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of all articles of life was much increased. Reasonable as the governor, a man of courteous manners and moderate coun. demand was, lord North bluntly opposed it, but it was sels. But even out of Hutchinson's position arose offence. carried by a large majority against him, and he then as- His brothers-in-law, Andrew and Peter Oliver, were apsented to the motion.
pointed lieutenant-governor and chief justice of the province. At the same time colonel Barré was most invidiously Lord North thought that the payment of these officers passed over in brevet promotion; he had been formally should be in the hands of government, to render them indedismissed from the service for his parliamentary conduct, but pendent of the colonists; but this the colonists resented as had been permitted to retain his half-pay and nominal rank, an attempt to destroy the charter and establish arbitrary and had been assured by lord Barrington that he should power. The Massachusetts' house of assembly declared on receive brevet promotion in due course. On some young this occasion, in their address to the crown: “ We know of officers now being put over his head, by the advice of Pitt no commissioners of his majesty's customs, nor of any he tendered his entire resignation, which was laconically revenue that his majesty has a right to establish in North accepted by the king. As Barré had served with distinc- America." They denounced the declaratory act passed at tion in three quarters of the globe, this conduct of the the suggestion of Chatham, and the attempt to make the government gave great disgust to all liberal men, as it governors and judges independent of the people, and the showed that the ministry calculated on the implicit support arbitrary instruments of the crown. In Virginia the same of military or naval officers in parliament, or would punish spirit was conspicuous. them for any independence.
Whilst these things were fermenting in America, their The question of the thirty-nine articles was again dis- faithful agent in England— Benjamin Franklin—was labourcussed, and the public was now astonished to find the body ing in the same spirit. He published two articles in the of methodists take part with the rigid section of the church,“ Public Advertiser "-the vehicle of Junius. One was and petition in favour of the maintenance of the articles styled “An Edict of the King of Prussia," calling on the against the dissenters. The public was not prepared for English, as a Teutonic colony, to contribute to the Prussian that display of conservatism which the ministers of the revenue. The other was entitled “Rules for reducing a Wesleyan Methodists have always since manifested, and great Empire to a small one.” It compared a great empire which they have firmly, as an ecclesiastical body, maintained to a great cake, which was most easily diminished at the over their own people.
edges; and it recommended England to get rid of her In the city, John Wilkes continued his agitation. He remotest provinces, to make way for the rest following. endeavoured to incite the corporation to present an address But these were innocent squibs compared with the bombof congratulation to the king on the birth of a princess, the shell which Franklin now threw into the excited state of princess in question being a daughter born to the duke of Massachusetts. Gloucester by his wife, whom George and the queen had During the years 1767, 1768, and 1769, Mr. Thomas ignored. Failing in this, he succeeded, however, in procur- Whately—at one time private secretary to Grenville, and ing an address to be presented complaining of the old several years under-secretary of state to lord Suffolk, but grievances of the imprisonment of the lord mayor, the during these years out of office, and simply member of Middlesex elections, and praying for a dissolution of parlia- parliament—had maintained a private correspondence with ment and the dismissal of ministers. The king received the governor Hutchinson, and his brother-in-law, Andrew address with unconcealed resentment, and did not allow the Oliver, the lieutenant-governor. In these letters Hutchincity dignitaries the luxury of kissing hands.
son and Oliver had freely expressed to their old friend Meantime, the storm was rising in the American colonies their views of the state of things in the colony ; 'and, of again, with symptoms of wrath more ominous than ever. course, said many things never intended to come to the Whilst the ministers fondly fancied they had been con- public eye, or to operate officially. On the death of ciliating, they had been putting the last touch to the Whately, in 1772, some villain purloined these letters and Fork of alienation.
conveyed them to Franklin. Who this dishonest firebrand Though there had appeared a lull in American affairs for was, was never discovered. Franklin pledged himself to some time, any one who was observant might have seen that secrecy, both as to the letters and as to the name of the all the old enmities were still working in the colonial mind, person who so basely obtained them. The name of this and that it would require little irritation to call them forth person he faithfully kept; but the contents of the letters in even an aggravated form. Lord Hillsborough was no were too well calculated to create an irreconcilable rancour longer governor, but William Legge, lord Dartmouth. He in the minds of the Americans, for him to resist the pleasure Fas a man of a high character for upright and candid mind; of communicating them to the Massachusetts assembly. He Richardson said that he would be the perfect ideal of his Sir accordingly forwarded them to Mr. Curling, the speaker of Charles Grandison, if he were not a methodist; and the poet the assembly. Cowper, not objecting to his methodism, described him as | The whole mode of coming into possession of these papers " one who wears a coronet and prays.” But lord Dartmouth, has something in it revolting to all honourable minds. with all his superiority of temper and his piety, could not Franklin, aware of this, insisted that they should not be prevent the then stone-blind cabinet and infatuated king printed nor made public, but only circulated amongst accomplishing the independence of America.
a select few. But the same motives which had induced Another favourable circumstance would have been found Franklin to break his pledged secrecy, operated on the in the fact that in Hutchinson, Massachusetts had a native l assembly. They determined to make them public, and
therefore pretended that other copies of them had reached Oliver, in one, remarked—“If I have written with freedom, them from England, and that they were thus absolved from I consider I am writing to a friend, and that I am perfectly all conditions of secrecy. This was totally false. The story safe in opening myself to you." was invented for the occasion, and the letters, without the The whole of this transaction right-minded Americans name of Whately, to whom they had been addressed, were would wish to blot from their annals, but they answered the published by the assembly. It was left to be inferred by the purpose of Franklin, which, it is clear, was now to sever the public, that they had been sent officially to England by union betwixt the mother country and colonies at any cost, the governor and lieutenant-governor, and the assembly even of those of honour and upright principle. voted the writing of them ample evidence of a fixed design When these letters were published in America, their real on the part of the English government to destroy the con- character concealed, and every means taken to represent stitution and establish arbitrary power. A petition was them as official dispatches to the officers of government in dispatched to be presented by Franklin to the king, calling England, the public rage was uncontrollable. A committee for the removal of Hutchinson and Oliver from their posts. was formed to wait on governor Hutchinson, and demand
When these letters were read under these false im- whether he owned the handwriting. Hutchinson freely pressions, sentiments were found in them which assumed owned to that, but contended very justly that the letters
a wholly exaggerated character, and the flame produced were of a thoroughly private character, and to an unofficial was, as Franklin and the assembly intended, of the most person. Notwithstanding, the House of Assembly drew up furious kind. In one of them, Hutchinson said, “I doubt a strong remonstrance to the English government, charging whether it is possible to project a system of government, the governor and lieutenant-governor with giving false and in which a colony, three thousand miles from the parent malicious information respecting the colony, and demanding state, shall enjoy all the liberty of the parent state. I wish their dismissal. the good of the colony when I wish to see some further. This remonstrance, accompanied by copies of the letters restraint on liberty, rather than that the connection with themselves, was immediately dispatched over all the colonies, the parent state shou!l be broken." Such sentiments, ad- and everywhere produced, as was intended, the most dressed in strict confidence to a private friend, were innocent violent inflammation of the public mind against England. enough, but read as addressed by their governor to the The Bostonians had for some time established what was English cabinet, they appeared most mischievous. Yet called a corresponding committee, whose business it was to there were plenty of evidences in them to have convinced prepare and circulate through the whole of the colonies any calm rcaders—which the people of Massachusetts were papers calculated to keep alive the indignation against the not—that they were only private confidential observations English government. This committee quickly was re
sponded to by other committees in different places, and soon Dudingston fired a shot across her bows, and, on her paying the plan became an organisation extending to every part of no regard to that, gave chase. The packet, however, ran the colonies, even the most remote, by which intelligence and close in shore, and the Gaspee following too eagerly, ran arguments were circulated through all America with won aground. It was on a sandy bottoin, and the return of the derful celerity. From this spraug one general tope of feeling, tide would have lifted her off undamaged ; but the snugand that tone, it is not be denied, was essentially revolution- gling population of Providence put off to her in the night, ary. Not a man who adhered to the mother country could whilst she lay in a position so as to be incapable of using her travel anywhere but his presence was announced from these guns, surprised, boarded, and set fire to her, carrycommittees; he was marked, and he was often insulted. ling the lieutenant and crew triuinplantly on shore.
That the spirit of the Bostonians had ripened into actual Government offered a reward of fire hundred pounds for the rebellion, was unequivocally shown in the course of the last discovery of the perpetrators of this daring outrage; but year. The Gaspee government schooner, commanded by though it was well known who the perpetrators were, lieutenant Dudingston, had been singularly active in putting including a merchant, named John Brown, and a captain down smuggling about Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Whipple, no one would give any information. On the packet coming in one evening from Newport to Providence, contrary, the most violent threats were uttered against instigated by the general anger against the Gaspee-for the anyone who should. It was clear that things had Rhode Islanders were great smugglers—refused to pay the come to such a pass, that an able government would Dual compliment of lowering the flag to the schooner. have attempted no further legislation in these colonies till it had well reinforced its military strength | Indians, who hurried down to Griffin's Wharf, where the there. This, the most important of all measures, under the tea ships lay, and rushing tumultuously on board, and circumstances, never appeared to occur to the English king hoisting out the tea chests, emptied them into the sea amid or ministry; and this country, which had forced such much triumph and noise. Having thus destroyed teas to hundreds of thousands of men into the Netherland and the amount of eighteen thousand pounds, the mob retreated German wars, neglected most insanely to transport to this to their houses; but, says John Adams, in his private diary, scene of insubordination a military power amply capable of “ many persons wished that as many dead carcases were supporting its authority.
floating in the harbour as there were chests of tea." The When such acts as the burning of the Gaspee had been rancour of the Bostonians had reached the blood heat. done with impunity, and whilst the American mind was Governor Hutchinson hastened to inform his government of rankling with all the Franklin poison of the purloined what had taken place, and to assure it that it had not been letters, three vessels arrived at Boston, laden with tea, in his power to prevent the destruction of the tea, unless he under the conditions of lord North’s bill. These ships had had yielded the authority reposed in him by the crown of been for some time expected; and tumultuous meetings had England. It never seems to have occurred to Hutchinson been held, and mobs had assembled menacing the houses of to call out the troops and land the goods under their prothe consignees with destruction. On their not assenting tection. In the whole of this contest with the American to send back the tea, their windows had been broken, their colonies it will be seen that nothing could exceed the doors forced in, and themselves compelled to flee to Castle weakness of the governors there, the miserable mediocrity of William for safety
the commanders, or the headstrong fatuity of the govern. On the arrival of the ships the commotion was intense. ment at home, which was continually passing irritating acts, Another meeting was held, to which the people of the or sending out irritating orders, without taking the necesneighbouring towns flocked in ; and a resolution which had sary precautions of having force in the colonies capable of been passed at Philadelphia, that the tea ships were sent to supporting the executive in its functions. enslave and poison the free men of America, was unani. The parliament opened its session on the 13th of January, mously adopted ; and it was agreed that the tea should not 1774. There were the usual questions mooted as to the be landed, but be sent back again.
amount of the navy, the motion of alderman Sawbridge for The consignees proposed that the tea should be allowed to the shortening of parliaments, and for inquiring into the come on shore, and be stowed in locked-up warehouses till acts of government regarding the Middlesex election. But the further instructions should arrive, as had been done at chief measure passed was the bill for rendering perpetual the Charleston; but this proposal was rejected with indignation. act of Grenville for referring questions regarding controThe Bostonians filled the streets in riotous mobs, menacing verted elections to committee, which was passed by two in the most deadly manner not only the captains of the tea hundred and fifty votes to one hundred and twenty-two ships, but all who should give them any assistance. The against government. Lord North, with his usual impolicy, mob was armed with muskets, rifles, swords, and cutlasses, was decided against rendering this useful act necessary, and and kept guard on the port day and night to prevent the found himself deserted by a whole host of the usual suplanding of the teas. The captains themselves would gladly porters of ministers. Such a blind and unpopular act would have sailed away with their obnoxious cargoes in safety, but have broken up North's cabinet, had not the news arrived the governor very foolishly gave orders that they should not from Boston and engaged the passions of the nation on pass the ports without a permit from himself, and he sent the same side with him. admiral Montague to guard the passages out of the harbour On the 7th of March the king sent a message to both with two ships of war. Whatever the pretences of the houses, announcing the proceedings at Boston, the destrucBostonians might be-and they still protested that they tion of the teas; and a mass of papers was sent down to the desired to remain a dependence of England-their acts now house of commons, including the dispatches of governor were revolutionary. The home government was set at defi- Hutchinson, of admiral Montague, letters from the conance by arms; and it would have been sufficient for the tea signees of the teas, and other communications from governors ships to have returned and reported their inability to remain and officers of the other colonies, with copies of the in the port of Boston without certain destruction of cargo, numerous inflammatory handbills, pamphlets, manifestoes, to have called forth the executive powers of the nation. &c., which had been circulated in America. The sensation
A meeting was held in Boston on the 16th of December, was intense. A warm debate ensued as to the course of at which Josiah Quincey, junior, told the people that the action necessary, and an address to the king was agreed to, contest must end in bullets and cannon balls ; that they who strongly condemning the conduct of the Rhode Islanders imagined that shouts and hosannas could terminate the trials and the Bostonians. At this juncture, Mr. Bollad, the of the day, deceived themselves. A message was sent from agent for the Massachusetts council, begged to lay belore the meeting demanding of the governor that the ships the house of commons the charters of queen Elizabeth and should be sent home again, and, on the governor refusing, a her successors, securing the liberties of that colony. The man, disguised as an Indian, gave a wild war-whoop in the charters were received and laid on the table. meeting, and the meeting hastened to separate.
The news from Boston could not have arrived at 2 But it separated only to reassemble again in a different moment when the public mind was more ill-disposed shape. As the evening grew dark, those who had quitted towards the Americans. The affair of the abstraction or the meeting were met by whole mobs arrayed as wild Mr. Whately's private letters from his house or office, au
their publication, contrary to all custom and to its own himself the author of all. I can compare him only to engagement, by the Massachusetts assembly, had produced Zanga, in Dr. Young's Revenge:a deep conviction in all classes in England of the utter
Know, then, 'twas I; disregard of honour both in the American colonists and of
I forged the letter-I disposed the picturetheir agent, Franklin. This disgraceful violation of the
I hated—I despised—and I destroy! sacred security of private papers roused the indignation.,
nation. I ask, my lords, whether the revengeful temper attributed to of Mr. William Whately, banker, in Lombard-street, and
the bloody African is not surpassed by the coolness and brother to the late Mr. Thomas Whately. He conceived
apathy of the wily American ?” strong suspicions of John Temple, afterwards Sir John
Priestley, in a letter, describes the effect of Wedderburn's Temple, lieutenant-governor of New Hampshire, and, though
address as received with what must seem a mad merriment one of the commissioners of customs at Boston, really hostile
by the council. “Mr. Wedderburn had a complete triumph, to the commission, and a strong partisan of Franklin.
At the sallies of his sarcastic wit, all the members of the Whately challenged Temple, and was severely wounded
council, the president himself, lord Gower, not excepted, in the rencontre. At this, Franklin came forward with
frequently laughed outright; and no person belonging to an avowal that neither the late Mr. Whately nor Mr.
the council behaved himself with decent gravity, except lord Temple had anything to do with the carrying off of
| North, who came in late." the letters; that he alone was responsible for this act.
Franklin is said to have felt so keenly the invectives of Franklin then proceeded to state what was perfectly | Wedderburn and the laughter of the council, that from that untrue—that these were not private letters between friends,
day he resolved to himself to do his utmost to effect the but by public officers on public affairs, and intended to
separation of the colonies. That the not undeserved procure public measures. This was contrary to the whole
castigation which he received did deepen the feeling, is most of the facts which we have stated; and Franklin pro
probable, but the feeling had evidently been long in his ceeded to assert what was equally untrue—that the only
bosom, and all his actions showed it. It is added, that from secrecy attached to the letters was, that they should
that hour he carefully laid by the dress of figured Manchester not be put into the hands of any colonial agent, who
velvet, which he wore on that occasion, until the day on might send them, or copies of them, to America. If
which he signed the treaty which acknowledged the indeeven the smallest part of this were true-for Franklin was
pendence of the United States. Yet, both Franklin and the such an agent-he had acted contrary to his own pledge to
other leaders of the colonists still kept on the mask of keep the secret, being the very man to send them to the
moderation, and of a pretended desire to retain the union public assembly of Massachusetts.
with the mother country, though we have it, on the In consequence of these circumstances, occasion was taken,
authority of Adam Smith, that Franklin said, with much on the presentation of the petition of the people of Boston,
triumph, in the presence of a particular friend of his, that, for the removal of the governor and lieutenant of Massa
“ whatever measures Great Britain might choose to pursue, chusetts, to the privy council, to animadvert severely on whether mild or rigorous, they would equally tend to bring Franklin's conduct. This took place on the 29th of Janu
about that great and desirable event - the entire indeary, when Dunning and Lee were retained on the part of
pendence of America." the petition, and Wedderburn, the solicitor-general, ap- The privy council decided that the petition from Massapeared for the crown. There were no less than thirty-five chusetts was framed on false and exaggerated allegations. privy councillors present, amongst them lord North, and lord
and was groundless, vexatious, and scandalous. Two days Gower at their head, as lord president. There was an afterwards, the king dismissed Franklin from the office, intense excitement on the occasion, and a severe crush to which he had till now held, of deputy - postmaster of obtain entrance; and, amongst the persons struggling in, America—a circumstance calculated to deepen his animosity, were Burke and Dr. Priestley.
for, from all that we can gather from Franklin's writings, he Neither Dunning nor Lee spoke effectively, but as if they had a much deeper and more lively idea of the value of by no means relished the cause in which they were engaged; I money than of the value of high principles in matters of while Wedderburn seemed animated by extraordinary life and diplomacy. bitterness. He was the friend of Whately, who was now And what were the measures which the British governlying in a dangerous state from his wound. After speaking ment resorted to in order to reduce the rebellious colonies of the charter and the insubordinate temper of the people to obedience? The obvious measure was to send out fresh of Massachusetts, he fell with withering sarcasm on troops, and to maintain such a garrison in all the great seaFranklin, who was present. “Hitherto,” he said, “private ports as should back the civil authorities in just and prudent correspondence had been held sacred, even in times of acts. But it has been well observed by a modern historian, the most rancorous party fury. But here was a gentle- that however the separation of America must have occurred man who had a high rank amongst philosophers, and should at some later period, its severance then was the work “of be the last to sanction such infamous breaches of honour, the most marvellous and incredulous combination of openly avowing his concern in them. He asked where, accident, craft, imbecility, and madness," that ever arose. henceforth, Dr. Franklin could show his face ; that Instead of strengthening its power, the government hastened henceforth he must deem it a libel to be termed a man | to pass a series of bills, each more calculated to enrage the of letters. Amidst tranquil events, here is a man who, Bostonians than another, without thinking of a single with the utraost insensibility of remorse, starts up and avows | means of enforcing these bills. So far from this enforce