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the plan in the Congress, nor would I make more than this one, that, when I consider the extreme corruption prevalent among all orders of men in this old, rotten state, and the glorious public virtue so predominant in our rising country, I cannot but apprehend more mischief than benefit from a closer union. I fear they will drag us after them in all the plundering wars, which their desperate circumstances, injustice, and rapacity, may prompt them to undertake; and their wide-wasting prodigality and profusion is a gulf that will swallow up every aid we may distress ourselves to afford them.
Here numberless and needless places, enormous salaries, pensions, perquisites, bribes, groundless quarrels, foolish expeditions, false accounts or no accounts, contracts and jobs, devour all revenue, and produce continual necessity in the midst of natural plenty. I apprehend, therefore, that to unite us intimately will only be to corrupt and poison us also. It seems like Mezentius' coupling and binding together the dead and the living.
"Tormenti genus, et sanie taboque fluentes,
However, I would try any thing, and bear any thing that can be borne with safety to our just liberties, rather than engage in a war with such relations, unless compelled to it by dire necessity in our own defence.
But, should that plan be again brought forward, I imagine, that, before establishing the union, it would be necessary to agree on the following preliminary articles.
1. The Declaratory Act of Parliament to be repealed.
2. All acts of Parliament, or parts of acts, laying duties on the colonies to be repealed.
3. All acts of Parliament altering the charters, or constitutions, or laws of any colony, to be repealed.
4. AH acts of Parliament restraining manufactures to be repealed.
5. Those parts of the navigation acts, which are for the good of the whole empire, such as require that ships in the trade should be British or Plantation built, and navigated by three fourths British subjects, with the duties necessary for regulating commerce, to be reenacted by both Parliaments.
6. Then, to induce the Americans to see the regulating acts faithfully executed, it would be well to give the duties collected in each colony to the treasury of that col»n$, and let the governor and Assembly appoint the officers to collect them, and proportion their salaries. Thus the business will be cheaper and better done, and the misunderstandings between the two countries, now created and fomented by the unprincipled wretches, generally appointed from England, be entirely prevented.
These are hasty thoughts submitted to your consideration.
You will see the new proposal of Lord North, made on Monday last, which I have sent to the Committee.* Those in administration, who are for violent measures, are said to dislike it. The others rely upon it as a means of dividing, and by that means subduing us. But I cannot conceive, that any colony will undertake to grant a revenue to a government, that holds a sword over their heads with a threat to strike the moment they cease to give, or do not give so much as it is pleased to expect. In such a situation, where is the right of giving our own property freely, or the right to judge of our own ability to give! It seems to me the language of a highwayman, who, with a pistol in your face, says, "Give me your purse, and then I will not put my hand into your pocket. But give me all your money, or I will shoot you .through the head." With great and sincere esteem, I am, &c.
'', * This proposal, which was introduced into Parliament by Lord North on the 20th of February, is as follows; "That, when the Governor, Council, and Assembly, or General Court of his Majesty's provinces, or colonies, shall propose to make provision according to their respective conditions, circumstances, and situations, for contributing their proportion to the common defence; such proportion to be raised under the authorities of the General Court, or General Assembly, of such province or colony, and disposable by Parliament; and shall engage to make provision also for the support of the civil government, and the administration of justice in such province or colony; it will be proper, if such proposal shall be approved by his Majesty in Parliament, and for so long as such provision shall be made accordingly, to forbear in respect of such province or colony, to levy any duties, tax, or assessment, or to impose any further duty, tax, or assessment, except only such duties as it may be expedient to impose for the regulation of commerce; the net produce of the duties last mentioned, to be carried to the account of such province, colony, or plantation respectively." — dlmon'g Parliamenlary Regisler, Vol. I. p. 196.
TO JOSIAH QUINCY.
London, 26 February, 1775.
• i ,. Dear Sir,
I received, and perused with great pleasure, the letter you honored me with, by your amiable and valuable son. I thank you for introducing me to the acquaintance of a person so deserving of esteem for his public and private virtues. I hope for your sake, and that of his friends and country, that his present indisposition may wear off, and his health be established. His coming over has been of great service to our cause, and would have been much greater, if his constitution would have borne the fatigues of being more frequently in company. He can acquaint you so fully with the state of things here, that my enlarging upon them will be unnecessary. I most sincerely wish him a prosperous voyage, and a happy meeting with his friends and family; and to you, my old dear friend, and the rest of those you love, every kind of felicity; being, with the truest esteem and affection, yours, B. Franklin.*
* Dr. Franklin left England, in the Pennsylvania Packet, about the 20th of March. From a letter, dated March 17th, and written to a friend on the continent, whose name is not mentioned in the draft from which an extract is here taken, it appears that he thought of returning in a few months.
"Being about to embark for America, this line is just to take leave, wishing you every kind of felicity, and to request, that if you have not yet purchased for me the Theatrum Machinarum, you will now omit doing it, as I have the offer of a set here. But, if you have purchased it, your draft on me will be duly paid in my absence by Mrs. Stevenson, in whose hands I leave my little affairs till my return, which I propose, God willing, in October. Mrs. Stevenson keeps the house in Craven Street, wherein I have always lodged since my residence in London.
"Be pleased to present my humble respects to your good Prince, with my best wishes for his prosperity, and repeat my thankful acknowledgment for his gracious and benevolent proposition in rrt» "avor, of which, though I could not, for the reasons I gave you. avail myself, I shall nevertheless always retain the most grateful sense, and if, either here or in America, I could render his highness any kind of service, it would give me infinite pleasure."
He arrived in Philadelphia on the 5th of May. The Pennsylvania Assembly was then sitting. The following resolve is contained in the Votes of the House. "May 6th. Resolved unanimously, that Benjamin Franklin be, and he is hereby, sodded to the deputies appointed by this House on the part of Pennsylvania, to attend the Continental Congress expected to meet on the 10th instant in this city."