Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

to say, I should have a melancholy prospect in going home to such public confusion, if I did not leave greater confusion behind me. The newspapers and my letter of this day to Mr. Ross will inform you of the miserable situation this country is in. While I am writing, a great mob of coal-porters fill the street, carrying a wretch of their business upon poles to be ducked, and otherwise punished at their pleasure for working at the old wages. All respect to law and government seems to be lost among the common people, who are moreover continually enflamed by seditious scribblers to trample on authority and every thing that used to keep them in order. • The parliament is now sitting, but will not continue long together, nor undertake any material business. The Court of King's Bench postponed giving sentence against Wilkes on bis outlawry till the next term, intimidated as some say by his popularity, and willing to get rid of the affair for a time till it should be seen wbat the parliament would.conclude as to his membership. The commons, at least some of them, resent that conduct, which has thrown a burthen on them it might have eased them of, by pillorying or punishing him in some infamous manner, that would have given better ground for expelling him the house. His friends complain of it as a delay of justice, say the court knew the outlawry to be defective, and that they must finally pronounce it void, but would punish him by long confinement. Great mobs of his adherents have assembled before the prison, the guards have fired on them: it is said five or six are killed and sixteen or seventeen wounded, and some circumstances have attended this military execution, such as its being done by the Scotch regiment, the pursuing a lad and killing hiin at his father's house &c. &c. that exasperate people exceedingly, and more mischief seems brewing. Several of the soldiers are imprisoned. If they are not hanged it is feared there will be more and greater mobs ; and if they are, that no soldier will assist in suppressing any mob hereafter. The prospect either way is gloomy. It is said the English soldiers cannot be confided in to act against these mobs, being suspected as rather inclined to favour and join them.

I am preparing for my return and hope for the pleasure of finding you well, when I shall have an opportunity of communicating to you more particularly the state of things here relating to our American affairs which I cannot so well do by letter. I inclose you the report of Sir M. L. counsel to the Board of Trade on one of your late acts. I suppose it has had its effect, so that the repeal will be of little consequence. In the mean time I am with sincere esteem and affection, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,

B. FRANKLIN.

To GOVERNOR FRANKLIN.
The Duke of Grafton.Mr. Secretary Cooper.-Lord

North.-Mr. Todd, Secretary of the Post Office.-
Lord Clare.
Dear Son,

London July 2, 1768. · Since my last I have received yours of May 10 dated at Amboy, which I shall answer particularly by next week's packet. I purpose now to take notice of that part wherein you say it was reported at Philadelphia I was to be appointed to a certain office here, which my friends all wished, but you did not believe it for the reason 1 bad mentioned. Instead of my being appointed to a new office, there has been a motion made to deprive me of that I vow hold, and I believe for the same reason, though that was not the reason given out, viz. my being too much of an American ; but, as it came from Lord Sandwich, our new Post Master General, who is of the Bedford party, and a friend of Mr. Grenville, I bave no doubt that the reason he gave out, viz. my non-residence, was only the pretence, and that the other was the true reason; especially as it is the practice in many other instances to allow the non-residence of American officers who spend their salaries here, provided care is taken that the business be done by deputy or otherwise.

The first notice I had of this was from my fast friend Mr. Cooper, Secretary of the Treasury. He desired me by a little note to call upon him there, which I did, when he told me, that the Duke of Grafton had mentioned to bim some discourse of Lord Sandwich's as if the office suffered by my absence, and that it would be fit to appoint another, as I seemed constantly to reside in England: that Mr. Todd the Secretary of the Post Office had also been with the Duke, talking to the same purpose &c. That the Duke had wished him (Mr. Cooper) to mention this to me, and to say to me at the same time that though my going to my post might remove the objection, yet if I chose rather to reside in England, my merit was such in his opinion, as to entitle me to something better here, and it should not be his fault if I was not well provided for. | told Mr. Cooper that without having heard any exception had been taken to any residence here, I was really preparing to return home, and expected to be gone in a few weeks. That however I was extremely sensible of the Duke's goodness in giving me this intimation and very thankful for his favourable disposition towards me; that having lived long in England, and contracted a friendship and affection for many persons here, it could not but be agreeable to me to remain among them some time longer, if not for the rest of my life, and that there was no nobleman to whom I could from sincere respect for his great abilities, and amiable qualities, so cordially attach myself, or to whom I should so willingly be obliged for the provision he mentioned, as to the Duke of Grafton, if his Grace should think I could, in any station where he might place me, be serviceable to him and to the public. Mr. Cooper said he was very glad to hear I was still willing to remain in England, as it agreed so perfectly with his inclinations to keep me here. Wished me to leave my name at the Duke of Grafton's as soon as possible and to be at the Treasury again the next board day. I accordingly called at the Duke's, and left my card; and when I went next to the Treasury, his Grace not being there, Mr. Cooper carried me to Lord North, Chaucellor of the Exchequer, who said very obligingly, after talking of some American affairs, I am told by Mr. Cooper that you are not unwilling to stay with us, I hope we shall find some way of making it worth your while. I thanked his lordship, and said I should stay with pleasure if I could any ways be useful to government. He made me a compliment, and I took my leave, Mr. Cooper carrying me away with him to his country house at Richmond to dine and stay all night. He then told me that Mr. Todd had been again at the Duke of Grafton's and that upon his (Mr. Cooper's) speaking in my behalf, Mr. Todd had changed his style, and said I had to be sure a great deal of merit with the office, having by my good managenient regulated

the posts in America, so as greatly to 'encrease the revenue; that he had had great satisfaction in corresponding with me while I was there, and he believed they dever had a better officer, &c. The Thursday following, being the birth-day, I met with Mr. Todd at Court; he was very civil, took me with him in his coach to the King's Arms in the city, where I had been invited to dine by Mr. Trevor, with the gentlemen of the Post-office; we had a good deal of chat after dinner between us two, in which he told me Lord Sandwich (who was very sharp) had taken notice of my stay in England, and said if one could do the business, why should there be two, &c. On my telling Mr. Todd that I was going home, (which I still say to every body, not knowing but that what is intimated above may fail of taking effect) he looked blank and seemed disconcerted a little, which makes me think some friend of his was to have been vested with my place; but this is surmise only. We parted very good friends. That day I received another note from Mr. Cooper directing me to be at the Duke of Grafton's pext morning, whose porter had orders to let me in. I went accordingly, and was immediately admitted. But his Grace being then engaged in some unexpected business, with much condescension and politeness made that apology for his not discoursing with me then, but wished me to be at the Treasury at twelve the next Tuesday. I went accordingly, when Mr. Cooper told me something had called the Duke into the country, and the board was put off, which was not known till it was too late to send me word; but was glad I was come, as he might then fix another day for me to go again with him into the country; the day fixed was Thursday. I returned yesterday, should have stayed till Monday, but

« ZurückWeiter »