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been hampered with. On this he did not then explain himself, but when he afterwards came to do business with the Assembly, they appeared again, the disputes were renewed, and I was as active as ever in the opposition, being the penman, first of the request to have a communication of the instructions, and then of the remarks upon them, which may be found in the Votes of the Times, and in the historical review I afterwards published; but between us personally no enmity arose, we were often together; he was a man of letters, had seen much of the world, and was entertaining and pleasing in conversation. He gave me information that my old friend Ralph, was still alive, that he was esteemed one of the best political writers in England; had been employed in the dispute between Prince Frederick, and the King, and had obtained a pension of three hundred pounds a-year; that his reputation was indeed small as a poet, Pope having damned his poetry in the Dunciad; but his prose was thought as good as any man's.
The Assembly finally finding the proprietary, obstinately persisted in shackling the deputies with instructions inconsistent not only with the privileges of the people, but with the service of the crown, resolved to petition the King against them, and appointed me their agent to go over to England, to present and support the petition. The House had sent up a bill to the Governor, granting a sum of sixty thousand pounds for the King's use, (ten thousand pounds of which was subjected to the orders of the then General, Lord Loudon,) which the Governor, in compliance with his instructions absolutely refused to pass. I had agreed with Captain Morris, of the packet at New-York, for my passage, and my stores were put on board; when Lord Loudon, arrived at Philadelphia, expressly as he told me, to endeavour an accommodation between the Governor and Assembly, that His Majesty's service might not be obstructed by their dissensions. Accordingly he desired the Governor and myself to meet him, that he might hear what was to be said on both sides. We met and discussed the business: in behalf of the Assembly, I urged the various arguments that may be found in the public papers of that time, which were of my writing, and are printed with the minutes of the Assembly; and the Governor pleaded his instructions, the bond he had given to observe them, and his ruin if he disobeyed; yet seemed not unwilling to hazard himself if Lord Loudon would advise it. This his Lordship did not choose to do, though I once thought I had nearly' prevailed with him to do it; but finally he rather chose to urge the compliance of the Assembly; and he intreated me to use my endeavours with them for that purpose, declaring that he would spare none of the King's troops for the defence of our
frontiers, and that if we did not continue to provide for that defence ourselves, they must remain exposed to the enemy. I acquainted the House with what had passed, and presenting them with a set of resolutions I had drawn up, declaring our rights, that we did not relinquish our claim to those rights, but only suspended the exercise of them on this occasion, through force, against which we protested; they at length agreed to drop that bill, and frame another conformable to the proprietary instructions; this of course the Governor passed, and I was then at liberty to proceed on my voyage. But in the mean time the packet had sailed with my sea stores, which was some loss to me, and my only recompense was his Lordship's thanks for my service; all the credit of obtaining the accommodation falling to his share.
He set out for New-York before me; and as the time for dispatching the packetboats was in his disposition, and there were two then remaining there, one of which, he said was to sail very soon, I requested to know the precise time, that I might not miss her, by any delay of mine. The answer was, "I have given out that she is to sail on Saturday next, but I may let you know, entre nous, that if you are there by Monday morning, you will be in time, but do not delay longer." By some accidental hindrance at a Ferry, it was Monday noon before I arrived, and I was much afraid she might have sailed, as the wind was fair; but I was soon made easy by the information that she was still in the harbour, and would not move till the next day. One would imagine that I was now on the very point of departing for Europe; I thought so, but I was not then so well acquainted with his Lordship's character, of which indecision was one of the strongest features; I shall give some instances. It was about the beginning of April, that I came to New-York, and I think it was near the end of June before we sailed. There were then two of the packet-boats which had been long in readiness, but were detained for the General's letters, which were always to be ready to-morrow. Another packet arrived, she too was detained, and before we sailed a fourth was expected. Ours was the first to be dispatched; as having been there longest. Passengers were engaged for all, and some extremely impatient to be gone, and the merchants uneasy about their letters, and for the orders they had given for insurance (it being war time) and for autumnal goods; but their anxiety availed nothing, his Lordship's letters were not ready: and yet whoever waited on him found him always at his desk, pen in hand, and concluded he must needs write abundantly. Going myself one morning to pay my respects, I found in his anti-chamber one Innis, a messenger of Philadelphia, who had come thence express, with a packet from Governor Denny, for the General. He delivered to me some letters from my friends there, which occasioned my inquiring when he was to return, and where he lodged, that I might send some letters by him. He told me he was ordered to call to-morrow at nine for the General's answer to the Governor, and should set off immediately; I put my letters into his hands the same day. A fortnight after I met him again in the same place. "So you are soon returned, Innis!" "Returned; no, I am not gone yet." "How so?" I have called here this and every morning these two weeks past for his Lordship's letters, and they are not yet ready." "Is it possible, when he is so great a writer; for I see him constantly at his escritoir." "Yes," said Innis, "but he is like St. George, on the signs, always on horseback and never rides on." This observation of the messenger was it seems well founded; for when in England, I understood, that Mr. Pitt, (afterwards Lord Chatham,) gave it as one reason for removing this General, and sending Generals Amherst and Wolff, that the minister never heard from him, and could not know what he was doing.
This daily expectation of sailing, and all the three packets going down to SandyHook, to join the fleet there, the passengers thought it best to be on board, lest by a sudden order, the ships should sail, and they be left behind. There, if I remember, we were about six weeks, consuming our sea stores, and obliged to procure more. At length the fleet sailed, the General and all his army on board bound to Lewisburg, with intent to besiege and take that fortress; all the packet boats in company, ordered to attend the General's ship ready to receive his dispatches when they should be ready. We were out five days before we got a letter with leave to part; and then our ship quilted the fleet and steered for England. The other two packets he still detained, carried them with him to Halifax ; where he staid some time to exercise the men in sham attacks upon sham forts; then altered his mind as to besieging Lewisburg, and returned to New-York, with all his troops, together with the two packets above mentioned, and all their passengers! During his absence the French and Savages had taken Fort St. George, on the frontier of that Province, and the Indians had massacred many of the garrison after capitulation. I saw afterwards in London, Captain Bound, who commanded one of those packets; he told me that when he had been detained a month, he acquainted his Lordship that his ship was grown foul, to a degree that must necessarily hinder her fast sailing, (a point of consequence for a packet boat,) and requested an allowance of time to heave her down and clean her bottom. His Lordship asked how long time that would reVol. I. R
quire. He answered three days. The General replied, "if you can do it in one day, I give leave; otherwise not; for you must certainly sail the day after to-morrow." So he never obtained leave, though detained afterwards from day to day during full three months. I saw also in London, one of Bonell's passengers, who was so enraged against his Lordship for deceiving and detaining him so long at New-York, and then carrying him to Halifax and back again, that he swore he would sue him for damages. Whether he did or not I never heard; but as he represented it, the injury to his affairs was very considerable. On the whole I wondered much how such a man came to be intrusted with so important a business as the conduct of a great army: but having since seen more of the great world, and the means of obtaining, and motives for giving places and employments, my wonder is diminished. General Shirley, on whom the command of the army devolved upon the death of Braddock, would in my opinion, if continued in place, have made a much better campaign than that of Loudon, in 1756, which was frivolous, expensive, and disgraceful to our nation beyond conception. For though Shirley was not bred a soldier, he was sensible and sagacious in himself, and attentive to good advice from others, capable of forming judicious plans, and quick and active in carrying them into execution. Loudon, instead of defending the colonies with his great army, left them totally exposed while he paraded idly at Halifax; by which means Fort George was lost; besides, he deranged all our mercantile operations, and distressed our trade by a long embargo on the exportation of provisions, on pretence of keeping supplies from being obtained by the enemy, but in reality for beating down their price in favor of the contractors, in whose profits, it was said, (perhaps from suspicion only,) he had a share; and when at length the embargo was taken off, neglecting to send notice of it to Charlestown, where the Carolina fleet was detained near three months; and whereby their bottoms were so much damaged by the worm, that a great part of them foundered in their passage home. Shirley was, I believe, sincerely glad of being relieved from so burthensome a charge, as the conduct of an army must be to a man unacquainted with military business. I was at the entertainment given by -^ the City of New-York, to Lord Loudon, on his taking upon him the command.
Shirley, though thereby superseded, was present also. There was a great company of officers, citizens, and strangers, and some chairs having been borrowed in the neighbourhood, there was one among them very low, which fell to the lot of Mr. Shirley. I sat by him, and perceiving it, I said, they have given you a very low seat. "No matter, Mr. Franklin, said he, I find a low seat the easiest."
While I was, as before mentioned, detained at New-York, I received all the accounts of the provisions, &c. that I had furnished to Braddock, some of which accounts could not sooner be obtained from the different persons I had employed to assist in the business; I presented them to Lord Loudon, desiring to be paid the balance. He caused them to be examined by the proper officer, who after comparing every article with its voucher, certified them to be right; and his Lordship promised to give me an order on the paymaster for the balance due to me. This v, as however put off from time to time, and though I called often for it by appointment, I did not get it. At length, just before my departure, he told me he had on better consideration concluded not to mix his accounts with those of his predecessors. "And you, said he, when in England, have only to exhibit your accounts to the Treasury, and you will be paid immediately." I mentioned, but without effect, a great and unexpected ex pence I had been put to by being detained so long at NewYork, as a reason for my desiring to be presently paid; and on my observing that it was not right I should be put to any further trouble or delay in obtaining the money I had advanced, as I charged no commission for my service; "O," said he, "you must not think of persuading us that you are no gainer: we understand better those matters, and know that every one concerned in supplying the army, finds means in the doing it to fill his own pockets." I assured him that was not my case, and that I had not pocketed a farthing: but he appeared clearly not to believe me; and indeed I afterwards learned, that immense fortunes are often made in such employments. As to my balance I am not paid it to this day; of which more hereafter.
Our Captain of the packet boasted much before we sailed of the swiftness of his ship; unfortunately when we came tlf sea, she proved the dullest of ninety-six sail, to his no small mortification. After many conjectures respecting the cause, when we were near another ship almost as dull as ours, which however gained upon us, the captain ordered all hands to come aft and stand as near the ensign staff as possible. We were, passengers included, about forty persons; while we stood there the ship mended her pace, and soon left her neighbour far behind, which proved clearly what our captain suspected, that she was loaded too much by the head. The casks of water it seems had been all placed forward; these he therefore ordered to be moved further aft, on which the ship recovered her character, and proved the best sailer in the fleet. The captain said she had once gone at the rate of thirteen knots, which is accounted thirteen miles per hour. We had on board as a passenger, Cap