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"Franklin's letters on electricity, have been translated into most of the European languages, and into Latin. In proportion as they have become known, his principles have been adopted. Some opposition was made to his theories, particularly by the abbé Nollet, who was, however, but feebly supported, whilst the first philosophers of Europe stepped forth in defence of Franklin's principles; amongst whom D'Alibard and Beccaria were the most distinguished. The opposition has gradually ceased, and the Franklinian system is now universally adopted, where science flourishes.

French government appear to have begun to take an interest in their affairs. The circumstance is thus alluded to in a letter of Dr. Franklin to his son, dated London, August 28, 1767.

"De Guerchy, the French ambassador, is gone home, and Mons. Durand is left minister plenipotentiary. He is extremely curious to inform himself in the affairs of America; pretends to have a great esteem for me, on account of the abilities shown in my examination; has desired to have all my political writings; invited me to dine with him, was very inquisitive, treated me with great civility, makes me visits, &c. I fancy that intriguing nation would like very well to meddle on this occasion, and blow up the coals between Great Britain and her colonies; but I hope we shall give them no opportunity."

Dr. Franklin was right in his conjectures, but his hopes were not realized; the opportunity was given, and they availed themselves of it,-eminently contributing to the separation of the two countries.

Certain resolutions of the town of Boston, respecting trade and manufactures, arrived in London about the commencement of the year 1768, and occasioned a considerable clamour; they gave Dr. Franklin and the friends of America great concern. He endeavoured by every means to palliate the affair, by various writings in the newspapers; and the discontents of the British colonies being much the subject of general discussion at the time, and greatly misunderstood, he, with a view to elucidate the same, and soften the prevalent animosity against America, wrote and published (in the Chronicle of January 7th,) a

"The important practical use which Franklin made of his discoveries, the securing of houses from injury by lightning, has been already mentioned. Pointed conductors are now very common in America; but prejudice has hitherto prevented their general introduction into Europe, notwithstanding the most undoubted proofs of their utility have been given. But mankind can with difficulty be brought to lay aside established practices, or to adopt new ones. And perhaps we have more reason to be surprised that a practice, however rational, which was proposed about forty years ago, should in that time have been adopted in so many places, than that it has not universally prevailed. It is only by degrees that the great body of mankind can be led into new practices, however salutary their tendency. It is now nearly eighty years since innoculation was introduced into Europe and America; and it is so far from being general at present, that it will, perhaps, require one or two centuries to render it so. 99 To revert to Dr. Franklin's political trans-piece signed F-S. intitled "Causes of the actions. His exertions and examination before the house of commons, having greatly contributed to the repeal of the Stamp Act; he now turned his attention towards obtain- This short tract, together with his "Aning the repeal of the Act restraining the swer (in Nov. 1769,) to the queries of Mr. legal tender of paper money in the colonies; Strahan," (which were probably made under another grievance they complained of. The the dictation of administration,) give the best ministry had at one time agreed to the re-account of the then existing complaints of the peal; not so much to serve the colonies, as from the impression that they might raise a revenue from paper money lent on mortgage, by the parliament appropriating the interest arising therefrom. This notion was, however, removed, by Dr. Franklin's assuring them, that no colony would issue money on those terms; and that the advantage arising to the commerce of Great Britain in America, from a plentiful currency, would thereby be lost, and the repeal answer no end, if the assemblies were not allowed to appropriate the interest themselves. The measure was afterwards dropt, and the restraint unwisely continued.

As early as the period of these discussions between Great Britain and her colonies, the

American discontents before 1768," with this inscription : "The waves never rise but when the winds blow.” Prov.

colonies, and (from their not being attended to,) of the primitive cause of the disputes, that produced civil war, and terminated in their separation from Great Britain.* These papers, interesting for the historian, form, in some degree, a complement to these memoirs; and constitute sufficient proofs of Dr. Franklin's candour and foresight.

At this time a change of ministry took place, in which the American business was taken from lord Shelburne, and given to lord Hillsborough, as secretary of state for America, a new distinct apartment. There was a

*See also a letter of Dr. Franklin's, On the rise and progress of the differences between Great Britain and her

American colonics: signed "A well wisher to the king
the Public Advertiser.--Private Correspondence.
and all his dominions," and addressed to the printer of

talk at the time of getting Dr. Franklin appointed under secretary of state for that department; but it fell through, he being considered too much of an American.

Lord Hillsborough had formerly, at sundry times, discoursed with Dr. Franklin on the subject of the restraining act, relative to paper-money: the latter now waited on the new minister, in order again to press the repeal of the same; but he found he had not altered in the sentiments concerning it, which he entertained when at the head of the board of trade, and which still continued adverse to it.

expenses necessary to the prosperity of the empire, they continued to assert, that having parliaments of their own, and not having representatives in that of Great Britain, their own parliaments were the only proper judges of what they could and ought to contribute in this case; and that the English parliament had no right to take their money without their consent. They considered the British empire, not as a single state, but as comprehending many; and though the parliament of Great Britain had arrogated to itself the power of taxing the colonies, it had no more right to do so, than it had to tax Hanover: Dr. Franklin took this opportunity of con- both countries had the same king, but not the versing with his lordship concerning the par- same legislatures. The Americans, conceivticular affair with which he was charged by ing their rights thus established, were deterhis Pennsylvania constituents, relative to the mined to maintain them; and they accordchange of government in that province; giv-ingly, opposed to the acts of a venal court, ing him a detail of all the proceedings hither-resolved to subjugate them to its authority, to, the delays it had experienced, and its pre- that calm, steady perseverance, worthy of sent situation. He promised him he would men who were determined to be free. inquire into the matter, and would talk with him further upon it: his lordship expressed great satisfaction at the good disposition that he said appeared now to be general in America, with regard to the British government, according to his last advices; and added, that he had by his majesty's order, written the most healing letters to the several governors, which if shown to the assemblies, as he supposed they would be, could not but confirm that good disposition.

In 1772, lord Hillsborough gave in his re signation, occasioned, as was supposed, fron. some mortification he had experienced, or the evident dislike of the king to his administration, which he conceived had tended to weaken the affection and respect of the colonies for a royal government-a sentiment which Dr. Franklin had taken every proper means to encourage, by the communication of suitable information, and convincing proofs derived from America. But the doctor was not only re-instrumental in the dismissal of this minister, but perhaps in the appointment of his successor: for complaining of lord Hillsborough one day at court, to a person of considerable influence, that person told him, that the Americans were represented by his lordship as an unquiet people, not easily satisfied with any ministry; that however it was thought too much occasion had been given them to dislike the present; and he asked him, whether, in case he should be removed, he could name another likely to be more acceptable to the colonies? Dr. Franklin instantly replied, "Yes, there is lord Dartmouth-we liked him very well when he was at the head of the board formerly, and in all probability should again." This was probably reported: what influence it may have had is uncertain; but shortly after, lord Dartmouth was actually appointed to succeed lord Hillsborough, to the great satisfaction of all the friends of America.

These expectations were not however alized: the Americans began to be sensible of their own consequence, and the inhabitants of Boston, at a public meeting on the 27th October, 1767, entered into a variety of resolutions for encouraging manufactures, promoting economy, and restraining the use of foreign superfluities. These resolutions, all of which were highly prejudicial to the trade of Great Britain, contained a long list of articles which it was either determined not to use at all, or at least in the smallest possible quantities. A subscription was opened at the same time, and a committee appointed, for the increase of their old manufactures, and the establishment of new ones. Among other things, it was determined to give particular encouragement to the making of paper, glass, and other commodities that were liable to the payment of the new duties upon importation. It was also resolved to restrain the expense of funerals, to reduce dress to a degree of primitive simplicity and plainness, and, in general, not to purchase any commodities from the mother country, that could be procured in any of the colonies.

All these resolutions were either adopted, or similar ones entered into, by most, if not all the other colonies on the continent.

Though the colonies never pretended an exemption, from contributing to the common

Dr. Franklin, it appears, had, about this time, a strong inclination to return to America, though well pleased with his residence in England, where, as he writes to his son, "Nothing can be more agreeable than my situation, more especially as I hope for less embarrassment from the new administration. A general respect paid me by the learned-a number of friends and acquaintance among

citizens, who aimed at throwing off all subordination to Great Britain; they on the other hand were accustomed to look upon the soldiery as instruments of tyranny, sent on purpose to dragoon them out of their liberties. Mutual insults and provocations were the consequence.

them, with whom I have a pleasing inter- intercourse between Great Britain and her course; a character of so much weight, that colonies, many hoped that the contention beit has protected me, when some in power tween the two countries was finally closed. would have done me injury, and continued In all the provinces excepting Massachusetts, me in an office* they would have deprived appearances seemed to favour that opinion. me of; my company so much desired, that I Many incidents operated there to the preseldom dine at home in winter, and could judice of that harmony which had began elsespend the whole summer in the country- where to return. The stationing a military houses of inviting friends, if I chose it. Learn- force among them was a permanent source of ed and ingenious foreigners that came to uneasiness. The royal army had been brought England, almost all make a point of visiting thither with the avowed design of enforcing me, (for my reputation is still higher abroad submission to the mother country. Speeches than here); several of the foreign ambassa- from the throne, and addresses from both dors have assiduously cultivated my acquaint-houses of parliament, had taught them to look ance, treating me as one of their corps, partly upon the inhabitants as factious turbulent I believe, from the desire they have from time to time of hearing something of American affairs, an object become of importance in foreign courts, who begin to hope Britain's alarming power will be diminished by the defection of her colonies; and partly, that they may have an opportunity of introducing me to the gentlemen of their country who "On the evening of the 5th of March, 1770, desire it. The king, too, has lately been a tumult between the town's-people and a heard to speak of me with regard. These are party of the soldiers took place. In this the flattering circumstances; but a violent longing latter fired on the former and killed several for home sometimes seizes me, which I can of them. Moderate men interposed and preno otherwise subdue, but by promising my-vented a general carnage. The events of self a return next spring, or next autumn, this tragical night sunk deep in the minds of and so forth. As to returning hither, if I the citizens. The anniversary of it was ob once go back, I have no thoughts of it. I am served with great solemnity. Their ablest too far advanced in life, to propose three voy-speakers were successively employed to deages more. I have some important affairs to settle at home; and considering my double expenses here and there, I hardly think my salaries fully compensate the disadvantages. The late change, however, (of the American minister) being thrown into the balance, determines me to stay another winter."

liver an annual oration, to preserve the remembrance of it fresh in their minds. On these occasions, the blessings of liberty-the horrors of slavery-and a variety of such popular topics were displayed in elegant language, and presented to the public view in their most pleasing or most hideous forms.

Lord Dartmouth had heretofore expressed "The obstacles to returning harmony, great personal regard for Dr. Franklin, who which have already been mentioned, were now found himself upon very good terms with increased by making the judges in Massathis new minister. chusetts independent of the province. ForAs an explanatory introduction to a trans-merly they had been paid by yearly grants action of much interest and importance in the annals of Dr. Franklin, which made a considerable noise at this time, (1773-4,) and which has not hitherto been satisfactorily developed to the public, it may be proper to revert a few years back to the history of the colony of Massachusetts; for which purpose the following short sketch, from an unknown hand, is submitted:

"From the royal and ministerial assurances given in favour of America in the year 1769, the subsequent repeal in 1770, of five sixths of the duties which had been imposed in 1767, together with the renewal of the mercantile

*Deputy postmaster-general of America.

† After his return to America, in the spring of 1775, the welfare of his country again induced him to cross the Atlantic in 1776, and undertake, at the age of seventy-one, infirm, and exposed to be captured, a win. ter's voyage, to France; he returned in 1785 then in his eightieth year.

from the assembly; but from the year 1772, Peter Oliver, the chief justice of the superior court, received his salary from the crown. This was resented by the assembly as a species of bribery, tending to bias his judicial determinations in favour of the mother country. They made it the foundation of an impeachment; but this produced no other consequence than a dissolution of the assembly which prosecuted the uncourtly measure.

"A personal animosity between governor Bernard, lieutenant-governor Hutchinson, and some distinguished patriots in Massachusetts, contributed to perpetuate a flame of discontent in that province, though elsewhere it had visibly abated. This was worked up in the year 1773 to a high pitch by a singular combination of circumstances. Some letters had been written in the course of the dispute by lieutenant-governor Hutchinson, Mr. Oli

ver, and others in Boston, to persons in power and office in England, which contained a very unfavourable representation of public affairs, and tended to show the necessity of coercive measures, and of changing the chartered system of provincial government. These letters fell into the hands of Dr. Franklin, agent of the province, who transmitted them to his constituents. The indignation and animosity which was excited on their perusal, knew no bounds. The house of representatives agreed on a petition and remonstrance to his majesty, in which they charged their governor and lieutenant-governor with being betrayers of their trust, and of the people they governed; and of giving private, partial, and false information. They also declared them enemies to the colonies, and prayed for justice against them, and for their speedy removal from their places.

"This petition and remonstrance being transmitted to England, the merits of it were discussed before his majesty's privy council. After a hearing before that board, in which Dr. Franklin represented the province of Massachusetts, the governor and lieutenantgovernor were acquitted. Mr. Wedderburn, (afterwards lord Loughborough,) who defended the accused royal servants, in the course of his pleadings, inveighed against Dr. Franklin in the bitterest language, as the fomenter of the disputes between the two countries. It was no protection to this venerable sage, that being the agent of Massachusetts, he conceived it his duty to inform his constituents of letters written on public affairs, calculated to overturn their chartered constitution. The age, respectable character, and highly literary rank of the subject of the philippic of The pert, prim, prater of the northern race,' (as the satiric poet Churchill designates Wedderburn,) turned the attention of the public on the transaction. The insult offered to one of their public agents, and especially to one who was both the idol and ornament of his country, sunk deep into the minds of the Americans: that a faithful servant, whom they loved and almost adored, should be insulted for discharging his official duty, rankled in their hearts."*

Dr. Franklin told Mr. Lee, one of his counsel, after the business was concluded, that he was indifferent to Mr. Wedderburn's speech, but that he was indeed sincerely sorry to see the lords of council behave so indecently; manifesting, in the rudest manner, the great pleasure they received from the solicitor's speech; that dernier court, he said, before whom all the colony affairs were tried, was not likely to act in a candid and impartial manner upon any future American question. They showed, he added, that the coarsest language can be grateful to the politest ear.

* See the Examinations, in this edition.

The following short statement of Dr. Franklin's behaviour before the privy council, from the pen of Dr. Priestly, (who was present) may not be deemed uninteresting.

Extract of a letter from Dr. Priestly, dated Northumberland, United States, Nov. 10,



"I shall proceed to relate some particulars respecting Dr. Franklin's behaviour, wher lord Loughborough, (then Mr. Wedderburn,) pronounced his violent invective against him at the privy council, on his presenting the complaints of the province of Massachusetts against their governor. Some of the particulars may be thought amusing.

"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 where I wished to go. He then asking me where it 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 into the anti-room, 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 the 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 (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, * Error. He stood close to the fire, and in front of the council-table.

in going out, took me by the hand, in a manner that indicated some feeling. I soon followed him, and going through the anti-room, saw Mr. Wedderburn there, surrounded with a circle of his friends and admirers. Being known to him, he stepped forwards, 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 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 of 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, till 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, when they met at Paris, to sign the treaty between France and America, he purposely put on that suit.

"The publication of the letters of Hutchinson and Oliver, by the legislature of Massachusetts, and the transmission of attested copies of the same, with their address, eventually produced a duel between Mr. William Whately, (brother of the deceased Mr. Thomas Whately, secretary to the treasury, to whom the letters were originally addressed, and in whose possession they were supposed to have been at the time of his death, in 1772,) and Mr. John Temple,* of Boston, New England; each of whom had been suspected of having been instrumental in procuring the letters, and sending them to America. This tragical event, which Dr. Franklin could not foresee, nor had an opportunity of preventing, was maliciously made use of by his enemies, to cast an odium on his character."

The following account is from a manuscript in Dr. Franklin's hand-writing, found among his papers; evidently drawn up with a view to justify his conduct with respect to those famous letters, and the unfortunate

* Afterwards sir John Temple, and for several British consul in the United States.


event that resulted therefrom, and probably with the intent of inserting it in his memoirs; for it is embodied in the present work, as well for justification, as an historical document, important in the American annals.

Dr. Franklin may be considered as thus again continuing his own memoirs.

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 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.

This com

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 behoves 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. pels me to the present undertaking; for, otherwise, having, for some time past, been gradually losing all public connections, declining my agencies, determining 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 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 coun

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