« ZurückWeiter »
dicial to them without being beneficial to you, they will state these matters to parliament in petitions as heretofore; but will, I believe, take no violent steps to obtain what they may hope for in time from the wisdom of government here. I know of nothing else they can have in view: the notion that prevails here, of their being desirous to set up a kingdom or commonwealth of their own, is to my certain knowledge entirely groundless. I therefore think, that on a total repeal of all duties, laid expressly for the purpose of raising a revenue on the people of America without their consent, the present uneasiness would subside; the agreements not to import would be dissolved; and the commerce flourish as heretofore ; and I am confirmed in this sentiment by all the letters I have received from America, and by the opinions of all the sensible people who have lately come from thence, crown-officers excepted. I know, indeed, that the people of Boston are grievously offended by the quartering of troops among them, as they think, contrary to law, and are very angry with the board of commissioners, who have calumniated them to government; but as I suppose the withdrawing of those troops may be a consequence of reconciliating measures taking place; and that the commission also will be either dissolved, if found useless, or filled with more temperate and prudent men, if still deemed useful and necessary; I do not imagine these particulars would prevent a return of the harmony so much to be wished*.
7th. “ If
* “ The opposition [to Lord Rockingham's administration)” says Lord Chesterfield, “ are for taking vigorous, as they call them, but I call
7th. “ If they are relieved in part only, what do you, as a reasonable and dispassionate man, and an equal friend to both sides, imagine will be the probable consequence?"
A. I imagine, that repealing the offensive duties in part will answer no end to this country; the commerce will remain obstructed, and the Americans go on with their schemes of frugality, industry, and manufactures, to theįr own great advantage. How much that may tend to the prejudice of Britain, I cannot say; perhaps not so much as some apprehend, since she may in time find new markets. But I think, if the union of the two countries continues to subsist, it will not hurt the general interest; for whatever wealth Britain loses by the failing of its trade with the colonies, America will gain; and the crown will receive equal aids from its subjects upon the whole, if not greater, · And now I have answered your questions, as to what may be, in my opinion, the consequences of this or that supposed measure, I will go a little further, and tell you, what I fear is more likely to come to pass in reality. I apprehend, that the ministry, at least the
them violent measures; not less than les dragonades; and to have the tax collected by the troops we have there. For my part, I never saw a from ward child mended by whippiug: and I would not have the mother be. come a step-mother." Letter, No. 360.
“ Is it a certain maxin,” pleads Mr. Burke, " that the fewer causes of dissatisfaction are left by government, the more the subject will be inclined to resist and rebel?” “I confess I do not feel the least alarm from the discontents which are to arise from putting people at their ease. Nor do I apprehend the destruction of this empire, from giving, by an act of free grace and indulgence, to two millions of my fellow-citizens, some share of those rights, upon which I have always been taught to valpe my: self.” Speeches in 1774 and 1775. B, V,
American part of it, being fully persuaded of the right of parliament, think it ought to be enforced, whatever may be the consequences; and at the same time do not believe, there is even now any abatement of the trade between the two countries on account of these disputes; or that if there is, it is small, and cannot long continue. They are assured by the crown-officers in America, that manufactures are impossible there; that the discontented are few, and persons of little consequence; that almost all the people of property and importance are satisfied, and disposed to submit quietly to the taxing power of parliament; and that, if the revenue-acts are continued, and those duties only that are called anti-commercial be repealed, and others perhaps laid in their stead, the power ere long will be patiently submitted to, and the agreements not to im. port be broken, when they are found to produce no change of measures here. From these and similar misinformations, which seem to be credited, I think it likely, that no thorough redress of grievances will be afforded to America this session. This may inflame matters still more in that country; farther rash measures there may create more resentment here, that may produce not merely ill-advised dissolutions of their assemblies, as last year, but attempts to dissolve their constitution*; more troops may be sent over, which will create more uneasiness; to justify the measures of government, your writers will revile the Americans in your newspapers, as they have already begun to do, treating them as miscreants, rogues, dastards, rebels, &c. to alienate the minds of the people here from them, and which will tend farther to diminish their affections to this country. Possibly too, some of their warm patriots may be distracted enough to expose themselves by some mad action to be sent for bither, and government here be indiscreet enough to hang them, on the act of Henry VIIT*. Mutual provocations will thus go on to complete the separation; and instead of that cordial affection, that once and so long existed, and that harmony, so suitable to the circumstances, and so necessary to the happiness, strength, safety, and welfare of boih countries, an implacable malice and muinal hatred, such as we now see subsisting between
* This was afterwards attempted by the British legislature, in the case of the Massachusett's Bay. B. V.
the Spaniards and Portuguese, the Genoese and Corsi· cans, from the same original misconduct in the superior governments, will take place: the sameness of nation, the similarity of religion, manners, and language not in the least preventing in our case, more than it did in theirs.--I hope, however, that this may all prove false prophecy, and that you and I may live to see as sincere and perfect a friendship established between our res. pective countries, as has so many years, subsisted between Mr. Strahan, and his truly affectionate old friend,
Ciri B. FRANKLIN.
* The lords and commons very prudently concurred in an address for this purpose, and the king graciously assured them of his compliance with their wishes. B. y.
State of the Constitution of the Colonies, by Governor Pownall* ;
with Remarks by Dr. Franklin.
· [PRINCIPLES.] 1. WHEREVER any Englishmen go forth without the realm, and make settlements in partibus exteris, “ These settlements as English settlements, and these inhabitants as English subjects (carrying with them the laws of the land wherever they form colonies, and receiving his majesty's protection by virtue of his royal charter t" or commissions of government) “ have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects, to all intents constructions and purposes whatsoever, as if they and every of them were born within the realm #;" and are bound by the like allegiance as every other subject of the realm.
Remarks. The settlers of colonies in America did not carry with them the laws of the land, as being bound by them wherever they should settle. They left the realm to avoid the inconveniences and hardships they were under, where some of those laws were in force, particularly ecclesiastical laxes, those for payment of tythes and others. Had it been understood, that they were to carry these laws with them, they had better have staid at hon.e among their
• This State of the Constitution of the Colonies was printed at the close of 1769, and communicated to various persons, with a view to prevent mischief, from the misunderstandings between the government of Great Britain and the people of America. I have taken the liberty of ascribing it to governor Pownall, as his name could have been no seeret at the time. Dr. Franklin's remarks (which from their early date are the more curious) are in manuscript, and from an observation in reply signed T. P. appeas to have been communicated to governor Pownall. B. V.
+ Pratt and York.