Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

. promote, deeming the institution one of the most catholic and generous of the kind. v

I am inclined to think with you, that the small sum you have issued to discharge the public debts only, will not be materially affected in its credit for want of the legal tender, considering especially the present extreme want of money in the province. You appear to me to point out the true cause of the general distress, viz. the late luxurious mode of living introduced by a too great plenty of cashi It is indeed amazing to consider that we had a quantity sufficient before the war began, and that the war added immensely to that quantity by the sums spent among us by the crown, and the paper struck and issued in the province; and now, in so few years, all the money spent by the crown is gone away, and lias carried with it all the gold and silver we had before, leaving us bare and empty, and at the same time more in debt to England than ever we were! But I am inclined to think that the mere making more money will not mend our circumstances, if we do not return to that industry and frugality which were the fundamental causes of our former prosperity. I shall nevertheless do my utmost this winter to obtain the repeal of the act restraining the legal tender, if our friends the merchants think it practicable, and will heartily espouse the cause; and in truth they have full as much interest in the event as we have.

The present ministry, it is now thought, are likely to continue at least till a new parliament; so that our apprehensions of a change, and that Mr. Grenville would come in again, seem over for the present. He behaves as if a little out of his head on the article of America, which he brings into every debate without rhyme or reason, when the matter has not the least connexion with it: thus at the beginning of this session, on the debate upon the king's speech he tired every body, even his friends, with a long harangue about and against America, of which there was not a word in the speech. Last Friday he produced in the house a late Boston gazette, which he said denied the legislative authority of parliament, was treasonable, rebellious, &c, and moved it might be read, and that the house would take cognizance of it; but it being moved, on the other hand, that Mr. G.'s motion should be postponed to that day six months, it was carried without a division: and as it is known that this parliament will expire before that time, it was equivalent to a total rejection of the motion. The Duke of B. too, it seems, moved in vain for a consideration of this paper in the house of lords. These are favorable symptoms of the present disposition of parliament towards America, which I hope no conduct of the Americans will give just cause of altering.

Be so good as to present my best respects to the house; and believe me, with sincere esteem and regard, dear sir, your affectionate friend and most obedient servant,

B. Franklin.

To Mr. Ross, Philadelpia.

Question of admitting America to be represented in the British parliament.

Dear Sir, London, Dec. 12, 1767.

I received your kiud letter of October 18. I bad before seen, with great pleasure, your name in the papers as chosen for the city of Philadelphia.

The instruction you mention as proposed by a certain great man, was really a wild one. The reasons you made use of against it were clear and strong, and could not but prevail. It will be time enough to show a dislike to the coalition when it is proposed to us. Meanwhile we have all the advantage in the agreement of taxation, which our not being represented will continue to give us. I think indeed that such an event is very remote. This nation is indeed too proud to propose admitting American representatives into their parliament; and America is not so humble, or so fond of the honor, as to petition for it. In matrimonial matches, it is said, when one party is willing the match is half made j but where neither party is willing there is no great danger of their coming together. And to be sure such an important business would never be treated of by agents unimpowered and uninstructed; nor would government here act upon the private opinion of agents which might be disowned by their constituents.

The present ministry seem now likely to continue through this session; and this, as a new election approaches, gives them the advantage of getting so many of their friends chosen as may give a stability to their administration. 1 heartily wish it, because they are all well disposed towards America.

With sincere esteem, I am, dear sir„your affectionate friend and most obedient servant, B. Franklin.

To Governor Franklin.

The Boston resolutions concerning tradeAnecdote relative to Col. Onslow and Mr. Grenville.

Dear Son, London, Dec. 19, 1767*

The resolutions of the Boston people concerniug trade make a great noise here. Parliament has not yet taken notice of them, but the newspapers are in full cry against America. Colonel Onslow told me at court last Sunday, that I could not conceive how much the friends of America weie run upon and hurt by them, and how much, the Grenvillians triumphed. I have just written a paper for next Tuesday's Chronicle, to extenuate matters a little.

Mentioning Colonel Onslow, reminds me of something that passed at the beginning of ihis session in the house, between him and Mr. Grenville. The latter had been raving against America, as traitorous, rebellious, &c. when the former, who has always been its firm friend, stood up and gravely said, that in reading the Roman history, he found it was a custom among that wise and magnanimous' people, whenever the senate was informed of any discontent in the provinces, to send two or three of their body into the discontented provinces, to inquire into the grievances complained of, and report to the senate that mild measures might be used to remedy what was amiss, before any severe steps were taken to enforce obedience. That this example he thought worthy our imitation in the present state of our colonies ; for he did so far agree with the honorable gentleman that spoke just before him, as to allow there were great discontents among them. He should therefore beg leave to move, that two or three members of parliament be appointed to go over to New England on this service. And that it might not be supposed he was for imposing burthens on others that he would not be willing to bear himself, he did, at the same time, declare his own willingness, if the house should think fit to appoint them, to go over thither with that honorable gentleman. Upon this there was a great laugh, which continued some time, and was rather increased by Mr. Grenville's asking, "will the gentleman engage that I shall be safe there? Can I be assured that I shall be allowed to come back again to make the report?" As soon as the laugh was so far subsided as that Mr. Onslow could be heard again, he added: "I cannot absolutely engage for the honorable gen

tleman'8 safe return; but if he goes thither upon this service, I am strongly of opinion the event will contribute greatly to the future quiet of both countries." On which the laugh was renewed and redoubled. • If our people should follow the Boston example in entering into resolutions of frugality and industry, full as necessary for us as for them, 1 hope they will among other things give this reason, that it is to enable them more speedily and effectually to discharge their debts to Great Britain: this will soften a little, and at the same time appear honorable and like ourselves. Yours, &c. B.franklin.

From Governor Pownall To Dr. Franklin.

Concerning an equal communication of rights, privileges, 4fc. to America, by Great Britain.

Dear Sir,

The following objection against communicating to the colonies the rights, privileges, and powers of the realm, as to parts of the realm, has been made. I have been endeavoring to obviate it, and I communicate [it] to you, in hopes of your promised assistance.

If, say the objectors, we communicate to the colonies the power of sending representatives, and in consequence expect them to participate in an equal share and proportion of all our taxes, we must grant to them all the powers of trade and manufacturing, which any other parts of the realm within the isle of Great Britain enjoy.—If so, perchance the profits of the Atlantic commerce may converge to some centre in America; to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, or to some of the isles:—if so, then the natural and artificial produce of the colonies, and in course of consequences, the landed interest of the colonies, will be promoted; while the

« ZurückWeiter »