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“I have numbered the questions," says Dr. Franklin, "for the sake of making references to them.
Qu. I, is a question of form, asked of every one that is examined.-Qu. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, were asked by Mr. Hewitt, a member for Coventry, a friend of ours, and were designed to draw out the answers that follow; being the substance of what I had before said to him on the subject, to remove a common prejudice, that the colonies paid no taxes, and that their governments were supported by burdening the people here; Qu.7, was particularly intended to show by the answer, that Parliament could not properly and equally lay taxes in America, as they could not, by reason of their distance, be acquainted with such circumstances as might make it necessary to spare particular parts.-Qu. 8 to 13, asked by Mr. Huske, another friend, to show the impracticability of distributing the stamps in America.- Qu. 14, 15, 16, by one of the late administration, an adversary.- Qu. 17 to 26, by Mr. Huske again. His questions about the Germans, and about the number of people, were intended to make the opposition to the Stamp Act in America appear more formidable. He asked some others here that the Clerk has omitted, particularly one, I remember.
" There had been a considerable party in the House for saving the honor and right of Parliament, by retaining the Act, and yet making it tolerable to America, by reducing it to a stamp on commissions for profitable offices, and on cards and dice. I had, in conversation with many of them, objected to this, as it would require an establishment for the distributors, which would be a great expense, as the stamps would not be sufficient to pay them, and so the odium and contention would be kept up for nothing. The notion of amending, however, still continued, and one of the most active of the members for promoting it told me, he was sure I could, if I would, assist them to amend the Act in such a manner, that America should have little or no objection to it. “I must confess,' says I, 'I have thought of one amendment; if you will make it, the Act may remain, and yet the Americans will be quieted. It is a very small amendment, too; it is only the change of a single word.' 'Ay,' says he, 'what is that?' 'It is in that clause where it is said, that from and after the first day of November one thousand seven hun. dred and sixty-five, there shall be paid, &c. The amendment I would propose is, for one read two, and then all the rest of the act may stand as it does. I believe it will give nobody in America any uneasiness.' Mr. Huske had heard of this, and, desiring to bring out the same answer in the House, asked me whether I could not propose a small amendment, that would make the act palatable. But, as I thought the answer he wanted too light and ludicrous for the House, I evaded the question.
'Qu. 27, 28, 29, I think these were by Mr. Grenville, but I am not certain.-Qu. 30, 31, I know not who asked them.-Qu. 32 to 35, asked by Mr. Nugent, who was against us. His drift was to establish a notion he had
entertained, that the people in America had a crafty mode of discouraging the English trade by heavy taxes on merchants.-Qu. 36 to 42, most of these by Mr. Cooper and other friends, with whom I had discoursed, and were intended to bring out such answers as they desired and expected from me.Qu, 43, uncertain by whom.-Qu. 44, 45, 46, by Mr. Nugent again, who I suppose intended to infer, that the poor people in America were better able to pay taxes than the poor in England.-Qu. 47, 48, 49, by Mr. Prescott, an adversary.
· Qu. 50 to 58, by different members, I cannot recollect who.--Qu. 59 to 78, chiefly by the former ministry.-Qu. 79 to 82, by friends.- Qu. 83, by one of the late ministry.-Qu. 84, by Mr. Cooper.---Qu. 85 to go, by some of the late ministry.--Qu. 91, 92, by Mr. Grenville.- Qu. 93 to 98, by some of the late ministry.-Qu. 99, 100, by some friend, I think Sir George Saville.-- Qu. 101 to 106, by several of the late ministry.-Qu. 107 to 114, by friends.--Qu. 115 to 117, by Mr. A. Bacon.- Qu. 118 to 120, by some of the late ministry.-Qu. 121, by an adversary.- Qu. 122, by a friend.-Qu. 123, 124, by Mr. Charles Townshend.--Qu. 125, by Mr. Nugent.-Qu. 126, by Mr. Grenville.-Qu. 127, by one of the late ministry.- (u. 128, by Mr. G. Grenville.Qu. 129, 130, 131, by Mr. Wellbore Ellis, late Secretary of War.- Qu. 132 to 135, uncertain.-Qu. 136 to 142, by some of the late ministry, intending to prove that it operated where no service was done, and therefore it was a tax. -- Qu. 143, by a friend, I forget who.—Qu. 144, 145, by C. Townshend.Qu. 146 to 151, by some of the late ministry.-Qu. 152 to 157, by Mr. Prescott, and others of the same side.--Qu. 158 to 162, by Charles Townshend.-Qu. 163, 164, by a friend, I think Sir George Saville.- Qu. 165, by some friend.- Qu. 166, 167, by an adversary.- Qu. 168 to 174. by friends.
Mr. Nugent made a violent speech next day upon this examination, in which he said, We have often experienced Austrian ingratitude and yet we assisted Portugal, we experienced Portuguese ingratitude, and yet we assisted America. But what is Austrian ingratitude, what is the ingratitude of Portugal, compared to this of America ? We have fought, bled, and ruined ourselves, to conquer for them; and now they come and tell us to our noses, even at the bar of this House, that they were not obliged to us,' &c. But his clamor was very little minded."
A few years since, I stumbled upon an original edition, in a pamphlet form, of this examination, bearing the following title:
DOCTOR BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
RELATIVE TO THE REPEAL
AMERICAN STAMP ACT
Price One Shilling
Nos. I, 2,
No publisher's imprint is given. In the margin, however, and in a chirog. raphy which seems scarcely more recent than the printed text, are written what purport to be the names of the interrogators." When or by whom, or upon what authority, this list was made, there are no indications; but the fact that the list differs so widely from that given in Delaplaine's, and the further fact that Franklin so frequently consesses his inability to recall the names of some of his interrogators, seem to justify me in giving this anonymous list here for what it is worth.
As Grenville is always spelt Greenwille, and Burke Bourke, the presumption is that all the names were written by a foreigner, who had taken them from the lips of his informant. By the Speaker
inclusive. Mr. Huske
3 to 42, Lord Clare
43 to 49, 98 to 103, Mr. Townshend
50 to 77, Mr. Bourke
78 to 89, 106, 107, Mr. Greenwille .
go to 97, 122 to 148, Marquis of Granby
104, 105, Lord North
108 to 121, 149 to 156, Mr. Thurloe, King's counsel-at-law
157 to 162, Mr. Cooper, Secretary of the Treasury 163 to 173, In this list we do not find the names of Nugent, Ellis, Bacon, or Saville or Prescott, while in the other list we do not find the names of Lord Clare, Burke, Marquis of Granby, Lord North, or Thurlow.-ED.
Franklin sends his Wife a New Dress on the Repeal of the Stamp Act
New Disputes with the Mother Country-Colonies required to provide for Soldiers-Lord Chatham-Marriage of Sally Franklin-Experiment of making Paper Money not a Legal Tender-Advances of the French Ambassador to Franklin-Visits the Continent--First Impressions of France and Germany.
To his wife, As the Stamp Act is at length repealed, * I
am willing you should have a new gown, which 1766.
you may suppose I did not send sooner, as I knew you would not like to be finer than your neighbours, unless in a gown of your own spinning. Had the trade between the two countries totally ceased, it was a comfort to me to recollect, that I had once been clothed from head to foot in woollen and linen of my wife's manufacture, that I never was prouder of any dress in my life, and that she
* Dr. Franklin's exam nation closed the 13th February. The bill for the repeal of the Stamp Act received the royal assent the 18th of the following month. Though this repeal was followed by a Declaratory Act no less offensive in principle thai the one it succeeded, affirming " the right of Parliament to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever," the colonies were frantic with joy, and the enthusiasm for Franklin, both at home and abroad, was unbounded.-ED.
and her daughter night do it again if it was necessary. I told the Parliament, that it was my opinion, before the old cloths of the Americans were worn out, they might have new ones of their own making. I have sent you a fine piece of Pompadour satin, fourteen yards, cost eleven shillings a yard; a silk negligée and petticoat of brocaded lutestring for my dear Sally, with two dozen gloves, four bottles of lavender water, and two little reels. The reels are to screw on the edge of the table, when she would wind silk or thread. The skein is to be put over them, and winds better than if held in two hands. There is also a gimcrack corkscrew, which you must get some brother gimcrack to show you the
In the chest is a parcel of books for my friend Mr. Coleman, and another for cousin Colbert. Pray did he receive those I sent him before ? I send you also a box with three fine cheeses. Perhaps a bit of them may be let when I come home. Mrs. Stevenson has been very diligent and serviceable in getting these things together for you, and presents her best respects, as does her daughter, to both you and Sally. There are two boxes included in your bill of lading for Billy.
I received your kind letter of February 20th. It gives me great pleasure to hear, that our good old friend Mrs. Smith is on the recovery. I hope she has yet many happy years to live. My love to her. I fear, from the account you give of brother Peter,* that he cannot hold out long. If it should please God, that he leaves us before my return, I would have the postoffice remain under the manage
* Peter Franklin, the last surviving brother of Dr. Franklin, died July 1st, 1766, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. He had formerly resided at Newport, Rhode Island; but, at the time of his death, he was deputy postmaster in Philadelphia.-S.