« PreviousContinue »
out end, with fleets and armies for collecting and enforcing those duties, being continued; and these acting with much indiscretion and rashness (giving great and unnecessary trouble and obstruction to business, commencing unjust and vexatious suits, and harassing commerce in all its branches, while that minister kept the people in a constant state of irritation by instructions which appeared to have no other end than the gratifying his private resentment *) occasioned a persevering adherence to their resolutions in that particular; and the event should be a lesson to ministers, not to risque, through pique, the obstructing any one branch of trade; since the course and connection of general business may be thereby disturbed to a degree, impossible to be foreseen or imagined. For it appears, that the colonies, finding their humble petitions to have this duty repealed were rejected and treated with contempt, and that the produce of the duty was applied to the rewarding, with undeserved salaries and pensions, every one of their enemies; the duty itself became more odious, and their resolution to starve it more vigorous and obstinate. The Dutch, the Danes, and French, took this opportunity, thus offered them by our imprudence, and began to smuggle their teas into the plantations. At first this was something difficult ; but at length, as all business is improved by practice, it became easy. A coast fitteen hundred miles in length could not in all parts be guarded, even by the whole navy of England; especially where their restraining authority was by all the inhabitants deemed unconstitutional, the smug.
* Some of his circular letters had been criticised, and exposed by one 7 iwo of the American assemblies.
gling of course considered as patriotism. The needy wretches too, who, with small salaries, were trusted to watch the ports day and night, in all weathers, found it easier and more profitable, not only tó wink, but to sleep in their beds; the merchants' pay being more generous than the king's. Other India goods also, which, by themselves, would not have made a smuggling voy« age sufficiently profitable, accompanied tea to advantage; and it is feared the cheap French silks, formerly rejected as not to the taste of the colonies, may have found their way with the wares of India, and now established theniselves in the popular use and opinion.
It is supposed, that at least a million of Americans drink tea twice a day, which, at the first cost here, can scarce be reckoned at less than half-a-guinea a head per annum. This market, that, in the five years which have run on since the act passed, would have paid 2,500,000 guineas for tea alone into the coffers of the company, we have wantonly lost to foreigners. Meanwhile it is said the duties have so diminished, that the whole remittance of the last year amounted to no more ihan the pitiful sum of 851.* for the expence of some hundred thousands, in armed ships and soldiers to support the officers. Hence the tea, and other India goods, which might have been sold in America, remain rotting in the company's warehouses t; while those of foreign
• Eighty-five pounds I am assured, my lords, is the whole equivalent, we have received for all the hatred and mischief, and all the infinite losses this kingdom has suffered during that year, in her disputes with North America.” See the bishop of St. Asaph's intended speech. B.V.
+ At this time they contained many millions of pounds of tea, includ. ing the usual stock on hand. Mr. Burke, in his speech in 1774, supposes, that America might have given a vent for ten millions of pounds. This seerus to have been the greater part of the whole quantity. B. V. VOL, LII.
ports are known to be cleared by the American demand. Hence, in some degree, the company's inability to pay their bills; the sinking of their stock, by which millions of property have been annihilated ; the lowering of their dividend, whereby so many must be distressed; the loss to government of the stipulated 400,0001. a year*, which must make a proportionable reduction in our savings towards the discharge of our enormous debt: and hence in part the severe blow suffered by credit in general +, to the ruin of many families; the stagnation of business in Spitalfields and at Manchester, through want of vent for their goods; with other future evils, which, as they cannot, from the numerous and secret connections in general commerce, easily be forescen, can hardly be avoided.
Account of Goternor Ilutchinson's Letters 1.
TO THE CLERK OF THE COUNCIL IN WAITING.
Whitehall, Dec. 3, 1773. THE agent for the house of representatives of the province of Massachusett's Bay [Dr. Franklin) having
On account of a temporary compromise of certain disputes with go
+ Seen in certain memorable mercantile tailures in the year 1772. B.V.
; Governor Hutchinson,j lievitenant-governor Andrew Oliver, Charles Paxton, Esq. Nathaniel Rogers, Esq. and Mr. G. Roomne, having sent from Boston certain representations and informations to Thomas H hetely,
delivered 10 lord Dartmouth, an address of that house to the king, signed by their speaker; complaining of the conduct of the governor (Hutchinson) and lieutenant governor (Andrew Oliver) of that province, in respect to certain private letters written by them to their correspondent in England, and praying that they may be removed from their posts in that government; his lordship hath presented the said address to his majesty, and his majesty having signified his pleasure, that the said address should be laid before his majesty in his privy council, I am directed by lord Dartmouth to transmit the same accordingly, together with a copy of the agent's letter to his lordship, accompanying the said address.
I am, sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Esq. member of parliament, private secretary to Mr. George Grenville (the father of the stamp act) when in office, and afterwards one of the lords of trade; these letters were, by a particular channel, conveyed back to Boston. The assembly of the province were so much exasperated, that they returned home attested copies of the letters, accompanied with a pesition and remonstrance, for the removal of governor Hutcbinson, and lieutenant-governor Andrew Oliver, from their posts. The council of the province likewise, on their part, entered into thirteen resolves, in tendency and import siunilar to the petition of the assembly; five of which resolves were unanimous, and only one of them had so many as three dissentients. In consequence of the assembly's petition, the above proceedings and ex. ainination took place.
Dr. Franklin having naturally a large share in these transactions, made still larger by the impolitic and indecent persecution of his character, I have exhibited the whole more at length, than I sbould otherwise have ibouglu proper. B.V.
TO THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF DARTMOUTH.
(Copy.) My Lord,
London, Aug. 21, 1773. I HAVE just received from the house of representatives of the Massachusett's Bay, their address to the king, which I now inclose, and send to your lordship, with my humble request in their behalf, that you would be pleased to present it to his majesty the first conver nient opportunity.
I have the pleasure of hearing from that province by my late letters, that a sincere disposition prevails in the people there to be on good terms with the mothers country; that the assembly have declared their desire only to be put into the situation they were in before the stamp act: They aim at no novelties. And it is said, that having lately discovered, as they think, the authors of their grievances to be some of their own people, their resentment against Britain is thence mucha abated.
This good disposition of theirs (will your lordship permit me to say) may be cultivated by a favourable answer to this address, which I therefore hope your goodness will endeavour to obtain.
With the greatest respect,
I have the honour to be, my lord, &c.
Agent for the House of Representatives,