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Lord Chatham the late American papers which he had received ; and he went a week afterwards to Hayes, where he was extremely gratified with the manner in which that great man spoke of the proceedings of the Congress. “They had acted,” he said, “with so much temper, moderation, and wisdom, that he thought it the most honorable assembly of statesmen since those of the ancient Greeks and Romans in the most virtuous times.” He professed a warm regard for the Americans, and hearty wishes for their prosperity, and added, that when Parliament assembled he should have something to offer, upon which he should previously want Dr. Franklin's sentiments. On his way home he passed the night with Lord Camden, at Chislehurst. This nobleman agreed entirely with Lord Chatham in his opinion of Congress, and of the transactions in America. He returned to town in time to meet Lord Howe according to appointment, but was obliged to apologize for not being ready with his propositions. Lord Howe said, he could now assure him, that both Lord North and Lord Dartmouth were sincerely disposed to an accommodation. He then asked Dr. Franklin what he thought of a project for sending over a commissioner empowered to inquire into the grievances of the Americans, and to agree with them upon some mode of reconciliation. Franklin seemed to approve the idea. Mrs. Howe was present. “I wish, brother,” said she, “you were to be sent thither on such a service; I should like that much better than General Howe's going to command the army there.” “I think, Madam,” replied Franklin, “they ought to provide for General Howe some more honorable employment.” Lord Howe then drew out a paper, which proved to be a copy of the Hints, in David Barclay's handwriting. He remarked, that these terms were so hard, as to afford little hope of their being obtained, and he begged Dr. Franklin to turn his thoughts to another plan. To satisfy his Lordship, he consented to make a second trial; but he confessed, that he did not think he should produce any thing more acceptable. He drew up a series of propositions, founded mainly on the petition of Congress to the King, and such other papers as Congress had published. He sent the propositions to Lord Howe, and both these and the Hints were communicated to some of the ministers, to Lord Hyde, and to a few other persons of high political standing. Soon afterwards he was informed by Lord Stanhope, that Lord Chatham would offer a motion to the House of Lords the following day, and desired his attendance. The next morning, January 20th, he likewise received a message from Lord Chatham, telling him, that if he would be in the lobby at two o'clock, he would introduce him. “I attended,” says Dr. Franklin, “and met him there accordingly. On my mentioning to him what Lord Stanhope had written to me, he said, “Certainly; and I shall do it with the more pleasure, as I am sure your being present at this day’s debate will be of more service to America than mine;” and so taking me by the arm was leading me along the passage to the door that enters near the throne, when one of the door-keepers followed, and acquainted him, that, by the order, none were to be carried in at that door but the eldest sons or brothers of peers; on which he limped back with me to the door near the bar, where were standing a number of gentlemen, waiting for the peers who WOL. I. 49 G G

were to introduce them, and some peers waiting for friends they expected to introduce; among whom he delivered me to the door-keepers, saying aloud, ‘This is Dr. Franklin, whom I would have admitted into the House; ' when they readily opened the door for me accordingly. As it had not been publicly known, that there was any communication between his Lordship and me, this, I found, occasioned some speculation.” Lord Chatham moved, that the troops should be withdrawn from Boston. This gave rise to a warm debate, in which the motion was ably and eloquently sustained by the mover and Lord Camden, but it was lost by a large majority. In the course of his remarks Lord Chatham mentioned, that this motion was introductory to a general plan for a reconciliation, which he proposed to lay before Parliament. This was the subject, in regard to which he had before intimated to Dr. Franklin that he should want his advice and assistance. A week after the debate on the motion, he spent a day with his Lordship, who showed him the outlines of his plan, and asked his opinion and observations upon all its principal points. Lord Chatham next called at his lodgings in town, and passed nearly two hours with him on the same business. The draft of his plan was now completed, and he left a copy of it with Dr. Franklin, requesting him to consider it maturely, and suggest any alterations or additions that might occur to him. He made another visit to Hayes, where the plan was again discussed, and the work was finished. He did not approve the plan in all its parts, nor believe it would be acceptable to the colonies; and he freely stated his objections. But it was necessary to conform in some degree to the prejudices prevailing in Parliament, or there would be no hope of gain

ing the attention of that body to any propositions; and Lord Chatham himself did not suppose, that, in any event, his plan would be adopted precisely as he should present it. His aim was to open the way to an accommodation, and amendments might be introduced in its progress through the House. Little else was to be expected, than that it might serve as the basis of a treaty. And in the mean time, before it passed, the Americans would have an opportunity of knowing what it was, and of making objections and propositions. This plan was submitted to the House of Lords, in the form of a bill, on the 1st of February. Lord Stanhope, at the request of Lord Chatham, accompanied Dr. Franklin to the House, and procured him admittance. The House was very full. Lord Chatham exerted all his powers of eloquence and argument in support of his plan. It was vehemently assailed by the ministers and their adherents; and was defended by the Dukes of Richmond and Manchester, Lord Shelburne, Lord Camden, Lord Temple, and others. The ministerial influence was so great, however, that it was not even allowed to lie on the table for future consideration, but was rejected by a majority of two to one. The speech of Lord Sandwich was passionate and abusive. He could not believe, he said, that the bill proceeded from a British peer; it was more likely the work of some American; and, turning towards Dr. Franklin, who was leaning on the bar, said “he fancied he had in his eye the person who drew it up, one of the bitterest and most mischievous enemies this country had ever known.” In reply to this illiberal insinuation, Lord Chatham “declared, that it was entirely his own; a declaration he thought himself the more obliged to make, as many of their Lordships appeared to have so mean an opinion of it; for, if it was so weak or so bad a thing, it was proper in him to take care that no other person should unjustly share in the censure it deserved. That it had been heretofore reckoned his vice, not to be apt to take advice; but he made no scruple to declare, that, if he were the first minister of this country, and had the care of settling this momentous business, he should not be ashamed of publicly calling to his assistance a person so perfectly acquainted with the whole of American affairs as the gentleman alluded to, and so injuriously reflected on ; one, he was pleased to say, whom all Europe held in high estimation for his knowledge and wisdom, and ranked with our Boyles and Newtons; who was an honor, not to the English nation only, but to human nature l’” After this proceeding, Dr. Franklin did not expect to hear any thing more of proposals for a negotiation; but, a day or two after, he was again invited by Dr. Fothergill and Mr. Barclay to meet and consult with them on the subject of the Hints. It appears that conferences had been held about them; and these gentlemen handed him a paper, which purported to come from high authority, and in which some of his articles were approved, and others rejected or modified. He read the paper and agreed to consider it. His opinion of its contents may be drawn from his remarks on this interview. “We had not at this time,” he says, “a great deal of conversation upon these points; for I shortened it by observing, that, while the Parliament claimed and exercised a power of altering our constitutions at pleasure, there could be no agreement; for we were rendered unsafe in every privilege we had a right

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