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become rich by the death of her aunt. I am ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband,
FROM A COMMITTEE OF NEW JERSEY
TO B. FRANKLIN.
Making Inquiry respecting the Proceedings of the
Administration in England.
Burlington, 26 July, 1774. SIR, At the last session of Assembly we were appointed a committee, to obtain amongst other things the most early and authentic intelligence of all acts and resolutions of the Parliament of Great Britain, or the
proceedings of administration, that may have relation to, or any ways affect, the liberties and privileges of America.
We know of no person so proper to make application to, on this occasion, as to you, our Agent; and we should be glad if you would favor us with any, that should come to your knowledge, or that you would point out any more proper mode to enable us more effectually to answer the purpose for which we are appointed.
We are sensible of the difficulties, which an attention to your trust has already laid you under; and it will give us great pleasure to find you rise superior to all the late attempts to do you prejudice. Perhaps the request we make may be attended with an impropriety, which escaped our attention. If it does, be pleased to favor us with your sentiments; they will be received with great respect on this, or on any other occasion; for, with great truth we can assure you, that we should be glad of all opportunities to show the high esteem we entertain of your integrity, as well as of your abilities. We are your most humble servants and friends,
FROM JAMES BOWDOIN TO B. FRANKLIN.
Excitement produced in America by the Acts of
Boston, 6 September, 1774. DEAR SIR, I am much obliged to you for introducing me to the acquaintance of General Lee. He came hither from the southward about a month ago. The several acts of Parliament, relative to this town and province, will instamp infamy on the present administration, and it is probable that they themselves will soon see the beginning of it. The spirit those acts have raised throughout the colonies is surprising. It was not propagated from colony to colony, but burst forth in all of them spontaneously, as soon as the acts were known; and there is reason to hope it will be productive of a union, that will work out the salvation of the whole. The Congress now holding at Philadelphia, which was intended to effect such a union, it is earnestly wished may be the means of establishing, on a just and constitutional basis, a lasting harmony between Britain and the colonies. In the mean time, we, in this province, are, and shall be, in a disagreeable state, occasioned by the abovementioned acts.
The Port Act is made much worse, than it is in itself, by the executors of it, who have laid restraints not warranted by the act, and in many instances of their conduct have appeared destitute of every sentiment of humanity. This act was intended to be temporary, but its continuance will depend on the ministry. However, it is to be hoped it will some time or other have an end. But the act for reducing the province to a military government, from which more numerous and extensive evils will accrue, was intended to be perpetual. The people of the province are highly and universally incensed at it, and appear determined, even if they should stand alone, not to submit to it, be the consequences what they may. And the other governments, those of New England especially, are as much incensed as they, and will not suffer it to be carried into execution.
Six regiments are now here, and General Gage, it is said, has sent for two or three from Canada, and expects soon two more from Ireland. Whether he will think these, or a much greater number added to them, sufficient to enforce submission to the act, his letters to ministry will inform them, and time, everybody else. In apricum proferet ætas. A sort of enthusiasm seems universally prevalent, and it has been greatly heightened by the Canada Act for the encouraging and establishing Popery. “Pro aris et focis, our all is at stake,” is the general cry throughout the country. Of this I have been in some measure a witness, having these two months past been journeying about the province with Mrs. Bowdoin, on account of her health ; the bad state of which has prevented my attending the Congress, for which the Assembly thought proper to appoint me one of their committee. But it is needless to enlarge on the subject of American af
fairs, as the worthy and ingenious gentleman, Mr. Josiah Quincy, Junior, of distinguished abilities in the profession of the law, who does me the favor to take charge of this letter, can give you the fullest information concerning them; and his information may be depended on. To him I beg leave to refer you, and at the same time take the liberty to recommend him to your friendship and acquaintance.*
I cannot conclude without expressing my indignation at the unworthy treatment you received from Wedderburn, whose illiberal and impertinent harangue answered neither of the purposes for which it was intended. It neither exculpated his client, nor fixed any dishonor on you. The dishonor of such Billingsgate is all his own, unless those that suffered it be entitled to a part of it.
I am glad to understand your retirement is not displeasing to you. In one view of it I am sure it will not be displeasing to the friends of science; as it will give you a further opportunity of exerting your happy genius in the walks of philosophy. I am, with real and great esteem, dear Sir, &c.
P. S. I cannot learn for what reason Mr. Temple was displaced. The only one I have heard of, the sending here the letters of certain persons, you have clearly and fully obviated, by publicly taking upon yourself that most meritorious act.
* Josiah Quincy, Junior, was one of the ablest and most ardent of the patriots, who engaged at this period in the cause of their country. He went to England, where he remained a few months in a very feeble state of health, which continued during his voyage home. He died on board the vessel, when it was in sight of land, approaching Boston harbour, April 26th, 1775, at the early age of thirty-one. The interesting and valuable Memoir of his Life, published by his son, is well known VOL. VIII.
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN.
Concludes to remain in England till he learns the
Result of the first Congress. — Thinks the Bostonians ought not to pay for the Tea that was destroyed. — Sir William Johnson.
London, 7 September, 1774. 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 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's.
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 pay. ment 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