« ZurückWeiter »
therefore have never had any thing to do with their land-office or officers; if I had, probably, like others, I might have been obliged to truckle to their measures, or have had like causes of complaint. But our private interests never clashed; and all their resentment againt me, and mine to them, has been on the public account. Let them do justice to the people of Pensylvania, act honourably by the citizens of Philadelphia, and become honest men; my enmity, if that's of any consequence, ceases from the "
moment;” and, as soon as I possibly can, I promise to love, honour and respect them. In the mean time, why do you “ believe it will preclude all accommodation with them on just and reasonable termis?" Do you not boast, that their gracious condescensions are in the hands of the governor; and that “if this had been the usual time for business, his honour would have sent them down in a message to the house." How then can my going to England prevent this accommodation? The governor can call the house when he pleases; and, one would think, that, at least in your opinion, my being out of the way would be a favourable circumstance. For then, by “cultivating the disposition shown by the proprietaries, every reasonable demand that can be made on the part of the people might be obtained: in vigorously insisting on which, you promise to unite most earnestly with the rest of the house." It seems then we have “ reasonable demands” to make, and, as you call thein a little higher, equitable demands. This is much for proprietary minions to own; but you are all growing better, in imitation of your master, which is indeed very commendable. And if the accommodation here should fail, I hope, that though you dislike the person a majority of two to one in the house
have thought fit to appoint an agent, you will never theless, in duty to your country, continue the noble resolution of uniting with the rest of the house, in vigorously insisting on that equity and justice, which such an union will undoubtedly obtain for us.
I pass over the trivial charge against the assembly, that they “ acted with unnecessary haste in proceeding to this appointment, without making a small adjournment,” &c. and your affected apprehensions of danger from that baste. The necessity of expedition on this occasion is as obvious to every one out of doors, as it was to those within; and the fears you mention are not, I fancy, considerable enough to break your rest. I come then to hour high charge against me,“ that I heretofore ventured, contrary to an act of assembly, to place the public money in the stocks; whereby this province suffered a loss of 6000l. and that sum, added to the 50001. granted for my expences, makes the whole cost of
my former voyage to Eugland amount to eleven thousand pounds!" How wisely was that form in our laws contrived, which, when a man is arraigned for his life, requires the evidence to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! The reason is manifest. A falshood may destroy the innocent, so may part of a truth without the whole; and a mixture of truth and falshood may be full as pernicious. You, Mr. Chief Justice, and the other justices among the protesters, and you, sir, who are a counsellor at law, must all of you be well acquainted with this excellent form; and when you arraigned my reputation (dearer to me than life) before the assembly, and now at the respectable tribunal of the public, would it not have well become your honours to have had same small regard at least to
the spirit of that form ? You might have mentioned, that the direction of the act, to lodge the money in the bank, subject to the drafts of the trustees of the loanoffice here, was impracticable; that the bank refused to receive it on those terms, it being contrary to their settled rules to take charge of money subject to the orders of unknown people living in distant countries. You might have mentioned, that the house being informed of this, and having no immediate call for the money, did themselves adopt the measure of placing it in the stocks, which then were low, where it might on a peace produce a considerable profit, and in the mean time accumulate an interest: that they even passed a bill, directing the subsequent sums granted by parliament to be placed with the former; that the measure was prudent and safe; and that the loss arose, not from placing the money in the stocks, but from the imprudent and unnecessary drawing it out at the very time when they were lowest, on some slight uncertain rumours of a peace concluded: that if the assembly had let it remain another year, instead of losing they would have gained sir thousand pounds; and that after all, since the ex: change at which they sold their bills was near twenty per cent higher when they drew than when the stocks were purchased, the loss was far from being so great as you represenı it. All these things you might have said; for they are, and you know them to be, part of the whole truth; but they would have spoiled your accusation. The late speaker of your honourable house, Mr. Norris, (who has, I suppose, all my letters to him, and copies of his own to me, relating to that transaction) can testify with how much integrity and clearness I managed the whole affair. All the house were sensible of it, being P 3
from * Report of the Committee on Benjamin Franklin's Accounts. " In obedience to the order of the house, we have examined the account of Benjamin Franklin, Esq. with the vouchers to us produced in support thereof, and do find the same account to be just, and that he has expended, in the immediate service of this province the sum of seven hundred and fourteen pounds, ten shillings and seven pence, out of the sum of Afteen hundred pounds sterling to him remitted and paid, exclusive of any allowance or charge for his support and services for the province. John MORTON,
from time to time fully acquainted with the facts. If I had gone to gaming in the stocks with the public money, and through my fault a sum was lost, as your protest would insinuate, why was I not censured and punished for it when I returned? You, honourable sir, (my. enemy of seven years standing) was then in the house. You were appointed on the committee for examining iny accounts; you reported, that you found them just, and signed that report.* I never solicited the employ
February, 19, 1763.
“ The house taking the foregoing report of the committee of accounts into consideration, and having spent some time therein,
«RESOLVED, " That the sum of five hundred pounds sterling per annum be allowed and given to Benjamin Franklin, Esq. late agent for the province of Pen. sylvania at the court of Great Britain, during his absence of six years from bis business and connections, in the service of the public; and that the thanks of this house be also given to the said gentleman by Mr. Speaker, from the chair; as well for the faithful discharge of his duty to this pro'vince in particular, as for the many and important services done America in general, during his residence in Great Britain.”
of agent; I made no bargain for my future service, when I was ordered to England by the assembly: nor did they vote me any salary. I lived there near six years at my own expence, and I made no charge or demand when I came home. You, sir, of all others, was the
very member that proposed (for the honour and justice of the house) a compensation to be made me of the five thousand pounds you mention. Was it with an intent to reproach me thus publicly for accepting it? I thanked the house for it then, and I thank you now for proposing it: though you, who have lived in England, can easily conceive, that besides the prejudice to my private affairs by my absence, a thousund pounds more would not have reimbursed me. The money voted was immediately paid me. But if I had occasioned the loss of six thousand pounds to the province, here was a fair opportunity of securing easily the greatest part of it; why was not the five thousand pounds deducted, and the remainder called for? The reason is, this accusation was not then invented. Permit me to add, that supposing the whole eleven thousand pounds an expence occasioned by my voyage to England, yet the taxation of the proprietary estate now established will, when valued by
Thursday, March 31, 1763. “ Pursuant to a resolve of the nineteenth of last month, that the thanks of this house be given to Benjamin Franklin, Esq. for his many services not only to the province of Pensylvania, but to America in general, during his late agency at the court of Great Britain; the same were this day ac. cordingly given in form from the chair. To which Mr. Franklin, respect. fully addressing himself to the Speaker, made answer, That he was thankful to the house, for the very handsome and generous allowance they had been pleased to make him for his services; but that the approbation of this house was, in his estimation, far above every other kind of reconpence,” Votes, 1763,