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Private Negotiations of Dr. Franklin in London, Related in a Letter to his Son, Dated at Sea, March 22, 1775

Direct to His Son



On board the Pennsylvania Packet, Captain Osborne, bound to Philadelphia, March, 22, 1775.

DEAR SON: Having now a little leisure for writing, I will endeavour, as I promised you, to recollect what particulars I can of the negotiations I have lately been concerned in, with regard to the misunderstandings between Great Britain and America.

During the recess of the last Parliament, winch had passed the severe Acts against the Province of Massachusetts Bay, the minority having been sensible of their weakness as an effect of their want of union among themselves, began to think seriously of a coalition. For they saw in the violence of these American measures, if persisted in, a hazard of dismembering, weakening, and perhaps ruining the British Empire; This inclined some of them to propose such an union with each other, as might be more respectable in the ensuing session, have more weight in opposition, and be a body out of which, a new Ministry might easily be formed, should the ill success of the late measures, and the firmness of the Colonies in resisting them, make a change appear necessary to the King.

I took some pains to promote this disposition, in conversation with several of the principal among the minority of both Houses, whom I besought and conjured most earnestly not to suffer, by their little misunderstandings, so glorious


a fabrick as the present British Empire to be demolished by these blunderers; and for their encouragement assured them, as far as my opinions could give any assurance, of the firmness and unanimity of America, the continuance of which was what they had frequent doubts of, and appeared extremely apprehensive and anxious concerning it.

From the time of the affront given me at the Council Board in January, 1774, I had never attended the levee of any Minister. I made no justification of myself from the charges brought against me; I made no return of the injury by abusing my adversaries, but held a cool sullen silence, reserving myself to some future opportunity; for which conduct I had several reasons, not necessary here to specify. Row and then I heard it said, that the reasonable part of the Administration was ashamed of the treatment they had given me. I suspected that some who told me this, did it to draw from me my sentiments concerning it, and perhaps my purposes; but I said little or nothing upon the subject. In the mean time, their measures with regard to New-England failing of the success that had been confidently expected, and finding themselves more and more embarrassed, they began (as it seems) to think of making use of me, if they could, to assist in disengaging them. But it was too humiliating to think of applying to me openly and directly, and therefore it was contrived to obtain what they could of my sentiments through others.

The accounts from America, during the recess, all manifested that the measures of Administration had neither divided nor intimidated the people there; that, on the contrary, they were more and more united and determined, and that a Non-Importation Agreement was likely to take place. The Ministry thence apprehending that this, by distressing the trading and manufacturing Towns, might influence votes against the Court in the elections for a new Parliament, (which were in course to come on the succeeding year,) suddenly and unexpectedly dissolved the old one, and ordered, the choice of a new one within the shortest time admitted by law, before the inconveniences of that agreement could begin to be felt, or produce any such effect.

When I came to England in 1757, you may remember I made several attempts to be introduced to Lord Chatham, (at that time first Minister,) on account of my Pennsylvania business, but without success, He was then too great a man, or too much occupied in affairs of greater moment. I was therefore obliged to content myself with a kind of non-apparent and unacknowledged communication through Mr˙ Potter and Mr˙ Wood, his Secretaries, who seemed to cultivate, an acquaintance with me by their civilities, and drew from me what information I could give relative to the American war, with my sentiments occasionally on measures, that were proposed or advised by others, which gave me the opportunity of recommending and enforcing the utility of conquering Canada. I afterwards considered Mr˙ Pitt as an inaccessible; I admired him at a distance, and made no more attempts for a nearer acquaintance. I had only once or twice the satisfaction of hearing, through Lord Shelburne, and I think Lord Stanhope, that he did me the honour of mentioning me sometimes as a person of respectable character.

But towards the end of August last, returning from Brighthelmstone, I called to visit my friend, Mr˙ Sargent, at his seat, Halstead, in Kent, agreeably to a former engagement. He let me know that he had promised to conduct me to Lord Stanhope' s, at Chevening, who expected I would call on him when I came into that neighbourhood. We accordingly waited on Lord Stanhope that evening, who told me that Lord Chatham desired to see me, and that Mr˙ Sargent' s, house, where I was to lodge, being in the way, he would call for me there the next morning, and carry me to Hayes. This was done accordingly. That truly great man received me with abundance of civility, inquired particularly into the situation of affairs in America, spoke feelingly of the severity of the late laws against the Massachusetts, gave me some account of his speech in opposing them, and expressed great regard and esteem for the people of that Country, who he hoped would continue firm and united in defending, by all peaceable and legal means, their constitutional rights. I assured him that I made no doubt they would do so; which he said he was


pleased to hear from me, as he was sensible I must be well acquainted with them. I then took occasion to remark to him, that in former cases great Empires had crumbled first at their extremities, from this cause; that Countries remote from the seat and eye of Government, which therefore could not well understand their affairs, for want of full and true information, had never been well governed, but had been oppressed by bad Governours, on presumption that complaint was difficult to be made and supported against them at such a distance; hence such Governours had been encouraged to go on, till their oppressions became intolerable. But that this Empire had happily found, and long been in the practice of a method, whereby every Province was well governed, being trusted in a great measure with the government of itself; that hence had risen such satisfaction in the subjects, and such encouragement to new settlements, that had it not been for the late wrong politicks, (which would have Parliament to be omnipotent, though it ought not to be, unless it could at the same time be omniscient,) we might have gone on extending our western Empire, adding Province to Province, as far as the South Sea. That I lamented the ruin which seemed impending over so fine a plan, so well adapted to make all the subjects of the greatest Empire happy; and I hoped that if his Lordship, with the other great and wise men of the British Nation, would unite and exert themselves, it might yet be rescued out of the mangling hands of the present set of blundering Ministers; and that the union, and harmony between Britain and her Colonies, so necessary to the welfare of both, might be restored. He replied, with great politeness, that my idea of extending our Empire in that manner was a sound one, worthy of a great, benevolent, and comprehensive mind; he wished with me for a good understanding among the different parts of the Opposition here, as a means of restoring the ancient harmony of the two Countries) which he most earnestly desired; but he spoke of the coalition of our domestick parties as attended with difficulty, and rather to be desired than expected. He mentioned an opinion prevailing here, that America aimed at setting up for itself as an independent State, or at least to get rid of the Navigation Acts, I assured him that, having more than once travelled almost from one end of the Continent to the other, and kept a great variety of company, eating, drinking, and conversing with them freely, I never had heard in any conversation from any person, drunk or sober, the least expression of a wish for a separation, or a hint that such a thing would be advantageous to America; and as to the Navigation Act, the main material part of it, (hat of carrying on trade in British or Plantation bottoms, excluding foreign Ships from our Ports, and navigating with three quarters British seaman, was as acceptable to us as it could be to Britain. That we were even not against regulations of the general Commerce by Parliament, provided such regulations were bona fide for the benefit of the whole Empire, not for the small advantage of one part to the great injury of another, such as the obliging our Ships to call in England with our wine and fruit from Portugal or Spain; the restraints on our Manufactures, in the woollen and hat-making branches, the prohibiting of slitting-mills, steel-works, &c. He allowed that some amendment might be made in those Acts; but said those relating to the slitting-mills, trip-hammers, and steel-works, were agreed to by our agents in a compromise on the opposition made here to abating the duty.

In fine, he expressed much satisfaction in my having called upon him, and particularly in the assurances I had given him that America did not aim at independence, adding that he should be glad to see me again as often as might be. I said I should not fail to avail myself of the permission he was pleased to give me, of waiting upon his Lordship occasionally, being very sensible of the honour, and of the great advantages and improvement I should reap from his instructive conversation, which indeed was not a mere compliment.

The new Parliament, was to meet The 29th of November, 1774. About the beginning of that month, being at the Royal Society, Mr˙ Raper, one of our members, told me there was a certain lady who had a desire of playing with me at chess, fancying she could beat me, and had requested him to bring me to her; it was, he said, a lady with whose acquaintance he was sure I should be pleased, a


sister of Lord Howe' s, and he hoped I would not refuse the challenge. I said I had been long out of practice, but would wait upon the lady when he and she should think fit. He told me where her house was, and would have me call soon, and without further introduction, which I undertook to do; but thinking it a little awkward, I postponed it; and on the 30th, meeting him again at the feast of the Society election, being the day after the Parliament met, he put me in mind of my promise, and that I had not kept it, and would have me name a day, when, he said, he would call for me and conduct me, I named the Friday following. He called accordingly; I went with him, played a few games with the lady, whom I found of very sensible conversation and pleasing behaviour, which induced me to agree most readily to an appointment for another meeting a few days afterwards, though I had not the least apprehension that any political business could have any connexion with this new acquaintance.

On the Thursday preceding this chess party Mr˙ David Barclay called on me, to have some discourse concerning the meeting of merchants to petition Parliament. When that was over, he spoke of the dangerous situation of American affairs, the hazard that a civil war might be brought on by the present measures, and the great merit that person would have who could contrive some means of preventing so terrible a calamity, and bring about a reconciliation. He was then pleased to add, that he was persuaded, from my knowledge of both Countries, my character and influence in one of them, and my abilities in business, no man had it so much in his power as myself. I naturally answered, that I should be very happy if I could in any degree be instrumental in so good a work, but that I saw no prospect of it; for though I was sure the Americans were always willing and ready to agree, upon any equitable terms, yet I thought an accommodation impracticable, unless both sides wished it; and by what I could judge from the proceedings of the Ministry, I did not believe they had the least disposition towards it; that they rather wished to provoke the North American people into an open rebellion, which might justify a military execution, and thereby gratify a grounded malice which I conceived to exist here against the Whigs and dissenters of that Country. Mr˙ Barclay apprehended I judged too hardly of the Ministers; he was persuaded they were not all of that temper, and he fancied they would be very glad to get out of their present embarrassment on any terms, only saving the honour and dignity of Government. He wished, therefore, that I would think of the matter, and he would call again, and converse with me further upon it. I said I would do so, as he requested it, but I had no opinion of its answering any purpose. We parted upon this. But two days after I received a letter from him, enclosed in a note from Dr˙ Fothergill, both which follow.

Letter from David Barclay and Dr. Fothergill to Benjamin Franklin

Youngsbury, near Ware, 3d 12 mo˙ 1774.

ESTEEMED FRIEND: After we parted on Thursday last, I accidentally met our mutual friend Doctor Fothergill, in my way home, and intimated to him the subject of our discourse; in consequence of which, I received from him an invitation to a further conference on this momentous affair, and I intend to be in Town to-morrow accordingly, to meet at his house between four and five o' clock; and we unite in the request of thy company. We are neither of us insensible, that the affair is of that magnitude as should almost deter private persons from meddling with it; at the same time we are respectively such well-wishers to the cause, that nothing in our power ought to be left undone, though the utmost of our efforts may be unavailable. I am thy respectful friend,


Doctor Franklin, Craven Street,

DOCTOR FOTHERGILL presents his respects to Doctor Franklin, and hopes for the favour of his company in Harper Street to-morrow evening, to meet their mutual friend David Barclay, to confer on American affairs. As near five o' clock as may be convenient.

Harper Street, 3d inst.

Direct to His Son

The time thus appointed was the evening of the day on which I was to have my second chess party with the agreeable Mrs˙ Howe, whom,I met accordingly. After playing as long as we liked, we fell into a little chat, partly on a


mathematical problem, and partly about the new Parliament then just met, when she said, "And what is to be done, with this dispute between Great Britain and the Colonies? I hope we are not to have a Civil War." They should kiss and be friends, said I; what can they do better? Quarrelling can be of service to neither, but is ruin to both. "I have often said," replied she, "that I wished Government would employ you to settle the dispute for them; I am sure nobody could do it so well. Do not you think that the thing is practicable?" Undoubtedly, madam, if the parties are disposed to reconciliation; for the two Countries have really no clashing interests to differ about. It is rather a matter of punctilio, which two or three reasonable people might settle in half an hour. I thank you for the good opinion you are pleased to express of me; but the Ministers will never think of employing me in that good work; they choose rather to abuse me. "Aye," said she, "they have behaved shamefully to you. And indeed some of them are now ashamed of it themselves." I looked upon this as accidental conversation, thought no more of it, and went in the evening to the appointed meeting at Doctor Fothergill' s, where I found Mr˙ Barclay with him.

The Doctor expatiated feelingly on the mischiefs likely to ensue from the present difference, the necessity of accommodating it, and the great merit of being instrumental in so good a work; concluding with some compliments to me; that nobody understood the subject so thoroughly, and had a better head, for business of the kind; that it seemed therefore a duty incumbent on me, to do every thing I could to accomplish a reconciliation; and that as he had with pleasure heard from David Barclay, that I had promised to think of it, he hoped I had put pen to paper, and formed some plan for consideration, and brought it with met I answered, that I had formed no plan; as the more I thought of the proceedings against the Colonies, the more satisfied I was that there did not exist the least disposition in the Ministry to an accommodation; that therefore all plans must be useless. He said, I might be mistaken; that whatever was the violence of some, he had reason, good reason, to believe others were differently disposed; and that if I would draw a plan which we three upon considering should judge reasonable, it might be made use of, and answer some good purpose, since he believed that either himself or David Barclay could get it communicated to some of the most moderate among the Ministers, who would consider it with attention; and what appeared reasonable to us, two of us being Englishmen, might appear so to them. As they both urged this with great earnestness, and when I mentioned the impropriety of my doing any thing of the kind at the time we were in daily expectation of hearing from the Congress, who undoubtedly would be explicit on the means of restoring a good understanding, they seemed impatient, alleging that it was uncertain when we should receive the result of the Congress, and what it would be; that the least delay might be dangerous; that additional punishments for New-England were in contemplation, and accidents might widen the breach, and make it irreparable; therefore, something preventive could, not be too soon thought of and applied. I was, therefore, finally prevailed with to promise doing what they desired, and to meet them again on Tuesday evening at the same place, and bring with me something for their consideration.

Accordingly, at the time, I met with them, and produced the following paper:

Hints for Conversation

Hints for Conversation upon the subject of terms that might probably produce a durable Union between BRITAIN and, the Colonies.

1. The Tea destroyed to be paid for.

2. The Tea-duty Act to be repealed, and all the duties that have been received upon it to be repaid into the treasuries of the several Provinces from which they have been collected.

3. The Acts of Navigation to be all re-enacted in the Colonies.

4. A Naval Officer appointed by the Crown to reside in each Colony, to see that those Acts are observed.


5. All the Acts restraining Manufactures in the Colonies, to be repealed.

6. All Duties arising on the Acts for regulating Trade with the Colonies, to be for the publick use of the respective Colonies, and paid into their Treasuries. The Collectors and Custom-House Officers to be appointed by each Governour, and not sent from England.

7. In consideration of the Americans maintaining their own Peace Establishment, and the monopoly Britain is to have of their Commerce, no requisition to be made from them in time of peace.

8. No Troops to enter and quarter in any Colony, but with the consent of its Legislature.

9. In time of war, on requisition made by the King, with the consent of Parliament, every Colony shall raise money by the following rules or proportions, viz: If Britain, on account, of the war, raises Three Shillings in the Pound to its Land Tax, then the Colonies to add to their last general Provincial Peace Tax a sum equal to one-fourth thereof; and if Britain on the same account pays Four Shillings in the Pound, then the Colonies to add to their said last Peace Tax a sum equal to half thereof; which additional tax is to be granted to His Majesty, and to be employed in raising and paying men for land or sea service, furnishing provisions, transports, or for such other purposes as the King shall require and direct: and though no Colony may contribute less, each may add as much by voluntary grant as they shall think proper.

10. Castle William to be restored to the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay, and no fortress built by the Crown in any Province, but with the consent of its Legislature.

11. The late Massachusetts and Quebeck Acts to be repealed, and a free Government granted to Canada.

12. All Judges to be appointed during good behaviour, with equally permanent salaries, to be paid out of the Province revenues by appointment of the Assemblies: or, if the Judges are to be appointed during the pleasure of the Crown, let the salaries be during the pleasure of the Assemblies, as heretofore.

13. Governours to be supported by the Assemblies of each Province.

14. If Britain will give up its monopoly of the American Commerce, then the aid above-mentioned to be given by America in time of peace, as well as in time of war.

15. The extension of the Act of Henry VIII˙, concerning treasons, to the Colonies, to be formally disowned by Parliament.

16. The American Admiralty Courts reduced to the same powers they have in England, and the Acts establishing them to be re-enacted in America.

17. All powers of internal legislation in the Colonies to be disclaimed by Parliament.

Direct to His Son

In reading this paper a second time, I gave my reasons at length for each article.

On the first I observed, that when the injury was done, Britain had a right to reparation, and would certainly have had it on, demand, as was the case when injury was done by mobs in the time of the Stamp Act: or she might have a right to return an equal injury, If she rather chose to do that; but she could not have a right both to reparation and to return an equal injury, much less had she a right to return the injury ten or twenty fold, as she had done by blocking up the Port of Boston: all which extra injury ought, in my judgment, to be repaired by Britain: that therefore if paying for the Tea was agreed to by me, as an article fit to be, proposed, it was merely from a desire of peace, and in compliance with their opinion expressed at our first meeting, that this was a sine qua non, that the dignity of Britain required, it, and that if this were agreed to, every thing else would be easy: this reasoning was allowed to be just; but still the article was thought necessary to stand as it did.

On the second, That the Act should be repealed, as having never answered any good purpose, as having been the cause of the present mischief, and never likely to be executed. That the Act being considered as unconstitutional by the Americans, and what the Parliament had no right to make, they must consider all the money extorted by it as so much, wrongfully taken, and of which therefore restitution ought to be made; and the rather as it would


furnish a fund, oat of which the payment for the Tea destroyed might best be defrayed. The gentlemen were of opinion, that the first part of this article, viz: the repeal, might be obtained, but not the refunding part, and therefore advised striking that out: but as I thought it just and right, I insisted on its standing.

On the third and fourth articles I observed, we were frequently charged with views of abolishing the Navigation Act. That, in truth, those parts of it which were of most importance to Britain, as tending to increase its Naval strength, viz: those restraining the Trade, to be carried on only in Ships belonging to British subjects, navigated by at least three quarters British or Colony seamen, &c˙, were as acceptable to us as they could be to Britain, since we wished to employ our own Ships in preference to foreigners, and had no desire to see foreign Ships enter our ports. That indeed the obliging us to land some of our commodities in England before we could carry them to foreign markets, and forbidding our importation of some Goods directly from foreign Countries, we thought a hardship, and a greater loss to us than gain to Britain, and therefore proper to be repealed: but as Britain had deemed it an equivalent for her protection, we had never applied or proposed to apply for such repeal; and if they must be continued, I thought it best (since the power of Parliament to make them was now disputed) that they should be re-enacted in all the Colonies, which would demonstrate their consent to them: and then if, as in the sixth article, all the duties arising on them were to be collected by officers appointed and salaried in the respective Governments, and the produce paid into their treasuries, I was sure the Acts would be better and more faithfully executed, and at much less expense, and one great source of misunderstanding removed between the two Countries, viz: the calumnies of low officers appointed from home, who were for ever abusing the people of the Country to Government, to magnify their own zeal, and recommend themselves to promotion. That the extension of the admiralty jurisdiction, so much complained of, would then no longer be necessary; and that besides its being the interest of the Colonies to execute those Acts, which is the best security, Government might be satisfied of its being done, from accounts to be sent home by the Naval Officers of the fourth article. The gentlemen were satisfied with these reasons, and approved the third and fourth articles; so they were to stand.

The fifth they apprehended would meet with difficulty. They said, that restraining manufactures in the Colonies was a favourite idea here; and therefore they wished that article to be omitted, as the proposing it would alarm and hinder perhaps the considering and granting others of more importance: but as I insisted on the equity of allowing all subjects in every Country to make the most of their natural advantages, they desired I would at least alter the last word from repealed to reconsidered, which I complied with.

In maintaining the seventh article (which was at first objected to, on the principle that all under the care of Government should pay towards the support of it,) my reasons were, that if every distinct part of the King' s Dominions supported its own Government in time of peace, it was all that could justly be required of it; that all the old or confederated Colonies had done so from their beginning; that their taxes for that purpose Were very considerable; that new Countries had many publick expenses which old ones were free from, the works being done to their hands by their ancestors, such as making roads and bridges, erecting churches, court-houses, forts, quays, and other publick buildings, founding schools and place' s of education, hospitals and alms-houses, &c˙, &c˙; that the voluntary and the legal subscriptions and taxes for such purposes, taken together, amounted to more than was paid by equal estates in Britain. That it would be best for Britain, on two accounts, not to take money from us as contribution to its publick expense, in time of peace; first, for that just so much less would Be got from us in Commerce, since all we could spare was already gained from us by Britain in that way; and secondly, that coming into the hands of British Ministers, accustomed to prodigality of publick money, it would be squandered and dissipated, answering no good general purpose. That if we were to be taxed towards the support of Government in Britain,


as Scotland has been since the union, we ought their to be allowed the same privileges in trade as she has been allowed. That if we are called upon to give to the sinking fund or the national debt, Ireland ought to be likewise called upon; and both they and we, if we gave, ought to have some means established of inquiring into the application, and securing a compliance with the terms on which we should grant. That British Ministers would perhaps not like our meddling with such matters; and that hence might arise new causes of misunderstanding. That upon the whole, therefore, I thought it best on all sides, that no aids shall he asked or expected from the Colonies in time of peace; that it would then be their interest to grant bountifully, and exert themselves vigorously in time of war, the sooner to put an end to it. That specie was not to be had to send to England in supplies, but the Colonies could carry on war with their own paper money: which would pay Troops, and for Provisions, Transports, Carriages, Clothing, Arms, &c. So this seventh article, was at length agreed to without further objection.

The eighth the gentlemen were confident would never he granted. For the whole world would be of opinion that the King, who is to defend all parts of his Dominions, should have of course a right to place his Troops where they might best answer that purpose. I supported the article upon principles equally important in my opinion to Britain as to the Colonies: for that if the King could bring into one part of his Dominions, Troops raised in any other part of them, without the consent of the Legislatures of the part to which they were brought, he might bring Armies raised in America, into England without consent of Parliament, which probably would not like it, as a few years since they had not liked the introduction of the Hessians and Hanoverians, though justified by the supposition of its being a time of danger. That if there should be at any time real occasion for British Troops in America, there was no doubt of obtaining the consent of the Assemblies there; and I was so far from being willing to drop this article, that I thought I ought to add another, requiring all the present Troops to be withdrawn, before America could be expected to treat or agree upon any terms of accommodation; as what they should now do of that kind might be deemed the effect of compulsion, the appearance of which ought as much as possible to be avoided, since those reasonable things might be agreed to, where the parties seemed at least to act freely, which would be strongly refused under threats, or the semblance of force. That the withdrawing the Troops was therefore necessary to make any treaty durably binding on the part of the Americans, since proof of having acted under force, would invalidate any agreement: and it could be no wonder that we Should insist on the Crown' s having no right to bring a Standing Army among us in time of peace; when we saw now before our eyes a striking instance of the ill use to be made of it, viz: to distress the King' s subjects in different parts of his Dominions, one part after the other, into a submission to arbitrary power, which was the avowed design of the Array and Fleet now placed at Boston. Finding me obstinate, the gentlemen consented to let this stand, but did not seem quite to approve of it: they wished, they said, to have this paper or plan, that they might show as containing the sentiments of considerate impartial persons, and such as they might as Englishmen support, which they though could not well be the case with this article.

The ninth article was so drawn, in compliance with an idea of Dr˙ Fothergiff' s, started at our first meeting, viz: that Government here would probably not be satisfied with the promise of voluntary grants in time of war from the Assemblies, of which the quantity must be uncertain; that therefore it would be best to proportion them in some way to the Shillings m the Pound raised in England; but how such proportion could be ascertained he was at a loss to contrive; I was desired to consider it. It had been said, too, that Parliament was become jealous of the right claimed and heretofore used by the Crown, of raising money in the Colonies without Parliamentary consent; and therefore, since we would not pay Parliamentary taxes, future requisitions must be made with consent of Parliament, and not otherwise. I wondered, that the Crown should be willing to give up that separate right, but had no objection to its limiting itself, if it thought proper: so I


drew the article accordingly, and contrived to proportion the aid by the tax of the last year of peace. And since it was thought that the method I should have liked best would never be agreed to, viz: a Continental Congress to be called by the Crown, for answering requisitions and proportioning aids; I chose to leave room for voluntary additions by the separate Assemblies, that the Crown might have some motive for calling them together, and cultivating their good will, and they have some satisfaction in showing their loyalty and their zeal in the common cause, and an opportunity of manifesting their disapprobation of a war, if they did not think it a just one. This article, therefore, met with no objection from them; and I had another reason for liking it, viz: that the view of the proportion to be given in lime of war, might make us the more frugal in time of peace.

For the tenth article. I urged the injustice of seizing that Fortress, (which had been built at an immense charge by the Province, for the defence of their Port against National enemies,) and turning it into a citadel for awing the Town, restraining their Trade, blocking up their Port, and depriving them of their privileges: that a great deal had been said of their injustice in destroying the Tea; but here was a much greater injustice uncompensated, that Castle having cost the Province Three Hundred Thousand Pounds: and that such a use made of a Fortress they had built, would not only effectually discourage every Colony from ever building another, and thereby leave them more exposed to foreign enemies, but was a good reason for their insisting that the Crown should never erect any hereafter in their limits without the consent of the Legislature: the gentlemen had not much to say against this article; but thought it would hardly he admitted.

The eleventh article it was thought would be strongly objected to; that it would be urged the old Colonists could have nothing to do with the affairs, of Canada, whatever we had with those of the Massachusetts; that it would be considered as an officious meddling merely to disturb Government; and that some even of the Massachusetts Acts were thought by Administration to be Improvements of that Government, viz: those altering the appointment of Counsellors, the choice of Jurymen, and the forbidding of Town-meetings. I replied, that we having assisted in the conquest of Canada, at a great expense of blood and treasure, had some right to be considered In the settlement of it: that the establishing an arbitrary Government on the back of our settlements might be dangerous to us all; and that loving liberty ourselves, we wished it to be extended among mankind, and to have no foundation for future slavery laid in America. That as to amending the Massachusetts Government, though it might be shown that every one of these, pretended amendments were real mischiefs, yet that Charters being compacts between two parties, the King and the People, no alteration could be made in them, even for the better, but by the consent of both parties. That the Parliament' s claim and exercise of a power to alter our Charters, which had always been deemed inviolable but for forfeiture, and to alter laws made in pursuance of these Charters which had received the Royal approbation, and thenceforth deemed fixed and unchangeable but by the powers that made them, had rendered all our Constitutions uncertain, and set us quite afloat: that as by claiming a right to tax us ad libitum, they deprived us of all property, so by this claim of altering our Laws and Charters at will, they deprived us of all privilege and right whatever, but what we should hold at their pleasure: that this was a situation we could not be in, and must risk life and every thing rather than submit to it. So this article remained.

The twelfth article I explained, by acquainting the gentlemen with the former situation of the Judges in most Colonies, viz: that, they were appointed by the Crown, and paid by the Assemblies: that the appointment being during the pleasure of the Crown, the salary had been during the pleasure of the Assembly: that when it has been urged against the Assemblies, that their making Judges dependant on them for their salaries, was aiming at an undue influence over the Courts of Justice, the Assemblies usually replied, that malting them dependant on the Crown for continuance in their places, was also retaining an undue influence over those Courts; and that one


undue influence was a proper balance for the other; but that whenever the Crown would consent to Acts making the Judges during good behaviour, the Assemblies would at the same time grant their salaries to be permanent during their continuance in office. This the Crown has, however, constantly refused: and this equitable offer is now again here proposed; the Colonies not being able to conceive why their Judges should not be rendered as independent as those in England: that, on the contrary, the Crown now claimed to make the Judges in the Colonies dependant on its favour for both place and salary, both to be continued at its pleasure: this the Colonies must oppose as inequitable, as putting both the weights into one of the scales of justice: if, therefore, the Crown does not choose to commission: the Judges during good behaviour, with equally permanent salaries, the alternative proposed, that the salaries continue to be paid during the pleasure of the Assemblies as, heretofore. The gentlemen allowed this article to be reasonable.

The thirteenth was objected to, as nothing was generally thought more reasonable here, than that the King should pay his own Governour, in order to render him independent of the people, who otherwise might aim at influencing him against his duty, by occasionally withholding his salary. To this I answered, that Governours sent to the Colonies were often men of no estate or principle, who came merely to make fortunes, and had no natural regard for the Country they were to govern: that to make them quite independent of the people, was to make them careless of their conduct, whether it was beneficial or mischievous to the publick, and giving a loose to their rapacious and oppressive dispositions: that the influence supposed could never extend to operate any thing prejudicial to the King' s service, or the Interest of Britain: since the Governour was bound by a set of particular instructions, which he had given surety to observe; and all the laws he assented to were subject to be repealed by the Crown if found improper: that the payment of the salaries by the people was more satisfactory to them, as it was productive of a good understanding, and mutual good offices between Governour and governed, and therefore the innovation Lately made In that respect at Boston and New-York had in my opinion better be laid aside. So this article was suffered to remain.

But the fourteenth was thought totally inadmissible. The monopoly of the American Commerce could never be given up, and the proposing it would only give offence without answering any good purpose. I was therefore prevailed on to strike it wholly out.

The fifteenth was readily agreed to.

The sixteenth it was thought would be of little consequence, if the duties were given to the Colony Treasuries.

The seventeenth it was thought could hardly be obtained, but might be tried.

Thus having gone through the whole, I was desired to make a fair copy for Dr˙ Fothergill, who now informed us, that having an Opportunity of seeing daily Lord Dartmouth, of whose good disposition he had a high opinion, he would communicate the paper to him, as the sentiments of considerate persons who wished the welfare of both Countries. Suppose, said Mr˙ Barclay, I were to show this paper to Lord Hyde; would there be any thing amiss in so doing? He is a very knowing man, and though not in the Ministry, properly speaking, he is a good deal attended to by them. I have some acquaintance with him; we converse freely sometimes, and perhaps if he and I were to talk these articles over, I should communicate to him our conversation upon them some good might arise out of it. Dr˙ Fothergill had no objection; and I said I could have none. I knew Lord Hyde a little, and had an esteem for him. I had drawn the paper at their request, and it was now theirs to do with it what they pleased. Mr˙ Barday then proposed, that I should send the fair copy to him, which, after making one for Dr˙ Fothergill and one for himself, he would return to me. Another question then arose, whether I had any objection to their mentioning that I had been consulted? I said, none that related to myself; but it was my opinion, if they wished any attention paid to the propositions, it would be better not to mention me; the Ministry having, as I conceived, a prejudice against me and every thing that came from me. They said on that


consideration it might be best not to mention me, and so it was concluded. For my own part, I kept this whole proceeding a profound secret; but I soon after discovered that it had taken air by some means or other.

Being much interrupted the day following, I did not copy and send the paper. The next morning I received a note from Mr˙ Barclay, pressing to have it before twelve o' clock. I accordingly sent it to him. Three days after I received the following note from him:

Letter from David Barclay to Benjamin Franklin

D˙ BARCLAY presents his respects, and acquaints Dr˙ Franklin, that being informed a pamphlet, entitled "A Friendly Address," has been dispersed to the disadvantage of America, (in particular by the Dean of Norwich,) he desires Dr˙ Franklin will peruse the enclosed, just come to hand from America and if he approves of it, republish it, as D˙ Barclay wishes something might be properly spread at Norwich. D˙ Barclay saw to-day a person with whom he had been yesterday, (before he called on Dr˙ Franklin,) and had the satisfaction of walking part of the way with him to another noble person' s house, to meet on the business, and he told him, that he could say, that he saw some light.

Cheapside, 11th instant.

Direct to His Son

The person so met and accompanied by Mr˙ Barclay, I understood to be Lord Hyde, going either to Lord Dartmouth' s or Lord North' s, I knew not which.

In the following Week arrived the proceedings of the Congress, which had been long and anxiously expected, both by the friends and adversaries of America.

The Petition of Congress to the King was enclosed to me, and accompanied by the following letter from their President, addressed to the American Agents in London, as follows:

The first impression made by the proceedings of the American Congress on people in general, was greatly in our favour. Administration seemed to be staggered, were impatient to know whether the Petition mentioned in the proceedings was come to my hands, and took roundabout methods of obtaining that information, by getting a ministerial merchant, a known intimate of the Solicitor-General, to write me a letter, importing that he heard I had received such a petition, that I was to be attended in presenting it by the merchants, and begging to know the time, that he might attend "on so important an occasion, and give his testimony to so good a work." Before these proceedings arrived, it had been given out, that no Petition from the Congress could be received, as they were an illegal body; but the Secretary of State, after a day' s perusal, (during which a Council was held.) told us it was a decent and proper Petition, and cheerfully undertook to present it to His Majesty, who, he afterwards assured us, was pleased to receive it very graciously, and to promise to lay it, as soon as they met, before his two Houses of Parliament; and we had reason to believe that at that time the Petition was intended to be made the foundation of some change of measures; but that purpose, if such there was, did not long continue.

About this time I received a letter from, Mr˙ Barclay then at Norwich, dated December 18th, expressing his opinion, that it might be best to postpone taking any further steps in the affair of procuring a meeting and petition of the Merchants, (on which we had had several consultations,) till after the holidays, thereby to give the proceedings of Congress more time to work upon men' s minds, adding, "I likewise consider that our superiours will have some little time for reflection, and perhaps may contemplate on the propriety of the Hints, in their possession. By a few lines I have received from Lord Hyde, he intimates his hearty wish that they may be productive of what may be practicable and advantageous for the Mother Country and the Colonies." On the 22d, Mr˙ Barclay was come to Town, when I dined with him, and learned that Lord Hyde thought the propositions too hard.

On the 24th I received the following note from a considerable merchant in the City, viz:

Letter from William Neate to Benjamin Franklin

Mr˙ WILLIAM NEATE presents his most respectful compliments to Dr˙ Franklin, and as a report prevailed yesterday evening, that all the disputes between Great Britain and the American Colonies were, through his application


and influence with Lord North, amicably settled, conformable to the wish and desire of the late Congress, W˙ N˙ desires the favour of Dr˙ Franklin to inform him by a line, per the bearer, whether there is any credit to be given to the report ?

St˙ Mary Hill, 24th December, 1774.

Direct to His Son

My answer was to this effect, that I should be very happy to be able to inform him that the report he had heard had some truth in it; but I could only assure him that I knew nothing of the matter. Such reports, however, were confidently circulated, and had some effect in recovering the Stocks, which had fallen three or four per cent.

On Christmas day, visiting Mrs˙ Howe, she told me as soon as I went in, that her brother, Lord Howe, wished to be acquainted with me; that he was a very good man, and she was sure we should like each other. I said, I had always heard a good character of Lord Howe, and should be proud of the honour of being known to him. He is just by, said she; will you give me leave to send for him? By all means, madam, if you think proper. She rang for a servant, wrote a note, and Lord Howe came in a few minutes.

After some extremely polite compliments as to the general motives for his desiring an acquaintance with me, he said he had a particular one at this time, which was the alarming situation of our affairs with America, which no one, he was persuaded, understood better than myself; that it was the opinion of some friends of his, that no man could do more towards reconciling our differences than I could, if I would undertake it; that he was sensible I had been very ill treated by the Ministry, but he hoped that would not be considered by me in the present case; that he himself, though, not in opposition, had much disapproved of their conduct towards me; that some of them, he was sure, were ashamed of it, and sorry it had happened: which he supposed must be sufficient to abate resentment in a great and generous mind; that if he were himself in Administration, he should be ready to make me ample satisfaction, which he was persuaded would one day or other be done; that he was unconnected with the Ministry, except by some personal friendships, wished well however to Government, was anxious for the general welfare of the whole Empire, and had a particular regard for New-England, which had shown a very endearing respect to his family; that he was merely an independent Member of Parliament, desirous of doing what good he could, agreeably to his duly in that station; that he therefore had wished for an opportunity of obtaining my sentiments on the means of reconciling our differences, which he saw must be attended with the most mischievous consequences, if not speedily accommodated; that he hoped his zeal for the publick welfare would, with me, excuse the impertinence of a mere stranger, who could have otherwise no reason to expect, or right to request me to open my mind to him upon these topicks; but he did conceive, that if I would indulge him with my ideas of the means proper to bring about a reconciliation, it might be of some use; that perhaps I might not be willing myself to have any direct communication with this Ministry on this occasion; that I might likewise not care to have it known that I had any indirect communication with them, till I could be well assured of their good dispositions; that being himself upon no ill terms with them, he thought it not impossible that he might, by conveying my sentiments to them, and theirs to me, be a means: of bringing on a good understanding, without committing either them or me, if his negotiation should not succeed; and that I might rely on his keeping perfectly secret every thing I should wish to remain so.

Mrs˙ Howe here offering to withdraw, whether of herself or from any sign from him, I know not, I begged she might stay, as I should have no secret in a business of this nature that I could not freely confide to her prudence, which was truth; for I had never conceived a higher opinion of the discretion and excellent understanding of any woman on so short an acquaintance. I added, that though I had never before the honour of being in his Lordship' s company, his manner was such as had already engaged my confidence, and would make me perfectly easy and free in communicating myself to him. I begged him, in the first place, to give me credit for a sincere desire of healing the breach


between the two Countries; that I would cheerfully and heartily do every thing in my small power to accomplish it; but that I apprehended from the King' s speech, and from the measures talked of, as well as those already determined on, no intention or disposition of the kind existed in the present Ministry, and therefore no accommodation could be expected till we saw a change. That as to what his Lordship mentioned of the personal injuries done me, those done my Country were so much greater, that I did not think the other, at this time, worth mentioning; that besides it was a fixed rule with me, not to mix my private affairs with those of the publick; that I could join with my personal enemy in serving the publick, or, when it was for its interest, with the publick in serving that enemy; these being my sentiments, his Lordship might be assured that no private considerations of the kind should prevent my being as useful in the present case as my small ability would permit. He appeared satisfied and pleased with these declarations, and gave it me as his sincere opinion, that some of the Ministry were extremely well disposed to any reasonable accommodations, preserving only the dignity of Government; and he wished me to draw up in writing some propositions containing the terms on which I conceived a good understanding might be obtained and established, and the mode of proceeding to accomplish it; which propositions, as soon as prepared, we might meet to consider, either at his house or at mine, or where I pleased; but as his being seen at my house, or me at his, might he thought occasion some speculation, it was concluded to be best to meet at his sister' s, who readily offered her house for that purpose, and where there was a good pretence with her family and friends for my being often seen, as it was known that we played together at chess. I undertook, accordingly, to draw up something of the kind; and so for that time we parted, agreeing to meet at the same place again on the Wednesday following.

I dined about this time, by invitation, with Governour Pownall. There was no company but the family, and after dinner we had a tete-a-tete. He had been in the opposition, but was now about making his peace, in order to come into Parliament on Ministerial interest, which I did not then know. He told me what I had before been told by several of Lord North' s friends, that the American measures were not the measures of that Minister, nor approved by him; that, on the contrary, he was well disposed to promote a reconciliation upon any terms honourable to Government; that I had been looked upon as the great fomenter of the opposition in America, and as a great adversary to any accommodation; that he, Governour Pownall, had given a different account of me, and had told his Lordship that I was certainly much misunderstood. From the Governour' s further discourse I collected that he wished to be employed as an Envoy or Commissioner to America, to settle the differences, and to have me; with him; but as I apprehended there was little likelihood that either of us would be so employed by Government, I did not give much attention to that part of his discourse.

I should have mentioned in its place, (but one cannot recollect every thing in order,) that, declining at first to draw up the propositions desired by Lord Howe, I alleged its being unnecessary, since the Congress, in their Petition to the King, just then received and presented through Lord Dartmouth, had stated their grievances, and pointed out very explicitly what would restore the ancient harmony; and I read a part of the Petition, to show their good dispositions, which, being very pathetically expressed, seemed to affect both the brother and sister. But still I was desired to give my ideas of the steps to be taken, in case some of the propositions in the Petition should not be thought admissible; and this, as I said before, I undertook to do.

I had promised Lord Chatham to communicate to him the first important news I should receive from America. I therefore sent him the proceedings of the Congress as soon as I received them; but a whole week passed after I received the Petition before I could, as I wished to do, wait upon him with it, in order to obtain his sentiments on the whole; for my time was taken up in meetings with the other Agents to consult about presenting the Petition, in waiting three different days with them on Lord Dartmouth, in consulting upon and writing letters to the Speakers of Assemblies, and other business, which did not allow me a


day to go to Hayes. At last, on Monday, the 26th, I got out, and was there about one o' clock; he received me with an affectionate kind of respect, that from so great a man was extremely engaging; but the opinion he expressed of the Congress was still more so. They had acted, he said, with so much temper, moderation, and wisdom, that he thought it the most honourable assembly of statesmen since those of the ancient Greeks and Romans, in the most virtuous times. Thai there was not, in their whole proceedings, above one or two things he could have wished otherwise; perhaps but one, and that was their assertion that the keeping up a Standing Army in the Colonies in time of peace, without consent of their Legislatures, was against law; he doubted that was not well founded, and that the law alluded to did not extend to the Colonies. The rest he admired and honoured; he thought the Petition decent, manly, and properly expressed. He inquired much and particularly concerning the state of America, the probability of their perseverance, the difficulties they must meet with in adhering, for any long time, to their resolutions; the resources they might have to supply the deficiency of Commerce; to all which I gave him answers, with which he seemed well satisfied. He expressed a great regard and warm affection for that Country, with hearty wishes for their prosperity, and that Government here might soon come to see its mistakes, and rectify them; and intimated that possibly he might, if his health permitted, prepare something for its consideration, when the Parliament should meet after the holidays, on which he should wish to have previously my sentiments. I mentioned to him the very hazardous state I conceived we were in, by the continuance of the Army in Boston; that whatever disposition there might be in the inhabitants to give no just cause of offence to the Troops, or in the general to preserve order among them, an unpremeditated, unforeseen quarrel might happen, between perhaps a drunken porter and a soldier, that might bring on a riot, tumult, and bloodshed, and its consequences produce a breach impossible to be healed; that the Army could not possibly answer any good purpose there, and might be infinitely mischievous; that no accommodation could be properly proposed and entered into by the Americans, while the bayonet was at their breasts; that to have any agreement binding, all force should be withdrawn. His Lordship seemed to think these sentiments had something in them that was reasonable.

From Hayes I went to Halsted, Mr˙ Sargent' s place, to dine, intending thence a visit to Lord Stanhope, at Chevening; but hearing there that his Lordship and the family were in Town, I staid at Halsted all night, and the next morning went to Chiselhurst, to call upon Lord Camden, it being in my way to Town. I met his Lordship and family in two carriages just without his gate, going on a visit of congratulation to Lord Chatham and his lady, on the late marriage of their daughter to Lord Mahon, son of Lord Stanhope. They were to be back to dinner; so I agreed to go in, stay dinner, and spend the evening there, and not return to Town till next morning. We had that afternoon and evening a great deal of conversation on American affairs, concerning which he was very inquisitive, and I gave him the best information in my power. I was charmed with his generous and noble sentiments, and had the great pleasure of hearing his full approbation of the proceedings of the Congress, the Petition, &c˙, &c˙, of which, at his request, I afterwards sent him a copy. He seemed anxious that the Americans should continue to act with the same temper, coolness, and wisdom, with which they had hitherto proceeded in most of their publick assemblies, in which case he did not doubt they would succeed in establishing their rights, and obtain a solid and durable agreement with the Mother Country; of the necessity and great importance of which agreement, he seemed to have the strongest impressions.

I returned to Town the next morning, in time to meet at the hour appointed by Lord Howe. I apologized for my not being ready with the paper I had promised, by my having been kept longer than I intended in the Country. We had, however, a good deal of conversation on the subject, and his Lordship told me he could now assure me of a certainty, that there was a sincere disposition in Lord North and Lord Dartmouth to accommodate, the differences with America, and to listen favourably to any propositions


that might have a probable tendency to answer that salutary purpose. He then asked me what I thought of sending some person or persons over, commissioned to inquire into the grievances of America upon the spot; converse with the leading people, and endeavour with them to agree upon some means of composing oar differences. I said that a person of rank and dignity, who had a character of candour, integrity, and wisdom, might possibly, if employed in that service, be of great use. He seemed to be of the same opinion, and that whoever was employed should go with a hearty desire of promoting a sincere reconciliation, on the foundation of mutual interests and mutual good-will; that he should endeavour not only to remove their prejudices against Government, but equally the prejudices of Government against them, and bring on a perfect good understanding, &c. Mrs˙ Howe said, I wish, brother, you were to be sent thither on such a service; I should like that much better than General Howe' s going to command the Army there. I think, madam, said I, they ought to provide for General Howe some more honourable employment. Lord Howe here took out of his pocket a paper, and offering it to me said, smiling, if it is not an unfair question, may I ask whether you know any thing of this paper? Upon looking at it, I saw it was a copy, in David Barclay' s hand, of the Hints before recited, and said that I had seen it; adding, a little after, that since I perceived his Lordship was acquainted with a transaction, my concern in which I had understood was to have been kept a secret, I should make no difficulty in owning to him that I had been consulted on the subject, and had drawn up that paper. He said he was rather sorry to find that the sentiments expressed in it were mine, as it gave him less hopes of promoting, by my assistance, the wished-for reconciliation, since he had reason to think there was no likelihood of the admission of these propositions. He hoped, however, that I would reconsider the subject, and form some plan that would be acceptable here. He expatiated on the infinite service it would be to the Nation, and the great merit in being instrumental in so good a work; that he should not think of influencing me by any selfish motive, but certainly I might with reason expect any reward in the power of Government to bestow. This to me was what the French vulgarly call spitting in the soup. However, I promised to draw some sketch of a plan at his request, though I much doubted, I said, whether it would be thought preferable to that he had in his hand. But he was willing to hope that it would, and as he considered my situation, that I had friends here and constituents in America to keep well with, that I might possibly propose something improper to be seen in my handwriting; therefore, it would be better to send it, to Mrs˙ Howe, who would copy it, send the copy to him to be communicated to the Ministry, and return me the original. This I agreed to, though I did not apprehend the Inconvenience he mentioned. In general I liked much his manner, and found myself disposed to place great confidence in him on occasion, but in this particular the secrecy he proposed seemed not of much importance.

In a day or two I sent the following paper, enclosed in a cover, directed to the honourable Mrs˙ Howe:

Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Mrs. Howe

"It is supposed to be the wish on both sides, not merely to put a stop to the mischief at present threatening the general welfare, but to cement a cordial union, and remove not only every real grievance, but every cause of jealousy and suspicion.

"With this view the first thing necessary is, to know what is, by the different parties in the dispute, thought essentially necessary for the obtaining such an union.

"The American Congress, in their Petition to the King, have been explicit, declaring that, by a repeal of the oppressive Acts therein complained of, ‘the harmony between Great Britain and her Colonies, so necessary to the happiness of both, and so ardently desired of them, will, with the usual intercourse, be immediately restored. ’

"If it has been thought reasonable here to expect that, previous to an alteration of measures, the Colonies should make some declaration respecting their future conduct, they have also done that, by adding, ‘that when the causes of their apprehensions are removed, their future conduct will prove them not unworthy of the regard they have been accustomed in their happier, days to enjoy.’


"For their sincerity in these declarations, they solemnly call to witness the Searcher of all hearts.

"If Britain can have any reliance on these declarations, (and perhaps none to be extorted by force can be more relied on than these which are thus freely made,) she may, without hazard to herself, try the expedient proposed, since, if it fails, she has it in her power at any time to resume her present measures.

"It is, then, proposed,

"That Britain should show some confidence in these declarations, by repealing all the laws or parts of laws that are requested to be repealed in the Petition of the Congress to the King.

"And that at the same time orders should be given to withdraw the Fleet from Boston, and remove all the Troops to Quebeck or the Floridas, that the Colonies may be left at liberty in their future stipulations.

"That this may, for the honour of Britain, appear not the effect of any apprehension from the measures entered into and recommended to the people by the Congress, but from good will, and a change of disposition towards the Colonies, with a sincere desire of reconciliation; let some of their other grievances, which, in their Petition, they have left to the magnanimity and justice of the King and Parliament, be at the same time removed, such as those relating to the payment of Governours' and Judges' salaries, and the instructions for dissolving Assemblies, &c˙, with the declarations concerning the Statute of Henry VIII.

"And to give the Colonies an immediate opportunity of demonstrating the reality of their professions, let their proposed ensuing Congress be authorized by Government, (as was that held at Albany in 1754,) and a person of weight and dignity of character be appointed to preside at it on behalf of the Crown.

"And then let requisition be made to the Congress, of such points as Government wishes to obtain, for its future security, for aids, for the advantage of general Commerce, for reparation to the India Company, &c˙, &c.

"A generous confidence thus placed in the Colonies, will give ground to the friends of Government there, in their endeavours to procure from America every reasonable concession or engagement, and every substantial aid that can fairly be desired."

Direct to His Son

On the Saturday evening I saw Mrs˙ Howe, who informed me she had transcribed and sent the paper to Lord Howe the country, and she returned me the original.

On the following Tuesday, January 3d, I received a note from her, (enclosing a letter she had received from Lord Howe the last night,) which follows:

Letter from Mrs. Howe to Benjamin Franklin

"Mrs˙ HOWE' S compliments to Dr˙ Franklin; she encloses him a letter she received last night, and returns him many thanks for his very obliging present, which has already given her great entertainment. If the Doctor has any spare lime for chess, she will be exceedingly glad to see him any morning this week, and as often as will be agreeable to him, and rejoices in having so good an excuse for asking the favour of his company.


[Latter enclosed in the foregoing.]

Porter' s Lodge, January 2d, 1775.

I have received your packet; and it is with much concern that I collect, from sentiments of such authority as, those of our worthy friend, that the desired accommodation threatens to be attended with much greater difficulty than I had flattered myself, in the progress of our intercourse, there would be reason to apprehend.

I shall forward the propositions as intended. Not desirous of trespassing further on our friend' s indulgence; but returning sentiments of regard, which his candid and obliging attention to my troublesome inquiries, will render ever permanent in the memory of your affectionate, &c.

I ought to make excuses likewise to you.


Hon˙ Mrs˙ Howe, Grafton Street.

Direct to His Son

His Lordship had, in his last conversation with me, acknowledged a communication between him and the Ministry, to whom he wished to make my sentiments known. In, this letter from the country he owns the receipt of them, and mentions his intentions of forwarding them, that is, as


I understood it, to the Ministers; but expresses his apprehensions that such propositions were not likely to produce any good effect. Some time after, perhaps a week, I received a note from Mrs˙ Howe, desiring to see me. I waited upon her immediately, when she showed, me a letter from her brother, of which, having no copy, I can only give from the best of my recollection the purport of it, which I think was this: that he desired to, know from their friend, meaning me, through her means, whether it might not be expected that, if that friend would engage for the payment of the Tea as a preliminary, relying on a promised redress of their grievances on future petitions from their Assembly, they would approve of his making such engagement; and whether the proposition in the former paper, (the Hints,) relating to aids, was still in contemplation of the author. As Mrs˙ Howe proposed sending to her brother that evening, I wrote immediately the following answer, which she transcribed and forwarded:

"The proposition in the former paper relating to aids, is still in contemplation of the author, and, as he thinks, is included in the last article of the present paper.

"The people of America, conceiving that Parliament has no right to tax them, and that, therefore, all that has been extorted from them by the operation of the Duty Acts, with the assistance of an armed, force, preceding the destruction of the Tea, is so much injury, which ought, in order of time, to be first repaired, before a demand on the Tea account can be justly made of them; are not, he thinks, likely to approve of the measure proposed, and pay in the first place the value demanded, especially as twenty times as much injury has since been done them by blocking up their Port; and their Castle also seized before by the Crown, has not been restored, nor any satisfaction offered them for the same."

At the meeting of Parliament, after the holidays, which was on the 19th of January, (1775,) Lord Howe returned to town, when we had another meeting, at which he lamented that my propositions were not such as probably could be accepted; intimated that it was thought I had powers or instructions from the Congress to make Concessions on occasion that would be more satisfactory. I disclaimed the having any of any kind but what related to the presenting of their Petition. We talked over all the particulars in my paper, which I supported with reasons; and finally said, that if what I had proposed would not do, I should, be glad to hear what would do; I wished to see some propositions from the Ministers themselves. His Lordship was not, he said, as yet fully acquainted with their sentiments, but should learn more in a few days. It was, however, some weeks before I heard any thing further from him.

In the meanwhile, Mr˙ Barclay and I were frequently together on the affair of preparing the Merchants' Petition, which took up so much of his time that he could not conveniently see Lord Hyde; so he had no information to give me concerning the Hints, and I wondered I heard nothing of them from Dr˙ Fothergill. At length, however, but I cannot recollect about what time," the Doctor called on me, and told me he had communicated them, and with them had verbally given my arguments in support of them, to Lord Dartmouth, who, after consideration, had told him some of them appeared reasonable, but others were inadmissible or impracticable: that having occasion to see frequently the Speaker, he had also communicated them to him, as he found him very anxious: for a reconciliation: that the Speaker had said it would be, very humiliating to Britain to be obliged to submit to such terms: but the Doctor told him she had been unjust; and ought to bear the consequences, and alter her conduct; that the pill might be bitter, but it would be salutary, and must be swallowed: that these were the sentiments of impartial men; after thorough consideration and full information of all circurmstances, and that sooner or later these or similar measures must be followed, or the Empire would be divided and ruined: the Doctor, on the whole, hoped some good would be effected by our endeavours.

On the 19th of January, I received a card from Lord Stanhope, acquainting me, that Lord Chatham having a motion to make on the morrow in the House of Lords, concerning


America, greatly desired that I might be in the House, into which Lord S˙ would endeavour to procure me admittance. At this time it was a rule of the House that no person could introduce more than one friend. The nest morning, his Lordship let me know by another card, that if I attended at two o' clock in the lobby, Lord Chatham; would be there about that time, and would himself introduce me. I attended and met him there accordingly. On my mentioning to him what Lord Stanhope had written to me, he said, "Certainly; and I shall do it with the more pleasure, as I am sure your being present at this day' s debate will be of more service to America than mine;" and so taking me by the arm, was leading me along the passage to the door that enters near the throne, when one of the Doorkeepers followed and acquainted him that, by the order, none were to be carried in at that door but the eldest sons or brothers of Peers; on which he limped back with me to the door near the bar, where were standing a number of gentlemen waiting for the Peers who were to introduce them, and some Peers waiting for friends they expected to introduce; among whom, he delivered me to the Doorkeepers, saying aloud, this is Doctor Franklin, whom I would have .admitted into the House; when they readily opened the door for me accordingly. As it had not been publickly known that there was any communication between his Lordship and me, this I found occasioned some speculation. His appearance in the House, I observed, caused a kind of bustle among the officers, who were hurried in sending messengers for Members, I suppose those in connection with the Ministry, something of importance being expected when that great man appears; it being but seldom that his infirmities permit his attendance. I had great satisfaction in hearing his motion and the debate upon it, which I shall not attempt to give here an account of, as you may find a better in the papers of the time. It was his motion for withdrawing the Troops from Boston, as the first step towards an accommodation. The day following, I received a note from Lord Stanhope, expressing that, "at the desire of Lord Chatham, was sent me enclosed, the motion he made in the House of Lords, that I might be possessed of it in the most authentick manner, by the communication of the individual paper which was read to the House by the mover himself." I sent copies of this motion to America, and was the more pleased with it, as I conceived it had partly taken its rise from a hint I had given, his Lordship in a former conversation. It follows in these words:

Lord Chatham' s Motion

Lord Chatham' s Motion, January 20, 1775.

"That an humble. Address be presented to His Majesty, most humbly to advise and beseech His Majesty, that, in order to open the way towards a happy settlement of the dangerous troubles in America, by beginning to allay ferments and soften animosities there; and above all, for preventing in the mean time any sudden and fatal catastrophe at Boston, now suffering under daily irritation of an Army before their eyes, posted in their Town; it may graciously please His Majesty, that immediate orders may be despatched to General Gage, for removing His Majesty' s Forces from the Town of Boston, as soon as the rigour of the season and other circumstances, indispensable to the safety and accommodation of the said Troops, may render the same practicable."

Direct to His Son

I was quite charmed with Lord Chatham' s speech in support of his motion. He impressed me with the highest idea of him as a great and most able statesman. Lord Camden, another wonderfully good speaker and close reasoner, joined him in the same argument, as did several other Lords, who spoke excellently well; but all availed no more than the whistling of the winds. This motion was rejected. Sixteen Scotch Peers, and twenty-four Bishops, with all the Lords in possession or expectation of places, when they vote together unanimously, as they generally do for Ministerial measures, make a dead majority, that renders all debating ridiculous in itself, since it can answer no end. Full of the high esteem I had imbibed for Lord Chatham, I wrote back to Lord Stanhope the following note, viz:

Benjamin Franklin to Lord Stanhope

Dr˙ FRANKLIN presents his best respects to Lord Stanhope, with many thanks to his Lordship and Lord Chatham,


for the communication of so authentick a copy of the motion. Dr˙ is filled with admiration of that truly great man. He has seen in the course of his life, sometimes eloquence without wisdom, and often wisdom without eloquence; in the present instance he sees both united, and both, as he thinks, in the highest degree possible.

Craven Street, Jan. 23, 1775.

Direct to His Son

As in the course of the debate, some Lords in the Administration had observed, that it was common and easy to censure their measures, but those who did so proposed nothing better; Lord Chatham mentioned that he should not be one of those idle censurers, that he had thought long and closely upon the subject, and proposed soon to lay before their Lordships the result of his meditation, in a plan for healing; our differences, and restoring peace to the Empire, to which his present motion was preparatory: I much desired to know what his plan was, and intended waiting on him to see if he would communicate it to me; but he went the next morning to Hayes, and I was so much taken up with daily business and company, that I could not easily get out to him. A few days after, however, Lord Mahon called on me, and told me Lord Chatham was very desirous of seeing me; when I promised to be with him the Friday following, several engagements prevented my going sooner. On Friday, the 27th, I took a post-chaise about 9 o' clock, and got to Hayes about eleven, but my attention being engaged in reading a new pamphlet, the postboy drove me a mile or two beyond the gate. His Lordship being out on an airing in his chariot, had met me before I reached Hayes, unobserved by me, turned and followed me, and not finding me there concluded, as he had seen me reading, that I had passed by mistake, and sent a servant after me. He expressed great pleasure at my coming, and acquainted me, in a long conversation, with the outlines of his plan, parts of which he read to me. He said he had communicated it only to Lord Camden, whose advice he much relied on, particularly in the law part; and that he would, as soon as he could get it transcribed, put it into my hands for my opinion and advice, but should show it to no other person, before he presented it to the House; and he requested me to make no mention of it, otherwise parts might be misunderstood and blown up beforehand, and others perhaps adopted and produced by Ministers as their own, I promised the closest secrecy, and kept my word; not even mentioning to any one that I had seen him. I dined with him, his family only present, and returned to Town in the evening.

On the Sunday following, being the 29th, his Lordship came to Town, and called upon me in Craven Street. He brought with him his plan transcribed, in the form of an Act of Parliament, which he put into my hands, requesting me to consider it carefully, and communicate to him such remarks upon it as should occur to me. His reason for desiring to give me that trouble was, as he was pleased to say, that he knew no man so thoroughly acquainted with the subject, or so capable of giving advice upon it, that had thought the errours of Ministers in American Affairs had been often owing to their not obtaining the best information: that, therefore, though he had considered the business thoroughly in all its parts, he was not so confident of his own judgment, but that he came to set it right by mine, as men set their watches by a regulator. He had not determined when he should produce it in the House, of Lords, but in the course of our conversation, considering the precarious situation of his health, and that if presenting it was delayed, some intelligence might arrive which would make it seem less seasonable, or in all parts not so proper; or the Ministry might engage in different measures and then say, if you had produced your plan sooner, we might have attended to it; he concluded to offer it the Wednesday following, and, therefore, wished to see me upon, it the preceding Tuesday, when he would again call upon me, unless I could conveniently come to Hayes. I chose the latter, in respect to his Lordship, and because there was less likelihood of interruptions: and I promised, to be with him early, that we might have more time. He staid with me near two hours, his equipage awaiting at the door; and being there while people were coming from church, it was much taken notice of and talked of, as at that time was every little circumstance that men thought might possibly any


way affect American affairs. Such a visit from so great a man, on so important a business, flattered not a little, my vanity; and the honour of it gave me the more pleasure, as it happened on the very day twelve months that the Ministry had taken so much pains to disgrace me before the Privy Council.

I applied myself immediately to the reading and considering the plan, of which, when it was afterwards published, I sent you a copy, and therefore need not insert it here. I put down upon paper, as I went along, some short memorandums for my future discourse with him upon it, which follow, that you may, if you please, compare them with the plan; and if you do so, you will see their drift and purpose, which otherwise would make me much writing to explain.

Tuesday, January 31, 1775.

Notes for discourse with Lord Chatham on his plan:

Voluntary grants and forced taxes, not to be expected of the same people at the same time.

Permanent revenue will be objected to; would not a temporary agreement be best, suppose for one hundred years?

Does the whole of the rights claimed in the Petition of Rights relate to England only?

The American Naturalization Act gives all the rights of natural born subjects to foreigners residing there seven year. Can it be supposed that the natives there have them not?

If the King should raise Armies in America, would Britain like their being brought hither? as the King might bring them when he pleased.

An Act of Parliament requires the Colonies to furnish sundry articles of provision and accommodation to Troops quartered among them; this may be made very burdensome to Colonies that are out of favour.

If a permanent revenue, why not the same privileges in trade with Scotland?

Should not the lands conquered by Britain and the Colonies in conjunction, be given them (reserving a quitrent) whence they might form funds to enable them to pay.

Instructions about Agents to be withdrawn.

Grants to be for three years, at the end of which a new Congress — and so from three to three years.

Congress to have the general defence of the frontiers, making and regulating new settlements.

Protection mutual.

We go into all your wars.

Our settlements cost you nothing.

Take the plan of union.

"Defence, extension, and prosperity of" — The late Canada Act prevents their extension, and may check their prosperity.

Laws should be secure as well as Charters.

Perhaps if the legislative power of Parliament is owned in the Colonies, they may make a law to forbid the meeting of any Congress, &c.

I was at Hayes early on Tuesday, agreeably to my promise, when we entered into consideration of the plan; but though I staid near four hours, his Lordship, in the manner of, I think all eloquent persons, was so full and diffuse in supporting every particular I questioned, that there was not time to go through half my memorandums; he is not easily interrupted, and I had such pleasure in hearing him, that I found little inclination to interrupt him; therefore, considering that neither of us had much expectation that the plan would be: adopted entirely as it stood; that in the course of its consideration, if it should be received, proper alterations might be introduced; that before it would be settled, America should have opportunity to make her objections and propositions of amendment; that to have it received at all here, it must seem to comply a little with some of the prevailing prejudices of the Legislature; that if it was not so perfect as might be wished, it would at least serve as a basis for treaty, and in the mean time prevent mischiefs, and that as his Lordship had determined to offer it the next day, there was not time to make changes and another fair copy. I therefore ceased my querying; and though afterwards many people were pleased to do me the honour of supposing I had a considerable share in composing it, I assure you, that the addition of a single word only was made at my instance, viz: "Constitutions" after "Charters;" for


my filling up at his request a blank with the titles of Acts proper to be repealed, which I took from the proceedings of the Congress, was no more than might have been done by any copying clerk.

On Wednesday, Lord Stanhope, at Lord Chatham' s request, called upon me, and carried me down to the House of Lords, which was soon very full. Lord Chatham, in a most excellent speech, introduced, explained, and supported his plan. When he sat down, Lord Dartmouth rose, and very properly said, it contained matter of such weight and magnitude as to require much consideration, and he therefore hoped the noble Earl did not expect their Lordships to decide upon it by an immediate vote, but would be willing it should lie upon the table for consideration, Lord Chatham answered readily, that he expected nothing more. But Lord Sandwich rose, and in a petulant vehement speech, opposed its being received at all, and gave his opinion, that it ought to be immediately rejected with the contempt it deserved; that he could never believe it to be the production of any British Peer; that it appeared to him rather the work of some American; and, turning his face towards me, who was leaning on the bar, said, he fancied he had in his eye the person who drew it up, one of the bitterest and most mischievous enemies this Country had ever known. This drew the eyes of many Lords upon me: but as I had no inducement to take it to myself, I kept my countenance as immoveable as if my features had been made of wood. Then several other Lords of the Administration gave their sentiments also for rejecting it, of which opinion also was strongly the wise Lord Hillsborough; but the Dukes of Richmond and Manchester, Lord Shelburne, Lord Camden, Lord Temple, Lord Lyttleton and others, were for receiving it, some through approbation, and others for the character and dignity of the House. One Lord mentioning with applause the candid proposal of one of the ministers, Lord Dartmouth, his Lordship rose again, and said, that having since heard the opinions of so many Lords against receiving it to lie upon the table for consideration, he had altered his mind, could not accept the praise offered him, for a candour of which he was now ashamed, and, should therefore give his voice for rejecting the plan immediately. I am the more particular in this, as it is a trait of that Nobleman' s character, who, from his office, is supposed to have so great a share in American affairs, but who has in reality no will or judgment of his own, being, with dispositions for the best measures, easily prevailed with to join in the worst. Lord Chatham, in his reply to Lord Sandwich, took notice of his illiberal insinuation, that the plan was not the person' s who proposed it: declared that it was entirely his own, a declaration he thought himself the more obliged to make, as many of their Lordships appeared to have so mean an opinion of it; for if it was so weak or so bad a thing, it was proper in him to take care that no other person should unjustly share in the censure it deserved. That it had been heretofore reckoned his vice not to be apt to take advice; but he made no scruple to declare, that if he were the first Minister of this Country, and had the care of settling this momentous business, he should not be ashamed of publickly calling to his assistance a person so perfectly acquainted with the whole of American affairs as the gentleman alluded to, and so injuriously reflected on; one, he was pleased to say, whom all Europe held in high estimation, for his knowledge and wisdom, and ranked with our Boyles and Newtons, who was an honour, not to the English Nation only, but to human nature! I found it harder to stand this extravagant compliment, than the preceding equally extravagant abuse, but kept as well as I could an unconcerned countenance, as not conceiving it to relate to me.

To hear so many of these hereditary Legislators declaiming so vehemently against, not the adopting merely, but even the consideration of a proposal so important in its nature, offered by a person of so weighty a character, one of the first Statesmen of the age, who had taken up this Country when in the lowest despondency, and conducted it to victory and glory, through a war with two of the mightiest Kingdoms in Europe; to hear them censuring his plan, not only for their own misunderstandings of what was in it, but for their imaginations of what was not in it, which they would not give themselves an opportunity of rectifying by a second reading; to perceive the total ignorance of


the subject In some, the prejudice and passion of others, and the wilful perversion of plain truth in several of the Ministers; and upon the whole, to see it so ignominiously rejected by so great a majority, and so hastily too, in breach of all decency, and prudent regard to the character and dignity of their body, as a third part of the National Legislature, gave me an exceeding mean opinion of their abilities, and made their claim of sovereignty over three millions of virtuous sensible people in America seem the greatest of absurdities, since they appeared to have scarce discretion enough to govern a herd of swine. Hereditary Legislators! thought I. There would be more propriety, because less hazard of mischief, in having (as in some University of Germany) hereditary professors of mathematicks! But this was a hasty reflection, for the elected House of Commons is no better, nor ever will be while the electors receive money for their votes, and pay money wherewith Ministers may bribe their Representatives when chosen.

After this proceeding I expected to hear no more of any negotiation for settling our difference amicably; yet in a day or two, I had a note from Mr˙ Barclay, requesting a meeting at Dr˙ Fathergill' s, the 4th of February in the evening. I attended accordingly, and was surprised by being told that a very good disposition appeared in Administration; that the Hints had been considered, and several of them thought reasonable, and that others might be admitted with small amendments. The good Doctor, with his usual philanthropy, expatiated on the miseries of war; that even a bad peace was preferable to the most successful war; that America was growing in strength, and whatever she might be obliged to submit to at present, she would in a few years be in a condition to make her own terms. Mr˙ Barclay hinted how much it was in my power to promote an agreement; how much it would be to my honour to effect it, and that I might expect, not only restoration of my old place, but almost any other I could wish for, &c. I need not tell you, who know me so well, how improper and disgusting this language was to me. The Doctor' s was more suitable. Him I answered, that we did not wish for war, and desired nothing but what was reasonable and necessary for our security and well-being. To Mr˙ Barclay I replied, that the Ministry, I was sure, would rather give me a place in a cart to Tyburn, than any other place whatever. And to both, that I sincerely wished to be serviceable; that I needed no other inducement than to be shown how I might be so; but saw they imagined more to be in my power, than really was. I was. then told again that conferences had been held upon the Hints; and the paper being produced was read, that I might hear the observations that had, been, made upon them separately, which were as follows:

1. The first Article was approved.

2. The second agreed to, so far as related to the repeal of the Tea Act. But repayment of the Duties that had been collected, was refused.

3. The third not approved, as it implied a deficiency of power in the Parliament that made those Acts.

4. The fourth approved.

5. The fifth agreed to, but with a reserve, that no change prejudicial to Britain, was to be expected.

6. The sixth agreed to, so far as related to the appropriatioion of the Duties: but the appointment of the Officers and their salaries to remain as at present.

7. The seventh, relating to aids in time of peace, agreed to.

8. The eighth, relating to the Troops, was inadmissible.

9. The ninth could be agreed to, with this difference, that no proportion should be observed with regard to preceding Taxes, but each Colony should give at pleasure.

10. The tenth agreed to, as to the restitution of Castle William; but the restriction on the Crown in building fortresses refused.

11. The eleventh refused absolutely, except as to the Boston Port Bill, which would be repealed; and the Quebeck Act might be so far amended, as to reduce that Province to its ancient limits. The other Massachusetts Acts, being real amendments of their Constitution, must for that reason be continued, as well as to be a standing example of the power of Parliament.

12. The twelfth agreed to, that the Judges should be appointed during good behaviour, on the Assemblies


providing permanent salaries, such as the Crown should approve of.

13. The thirteenth agreed to, provided the Assemblies make provision as in the preceding article.

15. The fifteenth agreed to.

16. The sixteenth agreed to, supposing the Duties paid to the Colony Treasuries.

17. The seventeenth inadmissible.

We had not at this time a great deal of conversation upon these points, for I shortened it by observing, that while the Parliament claimed and exercised a power of altering our Constitutions at pleasure, there could be no agreement; for we were rendered unsafe in every privilege we had a right to, and were secure in nothing. And it being hinted how necessary an agreement was for America, since it was so easy for Britain to burn all our sea-port Towns, I grew warm, said that the chief part of my little property consisted of houses in those Towns; that they might make bonfires of them whenever their pleased; that the fear of losing them would never alter my resolution to resist to the last that claim of Parliament, and that it behooved this Country to take care what mischief it did us, for that sooner or later it would certainly be obliged to make good all damages with interest! The Doctor smiled, as I thought, with some approbation of my discourse, passionate as it was, and said he would certainly repent it to-morrow to Lord Dartmouth.

In the discourse concerning the Hints, Mr˙ Barclay happened to mention, that going to Lord Hyde' s, he found Lord Howe with him, and that Lord Hyde had said to him, "you may speak any thing before Lord Howe, that you have to say to me, for he is a friend in whom I confide;" upon which he accordingly had spoken with the same freedom as usual. By this I collected how Lord Howe came by the paper of Hints which he had shown me: and it being mentioned as a measure thought of, to send over a Commissioner with powers to inquire into grievances and give redress on certain conditions, but that it was difficult to find a proper person; I said, why not Lord Hyde? he is a man of prudence and temper; a person of dignity, and I should think very suitable for such an employment: or, if he would not go, there is the other person you just mentioned, Lord Howe, who would, in my opinion, do excellently well. This passed as mere conversation, and we parted.

Lord Chatham' s rejected plan being printed for the publick judgment, I received six copies from Lord Mahon, his son-in-law, which I sent to different persons in America.

A week and more passed, in which I heard nothing further of the negotiation, and my time Was much taken up among the Members of Parliament, when Mr˙ Barclay sent me a note to say, that he was indisposed, but desirous of seeing me, and should be glad if I would call on him. I waited upon him the next morning, when he told me that he had seen Lord Hyde, and had some further discourse with him on the Articles; that be thought himself now fully possessed of what would do in this business; that he therefore wished another meeting with me and Doctor Fothergill, when he would endeavour to bring prepared a draught conformable chiefly to what had been proposed and conceded on both sides, with some propositions of his own. I readily agreed to the meeting, which was to be on Thursday evening, February 16th.

We met accordingly, when Mr˙ Barclay produced the following paper, viz:

Plan of David Barclay

A Plan, which it is believed would produce a permanent union between GREAT BRITAIN and her Colonies.

1. The Tea destroyed to be paid for; and, in order that no time may be lost to begin the desirable work of conciliation, it is proposed that the Agent or Agents, in a petition to the King, should engage that the Tea destroyed shall be paid for, and in consequence of that engagement, a Commissioner to have authority, by a clause in an Act of Parliament, to open the port (by a suspension of the Boston Port Act) when that engagement shall be complied with.

2d. The Tea-Duty Act to be repealed, as well for the advantage of Great Britain as the Colonies.

3d. Castle William to be, restored to the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay, as formerly, before it was delivered up by Governour Hutchinson.


4th. As it is believed that the commencement of conciliatory measures will in a considerable degree quiet the minds of the subjects in America, it is proposed that the inhabitants of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay should petition the King, and state their objections to the said Act. And it is to be understood that the said Act shall be repealed. Interim, the Commissioner to have power to suspend the Act, in order to enable the inhabitants to petition.

5th. The several Provinces who may think themselves aggrieved by the Quebeck Bill, to petition in their legislative capacities; and it is to be understood that so far of the Act as extends the limits of Quebeck beyond its ancient bounds, is to be repealed.

6th. The Act of Henry VIII. to be formally disclaimed by Parliament.

7th. In time of peace the Americans to raise within their respective Provinces, by Acts of their own Legislatures, a certain sum or sums, such as may be thought necessary for a Peace Establishment, to pay Governours, Judges, &c.

Vide — Laws of Jamaica.

8th. In time of war, on requisition made by the King, with consent of Parliament, every Colony shall raise such sums of money, as their Legislatures may think suitable to their abilities and the publick exigency, to be laid out in raising and paying men, for land or sea service, furnishing provisions, transports, or such other purposes as the King shall require and direct.

9th. The Acts of Navigation to be re-examined, in order to see whether some alterations might not be made therein, as much, for the advantage of Great Britain, as the ease of the Colonies.

10th. A Naval Officer to be appointed by the Crown to reside in each Colony, to see those Acts observed.

N˙ B. In some Colonies they are not appointed by the Crown.

11th. All Duties arising on the Acts for regulating Trade with the Colonies, to be for the publick use of the respective Colonies, and paid into their Treasuries, and an Officer of the Crown to see it done.

12th. The Admiralty Courts to be reduced to the same powers as they have in England.

13th. All Judges in the King' s Colony Governments to be appointed during good behaviour, and to be paid by the Province, agreeable to article seventh.

N˙ B. If the King chooses to add to their salaries, the same to be sent from England.

14th. The Governours to be supported in the same manner.

Direct to His Son

Our conversation turned chiefly upon the first article. It was said that the Ministry only wanted some opening to be given them, some ground on which to found the commencement of conciliating measures, that a petition, containing such an engagement, as mentioned in this article, would answer that purpose; that preparations were making to send over more Troops and Ships, that such a petition might prevent their going, especially if a Commissioner were proposed; I was therefore urged to engage the Colony Agents to join with me in such a petition. My answer was, that no Agent had any thing to do with the Tea business but those for Massachusetts-Bay, who were, Mr˙ Bollan for the Council, myself for the Assembly, and Mr˙ Lee, appointed to succeed me when I should leave England; that the latter, therefore, could hardly yet be considered as an Agent; and that the former was a cautious exact man, and not easily persuaded to take steps of such importance without instructions or authority; that therefore if such a step were to be taken, it would lie chiefly on me to take it; that indeed, if there were, as they supposed, a clear probability of good to he done by it, I should make no scruple of hazarding myself in it; but I thought the empowering a Commissioner to suspend the Boston Port Act, was a method too dilatory, and a mere suspension would not be satisfactory; that If such an engagement were entered into, all the Massachusetts Acts should be immediately repealed.

They laid hold of the readiness I had expressed to petition on a probability of doing good, applauded it, and urged me to draw up a petition immediately. I said it was a matter of importance, and, with their leave, I would take home the paper, consider the propositions as they now


stood, and give them my opinion to-morrow evening. This was agreed to, and for that time we parted.

Weighing now the present dangerous situation of affairs in America, and the daily hazard of widening the breach there irreparable, I embraced the idea proposed in the paper, of sending over a Commissioner, as it might be a means of suspending military operations, and bring on a treaty, whereby mischief would be prevented, and an agreement by degrees be formed and established; I also concluded to do what had been desired of me as to the engagement, and essayed a draught of a memorial to Lord Dartmouth, for that purpose, simply; to be signed only by myself. As to the sending of a Commissioner, a measure which I was desired, likewise to propose, and express my sentiments of its utility, I apprehended my colleagues in the agency might be justly displeased if I took a step of such importance without consulting them, and therefore I sketched a joint petition to that purpose for them to sign with me if they pleased; but apprehending that would meet with difficulty, I drew up a letter to Lord Dartmouth, containing the same proposition, with the reasons for it, to be sent from me only. I made also upon paper some remarks on the propositions; with some hints on a separate paper of further remarks to be made in conversation, when we should meet in the evening of the 17th. Copies of these papers (except the first, which I do not find with me on shipboard) are here placed as follows, viz:

To the King

To the King' s Most Excellent Majesty.

The Petition and Memorial of W˙ BOLLAN, B˙ FRANKLIN, and ARTHUR LEE,

Most humbly sheweth:

That your Petitioners, being Agents for several Colonies, and deeply affected with the apprehension of impending calamities that now threaten your Majesty' s subjects in America, beg leave to approach your throne, and to suggest with all humility, their opinion, formed on much attentive consideration, that if it should please your Majesty to permit and authorize a meeting of Delegates from the different Provinces, and appoint some person or persons of dignity and wisdom from this Country, to preside in that meeting, or to confer with the said Delegates, accquaint themselves fully with the true grievances of the Colonies, and settle the means of composing all dissensions, such means to be afterwards ratified by your Majesty, if found just and suitable; your Petitioners are persuaded, from their thorough knowledge of that Country and People, that such a measure might be attended with the most salutary effects, prevent much mischief, and restore the harmony which so long subsisted, and is so necessary to the prosperity and happiness of all your Majesty' s subjects in every part of your extensive Dominions; which that Heaven may preserve entire to your Majesty and your descendants, is the sincere prayer of your Majesty' s most dutiful subjects and servants.

To Lord Dartmouth

To the Right Honourable Lord DARTMOUTH, &c˙:

My LORD: Being deeply apprehensive of the impending calamities that threaten the Nation and its Colonies, through the present unhappy dissensions,I have attentively considered by what possible means those calamities may be prevented. The great importance of a business which concerns us all, will, I hope, in some degree excuse me' to your Lordship, if I presume unasked to offer my humble opinion, that should His Majesty think fit to authorize Delegates from the several Provinces to meet, at such convenient time and place as in his wisdom shall seem meet, then and there to confer with a Commissioner orComnnssioners to be appointed and empowered by His Majesty, on the means of establishing a firm and lasting union between Britain and the American Provinces, such a measure might be effectual for that purpose. I cannot, therefore, but wish it may be adopted, as no one can more ardently and sincerely desire the general prosperity of the British Dominions, than, my Lord, your Lordship' s most obedient, &c˙,


Direct to His Son

Remarks on the Propositions.

Article 1. In consequence of that engagement air the Boston and Massachusetts Acts to be suspended, and in compliance with that engagement to be totally repealed.


By this amendment Article 4th will become unnecessary.

Articles 4 and 5. The numerous Petitions heretofore sent home by the Colony Assemblies, and either refused to be received, or received and neglected, or answered harshly, and the petitioners rebuked for making them,have, conceive, totally discouraged that method of application, and if even their friends were now to propose to them the recurring; again to petitioning, such friends would be thought to trifle with them, Besides, all they desire is now before. Government, in the Petition of the Congress, and the whole or parts may be granted or refused at pleasure. The sense of the Colonies cannot be better obtained by petition from different Colonies, than it is by that general petition.

Article 7, Read, such as they may think necessary.

Article 11, As it stands, of little importance. The first proposition was, that they should be repealed as unjust. But they may remain, for they will probably not be executed.

Even with the amendment proposed above to Article 1, I cannot think it stands as it should do. If the object be merely the preventing present bloodshed, and the other mischiefs to fall on that Country in war, it may possibly answer that end; but if a thorough hearty reconciliation is wished for, all cause of heart-burning should be removed, and strict justice be done on both sides. Thus the Tea should not only be paid for on the side of Boston, but the damage done to Boston by the Port Act should be repaired, because it was done contrary to the custom of all Nations, savage as well as civilized, of first demanding satisfaction.

Article 14, The Judges should receive nothing from the King.

"As to the other two Acts, the Massachusetts must suffer all the hazards and mischiefs of war, rather than admit the alteration of their Charters and Laws by Parliament. "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."


Direct to His Son


I doubt the regulating Duties will not be accepted, without enacting them, and having the power of appointing the Collectors in the Colonies.

If we mean a hearty reconciliation, we must deal candidly, and use no tricks.

The Assemblies are many of them in a state of dissolution. It will require time to make new elections; then to meet and choose Delegates, supposing all could meet. But the Assembly of the Massachusetts-Bay cannot act under the new Constitution, nor meet the new Council for that purpose, without acknowledging the power of Parliament to alter their Charter, which they never will do. The language of the proposal is, Try on your fetters first, and then if you don' t like them, petition and we will consider.

Establishing salaries for Judges may be a general law. For Governours not so, the Constitution of Colonies differing. It is possible Troops may be sent to particular Provinces, to burden them when they are out of favour.

Canada. — We cannot endure despotism over any of our fellow-subjects. We must all be free, or none.

That afternoon I received the following note from Mrs˙ Howe, enclosing another from Lord Howe, viz:

Letter from Mrs. Howe to Benjamin Franklin

Mrs˙ HOWE' S compliments to Dr˙ Franklin; she has just received the enclosed note from Lord Howe, and hopes it will be convenient to him to come to her either to-morrow or Sunday, at any hour most convenient to him which she begs he will be so good to name.

Grafton-Street, Friday, February 17, 1775.

Letter from Lord Howe to Mrs. Howe

[Enclosed in the foregoing.]

To the Honourable Mrs˙ HOWE:

I wish you to procure me an opportunity to see Dr˙ Franklin, at your house, to-morrow, or on Sunday morning, for an essential purpose.

Grafton Street, Friday, 4 o' clock.

Received Friday, 5 o' clock, February 17, 1775.

Direct to His Son

I had not heard from his Lordship for some time, and readily answered, that I would do myself the honour of waiving upon him at her house to-morrow at 11 o' clock.

Mr˙ Barclay, Dr˙ Fothergill, and myself, met according to appointment, at the Doctor' s house. I delivered to them


the Remarks I had made on the paper, and we talked them over. I read, also, the sketches I had made of the Petitions and Memorials; but they being of opinion, that the repeal of none of the Massachusetts Acts, could be obtained by my engaging to pay for the Tea, the Boston Port Act excepted, and I insisting on a repeal of all, otherwise declining to make the offer, that measure was deferred for the present, and I pocketed my draughts. They concluded, however, to report my sentiments, and see if any further concession could be obtained. They observed, that I had signed my remarks, on which I said, that understanding by other means as well as from them, that the Ministers had been acquainted with my being consulted in this business, I saw no occasion for further mystery; and since in conveying and receiving through second hands their sentiments and mine, occasioned delay, and might be attended with misapprehension, something being lost or changed by mistake in the conveyance, I did not see why we should not meet, and discuss the points together at once; that if this was thought proper, I should be willing and ready to attend them to the ministerial persons they conferred with. They seemed to approve the proposal, and said they would mention it.

The next morning I met Lord Howe according to appointment. He seemed very cheerful, having, as I imagine, heard from Lord Hyde what that Lord might have heard from Mr˙ Barclay the evening of the 16th, viz: that I had consented to petition and engage payment for the Tea; whence it was hoped, the ministerial terms of Accommodation might take place. He let roe know that he was thought of to be sent Commissioner for settling the differences in America, adding, with an excess of politeness, that sensible of his own unacquaintedness with the business, and of my knowledge and abilities, he could not think of undertaking it without me; but with me, he should do it most readily; for he should found his expectation of success on my assistance; he therefore had desired this meeting to know my mind upon a proposition of my going with him in some shape or other, as a friend, an assistant, a secretary; that he was very sensible, if he should be so happy as to effect any thing valuable, it roust be wholly owing to the advice and assistance I should afford him; that he should therefore make no scruple, of giving me upon all occasions the full honour of it; that he had declared to the Ministers his opinion of my good dispositions towards peace, and what he now wished was to be authorized by me to say, that I consented to accompany him, and would co-operate with him in the great work of reconciliation; that the influence I had over the minds of people in America, was known to be very extensive; and that I could, If any man could, prevail with them to comply with reasonable propositions. I replied, that I was obliged to his Lordship for the favourable opinion he had of me, and for the honour he did me in proposing to make use of my assistance; that I wished to know what propositions were intended for America; that if they were reasonable ones in themselves, possibly I might be able to make them appear such to my countrymen; but if they were otherwise, I doubted whether that could be done by any man, and certainly I should not undertake it. His Lordship then said, that he should not expect my assistance without a proper consideration. That the business was of great importance, and if he undertook it, he should insist on being enabled to make generous and ample appointments for those he took with him, particularly for me; as well as a firm promise of subsequent rewards; and, said he, that the Ministry may have an opportunity of showing their good disposition towards yourself will you give me leave, Mr˙ Franklin, to procure for you previously some mark of it; suppose the payment here of the arrears of your salary as agent for New-England, which I understand they have stopped for some time past? Lord, said I, I shall deem it a great honour to be in any shape joined with your Lordship in so good a work; but if you hope service from, any influence I may be supposed to have, drop all thoughts of procuring me any previous favours from Ministers; my accepting them would destroy the very influence you propose to make use of; they would be considered as so many bribes to betray the interest of my Country: but only let me see the propositions, and if I approve of them, I shall not hesitate a moment, but will hold myself ready to accompany your Lordship at an hour' s


warning. He then said, he wished I would discourse with Lord Hyde upon the business, and asked if I had any objection to meet his Lordship? I answered none, not the least; that I had a great respect for Lord Hyde, and would wait upon him whenever he should please to permit it. He said he would speak to Lord Hyde, and send me word.

On the Monday following I received a letter from Lord Howe. To understand it better, it is necessary to reflect, that in the mean time there was opportunity for Mr˙ Barclay to communicate to that Nobleman the remarks I, had made on the plan, the sight of which had probably changed the purpose of making any use of me on the occasion.

The letter follows:

Letter from Lord Howe to Benjamin Franklin

Grafton-Street, February 20, 1775.

Not having had a convenient opportunity to talk with Lord Hyde until this morning, on the subject I mentioned when I had, my worthy friend, the pleasure to see you last, I now give you the earliest information of his Lordship' s sentiments upon my proposition.

He declares he has no personal objection, and that he is always desirous of the conversation of men of knowledge, consequently, in that respect, would have a pleasure in yours. But he apprehends, that on the present American contest, your principles and his, or rather those of Parliament, are as yet so wide from each other, that a meeting merely to discuss them, might give you unnecessary trouble, Should, you think otherwise, or should any propitious circumstances approximate such distant sentiments, he would be happy to be used as a channel to convey what might tend to harmony, from a person of credit to those in power: and I will venture to advance, from my knowledge of his Lordship' s opinion of men and things, that nothing of that nature would suffer in the passage. I am, with a sincere regard, your most obedient servant,


To Dr˙ Franklin.

Direct to His Son

As I had no desire of obtruding myself upon Lord Hyde, though a little piqued at his declining to see me, I thought it best to show a decent indifference, which I endeavoured in the following answer:

Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Lord Howe

Craven-Street, February 20, 1775.

Having nothing to offer on the American business, in addition to what Lord Hyde is already acquainted with from the papers that have passed, it seems most respectful not to give his Lordship the trouble of a visit; since a mere discussion of the sentiments contained in those papers is not, in his opinion, likely to produce any good effect. I am thankful, however, to his Lordship, for the permission of waiting on him, which I shall use if any thing occurs that may give a chance of utility in such an interview.

With sincere esteem and respect, I have the honour to be, my Lord, your Lordship' s most obedient humble servant,


Lord Howe.

Direct to His Son

On the morning of the same day, February 20, it was currently and industriously reported all over the Town, that Lord North would that day make a pacifick motion in the House of Commons, for healing all differences between Britain and America. The House was accordingly very full, and the members full of expectation. The Bedford party, mimical to America, and who had urged severe measures, were alarmed, and began to exclaim against the Minister for his timidity, and the fluctuation of his politicks; they even began to count voices, to see if they could not, by negativing his motion, at once unhorse him, and throw him out of Administration. His friends were therefore alarmed for him, and there was much caballing and whispering. At length a motion, as one had been promised, was made, but whether that originally intended, is with me very doubtful: I suspect, from its imperfect composition, from its inadequateness to answer the purpose previously professed, and from some other circumstances, that when first drawn it contained more of Mr˙ Barclay' s plan, but was curtailed by advice, just before it was delivered. My old proposition of giving up the regulating duties to the Colonies, was in part to be found in it, and many who knew nothing of that transaction, said it was the best part of the motion: it was as follows:


Lord North' s Motion

Lord North' s Motion, February 20, 1715.

"That it is the opinion of this Committee, that when the Governour, Council, and Assembly, or General Court of His Majesty' s Provinces or Colonies, shall propose to make provision according to their respective conditions, circumstances, and situations, for contributing their proportion to the common defence; such proportion to be raised under the authority of the General Court, or General Assembly of such Province or Colony, and disposable by Parliament; and shall engage to make provision also for the support of the Civil Government, and the administration of justice in such Province or Colony, it will be proper if such proposal shall be approved by His Majesty in Parliament, and for so long as such provision shall be made accordingly, to forbear in respect of such Province or Colony, to levy any duties, tax, or assessment, or to impose any further duty, tax, or assessment, except only such duties as it may be expedient to impose for the regulation of Commerce; the net produce of the duties; last mentioned, to be carried to the account, of such Province, Colony, or Plantation exclusively."

Direct to His Son

After a good deal of wild debate, in which this motion was supported upon various and inconsistent principles by the ministerial people, and even met with an opposition from some of them, which showed a want of concert, probably from the suddenness of the alterations above supposed, they all agreed at length, as usual, in voting it by a large majority. Hearing nothing all the following week from Messrs˙ Barclay and Fothergill. (except that Lord Hyde, when acquainted with my willingness to engage for payment of the Tea, had said it gave him new life,) nor any thing from Lord Howe, I mentioned his silence occasionally to his sister, adding, that I supposed it owing to his finding what he had proposed to me was not likely to take place; and I wished her to desire him, if that was the case, to let me know it by a line, that I might be at liberty to take other measures. She did so as soon, as he returned from the country, where he had been for a day or two; and I received from her the following note; viz:

Letter from Mrs. Howe to Benjamin Franklin

Mrs˙ HOWE' S compliments to Doctor Franklin Lord Howe not quite understanding the message received from her, will be glad to have the pleasure of seeing him, either between twelve and one this morning, (the only hour he is at liberty this day,) at her house, or at any hour to-morrow most convenient to him.

Grafton-Street, Tuesday.

Direct to His Son

I met his Lordship at the hour appointed. He said that he had not seen me lately, as he expected daily to have, something more material to say to me than had yet occurred; and hoped that I would have called on Lord Hyde, as I had intimated I should do when I apprehended it might be useful, which he was sorry to find I had not done. That there was something in my verbal message by Mrs˙ Howe, which perhaps she had apprehended imperfectly, it was the hint of my purpose to take other measures. I answered, that having since I had Last seen his Lordship heard of the death of my wife at Philadelphia, in whose hands I had left the care of my affairs there, it was become necessary for me to return thither as soon as conveniently might be; that what his Lordship had proposed, of my accompanying him to America, might, if likely to take place, postpone my voyage to suit his conveniency; otherwise, I should proceed by the first ship. That I did suppose, by not hearing from him, and by Lord North' s motion, all thoughts of that kind were laid aside, which was what I only desired to know from him. He said, my last paper of remarks by Mr˙ Barclay, wherein I had made the indemnification of Boston for the injury of stopping its Port, a condition of my engaging to pay for the Tea, (a condition impossible to be complied with,) had discouraged further proceeding on that idea. Haying a copy of that paper in my pocket, I showed his Lordship that I had proposed no such condition of my engagement, nor any other than the repeal of all the Massachusetts Acts; that what followed relating to the indemnification was only expressing my private opinion that it would be just, but by no means insisting upon it. He said the arrangements were not yet determined on; that as I now explained myself, it appeared I had been much misapprehended; and he wished of all


things I would see Lord Hyde, and asked if I would choose to meet him there, at Mrs˙ Howe' s, or that he should call upon me: I said that I would by no means give Lord Hyde that trouble. That since he (Lord Howe) seemed to think it might be of use, and wished it done soon, I would wait upon Lord Hyde: I knew him to be an early riser, and would be with him at eight o' clock the next morning; which Lord Howe undertook to acquaint him with: but I added, that from what circumstances I could collect of the disposition of Ministry, I apprehended my visit would answer no material purpose. He was of a different opinion, to which I submitted.

The next morning, March 1st, I accordingly was early with Lord Hyde, who received me with his usual politeness. We talked over a great part of the dispute between the Countries. I found him ready with all the newspaper and pamphlet topicks, of the expense of settling our Colonies, the protection afforded them, the heavy debt under which Britain laboured, the equity of our contributing to its alleviation; that many people in England were no more represented than we were, yet all were taxed and governed by Parliament, &c˙, &c. I answered all, but with little effect for though his Lordship seemed civilly to hear what I said, I had reason to believe he attended very little to the purport of it his mind being employed the while in thinking on what he himself purposed to say next. He had hoped, he said, that Lord North' s motion would have been satisfactory; and asked what could be objected to it. I replied, the terms of it were, that we should grant money till Parliment had agreed we had given enough, without having the least share in judging of the propriety of the measure for which it was to be granted, or of our own abilities to grant; that these grants were also to be made under a threat of exercising a claimed right of taxing us a at pleasure, and compelling such taxes by an armed force, if we did not give till it should be thought we had given enough; that the proposition was similar to no mode of obtaining aids that ever existed except that of a highwayman, who presents his pistol at a coach window, demanding no specifick sum, but if you will give all your money, or what he is pleased to think sufficient, he will civilly omit putting his own hand into your pockets: if not, there, is his pistol: that the mode of raising contributions in an enemy' s country was fairer than this, since there an explicit sum was if demanded, and the people who were raising it knew what they were about, and when they should have done: and that, in short, no free people could ever think of beginning to grant upon such terms: that, besides, a new dispute had now been raised, by the Parliament' s pretending to a power of altering our Charters and established Laws, which was of still more importance to us than their claim of taxation, as it set us all adrift, and left us without a privilege we could depend upon, but at their pleasure; this was a situation we could not possibly be in, and as Lord North' s proposition had no relation to this matter, if the other had been such as we could have agreed to, we should still be far from a reconciliation. His Lordship thought I misunderstood the proposition; on which I took it out and read it: he then waived that point, and said he should be glad to know from me what would produce a reconciliation. I said that his Lordship, I imagined, had seen several proposals of mine for that purpose. He said he had; but some of my articles were such as would never be agreed to: that it was apprehended I had several instructions and powers to offer more acceptable terms, but was extremely reserved, and perhaps from a desire he did not blame, of doing better for my constituents; but my expectations might deceive me, and he did think, I might be assured, I should never obtain better terms than what were now offered by Lord North; that Administration had a sincere desire of restoring harmony with America, and it was thought if I would co-operate with them the business would be easy: that he hoped I was above retaining resentment against them, for what nobody now approved, and for which satisfaction might be made me: that I was, as he understood, in high esteem among the Americans; that if I would bring about a reconciliation on terms suitable to the dignity of Government, I might be as highly and generally esteemed here, and be honoured and rewarded perhaps, beyond my expectation.

I replied, that I thought I had given a convincing proof.


of my sincere desire of promoting peace, when, on being informend that all wanted for the honour of Government was to obtain payment for the Tea, I offered, without any instruction to warrant my so doing, or assurance that I should be reimbursed, or my conduct approved, to engage for that payment, if the Massachusetts Acts were to be repealed; an engagement, in which I must have risked my whole fortune, which I thought few besides me would have done. That, in truth, private resentments had no weight with me in publick business; that I was not the reserved man imagined, having really no secret instructions to act upon. That I was certainly willing to do every thing that could reasonably be expected of me. But if any supposed I could prevail with my country men to take black for white, and wrong for right, it was not knowing either them or me; they were not capable of being so imposed on, nor was I capable of attempting it. He then asked my opinion of sending over a Commissioner, for the purpose mentioned in a preceding part of this account, and my answer was to the same effect. By the way, I apprehend that to give me an opportunity of discoursing with Lord Hyde on that point, was a principal motive with Lord Howe for urging me to make this visit. His Lordship did not express his own sentiments upon it." And thus ended this conversation.

Three or four days after, I received the following note from Mrs˙ Howe:

Letter from Mrs. Howe to Benjamin Franklin

"Mrs˙ HOWE' S, compliments to Dr˙ Franklin; Lord Howe begs to have the pleasure of meeting him once more before he goes, at her house; he is at present out of Town, but returns on Monday, and any day or hour after that, that the Doctor will name, he will be very glad to attend him.

"Grafton-Street, Saturday, March 4 & 5."

Direct to His Son

I answered that I would do myself the honour of waiting on Lord Howe at her house the, Tuesday following, at eleven o' clock. We met accordingly. He began, by saying, that I had been a better prophet than himself, in foreseeing that my interview with Lord Hyde would be of no great use; and then said that he hoped I would excuse the trouble he had given me, as his intentions had been good both towards me and the publick. He was sorry that at present there was no appearance of things going into the train he had wished, but that possibly they might yet take a more favourable turn; and as he understood was going soon to America, if he should chance to be sent thither on that important business, he hoped he might still expect my assistance. I assured him of my readiness at all times of co-operating with him in so good a work; and so taking my leave, and receiving his good wishes, ended the negotiation with Lord Howe. And I heard no more of that with Messrs˙ Fothergill and Barclay. I could only gather from some hints in their conversation, that neither of them were well pleased with the conduct of the Ministers respecting these transactions; and a few days before I left London, I met them, by their desire, at the Doctor' s house, when they desired me to assure their friends from them, that it was now their fixed opinion, that nothing could secure the privileges of America, but a firm, sober adherence to the terms of the Association made at the Congress, and that the salvation of English liberty depended now on the perseverance and virtue of America.

During the whole, my time was otherwise much taken up, by friends calling continually to inquire news from America; members of both Houses of Parliament, to inform me what passed in the Houses, and discourse with me on the debates, and on motions made or to be made; merchants of London, and of the manufacturing and port towns, on their petitions; the Quakers upon theirs, &c˙, &c˙; so that I had no time to take notes of almost anything. This account is therefore chiefly from recollection, in which doubtless much must have been omitted, from deficiency of memory; but what there is I believe to be pretty exact, except that discoursing with so many different persons about the same time, on the same subject, I may possibly have put down some things as said by or to one person, which passed in conversation with another. A little before I left London, being at the House of Lords, when a debate in which Lord Camden was to speak, and who indeed spoke admirably on American 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 Earl of Dartmouth

To the Right Honourable 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 i, 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 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 New-foundland, 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 tile 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.

Letter from Thomas Walpole to Benjamin 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 sincerest regard, your most faithful and obedient servant,


Lincoln' s Inn Fields, 16th March, 1775.

Direct to His Son

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 deeped 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, the most worthy that nothing very favourable is intended, if more unfavourable 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 every where turning upon the subject of America.



* This lady (which is a little unusual in ladies) has a good deal of mathematical knowledge. [Note of Dr˙ Franklin.]

* See Vol˙ I. Fol˙ 929 , and Fol˙ 934 .

* His philosophical writings.

* Sir Fletcher Norton.

* Supposed to mean the Boston Port Act. B˙ F.