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engagement had a great effect in fixing the value and rates of our gold and silver. Or, perhaps, a bank might be established that would answer all purposes. Indeed I think with you, that those merchants here, who have made difficulties on the subject of the legal tender, have not understood their own interest. For there can be no doubt, that, should a scarcity of money continue among us, we shall take off less of their merchandise, and attend more to manufacturing, and raising the necessaries and superfluities of life among ourselves, which we now receive from them. And perhaps this consequence would attend our making no paper money at all of any sort, that, being thus by want of cash driven to industry and frugality, we should gradually become more rich without their trade, than we can possibly be with it, and, by keeping in the country the real cash that comes into it, have in time a quantity sufficient for all our occasions. But I suppose our people will scarce have patience to wait for this.
I have received the printed votes, but not the laws. I hear nothing yet of any objection made by the Proprietaries to any of them at the Board of Trade.
Please to present my duty to the Assembly, with thanks for their care of me, and assure them of my most faithful services.
Last week I dined at Lord Shelburne's, and
had a long conversation with him and Mr. New Jersey, Conway (there being no other company) on don, 28 Aug., the subject of reducing American expense. 1767.
They have it in contemplation to return the management of Indian affairs into the hands of the several provinces on which the nations border, that the colonies
may bear the charge of treaties, &c., which they think will then be managed more frugally, the treasury being tired with the immense drafts of the superintendents. I took the opportunity of urging it as one means of saving expense in supporting the outposts, that a settlement should be made in the Illinois country; expatiated on the various advantages, viz. furnishing provisions cheaper to the garrisons, securing the country, retaining the trade, raising a strength there, which on occasion of a future war might easily be poured down the Mississippi upon the lower country, and into the Bay of Mexico, to be used against Cuba or Mexico itself. I mentioned your plan, its being approved by Sir William Johnson, the readiness and ability of the gentlemen concerned to carry the settlement into execution, with very little expense to the crown, &c. The secretaries appeared finally to be fully convinced, and there remained no obstacle but the Board of Trade, which was to be brought over privately, before the matter should be referred to them officially. In case of laying aside the superintendents, a provision was thought of for Sir William Johnson.*
* The subject here introduced, which is frequently mentioned in letters to his son, relates to an application by a company to the crown for the grant of a tract of land west of the Alleghanies, with the design of establishing a colony there. It was called Walpole's Grant, froin the circumstance of Mr. Thomas Walpole having been the principal person concerned in procuring it. The scheme originated with Colonel Croghan, William Franklin, and Sir William Johnson. The project is intimated, apparently at its first stage, in the following extract from a letter written by Governor Franklin to his father.
“Colonel Croghan is highly incensed at the treatment he has received from the proprietary officers in Pennsylvania, and has been a means of bringing Sir William Johnson and General Gage to think favorably of the Assembly, and to wish them success. A few of us, from his encouragement, have formed a company to purchase of the French, settled at the Illinois, such lands as they have a good title to, and are inclined to dispose of. But, as I thought it would be of little avail to buy lands in that country, unless a
We had a good deal of farther discourse on American affairs, particularly on paper money. Lord Shelburne declared himself fully convinced of the utility of taking off the restraint, by my answer to the Report of the Board of Trade. General Conway had not seen it, and desired me to send it to him, which I did next morning. They gave me expectation of a repeal next session, Lord Clare being come over; but they said there was some difficulty with others at the Board, who had signed that Report; for there was a good deal in what Soame Jenyns had laughingly said, when asked to concur in some measure, I have no kind of objection to it, provided we have heretofore signed nothing to the contrary.
In this conversation I did not forget our main Pennsylvania business, and I think made some farther progress, though but little. The two secretaries seemed intent upon preparing business for next Parliament, which makes me think, that the late projects of changes are now quite over, and that they expect to continue in place. But whether they will do much or little, I cannot say.
Du Guerchy, the French ambassador, is gone home, and
colony were established there, I have drawn up some proposals for that purpose, which are much approved of by Colonel Croghan and the other gentlemen concerned in Philadelphia, and are sent by them to Sir William Johnson for his sentiments, and, when we receive them, the whole will be forwarded to you. It is proposed that the company shall consist of twelve, now in America, and, if you like the proposals, you will be at liberty to add yourself, and such gentlemen of character and fortune in England, as you may think will be most likely to promote the undertaking."- April 30th, 1766.
The plan of purchasing of the French seems to have been subsequently abandoned, and the company applied to the crown for a tract of unsettled lands mostly between the Alleghanies and the Ohio River. Lord Hillsborough opposed the petition, and one of Franklin's ablest papers was written in reply to a report made by him on the subject to the Board of Trade.-S.
Monsieur Durand is left minister plenipotentiary. He is extremely curious to inform himself in the affairs of America; pretends to have a great esteem for me, on account of the abilities shown in my examination; has desired to have all my political writings, invited me to dine with him, was very inquisitive, treated me with great civility, makes me visits, &c. I fancy that intriguing nation would like very well to meddle on occasion, and blow up the coals between Britain and her colonies; but I hope we shall give them no opportunity.
I write this in a great hurry, being setting out in an hour on another journey with my steady, good friend, Sir John Pringle. We propose to visit Paris. Durand has given me letters of recommendation to the Lord knows who.
I am told I shall meet with great respect there;* but winds change, and perhaps it will be full as well if I do not. We shall be gone six weeks. I have a little private commission to transact, of wlich more another time.
Communicate nothing of this letter but privately to our friend Galloway.
To Miss Mary Soon after I left you in that agreeable society Stevenson, dated Paris,
at Bromley, I took the resolution of making a 14 September, trip with Sir John Pringle into France. We 1767.
set out on the 28th past. All the way to Dover we were furnished with postchaises, hung so as to lean forward, the top coming down over one's eyes, like a hood, as if to prevent one's seeing the country; which
* This is the first intimation we have from Franklin of the tendency of France and the British American colonies to gravitate towards a common centre, a tendency pregnant with such important consequences.-ED.
being one of my great pleasures, I was engaged in perpetual disputes with the innkeepers, ostlers, and postilions, about getting the straps taken up a hole or two before, and let down as much behind, they insisting that the chaise leaning forward was an ease to the horses, and that the contrary would kill them. I suppose the chaise leaning forward looks to them like a willingness to go forward, and that its hanging back shows reluctance. They added other reasons, that were no reasons at all, and made me, as upon a hundred other occasions, almost wish that mankind had never been endowed with a reasoning faculty, since they know so little how to make use of it, and so often mislead themselves by it, and that they had been furnished with a good sensible instinct instead of it.
At Dover, the next morning, we embarked for Calais with a number of passengers, who had never before been at sea. They would previously make a hearty breakfast, because, if the wind should fail, we might not get over till supper time. Doubtless they thought, that, when they had paid for their breakfast, they had a right to it, and that, when they had swallowed it, they were sure of it. But they had scarce been out half an hour, before the sea laid claim to it, and they were obliged to deliver it up. So that it seems there are uncertainties, even beyond those between the cup and the lip. If ever you go to sea, take my advice, and live sparingly a day or two beforehand. The sickness, if any, will be lighter and sooner over. We got to Calais that evening.
Various impositions we suffered from boatmen, porters, and the like, on both sides the water. I know not which are most rapacious, the English or French, but the latter have, with their knavery, most politeness.