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the course of these proceedings, that the administration were not disposed to favor popular rights in the colonies; and it was deemed inexpedient at that time to press further upon their notice the grievances, of which the people of Pennsylvania complained. The Proprietaries submitted to their defeat with as good a grace as they could, after holding out so long; but, in writing to the Governor, they expressed themselves not well pleased, that the Board of Trade did not "privately confer with them in drawing up their report," which they say had formerly been the usage.
Lord Mansfield was chiefly concerned in that part of the report, which recommended the approval of the act for taxing the proprietary lands. This circumstance was mentioned in one of Franklin's letters to the Assembly, and he seemed to infer from it a good intention in his Lordship towards the Pennsylvanians. When this was told to the Proprietaries, they expressed surprise, that he should be so much deceived, and added; My Lord had no design to favor the Assembly, but to do us justice, and at the same time to extend the King's prerogative at both ours and the people's cost by and by." This may be true, and yet, by granting to the Assembly all they asked, it settled the controversy in their favor; and so far it indicated good will to the Pennsylvanians, whatever may have been the ultimate design, if indeed there were any such.
As the war was now drawing to a close, there began to be much speculation among politicians respecting the terms of peace. Canada, Guadaloupe, and other possessions in the West Indies, East Indies, and Africa, had been taken from the French during the war. Which of these possessions did a sound policy and the interests of the nation require to be retained? The discussion of this question was entered into with
warmth by two parties. One was for holding Canada, the other Guadaloupe. The Earl of Bath wrote an able pamphlet to prove that Canada, as the most important acquisition, should by all means be retained at the peace. Another writer, supposed to be Mr. Burke, replied to the Earl of Bath, and vigorously urged the retention of Guadaloupe in preference to Canada. The arguments were drawn out at much length on both sides, and public opinion was divided.
Strongly impressed with the importance of the subject in its relation to the American colonies, Franklin now engaged in the controversy, and published anonymously a tract, entitled The Interest of Great Britain Considered, in which he advanced reasons for keeping Canada. His views are briefly stated in a letter to Lord Kames, written a short time before. "No one can more sincerely rejoice than I do, on the reduction of Canada; and this is not merely as I am a colonist, but as I am a Briton. I have long been of opinion, that the foundations of the future grandeur and stability of the British empire lie in America; and though, like other foundations, they are low and little now, they are, nevertheless, broad and strong enough to support the greatest political structure that human wisdom ever yet erected. I am, therefore, by no means for restoring Canada. If we keep it, all the country from the St. Lawrence to the Mississippi will in another century be filled with British people. Britain itself will become vastly more populous, by the immense increase of its commerce; the Atlantic sea will be covered with your trading ships; and your naval power, thence continually increasing, will extend your influence round the whole globe, and awe the world! If the French remain in Canada, they will continually harass our colonies by the Indians, and impede if not prevent their
growth; your progress to greatness will at best be slow, and give room for many accidents that may for ever prevent it. But I refrain, for I see you begin to think my notions extravagant, and look upon them as the ravings of a mad prophet." The same sentiments were more fully explained and defended in the Canada Pamphlet, as the abovementioned tract has usually been called.
He argued, that the possession of Canada was essential to the security of the British colonies against the Indians on the frontiers, whom the French had always continued to keep in their interest, and who were instigated by them to commit depredations and outrages upon the inhabitants; and, moreover, that, politically considered, this security was a justifiable ground for retaining a territory, which had been acquired in open war by the blood and treasure of the nation. It would, likewise, defeat for ever the ambitious designs of France for extending her power in America by seizing a large part of the continent and confining the British settlements to a narrow line along the coast, which design had long been manifest, and was indeed the principal cause of the war. Forts and military posts would afford but a feeble barrier, as experience had proved. He repudiated the idea advanced by some, that this was an affair of the colonies alone; and he showed, that the whole British empire was as much concerned in it as any of its remote parts; that the wealth, strength, and political power of Great Britain would be immensely increased by the growing prosperity of the colonies, if they were encouraged and protected by a wise policy and a due regard to the ties by which they were united to the mother country. These points were illustrated by a mass of facts, indicating a profound knowledge of the history and con
dition of the colonies, and of the commerce and political interests of Great Britain. It had been said, that Canada ought to be left to the French as a check to the growth of the colonies, which might in process of time become too formidable to be controlled by a distant master. To which he replied, "A modest word, this check, for massacring men, women, and children; and suggested the easier method adopted by Pharaoh for preventing the increase of the Israelites.
The success of this pamphlet was as great as the author could desire. By the advocates of the measure, which he supported, it was held up as irrefutable; and by the opposite party, who attempted an answer, it was praised as spirited, able, and ingenious, and as containing every thing that could be said on that side of the question. It was believed to have produced an influence on the minds of the ministry, which was felt at the negotiation for peace. At any rate, Canada was retained. The author afterwards acknowledged his obligation to his friend, Mr. Richard Jackson, for assistance in preparing the pamphlet for the press; but it is not known to what extent or in what manner this assistance was rendered.
It is a curious fact, that Franklin was thus instrumental in annexing Canada to the British dominions, which was in reality the first step in the train of events, that led in a few years to the independence of the colonies; a result, which he afterwards contributed so much to accomplish, but which at this time. was as little anticipated by him, as by any member of the British cabinet.
Whilst he resided in England, it was his custom to spend several weeks of each summer in travelling. This year he made a tour to the north, returning through Cheshire and Wales to Bristol and Bath. He
at first proposed going over to Ireland, and thence to Scotland, but he relinquished this part of his design.
When he came back to London, he found a letter from Mr. Norris, Speaker of the Assembly in Pennsylvania, informing him, that he had been appointed by that body to receive the proportion of the Parliamentary grant, which had been assigned to that province. During the latter years of the war, the annual sum of two hundred thousand pounds sterling was allowed by Parliament to the colonies, in consideration of the heavy charges to which they were subjected in providing an army, and the losses they sustained from the inroads of the enemy on the frontiers. This sum was apportioned to each colony according to the number of effective men employed in the field under the British generals. The share of Pennsylvania and the Delaware Counties for the first year was about thirty thousand pounds. This amount was paid into the hands of Franklin, by whom it was invested in the stocks, and otherwise disposed of, as directed by his constituents. The trust, though involving a high responsibility, and attended with embarrassments, was executed to the entire satisfaction of the Assembly.
The Governor endeavoured at the outset to prevent his appointment, and then he insisted that he had a right to nominate other commissioners to act with the Assembly's agent in receiving the money. The Proprietaries used their influence, also, to thwart his proceedings, alleging, that their deputy ought to have a voice in the disposal of this money after it reached Pennsylvania. This pretence was not tolerated by the Assembly. The grant was meant as a relief to the people, a just remuneration for the services they had rendered; and it was maintained, that the only proper authority for disposing of it rested with the people's