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While I am writing comes to hand yours of March 2. My letter by the October packet must have sent as usual to the office by the bell-man. That being, as you inform me, rubbed open as some of yours to me have been, gives an additional circumstance of probability to the conjecture made in mine of December 2. For the future I shall send letters of consequence to the office (when I use the packet conveyance) by my clerk.
Your accounts of the numbers of people, births, burials, &c. in your province, will be very agreeable to me, and particularly so to Dr. Price. Compared with former accounts, they will show the increase of your people, but not perfectly, as I think a great many have gone from New Jersey to the more Southern Colonics.
The parliament is like to sit till the end of June, as Mr. Cooper tells me. I had thoughts of returning home about that time. The Boston Assembly's answer to the Governor's speech, which I have just received, may possibly produce something here to occasion my longer stay. I am, your affectionate father, B. FRANKLIN.
To The Hon. Thomas Cushing, Esg.
Governor Hutchinson's Speech.-Conversation with Lord
Dartmouth respecting the same.
SIR, (Private). London, May 6, 1773.
I have received none of your favours since that of November 29. I have since written to you of the following dates, December 2, January 5, March 9, and April 3, which I hope got safe to hand.
The Council and Assembly's answer to Governor Hutchinson's speech I caused to be printed here as soon as I received them. His reply I see since printed also, but their rejoinder is not yet come. If he intended by reviving that dispute to recommend hiniself he has greatly missed his aim ; for the Administration are chagrined with his officiousness, their intention having been to let all contention subside, and by degrees suffer matters to return to the old channel. They are now embarrassed by his proceedings ; for if they lay the Governor's dispatches containing the declaration of the general court before parliament, they apprehend measures may be taken that will widen the breach ; which would be more particularly inconvenient at this time, when the disturbed state of Europe gives some apprehensions of a general war; on the other hand, if they do not lay them before parliament they give advantage to opposition against themselves on some future occasion, in a charge of criminal neglect. Some say he must be a fool, others that through some misinformation he really supposed Lord Hillsborough to be again in office.
Yesterday I had a conversation with Lord D. of which I think it right to give you some account. On my saying that I had no late advices from Boston, and asking if his Lordship had any, he said, none since the Governor's second speech ; but what difficulties that gentleman has brought us all into by his imprudence! though I suppose he meant well :-- yet what can now be done? It is impossible that'parliament can suffer such a declaration of the General Assembly, asserting its independency, to pass unnoticed. In my opinion, said I, it would be better and more prudent to take no notice of it. It is words only: Acts of parliament are still submitted to there. No force is used to obstruct their execution. And while that is the case, parliament would do well to turn a deaf ear, and seem not to kuow that such declarations had ever been made. Violent measures against the province will not change the opinion of the people. Force could do no good. I do not know, said 'he, that force would be thought of; but perhaps an act may pass to lay them under some inconveniencies till they rescind that declara. tion.-Can they not withdraw it? I wish they could be persuaded to reconsider the matter, and do it of themselves voluntarily, and thus leave things between us on the old fooling, the points undiscussed. Don't you think (conținued his Lordship) such a thing possible? No, my Lord, said I, I think it is impossible. If they were even to wish matters back in the situation before the Governor's speech, and the dispute obliterated, they cannot withdraw their answers till he first withdraws his speech, which methinks would be an awkward operation that perhaps he will hardly be directed to perform. As to an act of parlia. ment laying that country under inconveniencies, it is likely that will only put them as heretofore ou some method of incommoding this country till the act is repealed ; and so we shall
go on injuring and provoking each other, instead of cultivating that good will and harmony so necessary to the general welfare. He said, that might be, and he was sensible our divisions must weaken the whole ; for we are yet one empire, said þe, whatever may be the sentiments of the Massachusetts Assembly, but he did not see how that could be avoided. He wondered, as the dispute was now of public notorięty; parliament had not already called for the dispatches, and he thought he could not omit much longer the communicating them, however upwilling he was to do it from his apprehension of the consequenoes, But what this Lordship was pleased to say) if you were in my place, would or could you do? Would you hazard the being called to account ip sone future session of parliament, for keeping back the communication of dis patches of such importance ? I said his Lordship could best judge, whgt in his situation was fittest for him to do.' I could only give my poor opinion with regard to parlia ment, that supposing the dispatchęs laid before them, they Would act most prudently in prdering them to lie op the table, and take ng farther notice of them. For were I as much an Englishman as I am an American, and ever so desirous of establishing the authority of parliament, I pro+ test to your Lordship I cannot conceive of a single step the parliament can take to increase it, that will not tend to diminish it, and after abundance of mischief, they must finally lose it. The loss in itself perhaps would not be of much consequence, because it is an authority they can never well exercise for want of dye information and knowledge, and therefore it is not worth hazarding the mischief to preserve it. Then adding my wishes that I could be of any service in healing our differences, his Lordship said, I do not see any thing of more service tban prevailing on the General Assembly, if you can do it, to withdraw their answers to the Governor's speech. There is not, said I, the least probability they will ever do that; for the country is all of one, mind upon the subject. Perhaps the Governor may have represented to your Lordship, that these are the opinions of a party, only, and that great numbers are of different sentiments, which may in time prevail. But if he does not deceive himself he deceives your Lordship: for in both houses, notwithstanding the influence appertaining to his office, there was not, in send ing up those answers, a single dissenting voice. " I do not recollect, said his Lordship, that the Governor has written any thing of that kind. I am told, however, by gentlemen from that country who pretend to know it, that there are many of the Governor's opinion, but they dare not show their sentiments. I never heard, said I, that any one has suffered violence for siding with the Governor. Not violence perhaps, said his Lordship, but they are reviled and held in contempt, and people do not care to incur the disesteem and displeasure of their neighbours. As I knew Governor Bernard had been in with his Lordship just before me, I thought he was probably one of these gentle men informants, and therefore said, people who are engaged in any party or bave advised any measures are apt to magnify the numbers of those they would have understood as approving their measures. His Lordship said, that was natural to suppose might be the present case; for whoever observed the conduct of parties here, must have seen it a constant practice; and he agreed with me, that though a remine contradicente did not prove the absolute agreement of every man in the opinion voted, it at least demonstrated the great prevalence of that 'opinion.
Thus ended our conference. I shall watch this business till the parliament rises, and endeavour to make people in general as sensible of the inconveniences to this country that may attend a continuance of the contest, as the Spital-fields weavers seem already to be in their petition to the King, which I herewith send you. I have already the pleasure to find that my friend, the Bishop of