« AnteriorContinuar »
and New Jersey, and by those drawn up at town and county meetings. Their agents in London, notably Franklin for
Pennsylvania, Dennys de Berdt for Massachusetts, Charles Garth for South Carolina, and others, forcibly represented the opinion of their constituents. General Phineas Lyman contributes long arguments against it, and the merchants of London and Birmingham petition for its repeal.
A letter from Dr. Fothergill, the well-known physician, is curious from its suggestion at this early date (29th August 1765) of Commissioners being chosen to go to America to confer with others appointed there on the subject of their complaints, intimating that such a conference would give a correct knowledge of the Americans and“ avert the independence they seem to desire” (p. 18).
Though Lord Dartmouth in the month of January 1766 moved the Lords' reply to the King, vaguely pledging their utmost endeavours to support the King's dignity and the legislative authority of the kingdom over its colonies, yet almost immediately we find, apparently, his mind made up for the repeal of the Act, and the Earl of Huntingdon and the Earl of Chesterfield offering him their proxies in most impressive terms for that purpose (pp. 33, 36).
In the month of February 1766 Lord Rockingham seems to have been so thoroughly disturbed by the conduct of the Court party as to threaten an immediate resignation, and it now became Lord Dartmouth's turn to urge the claims of country against personal inclination. The letter is found in the Memoirs of Rockingham.
“ The case is not yet desperate, and while there is the least shadow of hope of doing good, I would on no account give up the game to those who will, undoubtedly, do mischief. The Act once repealed, I shall heartily congratulate your Lordship upon a release from your fatigue. Your successors may then be left to enjoy the sweets of an honourable coalition and hug themselves in the possession of employment, which nothing but concern for the public good could make it worth your while to hold. It will be some time before they can contrive to get os into such another scrape ; when they do it will be time enough to call upon Yourself & Co to deliver us from it.”
The Stamp Act once repealed, the overthrow of the Whigs followed, and Lord Dartmouth held no office for some years. The letters, however, in these pages show that Lord Rockingham
claims him as one of his party, till in January 1771 Lord Dartmouth refers to a “step taken contrary to Lord Rockingham's opinion” (p. 77), evidently that of his joining the Tory party. In 1772, on the resignation of the Secretary of State for the American Department, Lord North, now First Lord of the Treasury, wrote to Lord Dartmouth asking permission to recommend him to the King as successor to the vacant department (p. 86). This office of a third Secretary had been created in 1768 to relieve the other departments of the great and increasing pressure of American affairs, and had from that date been filled by Wills, Earl of Hillsborough, who had married Lord Dartmouth's aunt, Baroness Stawell, widow of Henry Bilson Legge.
It is stated that Dr. Franklin may have been partly instrumental in bringing about Lord Dartmouth's appointment, for when asked by a friend at Court if, should Lord Hillsborough be removed, he could name another likely to be more acceptable to the Americans, he answered, “ Yes, there is Lord “ Dartmouth, we liked him very well when he was at the head “ of the Board formerly, and probably should like him again.” His appointment was received in America with general joy, the greatest hopes being placed in his high character and anticipated influence in bringing to some amicable conclusion the disputes and prevailing irritation. He was at the same time First Lord of Trade, the two offices being united for him.
That Lord Dartmouth was looked up to by the Americans, and his aid sought in order to reconcile differences even before he took office as Secretary of State, is shown by the joint letter of Bowdoin, Pemberton, and Joseph Warren, three of the leading members of the popular party in Massachusetts, written from Boston, 23rd March 1770, transmitting, by order of a meeting held in Faneuil Hall, a copy of the proceedings relative to the massacre of the 5th, and expressing the desire of the town and province that the troops be removed, for which purpose they solicit his Lordship’s interposition and influence (p. 72).
It was wittily said at a later date that Mr. Grenville lost America because he read the American despatches which his predecessors had never done, and it may be imagined that Lord
Dartmouth's reading was not tranquillizing. He came into. office at the moment when the Attorney and Solicitor Generals: were occupied with their reports and opinions on the burning of the “ Gaspee,” an armed revenue schooner which bad become a source of friction and very unpopular with the people of Rhode Island (p. 86 et seq.), which event the Attorney-General describes as “ of five times the magnitude of the Stamp Act " (p. 91).
Dr. Franklin in his correspondence relates his attending his Lordship's first levee, and his gratification at his reception, so different from that accorded to him by the previous Secretary. Dr. Franklin soon after delivered to Lord Dartmouth a petition from the Assembly of Massachusetts to, the King. On Lord Dartmouth intimating that it would but offend His Majesty and bring down a reprimand on the Assembly, and that he was extremely unwilling that one of the first acts of his administration should be of so unpleasant a nature, Franklin promised to consult his constituents further, and the matter was accordingly postponed. It is curious to note that one of the last acts of Lord Dartmouth's administration was also in connection with an American petition to the King-the famous, “ Olive Branch," that drawn up by the second Congress of the United Colonies (see p. 358). The original, now in the Public Record Office, America and West Indies, Vol. 279, folio 251, bears only this endorsement, “Sept. 1st. 1775. “ Delivered to the Earl of Dartmouth by Messrs. Penn and “ Lee.” The first petition of Congress to the King in 1774 had also been put into Lord Dartmouth's hands, and, in Dr. Franklin's words, “ he told us it was a decent and proper petition and cheerfully undertook to deliver it.” (See page 241 and some correspondence in the previous Calendar.) The original of that petition is also in the Public Record Office, America and West Indies, Vol. 278, folio 471, and its duplicate original is considered one of the most precious papers among the Franklin Manuscripts in the State Department at Washington. Both petitions, with notes, are in Stevens's Facsimiles, Nos. 454 and 850. .
Notwithstanding all his good dispositions towards America the Minister appears almost helpless in the current of circumstances. It may not be uninteresting to read on this point the.
opinion of one of the American patriots, Samuel Adams - . (Bancroft iv., 267):
“ The present administration, even though the very good Lord Dart.' mouth is one of them, are as fixed as any of their predecessors in their resolution to carry their favourite point, an acknowledgement of the right of Parliament to make laws binding us in all cases whatever ........ His Majesty, in his answer to our late petitions, implies that, the Parliament is the sapreme legislature, and that its authority over the Colonies is the constitution. All allow the minister in the American department to be a good man. The great men in England have an opinion of us as being a mightily religious people, and suppose that we. shall place an entire confidence in a minister of the same character. In, fact, how many were filled with the most sanguine expectations when, they heard that the good Lord Dartmouth was intrusted with a share in administration. Yet without a greatness of mind equal, perhaps superior, to his goodness, it will be impossible for him singly to stem the torrent of corruption. This requires much more fortitude than I yet believe he is possessed of. The safety of the Americans depends upon their pursuing. their wise plan of union in principle and conduct."
Lord Dartmouth's well-meaning efforts in opening a private correspondence with Mr. Cushing, Speaker of the Massachusetts Assembly, was rejoiced at by the extreme faction in America as an act ignoring the Governor (pp. 158, 168, 175). The transmission by Dr. Franklin to Boston of the Hutchinson and Whately correspondence had so inflamed the minds of the people of that province that they formally demanded the removal of Governor Hutchinson and Lieutenant-Governor Oliver, which demand in its turn highly incensed the Home Government and the King. The attempt to force the East India Company's tea on the American Colonies was followed by the refusal to allow the ships to land or the destruction of the cargoes. The course of events may be easily followed in these pages. There are also (pp. 236, 264, &c.) traces of the informal negotiation opened with Dr. Franklin, then living in Craven Street, just before he started for America, by means of Dr. Fothergill, the physician, Mr. David Barclay, merchant, the Hon. Mrs. Howe, Lord Howe, and Lord Hyde, which extended over several weeks, and of which an interesting account is given by Dr. Franklin in his journal. On page 266 is Dr. Fothergill's letter to Lord Dartmouth on the subject, and on page 270 the “Plan for a Permanent. Union.”
Numerous papers from 1769 to 1773 relate to schemes of fresh settlement of American lands towards the west and south, the
spirit of emigration from Europe being already a fact to be noticed (p. 181). Most important, perhaps, is the proposed Ohio Settlement—the rock on which Lord Hillsborough split as Secretary of the American Department. A proposed colony west of the Alleghany Mountains was to be called.Pittsylvania (p. 75). A notification of the emigration of eighty souls from Fort Pitt to Fort Natchez is followed a little later by “Thoughts for erecting a new Government” there. Settlements on the Mississippi were strongly advocated by General Lyman, as is seen also in the American Manuscripts of the Lansdowne House Collection. In 1772 he proposes the erection of a “civil government" from the Bay of Mexico to the Ohio, and in this way to direct thither the emigration which is taking place from the settled lands in Connecticut to the country between Crown Point and the Connecticut River (p. 111). Two hundred Scotch families beg some encouragement to enable them to settle on that continent (p. 96). Lord Dartmouth himself owns 40,000 acres in East Florida, and William Gerard de Brahm, once Surveyor-General of America, tells his Lordship that he can find thirteen good French Protestant families to settle on it. He appears to be instrumental in forming for the purpose a Society called the Swizer or Cape Florida Society for which 8,000 acres are to be appropriated at a regular quit-rent. The terms and conditions, however, after much correspondence are finally thrown over by the members as unsuitable for a “society of free people," but the real objection seems to have been to Mr. de Brahm as agent. Mr. de Brahm's lengthy epistles are numerous, he transmits, too, a manuscript history of East Florida (p. 120), and various astronomical and religious treatisés.
Reference also appears to the disputed grants of land west of the Connecticut River and known as the New Hampshire grants. William Samuel Johnson, Agent for Connecticut, acted in 1767 in London on behalf of the settlers on the disputed lands. He subsequently became President of Columbia College, New York. A Mr. Hawley was appointed by others, members of the Church of England, also to represent their case (p. 105). Paul Wentworth, another agent, finding that these settlers had formed part of the body of New England troops which had surprised.