Abbildungen der Seite

late acts. To this end, three more regiments of foot and one of dragoons, seven hundred marines, six sloops of war, and two frigates, are now under orders for America. Petitions, however, are thronging into the House from all quarters, praying that healing measures may be taken to restore the commerce. The petition from the Congress was brought into each House among other papers by the ministers, without any particular recommendation from his Majesty, that they should be considered. *4. General Gage's letters being read in the House of Commons, it appears from one of them, that it had been recommended to him by Lord Dartmouth to disarm some of the colonies; which he seems to approve, if it had been practicable, but says it is not, till he is master of the country. It is impossible to say what turn the Parliament may take before the session is over. All depends on the ministers, who possibly may change their minds, when they find the merchants and manufacturers universally dissatisfied with their present conduct; but you cannot rely upon this, and your chief dependence must be on your own virtue and unanimity, which, under God, will in time bring you through all difficulties. I am with great respect, Sir, &c, B. FRANKLIN.”

* The following paragraph is copied from the fragment of a manuscript, in the handwriting of Franklin, which appears to have been written about this time, although the date is not given.

“A horrid spectacle to men and angels is now about to be exhibited on the stage of this globe. Two great and powerful nations are employing their forces in the destruction of civil liberty; that heavenly blessing, without which mankind lose half their dignity and value. One, in oppressing and enslaving a handful of men, the last assertors of it within the bounds of the old Roman Commonwealth; the other, crushing in its infancy the first appearance of it in the western world “The former seems to have lost sight of its ancient name and state; Franks from the freedom it once enjoyed; the latter, while it boasts of enjoying freedom itself, would ruin others for vindicating their common right to it. The first is acting a cruel and unmanly part, thus to use its vastly superior force against people so unable to resist it; but is however more ercusable than the latter, as the people to be oppressed are Not her own children!” On the same paper, at the close of the above paragraph, are the following memoranda. “The four refused petitions. Calculation of the time necessary to subdue the colonies. Instructions to dissolve Assemblies."


Conduct and Character of the Ministry. Firmness and Union recommended to the Colonies.

London, 25 February, 1775. DEAR SIR,

I received your kind letter of September 6th by Mr. Quincy. I thought it might be of use to publish a part of it, which was done accordingly. But the measures it so justly censures are still persisted in, and will, I trust, continue to produce effects directly contrary to those intended. They will unite, instead of dividing us, strengthen and make us more resolute, instead of intimidating us, and work our honor and advantage, instead of the disgrace and ruin designed for us. A bill is now in hand to confine the trade of the four New England colonies to Britain and the West Indies only, and to prohibit their fishery. Other prov– inces have done as offensive things, but Whiggism is thought to be more thoroughly the principle in New England, and that is now an unpardonable sin. The rest, however, are to have their punishment in their turn, though perhaps less severe. That is, if this Tory ministry continues in power; but, though they have by the late deceptive motion, amused many people here, so as to give an appearance as if they intended pacific measures, on which the stocks, which were falling apace, have risen again; yet, when this deceit is understood, and time proves the intended offer to America futile and ineffectual, the redoubled clamor of the trading, manufacturing, and Whig interests here will infallibly overthrow all the enemies of America, and produce an acknowledgment of her rights and satisfaction for her injuries. If we continue firm and united, and resolutely persist in the non-consumption agreement, this adverse ministry cannot possibly stand another year. And surely the great body of our people, the farmers and artificers, will not find it hard to keep an agreement by which they both save and gain. The traders only can suffer, and, where they do really suffer, some compensation should if possible be made them. Hitherto the conduct of the colonies has given them great reputation all over Europe. By a brave perseverance, with prudence and moderation, not forward in acting offensively, but resolute in defence when necessary, they will establish a respectable character both for wisdom and courage; and then they will find friends everywhere. The eyes of all Christendom are now upon us, and our honor as a people is become a matter of the utmost consequence to be taken care of. If we tamely give up our rights in this contest, a century to come will not restore us in the opinion of the world; we shall be stamped with the character of dastards, poltrons, and fools; and be despised and trampled upon, not by this haughty, insolent nation only, but by all mankind. Present inconveniences are, therefore, to be borne with fortitude, and better times expected.

“Informes hyemes reducit - Jupiter; idem Summovet. Non si male nunc, et olim Sic erit.” I am much pleased with Mr. Quincy. It is a thousand pities his strength of body is not equal to his strength of mind. His zeal for the public, like that of David for God's house, will, I fear, eat him up. I hope Mrs. Bowdoin’s health is fully established. Make my respectful compliments acceptable to her; and believe me ever, with sincere and great esteem, Dear Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

P. S. I never could learn the cause of Mr. Temple's being displaced. The ministry refused to give any reason for it. I have imagined, that it was a suspicion of his being the author of some pieces in the papers reflecting on their measures.


Plan of Union sent by Galloway to England.— Objections to a Union. Preliminary Articles to be agreed upon before such a Plan should be adopted. Lord JWorth's Proposal meant to divide rather than to conciliate the Colonies.

London, 25 February, 1775. DEAR FRIEND,

In my last I mentioned to you my showing your plan of union to Lords Chatham and Camden. I now hear, that you had sent it to Lord Dartmouth. Lord

Gower I believe alluded to it, when in the House he o

[ocr errors]

censured the Congress severely, as first resolving to receive a plan for uniting the colonies to the mother country, and afterwards rejecting it, and ordering their first resolution to be erased out of their minutes. Permit me to hint to you, that it is whispered here / by ministerial people, that yourself and Mr. Jay of New York are friends to their measures) an ive them ol vate intelligence of the views of the popular or country party in America. I do not believe this; but i! thought it a duty of friendship to acquaint you with the report.” I have not heard what objections were made to

* Galloway was one of the delegates to the first Congress from Pennsylvania. Neither his sentiments nor his aims accorded with those of the prominent patriots, who were assembled on that occasion. He proposed a plan of reconciliation, which was disapproved and rejected. Dr. Gordon relates the circumstances as follows. “Mr. Galloway became a member at the earnest solicitation of the Assembly, and refused compliance till they had given him instructions agreeable to his own mind, as the rule of his conduct. These instructions they suffered him to draw up. They were briefly to state the rights and the grievances of America, and to propose a plan of amicable accommodation of the differences between Great Britain and the colonies, and of a perpetual | union. On the 28th of September a plan was proposed by him, which was debated a whole day, when the question was carried, six colonies to five, that it should be resumed and further considered; but it at length fell through.”— History, &c., Vol. I. p. 409.

Galloway published a pamphlet on the subject, which was not well received by the patriotic party. Samuel Wharton, in a letter to Dr. Franklin written in England, says; “I am really grieved at the publication of Mr. Galloway's extraordinary pamphlet. Our great friends in both Houses are extremely angry at it; while the courtiers rejoice at that part of the pamphlet, which represents our divisions and controversies, as to boundaries and modes of religion, our incompetency to resist the power of this country, and the undecided state of Congress for several weeks, as to what really were the rights of America. Yet the courtiers, at the same time, treat with ineffable contempt the plan of union proposed; and which, they say, by not being adopted, offended the author's pride, and has been the happy means of their being satisfactorily confirmed in their ideas of the weakness and division of the colonies; and that, by perseverance, they shall unquestionably obtain a perfect submission.”—.April 17th, 1775.


« ZurückWeiter »