Imágenes de páginas

Island of St. John,

Nova Scotia,


Rhode Island,

New Hampshire,

New York,

New Jersey,


N. & S. Carolina,


E. & W. Florida,

But it is proposed to pay for the colony on the Ohio.



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LONDON, 5 January, 1773.

SIR: I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 2d of December past, enclosing some original letters from persons in Boston, which I hope got safe to hand. I have since received your favor of October 27th, which, containing in a small compass so full an enumeration of our grievances, the steps necessary to remove them, and the happy effects that must follow, I thought that though marked private it might be of use to communicate it to Lord Dartmouth; the rather, too, as he would there find himself occasionally mentioned with proper respect, and learn that his character was esteemed in the colonies. Accordingly I wrote him a few lines, and enclosed it a day or two before I was to wait on his Lordship, that he might have a little time to consider the contents.'

The following note accompanied the letter, when it was communicated to Lord Dartmouth:

"Craven Street, 8 Dec., 1772.

"Dr. Franklin presents his best respects to Lord Dartmouth, and, believing it may be agreeable as well as useful to him to receive other information of the sentiments and dispositions of the leading people in America, besides what ministers are usually furnished with from the officers of the crown residing there, takes the liberty of communicating to his Lordship a letter just received from the Speaker of the Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay, written not as Speaker, but in his private capacity.

"Dr. Franklin purposes to wait on Lord Dartmouth at his levee tomorrow, and shall be happy if he may bring from thence any thing proper to write in answer that should tend to compose the minds of people in that province, at present greatly disquieted and alarmed by some late measures of government."

When I next attended him, he returned me the letter with great complaisance in his countenance; said he was glad to find that people in America were disposed to think so favorably of him; that they did him but justice in believing he had the best disposition towards them, for he wished sincerely their welfare, though possibly he might not always think with them, as to the means of obtaining that end; that the heads of complaint in your letter were many, some of them requiring much consideration, and therefore it could scarce be expected that a sudden change should be made in so many measures, supposing them all improper to be continued, which perhaps might not be the case. It was, however, his opinion that, if the Americans continued quiet, and gave no fresh offence to government, those measures would be reconsidered, and such relief given as upon consideration should be thought reasonable.

I need not remark that there is not much in such general discourse; but I could then obtain nothing more particular, except that his Lordship expressed in direct terms his disapprobation of the instruction for exempting the colonies from taxation; which, however, was, as he said, in confidence to me, relying that no public mention should be made of his opinion on that head.

In the meantime, some circumstances are working in our favor with regard to the duties. It is found by the last year's accounts transmitted by the commissioners, that the balance in favor of Britain is but about eighty-five pounds, after payment of

salaries, etc., exclusive of the charge of a fleet to enforce the collection. Then it is observed that the India Company is so out of cash, that it cannot pay the bills drawn upon it, and its other debts; and at the same time so out of credit, that the Bank does not care to assist them, whence they find themselves obliged to lower their dividend; the apprehension of which has sunk their stock from two hundred and eighty to one hundred and sixty, whereby several millions of property are annihilated, occasioning private bankruptcies and other distress, besides a loss to the public treasury of four hundred thousand pounds per annum, which the company are not to pay into it as heretofore, if they are not able to keep up their dividend at twelve and a half. And, as they have at the same time tea and other India goods in their warehouses, to the amount of four millions, as some say, for which they want a market, and which, if it had been sold, would have kept up their credit, I take the opportunity of remarking in all companies the great imprudence of losing the American market, by keeping up the duty on tea, which has thrown that trade into the hands of the Dutch, Danes, Swedes, and French, who, according to the reports and letters of some customhouse officers in America, now supply by smuggling, the whole continent, not with tea only, but accompany that article with other India goods, amounting, as supposed, in the whole to five hundred thousand pounds sterling per annum. This gives some alarm, and begins to convince people more and more of the impropriety of quarrelling with America, who

at that rate might have taken off two millions and a half of those goods within these five years that the combination has subsisted, if the duty had not been laid, or had been speedily repealed.

But our great security lies, I think, in our growing strength, both in numbers and wealth; that creates an increasing ability of assisting this nation in its wars, which will make us more respectable, our friendship more valued, and our enmity feared; thence it will soon be thought proper to treat us not with justice only, but with kindness, and thence we may expect in a few years a total change of measures with regard to us; unless, by a neglect of military discipline, we should lose all martial spirit, and our western people become as tame as those in the eastern dominions of Britain, when we may expect the same oppressions; for there is much truth in the Italian saying, Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you. In confidence of this coming change in our favor, I think our prudence is meanwhile to be quiet, only holding up our rights and claims on all occasions in resolutions, memorials, and remonstrances; but bearing patiently the little present notice that is taken of them. They will all have their weight in time, and that time is at no great distance. With the greatest esteem, I have the honor to be, etc.,


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