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it is proposed to us. Meanwhile we have all the advantage in the argument 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 honour, as to petition for it. In matrimonial matches 'tis said, when one party is willing the match is half made, 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. I 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,
448. TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN1
London, Dec. 19, 1767. Dear Son, The resolutions of the Boston people concerning trade make a great noise here.2 Parliament has not yet taken
1 From "The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin" (Duane), Phila., 1817, Vol. VI, p. 260. —Ed.
2 These resolutions were passed on the 28th of October, and recommended that all prudent and legal measures should be taken to encourage the produce and manufactures of the province, to lessen the use of superfluities, and refrain from purchasing a great number of imported articles. — S.
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 were 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.1
Mentioning Colonel Onslow, reminds me of something that passed at the beginning of this 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 of our imitation in the present state of our colonies, for he did so far agree with the honourable 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, which 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 honourable gentle
1 "Causes of the American Discontents before 1768," which was published January 7, 1768.— Ed.
man. 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 honourable gentleman's 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, I hope they will among other things give this reason, that 'tis 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 honourable and like ourselves.
We have had an ugly affair at the Royal Society lately. One Dacosta, a Jew, who, as our clerk, was intrusted with collecting our moneys, has been so unfaithful as to embezzle near thirteen hundred pounds in four years. Being one of the Council this year, as well as the last, I have been employed all the last week in attending the inquiry into, and unravelling, his accounts, in order to come at a full knowledge of his frauds. His securities are bound in one thousand pounds to the Society, which they will pay, but we shall probably lose the rest. He had this year received twenty-six admission payments of twenty-five guineas each, which he did not bring to account.
While attending to this affair, I had an opportunity of