Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 169

was against an immediate complaint to government, and thought the
proprietaries should first be personally appli'd to, who might
possibly be induc'd by the interposition and persuasion of some
private friends, to accommodate matters amicably. I then waited on my
old friend and correspondent, Mr. Peter Collinson, who told me that
John Hanbury, the great Virginia merchant, had requested to be
informed when I should arrive, that he might carry me to Lord
Granville's,[118] who was then President of the Council and wished to
see me as soon as possible. I agreed to go with him the next morning.
Accordingly Mr. Hanbury called for me and took me in his carriage to
that nobleman's, who receiv'd me with great civility; and after some
questions respecting the present state of affairs in America and
discourse thereupon, he said to me: "You Americans have wrong ideas of
the nature of your constitution; you contend that the king's
instructions to his governors are not laws, and think yourselves at
liberty to regard or disregard them at your own discretion. But those
instructions are not like the pocket instructions given to a minister
going abroad, for regulating his conduct in some trifling point of
ceremony. They are first drawn up by judges learned in the laws; they
are then considered, debated, and perhaps amended in Council, after
which they are signed by the king. They are then, so far as they
relate to you, the _law of the land_, for the king is the Legislator
of the Colonies,"[119] I told his lordship this was new doctrine to me.
I had always understood from our charters that our laws were to be
made by our Assemblies, to be presented indeed to the king for his
royal assent, but that being once given the king could not repeal or
alter them. And as the Assemblies could not make permanent laws
without his assent, so neither could he make a law for them without
theirs. He assur'd me I was totally mistaken. I did not think so,
however, and his lordship's conversation having a little alarm'd me as
to what might be the sentiments of the court concerning us, I wrote it
down as soon as I return'd to my lodgings. I recollected that about 20
years before, a clause in a bill brought into Parliament by the
ministry had propos'd to make the king's instructions laws in the
colonies, but the clause was thrown out by the Commons, for which we
adored them as our friends and friends of liberty, till by their
conduct towards us in 1765 it seem'd that they

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 28
So not considering or knowing the difference of money and the greater cheapness, nor the names of his bread, I bade him give me threepenny worth of any sort.
Page 39
Osborne dissuaded him, assured him.
Page 50
I taught him and a friend of his to swim at twice going into the river, and they soon became good swimmers.
Page 63
This was one of the first good effects of my having learned a little to scribble;[n] another was that the leading men, seeing a newspaper now in the hands of one who could also handle a pen, thought it convenient to oblige and encourage me.
Page 64
We gave bail, but saw that, if the money could not be raised in time, the suit must soon come to a judgment and execution, and our hopeful prospects must, with us, be ruined, as the press and letters must be sold for payment, perhaps at half price.
Page 76
Page 86
I purposed writing a little comment on each virtue, in which I would have shown the advantages of possessing it, and the mischiefs attending its opposite vice; and I should have called my book "The Art of Virtue,"[114] because it would have shown the means and manner of obtaining virtue, which would have distinguished it from the mere exhortation to be good, that does not instruct and indicate the means, but is like the apostle's man of verbal charity, who only, without showing to the naked and hungry how or where they might get clothes or victuals, exhorted them to be fed and clothed.
Page 97
Page 101
As he proceeded I began to soften, and concluded to give the coppers.
Page 106
Possibly, as they disliked my late intimacy with the members of council, who had joined the governors in all the disputes about military preparations with which the House had long been harassed, they might have been pleased if I would voluntarily have left.
Page 110
He said that it had been proposed among them, but not agreed to, for this reason: "When we were first drawn together as a society," says he, "it had pleased God to enlighten our minds so far as to see that some doctrines, which we once esteemed truths, were errors; and that others, which we have esteemed errors, were real truths.
Page 115
On taking my seat in the House my son was appointed their clerk.
Page 116
Thomas Bond, a particular friend of mine, conceived the idea of establishing a hospital in Philadelphia (a very beneficent design which has been ascribed to me but was originally his) for the reception and cure of poor sick persons, whether inhabitants of the province or strangers.
Page 118
He did so, for he asked of everybody, and he obtained a much larger sum than he expected, with which he erected the capacious and very elegant meetinghouse that stands in Arch Street.
Page 119
John Clifton,--his giving a sample of the utility of lamps by placing one at his door,--that the people were first impressed with the idea of enlighting all the city.
Page 135
But I ventured only to say: "To be sure, sir, if you arrive well before Duquesne with these fine troops, so well provided with artillery, that place, not yet completely fortified, and, as we hear, with no very strong garrison, can probably make but a short resistance.
Page 136
The flyers, not being pursued, arrived at Dunbar's camp, and the panic they brought with them instantly seized him and all his people; and though he had now above one thousand men, and the enemy who had beaten Braddock did not at most exceed four hundred Indians and French together, instead of proceeding and endeavoring to recover some of the lost honor, he ordered all the stores, ammunition, etc.
Page 148
Cave, it seems, judged rightly for his profit, for, by the additions that arrived afterward, they swelled to a quarto volume, which has had five editions, and cost him nothing for copy money.
Page 162
When this act, however, came over, the proprietaries, counseled by Paris, determined to oppose its receiving the royal assent.
Page 172
I am, as ever, thine to serve thee, RICHARD SAUNDERS.