Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

To the Printer of the Public Advertiser.*

SIR, FINDING that iwo gentlemen have been unfortunately engaged in a duel about a transaction and its circumstances, of which both of them are totally ignorant and innocent. I think it incumbent upon me to declare (for the prevention of farther mischief, as far as such a declaration may contribute to prevent il) that I alone am the person, who obtained and transmitted to Boston the letters in question.

Mr. W. could not commuuicate them, because they were never in his possession; and for the same reason they could not be taken from him by Mr. T. They were not of the nature of private letters between friends. They were written by public officers to persons in public stations, on public affairs, and intended to procure public measures; they were therefore. handed to other public persons, who might be influenced by them to produce those measures. Their tendency was to incense the mother-country against her colonies, and, by the steps

* Some letters had passed in the public prints between Mr. Thomas Whately's brother and Mr. John Temple, concerning the manner in which the letters of Governor Hutchinson, &c. had escaped from among the papers of Mr. Thomas Whately, at this time deceased.

The one gentleman wished to avoid the charge of having given them, the other of having taken them. · At length the dispute became so personal and pointed, that Mr. Teinple thought it necessary to call the brother into the field. The letter of provocation appeared in the morning, and the parties met in the afternoon. Dr. Franklin was not then in town ; it was after some interval that he received the intelligence. What had passed he could not foresce; he endeavoured to prevent what still might follow. B. V.

recommended, recommended, to widen the breach, wbich they effected. The chief caution expressed with regard to privacy was, to keep their contents from the colony agents, who, the writers apprehended, might return them, or copies of them, lo Ainerica. That apprehension was, it seems, well founded, for the first agent who laid his hands on them thought it his duty to transmit them to bis constituents*.

Craven-Street, Dec. 25, 1773.

B. FRANKLIN,
Agent for the House of Representatives

of the Massachusetts Bay.

It was in consequence of this letter that Mr. Wedderburn ventured to make the most odious personal applications. Mr. Mauduit has prør dently omitted part of them in bis account of the proceedings before the privy-council. They are given here altogether however (as well as they could be collected) to mark the politics of the times, and the nature of the censures passed in England upon Dr. Franklin's character.

The letters could not have come to Dr. Franklin," said Mr. Wedder. burn, “ by fair means. The writers did not give them to him, nor yet did the deceased correspondent, who, from our intimacy, would otherwise bave told me of it: nothing then will acquit Dr. Franklin of the charge of obtaining them by frandulent or corrupt means, for the most malignant of purposes; unless he stole them, from the person who stole them. This argument is irrefragable."

· I hope, iny bords, you will mark (and brands the man, for the honour of this county, of Europe, and of mankind. Private correspondence bas hitherto been held sacred in times of the greatest party rage, not only in politics but religion.”--" He has forfeited all the respect of societies and of men.

Into what conipanies will hereafter go with an unembarrassed face, or the honest intrepidity of virque. Men will watch him with a jealous eye, they will hide their papers from him, and lock up their escrutoires. He will henceforth esteem it a libel to be called a mun of letters, homo trium* literarum ! * i. e. Fur (or thief).

« Bot

[ocr errors]

“ But he not only took away the letters from one brother, but kept himself concealed till he nearly occasioned the murder of the other. It is impossible to read liis account, expressive of the coolest and most deliberate malice, without horror.” [Here he read the letter above, Dr. Franktịn being all the time present.]Amidst these tragical events, of one person nearly murdered, of another answerable for the issue, of a worthy governor hurt in his dearest interests, the fate of America in suspense; here is a man, who, with the utmost insensibility of remorse, stands up and avows himself the author of all. I can compare it only to Zanga in Dr. Young's Revenge".

« Know then 'twas--I:
I forged the letter, I disposed the picture ;
I hated, I despised, and I destroy.

“ I ask, my lords, whether the revengeful temper, attributed by poetic fiction only to the bloody African, is not surpassed by the coolness and apathy of the wily American?”

These pleadings for a time worked great effect : the lords assented, the town was convinced, Dr Franklin was disgracedt, and Mr. Wedderburn seemed in the road for every kind of advancement.--Unfortunately for Mr. Wedderburn, the events of the war did not correspond with his systems. Unfortunately too for his “irrefragable argument,” Dr. Frank. lin afterwards took an oath in chancery, that at the time that he transmitted the letters he was ignorant of the party to whom they had been addressed, having himself received theni from a third person, and for the express purpose of their being conveyed to America. Unfortunately also for Mr. Wedderburn's “ worthy governor,” that governor himself, before the arrival of Dr. Franklin's packet in Boston, sent over one of Dr.' Franklin's "own private” letters to England, expressing some little coyness indeed upon the occasion, but desiring secrecy, lest he should be prevented procuring more useful intelligence from the same sourceg. Whether Mr. Wedderburn in his speech intended to draw a particular case and portraiture, for the purpose only of injuring Dr. Franklin, or meant that his language and epithets should apply generally to all, whe.

# Act Vth.
+ He was dismissed from his place in the post-office.

| A copy of the proceedings in chancery has been in my possession, but being at present mislaid I speak only from memory here.

See the Remembrancer for the year 1776, part 2d. p. 61. col. 1st. and 2d,

tber

Rules for reducing a Great Empire to a small one, presented to a

late Minister, when he entered upon his Administration*.

AN ancient sage valued himself upon this, that though he could not fiddle, he knew how to make a great city of a little one. The science, that I, a modern simpleton, am about to communicate, is the very re

verse.

I address myself to all ministers, who have the management of extensive dominions, which, from their very greatness, are becomie troublesome to govern--because the multiplicity of their affairs leaves no time for fiddling

1. In the first place, gentlenen, you are to consider, that a great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges. Turn your attention therefore first to your remotest provinces; that, as you get rid of them, the next may follow' in order.

tlier friends or roes, whose practice should be found similar to it, is a matter that must be left to be adjusted between governor Hutchinson and Mr Wedderburu.

But to return to Dr. Franklin. It was not singular perhaps, that, as a. man of honour, he should surrender his name to public scrutiny in order to prevent mischief to others, and yet not betray his coadjutor (even to the present moment) to relieve his own fame fron the severest obloquy; but perhaps it belonged to few besides Dr. Franklin, to possess mildness and magnanimity enough to refrain from intemperate expressions and measures against Mr. Wedderburn and his supporters, after all that had passed. B.V

These rules first appeared in a London newspaper about the begin. Ding of the year 1774, and have several times since been introduced into our public prints.-The minister alluded to is supposed to be the Earl of Hillsborough.

“ The causes and motions of seditions (says Lord Bacon) are, innovation in religion, taxes, alteration of laws and customs, breaking of privileges, general oppression, advancement of unworthy persons, strangers, dcarths, disbanded soldiers, factions grown desperate, and whatsoever in offending people joineth and knitteth them in a common cause." B. V.

II. That the possibility of this separation may always exist, take special care the provinces are never incorporated with the mother country; that they do not enjoy the same common rights, the same privileges in commerce, and that they are governed by severer laws, all of your enacting, without allowing them any share in the choice of the legislators. By carefully inaking and preserving such distinctions, you will (to keep to my simile of the cake) act like a wise gingerbread-baker ; who, to facilitate a division, cuts his dough half through in those places, where, when baked, he would have it broken to pieces.

III. Those remote provinces have perhaps been acquired, purchased, or conquered, at the sole expence of the settlers or their ancestors, without the aid of the mother-country. If this should happen to increase her strength, by their growing numbers, ready to join in her wars ; her commerce, by their growing demand for her manufactures; or her naval power, by greater employment for her ships and seamen, they may probably suppose some merit in this, and that it entitles them to some favour: you are therefore to forget it all, or resent it, as if they had done you injury. If they happen to be zealous whigs, friends of liberty, nurtured in revolution principles; remember all that to their prejudice, and contrive to punish it: for such principles, after a revolution is thoroughly established, are of no more use; they are even odious and abominable.

IV. However peaceably your colonies have submitted io your government, shown their affection to your interests, and patiently borne their grievances, you are

[ocr errors]

1 to

1

« ZurückWeiter »