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Please to present my duty to the assembly, with thanks for their care of me, and assure them of my most faithful services. With sincerest esteem and respect, I am, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B. Franklin. ..
To Governor Franklin, New Jersey. , ,
Conversation with Lord Shelburne and Mr. Conway on American affairs—Paper money—Tie Guerchy—Monsieur Durand, the French minister plenipotentiary, curious about American affairs.
• Dear Son, London, August 28, 1767
I have no letter of yours since my last, in which I answered all preceding ones. „ .. „•••' ■
Last week I dined at Lord Shelburne's, and had a long conversation with him and Mr. Conway (there being no other company), on the subject of reducing American expense. 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, 8tc. which they think will then be managed more frugally, the treasury being tired with the immense drafts of the superintendants, &c. I took the opportunity of urging it as one means of saving expense in supporting the out-posts, that a settlement, should be made iu 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, &c. I mentioned your plan, its being approved by Sir William Jonlison, the readiness and ability of the gentlemen concerned to carry the settlement into execution with very little expense to the crown, &c. &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 Wiliiam Johnson, &c. 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, J 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. . '..'
•De Guerchy, the French ambassador, is gone home, and Monsieur Durand is left minister plenipotentiary. He is ei» tremely 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 in* quisitive; 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 my 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 about six weeks. I have a little private commission to transact, of which more another time. Communicate nothing of this letter but privately to bur friend Galloway. I am your affectionate father, • '•..,. u, B.franklin.;
To Governor Franklin.
Governor Bernard—Conversation with Lord Shelburne— Dean Tucker—Lord Clare.
Dear Son, • London, Nov. 25, 1767.
I think the New Yorkers have been very discreet in forbearing to write and publish against the late act of pat;' liament. I wish the Boston people had been as quiet, since Governor Bernard has sent over all their violent papers to the ministry, and wrote them word- that he daily expected a rebellion. He did indeed afterwards correct this extravagance by writing again, that he now understood those papers were approved but by few, and disliked by all the sober sensible people of the province. A certain noble lord expressed himself to me with some disgust and contempt of B. on this occasion; saying he ought to have known his people better, than to impute to the whole country sentiments that perhaps are only scribbled by some madman in a garret; that he appeared to be too fond of contention, and mistook the matter greatly, in
288 PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE PART II.
supposing such letters as he wrote were acceptable to the ministry. I have heard nothing of the appointment of General Clarke to New York: but I know he is a friend of Lord Shelburne's, and the same that recommended Mr. M'Lean to be his secretary. Perhaps it might be talked of in my absence. '. . ..-.; .: ..... .. u, /..',
The - commissioners for the American board went hence while I; was in France; you know before this time who they are, and how they are received, which I want to hear. Mr. Williams, who is gone in some office with them, is brother to oar cousin Williams of Boston; but 1 assure you I had not the least share in his appointment; having, as I told you before, carefully kept out of the way of that wliole affair.
As soon as I received Mr• Galloway's, Mr. T. Wharton's, and Mr. Croghan's letters on the subject of the boundary, I communicated them immediately to Lord Shelburne. He invited me the next day to dine with him. Lord Clare was to have been there, but did not come. There was nobody but Mr. M'Lean. My lord knew nothing of the boundary's having ever been agreed on by Sir William, had sent the letters to the board of trade, desiring search to be made there for Sir William's letters, and ordered Mr. M'Lean to search the secretary's office, who found nothing. We had much discourse about it; and I pressed the importance of dispatching orders immediately to .Sir William to complete the affair. His lordship asked who was to make the purchase, i. e. be at the expense? I said that if the line included any lands within the grants of the charter colonies, they should pay the purchase money of such proportion. If any within the proprietary grants, they should pay their proportion; but that what was within royal governments, where the king granted the lands, the crown should pay for that proportion. His lordship was pleased to say, he thought this reasonable. He finally desired me to go to Lord Clare as from him, and urge the business there, which I undertook to do. Among other things at this conversation we talked of the new settlement; his lordship told me he had himself drawn up a paper of reasons for those settlements, which he laid before the king in council) acquainting them that he did not offer them merely as his own sentimentsj they were what he had collected from General Amherst, Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Jackson, three gentlemen that were allowed to be the best authorities for any thing that related to America. I think he added, that the council seemed to approve of the design: I know it was referred to the board of trade, who, I believe^ have not yet reported on ity and I doubt will report against it.' My lord told me one pleasant circumstance, vie. that he had shown his paper to the dean of Gloucester (Tucker) to hear his opinion of the matter 5 who very sagaciously remarked, that he was sure that paper was drawn up by Dr. Franklin; he saw him in every paragraph; adding, that Dr. Franklin wanted to remove the seat of government to America: that, said he, is his constant plan* '•■ j•••
I waited next morning upon Lord Clare, and pressed the matter of the boundary closely upon him. He said they could not find they had ever received any letters from Sir William concerning this boundary, but' were searching farther: agreed to the necessity of settling it; but thought there would be some difficulty about whtr' should pay the purchase-money \ for that this country was already so loaded it could bear no more* We then talked of the new colonies. I found he Was inclined to think one near the mouth of the Ohio might be of use, in securing the country, but did not much approve that at Detroit. And as to the trade, he imagined it would be of little consequence if we had all the peltry to be purchased there, but supposed our traders would
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