« ZurückWeiter »
engage in a war with such relations, unless compelled to it by dire necessity in our own defence. But, should that plan be again brought forward, I imagine, that, before establishing the union, it would be necessary to agree on the following preliminary articles. 1. The Declaratory Act of Parliament to be repealed. 2. All acts of Parliament, or parts of acts, laying duties on the colonies to be repealed. 3. All acts of Parliament altering the charters, or constitutions, or laws of any colony, to be repealed. 4. All acts of Parliament restraining manufactures to be repealed. 5. Those parts of the navigation acts, which are for the good of the whole empire, such as require that ships in the trade should be British or Plantation built, and navigated by three fourths British subjects, with the duties necessary for regulating commerce, to be reënacted by both Parliaments. 6. Then, to induce the Americans to see the regulating acts faithfully executed, it would be well to give the duties collected in each colony to the treasury of that colony, and let the governor and Assembly appoint the officers to collect them, and proportion their salaries. Thus the business will be cheaper and better done, and the misunderstandings between the two countries, now created and fomented by the unprincipled wretches, generally appointed from England, be entirely prevented. These are hasty thoughts submitted to your consideration. You will see the new proposal of Lord North, made on Monday last, which I have sent to the Committee.* Those
* “That, when the Governor, Council, and Assembly, or General Court of his Majesty's provinces, or colonies, shall propose to make provision according to their respective conditions, circumstances, and situations, for contributing their proportion to the common defence; such proportion to be raised under the authorities of the General Court, or General Assembly, of such province or colony, and disposable by Parliament; and shall engage to make provision also for the support of the civil government, and the administration of justice in such province or colony; it will be proper, if such proposal shall be approved by his Majesty in Parliament, and for so long as such provision shall be made accordingly, to forbear in respect of such province or colony, to levy any duties, tax, or assessment, or to impose any further duty, tax, or assessment, except only such duties as it may be expedient to impose for the regulation of commerce; the net produce of the duties last mentioned, to be carried to the account of such province, colony, or plantation respectively."—A/mon's Parliamentary Register, vol. i. p. 196. * Franklin remained in London several months after he announced his purpose to surrender the agency of the colonies, in the hope that something useful might result from negotiations which Lord Chatham and others had opened with him. They came to nothing, except to demonstrate, what was
in administration, who are for violent measures, are said to dislike it. The others rely upon it as a means of dividing, and by that means subduing us. But I cannot conceive, that any colony will undertake to grant a revenue to a government, that holds a sword over their heads with a threat to strike the moment they cease to give, or do not give so much as it is pleased to expect. In such a situation, where is the right of giving our own property freely, or the right to judge of our own ability to give 2 It seems to me the language of a highwayman, who, with a pistol in your face, says, “Give me your purse, and then I will not put my hand into your pocket. But give me all your money, or I will shoot you through the head.”
To a friend Being about to embark for America,” this
on the Conti
... ... line is just to take leave, wishing you every
London, kind of felicity, and to request that, if you March 17, 1775. have not yet purchased for me the Zheatrum
Machinarum, you will now omit doing it, as
I have the offer of a set here. But if you have purchased it, your draft on me will be duly paid in my absence by
already apparent to many of the leading statesmen in America, that the union of England with her transatlantic possessions was unnatural and could not endure. Penetrated at last himself with this conviction, Franklin placed his London agencies in the hands of Arthur Lee, and sailed in the Pennsylvania packet for America on the 5th of May, 1775, just three days after this letter was written. During the voyage he addressed to his son an account of his closing negotiations, which constitutes a most important chapter in the history of the causes which led to the independence of America. Unhappily, there is too good reason to believe that Wm. Temple Franklin took the same liberties with this precious document that he appears to have allowed himself to take with the Autobiography. My authority for these suspicions may be found in the following paragraph with which Thomas Jefferson closes his Autobiography: “I left Monticello on the first of March, 1790, for New York. At Philadelphia I called on the venerable and beloved Franklyn. He was then on the bed of sickness from which he never rose. My recent return from a country in which he had left so many friends, and the perilous convulsions to which they had been exposed, revived all his anxieties to know what part they had taken, what had been their course, and what their fate. He went over all in succession, with a rapidity and animation almost too much for his strength. When all his inquiries were satisfied, and a pause took place, I told him I had learned with much pleasure that, since his return to America, he had been occupied in preparing for the world the history of his own life. “I cannot say much of that,' said he: 'but I will give you a sample of what I shall leave;' and he directed his little grandson (William Bache), who was standing by the bedside, to hand him a paper from the table to which he pointed. He did so; and the Doctor, putting it into my hands, desired me to take it and read it at my leisure. It was about a quire of folio paper, written in a large and running hand, very much like his own. I looked into it slightly, then shut it, and said I would accept his permission to read it, and would carefully return it. He said, ‘No, keep it.' Not certain of his meaning, I again looked into it, folded it for my pocket, and said again, I would certainly return it. ‘No,' said he, “keep it.' “I put it into my pocket, and shortly after took leave of him. He died on the 17th of the ensuing month of April; and as I understood that he had bequeathed all his papers to his grandson, William Temple Franklyn, I immediately wrote to Mr. Franklyn, to inform him I possessed this paper, Vol. II.-22
Mrs. Stevenson, in whose hands I leave all my little affairs till my return, which I propose, God willing, in October. Mrs. Stevenson keeps the house in Craven Street, wherein I have always lodged since my residence in London.
which I should consider as his property, and would deliver to his order. He came on immediately to New York, called on me for it, and I delivered it to him. As he put it into his pocket, he said carelessly, he had either the original or another copy of it, I do not recollect which. This last expression struck my attention forcibly, and for the first time suggested to me the thought that Dr. Franklyn had meant it as a confidential deposit in my hands, and that I had done wrong in parting from it. I have not yet seen the collection he published of Dr. Franklyn's works, and, therefore, know not if this is among them. I have been told it is not. It contained a narrative of the negotiations between Dr. Franklyn and the British ministry, when he was endeavouring to prevent the contest of arms that followed. The negotiation was brought about by the intervention of Lord Howe and his sister, who, I believe, was called Lady Howe; but I may misremember her title. Lord Howe seems to have been friendly to America, and exceedingly anxious to prevent a rupture. His intimacy with Dr. Franklyn, and his position with the ministry, induced him to undertake mediation between them; in which his sister seemed to have been associated. They carried from one to the other, backwards and forwards, the several propositions, and answers, which passed, and seconded with their own intercessions the importance of mutual sacrifices, to preserve the peace and connection of the two countries. I remember that Lord North's answers were dry, unyielding in the spirit of unconditional submission, and betrayed an absolute indifference to the occurrence of a rupture, and he said to the mediators distinctly at last, that “a rebellion was not to be deprecated on the part of Great Britain; that the confiscations it would produce would provide for many of their friends.' This expression was reported by the mediators to Dr. Franklyn, and indicated so cool and calculated a purpose in the ministry as to render compromise hopeless, and the negotiation was discontinued. If this is not among the papers published, we ask, what has become of it? I delivered it with my own hands into those of Temple Franklyn. It certainly established views so atrocious in the British government that its suppression would, to them, be worth a great price. But could the grandson of Dr. Franklyn be, in such degree, an accomplice in the particide of the memory of his immortal grandfather? The suspension for more than twenty years of the general publication, bequeathed and confided to him, produced for a while hard suspicions against him; and if, at last, all are not published, a part of these suspicions may remain with some."—ED.
Be pleased to present my humble respects to your good Prince with my best wishes for his prosperity, and repeat my thankful acknowledgment for his gracious and benevolent proposition in my favor, of which, though I could not, for the reasons I gave you, avail myself, I shall nevertheless always retain the most grateful sense, and if either here or in America, I could render his highness any kind of service, it would give me infinite pleasure.