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TO SAMUEL COOPER.
London, 25 July, 1773.
I wrote to you on the 7th instant pretty fully, and am since favored with yours of June 14th. I am much pleased with the proposal of the Virginia Assembly, and the respectful manner in which it has been received by ours. I think it likely to produce very salutary effects.*
1 am glad to know your opinion, that those letters came seasonably, and may be of public utility. I accompanied them with no restriction relating to myself. My duty to the province, as their agent, I thought required the communication of them, as far as I could. I was sensible I should make enemies there, and perhaps I might offend government here; but those apprehensions I disregarded. I did not expect, that my sending them rould be kept a secret; but since it is such hitherto, 1 now wish it may continue so, because the publication of the letters, contrary to my engagement, has changed the circumstances. If they serve to diminish the influence and demolish the power of the parties, whose correspondence has been, and prob ably would have continued to be, so mischievous to the interest and rights of the province, I shall on that account be more easy under any inconveniences I may suffer, either here or there; and shall bear, as well as I can, the imputation of not having taken sufficient care to insure the performance of my promise.
• The Virginia resolves for appointing a Committee of Correspondence arrived in Boston a short time before the assembling of the legislature. The first business after the meeting was to accede to the proposal of Virginia, and to appoint a Committee of Correspondence. VOL. VIII. 6
I have informed Mr. Lee, that, in case there should be a hearing, I was directed to engage him as counsel for the province; that, though I had received no money, I would advance what might be necessary; those hearings by counsel being expensive. I purpose writing to you again by the packet, and am with the greatest respect, Sir, &.c.
P. S. No determination is yet public on the case of Mr. Lewis against Governor Wentworth, which has been a very costly hearing to both sides.
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN.
Resolutions of the JYew England Townships. — Project to form a Union with Ireland. — Hutchinson's Letters.
London, 1 September, 1773.
Dear Son, I have now before me yours of July 5th and 6th. The August packet is not yet arrived. Dr. Cooper of New York's opinion of the author of the Sermon, however honorable to me, is injurious to the good Bishop; and therefore I must say, in justice and truth, that I knew nothing of his intention to preach on the subject, and saw not a word of the Sermon till it was printed. Possibly some preceding conversation between us may have turned his thoughts that way; but, if so, that is all.
* On the 1st of September he wrote very briefly to Mr. Cushing as follows. "In my last I informed you, that the address to the King, and the letter from the General Court to Lord Dartmouth, are both transmitted to his Lordship. Enclosed are copies of his answers to Mr. Bollan and myself. There are some expressions in the close of bis Lordship's letter to me, that have a favorable appearance, and therefore I take this first opportunity of communicating it."
In the letter here alluded to, dated August 25th, Lord Dartmouth said; "I cannot help expressing to you the pleasure it gives me to hear, that a sincere disposition prevails in the people of that province to be on good terms with the mother country, and my earnest hope, that ihe time is at no great distance, when every ground of uneasiness will cease, and the most perfect tranquillity and happiness be restored to the breasts of that people."
I think the resolutions of the New England townships must have the effect they seem intended for, viz. to show that the discontents were really general, and their sentiments concerning their rights unanimous, and not the faction of a few demagogues, as their governors used to represent them here; and therefore not useless, though they should not as yet induce government to acknowledge their claims; that people may probably think it sufficient for the present to assert and hold forth their rights, secure, that sooner or later they must be admitted and acknowledged. The declaratory law here had too its use, viz. to prevent or lessen at least a clamor against the ministry, that repealed the Stamp Act, as if they had given up the right of this country to govern America. Other use indeed it could have none; and I remember Lord Mansfield told the Lords, when upon that bill . that it was nugatory. To be sure, in a dispute between two parties about rights, the declaration of one party can never be supposed to bind the other.
It is said there is now a project on foot to form a union with Ireland, and that Lord Harcourt is to propose it at the next meeting of the Irish Parliament . The eastern side of Ireland are averse to it; supposing, that, when Dublin is no longer the seat of their government it will decline, the harbour being but indifferent, and that the western and southern ports will rise and flourish on its ruins, being good in themselves, and much better situated for commerce. For these same reasons, the western and southern people are inclined to the measure, and it is thought it may be carried. But these are difficult affairs, and usually take longer time than the projectors imagine. Mr. Crowley, the author of several proposals for uniting the colonies with the mother country, and who runs about much among the ministers, tells me,,the union of Ireland is only the first step towards a general union. He is for having it done by the Parliament of England, without consulting the colonies, and he will warrant, he says, that if the terms proposed are equitable, they will all come in one after the other. He seems rather a little cracked upon the subject.
It is said here, that the famous Boston letters * were sent chiefly, if not all, to the late Mr. Whately. They fell into my hands, and I thought it my duty to give some principal people there a sight of them, very much with this view, that, when they saw the measures they complained of took their rise in a great degree from the representations and recommendations of their own countrymen, their resentment against Britain on account of those measures might abate, as mine had done, and a reconciliation be more easily obtained. In Boston they concealed who sent them, the better to conceal who received and communicated them. And perhaps it is as well, that it should continue a secret. Being of that country myself, I think those letters more heinous than you seem to think them; but you had not read them all, nor perhaps the Council's remarks on them. I have written to decline their agency, on account of my return to America. Dr. Lee succeeds me. I only keep it while I stay, which perhaps will be another winter.
• Governor Hutchinson's Letters.