« ZurückWeiter »
affairs, I was much disgusted, from the ministerial side, by many base reflections on American courage, religion, understanding, &.c., in which we were treated with the utmost contempt, as the lowest of mankind, and almost of a different species from the English of Britain; but particularly the American honesty was abused by some of the Lords, who asserted that we were all knaves, and wanted only by this dispute-to avoid paying our debts; that, if we had any sense of equity or justice, we should offer payment of the tea, &,c. I went home somewhat irritated and heated; and, partly to retort upon this nation, on the article of equity, drew up a memorial to present to Lord Dartmouth before my departure; but, consulting my friend, Mr. Thomas Walpole, upon it, who is a member of the House of Commons, he looked -at it and at me several times alternately, as if he apprehended me a little out of my senses. As I was in the hurry of packing up, I requested him to take the trouble of showing it to his neighbour, Lord Camden, and ask his advice upon it, which he kindly undertook to do; and returned it me with a note, which here follows the proposed memorial.
"To the Right Honorable the Earl of Dartmouth, one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State;
"A Memorial of Benjamin Franklin, Agent of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
"Whereas an injury done can only give the party injured a right to full reparation; or, in case that be refused, a right to return an equal injury; and whereas the blockade of Boston, now continued nine months, hath every week of its continuance done damage to that town, equal to what was suffered there by the India Company; it follows that such exceeding damage is an injury done by this government, for which reparation ought to be made; and whereas reparation of injuries ought always (agreeably to the custom of all nations, savage as well as civilized,) to be first required, before satisfaction is taken by a return of damage to the aggressors; which was not done by Great Britain in the instance above mentioned; I the underwritten do therefore, as their agent, in the behalf of my country and the said town of Boston, protest against the continuance of the said blockade; and I do hereby solemnly demand satisfaction for the accumulated injury done them, beyond the value of the India Company's tea destroyed.
"And whereas the conquest of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the coasts of Labrador and Nova Scotia, and the fisheries possessed by the French there and on the Banks of Newfoundland, so far as they were more extended than at present, was made by the joint forces of Britain and the colonies, the latter having nearly an equal number of men in that service with the former; it follows, that the colonies have an equitable and just right to participate in the advantage of those fisheries; I do, therefore, in the behalf of the colony of the Massachusetts Bay, protest against the act now under consideration in Parliament, for depriving that province, with others, of that fishery, (on pretence of their refusing to purchase British commodities,) as an act highly unjust and injurious; and I give notice, that satisfaction will probably one day be demanded for all the injury that may be done and suffered in the execution of such act; and that the injustice of the proceeding is likely to give such umbrage to all the colonies, that in no future war, wherein other conquests may be meditated, either a man or a shilling will be obtained from any of them to aid such conquests, till full satisfaction be made as aforesaid.
"Given in London, this 16th day of March, 1775."
"to Dr. Franklin.
"dear Sir, "I return you the memorial, which it is thought might be attended with dangerous consequences to your person, and contribute to exasperate the nation. "I heartily wish you a prosperous voyage, a long health, and am, with the sheerest regard, your most faithful and obedient servant,
"thomas Walpole. "Lincoln's Inn Fields, \6th March, 1775."
Mr. Walpole called at my house the next day, and, hearing I was gone to the House of Lords, came there to me, and repeated more fully what was in his note; adding, that it was thought my having no instructions directing me to deliver such a protest, would make it appear still more unjustifiable, and be deemed a national affront . I had no desire to make matters worse, and, being grown cooler, took the advice so kindly given me.
The evening before I left London, I received a note from Dr. Fothergill, with some letters to his friends in Philadelphia. In that note he desires me to get those friends "and two or three more together, and inform them, that, whatever specious pretences are offered, they are all hollow; and that to get a larger field on which to fatten a herd of worthless parasites is all that is regarded. Perhaps it may be proper to acquaint them with David Barclay's and our united endeavours, and the effects. They will stun at least, if not convince,
Vol. v. 11
the most worthy, that nothing very favorable is intended, if more unfavorable articles cannot be obtained." The Doctor, in the course of his daily visits among the great, in the practice of his profession, had full opportunity of being acquainted with their sentiments, the conversation everywhere turning upon the subject of America.
VINDICATION AND OFFER
FROM CONGRESS TO PARLIAMENT.
Immediately after Dr. Franklin's return to America, he was chosen one of the delegates in Congress from Pennsylvania, and was present at the opening of the Congress in May, 1775. Mr. Vaughan says of the following paper; "It was drawn up in a Committee of Congress, June 25th, 1775, but does not appear on their Minutes; a severe act of Parliament, which arrived about that time, having determined them not to give the sum proposed. It was first printed in the Public Advertiser for July 18th, 1777." At the time mentioned above, that is, June 25th, 1775, Dr. Franklin was on a-Committee for reporting to Congress a declaration to be published by General Washington, on his arrival in camp at Cambridge. The discussion of that subject in the Committee may have suggested these remarks. — Editor.
Forasmuch as the enemies of America in the Parliament of Great Britain, to render us odious to the nation, and give an ill impression of us in the minds of other European powers, have represented us as unjust and ungrateful in the highest degree; asserting, on every occasion, that the colonies were settled at the expense of Britain; that they were, at the expense of the same, protected in their infancy; that they now ungratefully and unjustly refuse to contribute to their own protection, and the common defence of the nation; that they aim at independence; that they intend an