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the King are agreed to; till the acts since made, restraining the American commerce and fisheries, are repealed; till reparation is made for the injury done to Boston, by shutting up its port, for the burning of Charlestown, and for the expense of this unjust war; and till all the British troops are withdrawn from America. On the arrival of these events, the colonies will return to their former connexion and friendship with Britain ; but, on failure thereof, this confederation is to be perpetual.
CORRESPONDENCE AND INTERVIEW
WITH LORD HOWE.
Near the beginning of the year 1776, Lord Howe was appointed to command the British fleet in North America, and on the 3d of May was declared joint commissioner with his brother, General William Howe, for the purpose of endeavouring to effect a reconciliation with the colonies, conformable to the terms of an act of Parliament. In the first part of July, Lord Howe arrived at Staten Island, where he found his brother with the British army. He had previously prepared a Declaration, announcing the object of his mission, which he designed for distribution in the colonies, accompanied with circular letters to the royal governors. Copies of these papers were forwarded to Congress, by whose order they were immediately published. Lord Howe likewise wrote a private letter to Dr. Franklin, then a member of Congress, which he answered.
Meantime, as Congress took no steps to meet the advances of the British commissioners, in their proposals for a reconciliation, they commenced military operations, and the battle of Long Island was fought. General Sullivan was taken prisoner in this action, and conducted on board Lord Howe's ship. At his request, General Sullivan went to Philadelphia on parole, having in charge certain verbal communications to Congress, tending to open the way to some method of effecting the objects of the commissioners. After maturely considering the subject, Congress resolved to send a committee of their members to hold a conference with Lord Howe. The persons selected for this mission were Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rutledge.
In regard to the previous correspondence mentioned above, the following memorandum was afterwards written by Dr. Franklin.
“ These letters were published in London, to show the insolence of the insurgents, in refusing the offer of pardon upon submission, made to them by the British plenipotentiaries. They undoubtedly deserve the attention of the public for another reason, the proof they afford that the commerce of America is deemed by the ministry themselves of such vast importance, as to justify the horrid and
expensive war they are now waging to maintain the monopoly of it; that being the principal cause stated by Lord Howe; though their pensioned writers and speakers in Parliament have affected to treat that commerce as a trifle. And they demonstrate further, of how much importance it is to the rest of Europe, that the continuance of that monopoly should be obstructed, and the general freedom of trade, now offered by the Americans, prevented; since by no other means the enormous growing power of Britain both by sea and land, so formidable to their neighbours, and which must follow her success, can possibly be prevented." - EDITOR.
LORD HOWE TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,
Eagle, June 20th, 1776. I cannot, my worthy friend, permit the letters and parcels, which I have sent in the state I received them, to be landed, without adding a word upon the subject of the injurious extremities in which our unhappy differences have engaged us.
You will learn the nature of my mission, from the official despatches, which I have recommended to be forwarded by the same conveyance. Retaining all the earnestness I ever expressed to see our differences accommodated, I shall conceive, if I meet with the disposition in the colonies I was once taught to expect, the most flattering hopes of proving serviceable in the objects of the King's paternal solicitude, by promoting the establishment of lasting peace and union with the colonies. But, if the deep-rooted prejudices of America, and the necessity for preventing her trade from passing into foreign channels, must keep us still a divided people, I shall, from every private as well as public motive, most heartily lament, that this is not the moment wherein those great objects of my ambition are to be attained; and that I am to be longer deprived
of an opportunity to assure you personally of the regard with which I am your sincere and faithful humble servant,
P. S. I was disappointed of the opportunity I expected for sending this letter at the time it was dated, and have ever since been prevented by calms and contrary winds from getting here, to inform General Howe of the commission with which I have the satisfaction to be charged, and of his being joined in it.
Off Sandy Hook, 12th of July.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN TO LORD HOWE.
Philadelphia, July 20th, 1776. My LORD, I received safe the letters your Lordship so kindly forwarded to me, and beg you to accept my thanks.
The official despatches, to which you refer me, contain nothing more than what we had seen in the act of Parliament, viz. offers of pardon upon submission, which I am sorry to find, as it must give your Lordship pain to be sent so far on so hopeless a business.
Directing pardons to be offered the colonies, who are the very parties injured, expresses indeed that opinion of our ignorance, baseness, and insensibility, which your uninformed and proud nation has long been pleased to entertain of us; but it can have no other effect than that of increasing our resentment. It is impossible we should think of submission to a government, that has with the most wanton barbarity and cruelty burnt our defenceless towns in the midst of winter, excited the savages to massacre our farmers, and our slaves to murder their masters, and is even now bringing foreign
mercenaries to deluge our settlements with blood. These atrocious injuries have extinguished every remaining spark of affection for that parent country we once held so dear; but, were it possible for us to forget and forgive them, it is not possible for you (I mean the British nation) to forgive the people you have so heavily injured. You can never confide again in those as fellow subjects, and permit them to enjoy equal freedom, to whom you know you have given such just cause of lasting enmity. And this must impel you, were we again under your government, to endeavour the breaking our spirit by the severest tyranny, and obstructing, by every means in your power, our growing strength and prosperity.
But your Lordship mentions “the King's paternal solicitude for promoting the establishment of lasting peace and union with the colonies.” If by peace is here meant a peace to be entered into between Britain and America, as distinct states now at war, and his Majesty has given your Lordship powers to treat with us of such a peace, I may venture to say, though without authority, that I think a treaty for that purpose not yet quite impracticable, before we enter into foreign alliances. But I am persuaded you have no such powers. Your nation, though, by punishing those American governors, who have created and fomented the discord, rebuilding our burnt towns, and repairing as far as possible the mischiefs done us, might yet recover a great share of our regard, and the greatest part of our growing commerce, with all the advantage of that additional strength to be derived from a friendship with us; but I know too well her abounding pride and deficient wisdom, to believe she will ever take such salutary measures. Her fondness for conquest, as a warlike nation, her lust of dominion, as an ambitious