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TO ANTHONY BENEZETI
LONDON, 10 February, 1773. DEAR FRIEND:- I received with pleasure yours of September 13th, as it informed me of your welfare. With this I send you one of Young's Night Thoughts —the largest print I could find. I thank you for the four copies you sent me of your translation of the French book; I have given two of them to friends here, whom I thought the subject might suit. I have commenced an acquaintance with Mr. Granville Sharpe, and we shall act in concert in the affair of slavery. The accounts you send me relating to Surinam are indeed terrible. Go on and prosper in your laudable endeavors, and believe me ever, my dear friend, Yours most affectionately,
B. FRANKLIN. I send you a few copies of a pamphlet written at Paris by a well-wisher to our country. It is a little system of morals that may give distinct ideas on that subject to youth, and perhaps on that account not unfit for a school-book. I will send you more if you desire it.
1 An active philanthropist, born at St. Quentin, in France, of Protestant parents, who, in 1715, when Anthony was two years old, removed to London, where they became Quakers, and to Philadelphia in 1731, where Anthony died May 4, 1784, in the seventy-first year of his age. He was brought up to mercantile pursuits, which, however, he abandoned in 1742, and became an instructor in a school of the Society of Friends. He took an active part in the agitation for the suppression of the slave-trade, founded a school for children of African descent, and left his property to it upon the death of his wife.
TO MESSRS. ABEL JAMES AND BENJAMIN MORGAN
LONDON, 10 February, 1773. GENTLEMEN :-I duly received your favor of (mutilated), and have, after a long delay, got the (silk?] from the custom-house. The throwsters appointed to inspect it there, in order to ascertain the bounty, valued it at fifteen shillings the small pound, the whole taken together, and afterwards wanted to buy it of me at that price. But suspecting their offer to be too low, I have shown it to others, who say it is much undervalued. Our friend Freeman advises its being sold by auction at the last, and recommends the same broker. Every one I have consulted is of the same opinion. He will have a sale about April next.
The Spitalfield's silk business is very dead at present. The enormous paper credit which circulated so freely some time since, enabled the master manufacturers to employ more men and make more goods than the market really required, and the blow such credit has lately received, obliges them to stop their work until they can dispose of the great quantity of goods on hand, which some say is enough for a twelvemonth to come.
So the disbanded workmen are starving, though great sums are collected to distribute among them in charity. Several have applied to me to ship them to America, but having no account that such workmen are wanted there, I was obliged to refuse
them. One came to me with the enclosed letter, and showed me several written characters from different masters he had worked with, all strongly in his favor for ingenuity and skill in his business, as well as his sobriety and industry. He was a Quaker, and seemed a sensible young man, so that I was strongly inclined to send him, till I understood he had a wife and young family, which would make it too expensive, though he said his wife was a workwoman in the business, and one child could also be serviceable. He is endeavoring to get subscriptions to pay the passage-money, but I suppose will hardly succeed, as people here would rather maintain the workmen idle for a while, than pay toward sending them to America.
I am much obliged to the managers for their present of four pounds of the silk, and shall consider what purpose I can apply it to that may best contribute to the encouragement of the produce. Please to offer them my thankful acknowledgments, and assure them of my most faithful services. With great esteem and respect, I am, gentlemen, Your most obedient humble servant,
TO JAMES JOHNSTON
LONDON, 10 February, 1773. SIR: I received your letter with the sample of North American senna, which I put into the hands
of a friend who is a great botanist as well as a physician, and has made some trial of it. He tells me that to render it merchantable here, the stalks should be picked out, and the leaves packed up neatly, as that is which comes from the Levant. Perhaps among your druggists you might see some of those packages and so inform yourself of the manner. He has not yet had sufficient experience of it to be decisive in his opinion of its qualities in comparison with other senna, but thinks it likely that it may answer the same purposes. Of the quality that may be in demand here, I have yet been able to obtain no intelligence. I am, sir, your humble servant,
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
LONDON, 14 February, 1773. DEAR SON:—The opposition are now attacking the ministry on the St. Vincent's affair, which is generally condemned here, and some think Lord Hillsborough will be given up, as the adviser of that expedition. But, if it succeeds, perhaps all will blow over. The ministry are more embarrassed with the India affairs. The continued refusal of North America to take tea from hence, has brought infinite distress on the company. They imported great quantities in faith that that agreement could not hold; and now they can neither pay their debts
nor dividends; their stock has sunk to the annihilating near three millions of their property, and government will lose its four hundred thousand pounds a year; while their teas lie on hand. The bankruptcies brought on partly by this means have given such a shock to credit as has not been experienced here since the South Sea year. And this has affected the great manufacturers so much as to oblige them to discharge their hands, and thousands of Spitalfields and Manchester weavers are now starving, or subsisting on charity. Blessed effects of pique, and passion in government, which should have no passions. Yours, etc.,'
· When the bill imposing a tax on glass, paper, and painters' colors was repealed the ministry proposed a reduction of the duty on tea from one shilling to threepence a pound, thus easing the colonies, as they said, of ninepence on a pound. But, at the same time, Lord North avowed the object of retaining this threepenny tax to be for the purpose of asserting and maintaining the right of Parliament to tax the colonies. He said that "he even wished to have repealed the whole, if it could have been done without giving up that absolute right; that he should, to the last hour of his life, contend for taxing America; but, he was sorry to say, the behavior of the Americans had by no means been such as to merit such favor; neither did he think a total repeal would quell the troubles there, as experience had shown that, to lay taxes when America was quiet, and repeal them when America was in flames, only added fresh claims to those people on every occasion.” And he added, in speaking of the non-importation agreements in the colonies: “North America, from its natural situation, and the dearness of labor, would be many years before it could supply itself with manufactures; therefore there was not so much to fear from their resolutions as the nation imagined.”-Debrett's Parliamentary Debates, Vol. V., p. 254. With these views he retained the threepence a pound on tea, and the East India Company was induced to make large importations for the American market; but the people held to their resolutions, resisted the tax, and defeated the sales, thus bringing heavy losses upon the company.