Abbildungen der Seite

much weight that it has protected me when some in power would have done me injury, and continued me in an office they would have deprived me of; my company so much desired that I seldom dine at home in winter, and could spend the whole summer in the country-houses of inviting friends if I chose it. Learned and ingenious foreigners that come to England, almost all make a point of visiting me, for my reputation is still higher abroad than here; several of the foreign ambassadors have assiduously cultivated my acquaintance, treating me as one of their corps, partly I believe from the desire they have from time to time of hearing something of American affairs, an object become of importance in foreign courts, who begin to hope Britain's alarming power will be diminished by the defection of her Colonies ; and partly that they may have an opportunity of introducing me to the gentlemen of their country who desire it. The K. too has lately been heard to speak of me with great regard. These are flattering circumstances, but a violent longing for home sometimes seizes me, which I can no otherwise subdue but by promising myself a return next spring or next fall, and so forth. As to returning hither, if I once go back, I have no thoughts of it. I am too far advanced in life to propose three voyages more. I have some important affairs to settle at home, and considering my double expences here and there, I hardly think my salaries fully compensate the disadvantages. The late change however being thrown into the balance determines me to stay another winter.

P. S. August 22. I find I omitted congratulating you on the honor of your election in the Society for propagating the Gospel. There you match indeed my Dutch honor, But you are again behind, for last night I received a letter from Paris, of which the inclosed is an extract, acquainting me that I am chosen Associé etranger (foreign member) of the Royal Academy there. There are but eight of these Associés etrangers in all Europe, and those of the most distinguished names for science. The vacancy I have the honor of filling, was made by the death of the late celebrated M. Van Sweten, of Vienna. This mark of respect from the first Academy in the world, which Abbe Nolet, one of its members, took so much pains to prejudice against my doctrine, I consider as a kind of victory without ink-shed, since I never answered him. I am told he has but one of his sect now remaining in the Academy. All the rest who have, in any degree, acquainted themselves with electricity are, as he calls them, Franklinists. Yours, &c. B. FRANKLIN.


Lord Hillsborough's Resignation.-Lord Dartmouth

succeeded him.-Lord Rochford. DEAR FRIEND, London, August 28, 1772.

I acknowledged before the receipt of your favor of May 14, since which I have no line from you. It will be a pleasure to render any service to Mr. Tilghman, whom you recommended.

The Acts passed in your winter and spring sessions I have not yet received, nor have I heard from Mr. Wilmot that they have been presented.

Lord Hillsborough, mortified by the Committee of Council's approbation of our grant in opposition to his report, has resigned. I believe when he offered to do so,

he had such an opinion of his importance, that he did not think it would be accepted; and that it would be thought prudent rather to set our grant aside than part with him. His colleagues in the ministry were all glad to get rid of him, and perhaps for this reason joined more readily in giving him that mortification. Lord Dartmouth succeeds him, who has much more favorable dispositions towards the colonies. He has heretofore expressed some personal regard for me, and I hope now to find our business with the board more easy to transact.

Your observations on the state of the Islands did not come to hand till after Lord Rochford had withdrawn his petition. His Lordship and the promoters of it were so roasted on the occasion, that I believe another of the kind will not very soon be thought of. The proprietor was at the expense of the opposition, and as I knew it would not be necessary, and thought it might be inconvenient to our affairs, I did not openly engage in it, but I gave some private assistance that I believe was not without effect; I think too that Mr. Jackson's opinion was of great service. I would lodge a copy of your paper in the Plantation Office against any similar future applications if you approve of it. I only think the Island holders make too great a concession to the Crown when they suppose it may have a right to quit-rent. It can have none in my opinion on the old grants from Indians, Swedes, and Dutch, where none was reserved. And I think those grants so clearly good as to need no confirmation, to obtain which I suppose is the only motive for offering such quit-rent. I imagine too, that it may not be amiss to affix a caveat in the Plantation Office, in the behalf of holders of property in those Islands, against any grant of them

that may be applied for, till they have had timely notice and an opportunity of being fully heard. Mr. Jackson is out of town, but I shall confer with him on the subject as soon as he returns. I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,



Lord Dartmouth.Court of Exchequer.The India

Company.-Duty on Tea, &c. Dear FRIEND,

London, Dec. 2, 1772. I am glad you are returned again to a seat in the Assembly, where your abilities are so useful and

necessary in the service of your country. We must not in the course of public life expect immediate approbation and immediate grateful acknowledgement of our services. But let us persevere through abuse and even injury. The internal satisfaction of a good conscience is always present, and time will do us justice in the minds of the people, even those at present the most prejudiced against us.

I have given Dr. Denormandie a recommendation to'a friend in Geneva, for which place he set out this morning; and I shall be glad of any opportunity of serving him when he returns to London.

I see by a Pennsylvania Gazette of October 21, that you are continued speaker, and myself agent, but I have no line from you or the Committee relative to instructionis. Perhaps I shall hear from you by Falconer. I find myself upon very good terms with our new minister Lord Dartmouth, who, we have reason to think, means well to the colonies. I believe all are now sensible that nothing is to be got by contesting with, or oppressing us. Two circumstances have diverted me lately. One was, that being at the Court of Exchequer on some business of my own, I there met with one of the commissioners of the Stamp office, who told me he attended with a memorial from that board, to be allowed in their accounts the difference between their expense in endeavouring to establish those offices in America, and the amount of what they received, which from Canada and the West India "Islands was but about 15001. while the expense, if I remember right, was above 12,000l. being for stamps and stamping, with paper and parchment returned upon their hands, freight, &c. The other is the present difficulties of the India Company, and of government on their account. The Company have accepted bills, which they find themselves unable to pay, though they have the value of two millions, in tea and other India goods, in their stores, perishing under a want of demand. Their credit thus suffering, and their stock falling 120 per cent, whereby the government will lose the 400,000l. per annum, it having been stipulated that it should no longer be paid if the dividend fell to that mark. And although it is known that the American market is lost by continuing the duty on tea, and that we are supplied by the Dutch, who doubtless take the opportunity of smuggling other India goods among us with the tea, so that for the five years past we might probably have otherwise taken off the greatest part of what the company have on hand, and so have prevented their present embarrassment, yet the honor of government is supposed to forbid the repeal of the American tea-duty; while the amount of all the duties goes on decreasing, so that the balance of this year does not (as I have it from good authority) exceed 80l. after paying the collectiou;

« ZurückWeiter »