Слике страница

mised them, and by the most solemn charters and grants assured to them, when he engaged them to assist him in the settlement of his province? Surely none can be so inconsistent. And yet this proprietary right of governing, or appointing a governor, has all of a sudden changed its nature, and the preservation of it become of so much importance to the welfare of the province, that the Assembly's only petitioning to have their venerable founder's will executed, and the contract he entered into for the good of his people completed, is styled an attempt to violate the constitution, for which our fathers planted a wilderness—to barter away our glorious plan of public liberty and charter privileges; a risking of the whole constitution; an offering up our whole charter rights; a wanton sporting with things sacred, &c.'

These considerations were amplified, and additional ones brought forward, in a pamphlet published about that time by our author, entitled

66 Cool Thoughts;" hut the whole of these efforts were abortive, as the home government took no public notice of the petition.

In the decline of 1764, Franklin, with many others who were averse to the domination of the proprietary, lost his election to a seat in the Assembly, after having filled it for fourteen years. But the house well knew his value, and the proprietary intrigues by which he had been rejected. He was again therefore chosen their agent to the court of Great Britain,'and although his enemies protested against his appointment, the house refused to admit the protest upon its records. The publication of it in the papers produced from Franklin a pamphlet entitled “ Remarks on a late protest, &c.” which thus spiritedly commences:"I have generally passed over, with a silent disregard, the nameless abusive pieces that have been written against me; and though this paper called a protest is signed by some respectable names, I was, nevertheless, inclined to treat it with the same indifference ; but as the Assembly is therein reflected on


upon my account, it is thought more my duty to make some remarks upon it. "I would first observe then, that this mode of

protesting by the minority, with a string of reasons against the proceedings of the majority of the house of Assembly, is quite new among us ; the present is the second we have had of the kind, and both within a few months. It is unknown to the practice of the house of Commons, or of any house of representatives in America that I have heard of; and seems affected imitation of the lords in Parliament, which can by no means become Assembly-men of America. Hence appears the absurdity of the complaint, that the house refused the protest an entry on their minutes. The protesters know that they are not, by any custom or usage, entitled to such an entry; and that the practice here is not only useless in itself, but would be highly inconvenient to the house, since it would probably be thought necessary for the majority also to enter their reasons, to justify themselves to their constituents: whereby the minutes would be encumbered, and the public business obstructed. More especially will it be found inconvenient, if such protests are made use of as a new form of libelling, as the vehicles of personal malice, and as means of giving to private abuse the appearance of a sanction as public acts. Your protest, gentlemen, was therefore properly refused ; and since it is no part of the proceedings of Assembly, one may with more freedom examine it."

He thus meets one of their reasons for protesting against his appointment, namely, that he was unfavourably thought of by his majesty's ministers :

“I apprehend, gentlemen, that your informer is mistaken. He indeed has taken great pains to give unfavourable impressions of me, and perhaps may flatter himself, that so much true industry should not be totally without effect. His long success in maiming or murdering all the reputations that stand in his way (which has been the dear delight and constant

employment of his life) may likewise have given him some just ground for confidence, that he has, as they call it, done for me among the rest. But, as I said before, I believe he is mistaken. For what have I done, that they should think unfavourably of me? It cannot be my constantly and uniformly promoting the measures of the crown, ever since I had


influence in the province. It cannot, surely, be my promoting the change from a proprietary to a royal government. If indeed I had by speeches and writings endeavoured to make his majesty's government universally odious to the province; if I had declared, written, and printed, that the king's little finger we should find heavier than the proprietors' whole loins,' with regard to our liberties; then indeed might the ministers be supposed to think unfavourably of me. But these are not exploits for a man who holds a profitable office under the crown, and can expect to hold it no longer than he behaves with the fidelity and duty that become every good subject.

“ I am now to take leave (perhaps a last leave) of the country I love, and in which I have spent the greatest part of my life.-Esto perpetua. - I wish every kind of prosperity to my friends, and I forgive my enemies.

“ B. FRANKLIN. Philadelphia, Nov. 5, 1764."


Rise of the differences between the colonies and Great Britain.-Dr Franklin

agent for New Jersey, Georgia, and Massachusetts. He visits Holland, Germany and France.-Progress of the differences between the mothercountry and the American colonies.—The Stamp Act riot at Boston,Dr Franklin examined before the House of Commons.Stamp Act repealed. Its principle maintained.-Duties laid on glass, china, &c. in America, resisted.- Franklin publishes “ Causes of the American Discontents.”-Mr Speaker's queries.-Change of ministry.–Negotiations be. tween Dr Franklin and the new ministers.—Letters of governor Hutchinson &c. brought to Franklin, and published in America.--Consequences.-Franklin violently abused before the Privy Council.-Destruction of the tea at Boston.-Boston Port Act.-Congress meets at Philadelphia.-Dr Franklin's political visits to Mrs Howe.- Proposals of Dr Barclay, Dr Fothergill, and others, to conciliate Great Britain and America.-Franklin's interviews with lord Howe, and lord Chatham.- Franklin consulted on lord Chatham's motion in the house of Lords.-His plan of conciliation.—That plan rejected by the house.-Franklin's 'opinion of such legislation.-Mr Barclay's renewed efforts.-Interview with lord Hyde.-Negotiations with the ministry wholly fail. He prepares to leave London.

It is proper perhaps here to notice, that during the last sitting of the Pennsylvanian assembly, before Dr Franklin left America at this time, intimations had heen given from the ministers at home, that they should certainly levy a stamp duty on the colonies in the next session of parliament. The colonial agents then in London were desired to communicate this fact to their constituents in America. The observations then made upon this notice, says Franklin, were, that the principle was entirely new; that the colonies had been ever liberal of their money, when required to advance it in the regular way ; and that to tax them in a parliament where they were unrepresented, was both cruel and unjust: and the Assembly came ultimately to this resolution, of which Franklin was the bearer to England, “ that as they always had, so they always should think it their duty to grant aid to the

crown, according to their abilities, whenever required of them in the usual and constitutional manner.' Other colonies forwarded similar resolutions, with which the British ministers were furnished before the celebrated Stamp Act was brought in. · Dr Franklin, shortly after his arrival in England, received separate commissions of agency for the respective colonies of New Jersey, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Before we follow him into the important consequences of these appointments, let us notice his excursion to the continent of Europe at this period. Hither had his well-earned reputation as an experimental philosopher preceded him; and he was received throughout Holland and Germany, as well as in Paris, with the most distinguished and respectful attention. In Holland, the watermen explained to him the effect which a diminution of the quantity of water in canals has in impeding the progress of boats ; which, upon his return to England, led him to make a number of experiments on the subject. These, with an explanation of the phenomenon, he communicated in a letter to his friend sir John Pringle. In Paris he was introduced to a number of literary characters, to the king Louis XV, and to his sisters, Mesdames de France. He was also elected a foreign associate of the Academy of Sci

We are now arrived at the most interesting period of the life of FRANKLIN, and of the general history of America. Though an integral part of the empire, British justice must at length admit, that our colonies in this part of the world had been most unremittingly and most unwisely depressed, almost from the period of their first settlement. Their trade was restricted in every direction, and in fact prohibited as to foreign countries Acts that had been enforced from the reign of Charles II expressly included all their valuable exports as forbidden to be shifted except to some part of his majesty's dominions;" and


« ПретходнаНастави »