Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

of them to aid such conquests, till full satisfaction be made as aforesaid.

“B. FRANKLIN. “Given in London, this 16th day of March, 1775.

[ocr errors][merged small]

“ DEAR SIR, “I return you the memorial, which it is thought might be attended with dangerous consequences to your person, and contribute to exasperate the nation.

“I heartily wish you a prosperous voyage, a long health, and am, with the sincerest regard, your most faithful and obedient servant,

“ Thomas WALPOLE. “ Lincoln's Inn Fields, 16th March, 1775.

Mr. Walpole called at my house the next day, and, hearing I was gone to the House of Lords, came there to me, and repeated more fully what was in his note; adding, that it was thought my having no instructions directing me to deliver such a protest, would make it appear still more unjustifiable, and be deemed a national affront. I had no desire to make matters worse, and, being grown cooler, took the advice so kindly given me.

The evening before I left London, I received a note from Dr. Fothergill, with some letters to his friends in Philadelphia. In that note he desires me to get those friends “and two or three more together, and inforin them, that, whatever specious pretences are offered, they are all hollow; and that to get a larger field on which to fatten a herd of worthless parasites is all that is regarded. Perhaps it may be proper to acquaint them with David Barclay's and our united endeavours, and the effects. They will stun at least, if not convince,

VOL. V

6

the most worthy, that nothing very favorable is intended, if more unfavorable articles cannot be obtained.” The Doctor, in the course of his daily visits among the great, in the practice of his profession, had full opportunity of being acquainted with their sentiments, the conversation everywhere turning upon the subject of America.

VINDICATION AND OFFER

FROM CONGRESS TO PARLIAMENT.

Immediately after Dr. Franklin's return to America, he was chosen one of the delegates in Congress from Pennsylvania, and was present at the opening of the Congress in May, 1775. Mr. Vaughan says of the following paper; “It was drawn up in a Committee of Congress, June 25th, 1775, but does not appear on their Minutes; a severe act of Parliament, which arrived about that time, having determined them not to give the sum proposed. It was first printed in the Public Advertiser for July 18th, 1777." At the time mentioned above, that is, June 25th, 1775, Dr. Franklin was on a Committee for reporting to Congress a declaration to be published by General Washington, on his arrival in camp at Cambridge. The discussion of that subject in the Committee may have suggested these remarks.- EDITOR.

FORASMUCH as the enemies of America in the Parliament of Great Britain, to render us odious to the nation, and give an ill impression of us in the minds of other European powers, have represented us as unjust and ungrateful in the highest degree; asserting, on every occasion, that the colonies were settled at the expense of Britain ; that they were, at the expense of the same, protected in their infancy; that they now ungratefully and unjustly refuse to contribute to their own protection, and the common defence of the nation ; that they aim at independence; that they intend an

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

abolition of the Navigation Acts; and that they are fraudulent in their commercial dealings, and purpose to cheat their creditors in Britain, by avoiding the payment of their just debts;

And, as by frequent repetition these groundless assertions and malicious calumnies may, if not contradicted and refuted, obtain further credit, and be injurious throughout Europe to the reputation and interest of the confederate colonies, it seems proper and necessary to examine them in our own just vindication.

With regard to the first, that the colonies were settled at the expense of Britain, it is a known fact, that none of the twelve united colonies were settled, or even discovered, at the expense of England. Henry the Seventh, indeed, granted a commission to Sebastian Cabot, a Venetian, and his sons, to sail into the western seas for the discovery of new countries; but it was to be “ suis eorum propriis sumptibus et expensis," at their own costs and charges.* They discovered, but soon slighted and neglected these northern territories; which were, after more than a hundred years' dereliction, purchased of the natives, and settled at the charge and by the labor of private men and bodies of men, our ancestors, who came over hither for that purpose. But our adversaries have never been able to produce any record, that ever the Parliament or government of England was at the smallest expense on these accounts; on the contrary, there exists on the journals of Parliament a solemn declaration in 1642, (only twenty-two years after the first settlement of the Massachusetts, when, if such expense had ever been incurred, some of the members must have known and remembered it,)

* See the Commission in the Appendix to PoWNALL'S Administration of the Colonies. Edition 1775.

“That these colonies had been planted and established without any expense to the state."

New York is the only colony in the founding of which England can pretend to have been at any expense; and that was only the charge of a small armament to take it from the Dutch, who planted it. But to retain this colony at the peace, another at that time full as valuable, planted by private countrymen of ours, was given up by the crown to the Dutch in exchange, viz. Surinam, now a wealthy sugar colony in Guiana, and which, but for that cession, might still have remained in our possession. Of late, indeed, Britain has been at some expense in planting two colonies, Georgia and Nova Scotia ; but those are not in our confederacy;t and the expense she has been at in their name has chiefly been in grants of sums unnecessarily large, by way of salaries to officers sent from England, and in jobs to friends, whereby dependants might be provided for; those excessive grants not being requisite to the welfare and good government of the colonies, which good government (as experience in many instances of other colonies has taught us) may be much more frugally, and full as effectually, provided for and supported.

With regard to the second assertion, that these colonies were protected in their infant state by England, it

* “ Veneris, March 10th, 1642. Whereas, the plantations in New England have, by the blessing of the Almighty, had good and prosperous success, without any public charge to this state, and are now likely to prove very happy for the propagation of the Gospel in those parts, and very beneficial and commodious to this kingdom and nation; the Commons now assembled in Parliament, &c. &c. &c."

† Georgia joined the other colonies soon afterwards. On the 20th of July, 1775, a letter was read in Congress from the convention of Georgia, giving notice that delegates had been appointed in that colony w attend the Continental Congress. — EDITOR.

« ZurückWeiter »