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day I received another note from Mr. Cooper, directing me to be at the Duke of Grafton's next morning, whose portef had orders to let me in. I went accordingly, and was immediately admitted: but his grace being then engaged in some unexpected business, with much condescension and politeness made that apology for his not discoursing with me then, but wished me to be at the treasury at twelve the next Tuesday. I went accordingly, when M r. Cooper told me something had called the duke into the country, and the board was put off, which was not known till it was too late to send me word; but was glad I was come, as he might then fix another day for me to go again with him into the country: the day fixed was Thursday. I returned yesterday; should have stayed till Monday, but for writing by these vessels. He assures me the duke has it at heart to do something handsome for me. Sir John Pringle, who is anxious for my stay, says Mr. Cooper is the honestest man of a courtier that he ever knew, and he is persuaded they are in earnest to keep me. The piece I wrote against smuggling in the Chronicle of November last, and one in April, on the laboring poor, (you will find the latter in the Gentleman's Magazine for that month)1 have been lately shown by Mr. Cooper to the chancellor of the exchequer, and to the duke, who have expressed themselves much pleased with them. I am to be again at the treasury on Tuesday next, by appointment of Mr. Cooper. Thus particular I have been, that you may judge of this affair. For my own thoughts, I must tell you, that though I did not think fit to decline any favor so great a man expressed an inclination to do me; because at court, if one shows an unwillingness to be obliged, it is often construed as a mark of mental hostility, and one makes an enemy; yet so great is my inclination to be at home, and at rest, that I shall not be sorry if this business
1 See Writings, Part it. fur both these Essays.
VOL. I. X
falls through, and I am suffered to retire with my old post; nor indeed very sorry if they take that from me too, on account of my zeal for America, in which some of my friends have hinted to me X have been too open. I shall soon be able, I hope by the next packet, to give you farther light. In the mean time, as no one but Sir J. knows of the treaty, I talk daily of going in the August packet at furthest. And when the late Georgia appointment of me to be their agent is mentioned as what may detain me, I say, I have yet received no letters from that assembly, acquainting me what their business may be; that I shall probably hear from them before that packet sails. That if it is extraordinary, and of such a nature as to make my stay another winter necessary, I may possibly stay, because there would not be time for them to choose another; but if it is common business, I shall leave it with Mr. Jackson, and proceed. I do not, by the way, know how that appointment came about, having no acquaintance that £ can recollect in that country. It has been mentioned in the papers some time, but I have only just now received a letter from Governor Wright, informing me that he had that day given his assent to it, and expressing his desire to correspond with me on all occasions, saying the committee, as soon as they could get their papers ready, would write to me and acquaint me with their business.
We have lost Lord Clare from the board of trade. He took me home from court, the Sunday before his removal, that I might dine with him as he said alone, and talk over American affairs. He seemed as attentive to them as if he was to continue ever so long. He gave me a great deal of flummery; saying, that though at my examination I answered some of his questions a little pertly, yet he liked me from that day, for the spirit I showed in defence of my country; and at parting, after we had drank a bottle and a half of claret each. he hugged and kissed me, protesting he never in his life met with a man he was so much in love with. This I write for jour amusement. You see by the nature of this whole letter that it is to yourself only. It may serve to prepare your mind for any event that shall happen. If Mr. Grenville comes into power again in any department respecting America, I must refuse to accept of any thing that may seem to put me in his power, because I apprehend a breach between the two countries; and that refusal will give offence. So that you see a turn of a die may make a great difference in our affairs. We may be either promoted or discarded; one or the other seems likely soon to be the case, but 'tis hard to divine which. I am myself grown so old as to feel much less than formerly the spur of ambition; and if it were not for the flattering expectation, that by being fixed here I might more effectually serve my country, I should certainly determine for retirement without a moment's hesitation. I am, as ever, your affectionate father, B. Franklin.
To Joseph Galloway, Esq.
Removal of Lord Clare—Return of Lord Hillsborough, other changes in administration—Combinations in America—Wilkes's outlawry reversed.
Dear Sir, London, July 2, 1768.
Since my last nothing material has occurred here relating to American affairs, except the removal of Lord Clare from the head of the board of trade to the treasury of Ireland, and the retum of Lord Hillsborough to the board of trade as first commissioner, retaining the title and powers of secretary of state for the colonies. This change was very sudden and unexpected. My Lord Clare took me home from court to dine with him but two days before, saying he should be without other company, and wanted to talk with me on sundry .American businesses. We had accordingly a good deal of conversation on our affairs, in which he seemed to interest himself with all the attention that could be supposed in a minister who expected to continue in the management of them. This was on Sunday, and on the Tuesday following he was removed. Whether my Lord Hillsborough's administration will be more stable than others have been for a long time is quite uncertain; but as his inclinations are rather favorable towards us (so far as he thinks consistent with what he supposes the unquestionable rights of Britain), I cannot but wish it may continue, especially as these perpetual mutations prevent the progress of all business. i
But another change is now talked of that gives me great uneasiness. Several of the Bedford party being now got in, it has been for some time apprehended that they would sooner or later draw their friend Mr. Grenville in after them. It is now said, he is to be secretary of state in the room of Lord Shelburne. If this should take place, or if in any other shape he comes again into power, I fear his sentiments of the Americans, and theirs of him, will occasion such clashings as may be attended with fatal consequences.
The last accounts from your part of the world of the combinations relating to commerce with this country, and resolutions concerning the duties here laid upon it, occasion much serious reflection, and it is thought the points in dispute between the two countries will not fail to come under the consideration of parliament early next session. Our friends wonder that 1 persist in my intention of returning this summer, alleging that I might be of much more service to my country here than I can be there, and wishing me by all means to stay the ensuing winter, as the presence of persons well acquainted with America, and of ability to represent these affairs in a proper light, will then be highly necessary. My private concerns, however, so much require my presence at home, that I have not yet suffered myself to be persuaded by their partial opinion of me.
- The tumults and disorders that prevailed here lately have now pretty well subsided. Wilkes's outlawry is reversed; but he is sentenced to twenty-two months' imprisonment, and 1000/. fine, which his friends, who feared he would be pilloried, seem rather satisfied with. The importation of corn, a pretty good hay harvest, now near over, and the prospect of plenty from a fine crop of wheat, makes the poor more patient, in hopes of an abatement in the price of provisions; so that unless want of employment by the failure of American orders should distress them, they are like to be tolerably quiet.
1 purpose writiug to you again by the packet that goes next Saturday ; and therefore now only add that I am, with sincere esteem, dear sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
To * * *
Dear Sir, London, Nov.28,1768.
I received your obliging favor of the 12th instant. Your sentiments of the importance of the present dispute between Great Britain and the colonies, appear to me extremely just. There is nothing I wish for more than to see it amicably and equitably settled.
But Providence will bring about its own ends by its own means; and if it intends the downfal of a nation, that nation will be so blinded by its pride, and other passions, as not to see its danger, or how its fall may be prevented.
Being born and bred in one of the countries, and having lived long and made many agreeable connexions of friendship in the other, I wish all prosperity to both j but I have talked