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us suppose the ministry should pretend to adopt it, and several of the other colonies should not be contented, they would then plead that as you could not agree about the mode, no relief could be given. This would be a very likely means of involving you in irreconcilable disputes, and destroying all confidence and harmony among you, I speak only of what I fear. It must be remembered that free people are always zealous and umbrageous. Great management is requisite to keep such spirits in temper. Believe me sir, the harmony and concurrence of the colonies is of a thousand times more importance in this dispute than the friendship or patronage of any great men in England. The heart of the king is hardened like that of Pharaoh against us. His nobles are so servile that they will not attempt any thing to which he is averse, unless necessity should compel both him and them to assume a virtue which they do not possess. That necessity must come from your general, firm, permanent opposition. To cultivate and preserve that, is therefore the first object of American policy. The operation of it though slow, will be certainly successful.
Our valuable friend Mr. Temple is in some distress at present. Mr. Whately has raised a suspicion of his having taken from him clandestinely the letters sent to you. A duel has been the consequence, in which Mr. Whately was wounded. Many scandalous falsehoods have been circulated by Mr. Temple's enemies, impeaching his fairness in the encounter, at which, by Mr. Whately's desire, there were no seconds. Mr. T. will give them a complete answer as soon as Mr. W. is entirely out of danger. He received no wound. There is no man more obnoxious to Hillsborough, Bernard, Knox, and all that tribe of determined enemies to truth, to virtue, liberty and America.
Your petition against the base betrayers of their country remains, as far
as I can learn, sub judice. Lord Shelburne will endeavour to have the complaints of America attended to, their situation examined, and their grievances redressed in the ensuing session of parliament. For the interest and happiness of both countries it is my most
earnest wish that moderation and justice may govern for once the measures of this administration. I am yours most truly,
"LONDON, Feb. 8th, 1774. Dear Sir,—I informed you in my last of the insolent abuse which the solicitor-general, Mr. Wedderburne, poured forth against Dr. Franklin before the privy council, at the hearing of your petition. Dr. Franklin bore it all with a firmness and equanimity which conscious integrity alone can inspire. The insult was offered to the people through their agent; and the indecent countenance given to the scurrilous solicitor by the members of the privy council, was at once a proof of the meanness and malignity of their resentment. I enclose you some papers, in which you will see Mr. Wedderburne treated as he deserves.
I mentioned that they threatened to take away Dr. Franklin's place. That threat they have now executed. The same cause which renders him obnoxious to them, must endear him to you. Among other means of turning their wickedness to their own confusion and loss, this of the post-office is not the least desirable, or most difficult. Though not a tax in its principles, it is in its operation. It produces already £3000 yearly, and is hourly increasing. This revenue therefore alone would furnish most fearful means of corruption. We see from the violent and ungrateful treatment of Dr. F., whose wisdom and industry alone has fostered it from being worse than nothing, to its present prosperous state, that it is expectted the post-master shall be an enemy to America. In every view therefore, it is our duty to frustrate by all means so pernicious an institution. The means are in your hands, and easily applied. Let the merchants of Boston, New-York, and Philadelphia, support carriers by subscription, who shall deliver all letters post free, and this imposition will inevitably fail.
The present time is extremely critical with respect to the measures which this country will adopt relative to America. From the prevailing temper here, I think you
ought to be prepared for the worst. It seems highly probable that an act of parliament will pass this session, enabling his majesty to appoint his council in your province. On Tuesday last the Earl of Buckinghamshire made a motion in the house of lords for an address to the king, to lay before them the communications from Gov. Hutchinson to the secretary of state. He prefaced his motion with declaring, that these papers were to be required merely out of form ; for that the insolent and outrageous conduct of that province was so notorious, that the house might well proceed to punishment without any farther information or enquiry. That it was no longer a question whether this country should make laws for America, but whether she should bear all manner of insults and receive laws from her colonies. That Dr. Franklin was here, not as an agent
of a province, but as an ambassador from the states of America. That he could not compare his embassy to any thing but that sent by Louis XIV. to the republic of Genoa, commanding the doge to come and prostrate himself at Versailles, to appease the resentment of the grand monarque. One can hardly conceive a man's uttering such an absurd rhapsody even in the delirium of a dream, much less in a deliberate, premeditated speech, and upon the most important question to this country that can ever come before the legislature. He was answered by the Earl of Stair, who said it could be consistent neither with humanity, justice, nor policy, to adopt the noble lord's ideas against America. Lord Dartmouth then begged the motion might be withdrawn, not, as he said, from any desire to throw cold water on the noble lord's zeal, but because the despatches were not yet arrived, and they would be laid before the house in due time. The motion was withdrawn.
Lord Dartmouth declaring that he did not mean to throw cold water on such zeal, might proceed from the affected meekness of his temper, or from his approbation of it. Indeed the insincerity and insignificancy of the man make his motive very immaterial. By very late letters from New-York we understand that
it is settled to return the tea, as at Philadelphia; and that the governor will not interfere. This completes the history of that unfortunate adventure; but it leaves Boston singled out as the place where the most violence has been offered to it. Your enemies here will not fail to take advantage of it, and Mr. Hutchinson's representations I presume will not soften the matter. They will shut their eyes to what is obvious, that his refusal to let it repass the fort compelled you to that extremity. Be prepared therefore to meet some particular stroke of revenge during this session of parliament; and instead of thinking to prevent it, contrive the means of frustrating its effect. I have already mentioned the alterations of your charter relative to the election of the council ; but I am in hopes true patriotism is too prevalent and deeprooted among you, to suffer them to find twelve men even upon the new establishment abandoned enough to betray their country. I am willing to flatter myself that there are not six such men as Hutchinson and Oliver in the whole province.
If our wise men here should think proper to publish a second edition of the Rhode Island commission, grounded on the governor's lucubrations on the treason committed by the town-meeting and the Mohawks, what reception will it meet with in Boston? I am, my dear sir, your most sincere friend,
The following is the commencement of a memoir of the American revolution which
Mr. Arthur Lee did not live to complete. Much of what he did write has been lost, and but a mutilated scrap can be presented to the reader.
Memoirs are the handmaids of history. They furnish her with facts, which are the foundation of her work. They enable her to trace to their true though secret motives, actions which would otherwise appear dark and incomprehensible. By these she developes what is hid, and illuminates what is. obscure. Memoir-writings therefore, though they may be of less dignity, are not of less utility than history.
It is to aid in placing the history of the American revolution in its true light, that the following memoirs are written. The author of them was concerned in its events from its commencement to its conclusion. He was employed generally in the highest stations, and in the most secret and confidential transactions. He always preseryed the original papers and letters, on which he founded the journal from which the following memoirs are extracted. He is therefore sure of their authenticity, as well as of his determination, “ne quid falsi dicere; ne quid acre narrare."
The writer of these memoirs was in London when the repeal of the stamp-act was agitated in both houses of parliament. He heard Mr. Pitt* and Lord Camden deliver those celebrated speeches on this question, which would have immortalized them as orators and statesmen. Though the obnoxious act was repealed, yet he was persuaded that the spirit which dictated it and was still resting near the throne, was not changed. With this impression he returned to Virginia.
* Never were the power and fascination of eloquence more strongly exemplified than in the speeches of Mr. Pitt.
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