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& just, and show so extensive a Knowledge of the Subject, that I regret exceedingly your purpose of leaving Europe before the Commercial Treaty is settled ; and if the Commission for that Treaty arrives soon, as I expect it will in the Washington, I hope you will conclude to stay and see that important Business finished. The Congress tho' they have given you leave to return appear by all their Letters to consider you still in their Service, and Mr. Grand holds himself ready to pay the continuance of your salary as you shall demand it. We are none of us otherwise paid at present, for they have omitted sending us any Bills since June last. You have not mention'd to me the Name of the Authors of the Considerations. Is it a Secret?
I sympathise with you in the Loss of your Papers in America, I too having lost a great Part of mine there: But I cannot with the same Justice as you do blame the Enemy. It was my own Imprudence in trusting them to the care of a pretended Convert to our Cause, who after my Departure for France went over to the Enemy.
M- Jay is preparing for his Departure, and M". Adams is still in Holland, and likely to continue there some time being engaged in forming the Plan of a Treaty with another Power. – My Grandson joins in best wishes for your and
B. FRANKLIN His Exc. H. LAURENS, Esq"
To JOHN PAUL JONES.
PHILAD JULY 22, 1787 DEAR SIR,
I am sorry I cannot yet send you the Papers you desired. My Grandson has remained in the Country longer than I expected, and is still there. But I will send them to you at Paris by the first Opportunity, under Cover to Mr. Jefferson. Be pleased to present my Respects to him and acquaint him that the Convention goes on well, and that there is hope of great Good to result from their Counsels. I intended to have wrote to him; but three Days Illness from which I have hardly recovered, have prevented me. Please to acquaint Mr. Short, too, that I received the Packets he was so kind as to send me, and am much obliged to him for his Care of them. I wish you a good Voyage, and every kind of Prosperity; being, with sincere Esteem, Dear Sir,
Your most obedient
B. FRANKLIN I am not able to write by this Ship to any of my Friends in Paris, being so weak as to be scarce able to finish this Letter.
Honble Commodore JONES.
LETTER FROM HON. JOHN BIGELOW ON THE AUTHORSHIP OF
THE BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH'S "INTENDED SPEECH," OF 1774.
21 GRAMERCY PARK,
JANUARY 15, 1906. DR. J. S. BILLINGS, Director of the New York Public Library, MY DEAR SIR:
I notice in the collection of newly discovered letters from Dr. Franklin to be printed in the next Bulletin, one addressed to the Honorable Thomas Cushing, dated London, Oct. 26, 1774, in which occurs the following passage:
“ The Bishop of St. Asaph's 'Intended Speech', several copies of which I sent you and of which many thousands have been printed and distributed here, has had an extraordinary effect in changing the
sentiments of multitudes with regard to America." I think I shall be taking no undue liberty with the fame of the eminent prelate here referred to when I express my conviction that no one familiar with the political conditions under which this pamphlet appeared could read it half through without feeling that there was no man, in England or elsewhere in 1774, who could have written this discourse but Benjamin Franklin.
Quite aside, however, both from the form and the matter of this document, which will be almost decisive with many as it was with me, there are other abundant reasons against its being regarded as the work of the Bishop of St. Asaph's or of any other English bishop.
As already intimated, there was nothing in either of the editions of the pamphlet—there were four issued by Cadell in 1774 and one in 1782—giving any intimation of its parentage. It is entitled simply “A Speech intended to have been spoken on the Bill,” &c. It does not state, but seems to deliberately avoid stating, who it was that “intended” that it should be spoken on that occasion. Had the speech been prepared by some one else than the bishop, that is the form in which the bishop, if he consented to its publication, must have required it to be announced.
The writer of the most recent biographical sketch of the bishop—the one which appears in the English National Biography-does not give the exact title of the speech, but refers to it as “a speech which for some reasons he had not delivered—it was considered a masterpiece at the time.” This writer never found any reason for the speech not being delivered, probably because he never looked for any.
If Franklin wrote the speech he might with truth have said it was intended to be delivered in the House of Lords. To go forth with the authority of a member of the House of Lords implied a careful concealment of his own hand in the business; while, for the Episcopal character, it was equally important to
have nothing in the title which imported that the Bishop had written what he had not written, or if he had written it, to explain why it was not delivered in the forum for which it professed to have been prepared.
Franklin had been for many years an intimate friend of the bishop. It was at Twyford, the bishop's country home, that, in 1771, "expecting the enjoyment of a week's uninterrupted leisure in my present country retirement,” he tells us, he set himself down to write his famous autobiography. He managed to make the bishop almost if not quite as much of a Republican as himself. At the time the speech was written the primacy of the House of Bishops was understood to be the bishop's fair expectancy. That he failed to reach it was attributed to his sympathy with the colonists and to his opposition to the coercive policy of the government towards its American colony. There was but one other bishop who voted with him against the repeal of the colonial charter.
Cadell, the original publisher of the speech, issued four several editions in 1774 and one eight years later. Another London edition was also published in 1774 by Goadby & Berry.
There probably was nothing of equal length published about American affairs during the reign of George III. which had so wide a circulation in England in a single year, if in any number of years, not excepting the primer copy of Dr. · Franklin's examination before the House of Commons on the bill introduced for the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1776.
Aside from internal evidence, probably the most conclusive proof that the Bishop was not and Franklin was the author of this speech, may be found in the circumstances that no allusion to such a speech is made in any correspondence between Dr. Franklin and the Bishop, nor, so far as has yet transpired, between the Bishop and any other person. Franklin however in a letter to Miss Shipley on the occasion of her father's death, wrote:
“His (the Bishop's) Sermon Before the Society for propagating the Gospel and his ‘Speech Intended to have been Spoken' are proofs of his ability as well as of his humanity. Had his counsels in those speeches been attended to by the ministers, how much bloodshed might have been prevented and how much expense and
disgrace to the nation avoided.” This and the passage I have cited from the letter to Cushing are the only instances in which Franklin appears ever to have referred to this subject, and upon the theory that that speech was a secret between him and the Bishop, what else could he or should he have said. He could not well have spoken words of commendation to Miss Shipley of the Sermon before the Society for Propagating the Gospel and not referring to the much more notable “ Speech Intended to have been Made" without implying more than he wished to imply. By putting the two speeches together they constituted the asserted proofs of the Bishop's ability and humanity, and had the counsels to which the rumor of his authorship gave weight and currency been taken, the results indicated by Franklin would also probably have followed.
The official and colorless statement of the copies sent to Vr. Cushing rather strengthen than weaken the impression that the topic was one upon which it was not safe for him to expatiate. How inadequate are these few polite words of sympathy to a bereaved daughter whom he was bound to assume was ignorant of the part he may have had in the preparation of that Speech, however assured he might have been of her knowing all about it; and how much more inadequate the pale and perfunctory announcement of the Speech to his official chief in America to explain the absence of any allusion to this Speech in letters to any of the members of his own family, or intimate friends, or any one else at home save the official to whom it became his duty to transmit it.
The absolute silence too not only of the Bishop himself but of every member of his illustrious family on the subject of this speech, of which he apparently had so much reason to be proud, is even more difficult to explain than the substantial silence of Franklin, except on the theory that the Bishop could not rightfully claim its authorship and did not wish to destroy the influence of it by denying it.
In the almost solitary position which he occupied so courageously on the bench of bishops in those days of our republic's gestation in the womb of the American Colonies, Jonathan Shipley was laying the foundations of a fame which every one of his colleagues if now living would envy him.
For this mysterious nominis umbra there is but one explanation that is even plausible, and that is that both were bound in honor as well as in policy not to disclose the real authorship. Had it been in fact the work of the bishop, no man in England was so likely as Franklin to have known it. Certainly no one would have had a greater interest in proclaiming a fact of so much importance to the cause he was then representing in Europe. But as its whole value consisted in its being supposed to emanate from an eminent British source as well as a member of Parliament, he could not afford to have any shadow cast upon the bishop's rumored authorship, still less create even a suspicion that it was the work of an American.
Though the correspondence of the bishop and Franklin is so strangely silent about a publication which was of supreme interest to both, five different editions of it appeared in America within three weeks after the first copy reached our shores, as follows:
“ Boston, N. E., reprinted and sold for 6 coppers that every North American may be possessed of so valuable a pamphlet for a small expense at Green" leaf's Printing Office," pp. 12.
Salem, N. E., printed and sold by E. Russell at the New Printing office in “Ruck Street, leading from the State House to Marblehead," pp. 16.
Another reprint, also at Salem, with a half-title: “The whole of the celebrated Speech of the Rev'd Dr. Jonathan Shipley, Lord
"Bishop of St. Asaph's, intended to have been Spoken on the bill for "altering, &c., but want of time or some other circumstance prevented his "delivering it in the House of Lords, for which reason it was printed in a “ large pamphlet and sold at one shilling sterling, and is allowed to be
one of the best pieces ever wrote on the present disputes betwen North "America and Great Britain, printed by S. Southwick, Queen Street,
Newport, Sept. 1774." 4to, pp. 20.
Another at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, printed and sold by Francis Bailey, PP. 24.
I have also in my possession a broadside impression, entitled: Whole Speech of the Right Reverend Doctor Jonathan Shipley, Lord Bishop of St. Asaph, in defence of the Boston Charter. It is, however, without date or name, or place of publication, or publisher. From its register it appears to be a reprint from the columns of some English country newspaper.
That this pamphlet was so promptly received and republished in so many different places in America without Franklin's aid is incredible; and yet he never seems to have made himself responsible, so far as I have been able to learn, for a single copy sent to anyone anywhere, except those sent to Cushing.
Upon what theory can this silence or neglect be accounted for except that he had inexorable reasons for wishing to appear to know no more of this document than the public did.
That same year that this speech appeared, 1774, Bishop Shipley voted against the repeal of the Massachusetts Charter, one other bishop only voting with himample evidence that it was not cowardice that prevented his delivering the speech if he had written it—and the year before he preached before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel a sermon warmly sympathising with the American colonies. Of this sermon Franklin, in a letter to his son William, then Governor of New Jersey, thus wrote:
“I have sent to Mr. Galloway one of the Bishop of St. Asaph's sermons before your Society for Propagating the Gospel. I would have sent you one, but of course you will receive one as a member. It contains such liberal and generous sentiments relating to the conduct of Government here toward America that Sir John Pringle says it was written in compliment to me. But from the intimacy of friendship in which I live with the author, I know that he has expressed nothing but what he thinks and feels; and I honor him the more that, through the mere hope of doing good, he has hazarded the displeasure of the Court, and, of course, the prospect of further preferment. Possibly, indeed, the ideas of the Court may change, for I think I see some alarms at the discontents in New England and some appearances of softening in the disposition of government, on the idea that matters have been carried too far there; but all depends upon circumstances and events. We govern from hand to mouth. There seems to be no wise, regular plan."
This Episcopal charge, which he so promptly sent to his friends in America with words of strong commendation for its author, was delivered less than a year before the intended speech, about which, though of such infinitely greater importance to Franklin and the cause he was representing in America, he was silent. Both Franklin's and the bishop's reserve about this speech are as effulgent as the absence of the statues of Brutus and Cassius from the famous funeral procession projected by Tiberius Cæsar.
If this speech was prepared by the bishop, why was it not delivered ? is a question which is on everyone's lips on reading it. And if not by him, why did he allow himself to be accredited with its authorship by public rumor for fourteen years without ever attempting to stop it?
An article on “American Affairs ” published in the Monthly Review of