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privileges, and declaring that we mean at a proper time to vindicate them, this advantageous union may still be long continued. We wish it, and we may endeavour it; but God will order it as to his wisdom shall seem most suitable. The friends of liberty here wish we may long preserve it on our side of the water, that they may find it there, if adverse events should destroy it here. They are therefore anxious and afraid, lest we should hazard it by premature attempts in its favor. They think we may risk much by violent measures, and that the risk is unnecessary, since a httle time must infallibly bring us all we demand or desire, and bring it to us in peace and safety. I do not presume to advise. There are many wiser men among you, and I hope you will be directed by a still superior wisdom.
With regard to the sentiments of people in general here, concerning America, I must say, that we have among them many friends and wellwishers. The Dissenters are all for us, and many of the merchants and manufacturers. There seems to be, even among the country gentlemen, a general sense of our growing importance, a disapprobation of the harsh measures with which we have been treated, and a wish that some means may be found of perfect reconciliation. A few members of Parliament in both Houses, and perhaps some in high office, have in a degree the same ideas; but none of these seem willing as yet to be active in our favor, lest adversaries should take advantage, and charge it upon them as a betraying the interests of this nation. In this state of things, no endeavour of mine, or our other friends here, “to obtain a repeal of the acts so oppressive to the colonists, or the orders of the crown so destructive of the charter rights of our province in particular, can expect a sudden suc
cess." By degrees, and a judicious improvement of events, we may work a change in minds and measures; but otherwise such great alterations are hardly to be looked for.
I am thankful to the House for their kind attention, in: repeating their grant to me of six hundred pounds. Whether the instruction restraining the governor's assent is withdrawn or not, or is likely to be, I cannot tell, having never solicited or even once mentioned it to Lord Dartmouth, being resolved to owe no obligation to the favor of any minister. If, from a sense of right, that instruction should be recalled, and the general principle on which it was founded is given up, all will be very well; but you can never think it worth while to employ an agent here, if his being paid or not is to depend on the breath of a minister, and I should think it a situation too suspicious, and therefore too dishonorable for me to remain in a single hour. Living frugally, I am under no immediate necessity; and, if I serve my constituents faithfully, though it should be unsuccessfully, I am confident they will always have it in their inclination, and some time or other in their power, to make their grants effectual.
A gentleman of our province, Captain Calef, is come hither as an agent for some of the eastern townships, to obtain a confirmation of their lands. Sir Francis Bernard seems inclined to make use of this person's application for promoting a separation of that country from your province, and making it a distinct government; to which purpose he prepared a draft of a memorial for Calef to present, setting forth not only the hardship of being without security in the property of their improvements, but also of the distress of the people there for want of government; that they were at too great a distance from that of the government in the Massachusetts to be capable of receiving the benefits of government from thence, and expressing their willingness to be separated and formed into a new province, &c.
With this draft Sir Francis and Mr. Calef came to me to have my opinion. I read it, and observed to them, that, though I wished the people quieted in their possessions, and would do any thing I could to assist in obtaining the assurance of their property, yet, as I knew the province of Massachusetts had a right to that country, of which they were justly tenacious, I must oppose that part of the memorial, if it should be presented. Sir Francis allowed the right, but proposed that a great tract of land between Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers, which had been allotted to New Hampshire, might be restored to our province, by order of the crown, as a compensation. This, he said, would be of more value to us than that eastern country, as being nearer home, &c. I said, I would mention it in my letters, but must in the mean time oppose any step taken in the affair, before the sentiments of the General Court should be known as to such an exchange, if it were offered. Mr. Calef himself did not seem fond of the draft, and I have not seen him or heard any thing farther of it since; but I shall watch it.
Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the House, and believe me with sincere and great esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
TO SAMUEL MATHER. *
Dissenters' Petition. — Discovery of America by Euro
peans before Columbus. — Remarks on the Proceedings against America.
London, 7 July, 1773. REVEREND SIR, By a line of the 4th past, I acknowledged the receipt of your favor of March 18th, and sent you with it iwo pamphlets. I now add another, a spirited address to the Bishops, who opposed the Dissenters' petition. It is written by a dissenting minister at York. There is preserved at the end of it a little fugitive piece of mine on the same occasion.
I perused your tracts with pleasure. I see you inherit all the various learning of your famous ancestors, Cotton and Increase Mather. The father, Increase, I once heard preach at the Old South Meeting for Mr. Pemberton; and I remember his mentioning the death of “that wicked old persecutor of God's people, Louis the Fourteenth ;" of which news had just been received; but which proved premature. I was some years afterwards at his house at the North End, on some errand to him, and remember him sitting in an easy chair, apparently very old and feeble. But Cotton I remember in the vigor of his preaching and usefulness.
You have made the most of your argument, to prove that America might be known to the ancients. There is another discovery of it claimed by the Norwegians, which you have not mentioned, unless it be under the words, “of old viewed and observed,” page 7. About twenty-five years since, Professor Kalm, a learned Swede, was with us in Pennsylvania. He contended, that America was discovered by their northern people, long before the time of Columbus; which I doubting, he drew up and gave me some time after a note of those discoveries, which I send you enclosed. It is his own handwriting, and his own English; very intelligible for the time he had been among us. The circumstances give the account a great appearance of authenticity. And if one may judge by the description of the winter, the country they visited should be southward of New England, supposing no change since that time of the climate. But, if it be true, as Krantz, I think, and some other historians tell us, that old Greenland, once inhabited and populous, is now ren. dered uninhabited by ice, it should seem that almost perpetual northern winter had gained ground to the southward; and, if so, perhaps more northern countries might anciently have had vines, than can bear them in these days."
* A clergyman of Boston, and son of the celebrated Cotton Mather.
The remarks you have added, on the late proceed. ings against America, are very just and judicious; and I cannot see any impropriety in your making them, though a minister of the gospel. This kingdom is a good deal indebted for its liberties to the public spirit of its ancient clergy, who joined with the barons in obtaining Magna Charta, and joined heartily in forming the curses of excommunication against the infringers of it. There is no doubt but the claim of Parliament, of authority to make laws binding on the colonies in all cases whatsoever, includes an authority to change our religious constitution, and establish Popery
• For the argumenta in proof of the discovery of America by navigutor from the north of Europe, sre WULATON'S Hutory of the Northmen De 24; and the North American Reriene, for January, 1838.