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not reckoning the immense expense of guarda costas, &c. Can an American help smiling at these blunders ? though in a national light they are truly deplorable.
With the sincerest esteem, and inviolable attachment, I am, my dear friend, ever most affectionately yours,
To THOMAS CUSHING, Esg. Petition from Massachusetts Bay.--Reasons for delaying
the presenting it. SIR,
London, Dec. 2, 1772. The above is a copy of my last. A few days after my leaving your petition with Lord Dartmouth, his lordship sent for me to discourse with me upon it. After a long audience he was pleased to say, that notwithstanding all I had said, or could say, in support and justification of the petition, he was sure the presenting it at this time could not possibly produce any good : that the king would be exceedingly offended, but what steps his majesty would take upon it was uncertain ; perhaps he would require the opinion of the judges or government lawyers which would surely be against us; perhaps he might lay it before parliament, and so the censure of both houses would be drawn down upon us : the most favorable thing to be expected was, a severe reprimand to the assembly by order of his Majesty, the natural consequence of which must be more discontent and uneasiness in the province. That possessed as he was with great good will for New England, he was extremely unwilling that one of the first acts of his administration, with regard to Massachusetts, should be of so unpleasant a nature. That minds had been heated and irritated on both sides the water, but he
hoped those heats were now cooling, and he was averse to the addition of fresh fuel; that, as I had delivered the petition to him officially, he must present it if I insisted upon it; but he wished I would first consult my constituents, who might possibly, on reconsideration, think fit to order its being deferred. I answered that the great majority with which the petition, and the resolves on which it was founded, were carried through the House, made it scarce expectable that their order would be countermanded; that the slighting, evading, or refusing to receive petitions from the colonies on some late occasions by the parliament, had occasioned a total loss of the respect for, and confidence in, that body formerly subsisting so strongly in America, and brought on a questioning of their authority: that his lordship might observe that petitions came no more from thence to parliament, but to the king only: that the king appeared to be now the only connexion between the two countries; and that as a continued union was essentially necessary to the well-being of the whole empire, I should be sorry to see that link weakened as the other had been, that I thought it a dangerous thing for any government to refuse receiving petitions, and thereby prevent the subjects from giving vent to their griefs. His Jordship interrupted me by replying that he did not refuse to deliver the petition; that it should never justly be said of him, that he interrupted the complaints of his Majesty's subjects, and that he must and would present it, as he had said before, whenever I should absolutely require it; but from motives of pure good will to the province, he wished me not to insist on it, till I should receive fresh orders. Finally, considering that since the petition was ordered there had been a change in the American administration, that the present minister was our friend in the repeal of the stamp act, and seems still to have good dispositions towards us, that you had meutioned to me the probability that the House would have remonstrated on all their other grievances, bad not their time been taken up with the difficult business of a general valuation ; and since the complaint of this petition was likely alone to give offence, it might perhaps be judged advisable to give the substance of all our complaints at once, rather than in parts, and after a reprimand received; I say, upon the whole I thought it best not to disoblige him in the beginning of his administration, by refusing him what he seemed so desirous of, a delay at least in presenting the petition, till farther directions should be received from my constituents. If after deliberation they should send me fresh orders, I shall immediately obey them, and the application to the crown itself may possibly derive greater weight, from the reconsideration given it, while the temper of the House may be somewhat calmed by the removal of a minister who bad rendered himself so obnoxious to them. Accordingly I consented to the delay desired, wherein I hope my conduct will not be disapproved,
With the greatest esteem and respect, I bave the honor to be, Sir, your and the committee's most obedient and most humble servant,
To the Hon. Thomas CUSHING, Esq. Lord Dartmouth.— American affairs.-Great Fall in
(Private) London, Jan.5, 1773. I did myself the honor of writing to you on the
ed of December past, enclosing some original letters from persons in Boston, which I hope got safe to hand. I have sitice received your favor of October 27, which, containing in a small compass so full an enumeration of our grievances, the steps necessary to remove them, and the happy effects that must follow, I thought that, though marked private, it might be of use to communicate it to Lord Dartmouth, the rather too, as he would there find himself occasionally mentioned with proper respect, and learn that his character was esteemed in the colonies. Accordingly I wrote him a few lines and enclosed it a day or two before I was to wait on his lordship, that he might have a little time to consider the contents. When I next attended him, he returned me the letter with great complacence in his countenance, said he was glad to find that people in America were disposed to think so favorably of bim; that they did him but justice in believing he had the best disposition towards them, for he wished sincerely their welfare, though possibly he might not always think with them as to the means of obtaining that end. That the heads of complaint in your letter were many, some of the requiring much consideration, and therefore it could scarce be expected that a sudden change should ibe made in so many measures, supposing them all improper to be continued, wbich perhaps might not be the case. It was however his opinion, that if the Americans continued quiet, and gave no fresh offence to government, those measures would be reconsidered, and such relief given as, upon consideration, should be thought reasonable.
* Governor Ilutchinson's Letters. See" Memoirs of the Life.”
I need not remark there is not much in such general discourse, but I could then obtain nothing more particular, except that his lordship expressed in direct terms his disapprobation of the instruction for exempting the colonies from taxation : which however was, as he said, in confidence to me, relying that no public mention should be made of his opinion on that head.
In the mean time, some circumstances are working in our favor with regard to the duties. It is found by the last year's accounts transmitted by the commissioners, that the balance in favor of Britain is but about 85l. after payment of salaries, &c. exclusive of the charge of a fleet to enforce the collection. Then it is observed that the India company is so out of cash, that it cannot pay the bills drawn upon it, and its other debts, and at the same time so out of credit, that the Bank does not care to assist them, whence they find themselves obliged to lower their dividend; the apprehension of which has sunk their stock from 280 to 160, whereby several millions of property are annihilated, occasioning private bankruptcies and other distress, besides a loss to the public treasury of 400,0001. per annum, which the company are not to pay into it as heretofore, if they are not able to keep up their dividend at 124. Aud as they have, at the same time, tea, and other India goods in their warehouses, to the amount of four millions, as some say, for which they want a market, and which, if it had been sold, would have kept up their credit, I take the opportunity of remarking in all companies the great imprudence of losing the American market by keeping up the duty on tea, which has thrown that trade into the hands of the Dutch, Danes, Swedes and French, who, according to the reports and letters of