« ZurückWeiter »
reprimand upon their knees. The house could scarcely keep countenancès, knowing, as they all do, that the practice is general. People say, they mean nothing more than to beat down the price by'a little discouragement of borough-jobbing, now that their own elections are all coming on. The price indeed is grown exorbitant; no less than 4000l. for a member! | Mr. Beckford has brought in a bill for preventing bribery and corruption in elections, wherein was a clause to oblige every member to swear on their admission into the house, that he had not directly or indirectly given any bribe to any elector, &c.; but this was so universally exclaimed against, as answering no end but perjuring the members, that he has been obliged to withdraw that clause. It was indeed a cruel contrivance of his, worse than the gunpowder plot ; for that was only to blow the parliament up to heaven; this is to sink them all down to Mr. Thurlow opposed his bill by a long speech. Beckford, in reply, gave a dry hit to the house, - that is repeated everywhere :-. the honorable gentleman," says he, “ in his learned discourse, gave us first one definition of corruption, then he gave us another definir tion of corruption, and I think he was about to give us a third. Pray does that gentleman imagine there is any member of this house that does not KNOW what corruption is?" which occasioned only a roar of laughter; for they are so hardened in the practice that they are very little ashamed of it. This between ourselves. I am, with sincerest esteem, dear sin your most obedient humble servant, si B. FRANKAN
To T. WHARTON, Esg. PHILADELPHIA,
Conversation with Mr. Secretary Conway relative to his
resignation, and to American affairs-Boston proceed-
London, Feb. 20, 1768. ., 1 received your favors of November 17, and! 18, with another dozen of excellent wine, the manufacture of our friend Lievezy. I thank you for the care you have taken in forwarding them, and for your kind good wishes that accompany them.
The story you mention of Secretary Conway's wondering what I could be doing in England, and that he had not seen me for a considerable time, savors strongly of the channel through which it came, and deserves no notice. But since his name is mentioned, it gives me occasion to relate what passed between us the last time I had the honor of conversing with him. It was at court, when the late changes were first rumored, and it was reported he was to resign the secretary's office. Talking of America, I said I was 'sorry to find that our friends were one after another quitting the administration; that I was apprehensive of the consequences, and hoped what I heard of his going out was not true. He said it was really true, the employment had not been of his choice, he had never any taste for it, but had submitted to engage in it for a time at the instance of his friends, and he believed his removal could not be attended with any ill consequences to America. That he was a sincere well-wisher to the prosperity of that country as well as this, and hoped the imprudencies of either side would never be carried to such a height as to create a breach of the union, so essentially necessary to
the welfare of both. That as long as his majesty continued to honor him with a share in his councils, America should always find in him a friend, &c. This I write as it was agreeable to me to hear, and I suppose will be so to you to read. For his character has more in it of the frank honesty of the soldier, than of the plausible insincerity of the courtier ; and therefore what he says is more to be depended on. The proprietor's dişlike to my continuing in England to be sure is very natural; as well as to the repeated' choice of assembly-men not his friends; and probably he would, as they so little answer his purposes, wish to see elections as well as agencies abolished. They make him very unhappy, but it camot be helped.
The proceedings in Boston, as the news came just upon the meeting of parliament, and occasioned great clamor here, gave me much concern. And as every offensive thing done in America is charged upon all, and every provincej though unconcerned in it, suffers in its interests through the general disgust given, and the little distinction here made, it became necessary I thought to palliate the matter a little for our own sakes; and therefore I wrote the paper which probably you have seen printed in the Chronicle of January 7, and signed F+S. Yours affectionately,
" MEMOIRS OF LIFE, Part III. p. 179. 4to ed, and WRITINGS, 4to ed. Part I, sect. 1. p. 43.
To GOVERNOR FRANKLIN,
Lord Hillsborough— The Farmer's letters— American
manufactures—New elections in England. DEAR Son,
London, March 13, 1768. I have received all together your letters of January 6, 21, and 22: it had been a great while that I had not heard from you. The
purpose of settling the new colonies seems at present to be dropped, the change of American administration not appearing favorable to it. There seems rather to be an inclination to abandon the posts in the back country as more expensive than useful; but counsels are so continually fluctuating here, that nothing can be depended on. The new secretary, my Lord Hillsborough, is I find of opinion that the troops should be placed, the chief part of them, in Canada and Florida, only three battalions to be quartered in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania ; and that forts Pitt, Oswego, Niagara, &c. should be left to the colonies to garrison and keep up if they think it necessary for the protection of their trade, &c. Probably his opinion may be followed, if new changes do not produce other-ideas. As to my own sentiments, I am weary of suggesting them to so many different inattentive heads, though I must continue to do it while I stay among them. The letters fron Sir William Johnson relating to the boundary were at last found, and orders were sent over about Christmas for completing the purchase and settlement of it. My Lord H. has promised me to send duplicates by this packet, and urge the speedy execution, as we represented to him the danger that these dissatisfactions of the Indians might produce a war. But I can tell you there are many here to whom the news of such
a war would give pleasure, who speak of it as a thing to be wished's partly as a chastisement to the colonies, and partly to make them feel the want of protection from this country, and pray for it. For it is imagined that we could not possibly defend ourselves against the Indians without such assistance, so little is the state of America understood here.
My Lord H. mentioned the Farmer's letters to me, said he had read them, that they were well written, and he bea lieved he could guess who was the author, looking in my face at the same time as if he thought it was me. He censured the doctrines as extremely wild, &c. I have read them as far as No. 8. I know not if any more have been published, I should have thought they had been written by Mr. Delancy, not having heard any mention of the others you point out as joint authors. I am not yet master of the idea these and the New England writers have of the relation between Britain and her colonies. I know not what the Boston people mean by the“ subordination” they acknowledge in their assembly to parliament, while they deny its power to make laws for them, nor what bounds the Farmer sets to the power he acknowledges in parliament to "regulate the trade of the colonies," it being difficult to draw lines between duties for regulation and those for revenue, and if the parliament is to be the judge, it seems to me that establishing such principles of distinction will amount to little. The more I have thought and read on the subject the more I find myself confirmed in opinion, that no middle doctrine can be well main tained, I mean not clearly with intelligible : arguments. Something might be made of either of the extremes; that parliament has a power to make all laws for us, or that it bas-a power to make no laws for us; and I think the arguments for the latter more numerous and weighty than those for the former. Supposing that doctrine established, the