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ciiled majority of Franklin's friends. He was im. mediately appointed provincial agent, to the great chagrin of his enemies, who made a solemn protest against his appointment; which was refused admission upon the minutes, as being unprecedente eil. It was, however, published in the papers, and produced a spirited reply from him, just before his departure for England.
The disturbances produced in America by Mra Grenville's stamp-ait, and the opposition made to it art will known. Under the marquis of Rockingbum's ad liinistration, it app-ared expedient to en. deavor to calm the minds of the colonists ; and the hepeal of the odious tax was contemplated. A. mongst other means of collecting information on the disposition of the people to submit to it, Dr. Franklin was called to the bar of the house of commons. The examination which he here underwent was published, and contains a striking proof of the extent and accuracy of his information, and the fac
eility with which he communicated his sentiments. .' He represented facts in so strong a point of view,
that the inexpediency of the act must have appeared clear to every unprejudiced mind. The act, after some opposition, was repealed, about a year af. ter it was enacted, and before it had ever been carried into execution.
In the year 1766, he made a visit to Holland and Germany, and received the greatest marks of atten. tention from men of science. In his passage through Holland, he learned from the watermen the effi ct which a diminution of the quantity of water in caAals has, in impeding the progress of boats. Upon his return to England, he was led to make a num. ber of experiments ; all of which tended to confirm. ubac obscrvation. Thuse, with an explanation
of the phenomenon, he communicated in a letter to his friend, Sir John Pringle, which is contained in the volume of his philosophical pieces.
In the following year he travelled into France, whi re he met with a no less favorable reception than he had experienced in Germany. He was introduced to a number of literary characters, and to eht king, Louis XV.
Sveral letters written by Hutchinson, Oliver, and others, to persons in eminent stations in Great Britain, came into the hands of Dr. Franklin.
These contained the most violent invectives a. gainst the leading characters of the siate of Massachusetts, and strenuously advised the prosecution of vigorous measures, to compel the people to obedi. ence to the measures of the ministry. These he transmitted to the legislature, by whom they were published. Attested copies were sent to G. Britain, . with an address, praving the king to discharge from office persons who had rendered themselves so obnoxious to the people, and who had shewn theme selves so unfriendly to their interests. The publi. cation of these letters produced a duel between Mr. Whately and Mr, Temple ; each of whom was sus. pected of having been instrumental in procuring them. To prevent any further disputes on this subject, Dr. Franklin, in one of the public papers, des clared that he had sent them to America, but would give no information concerning the manner in which he had obtained them, nor was this ever dis. covered.
Shortly after, the petition of the Massachusetts assembly was taken up for examination, before the privy council. Dr. Franklin attended as agent for the assembly; and here a torrent of the most vio. keut and unwarranted abuse was poured upon hims
by the solicitor-general, Wedderburne, who was engaged as council for Oliver and Hutchinson. The petition was declared to be scandalous and vex. atious, and the prayer of it refused.
Although the parliament of Great Britain had repealed the stamp-act, it was only upon the principle of expediency. They still insisted upon their right to tax the colonies; and, at the same time that the stamp-act was repealed, an act was passed, dea claring the right of parliament to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever. This language was used even by the most strenuous opposers of the stampa act; and, amongst others, by Mr. Pitt. This right was never recognized by the colonists ; but, as they flattered themselves it would not be exercised, they were not very active in remonstrating against it. Had this pretended right been suffered to remain * dormant, the colonists would cheerfully have furnished their quota of supplies, in the mode to which they had been accustomed; that is, by acts of their own assemblies, in consequence of requisitions from the secretary of state. If this practice had been pursued, such was the disposition of the colonies towards the mother country, that, notwithstanding the disadvantages under which they labored, from restraints upon their trade, calculated solely for the benefit of the commercial and manufacturing interests of Great Britain, a separation of the two countries might have been a far distant event. The Americans, from their earliest infancy, were taught 10 venerate the people from whom they were descended; whose language, laws, and manners, were the same as their own. They looked up to them as models of perfection; and, in their prej.se diced minds, the most enlightened nations of Ello rope were considered as almost barbarians, in comparison with Englishinen. The name of an Enge
lishman conveyed to an American the idea of every thing good and great. Such sentiments instilled into them in early life, what but a repetition of un, just treatment could hare induced them to enter. tain the most distant thought of separation ? The duties on glass, paper, leather, painter's colors, tea, &c, the disfranchisement of some of the colonies; the obstruction to the measures of the legislature in others, by the king's governors; the contemptus ous treatment of their humble remonstrances, stato ing iheir grievances and praying a redress of thein, and other violent and oppressive measures, at length excited an ardent spirit of opposition. Instead of endeavoring to allay this by a more lenient conduct, the ministry seemed resolutely bent upon reducing the colonies to the most slavish obedience to their decrees. But this tended only to aggravate, Vain were all the efforts made use of to prevail upon them to lay aside their designs, to convince then of the impossibility of carrying them into effect, and of the mischievous consequences which must ensue from a continuance of the attempt. They persevered with a degree of inflexibility scarcely paralleled.
The advantages which Great Britain derived from her colonies were so great, that nothing but a degree of infatuation, little short of madness, could have produced a continuance of measures calculated to keep up a spirit of uneasines, which might occasion the slightest wish for a separation. When we consider the great improvements in the science of government, ihe general diffusion of the principles of liberty amongst the people of Europe, the effects which these have already produced in I'rance, and the probable consequences which will result from thein elsewhere, all of which are the offspring of the American revolucion, it cannot appear
strange, that events of so great moment to the hapi
Dr. Franklin left nothing untried to prevail upon the ministry to consent to a change of measures. In private conversations, and in letters to persons in government, he continually expatiated upon the impolicy and injustice of their conduct towards America; and stated, that, notwithstanding the attachment of the colonists to the mother country, a redpetition of ill treatment must ultimately alienate their affections. Thev listened not to his advice. They blindly persevered in their own schemes, and left to the colonists no alternative, but opposition or unconditional submission. The latter accorded not with the principles of freedom, which they had been taught to rcvere. To the former, they were compelled, though reluctantly, to have recourse.. · Dr. Franklin, finding all efforts to restore harmo. ny between Great Britain and her colonies useless, returned to America in the year 1775; just after the commencement of hostilities. The day after his return, he was elected by the legislature of Pennsylvania a member of congress. Not long after his election a committee was appointed, consisting of Mr. Lunch, Mr. Harrison, and himself, to visit the camp at Cambridge, and, in conjunction with the commander in chief, co endeavor to convince the troops, whose term of enlistment was about 10 expire, of the necessity of their continuing in the field, and persevering in the cause of their country.
In the fall of the same year he visited Canada, to endeavor to unite them in the comm in cause of liberty; but :hey could not be prevailed upon tooppose the measures of the British governorent.