« AnteriorContinuar »
Boston, and mending. I am otherwise very happy in being at home, where I am allowed to know when I have eat enough and drunk enough, am warm enough, and sit in a place that I like, &c., and nobody pretends to know what I feel better than I do myself. Don't imagine that I am a whit the less sensible of the kindness I experienced among my friends in New England. I am very thankful for it, and shall always retain a grateful remembrance of it.
To his daughter Sarah, dated Reedy Island,* 7 at night, 8 Nov., 1764.
We got down here at sunset, having taken in more live stock at Newcastle, with some other things we wanted. Our good friends, Mr. Galloway, Mr. Wharton, and Mr. James, came
* Recent disorders in the province convinced Governor John Penn, who, in October, 1763, had succeeded Governor Hamilton, that the civil power required strengthening, and he recommended a militia law for the embodiment of all able-bodied citizens for the public defence. The Assembly cheerfully accepted the suggestion, and a committee of which Franklin was a member reported a suitable bill, one of the clauses of which gave the
governor the choice of any one of three persons nained by each company and regiment for officers. It also fixed the scale of fines, and provided for the tria: of offenders by judges and juries in the courts of law.
The governor refused his signature to this bill, claiming for himself the sole power of appointing officers, increasing the scale of fines, requiring all trials to be by court-martial, and making some offences punishable with death.
The Assembly was shocked by these proposals, and would not listen to them for a moment. The bill was lost. The ill feeling engendered by this dispute was aggravated by another which soon followed. To meet the expenses of the Indian war, it was proposed to raise £50,000 on bills of credit, for the partial redemption of which a land tax was to be laid.
By virtue of the decision made by the king in council, at Franklin's solicitation, the located uncultivated lands of the proprietaries were not to be assessed higher than the lowest rate at which any located uncultivated lands belonging to the inhabitants should be assessed, -that is, as the Assembly interpreted it, the proprietary lands were not to be rated higher than lands of a similar quality belonging to other persons. Availing himself of an ambiguity in the expression, the governor insisted that all the proprietary lands, whatever their quality, were to be assessed at the lowest rates.
with me in the ship from Chester to Newcastle, and went ashore there. It was kind to favor me with their good company as far as they could. The affectionate leave taken
The greater impending danger from the savages compelled the Assembly to submit to this pettifogging construction, and they passed the act on the governor's terms. Neither he nor the Assembly then suspected that the concession he had extorted, and to which they had been forced to submit, was to result in rebellion, revolution, and the independence of the colonies.
Before adjourning, the Assembly, in a series of resolutions, expressed their belief that the peace and happiness of the province could never be restored till the power of governing it was lodged directly in the crown.
These resolutions were found to have correctly interpreted the sentiments of the people; for when the Assembly met again, some seven weeks later, petitions to the king for a change of government came in from more than three thousand of the inhabitants.
The Assembly, encouraged by these manifestations, decided by a large majority to unite in a petition for the same object drafted by Franklin himself, who, at the same time, was chosen Speaker in the place of Norris, who hesitated to affix his signature to such a document.
Pending these proceedings, the British ministry had signified its intention to raise a revenue from stamp duties in the colonies. The Assembly, participating in the excitement which this intelligence caused throughout the country, sent to Mr. Jackson, then agent of the colony of Pennsylvania in London, a remonstrance against the scheme, as tending to deprive the people of their most essential rights as British subjects. The signing of these instructions was Dr. Franklin's last act as Speaker of the Assembly.
The election which took place in the autumn of this year, 1764, turned on the question of a change in the government, and though the proprietary party succeeded by a majority of twenty-five votes out of four thousand in depriving Franklin of the seat to which he had been chosen for fourteen years in succession, it proved to them a barren victory, for as soon as the Assembly convened, it not only resolved to prosecute the measures and policy of the previous Assembly, but to send Franklin as a special agent to England to take charge of their petition for a change of government, and to look after all the interests of the province abroad.
The Assembly promptly voted that a provision for the doctor's expenses should be made in the next money bill, upon the strength of which the merchants subscribed £1100 towards his expenses in a few hours, and on the 7th of Noveinber, and only twelve days after his appointment, he was on his way again to England, accompanied as far as Chester, where he
of me by so many friends at Chester was very endearing. God bless them and all Pennsylvania.
My dear child, the natural prudence and goodness of heart God has blest you with make less necessary for me to be particular in giving you advice. I shall therefore only say, that the more attentively dutiful and tender you are towards your good mamma, the more you will recommend yourself to me. But why should I mention me, when you have so much higher a promise in the commandments, that such conduct will recommend you to the favor of God. You know I have many enemies, all indeed on the public account, (for I cannot recollect that I have in a private capacity given just cause of offence to any one whatever,) yet they are enemies, and very bitter ones; and you must expect their enmity will extend in some degree to you, so that your slightest indiscretions will be magnified into crimes, in order the more sensibly to wound and afflict me. It is therefore the more necessary for you to be extremely circumspect in all your behaviour, that no advantage may be given to their malevolence.
Go constantly to church, whoever preaches. The act of devotion in the Common Prayer Book is your principal business there, and if properly attended to, will do more towards amending the heart than sermons generally can do. For they were composed by men of much greater piety and
was to board his vessel, by an escort of some three hundred of his fellowcitizens.
After a tempestuous voyage of thirty days, he landed at Portsmouth, proceeded at once to London, and on the night of the oth of December was installed again in his old lodgings with Mrs. Stevenson, in Craven Street. It was on his voyage down the Delaware, that he addressed this letter of the 8th November to his daughter Sally.-ED,
wisdom, than our common composers of sermons can pretend to be; and therefore I wish you would never miss the prayer days; yet I do not mean you should despise sermons, even of the preachers you dislike, for the discourse is often much better than the man, as sweet and clear waters come through very dirty earth. I am the more particular on this head, as you seemed to express a little before I came away some inclination to leave our church, which I would not have you do.
For the rest, I would only recommend to you in my absence, to acquire those useful accomplishments, arithmetic and book-keeping. This you might do with ease, if you would resolve not to see company on the hours you set apart for those studies.
We expect to be at sea to-morrow, if this wind holds; after which I shall have no opportunity of writing to you, till I arrive (if it please God I do arrive) in England. I pray that his blessing may attend you, which is worth more than a thousand of mine, though they are never wanting.
Jealousy of English Manufacturers-Origin of the Stamp Act-Opposition
of Franklin-Effect of its Passage in America-Names a Stamp Distributor-Unpleasant Consequences-Correspondence with Dean Tucker.
To the editor
SIR,-In your paper of Wednesday last, an paper, dated ingenious correspondent who calls himself
THE SPECTATOR, and dates from Pimlico, under the guise of good will to the news-writers,
* In expelling the French from Canada, and leaving the English sole masters of America, the peace of 1763 rather complicated than simplified the relations of the mother country with her colonies. The fear of the French had made the colonists submit to much injustice from England for the sake of her protection, while England was not only pleased with the advantageous markets she found in her American possessions, but greatly dependent upon the colonial militia for their defence.
As soon, however, as the war with France terminated, the English shippers and manufacturers began to complain of transatlantic competition in their business. Even Mr. Pitt, who had boldly defended the political liberties of the colonies, did not scruple to declare that if they were to manufacture so much as a horseshoe, they should feel the whole weight of British power. Selfishness and ignorance invented, and the press gave currency to, the most absurd stories about the danger to British industry from these sources. The character of these inventions and the mischievous effect they were working upon the public mind may be inferred from this specimen of the communications to the press, with which Franklin strove to counteract them. No one knew better when ridicule was the most powerful weapon of controversy.-ED.