« ZurückWeiter »
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 affect 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 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,
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN.
Insinuations respecting JMr. Galloway. — Dr. Franklin proposes to return to America. London, 5 January, 1774. 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 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 America. I purpose sending my luggage, books, instruments, &c., 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 postoffice 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.
TO THOMAS CUSHING.
.4 particular Account of the Proceedings of the Privy Council on the Petition of the Assembly of JMassachusetts for the Removal of Governor Hutchinson. — Dr. Franklin dismissed from his Office of Deputy Postmaster-General in America.
London, 15 February, 1774. 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. 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 intend‘ed 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 endeavoured to 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 solicitorgeneral, 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 authen