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“3. Castle William to be restored to the province of Massachusetts Bay, as formerly, before it was delivered up by Governor Hutchinson. “4. As it is believed, that the commencement of conciliatory measures will, in a considerable degree, quiet the minds of the subjects in America, it is proposed, that the inhabitants of the province of the Massachusetts Bay should petition the King, and state their objections to the said act.” And it is to be understood, that the said act shall be repealed. Interim, the commissioner to have power to suspend the act, in order to enable the inhabitants to petition. “5. The several provinces, who may think themselves aggrieved by the Quebec Bill, to petition in their legislative capacities; and it is to be understood, that so far of the act, as extends the limits of Quebec beyond its ancient bounds, is to be repealed. “6. The act of Henry the Eighth to be formally disclaimed by Parliament. “7. In time of peace, the Americans to raise, within their respective provinces, by acts of their own legislatures, a certain sum or sums, such as may be thought necessary for a peace establishment, to pay governors, judges, &c. Wide Laws of Jamaica. “8. In time of war, on requisition made by the King, with consent of Parliament, every colony shall raise such sums of money as their legislatures may think suitable to their abilities and the public exigency, to be laid out in raising and paying men for land or sea service, furnishing provisions, transports, or such other purposes as the King shall require and direct. “9. The acts of navigation to be reëxamined, in order to see whether some alterations might not be made therein, as much for the advantage of Great Britain as the ease of the colonies. “10. A naval officer to be appointed by the crown to reside in each colony, to see those acts observed. “N. B. In some colonies they are not appointed by the crown. “11. 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, and an officer of the crown to see it done. “12. The admiralty courts to be reduced to the same powers as they have in England. “13. All judges in the King's colony governments to be appointed during good behaviour, and to be paid by the province, agreeable to article seventh. “N. B. If the King chooses to add to their salaries, the same to be sent from England. .. “14. The governors to be supported in the same manner.”
* Supposed to mean the Boston Port Act.
Our conversation turned chiefly upon the first article. It was said, that the ministry only wanted some opening to be given them, some ground on which to found the commencement of conciliating measures; that a petition containing such an engagement as mentioned in this article would answer that purpose; that preparations were making to send over more troops and ships; that such a petition might prevent their going, especially if a commissioner were proposed. I was therefore urged to engage the colony agents to join with me in such a petition. My answer was, that no agent had any thing to do with the tea business, but those for Massachusetts Bay, who were Mr. Bollan for the Council, myself for the Assembly, and Mr. Lee, appointed to succeed me when I should leave England; that the latter, therefore, could hardly yet be considered as an agent; and that the former was a cautious, exact man, and not easily persuaded to take steps of such importance without instructions or authority; that, therefore, if such a step were to be taken, it would lie chiefly on me to take it; that, indeed, if there were, as they supposed, a clear probability of good to be done
by it, I should make no scruple of hazarding myself .
in it; but I thought the empowering a commissioner to suspend the Boston Port Act, was a method too dilatory, and a mere suspension would not be satisfactory; that, if such an engagement were entered into, all the Massachusetts acts should be immediately repealed. They laid hold of the readiness I had expressed to petition on a probability of doing good, applauded it, and urged me to draw up a petition immediately. I said it was a matter of importance, and with their leave I would take home the paper, consider the propositions as they now stood, and give them my opinion to-morrow evening. This was agreed to, and for that time we parted. Weighing now the present dangerous situation of affairs in America, and the daily hazard of widening the breach there irreparably, I embraced the idea proposed in the paper of sending over a commissioner, as it might be a means of suspending military operations, and bring on a treaty, whereby mischief would be prevented, and an agreement by degrees be formed and established. I also concluded to do what had been desired of me as to the engagement, and essayed a draft of a memorial to Lord Dartmouth for that purpose simply, to be signed only by myself. As to the sending of a commissioner, a measure which I was desired likewise to propose, and express my sentiments of its utility, I apprehended my colleagues in the agency might VoI. V. F
be justly displeased if I took a step of such importance without consulting them, and therefore I sketched a joint petition to that purpose, for them to sign with me, if they pleased; but, apprehending that would meet with difficulty, I drew up a letter to Lord Dartmouth, containing the same proposition, with the reasons for it, to be sent from me only. I made also upon paper some remarks on the propositions; with some hints, on a separate paper, of further remarks to be made in conversation, when we should meet in the evening of the 17th. Copies of these papers (except the first, which I do not find with me on shipboard,) are here placed as follows, viz.
“TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, “The Petition and MEMORIAL of W. Bollan, B. Franklin, and Arthur Lee,
“ Most humbly showeth; “ That your petitioners, being agents for several colonies, and deeply affected with the apprehension of impending calamities, that now threaten your Majesty's subjects in America, beg leave to approach your throne, and to suggest with all humility their opinion, formed on much attentive consideration, that, if it should please your Majesty to permit and authorize a meeting of delegates from the different provinces, and appoint some person or persons of dignity and wisdom from this country to preside in that meeting, or to confer with the said delegates, acquaint themselves fully with the true grievances of the colonies, and settle the means of composing all dissensions, such means to be afterwards ratified by your Majesty, if found just and suitable; your petitioners are persuaded, from their thorough knowledge of that country, and people, that such a measure might be attended with the most salutary
effects, prevent much mischief, and restore the harmony which so long subsisted, and is so necessary to the prosperity and happiness of all your Majesty's subjects in every part of your extensive dominions; which, that Heaven may preserve entire to your Majesty and your descendants, is the sincere prayer of your Majesty's most dutiful subjects and servants.”
“TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE LORD DARTMOUTH.
“Being deeply apprehensive of the impending ca lamities, that threaten the nation and its colonies through the present unhappy dissensions, I have attentively considered by what possible means those calamities may be prevented. The great importance of a business which concerns us all, will, I hope, in some degree excuse me to your Lordship, if I presume unasked to offer my humble opinion, that, should his Majesty think fit to authorize delegates from the several provinces to meet at such convenient time and place, as in his wisdom shall seem meet, then and there to confer with a commissioner or commissioners to be appointed and empowered by his Majesty, on the means of establishing a firm and lasting union between Britain and the American provinces, such a measure might be effectual for that purpose. I cannot therefore but wish it may be adopted, as no one can more ardently and sincerely desire the general prosperity of the British dominions, than, my Lord, your Lordship's most obedient, &c.
“REMARKS ON THE PROPOSITIONS.
“Art. 1. In consequence of that engagement, all the Boston and Massachusetts acts to be suspended, and, in compliance with that engagement, to be totally repealed.