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service in healing our differences, his Lordship said, “I do not see any thing of more service, than prevailing on the General Assembly, if you can do it, to withdraw their answers to the governor's speech.” “There is not,” says I, “the least probability they will ever do that; for the country is all of one mind upon the subject. Perhaps the governor may have represented to your Lordship, that these are the opinions of a party only, and that great numbers are of different sentiments, which may in time prevail. But, if he does not deceive himself, he deceives your Lordship; for in both Houses, notwithstanding the influence appertaining to his office, there was not, in sending up those answers, a single dissenting voice.” “I do not recollect,” says his Lordship, “that the governor has written any thing of that kind. I am told, however, by gentlemen from that country, who pretend to know it, that there are many of the governor’s opinion, but they dare not show their sentiments.” “I never heard,” said I, “that any one has suffered violence for siding with the governor.” “Not violence, perhaps,” said his Lordship, “but they are reviled and held in contempt, and people do not care to incur the disesteem and displeasure of their neighbours.”
As I knew Governor Bernard had been in with his Lordship just before me, I thought he was probably one of these gentleman informants, and therefore said, “People, who are engaged in any party or have advised any measures, are apt to magnify the numbers of those they would have understood as approving their measures.” His Lordship said, that was natural to suppose might be the present case; for whoever observed the conduct of parties here must have seen it a constant practice; and he agreed with me, that, though a memine contradicente did not prove the absolute agreement of every man in the opinion voted, it at least demonstrated the great prevalence of that opinion.
Thus ended our conference. I shall watch this business till the Parliament rises, and endeavour to make people in general as sensible of the inconveniences to this country, that may attend a continuance of the contest, as the Spitalfields weavers seem already to be in their petition to the King, which I herewith send you. I have already the pleasure to find, that my friend, the Bishop of St. Asaph's Sermon is universally approved and applauded, which I take to be no bad symptom. With sincere esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.
TO THOMAS CUSHING.
Petition presented to the King, and the Answer. London, 2 June, 1773. SIR,
Since my last of the 6th past, I have been honored with yours of March 6th and 24th, enclosing a petition to the King, and a letter to Lord Dartmouth. On considering the whole, I concluded that a longer delay of presenting the first petition and remonstrance was not likely to answer any good purpose, and therefore immediately waited on Lord Dartmouth, and delivered to him the letter, and the second petition, at the same time re-delivering the first, and pressed his Lordship to present them to his Majesty, which he promised to do.
Enclosed I send you the answer I have just received from him, as this day's packet (the mail for which is to be made up and despatched in a few hours) is the earliest opportunity, the ships for Boston not being to sail till the beginning of next week. By one of them I shall send a copy, with what observations occur to me on the occasion, which the time will not now permit me to write. In the mean while I would just beg leave to say, that I hope the House will come to no hasty resolves upon it. The longer they deliberate, the more maturely they consider, the greater weight will attend their resolutions. With sincere respect, I am, Sir, &c. B. FRANKLIN.
TO THOMAS CUSHING.
Duty on Tea.
The above is a copy of mine per packet, which enclosed the original of his Majesty's answer to our petitions and remonstrance. I now send an exact copy of the same, which I did intend to accompany with some observations, and my sentiments on the general state of our affairs in this country, and the conduct proper for us to hold on this occasion. But, beginning to write, I find the matter too copious, and the subject, on reflection, too important, to be treated of in a hasty letter; and, being told the ships sail to-morrow, I must postpone it to another opportunity.
It was thought at the beginning of the session, that the American duty on tea would be taken off. But now the wise scheme is, to take off so much duty here, as will make tea cheaper in America than foreigners can supply us, and to confine the duty there, to keep up the exercise of the right. They have no idea, that any people can act from any other principle but that of interest; and they believe, that three pence in a pound of tea, of which one does not perhaps drink ten pounds in a year, is sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American.
I purpose soon to write you very fully. As to the letters" I communicated to you, though I have not been able to obtain leave to take copies or publish them, I have permission to let the originals remain with you, as long as you may think it of any use to have them in possession. With great esteem, and respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.
FROM SAMUEL COOPER TO B. FRANKLIN.
Committees of Correspondence.—Account of the Pro
ceedings of the JMassachusetts Assembly in Regard
to Hutchinson's Letters.
Boston, 14 June, 1773. DEAR SIR,
We have received high eulogiums upon the replies of our Council and Commons from gentlemen of the most respectable characters in the other colonies, where there evidently appears an increasing regard for this province, and an inclination to unite for the common safety. Virginia has led the way, by proposing a communication and correspondence between all the Assemblies through the continent. The letter from their committee for this purpose was received here with no little joy, and the proposal agreed to in the most ready and respectful manner. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire have already chosen committees, so that all New England is now united with Virginia in this salutary plan, and the accession of most, if not all, of the other colonies is not doubted. This opens a most agreeable prospect to the friends of our common rights. In my last, I mentioned to you my having had a sight of some letters, that had been transmitted to the Speaker with leave to communicate them to me, and some others in confidence. I soon apprehended from the nature of the contents, and the number of persons to whom they were directed to be shown, that they could not long remain secret. However, I have preserved inviolable the trust reposed in me.' Some, not named by you as confidants, had hints from London that such letters were come or coming, and began to suspect they were concealed in favor of the writers. The secret was kept till the meeting of the General Court, when so many members had obtained such general intimations of it, as to render them extremely inquisitive and solicitous. At last it was thought best to communicate them to the House, with the restrictions that accompanied them here. The House could not act upon them with those restrictions, but the substance of them was known everywhere, and the alarm given. Soon after, copies of them were brought into the House, said to have come from England by the last ships. Many members scrupled to act upon these copies, while they were under such public engagements to the unknown proprietor of the originals. As the matter was now so public, and the restrictions could answer no good end, no view of the sender, but on the contrary might prevent in a great measure a proper
* Letters from Governor Hutchinson and others. See above, p. 27
WOL. VIII. 4