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time was taken up in meetings with the other agents to consult about presenting the petition, in waiting three different days with them on lord Dartmouth, in consulting upon and writing letters to the speakers of assemblies, and other business, which did not allow me a day to go to Hayes. At last, on Monday the 26th, I got out, and was there about one o'clock; he received me with an affectionate kind of respect, that from so great a man was extremely engaging; but the opinion he expressed of the congress was still more so. 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 antient Greeks and Romans, in the most virtuous times: that there was not n thei whole proceedings, above one or two things he could have wished otherwise; perhaps but one, and that was their assertion, that the keeping up a standing army in the colonies in time of peace, without consent of their legislatures, was against law; he doubted that was not well founded, and that the law alluded to did not extend to the colonies. The rest he admired and honored: he thought the petition decent, manly, and properly expressed: he inquired much and particularly concerning the state of America, the probability of their perseve. rance, the difficulties they must meet with in adhering for any long time to their resolutions; the resources they might have to supply the deficiency of commerce; to all which I gave him answers with which he seemed well satisfied. He expressed a great regard and warm affection for that country, with hearty wishes for their prosperity; and that government here might soon come to see its mistakes, and rectify them; and intimated that possibly he might, if his health permitted, prepare something for its consideration, when the parliament should meet after the holidays; on which he should wish to have previously my sentiments. I mentioned to bim the very hazardous state I conceived we were in, by the continuance of the ariny in Boston; that whatever disposition there might be in the inhabitants to give no just cause of offence to the troops, or in the general to preserve order among them, an unpremeditated unforeseen quarrel might happen, between perhaps a drunken porter and a soldier, that might bring on a riot, tumult, and bloodshed; and its consequences produce a breach impossible to be healed; that the army could not possibly answer any good purpose there, and might be infinitely mischievous; that no accommodation could be properly proposed and entered into by the Ainericans, while the bayonet was at their breasts; that to have any agreement binding, all force should be withdrawn. His lordship seemed to think these sentiments had something in them that was reasonable.
From Hayes I went to Halsted, Mr. Sargent's place, to dine, intending thence a visit to lord Stanhope at Chevening; but hearing there that his lordship and the family were in town, I staid at Halsted all night, and the next morning went to Chiselhurst to call upon lord Camden, it being in my way to town. I met his lordship and family in two carriages just without his gate, going on a visit of congratulation to lord Chatham and his lady, on the late marriage of their daughter to lord Mahon, son of lord Stanhope. They were to be back to dinner; so I agreed to go in, stay dinner, and spend the evening there, and not return to town till next morning. We had that afternoon and evening a great deal of conversation on American affairs, concerning which he was very inquisitive, and I gave him the best information in my power. I was charmed with his generous and noble sentiments; and had the great pleasure of hearing his full approbation of the proceedings of the congress, the petition, &c. &c. of which, at his request, I afterwards sent him a copy. He seemed anxious that the Americans should continue to act with the same temper, coolness, and wisdom, with which they had hitherto proceeded in most of their public assemblies, in which case he did not doubt they would succeed in establishing their rights, and obtain a solid anil durable agreement with the mother country; of the necessity and great importance of which agreement, he seemed to have the strongest impressions.
I returned to town the next morning, in time to meet at the hour appointed by lord Howe. I apologised for my not being ready with the paper I had promised, by my having been kept longer than I intended in the country. We had, however, a good deal of conversation on the subject, and his lordship told me he could now assure me of a certainty, that tbere was a sincere disposition in lord North and lord Dartmouth to accommodate the differences with America, and to Jisten favorably to any propositions that might have a probable tendency to answer that salutary purpose. He then asked me what I thought of sending some person or persons over, commissioned to inquire into the grievances of America upon the spot, converse with the leading people, and endeavor with them to agree upon some means of composing our differences. I said, that a person of rank and dignity, who had a character of candor, integrity, and wisdom, might possibly, if , employed in that service, be of great use. He seemed to . be 'of the same opinion, and that whoever was employed, should go with a hearty desire of promoting a sincere reconciliation, on the foundation of mutual interests and matual good-will; that he should endeavor, not only to remove their prejudices against government, but equally the prejudices of government against them, and bring on a perfect good understanding, &c. Mrs. Howe said, I wish brother 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, said I, they ought to provide for general Howe some more honorable employment. Lord Howe here took out of his pocket a paper, and offering it to me said, smiling, if it is not an unfair question, may I ask whether you know any thing of this paper? Upon looking at it, I saw it was a copy in David Barclay's hand, of the Hints before recited; and said, that I had seen it; adding a little after, that since I perceived his lordship was acquainted with a transaction, my concern in which I had understood was to have been kept a secret, I should make no difficulty in owning to him that I had been consulted on the subject, and had
drawn up that paper. He said, he was rather sorry to find that the sentiments expressed in it were mine, as it gave him less hopes of promoting, by my assistance, the wished-for reconciliation; since he had reason to think there was no likelihood of the admission of these propositions. He hoped, however, that I would re-consider the subject, and form some plan that would be acceptable here. He expatiated on the infinite service it would be to the nation, and the great merit in being instrumental in so good a work; that he should not think of influencing me by any selfish motive, but certainly I miglit with reason expect any reward in the power of government to bestow. This to me was what the French val. garly call spitting in the soup. However, I promised to draw some sketch of a plan at his request, though I much doubted, I said, whether it would be thought preferable to that he had in his hand. But he was willing to hope that it would, and as he considered my situation, that I had friends here and constituents in America to keep well with, that I might possibly propose something improper to be seen in my hand-writing; therefore, it would be better to send it to Mrs. Howe, who would copy it, send the copy to him to be communicated to the mi. nistry, and return me the original. This I agreed to, though I did not apprchend the inconvenience he mentioned. In ge. neral, I liked much his manner, and found myself disposed to place great confidence in him on occasion, but in this par. ticular the secrecy he proposed seemed not of much importance.
In a day or two I sent the following paper, inclosed in a cover directed to the honorable Mrs. Howe..
It is supposed to be the wish on both sides, not merely to put a stop to the mischief at present threatning the general welfare, but to cement a cordial union, and remove, not only every real grievance, but every cause of jealousy and suspicion.
With this view, the first thing necessary is, to know what is, by the different parties in the dispute, thought essentially necessary for the obtaining such an union. · The American congress, in their petition to the king, have been explicit, declaring, that by a repeal of the oppressive acts therein complained of, the harmony between Great Britain and the colonies, so necessary to the happiness of both, and so ardently desired of them, will, with the usual intercourse, be immediately restored.?
If it has been thought reasonable here, to expect that, prerious to an alteration of measures, the colonies should make some declaration respecting their future conduct, they have also done that, by adding, • That when the causes of their apprehensions are removed, their future conduct will prove them not unworthy of the regard they have been accustomed in their happier days to enjoy.''
For their sincerity in these declarations, they solemnly call to witness the Searcher of all hearts.
If Britain can have any reliance on these declarations, (and perhaps none to be extorted by force can be more relied on than these which are thus freely made,) she may without hazard to herself try the expedient proposed, since, if it fails, she has it in her power at any time to resume her present measures.
It is then proposed, That Britain should show some confidence in these declarations, by repealing all the laws or parts of laws that are requested to be repealed in the petition of the congress to the king.
And that at the same time orders should be given to withdraw the fleet from Boston, and remove all the troops to Quebec or the Floridas, that the colonies may be left at liberty in their future stipulations.
That this may, for the honor of Britain, appear not the effect of any appreliension from the measures entered into and recommended to the people by the congress, but from good will, and a change of disposition towards the colonies,