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taken up this country when in the lowest | rather give me a place in a cart to Tyburn, despondency, and conducted it to victory and than any other place whatever.—And to both, glory, through a war with two of the mighti- that I sincerely wished to be serviceable; that est kingdoms in Europe; to hear them cen- I needed no other inducement than to be suring his plan, not only for their own misun-shown how I might be so; but saw, they imaderstandings of what was in it, but for their gined more to be in my power than really imaginations of what was not in it, which they was. I was then told again that conferences would not give themselves an opportunity of had been held upon the HINTS; and the paper rectifying by a second reading; to perceive being produced, was read; that I might hear the total ignorance of the subject in some, the the observations that had been made upon prejudice and passion of others, and the wil-them separately, which were as follows:ful perversion of plain truth in several of the 1. The first article was approved.
3. The third not approved, as it implied a deficiency of power in the parliament that made those acts.
4. The fourth approved.
5. The fifth agreed to, but with a reserve, that no change prejudicial to Britain was to be expected.
ministers; and upon the whole, to see it so 2. The second agreed to, so far as related ignominiously rejected by so great a majority, to the repeal of the tea act. But repayment and so hastily too, in breach of all decency, of the duties that had been collected, was reand prudent regard to the character and dig-fused. nity of their body, as a third part of the national legislature, gave me an exceeding mean opinion of their abilities, and made their claim of sovereignty over three millions of virtuous sensible people in America, seem the greatest of absurdities, since they appeared to have scarce discretion enough to govern a herd of swine. Hereditary legislators! thought I. 6. The sixth agreed to, so far as related to There would be more propriety, because less the appropriation of the duties: but the aphazard of mischief, in having (as in some uni-pointment of the officers and their salaries, to versity of Germany) hereditary professors of remain as at present. mathematics! But this was a hasty reflection; for the elected house of commons is no better, nor ever will be while the electors receive money for their votes, and pay money wherewith ministers may bribe their representatives when chosen.
After this proceeding, I expected to hear no more of any negotiation for settling our difference amicably; yet, in a day or two, I had a note from Mr. Barclay, requesting a meeting at Dr. Fothergill's, the 4th of February, in the evening. I attended accordingly, and was surprised by being told that a very good disposition appeared in administration; that the HINTS had been considered, and several of them thought reasonable, and that others might be admitted with small amendments. The good doctor, with his usual philanthropy, expatiated on the miseries of war; that even a bad peace was preferable to the most successful war; that America was growing in strength, and whatever she might be obliged to submit to at present, she would in a few years be in a condition to make her own terms. Mr. Barclay hinted how much it was in my power to promote an agreement; how much it would be to my honour to effect it, and that I might expect, not only restoration of my old place, but almost any other I could wish for, &c.-I need not tell you, who know me so well, how improper and disgusting this language was to me. The doctor's was more suitable. Him I answered, that we did not wish for war, and desired nothing but what was reasonable and necessary for our security and well-being. To Mr. Barclay I replied, that the ministry, I was sure, would
7. The seventh, relating to aids in time of peace, agreed to.
8. The eighth, relating to the troops, was inadmissible.
9. The ninth could be agreed to, with this difference, that no proportion should be ob served with regard to preceding taxes, but each colony should give at pleasure.
10. The tenth agreed to, as to the restitution of Castle William; but the restriction on the crown in building fortresses refused.
11. The eleventh refused absolutely, except as to the Boston port bill, which would be repealed; and the Quebec act might be so far amended, as to reduce that province to its ancient limits. The other Massachusetts acts, being real amendments of their constitution, must for that reason be continued, as well as to be a standing example of the power of parliament.
12. The twelfth agreed to, that the judges should be appointed during good behaviour, on the assemblies providing permanent salaries, such as the crown should approve of.
13. The thirteenth agreed to, provided the assemblies make provision as in the preceding article.
15. The fifteenth agreed to.
16. The sixteenth agreed to, supposing the duties paid to the colony treasuries. 17. The seventeenth inadmissible.
We had not, at this time, a great deal of conversation upon these points, for I shortened it by observing, that while the parliament claimed and exercised a power of altering our constitutions at pleasure, there could be no
permanent union between Great Britain and her colonies.
order that no time may be lost, to begin the 1. The tea destroyed to be paid for; and, in desirable work of conciliation, it is proposed that the agent or agents, in a petition to the king, should engage that the tea destroyed shall be paid for; and in consequence of that engagement, a commissioner to have authority, by a clause in an act of parliament, to open the port, (by a suspension of the Boston port act) when that engagement shall be complied with.
agreement; for we were rendered unsafe in | A PLAN, which it is believed would produce a every privilege we had a right to, and were secure in nothing. And it being hinted, how necessary an agreement was for America, since it was so easy for Britain to burn all our sea-port towns, I grew warm, said that the chief part of my little property consisted of houses in those towns; that they might make bonfires of them whenever they pleased, that the fear of losing them would never alter my resolution to resist to the last that claim of parliament; and that it behoved this country, to take care what mischief it did us, for that sooner or later it would certainly be obliged to make good all damages with interest! The doctor smiled, as I thought, with some approbation of my discourse, passionate as it was, and said he would certainly repeat it to-morrow to lord Dartmouth.
In the discourse concerning the HINTS, Mr. Barclay happened to mention, that going to lord Hyde's, he found lord Howe with him; and that lord Hyde had said to him, "you may speak any thing before lord Howe, that you have to say to me, for he is a friend in whom I confide;" upon which he accordingly had spoken with the same freedom as usual. By this I collected how lord Howe came by the paper of HINTS, which he had shown me: -and it being mentioned as a measure thought of, to send over a commissioner with powers to inquire into grievances and give redress on certain conditions, but that it was
difficult to find a proper person; I said, why not lord Hyde? he is a man of prudence and temper, a person of dignity, and I should think very suitable for such an employment: or, if he would not go, there is the other person you just mentioned, lord Howe, who would, in my opinion, do excellently well: this passed as mere conversation, and we parted.
2d. The tea-duty act to be repealed, as well for the advantage of Great Britain as the co
3d. Castle William to be restored to the
province of the Massachusetts Bay, as formerly, before it was delivered up by governor Hutchinson.
4th. 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 objections to the said act.* And it is to be unBay should petition the king, and state their derstood, that the said act shall be repealed. suspend the act, in order to enable the inhaInterim, the commissioner to have power to bitants to petition.
5th. 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.
6th. The act of Henry VIIIth to be formal
ly disclaimed by parliament.
raise within their respective provinces, by 7th. In time of peace the Americans to 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.
Vide-Laws of Jamaica.
Lord Chatham's rejected plan being printed, for the public judgment, I received six copies from lord Mahon, his son-in-law, which I sent to different persons in America. A week and more passed, in which I heard nothing further of the negotiation, and my time was much taken up among the members 8th. In time of war, on requisition made by of parliament; when Mr. Barclay sent me a the king, with consent of parliament, every note to say, that he was indisposed, but desirous of seeing me, and should be glad if colony shall raise such sums of money, as would call on him. I waited upon him the their legislatures may think suitable to their next morning, when he told me, that he had abilities and the public exigency, to be laid seen lord Hyde, and had some further dis-out in raising and paying men for land or sea course with him on the ARTICLES, that he service, furnishing provisions, transports, or thought himself now fully possessed of what such other purposes as the king shall require would do in this business; that he therefore wished another meeting with me and doctor Fothergill, when he would endeavour to bring prepared a draft conformable chiefly to what had been proposed and conceded on both sides, with some propositions of his own. I readily agreed to the meeting, which was to be on Thursday evening, Feb. 16th.
9th. The acts of navigation to be re-examined, 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.
10th. A naval officer to be appointed by the * Supposed to mean the Boston port act.-B. F.
crown to reside in each colony, to see those | tion of affairs in America, and the daily hazard acts observed.
N. B. In some colonies they are not appointed by the crown.
11th. 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.
12th. The admiralty courts to be reduced to the same powers as they have in England. 13th. All judges in the king's colony governments, to be appointed during good behaviour, and to be paid by the province, agreeable to article 7th.
N. B. If the king chooses to add to their salaries, the same to be sent from England.
14th. The governors to be supported in the
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.
of widening the breach there irreparable, 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 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 authorise 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 peThey laid hold of the readiness I had ex- titioners are persuaded, from their thorough pressed to petition on a probability of doing knowledge of that country and people, that good, applauded it, and urged me to draw up such a measure might be attended with the a petition immediately. I said it was a matter most salutary effects, prevent much mischief, of importance, and with their leave I would and restore the harmony which so long subtake home the paper, consider the proposi-sisted, and is so necessary to the prosperity tions 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 situa
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 | to article 1, I cannot think it stands as it and servants.
should do. If the object be merely the preventing present bloodshed, and the other mischiefs to fall on that country in war, it may possibly answer that end; but if a thorough hearty reconciliation is wished for, all cause of heart-burning should be removed, and strict justice be done on both sides. Thus the tea should not only be paid for on the side of Boston, but the damage done to Boston by the port act should be repaired, because it was done contrary to the custom of all nations, savage as well as civilized, of first demanding satisfaction.
Art. 14. The judges should receive nothing from the king.
“To the Right Hon. Lord Dartmouth, &c. "MY LORD,-Being deeply apprehensive of the impending calamities 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 authorise delegates from the As to the other two acts. The Massachuseveral provinces to meet, at such convenient setts must suffer all the hazards and mischiefs time and place, as in his wisdom shall seem of war, rather than admit the alteration of meet, then and there to confer with a com- their charters and laws by parliament. missioner or commissioners to be appointed" They who can give up essential liberty to and empowered by his majesty, on the means obtain a little temporary safety, deserve of establishing a firm and lasting union be- neither liberty nor safety.' tween 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.
By this amendment, article 4th will become
Art. 4 and 5. The numerous petitions heretofore sent home by the colony assemblies, and either refused to be received, or received and neglected, or answered harshly, and the petitioners rebuked for making them, have, I conceive, totally discouraged that method of application; and if even their friends were now to propose them the recurring again to petitioning, such friends would be thought to trifle with them. Besides, all they desire is now before government in the petition of the congress, and the whole or parts may be granted or refused at pleasure. The sense of the colonies cannot be better obtained by petition from different colonies, than it is by that general petition.
Art. 7. Read, such as they may think necessary.
Art. 11. As it stands, of little importance. The first proposition was, that they should be repealed as unjust. But they may remain, for they will probably not be executed.
Even with the amendment proposed above
I doubt the regulating duties will not be accepted, without enacting them, and having the power of appointing the collectors in the colonies.
If we mean a hearty reconciliation, we must deal candidly, and use no tricks.
The assemblies are, many of them, in a state of dissolution. It will require time to make new elections; then to meet and choose delegates, supposing all could meet. But the assembly of the Massachusetts Bay cannot
act under the new constitution, nor meet the new council for that purpose, without actheir charter, which they never will do. The knowledging the power of parliament to alter language of the proposal is, Try on your fetters first, and then if you don't like them, petition and we will consider.
Establishing salaries for judges may be a general law. For governors not so; the constitution of colonies differing. It is possible troops may be sent to particular provinces, to burden them when they are out of favour.
Canada. We cannot endure despotism all be free, or none. over any of our fellow-subjects. We must
That afternoon I received the following note from Mrs. Howe, inclosing another from lord Howe, viz.
"Mrs. Howe's compliments to Dr. Franklin; she has just received the inclosed note from lord Howe, and hopes it will be convenient to him to come to her either to-morrow or Sunday, at any hour most convenient to him, which she begs he will be so good to name.
"Grafton street, Friday, Feb. 17, 1775."
I had not heard from his lordship for some time, and readily answered, that I would do myself the honour of waiting upon him at her house to-morrow at 11 o'clock.
Mr. Barclay, Dr. Fothergill, and myself, met according to appointment at the doctor's house. I delivered to them the REMARKS I had made on the paper, and we talked them over. I read, also, the sketches I had made of the petitions and memorials; but they being of opinion, that the repeal of none of the Massachusetts acts could be obtained by my engaging to pay for the tea, the Boston port act excepted, and I insisting on a repeal of all, otherwise declining to make the offer, that measure was deferred for the present, and I pocketed my draughts. They concluded, however, to report my sentiments, and see if any further concession could be obtained. They observed, that I had signed my remarks, on which I said, that understanding by other means as well as from them, that the ministers had been acquainted with my being consulted in this business, I saw no occasion for further mystery; and since, in conveying and receiving through second hands their sentiments and mine, occasioned delay, and might be attended with misapprehension, something being lost or changed by mistake in the conveyance, I did not see why we should not meet, and discuss the points together at once; that if this was thought proper, I should be willing and ready to attend them to the ministerial persons they conferred with. They seemed to approve the proposal, and said they would mention it.
The next morning I met lord Howe, according to appointment. He seemed very cheerful, having, as I imagine, heard from lord Hyde what that lord might have heard from Mr. Barclay the evening of the 16th, viz. that I had consented to petition and engage payment for the tea; whence it was hoped, the ministerial terms of accommodation might take place. He let me know that he was thought of to be sent commissioner for settling the differences in America; adding, with an excess of politeness, that sensible of his own unacquaintedness with the business, and of my knowledge and abilities, he could not think of undertaking it without me; but with me, he should do it most readily; for he should found his expectation of success on my
assistance; he therefore had desired this meeting to know my mind upon a proposition of my friend, an assistant, a secretary: that he was going with him in some shape or other, as a very sensible, if he should be so happy as to effect any thing valuable, it must be wholly owing to the advice and assistance I should afford him; that he should, therefore, make no scruple of giving me upon all occasions the full honour of it; that he had declared to the ministers his opinion of my good dispositions towards peace, and what he now wished was to be authorised by me to say, that I consented to accompany him, and would co-operate with him in the great work of reconciliation; that the influence I had over the minds of people in America, was known to be very extensive; and that I could, if any man could, prevail with them to comply with reasonable propositions. I replied, that I was obliged to his lordship for the favourable opinion he had of me, and for the honour he did me in proposing to make use of my assistance; that I wished to know what propositions were intended for America; that if they were reasonable ones in themselves, possibly I might be able to make them appear such to my countrymen; but if they were otherwise, I doubted whether that could be done by any man, and certainly I should not undertake it. His lordship then said, that he should not expect my assistance without a proper consideration. That the business was of great importance, and if he undertook it, he should insist on being enabled to make generous and ample appointments for those he took with him, particularly for me; as well as a firm promise of subsequent rewards; and, said he, that the ministry may have an opportunity of showing their good disposition towards yourself, will you give me leave, Mr. Franklin, to procure for you previously some mark of it; suppose the payment here of the arrears of your salary as agent for New England, which I understand they have stopped for some time past? My lord, said I, I shall deem it a great honour to be in any shape joined with your lordship in so good a work; but if you hope service from any influence I may be supposed to have, drop all thoughts of procuring me any previous favours from ministers; my accepting them would destroy the very influence you propose to make use of; they would be considered as so many bribes to betray the interest of my country: but only let me see the propositions, and if I approve of them, I shall not hesitate a moment, but will hold myself ready to accompany your lordship at an hour's warning. He then said, he wished I would discourse with lord Hyde upon the business, and asked if I had any objection to meet his lordship? I answered none, not the least; that I had a great respect for lord Hyde, and would wait upon him whenever he should please to