Изображения страниц

and contribute farther to produce and strengthen an opinion among them, that you are no longer fit to govern them*.

XX. Lastly, invest the general of your army in the provinces with great and unconstitutional powers, and free him from the controul of even your own civil governors. Let him have troops enow under his command, with all the fortresses in his possession, and who knows but (like some provincial generals in the Roman empire, and encouraged by the universal discontent you have produced) he may take it into his head to set up for himself? If he should, and you have carefully practised these few excellent rules of mine, take my word for it, all the provinces will immediately join him--and you will that day (if you have not done it sooner) get rid of the trouble of governing them, and all the plagues attending their commerce and connection from thenceforth and for ever.

* As the reader may be inclined to divide his belief between the wisdom of ministry and the candor and veracity of Dr. Franklin, I shall inform him that two contrary objections may be made to the truth of this representation. The first is, that the conduct of Great Britain is made too absurd for possibility, and the second, that it is not made absurd enough for fact. If we consider that this piece does not include the measures subsequent to 1773, the latter difficulty is easily set aside. The former I can only solve by the many instances in history, where the infatuation of individuals has brought the heaviest calamities upon nations. B. V.


State of America on Dr. Franklin's Arrival there.

Philadelphia, May 16, 1775.


YOU will have heard before this reaches you, of a march stolen by the regulars into the country by night, and of their expedition back again. They retreated 20 miles in [6] hours.

The governor had called the assembly to propose Lord North's pacific plan, but, before the time of their meeting, began cutting of throats.-You know it was said he carried the sword in one hand, and the olive branch in the other; and it seems he chose to give them a taste of the sword first.

He is doubling his fortifications at Boston, and hopes to secure his troops till succour arrives. The place indeed is naturally so defensible, that I think them in no danger.

All America is exasperated by his conduct, and more firmly united than ever. The breach between the two countries is grown wider, and in danger of becoming irreparable.

I had a passage of six weeks, the weather constantly so moderate that a London wherry might have accompanied us all the way. I got home in the evening, and the next morning was unanimously chosen by the assembly a delegate to the congress, now sitting.

* I run much risque in the publication of the three following letters §; but I think they contain such valuable facts, and show so well the nature of Dr. Franklin's temper, that I ought to encounter some difficulty, rather than suffer them to be lost. B. V.

The other two letters will be found in the order of their dates, July 7, and Oct. 3, 1775. Editor.

In coming over, I made a valuable philosophical discovery, which I shall communicate to you when I can get a little time. At present am extremely hurried.

Yours most affectionately,


Proposed Vindication and Offer from Congress to Parliament, in 1775*.

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 expence of Britain; that they were, at the expence 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 abolition of the navigation acts: and that they are fraudulent in their commercial dealings, and purpose to cheat their creditors in Britain, by avoiding the payment of their just debts :--

*The following paper was drawn up in a committee of congress, June 25, 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 in it. It was first printed in the Public Advertiser for July 18, 1777. B. V,J


[And] as, by frequent repetition, these groundless assertions and malicious calumnies may, if not contradicted and refuted, obtain farther credit, and be injurious throughout Europe to the reputation and interest of the confederate colonies, it seems proper and necessary to examine them in our own just vindica


With regard to the first, that the colonies were settled at the expence of Britain, it is a known fact, that none of the twelve united colonies were settled, or even discovered, at the expence of England. Henry the VIIth indeed granted a commission to Sebastian Cabot, a Venetian, and his sons, to sail into the western seas for the discovery of new countries; but it was to be "suis eorum propriis sumptibus et expensis," at their own costs and charges*. They discovered, but soon slighted and neglected, these northern territories; which were, after more than a hundred years dereliction, purchased of the natives, and settled at the charge and by the labour of private men and bodies of men, our ancestors, who came over hither for that purpose. But our adversaries have never been able to produce any record, that ever the parliament or government of England was at the smallest expence on these accounts: on the contrary, there exists on the journals of parliament a solemn declaration in 1642, (only twenty-two years after the first settlement of the Massachusetts, when, if such expence had ever been incurred, some of the members must have known and remembered it) "That these colonies had been planted and established

* See the Commission in the Appendix to Pownall's Administration of the Colonies. Edit. 1775,


without any expence to the state." New-York is the only colony in the founding of which England can pretend to have been at any expence, and that was only the charge of a small armament to take it from the Dutch, who planted it. But to retain this colony at peace, another at that time, full as valuable, planted by private countrymen of ours, was given up by the crown to the Dutch in exchange, viz. Surinam, now a wealthy sugar-colony in Guiana, and which, but for that cession, might still have remained in our possession. Of late, indeed, Britain has been at some expence in planting two colonies, Georgia and Nova Scotia; but those are not in our confederacy; and the expence she has been at in their name, has chiefly been in grants of sums unnecessarily large, by way of salaries to officers sent from England, and in jobs to friends, whereby dependants might be provided for; those excessive grants not being requisite to the welfare and good government of the colonies; which good government (as experience in many instances of other colonies has taught us) may be much more frugally, and full as effectually provided for, and supported.

With regard to the second assertion, that these colonies were protected in their infant state by England, it is a notorious fact, that in none of the many wars with the

* Veneris, 10 March, 1642. Whereas the plantations in New EngLand have, by the blessing of the Almighty, had good and prosperous success, without any public charge to this state, and are now likely to prove very happy for the propagation of the gospel in those parts, and very bene ficial and commodious to this kingdom and nation: the commons, now assembled in parliament, &c. &c. &c." See Governor Hutchinson's History. B. V.

+ Georgia has since acceded, July, 1775.


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »