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I grieve to hear of the death of my good old friend, Dr. Evans. I have lost so many, since I left America, that I begin to fear that I shall find myself a stranger among strangers, when I return. If so, I must come again to my friends in England. I am ever your affectionate father,
TO THOMAS CUSHING.
Project to avoid repealing the American Tea Duty.
London, 12 September, 1773. SIR, The above is a copy of my last, by the packet. Enclosed is the original letter therein mentioned. His Lordship continues in the country, but is expected, Secretary Pownall tells me, the beginning of next month.
To avoid repealing the American tea duty, and yet find a vent for tea, a project is executing to send it from hence on account of the East India Company, to be sold in America, agreeable to a late act, empowering the Lords of the Treasury to grant licenses to the company to export tea thither, under certain restrictions, duty free. Some friends of government, as they are called, in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, &c., are to be favored with the commission, who undertake by their interest to carry the measure through in the colonies. How the other merchants, thus excluded from the tea trade, will like this, I cannot foresee. Their agreement, if I remember right, was not to import tea, till the duty shall be repealed. Perhaps they will think themselves still obliged by that agreement, notwithstanding this temporary expedient; which is only to introduce the tea for the present, and may be dropped next year, and the duty again required, the granting or refusing such license from time to time remaining in the power of the treasury. And it will seem hard, while their hands are tied, to see the profits of that article all engrossed by a few particulars.
Enclosed I take the liberty of sending you a small piece of mine, written to expose, in as striking a light as I could, to the nation, the absurdity of the measures towards America, and to spur the ministry if possible to a change of those measures.* sent my duty to the House, and respects to the Committee. I have the honor to be, with much esteem, Sir, &c.
Please to pre
TO JOHN BASKERVILLE.
Sale of Printers' Types. — Sheet of Chinese Paper. .
London, 21 September, 1773. DEAR SIR, I duly received your favor, and some time after the packet containing the specimens, and your valuable present of Shaftesbury, excellently printed, for which I hold myself greatly obliged to you. The specimens I shall distribute by the first ship among the printers of America, and I hope to your advantage. I suppose no orders will come unaccompanied by bills, or money, and I would not advise you to give credit, especially as I do not think it will be necessary.
The sheet of Chinese paper, from its size, is a great curiosity. I see the marks of the mould in it. One
* This piece was probably the “ Rules by which a Great Empire may be reduced to a Small One;” or “ An Edict of the King of Prussia." See Vol. IV. pp. 387, 399.
side is smooth; that, I imagine, is the side that was applied to the smooth side of the kiln on which it was dried. The little ridges on the other side I take to be marks of a brush passed over it to press it against that face, in places where it might be kept off by air between, which would otherwise prevent its receiving the smoothness. But we will talk further of this, when I have the pleasure of seeing you.
You speak of enlarging your foundery. Here are all the matrices of Rumford's and James's founderies to be sold. There seems to be among them some tolerable Hebrews and Greeks, and some good blacks. I suppose you know them. Shall I buy any of them for you? I thank you for your kind invitation. Perhaps I may embrace it for a few days. My best respects to good Mrs. Baskerville, and believe me ever, with great esteem, &c.
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN.
Right of the British Parliament to make Laws binding
the Colonies, denied. — Lord Mansfield's Opinion of the pretended Prussian Edict. — The Reading of it at Lord Le Despencer's by Paul Whitehead.
London, 6 October, 1773. DEAR Son, I wrote to you on the 1st of last month, since which I have received yours of July 29th, from New York. I know not what letters of mine Governor Hutchinson could mean, as advising the people to insist on their independency. But, whatever they were, I suppose he has sent copies of them hither, having heard some whisperings about them.* I shall, however, be able at any time to justify every thing I have written; the purport being uniformly this, that they should carefully avoid all tumults and every violent measure, and content themselves with verbally keeping up their claims, and holding forth their rights whenever occasion requires; secure, that, from the growing importance of America, those claims will ere long be attended to and acknowledged.
* See a description of the mode of making Chinese paper, Vol. VI.
From a long and thorough consideration of the subject, I am indeed of opinion, that the Parliament has no right to make any law whatever, binding on the
colonies ; that the_King, and not the King Lords, and 1 Commons collectively, is their sovereign; and that the
King, with their respective Parliaments, is their only legislato.: I know your sentiments differ from mine on these subjects. You are a thorough government man, which I do not wonder at, nor do I aim at converting you. I only wish you to act uprightly and steadily, avoiding that duplicity, which, in Hutchinson, adds contempt to indignation. If you can promote the prosperity of your people, and leave them happier than you found them, whatever your political principles are, your memory will be honored.
I have written two pieces here lately for the Public Advertiser, on American affairs, designed to expose the conduct of this country towards the colonies in a short, comprehensive, and striking view, and stated, therefore, in out-of-the-way forms, as most likely to take the general attention. The first was called “ Rules by which a Great Empire may be reduced to a Small One ;” the second, “ An Edict of the King of Prussia.” I sent you one of the first, but could not get enough of the second to spare you one, though my clerk went the next morning to the printer's, and wherever they were sold. They were all gone but two. In my own mind I preferred the first, as a composition, for the quantity and variety of the matter contained, and a kind of spirited ending of each paragraph. But I find that others here generally prefer the second.
* Governor Hutchinson procured a copy of one of Dr. Franklin's letters, and sent it to the ministry. See Vol. IV. p. 450.
I am not suspected as the author, except by one or two friends; and have heard the latter spoken of in the highest terms, as the keenest and severest piece that has appeared here a long time. Lord Mansfield, I hear, said of it, that it was very ABLE and very ARTFUL indeed; and would do mischief by giving here a bad impression of the measures of government; and in the colonies, by encouraging them in their contumacy. It is reprinted in the Chronicle, where you will see it, but stripped of all the capitaling and italicking, that intimate the allusions and mark the emphasis of written discourses, to bring them as near as possible to those spoken. Printing such a piece all in one even small character, seems to me like repeating one of Whitefield's sermons in the monotony of a schoolboy.
What made it the more noticed here was, that people in reading it were, as the phrase is, taken in, till they had got half through it, and imagined it a real edict, to which mistake I suppose the King of Prussia's character must have contributed. I was down at Lord Le Despencer's, when the post brought that day's papers. Mr. Whitehead was there, too, (Paul Whitehead, the author of “Manners,") who runs early through all the papers, and tells the company what he finds