The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 238

free him from the controul of
even your own civil governors. Let him have troops enow under his
command, with all the fortresses in his possession, and who knows but
(like some provincial generals in the Roman empire, and encouraged
by the universal discontent you have produced) he may take it into
his head to set up for himself? If he should, and you have carefully
practised these few excellent rules of mine, take my word for it,
all the provinces will immediately join him--and you will that day
(if you have not done it sooner) get rid of the trouble of governing
them, and all the plagues attending their commerce and connection
from thenceforth and for ever.

FOOTNOTES:

[136] These rules first appeared in a London newspaper about the
beginning of the year 1774, and have several times since been
introduced into our public prints.--The minister alluded to is
supposed to be the Earl of Hillsborough.

"The causes and motions of seditions (says Lord Bacon) are,
innovation in religion, taxes, alteration of laws and customs,
breaking of privileges, general oppression, advancement of unworthy
persons, strangers, dearths, disbanded soldiers, factions grown
desperate, and whatsoever in offending people joineth and knitteth
them in a common cause." B. V.

[137] One of the American writers affirms, "That there has not been
a single instance in which _they_ have complained, without being
rebuked, or in which they have been complained _against_, without
being punished."--A fundamental mistake in the minister occasioned
this. Every individual in New England (the peccant country) was held
a coward or a knave, and the disorders, which spread abroad there,
were treated as the result of the _too great lenity_ of Britain! By
the aid of this short and benevolent rule, judgment was ever wisely
predetermined, to the shutting out redress on the one hand, and
inforcing every rigour of punishment on the other. B. V.

[138] I am not versed in Indian affairs, but I find, that in April,
1773, the assembled chiefs of the western nations told one of our
Indian agents, "that they remembered their father, the king of Great
Britain's message, delivered to them last fall, of demolishing
Fort Pittsburg (on the Ohio) and removing the soldiers with their
sharp-edged weapons out of the country:--this gave them great
pleasure, as it was a strong proof of his paternal kindness towards
them." (See Considerations on the Agreement with Mr. T. Walpole for
Lands upon the Ohio, p. 9). This is general history: I attempt no
application of facts, personally invidious. B. V.

[139] As the reader may be inclined to divide his belief between
the wisdom of ministry and the

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