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"Nothing could have been more seasonable than the arrival of these letters. They have had great effect; they make deep impressions wherever they are known; they strip the mask from the writers, who, under the professions of friendship to their country, now plainly appear to have been endeavouring to build up themselves and their families upon its ruins. They and their adherents are shocked and dismayed; the confidence reposed in them by many is annihilated; and administration must soon see the necessity of putting the provincial power of the crown into other hands, if they mean it should operate to any good effect. This, at present, is almost the universal sentiment."

The resolutions here mentioned, as having been reported by a committee of the House, were passed the next day by a very large majority, warmly censuring the letters, as having the tendency and design not only to sow the seeds of discord and encourage the oppressive acts of the British government, but to introduce arbitrary power into the province, and subvert its constitution. A petition to the King was then voted with the same unanimity, praying his Majesty to remove from office Governor Hutchinson and Lieutenant-Governor Oliver, who, by their conduct, had rendered themselves obnoxious to the people, and entirely lost their confidence.*

Governor Hutchinson says, that he "received early information from whom, and to whom, these letters were sent, and with what injunctions, from a person let into the secret." Dr. Franklin had, indeed, written to Dr. Cooper, that "the letters might be shown to some of the Governor's and Lieutenant-Governor's partisans, and spoken of to everybody, for there was no restraint proposed to talking of them, but only to copying." There was, nevertheless, a want of good faith somewhere, as well in other cases as in this. Copies of Franklin's letters were secretly procured and communicated to Hutchinson, who is known to have sent one of them to the ministry, and it may be pre

When the petition arrived, Lord Dartmouth was at his seat in the country. Dr. Franklin transmitted it to him, and his Lordship, after his return to town, informed him, that it had been presented to his Majesty; but, from the tenor of the minister's conversation, he was led to suspect, that it would not be complied with.

In the mean time an event took place, which caused much excitement. Hutchinson's letters had been printed in Boston, and copies of them came over to London. Public curiosity was raised, and great inquiry was made, as to the person by whom they had been transmitted. Mr. Thomas Whately was dead, and his papers had gone into the possession of his brother, Mr. William Whately, who was censured for allowing the letters to be taken away. Mr. Temple had asked permission of him to examine his brother's papers, with the view of perusing a certain document on colonial affairs, which he believed to be among them. The permission was granted; and now Mr. Whately's suspicion rested upon Mr. Temple, whom he imagined to have taken advantage of this opportunity to gain

sumed that this was not a solitary instance. In his History is published an extract from one of Franklin's letters to Dr. Cooper, which could hardly have been obtained otherwise than surreptitiously. And, what is worse, there is an omission and a substitution, which materially alter the sense, and misrepresent the motives of the writer. The extract relates to the reasons for refusing copies of the letters. As printed in Hutchinson's History, it is made to close as follows; "And possibly, as distant objects seen through a mist appear larger, the same may happen from the mystery in this case." Nothing like this was written by Franklin. It was invented for the occasion. His words, for which the above were substituted, are the following. “However, the terms given with these [the original letters] could only be those with which they were received." The design of the forgery is obvious. With whom it originated is uncertain. It may have been done before the extract was conveyed to Hutchinson.-See Vol. VIII. p. 72.- History of Massachusetts, Vol. III. p. 396.

possession of the letters in question. A duel was the consequence, in which Mr. Whately was wounded.

At this crisis Dr. Franklin felt himself bound to interfere. He immediately published a declaration, in which he assumed the entire responsibility of having transmitted the letters, and said, that, as they were not among Mr. Thomas Whately's papers when these passed into the hands of his brother, neither he nor Mr. Temple could have been concerned in withdrawing them. The whole tide of obloquy was now turned against Dr Franklin. He was assailed by the friends of Mr. Whately for not having prevented the duel by an earlier declaration; and he was vehemently attacked by the retainers of the ministry for the part he had acted in procuring and sending the letters. To the first charge it is enough to say, that he had no intimation of the duel till it was over. He thought himself entitled to the thanks of the parties, rather than their censure, for thus relieving them from suspicion in the eyes of the public, and removing the cause of their personal difference. As to the other charge, it was no more than he expected; and he was prepared to meet it with a clear conscience, having no private ends to serve in the transaction, and no other motive than justice to his country.

Mr. Whately did not stop here. Without any previous warning or complaint, he commenced a chancery suit against Dr. Franklin. The bill contained a strange list of false specifications, all of which were denied on oath by Dr. Franklin, who affirmed at the same time, in reference to the letters, that, when they were given to him, no address appeared on them, and that he had not previously any knowledge of their existence. At this stage of the business the chancery suit seems to have been suspended, and it was finally dropped. He considered this an ungrateful, as

well as a precipitate, step of Mr. Whately, to whom he had lately rendered an important service, by enabling him to secure a valuable property in Pennsyl


Notice was at length given to Dr. Franklin, that his Majesty had referred the petition to the Privy Council, and that a meeting would be held in three days to take it into consideration at the Cockpit, where his attendance was required. He accordingly appeared there at the time appointed, January 11th, 1774, with Mr. Bollan, the agent for the Massachusetts Council. The petition was read, and Dr. Franklin was asked what he had to offer in support of it. He replied, that Mr. Bollan would speak in behalf of the petitioners, this having been agreed upon between them. Mr. Bollan began to speak, but he was silenced by the Lords of the Council, because he was not the agent for the Assembly. It then appeared, that Hutchinson and Oliver had employed Mr. Wedderburn, the King's solicitor, as their counsel, who was then present, and ready to go on with their defence. Authenticated copies of the letters were produced, and some conversation ensued, in which Mr. Wedderburn advanced divers cavils against them, and said it would be necessary to know how the Assembly came by them, through whose hands they had passed, and to whom they were addressed. To this the Lord Chief Justice assented.

When Mr. Wedderburn proceeded to speak further, Dr. Franklin interrupted him, and said he had not understood that counsel was to be employed against the petition. He did not conceive, that any point of law or right was involved, which required the arguments of lawyers, but he supposed it to be rather "a question of civil and political prudence"; in which EE*

their Lordships would decide, from the state of facts presented in the papers themselves, whether the complaints of the petitioners were well founded, and whether the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor had so far rendered themselves obnoxious to the people, as to make it for the interest of his Majesty's service to remove them. He then requested, that counsel might likewise be heard in behalf of the Assembly. The request was granted, and three weeks were allowed for preparation.

"A report now prevailed through the town," Dr. Franklin afterwards wrote, "that I had been grossly abused by the solicitor-general, at the Council Board. But this was premature. He had only intended it, and mentioned that intention. I heard, too, from all quarters, that the ministry and all the courtiers were highly enraged against me for transmitting those letters. I was called an incendiary, and the papers were filled with invectives against me. Hints were given me, that there were some thoughts of apprehending me, seizing my papers, and sending me to Newgate. I was well informed, that a resolution was taken to deprive me of my place; it was only thought best to defer it till after the hearing; I suppose, because I was there to be so blackened, that nobody should think it injustice. Many knew, too, how the petition was to be treated; and I was told, even before the first hearing, that it was to be rejected with some epithets, the Assembly to be censured, and some honor done the governors. How this could be known, one cannot say. It might be only conjecture."

Mr. Dunning and Mr. John Lee, two eminent barristers, were the counsel employed for the Assembly. They concluded to rest the argument on the facts stated in the petition and the Assembly's other papers, showing the discontents of the people, and the

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