquaintance with me by their civilities, and drew from me what information I could give relative to the American war, with my sentiments occasionally on measures that were proposed or advised by others, which gave me the opportunity of recommending and enforcing the utility of conquering Canada. I afterwards considered Mr. Pitt as an inaccessible. I admired him at a distance, and made no more attempts for a nearer acquaintance. I had only once or twice the satisfaction of hearing through Lord Shelburne, and I think Lord Stanhope, that he did me the honor of mentioning me sometimes as a person of respectable character.

But towards the end of August last, returning from Brighthelmstone, I called to visit my friend Mr. Sargent, at his seat, Halsted, in Kent, agreeable to a former engagement. He let me know that he had promised to conduct me to Lord Stanhope’s at Chevening, who expected I would call on him when I came into that neighborhood. We accordingly waited on Lord Stanhope that evening, who told me that Lord Chatham desired to see me, and that Mr. Sargent’s house, where I was to lodge, being in the way, he would call for me there the next morning, and carry me to Hayes. This was done accordingly. That truly great man received me with Edition: current; Page: [440] abundance of civility, inquired particularly into the situation of affairs in America, spoke feelingly of the severity of the late laws against the Massachusetts, gave me some account of his speech in opposing them, and expressed great regard and esteem for the people of that country, who he hoped would continue firm and united in defending by all peaceable and legal means their constitutional rights. I assured him that I made no doubt they would do so; which he said he was pleased to hear from me, as he was sensible I must be well acquainted with them.

I then took occasion to remark to him that in former cases great empires had crumbled first at their extremities from this cause; that countries remote from the seat and eye of government, which therefore could not well understand their affairs for want of full and true information, had never been well governed, but had been oppressed by bad governors, on presumption that complaint was difficult to be made and supported against them at such a distance. Hence, such governors had been encouraged to go on till their oppressions became intolerable. But that this empire had happily found, and long been in the practice of, a method, whereby every province was well governed, being trusted in a great measure with the government of itself; and that hence had arisen such satisfaction in the subjects, and such encouragement to new settlements, that, had it not been for the late wrong politics (which would have Parliament to be omnipotent, though it ought not to be so unless it could at the same time be omniscient), we might have gone on extending our western empire, adding Edition: current; Page: [441] province to province, as far as the South Sea. That I lamented the ruin which seemed impending over so fine a plan, so well adapted to make all the subjects of the greatest empire happy; and I hoped that if his lordship, with the other great and wise men of the British nation, would unite and exert themselves, it might yet be rescued out of the mangling hands of the present set of blundering ministers; and that the union and harmony between Britain and her colonies, so necessary to the welfare of both, might be restored.

He replied, with great politeness, that my idea of extending our empire in that manner was a sound one, worthy of a great, benevolent, and comprehensive mind. He wished with me for a good understanding among the different parts of the opposition here, as a means of restoring the ancient harmony of the two countries, which he most earnestly desired; but he spoke of the coalition of our domestic parties as attended with difficulty, and rather to be desired than expected. He mentioned an opinion prevailing here: that America aimed at setting up for itself as an independent State; or, at least, to get rid of the Navigation Acts. I assured him that, having more than once travelled almost from one end of the continent to the other, and kept a great variety of company, eating, drinking, and conversing with them freely, I never had heard in any conversation from any person, drunk or sober, the least expression of a wish for a separation, or hint that such a thing would be advantageous to America. And as to the Navigation Act, the main, material part of it, that of Edition: current; Page: [442] carrying on trade in British or plantation bottoms, excluding foreign ships from our ports, and navigating with three quarters British seamen, was as acceptable as it could be to Britain. That we were even not against regulations of the general commerce by Parliament, provided such regulations were bonâ fide for the benefit of the whole empire, not for the small advantage of one part to the great injury of another, such as the obliging our ships to call in England with our wine and fruit from Portugal or Spain, the restraints on our manufactures in the woollen and hat-making branches, the prohibiting of slitting-mills, steel-works, etc. He allowed that some amendment might be made in those acts; but said those relating to the slitting-mills, trip-hammers, and steel-works were agreed to by our agents, on a compromise on the opposition made here to abating the duty.

In fine, he expressed much satisfaction in my having called upon him, and particularly in the assurances I had given him that America did not aim at independence; adding that he should be glad to see me again as often as might be. I said I should not fail to avail myself of the permission he was pleased to give me of waiting upon his lordship occasionally, being very sensible of the honor, and of the great advantages and improvement I should reap from his instructive conversation; which indeed was not a mere compliment.

The new Parliament was to meet the 29th of November, 1774. About the beginning of that month, being at the Royal Society, Mr. Raper, one of our Edition: current; Page: [443] members, told me there was a certain lady who had a desire of playing with me at chess, fancying she could beat me, and had requested him to bring me to her. It was, he said, a lady with whose acquaintance he was sure I should be pleased, a sister of Lord Howe, and he hoped I would not refuse the challenge. I said I had been long out of practice, but would wait upon the lady when he and she should think fit. He told me where her house was, and would have me call soon, and, without further introduction, which I undertook to do; but, thinking it a little awkward, I postponed it; and on the 30th, meeting him again at the feast of the Society election, being the day after the Parliament met, he put me in mind of my promise, and that I had not kept it, and would have me name a day when he said he would call for me, and conduct me. I named the Friday following. He called accordingly. I went with him, played a few games with the lady, whom I found of very sensible conversation and pleasing behavior, which induced me to agree most readily to an appointment for another meeting a few days afterwards; though I had not the least apprehension that any political business could have any connection with this new acquaintance.

On the Thursday preceding this chess party, Mr. David Barclay called on me to have some discourse concerning the meeting of merchants to petition Parliament. When that was over, he spoke of the dangerous situation of American affairs, the hazard that a civil war might be brought on by the present measures, and the great merit that person would have Edition: current; Page: [444] who could contrive some means of preventing so terrible a calamity, and bring about a reconciliation. He was then pleased to add that he was persuaded, from my knowledge of both countries, my character and influence in one of them, and my abilities in business, no man had so much in his power as myself. I naturally answered that I should be very happy if I could in any degree be instrumental in so good a work, but that I saw no prospect of it; for, though I was sure the Americans were always willing and ready to agree upon any equitable terms, yet I thought an accommodation impracticable, unless both sides wished it; and, by what I could judge from the proceedings of the ministry, I did not believe they had the least disposition towards it; that they rather wished to provoke the North American people into an open rebellion, which might justify a military execution, and thereby gratify a grounded malice, which I conceived to exist here against the Whigs and Dissenters of that country. Mr. Barclay apprehended I judged too harshly of the ministers; he was persuaded they were not all of that temper, and he fancied they would be very glad to get out of their present embarrassment on any terms, only saving the honor and dignity of the government. He wished, therefore, that I would think of the matter, and he would call again and converse with me further upon it. I said I would do so, as he requested it, but I had no opinion of its answering any purpose. We parted upon this. But two days after I received a letter from him, enclosed in a note from Dr. Fothergill, both of which follow:

Edition: current; Page: [445]
David Barclay
Barclay, David
3d, 12th Month, 1774
Youngsbury
Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
Esteemed Friend:

After we parted on Thursday last, I accidentally met our mutual friend, Dr. Fothergill, in my way home, and intimated to him the subject of our discourse; in consequence of which, I have received from him an invitation to a further conference on this momentous affair, and I intend to be in town to-morrow accordingly to meet at his house between four and five o’clock; and we unite in the request of thy company. We are neither of us insensible that the affair is of that magnitude as should almost deter private persons from meddling with it; at the same time we are respectively such well-wishers to the cause, that nothing in our power ought to be left undone, though the utmost of our efforts may be unavailable. I am thy respectful friend,

David Barclay.
Dr. Franklin,
Craven Street.

Dr. Fothergill presents his respects to Dr. Franklin, and hopes for the favor of his company in Harpur Street, to-morrow evening, to meet their mutual friend, David Barclay, to confer on American affairs. As near five o’clock as may be convenient.

Harpur Street, 3d inst.1

The time thus appointed was the evening of the day on which I was to have my second chess party Edition: current; Page: [446] with the agreeable Mrs. Howe, whom I met accordingly. After playing as long as we liked, we fell into a little chat, partly on a mathematical problem,1 and partly about the new Parliament, then just met, when she said: “And what is to be done with this dispute between Great Britain and the colonies? I hope we are not to have a civil war.” “They should kiss and be friends,” said I; “what can they do better? Quarrelling can be of service to neither, but is ruin to both.” “I have often said,” replied she, “that I wished government would employ you to settle the dispute for them; I am sure nobody could do it so well. Do not you think that the thing is practicable?” “Undoubtedly, madam, if the parties are disposed to reconciliation; for the two countries have really no clashing interests to differ about. It is rather a matter of punctilio, which two or three reasonable people might settle in half an hour. I thank you for the good opinion you are pleased to express of me; but the ministers will never think of employing me in that good work; for they choose rather to abuse me.” “Aye,” said she, “they have behaved shamefully to you. And indeed some of them are now ashamed of it themselves.” I looked upon this as accidental conversation, thought no more of it, and went in the evening to the appointed Edition: current; Page: [447] meeting at Dr. Fothergill’s, where I found Mr. Barclay with him.

The doctor expatiated feelingly on the mischiefs likely to ensue from the present difference, the necessity of accommodating it, and the great merit of being instrumental in so good a work, concluding with some compliments to me: that nobody understood the subject so thoroughly, and had a better head for business of the kind; that it seemed therefore a duty incumbent on me, to do every thing I could to accomplish a reconciliation; and that, as he had with pleasure heard from David Barclay, that I had promised to think of it, he hoped I had put pen to paper, and formed some plan for consideration, and brought it with me. I answered, that I had formed no plan, as the more I thought of the proceedings against the colonies the more satisfied I was that there did not exist the least disposition in the ministry to an accommodation; that therefore all plans must be useless. He said I might be mistaken; that, whatever was the violence of some, he had reason, good reason, to believe others were differently disposed; and that, if I would draw a plan, which we three upon considering should judge reasonable, it might be made use of, and answer some good purpose, since he believed that either himself or David Barclay could get it communicated to some of the most moderate among the ministers, who would consider it with attention; and what appeared reasonable to us, two of us being Englishmen, might appear so to them.

As they both urged this with great earnestness, Edition: current; Page: [448] and when I mentioned the impropriety of my doing any thing of the kind at the time we were in daily expectation of hearing from the Congress, who undoubtedly would be explicit on the means of restoring a good understanding, they seemed impatient, alleging that it was uncertain when we should receive the result of the Congress, and what it would be; that the least delay might be dangerous; that additional punishments for New England were in contemplation, and accidents might widen the breach and make it irreparable; therefore something preventive could not be too soon thought of and applied. I was therefore finally prevailed with to promise doing what they desired, and to meet them again on Tuesday evening at the same place, and bring with me something for their consideration.

Accordingly, at the time, I met with them and produced the following paper.

Hints for Conversation upon the Subject of Terms that Might Probably Produce a Durable Union between Britain and the Colonies

1. The tea destroyed to be paid for.

2. 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.

3. The Acts of Navigation to be all reënacted in the colonies.

4. A naval officer, appointed by the crown, to reside in each colony, to see that those acts are observed.

Edition: current; Page: [449]

5. All the acts restraining manufactures in the colonies to be repealed.

6. 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. The collectors and custom-house officers to be appointed by each governor, and not sent from England.

7. In consideration of the Americans maintaining their own peace establishment, and the monopoly Britain is to have of their commerce, no requisition to be made from them in time of peace.

8. No troops to enter and quarter in any colony, but with the consent of its legislature.

9. In time of war, on requisition made by the king, with the consent of Parliament, every colony shall raise money by the following rules or proportions, 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 thereof; and if Britain, on the same account, pays four shillings in the pound, then the colonies to add to their said last peace tax a sum equal to 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, 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 they shall think proper.

10. Castle William to be restored to the province Edition: current; Page: [450] of the Massachusetts Bay, and no fortress built by the crown in any province, but with the consent of its legislature.

11. The late Massachusetts and Quebec Acts to be repealed, and a free government granted to Canada.

12. 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.

13. Governors to be supported by the Assemblies of each province.

14. If Britain will give up its monopoly of the American commerce, then the aid above mentioned to be given by America in time of peace as well as in time of war.

15. The extension of the act of Henry the Eighth, concerning treasons to the colonies, to be formally disowned by Parliament.

16. The American admiralty courts reduced to the same powers they have in England, and the acts establishing them to be reënacted in America.

17. All powers of internal legislation in the colonies to be disclaimed by Parliament.

In reading this paper a second time, I gave my reasons at length for each article.

On the 1st I observed that, when the injury was done, Britain had a right to reparation, and would certainly have had it on demand, as was the case Edition: current; Page: [451] when injury was 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 she 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, in my judgment, to be repaired by Britain. That, therefore, if paying for the tea was agreed to by me, as an article fit to be proposed, it was merely from a desire of peace, and in compliance with their opinion expressed at our first meeting; that this was a sine quâ non, that the dignity of Britain required it, and that, if this was agreed to, every thing else would be easy. This reasoning was allowed to be just; but still the article was thought necessary to stand as it did.

On the 2d, That the 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 the Parliament had no right to make, 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 payment for the tea destroyed might best be defrayed. The gentlemen were of opinion that the first part of this article, viz., the repeal, might be obtained, but not the refunding part, and therefore advised striking that out; but, as I thought it just and right, I insisted on its standing.

Edition: current; Page: [452]

On the 3d and 4th articles, I observed we were frequently charged with views of abolishing the Navigation Act. That, in truth, those parts of it which were of most importance to Britain, as tending to increase its naval strength, viz., those restraining the trade to be carried on only in ships belonging to British subjects, navigated by at least three quarters British or colony seamen, etc., were as acceptable to us as they could be to Britain, since we wished to employ our own ships in preference to foreigners, and had no desire to see foreign ships enter our ports. That indeed the obliging us to land some of our commodities in England before we could carry them to foreign markets, and forbidding our importation of some goods directly from foreign countries, we thought a hardship, and a greater loss to us than gain to Britain, and therefore proper to be repealed. But, as Britain had deemed it an equivalent for her protection, we had never applied, or proposed to apply, for such a repeal. And, if they must be continued, I thought it best (since the power of Parliament to make them was now disputed) that they should be reënacted in all the colonies which would demonstrate their consent to them. And then, if, as in the sixth article, all the duties arising on them were to be collected by officers appointed and salaried in the respective governments, and the produce paid into their treasuries, I was sure the acts would be better and more faithfully executed, and at much less expense, and one great source of misunderstanding removed between the two countries, viz., the calumnies of low officers appointed from home, who were Edition: current; Page: [453] for ever abusing the people of the country to government, to magnify their own zeal, and recommend themselves to promotion. That the extension of the admiralty jurisdiction, so much complained of, would then no longer be necessary; and that, besides its being the interest of the colonies to execute those acts, which is the best security, government might be satisfied of its being done, from accounts to be sent home by the naval officers of the fourth article. The gentlemen were satisfied with these reasons, and approved the 3d and 4th articles; so they were to stand.

The 5th they apprehended would meet with difficulty. They said that restraining manufactures in the colonies was a favorite idea here; and therefore they wished that article to be omitted, as the proposing it would alarm and hinder perhaps the considering and granting others of more importance; but, as I insisted on the equity of allowing all subjects in every country to make the most of their natural advantages, they desired I would at least alter the last word from repealed to reconsidered, which I complied with.

In maintaining the 7th article (which was at first objected to, on the principle that all under the care of government should pay towards the supporting of it), my reasons were that, if every distinct part of the king’s dominions supported its own government in time of peace, it was all that could be justly required of it; that all the old or confederate colonies had done so from the beginning; that their taxes for that purpose were very considerable; that new countries Edition: current; Page: [454] had many public expenses, which old ones were free from, the works being done to their hands by their ancestors, such as making roads and bridges, erecting churches, court-houses, forts, quays, and other public buildings, founding schools and places of education, hospitals and alms-houses, etc., etc.; that the voluntary and the legal subscriptions and taxes for such purposes, taken together, amounted to more than was paid by equal estates in Britain. That it would be best for Britain, on two accounts, not to take money from us, as contribution to its public expense, in time of peace; first, for that just so much less would be got from us in commerce, since all we could spare was already gained from us by Britain in that way; and secondly, that coming into the hands of British ministers, accustomed to prodigality of public money, it would be squandered and dissipated, answering no good general purpose. That if we were to be taxed towards the support of government in Britain, as Scotland has been since the union, we ought to be allowed the same privileges in trade here as she has been allowed. That if we are called upon to give to the sinking fund, or the national debt, Ireland ought to be likewise called upon; and both they and we, if we gave, ought to have some means established of inquiring into the application, and securing a compliance with the terms on which we should grant. The British ministers would perhaps not like our meddling with such matters; and that hence might arise new causes of misunderstanding. That upon the whole, therefore, I thought it best on all sides, that no aids shall be asked or accepted from Edition: current; Page: [455] the colonies in time of peace; that it would then be their interest to grant bountifully and exert themselves vigorously in time of war, the sooner to put an end to it. That specie was not to be had to send to England in supplies, but the colonies could carry on war with their own paper money; which would pay troops, and for provisions, transports, carriages, clothing, arms, etc. So this 7th article was at length agreed to without further objection.

The 8th the gentlemen were confident would never be granted. For the whole world would be of opinion that the king, who is to defend all parts of his dominions, should have of course a right to place his troops where they might best answer that purpose. I supported the article upon principles equally important, in my opinion, to Britain as to the colonies; for that if the king could bring into one part of his dominions troops raised in any other part of them, without the consent of the legislatures of the part to which they were brought, he might bring armies raised in America into England without consent of Parliament, which probably would not like it, as a few years since they had not liked the introduction of the Hessians and Hanoverians, though justified by the supposition of its being a time of danger. That, if there should be at any time real occasion for British troops in America, there was no doubt of obtaining the consent of the Assemblies there; and I was so far from being willing to drop this article, that I thought I ought to add another, requiring all the present troops to be withdrawn before America could be expected to treat or agree upon any terms of Edition: current; Page: [456] accommodation; as what they should now do of that kind might be deemed the effect of compulsion, the appearance of which ought as much as possible to be avoided, since those reasonable things might be agreed to, where the parties seemed at least to act freely, which would be strongly refused under threats or the semblance of force. That the withdrawing the troops was therefore necessary to make any treaty durably binding on the part of the Americans, since proof of having acted under force would invalidate any agreement. And it could be no wonder that we should insist on the crown’s having no right to bring a standing army among us in time of peace, when we saw now before our eyes a striking instance of the ill use to be made of it, viz., to distress the king’s subjects in different parts of his dominions, one part after the other, into a submission to arbitrary power, which was the avowed design of the army and fleet now placed at Boston. Finding me obstinate the gentlemen consented to let this stand, but did not seem quite to approve of it. They wished, they said, to have this a paper or plan which they might show as containing the sentiments of considerate, impartial persons, and such as they might as Englishmen support, which they thought could not well be the case with this article.

end of volume vi
1

See the Proclamation in the Appendix, No. I., p. 49.

1

“It is in settlements on the Mississippi and Ohio that we must look for hemp and flax, which may in those fertile tracts be cultivated in such abundance as to enable us to undersell all the world, as well as supply our own consumption. It is on those high, dry, and healthy lands that vineyards would be cultivated to the best advantage, as many of those hills contain quarries of stone; and not in the low, unhealthy sea-coasts of our present colonies. Of such infinite consequence to Britain is the production of staples in her colonies, that, were all the people of the northern settlements, and all of the tobacco ones (except those actually employed in raising tobacco), now spread over those parts of our territories to the southward and westward, and consequently employed in the same manner as the few who do reside therein, Britain, in such a case, would export to the amount of about nine millions more in manufactures, etc., than she does at present, without reckoning the infinite increase in public revenue, freight, and seamen, which would accrue. To enlarge upon all the advantages of such a change would be impertinence itself.”—Political Essays Concerning the British Empire.

1

“We think of nothing but extending our settlements still further on these pestiferous sea-coasts, even to the sunken lagunes of East Florida, and the barren sands of Mobile and Pensacola. The only use of new settlements in North America is for the people in the northern and other colonies who want lands to make staple commodities for Britain, to remove to them; but none will ever go to Florida, or thrive in it, more than they have done in Carolina and Georgia. The climate of Florida is more intemperate, the lands more barren, and the situation much worse in every respect.—State of Great Britain and America, by Dr. Mitchell.

1

“Besides staple commodities, there is another more material point to be considered in the colonies, which is their great and daily increase; and for which, unless we make provision in time, they can never subsist by a dependence on Britain. There are at present (in the year 1770) nigh three millions of people in them, who may, in twenty or thirty years, increase to six millions, as many as there are in England.”—Wynne’s History of the British Empire in America, Vol. II., p. 398.

1

“Thus the use the nation has for new settlements and acquisitions in North America is for the great increase of the people who are already there, and to enable them to subsist by a dependence upon her, which they can never do, unless they extend their settlements”—Wynne’s History, Vol. II., p. 399.

Unprejudiced men well know, that all the penal and prohibitory laws that ever were thought of, will not be sufficient to prevent manufactures in a country whose inhabitants surpass the number that can subsist on the husbandry of it; and this will be the case soon, if our people remain confined within the mountains,” etc.—The Interest of Great Britain considered with regard to the Colonies, p. 17. Published in 1761.

1

The parliamentary grants for the civil establishment of the provinces of Nova Scotia, Georgia, and East and West Florida, amount to one million twelve thousand eight hundred and thirty-one pounds two shillings and eight pence halfpenny, as the following account shows, and, notwithstanding this vast expense, the king has not received any quit-rents from these provinces. How different is the present proposition for the establishment of the Ohio colony! In this case the crown is to be paid for the lands (and which is the first instance of any being sold in North America). Government is to be exempted from the expense of supporting the colony, and the king will receive his quit-rents, neat and clear of all deductions (which deductions in the old colonies are at least twenty per centum), as will more particularly appear by a state of the king’s quit-rents annexed hereto.

The parliamentary grants above mentioned are as follows:

To Nova Scotia £707,320 19s. 71/4d.
To Georgia 214,610 3 11/4
To East Florida 45,450
To West Florida 45,450

See Appendix, No. II., p. 57.

1

The following note accompanied the letter, when it was communicated to Lord Dartmouth.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin, Benjamin
8 Dec., 1772
Lord Dartmouth
Dartmouth, Lord
“Craven Street,

Dr. Franklin presents his best respects to Lord Dartmouth, and, believing it may be agreeable as well as useful to him to receive other information of the sentiments and dispositions of the leading people in America, besides what ministers are usually furnished with from the officers of the crown residing there, takes the liberty of communicating to his Lordship a letter just received from the Speaker of the Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay, written not as Speaker, but in his private capacity.

Dr. Franklin purposes to wait on Lord Dartmouth at his levee tomorrow, and shall be happy if he may bring from thence any thing proper to write in answer that should tend to compose the minds of people in that province, at present greatly disquieted and alarmed by some late measures of government.”

1

An active philanthropist, born at St Quentin, in France, of Protestant parents, who, in 1715, when Anthony was two years old, removed to London, where they became Quakers, and to Philadelphia in 1731, where Anthony died May 4, 1784, in the seventy-first year of his age. He was brought up to mercantile pursuits, which, however, he abandoned in 1742, and became an instructor in a school of the Society of Friends. He took an active part in the agitation for the suppression of the slave-trade, founded a school for children of African descent, and left his property to it upon the death of his wife.

1

When the bill imposing a tax on glass, paper, and painters’ colors was repealed the ministry proposed a reduction of the duty on tea from one shilling to threepence a pound, thus easing the colonies, as they said, of ninepence on a pound. But, at the same time, Lord North avowed the object of retaining this threepenny tax to be for the purpose of asserting and maintaining the right of Parliament to tax the colonies. He said that “he even wished to have repealed the whole, if it could have been done without giving up that absolute right; that he should, to the last hour of his life, contend for taxing America; but, he was sorry to say, the behavior of the Americans had by no means been such as to merit such favor, neither did he think a total repeal would quell the troubles there, as experience had shown that, to lay taxes when America was quiet, and repeal them when America was in flames, only added fresh claims to those people on every occasion.” And he added, in speaking of the non-importation agreements in the colonies: “North America, from its natural situation, and the dearness of labor, would be many years before it could supply itself with manufactures; therefore there was not so much to fear from their resolutions as the nation imagined.”—Debrett’s Parliamentary Debates, Vol. V., p. 254. With these views he retained the threepence a pound on tea, and the East India Company was induced to make large importations for the American market, but the people held to their resolutions, resisted the tax, and defeated the sales, thus bringing heavy losses upon the company.

1

See this letter under date of September 26, 1772.

1

M. de Saussure was the well-known professor at Geneva, celebrated for his philosophical writings, and for his ascent of Mont Blanc.—Ed.

1

To ascertain the lateral attraction of mountains, with the view of determining the mean density of the earth upon the Newtonian theory of gravitation. On this subject, it would seem, Dr. Franklin had written to request the aid of M. de Saussure, who had bestowed much time and attention in observing the geological structure and formation of the mountains of the Alps.

1

Indian corn, or maise, which is most commonly planted in this neighborhood.

1

John Hyacinth de Magalhaens, a Portuguese by birth, who resided a large part of his life in England. His name frequently occurs in Franklin’s letters. He is said to have been “an able linguist, and well versed in chemistry and natural philosophy,” and to have published respectable treatises on mineralogy and some other branches of science. He was a member of the Royal Society. This is the same person (whose name is sometimes printed Magellan) that gave to the American Philosophical Society a donation of two hundred guineas, which was to be invested in a secure fund, and the interest disposed of annually in premiums to the author of the best discovery, or most useful invention, relating to navigation, astronomy, or natural philosophy.—Sparks.

1

This letter has no date, but the one to which it is an answer is dated May 1, 1773.

1

The works of Dr. Stark, the young physician here alluded to, including his experiments, have since been published.

1

Letters from Governor Hutchinson and Lieutenant-Governor Oliver, about which see infra, p. 378.

1

An eminent physician and chemist, born at Breda in 1730. He passed a large part of his life in England, where he died, September 7, 1799. He was a copious correspondent of Franklin.

1

The resolves, appointing a Committee of Correspondence, and requesting the legislatures of the other colonies to do the same, for the purpose of promoting concert of action, were passed on the 12th of March, 1773, by the other colonies. See the Resolves in Wirt’s Life of Patrick Henry, 3d ed., p. 87.

1

The young agent here mentioned, as “impatient for the succession,” was Arthur Lee. He was called in English circles Junius Americanus, to distinguish him from his elder brother, Richard Henry Lee. Arthur was admitted to the bar in England, and commenced the practice of the Law in London. Dr. Franklin’s original appointment as the agent of Massachusetts was made in contemplation of his being detained from home for only a brief period, and Arthur Lee, being a resident in London and a man of many accomplishments for such an agency, was chosen to succeed him and to act in his absence. Franklin, however, remained abroad much longer than he or his constituents had anticipated, and, to Lee’s great chagrin. It was under these circumstances that the jealousy of Franklin began, which tortured Lee for the remainder of his life, and very soon destroyed in Europe whatever influence his talents and unquestioned patriotism would have otherwise entitled him to.—Editor.

1

A clergyman of Boston, and son of the celebrated Cotton Mather.

1

Dr. Samuel Cooper, a prominent clergyman of Boston.

1

Governor Hutchinson’s letters.

1

Without proposing to meddle with a question so strictly professional as this, I think it not amiss to cite here in confirmation of the Doctor’s heretical theories about colds, the following statement made by the late Dr. John H. Griscom, Superintendent of the Commissioners of Emigration of New York, in a communication addressed to a Special Committee of the United States Senate, dated the 14th January, 1854, and during the unprecedented virulence of “ship fever” on emigrant ships arriving at the port of New York at that period.

“In the month of August, 1837, a number of ships with emigrant passengers arrived at South Amboy from Liverpool and other ports, on some of which ship fever prevailed. There was no hospital or other accommodations in the town in which the sick could be placed, and no person would admit them into private dwellings, fearing infection, at the same time they could not be left on board the ships.

An arrangement was made to land the sick passengers, and place them in an open wood, adjacent to a large spring of water, about a mile and a half from town. Rough shanties, floored with boards and covered with sails, were erected, and thirty-six patients were landed in boats as near the spring as possible, and carried in wagons to the encampment (as it was called) under the influence of a hot August sun. Of the thirty-six twelve were insensible, in the last stage of fever, and not expected to live twenty-four hours. The day after landing there was a heavy rain, and the shanties affording no protection with their sail roofs, the sick were found the next morning wet, and their bedding, such as it was, drenched with the rain. It was replaced with such articles as could be collected from the charity of the inhabitants. Their number was increased by new patients to eighty-two in all. On board the ship, which was cleansed after landing the passengers, four of the crew were taken with ship fever, and two of them died. Some of the nurses at the encampment were taken sick, but recovered. Of the whole number of eighty-two passengers taken from the ship not one died.

. . . The shanties spoken of were two in number, thirty feet long, twenty feet wide, boarded on three sides four feet up, with old sails stretched over them. The twelve who were removed from the ship in a state of insensibility were apparently in so helpless a condition that the overseer, who was a carpenter, observed, ‘well, Doctor, I think I shall have some boxes to make before many hours.’ The night after their arrival at the encampment,’ says Dr. Smith, ‘we had a violent thunder-gust, accompanied by torrents of rain. On visiting them the following morning, the clothes of all were saturated with water, in other words they had had a thorough ablution. This doubtless was a most fortunate circumstance. . . . The four sailors who sickened after the arrival of the vessel (the Phoebe) were removed to the room of an ordinary dwelling house. The medical treatment in their case was precisely similar, yet two of them died, and the others suffered from carbuncles while convalescing.’ The Doctor adds ‘My opinion is that had the eighty-two treated at the encampment been placed in a common hospital, many of them would also have fallen victims. I do not attribute their recovery so much to the remedies administered as to the circumstances in which they were placed, in other words, a good washing to begin with and an abundance of fresh air.’ ”—Editor.

1

The Virginia resolves for appointing a Committee of Correspondence arrived in Boston shortly before the assembling of the legislature. Its first business was to accede to the proposal of Virginia, and appoint a Committee of Correspondence.

1

Resolves concerning Hutchinson’s letters.

1

Governor Hutchinson’s letters.

1

See letter to his son William, infra, p. 222.

1

The piece was probably the Rules by Which a Great Empire may be Reduced to a Small One, or An Edict by the King of Prussia. See pages 204 and 195.

1

The minister here alluded to is supposed to be the Earl of Hillsborough.

1

One of the American writers affirms: “That there has not been a single instance in which they have complained, without being rebuked; or in which they have been complained against, without being punished.” A fundamental mistake in the minister occasioned this. Every individual in New England (the peccant country) was held a coward or a knave, and the disorders which spread abroad there were treated as the result of the too great lenity of Great Britain! By the aid of this short and benevolent rule, judgment was ever wisely predetermined; to the shutting out redress on the one hand, and enforcing every rigor of punishment on the other.—B. V.

1

As the reader may be inclined to divide his belief between the wisdom of the ministry and the candor and veracity of Dr. Franklin, I shall inform him that two contrary objections may be made to the truth of this representation. The first is, that the conduct of Great Britain is made too absurd for possibility; and the second, that it is not made absurd enough for fact. If we consider that this writing does not include the measures subsequent to 1773, the latter difficulty is easily set aside. The former I can only solve by the many instances in history where the infatuation of individuals has brought the heaviest calamities upon nations.—B. V.

2

A new and handsome edition of the above piece was published at London in 1793, with the following ironical dedication. Lord Loughborough was once Mr. Wedderburn, and the same person who uttered an abusive philippic against Dr. Franklin in a speech before the king in council relating to Hutchinson’s letters. See infra, p. 292.—Editor. [For the “dedication,” see foot note on p. 216.]

Feb. 12, 1793
London
Lord Loughborough
Loughborough, Lord

To the Right Honorable Alexander, Lord Loughborough.

My Lord:

When I reflect on your lordship’s magnanimous conduct towards the author of the following golden rules, there is, in my opinion, a peculiar propriety in dedicating this new edition of them to a nobleman whose talents were so eminently useful in procuring the emancipation of our American brethren.

In the most heartfelt wish that the same talents may be employed on similar occasions with the same splendid success, I have the honor to be, my lord, your lordship’s most obedient and very humble servant,

The Editor.
1

This letter, found in the London Public Record Office, is thus endorsed. “Benjamin Franklin, Sept. 23, 1773, private, wherein he acknowledges himself author of a Receipt or rather Prescription for Diminishing a Great Empire, as published in a London newspaper.” See this Receipt or Prescription, supra, p. 204.

2

A physician of Manchester, in England, and author of several publications on medical and philosophical subjects.—Ed.

1

Dr. Ingenhousz was now residing at Vienna, whither he had gone to inoculate for the small-pox the Archduchess Theresa Elizabeth, the only daughter of the emperor, and the Archdukes Ferdinand and Maximilian, the emperor’s brothers. He remained in that city several years. He was in England during a large part of the year 1779, when he published his work, entitled, Experiments on Vegetables, etc. In the title-page of that work he styles himself “Counsellor of the Court and Body Physician to their Imperial Majesties.”—Editor.

1

Governor Hutchinson procured a copy of one of Dr. Franklin’s letters, and sent it to the ministry.

1

Of this squirrel, sent out to replace poor Mungo in the affections of Miss Shipley, we have no farther tidings.—Ed.

1

Petition from the Legislature of Massachusetts for the removal of Governor Hutchinson and Lieutenant-Governor Oliver.

1

The name of the engraver is not contained in the manuscript, from which the letter has been transcribed.

1

Extracted from sundry letters between Benj. Franklin, LL.D., F.R.S., Wm. Brownrigg, M.D., F.R.S., and the Reverend Mr. Farish.

1

Sir Gilfred Lawson, who served long in the army at Gibraltar, assures me that the fisherman in that place are accustomed to pour a little oil on the sea, in order to still its motion, that they may be enabled to see the oysters lying at its bottom; which are there very large, and which they take up with a proper instrument. This Sir Gilfred had often seen there performed, and said the same was practised on other parts of the Spanish coast.—Note by Dr. Brownrigg.

1

See the letter to Dr. John Pringle, dated December 1, 1762.—Ed.

1

In a letter dated London, June 17, 1785, Grenville Sharp wrote to Dr. Franklin: “I have been informed that several years ago you revised the Liturgy of the Church of England, with a view, by some few alterations, to promote the more general use of it; but I have never yet been able to see a copy of the form you proposed. Our present public service is certainly, upon the whole, much too long, as it is commonly used, so that a prudent revision of it, by the common consent of the members of the Episcopal Church of America, might be very advantageous; though for my own part I conceive that the addition of one single rubric from the Gospel would be amply sufficient to direct the advisers to the only corrections that seem to be necessary at present I mean a general rule illustrated by general examples, references, and marks, to warn officiating ministers how they may avoid all useless repetitions and tautology in reading the service.”

In reply to this inquiry of Mr. Sharp, Dr. Franklin wrote Mr. Sharp, about two weeks later, July 5th, as follows. “The Liturgy you mention was an abridgement of that made by a noble lord of my acquaintance, who requested me to assist him by taking the rest of the book, viz., the Catechism, and the reading and singing Psalms. These I abridged by retaining of the Catechism only the two questions, What is your duty to God? What is your duty to your neighbor? with answers. The Psalms were much contracted by leaving out the repetitions (of which I found more than I could have imagined) and the imprecations, which appeared not to suit well the Christian doctrine of forgiveness of injuries, and doing good to enemies. The book was printed by Wilkie, in St. Paul’s Churchyard, but never much noticed. Some were given away, very few sold, and I suppose the bulk became waste paper. In the prayers so much was retrenched that approbation could hardly be expected; but I think with you, a moderate abridgment might not only be useful, but generally acceptable.”

The book here referred to was entitled Abridgment of the Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the Use of the Church of England, together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be sung or said in the Churches. London. Printed in the Year MDCCLXXIII. The noble lord associated in the preparation of this abridgment was Lord Despencer, with whom, during the summer of 1773, Franklin passed some time at his country residence. The Doctor probably never undertook any work for which he was so imperfectly equipped as that of settling the terms of a Liturgy for a Christian Church. It is not surprising that the fruit of his efforts was “little noticed,” and “the book became waste paper.” The preface, which was entirely his own, is interesting, however, as the fullest expression that we have of his views on the subject of public worship, just as it is interesting to get a blind man’s view of the colors of the rainbow.—Editor.

1

The writer of this letter was Dean of Gloucester and a man of learning and talents, though somewhat freaky. He was prone to occupy his thoughts and pen with political and commercial questions, which furnished Warburton, who was his Bishop, with a pretext for saying that his Dean’s trade was religion and religion his trade. He published an humble address and earnest appeal, in which he advised the government to “let the wayward sisters—the colonies—go,” thinking that, like the sheep in charge of little Bo-peep, they would soon come back with their tails behind them.

In one of his papers he took some liberties with Franklin’s name, which led to the following correspondence.

1

In a future edition of his work, Dean Tucker omitted the offensive passages, but with so ill a grace as to still further impair his character for fairness and magnanimity.

1

For other particulars relating to this affair, see infra, pp. 370-411.

1

That is, fur, or thief.

1

The Life and Works of John Adams, Vol. II., p. 319, note 1.

2

Bigelow’s Life of Franklin.

3

Addresses and Speeches by Robert C. Winthrop between 1878 and 1886, Boston.

1

The acts of the Pennsylvania Assembly, sent over to be approved by the king.

1

The remainder of the letter is lost.

1

Dubourg’s edition, in two quarto volumes, published in 1773.

1

The following papers, first printed in the Public Advertiser in London, are supposed by William Temple Franklin to have been written about the time of the author’s departure for America.—Editor.

1

They mounted a numerous guard daily round the Parliament House, with drums beating and fifes playing, while the members were in their debates, and had cannon planted and pointed at the building.

1

Lord Chatham.

1

The remainder of the letter is lost.—Editor.

1

This extract, taken from Priestley’s Experiments on Air, is introduced with the following remark. “Dr. Franklin, who, as I have already observed, saw some of my plants in a very flourishing state, in noxious air, was pleased to express very great satisfaction with the result of the experiments. In answer to the letter in which I informed him of it, he says,” etc.—Editor.

1

Lord Chatham said, in the speech here alluded to: “If we take a transient view of those motives which induced the ancestors of our fellow-subjects in America to leave their native country to encounter the innumerable difficulties of the unexplored regions of the western world, our astonishment at the present conduct of their descendants will naturally subside. There was no corner of the world into which men of their free and enterprising spirit would not fly with alacrity, rather than submit to the slavish and tyrannical principles which prevailed at that period in their native country. And shall we wonder, if the descendants of such illustrious characters spurn with contempt the hand of unconstitutional power, that would snatch from them such dear-bought privileges as they now contend for?”—Debrett’s Parliamentary Debates, Vol. VII., p. 10.

1

In a letter to his son, dated London, February 3, 1772, Dr. Franklin says: “This will be delivered to you by the Rev. Mr. Coombe, whom I recommend to your friendship as a young gentleman of great merit, integrity, and abilities. He has acquired the esteem of all that knew him here, not as an excellent preacher only, but as practising the morality he preached. I wish him a good settlement in his native country, but I think he would better have found his interest in remaining here.”

1

Lewis Evans, of Philadelphia, the author of maps and geographical writings on some parts of America.—Sparks.

1

Probably A True State of the Proceedings in the Parliament of Great Britain, etc., and On the Rise and Progress of the Differences between Great Britain and her American Colonies. See supra, p. 312.

1

Sir William Johnson died at the place of his residence, near the Mohawk River, on the 11th of July, 1774.

1

In the first letter which Paine wrote to Dr. Franklin from Philadelphia, he said: “Your countenancing me has obtained for me many friends and much reputation, for which please to accept my most sincere thanks. I have been applied to by several gentlemen to instruct their sons, on very advantageous terms to myself; and a printer and bookseller here, a man of reputation and property, Robert Aitkin, has lately attempted a magazine, but, having little or no turn that way himself, he has applied to me for assistance. He had not above six hundred subscribers when I first assisted him. We have now upwards of fifteen hundred, and daily increasing. I have not entered into terms with him. This is only the second number. The first I was not concerned in.”—March 4th, 1775.

1

It is a noteworthy circumstance that in the third edition of his Sketches the words in italics are omitted. His Lordship, in spite of his admiration for Franklin, had to incline before the prevailing breeze.

2

“Ad quæ senex: ‘Ego ignicola sum, istiusmodi morum ignarus; nostri enim majores nullam talem me docuere pietatem.’ Ad quam vocem horrescens Abrahamus rem sibi cum ignicolâ profano et à sui Numinis cultu alieno esse, eum è vestigio et à cœnâ remotum, ut sui consortii pestem et religionis hostem, domo ejicit.”

1

For an account of Saadi, see Everett’s Mt. Vernon Papers, and Saadi’s life by Harrington.

1

This gentleman was Thomas Cushing, Speaker of the House of Representatives in Massachusetts.—Editor.

1

The Reverend Dr. Cooper, of Boston.—Editor.

1

Professor Winthrop, of Harvard College, a member of his Majesty’s Council in Massachusetts.—Editor.

1

That is, the Council and House of Representatives of Massachusetts.—Editor.

1

The House of Representatives adopted these Resolves, as here reported, by a large majority. The Council almost unanimously passed a series of Resolves, on the 25th of June, embodying similar sentiments.—Editor.

1

In remarking on this word as here used, Dr. Franklin said, in a note found in his handwriting: “Governor Hutchinson, as appears by his letters, since found and published in New England, had the same idea of duty when he procured copies of Dr. Franklin’s letters to the Assembly, and sent them to the ministry of England.”

1

For several years Dr. Franklin had held the office of Deputy Postmaster-General of the Colonies.—Editor.

2

William Strahan, Member of Parliament, and king’s printer.—W. T. F.

1

W. T. Franklin gives the following account of this device, and the use made of it by its author: “During the disputes between the two countries, Dr. Franklin invented a little emblematical design, intended to represent the supposed state of Great Britain and her colonies, should the former persist in her oppressive measures, restraining the latter’s trade, and taxing their people by laws made by a legislature in which they were not represented. It was engraved on a copper plate. Dr. Franklin had many of them struck off on cards, on the back of which he occasionally wrote his notes. It was also printed on a half-sheet of paper, with the explanation and moral.”—Editor.

1

This letter was written to Mr. Thomson as Secretary of Congress.

2

Mr. Burke at this time had been agent for New York for several years, but to what effect or extent we have no evidence, as no letters from him to his principals have been yet discovered, if any were written.—Editor.

3

It was resolved in Congress, October 25, 1774: “That the Address to the King be enclosed in a letter to the several colony agents, in order that the same may be by them presented to his Majesty; and that the agents be requested to call in the aid of such noblemen and gentlemen as are esteemed firm friends to American liberty.”

1

The writer’s signature is not affixed to the original letter.

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Galloway was one of the delegates to the first Congress from Pennsylvania. Neither his sentiments nor his aims accorded with those of the prominent patriots who were assembled on that occasion. He proposed a plan of reconciliation, which was disapproved and rejected. Dr. Gordon relates the circumstances as follows: “Mr. Galloway became a member at the earnest solicitation of the Assembly, and refused compliance till they had given him instructions agreeable to his own mind, as the rule of his conduct. These instructions they suffered him to draw up. They were briefly to state the rights and the grievances of America, and to propose a plan of amicable accommodation of the differences between Great Britain and the colonies, and of a perpetual union. On the 28th of September a plan was proposed by him, which was debated a whole day, when the question was carried, six colonies to five, that it should be resumed and further considered; but it at length fell through.”—History, etc., Vol. I., p. 490.

Galloway published a pamphlet on the subject, which was not well received by the patriotic party. Samuel Wharton, in a letter to Dr. Franklin, written in England, and dated April 17, 1775, says: “I am really grieved at the publication of Mr. Galloway’s extraordinary pamphlet. Our great friends in both Houses are exceedingly angry at it, while the courtiers rejoice at that part of the pamphlet which represents our divisions and controversies as to boundaries and modes of religion, our incompetency to resist the power of this country, and the undecided state of Congress for several weeks as to what really were the rights of America. Yet the courtiers, at the same time, treat with ineffable contempt the plan of union proposed, and which, they say, by not being adopted, offended the author’s pride, and has been the happy means of their being satisfactorily confirmed in their ideas of the weakness and division of the colonies, and that, by perseverance, they shall unquestionably obtain a perfect submission.”—Editor.

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This proposal, which was introduced into Parliament by Lord North on the 20th of February, is as follows: “That when the Governor, Council, and Assembly, or General Court of his Majesty’s provinces, or colonies, shall propose to make provision according to their respective conditions, circumstances, and situations, for contributing their proportion to the common defence, such proportion to be raised under the authorities 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 in Parliament, and for so long as such provision shall be made accordingly, to forbear in respect of such province or colony, to levy any duties, tax, or assessment, or to impose any further duty, tax, or assessment, except only such duties as it may be expedient to impose for the regulation of commerce; the net produce of the duties last mentioned to be carried to the account of such province, colony, or plantation respectively.”—Almon’s Parliamentary Register, Vol. I., p. 169.

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Franklin remained in London several months after he announced his purpose to surrender the agency of the colonies, in the hope that something useful might result from negotiations which Lord Chatham and others had opened with him. They came to nothing except to demonstrate, what was already apparent to many of the leading statesmen in America, that the union of England with her transatlantic possessions could not endure. Penetrated at last himself with this conviction, Franklin placed his London agencies in the hands of Arthur Lee, and sailed in the Pennsylvania Packet for America about the 20th of March, 1775. From a letter dated March 17th, and written to a friend on the continent, whose name is not mentioned in the draft from which an extract is here taken, it appears that he thought of returning in a few months:

“Being about to embark for America, this line is just to take leave, wishing you every kind of felicity, and to request that if you have not yet purchased for me the Theatrum Machinarum you will now omit doing it, as I have the offer of a set here. But if you have purchased it your draft on me will be duly paid in my absence by Mrs. Stevenson, in whose hands I leave my little affairs till my return, which I propose, God willing, in October. Mrs. Stevenson keeps the house in Craven Street, wherein I have always lodged since my residence in London.

Be pleased to present my humble respects to your good prince, with my best wishes for his prosperity, and repeat my thankful acknowledgment for his gracious and benevolent proposition in my favor, of which, though I could not, for the reasons I gave you, avail myself, I shall nevertheless always retain the most grateful sense, and if, either here or in America, I could render his highness any kind of service, it would give me infinite pleasure.”

During the voyage Franklin addressed to his son this account of his closing negotiations, which constitutes a most important chapter in the history of the causes which led to the independence of America. It was first published by his grandson, William Temple Franklin, in 1816-17.

Franklin arrived in Philadelphia on the 5th of May. The Pennsylvania Assembly was then sitting. The following resolve is contained in the votes of the House: “May 6th. Resolved, unanimously, That Benjamin Franklin be, and he is hereby, added to the deputies appointed by this House on the part of Pennsylvania, to attend the Continental Congress expected to meet on the 10th instant in this city.”—Editor.

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David Barclay was a member of Parliament, and a person of great note among the Quakers of that day. Dr. Fothergill, also a Quaker, was a physician in high repute in London at this time. In 1775 and 1776 when an influenza prevailed, he numbered on an average sixty patients a day, and his practice was supposed to be worth $40,000 annually. But for his religion, the king would have appointed him Physician Extraordinary to the royal family. See Letters to Lord North, Vol. I., p. 202. The Doctor died in 1783. Dr. Franklin wrote of him about that time that “if we may estimate the goodness of a man by his disposition to do good and his constant endeavor and success in doing it, I can hardly conceive that a better man has ever existed.”—Editor.

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This lady (which is a little unusual in ladies) has a good deal of mathematical knowledge.—B. F.