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"taken for an idiot if they are not finally repealed. Avoid
"then this humiliating disgraceful necessity To con
"elude, my Lords, if the Ministers thus persevere in misad"vising and misleading the King, I will not say that they "can alienate the affections of bis subjects from his Crown, "but I will affirm that they will make the Crown not worth "his wearing; I will not say that the King is betrayed, but I "will pronounce that the kingdom is undone."
The motion of Chatham was ably supported by his friends Lords Shelburne and Camden. Lord Rockingham also said a few words in its favour. But the Ministers opposed it with much warmth; instead of recalling troops from Boston, they said it would rather behove them to send more. On a division only 18 Peers were found to vote for the motion; against it 68. — It was noticed that this small minority comprised both Lord Grosvenor and the Duke of Cumberland. His Itoyal Highness — it may be said in passing — was not long in joining without reserve the ranks of Opposition. Once in the lobby of the House he walked . up to Dr. Price to compliment him on a most vehement pamphlet in favour of the Americans which Dr. Price hat lately written. "I sat up to read it last night," said the Duke, "so late that it had almost blinded me I" — " On the greater "part of the nation," observed Dunning who was standing by, "it has had exactly the opposite effect; it has opened "their eyes!"
Far from being daunted by the late division, and resolved to leave no effort untried to avert a civil war, Chatham with characteristic energy forthwith applied himself to prepare and present to the House "a Provisional Bill "for settling the Troubles in America." In the framing of this measure he sought the counsel and aid of Dr. Franklin. Already in the month of August preceding they had become acquainted, through the mediation of Lord Stanhope, who carried Dr. Franklin to Hayes.. Lord Chatham had then referred to the idea which began to prevail in England that America aimed at setting up for itself as a separate state. J775. CHATHAM AND FRANKLfif. 25
The truth of any such idea was loudly denied by Dr. Franklin. "I assured his Lordship 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 hint that such a thing would be advantageous to
"America In fine, Lord Chatham expressed much
"satisfaction in my having called upon him, and parti"cularly in the assurances I had given him that America "did not aim at independence."* Yet these assurances, however earnest or frequently repeated, by no means expressed the true and inmost thoughts of Franklin. At this very period a young American from Boston, Mr. Josiah Quincy, arrived in England. He had taken a zealous part with the "Sons of Liberty," as they termed themselves, of his native province, and in London had almost daily intercourse with Dr. Franklin, his father's early friend. In one of his secret letters to his confederates at Boston, dated the 27th of November 1774, Mr. Quincy says: "Dr. Franklin is "an American in heart and soul; you may trust him; his "ideas are not contracted within the narrow limits of exemp"tion from taxes, but are extended upon the broad scale of "total emancipation. — He is explicit and bold upon the "subject."**
At the time in question Chatham was not, and could not be, aware of this double game. Confiding in Dr. Franklin's truthfulness, and knowing the great influence of his name in America, he was most anxious to secure his co-operation in his healing measure. As a channel of communication Chatham employed Lord Mahon, who, already his kinsman by birth, had recently become his son-in-law. Lord Mahon had been bred at Geneva; "that little but learned Ee
* Works, vol. v. p. 7. ed. 1844. Franklin's own narrative of those conferences and negotiations was written on his voyage homewards in the form of a letter to his son, the date being March 22. 1775. *» Life by Jared Sparks, p. 372.
"public" as he long afterwards termed it, where he had imbibed an eager, nay enthusiastic, attachment both for liberty and science. At the age of only seventeen he had gained the gold medal prize from the Academy at Copenhagen for the best Essay on the Vibrations of the Pendulum; and since that time he had zealously pursued the experiments of Franklin upon Electricity. To Franklin therefore at his lodgings in Craven Street was Lord Mahon now despatched by Chatham, requesting a visit from the philosopher at Hayes. The philosopher went as invited, and some preliminary conversation ensued. Next Sunday morning the Earl returned the visit in Craven Street, bringing with him his plan of conciliation ready written out for Dr. Franklin to keep awhile and consider carefully. "I am come," said Chatham, "to set my judgment by yours as "men set their watches by a regulator."— "His Lordship," adds Franklin, "stayed with me near two hours, his equi"page waiting 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 29th "of January) the very day twelvemonth that the Ministry "had taken so much pains to disgrace me before the Privy "Council."
On the Tuesday following (for time was precious since Chatham intended to make his motion on the Wednesday) Franklin once more repaired to Hayes with the Draft Bill and some notes of his own upon it. "I stayed," says he, "near four hours, but his Lordship in the manner of, I "think, all eloquent persons was so full and diffuse in sup"porting every particular I questioned that there was not "time to go through half my memoranda. He is not easily "interrupted, and I had such pleasure in hearing him that "I found little inclination to interrupt him. Therefore con1775.
!'sidering that neither of us had much expectation that the "plan would be adopted entirely as it stood, and that in the "course of its consideration if it should be received proper "alterations might be introduced,.... 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, "namely, 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." — Franklin perhaps was not sorry to have thus avoided committing himself as to any one of the details, and might rather choose to ascertain and to be guided by the prevailing opinion in America.
On Wednesday the 1st of February, as already determined, Chatham again appeared in the House of Lords, and after a preliminary speech, — "a most excellent speech," says Franklin, — laid his Bill upon the Table. The scheme which it unfolded was a large and comprehensive one. In the first place it declared in the most explicit terms the dependency of the Colonies upon the British Crown, and their subordination to the British Parliament in all matters touching the general weal of the whole empire, and above all in the regulation of trade. On the other hand it proposed to enact no less explicitly that no tax or tallage or other charge for the revenue should be levied from any body of British freemen in America without the consent of its own representative assembly. It declared that delegates from the several Colonies lately assembled at Philadelphia should, as they desired, meet at the same town and hold another Congress on the 9th of May ensuing; then to consider, in the first place, the making due recognition of the supreme legislative authority of Parliament, and next, over and above the usual charges for the support of civil government in the respective Colonies, the making a free grant to the King of a certain perpetual revenue towards the alleviation of the national debt. "No doubt," it was added, "being had but this just free aid will be in such honourable "proportion as may seem meet and becoming from "great and flourishing Colonies towards a parent country "labouring under the heaviest burthens, which in no incon"siderable part have been willingly taken upon ourselves "and our posterity for the defence, extension, and prosperity of the Colonies; .... always understood that the "free grant of an aid as heretofore required and expected "from the Colonies is not to be considered as a condition of "redress, but as a just testimony of their affection." But although the new grant was thus left to the spontaneous choice of Congress, it was stipulated that the other provisions relinquishing the right of taxation to the American Assemblies should not take effect unless the Congress as an indispensable condition first duly recognized the supreme legislative authority of Parliament. Another clause provided , in conformity with the prayer of the last Congress, that the powers of the Admiralty and Vice Admiralty Courts in America should be restrained within their ancient limits, and that it should not in future be lawful to send persons indicted for murder in any province of America to another Colony or to Great Britain for trial. The Acts of Parliament relating to America since 1764, and above all the Acts of the last Session, were wholly repealed. Judges in America as in England were henceforth to hold their offices during their good behaviour, and not merely during the pleasure of the Crown. The Charters and Constitutions of the several provinces were not again to be invaded or resumed unless on some legal grounds of forfeiture. "So," — these words form part of the concluding sentence of the Bill, — "so shall true reconcilement avert impending calamities."