“From my wife’s surname of Quincy implications of thrusting my neck into the very noose of Boston might be readily drawn.”1 So reminisced Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe, husband of Fanny Huntington Quincy, the great-great-granddaughter of Josiah Quincy Junior. When they courted her brother was mayor of Boston, the third Josiah Quincy to hold that office; after they married, Howe entered a world he never left. In his 1941 autobiography Howe was looking back over the seventy-seven years of his life to that point; his wife had died eight years before. Energetic though hardly physically robust, he could not know that he had nearly another twenty years ahead of him, still at the center of things Quincy. He never met Eliza Susan Quincy—she died in 1884, two years before he moved to Massachusetts—but he had taken on her mantle as guardian of the family past, even for those with Quincy blood in their veins.2
Rhode Islander by birth and Pennsylvanian by upbringing, Howe began his transformation into a proper Bostonian when he entered Harvard. Despite a degree in hand from Lehigh he thought that the move to Harvard would better his chances in the literary world; he was right. Connections made in Cambridge were his start, a beginning that would end with him ensconced at the center of Boston society. A gentle man who was the consummate gentleman, Howe was warmer, less aloof than the Quincy clan and the Boston-bred in general, as his daughter Helen readily noted. His great zest for ideas and for books, his abiding curiosity, even the stammer that made him more polished as a writer than as a raconteur, and his struggle against impaired vision, endeared him to others. He became a fixture at the Tavern Club and Athenaeum, and opened his home to the likes of Alfred North Whitehead, Van Wyck Brooks, and other, more local, luminaries.
He was both effusive and prolific. “Words were the coin of Father’s realm,” recalled his daughter, “and he was prodigal in his use of them.”3 He wrote or edited some forty works in history and biography, he composed poetry as well as prose, and he did all passionately. For him history at its purest did not lose its literary flair or storytelling form. “It is a great thing to have avoided the historian’s pitfall of fearing to be readable,” he wrote Samuel Eliot Morison when congratulating him on his new history of the United States.4 Nonetheless, Mark Howe had something in common with Eliza Susan Quincy: whenever possible he let his subjects speak in their own voices, even in his Pulitzer Prize-winning study of author and educator Barrett Wendell.5 As biographer he preferred to remain in the background and tell his life stories unobtrusively—“the show, in a word, being more important than the showman,” he explained.6
Pulitzer notwithstanding, the fame had faded before Howe died in 1960, except within genteel Boston’s shrinking realm. Howe’s “books were known, even in his lifetime, to a limited number of readers; today they must be known, if at all, to a mere handful,”7 Helen Howe wrote just five years after her father’s death. Howe is buried in the Mount Wollaston Cemetery, reposing in the midst of Quincys and on the same gentle slope as the “redoubtable” Eliza Susan. The inscription on his headstone, a slightly-altered passage from Proverbs on wisdom and understanding, struck those who knew him as fitting: “His Ways Were Ways Of Pleasantness, And All His Paths Were Peace.”
Busy with this writing project and that, Mark Howe did not have a great deal of time to transcribe and edit Josiah Quincy Junior’s two trip journals, the first to the Southern colonies in 1773, the second to England in 1774–1775.8 He worked from the originals, bequeathed to the Massachusetts Historical Society by Eliza Susan Quincy not long before she died. By the time he got to the England journal it had been rebound in leather, with gilt lettering on the spine.9 It is a thin, smallish book, 6½ inches tall by 4¼ wide, with 146 numbered pages. Quincy left pp. 23, 24, 40, 66, 67, and 68 blank. Howe bowdlerized a bit; I went back to Quincy’s text, making only the small sorts of changes that I made in the commonplace book. Josiah Junior tended to make his entries sentence-by-sentence, each standing alone. I have grouped many of them into paragraphs. I have placed missing words or any additions to or changes in the punctuation in brackets. Underlinings have been changed to italics. Because some entries are so brief and take so little space, I did not—as in the commonplace book—include the page numbers in parentheses. Nor did I change any of the spelling, not just because I wanted to somehow preserve the original “flavor,” but also because Quincy’s phonetic rendering of names heard but not seen in print can be an aid to pronunciation at the time. Also, I did not alter the spelling or grammar of the final statement that Quincy dictated to a sailor as he lay dying on board the ship that he had hoped might take him safely home. That statement can therefore be a difficult read; so be it. Howe included footnotes. I omitted some, altered others, and added notes of my own. His tended toward the genealogical; mine are more broadly historical.
Given his fascination with the many technological changes—television, notably—that had taken place in his lifetime, altering the way we think as well as the way we act, Mark Howe would be astounded to see that research can now even be done “online” over the Internet.10 We can only wonder what Josiah Quincy Junior would have made of any of this. He encountered wonders enough on his English journey, as related below.
Josiah Quincy Junior is buried in the Hancock Cemetery, now a bucolic patch in the heart of modern-day Quincy. His tomb lies under a burial mound seen here from the north. The simple inscription written by his son has been worn by time and is now barely legible. The longer inscription on the east side, composed by John Quincy Adams, has suffered a similar fate. Josiah Junior’s wife Abigail was placed in the tomb on her death in 1798. In his 1774 will, Josiah Junior had expressed the hope that his father would choose to be buried with him. As a tribute to a fallen son, Josiah the father had himself placed in a separate vault at the base of Josiah Junior’s mound. Photo by Neil L. York.
Sundry Expences in preparing
In Cash taken &c.
Bill of Exchange on London
Paid Mr. Dennie11 for passage and Stores
Passengers. In low health. Less seasick than &c. Great Benefit by Sea.
November 5. Latitude 49, 45. Wrote a Letter to E___.14
November 8. 10 oClock Tuesday. Landed at Falmouth in the county of Cornwall. Advantage of Companions. Source of much Amenity. Same Day wrote another Letter to E_and one to Deacon Phillips.15
Delivered the above Letters to Captain Sinclair in Mr. Gerry’s16 employ, bound in [a] Schooner to Marblehead.
Took a two hours walk over the Town. A delightfull situation—Miserable houses. Industry and poverty. Health and plenty were the most striking singularities. I could not help realizing the truth of the saying—no women indulged like the American.
November 9. This morning I had occasion to reflect upon one imprudence of which I must Debit to my Modesty—viz., Laying in damp sheets.
Proceeded from Falmouth to Bodmyn, 22 miles, and passed through the town of Pendryn and several small villages. The roads hilly and good, affording agreeable riding and delightfull land prospects.
The cultivation of the land can scarcely be realized by a mere American: ’tis to an amazing perfection.
The first reflection upon the immense labor, that must be bestowed on these fields was w[h]ere the men lived who did the work! Amazing fields highly tilled without a house. This was an object that occurred every hour almost.
The lower orders of the people are servile in their obesiance and despondent in their appearance.
The women use surprising exercise and appear with a ruddy bloom, I never before saw.
The town and villages are built chiefly of smal[l] stone and clay. Some have larger stones, and many resemble much the late old Goal of Boston. Most miserable accom[m]odations for honest labor!
I could not help remarking, that if the little liberty diffused through Britain could give such a beautifull face to nature, what would be the appearance if there was as much general liberty as was consistent with that fundamental principle of social policy—“the greatest happiness of the greatest number.”
The fields bloom, the rain and wind, &c} for whom?
The ideas of the spade, plough, Anvill and chisel.
Contrasted with those of an Aborigine of America. Which are most noble &c.
The Briton says—see France, Spain and Italy—the Calamities of slavery—the liberal minded who use a larger scale will think it not needfull [to] go so far.
Nothing [is] more common than to hear in America both North and South Britons declaim against the hypocritical duplicity and fraud of New England men; but certain it is that Great Britain in variety and abundance of frauds and deceits far surpassess any Part of North America. It is true, that among the manufacturers whose faces are ground to the bone and the Peasantry whose souls do not soar above the soil they grovel in (neither of which orders have either opportunity or spirit to practice the sinister arts with dexterity), I say among these there may probably exist something of a negative kind of honesty; but look among the great who riot on the spoils of the nation, among the commercial world who live by the dextrous exchange of the fruits of popular industry; among the merchants and tradesmen who get their bread by their craft, and among the many who in a political or laborious sense may be stiled the servants of the Public; in short look among the few and the many—what is there in this great nation but imposture[,] knavery and vice in all shapes and degrees of extravagance[,] rolling a torrent of mischeif and destruction.
Saw the Elegant seat of Lord Edgecombe,19 a most surpassingly delightfull situation.
November 11. Though a very cold and stormy day[,] view[ed] Plymouth Docks and went on board and all over the Royal George, a first rate peirced for 210 and carrying 200 guns. The Rope walks, buildings[,] armory[,] arsenal, naval and warlike stores exceed the powers of the human mind to conceive, that doth not actual[ly] behold. I will not attempt to describe what I could scarce realise to be true while I was actually viewing. My ideas of the riches and powers of this great nation are increased to a degree I should not have believed if it had been predicted [to] me. I am not in a measure reconciled to the British plan of taxing America, but I should with chearfullness accede to a contribution from the Colonies (they being sole judges of the time and quantity of their grants) towards the charges of the British Government.
I also saw and view[ed] many 64, 74, 80 and 100 gun ships. went on board a loaded Indiaman just arrived, but this being after viewing the preceding magnificence did not much move.
The various materials and the several degrees of building, from the laying the keel and the finishing the 100 gun ship, which were very carefull[y] viewed by me in several instances excited an astonishment I never before experienced.
November 12. Proceeded further to view Plymouth and its environs. Saw the beautifull Assembly Room at Bath near the Docks and the baths for the Nobility and Gentry. Elegance and splendor.
Proceeded to Plymouth—viewed the Town and the Castle. Incredible strength[,] natural and artificial. Viewed the Statue of George I. Very elegant and beautifull.
November r;. Having got to the great and ancient city of Exeter viewed the City Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace. The Cathedral surprisingly grand and antique. Amazing work of superstition! Went to Church and saw the procession of the Mayor and Alderman—the Parade of the Bishop, Archdeacons[,] Deans[,] Chaunters[,] &c[,] &c—the Gold service of the Communion &c. Heard the Chaunting of the prayers &c. Shocked—indignant at the mockery of the great and the Priests.
The North walk in this city was beyond expression beautifull.20
November 14. Went from Axminster to the City of Salisbury.
November 15. Viewed the famous Roman or Druid Temple at Stonehenge. This Temple the Learned and the Virtuosi called one of the greatest wonders of the Island. ’Tis a wonderfull peice of workmanship and antiquity.
Went to the Seat of the Earl of Pembroke.21 His Statuary[,] Bustos[,] and Paintings surpass that of any Nobleman in the kingdom. Indeed my Ideas were stretched with astonishment during this survey, very much in the same manner as in viewing Plymouth Docks. There is no such thing as my describing what authors have wrote whole volumes upon.
Viewed the Cathedral which is called (and perhaps justly) one of the grandest in the kingdom.
The Health and Cleanliness of the women still grow upon me.
November 16. Received and lodged at Staines on the Thames.
Delightfull seats &c. increase very vast.
Earl of Portsmouth’s22 very grand.
November 17. Proceeded to London, where I arrived about 11 oClock a.m.23 The Numbers[,] opulence &c. of this great City far surpass all I had imagined. My ideas are upon the wreck,24 my Astonishment amazing.
Was waited upon by Messrs. Thomas Bromfield,25 and Edward Dilly,26 and Mr. Jonathan Williams27—from all of whom I received many civilities. Waited upon Dr. Benjamin Franklin and drank tea with him.28 He appears in good health and spirits, and seems warm in our Cause—and confident of our ultimate success. I find many friends to Liberty and America rejoiced on notice of my arrival.
One of the Sons of Liberty (unknown to me) informed Mr. Bromfield, that he heard one in the Coffee house today, say “yes he has been blowing up the seeds of sedition in America and had now come to do the same here.” I desired Mr. Bromfield to convey word that if I had done nothing but blow up seeds they would probably be very harmless, as they would never take root, but if I should have to sow any here and they should afterwards ripen, he or the ministry might blow them about at their leisure.
I find among a certain set of Americans there was great wonderment made at the New England Coffee house about what brought me to London. My Observations have been been reprinted here with approbation[,] as I hear.
Wrote a long letter to E___[,] no. 4.
November 18. This morning Jonathan Williams Esqr., Inspector of the Customs in the Massachusetts Bay[,] waited upon me and we had more than an hour [of] private conversation together. He informed me, that Governor Hutchinson had repeatedly assured the Ministry, that a union of the Colonies was utterly impracticable: that the people were greatly divided among themselves in every colony, and that there could be no doubt, that all America would submit, and that they must, and moreover would, soon.
It is now not five minutes since Mr. Williams left me, and these I think were his very words:—he added[,] moreover, that Governor Hutchinson had not only repeatedly told the Ministry so, as several of the Lords had informed him, but that Governor Hutchinson had more than once said the same to persons in the Ministry in his presence.
Mr. Williams desired to wait upon me to see Lords North and Dartmouth—but as it was not at their Lordships’ desire he made the request, I declined going for the present.
Mr. Williams also presented the Complements of Corbin Morris Esqr.29 (one of the Commissioners of the Customs, and a Gentleman high in the sentiments of [the] Administration) with a request, that I would come and dine with him today, but being engaged to dine out this and several succeeding days I was obliged to decline the invitation.
Dined with Dr. Franklin in company with Dr. Bankcroft30 and Mr. Williams. Dr. Franklin confirmed the account given by Jonathan Williams Esqr. relative to Governor Hutchinson, so far as that several of the Nobility and Ministry had assured him of the same facts.
Went this Evening to Covent Garden Theatre. Saw The Beggar’s Opera, with the farce of Cross Purposes acted: with dances between the acts of the opera. Shuter31 acted well the part of Peacham, and the actresses in several striking elegances of Gesture, voice and action, convinced [me] that women equal men [in] the powers of Eloquence.32 I am still further satisfied in my opinion, that the Stage is the nursery of vice, and disseminates the seeds of vice far and wide—with an amazing and banefull success.33
November 19. Early this morning Jonathan Williams Esqr. waited upon me with the Compliments of Lord North, and his request to see me this morning. I went about half past 9 oClock and found Sir George Savil34 (as Mr. Williams informed me) in the Levee room. After a short time his Lordship sent for Mr. Williams and myself into his Apartment. His reception was polite and with a chearfull affability. His Lordship soon enquired into the state in which I left American affairs. I gave him my sentiments upon them[,] together with what I took to be the cause of most of our political evils—gross misrepresentation and falsehood. His Lordship replied he did not doubt there had been much, but added that very honest [men] frequently gave a wrong state of matters through mistake[,] prejudice, prepossessions and byasses of one kind or other. I conceded the possibility of this, but further added, that it would be happy if none of those who had given accounts relative to America had varied from known truth from worse motives.
We entered largely into the policy and propriety of the Port bill. In the conversation upon this subject I received much pleasure. His Lordship several times smiled and once seem[ed] touched. We spoke considerably upon the sentiments of Americans of the rights claimed by Parliament to tax, and of the destruction of the tea, and the justice of payment for it. His Lordship went largely and repeatedly into an exculpation of the ministry. He said they were obliged to do what they did; that it was the most lenient measure that was proposed; that if [the] Administration had not adopted it, they would have been called to an account, that the nation were highly incensed &c[.] Upon this topick I made many remarks with much freedom and explicitness, and should have said more had not his Lordship’s propensity to converse, been incompatible with a full indulgence of my own loquacity.
His Lordship more than thrice spoke of the powers of Great Britain, of the determination to exert to the utmost in order to effect the submission of the Colonies. He said repeatedly We must try what we can do to support the Authority we have claimed over America, if we are defective in power we must set down contented and make the best terms we can, and nobody then can blame us after we have done our utmost; but till we have tryed what we can do we can never be justified in acceding; and we ought and shall be very carefull, not to judge a thing impossible, because it may be difficult, nay we ought to try what we can affect, before we determine upon its impracticability. This last sentiment and very nearly in the same words was often repeated—I thought I knew for what purpose
His Lordship spoke also upon the destruction of the Gaspee, and in direct terms twice said that the Commissioners were appointed to try that matter, and had transmitted accounts that they could obtain no evidence. This declaration being in flat contradiction to what I had several times heard Chief Justice Oliver declare to be the case from the Bench, when giving his Charges to the Grand Jury, was particularly noticed by me. His Honor ever most solemnly declared, in public and private, that the Commission was to try [to discover] any such offence which had happened, in order to send word to England that so a trial might, or might not, be ordered, as the Evidence might be; and in the most express terms declared the Commissioners had no power to try.35
In the Course of near two hours conversation many things more passed betwen us. As many Letters and messages were delivered [to] his Lordship while I was present, I several [times] rose to depart, telling his Lordship I was afraid I should trespass on his patience or the concerns of others, but being requested to stay I tarried about two hours, and then rose to go but his Lordship kept standing while he continued his conversation with his usual spirit. Upon my departure he asked me, when I should leave England[.] I told him it was uncertain, but imagined not this twelvemonth. He hoped the air of the Island would contribute to my health and said he thought the most unhealthy months were past—and then saying—“I am much obliged to you for calling on me,” we left each other to our meditations.36
Mr. Williams the same [day] presented the Compliments of Mr. Commissioner Morris, before mentioned, and requested my dining with him on tuesday next.
Traversed around St. James Park and then went to Islington to dine with Mr. Bromfield where [there were] three or four high sensible Whigs whose conversation and politeness enlivened and gratified me.
Mr. Welsh[,] one of the Company with whom I dined, desired me to be upon my guard against the temptations and bribery of Administration. If you are corruptible, Sir, added he, the Ministry will corrupt you. This sentiment was confirmed by all present. They further informed me that as all the morning papers mentioned me by name as the author of the Observations &c and as having arrived in Town, several at the coffee houses wondered how “I dared to come.”37
I am often told that many rejoice that I am come over, and have many Evidences hourly given me to induce me to think I have some, and reason to hope, that in time, I shall have more, friends.
It is whispered that orders are gone to America to apprehend General Lee.38 But I don’t believe it.
Went to hear divine service at Westminster Abbey. Cursorily viewed the astonishing work, which I intend shortly to give more attention to. The service—mockery and priestcraft.
November 20. Dined with Messrs. Dillys, in company [with] Dr. Franklin, Mr. Sheriff Lee,39 Dr. Davis and others. With whom spent afternoon and Evening. Lee said he had long thought and would soon set on foot a subscription for the Americans. I find every day more reason to think that multitudes of fervent friends to America reside in this Island.
November 21. Went to Westminster Hall, and attended the Court of Chancery[,] King’s Bench and Common Pleas. Saw nothing to excite my Love or respect. Waited on Governor Pownall40 and had two hours conversation with him. Dined with Sheriff Lee [and] with divers friends of Liberty.
November 22. Dined with Corbin Morris Esqr., one of the Commissioners of the Customs, (supposed framer of the annual ministerial budget, being a choice friend of the Ministry) in company with one of the officers of the Treasury and Jonathan Williams Esqr. Mr. Morris was sensible, intelligent and very conversible. The who[le] conversation was on American affairs. He enter[ed] largely into the claims, the rights and the duty of Parliament. He spoke as might be expected. I observed a remarkable conformity of sentiments between him and Lord North, and an equally observable similarity of language. Mr. Morris expatiated largely upon the infinite resources of Commerce[,] wealth and power of the English nation. I heard him.
The following address to me was a little singular, not to say laughable—but I never smiled. “Mr. Quincy you are a man &c. (flummery). You have seen some of the ministry and have heard more of the disposition of [the] administration. You find that they have no inclination to injure, much less to oppress the Colonies. They have no wish, but that of seeing the Americans free and happy. You must be sensible of the right of Parliament to legislate for the Colonies, and of the power of the nation to enforce their laws. No power in Europe ever provoke[d] the resentment or bid defiance to the Powers of this Island, but they were made to repent of it. You must know your Countrymen must fail in a contest with this great and powerfull people. Now as you find how inclined Administration are to lenity and mildness, you should, you ought to write to your friends this intelligence, and endeavour to influence them to their duty. I don’t doubt your influence would be very great with them, and you would by this means be doing a lasting service to the Country.” ! ! !
November 23. Dined with Messers. Dillys and a few friends of Liberty, and spent the Residue of the Day in delivering Letters. At night Mr. Inspector Williams waited on me with the Compliments of Lord Dartmouth and requested my visting on tomorrow [at] 10 oClock. Mr. Williams gave me a curious account of a Conversation with his Lordship relative to my Observations. Received the Compliments of Governor Pownall to breakfast with him.
November 24. Waited upon Lord Dartmouth and had about an hour and a half’s conversation with him. I was convinced, that the American and British controversy would be much sooner and much more equitable settled, if it was not for the malevolent influence of a certain Northern personage now in Great Britain.41
Lord Dartmouth being called out for a few minutes to attend the physicians of his Lady, made his apology, and taking up a pamphlet that lay on his table, said “I would entertain you with a pamphlet during my absence, but I fancy you have seen this—I think you know the author of it—Do’n’t you?” His Lordship bowed with a smile, which I returned, and he retired for a few minutes.
Was introduced by Drs. Franklin and Price42 and Spent part of the afternoon and Evening with the Royal Society.
Spent the residue of the evening with a Club of friends of Liberty at the London Coffee [House]. Was there introduced by Drs. Franklin and Price to Mr. Alderman Oliver,43 Mr. Vaughan,44 [and] eight or nine Dissenting Clergymen and several other Gentlemen. I found the most sanguine hopes of good from the spirit of the Americans, and the most ardent wishes for their success.
Dr. Franklin acknowledged to me, that he was the Author of the Way to make a great Empire a little one; and the Edict of the King of Prussia.45
I have been every day more and more astonished to find [the] extravagant hatred there is prevailing among [the] multitudes of this kingdom against the Scotch nation.
November 25. Received Complimentary visits from Governor Pownall, Mr. Wentworth46 and others. Went and viewed the inside of St. Paul[’]s.
Mrs. Wright47 visited and spent the Evening with me—and afforded much entertainment by her account of what [is] said and conjectured about me, my views and business.
November 26. Breakfasted with Governor Pownall and spent three hours with him in conversation upon American affairs. Governor Pownall said to me, “Mr. Quincy I do assume all the measures against America were planned and pushed on by Bernard and Hutchinson—they were incessant in their application to [the] Administration and gave the most positive assurances of success; and I do assure [you]America has not a more determined[,] insidious and inveterate enemy than Governor Hutchinson. He is now doing and will continue to do all he can against you.”
Dined With Mr. Rogers48 (a Banker) at Newington Green in company with many friends of Liberty.
November 27. Wrote [a] Letter to E By [the] December Packett[,] another to Josiah Quincy Esq. Dined with Dr. Franklin and spent the Evening with him and his friends.49
November 28. Went to Westminster Hall and heard Lord Chief Justice Mansfield deliver the opinion of the Court seriatim in Campbell’s Case of the four and half per Cent Duty. He was perspicuous and eloquent.50
November 29. Went to the House of Peers, saw the Grand Procession of the King—his reception [of] the new House of Commons in his robes and Diadem[,] surrounded with his nobles and great officers. I was not awe-struck with the pomp. The gigling and phiz of his Majesty impressed, &c[.]
The Trappings of a Monarchy will set up a Commonwealth. John Milton. Robert Howard.53
Went to the Drury Lane theatre—saw Garrick in the Beau[x] Stratagem.54 He is a surprising fellow.
Spent the afternoon and evening with Mr. Pearson and his friends.
Heard the Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry57 read prayers—as most Bishops do[,] without grace in the heart or expression.
December 1. Dined with Mr. Rogers of the Treasury in company with a Commissioner of the Treasury, two members of Parliament, and others.
Went at 6 with Dr. Franklin to Samuel Vaughan Esqr.’s seat at Wanstead, where we spent our time very happily till Saturday night.
December 4. Dined with Sheriff Lee and Mr. Arthur Lee.
December 5. Breakfasted with Sir George Saville in company with Mr. Hartley[,]58 a member of Parliament[,] and had two hours conversation on American affairs.
Dined with Colonel Boyd59 at the Edinburgh Coffee House.
December 6. About 10 this morning Mr. Commissioner Morris waited on me and stayed with me about an hour and a half. His conversation was much upon the propriety of my laying down some line to which the Colonies would accede and by which the present controversy might be amicably adjusted. He urged much my waiting again upon Lord North and Lord Dartmouth and insisted upon the propriety and expediency of this step. I thought I could discern the origin and drift of this curious discourse. He also, in the course of conversation, said[,] Mr. Quincy you can have no idea of the Taxes of this kingdom and the distress of our poor. I don’t mean our manufacturers, but our hedgers and ditchers and threshers. They have not now their 12 pence, 10 pence, or 8 pence a day, but they are glad to get 6 pence a day for their labour, and maybe once a week they may have a little kind of something given them by way of charity for dinner. They are extreme[ly] poor and wretched indeed:—everything here is taxed to the utmost.—The Colonies must relieve us—they must ease us of our taxes, &c. He also affirmed to me that Governors Hutchinson and Bernard were principally attended to in the late measures against the Colonies. But he added that Government had found that many things had turned out different[ly] from Mr. Hutchinson’s representation and that things had not been at all conformable to what he foretold.
December 7. Mr. Inspector Williams called upon me this morning and again renewed to me assurances that Governor Hutchinson was the alone cause and presser on of the measures against Boston and all America. “Tis his advice that dictated the steps of administration, and tis his present opinion and assurances that keep up the spirits and measures of the ministry” were his very words.
Wrote a long political Letter to E[.] Ditto to ditto inclosed [to] Apple[ton] and Company. Sent by the Beulah, Capt. Bussell, via N[ew] Y[ork] Packett. Sent Mr. Bollan’s letter to Mr. Bowdoin60 inclosed to William Dennie. Sent by same ship.
December 8. Spent the Day and night with Mr. Thornton’s61 elegant seat at Clapham.
December 9. Returned from Mr. Thornton’s, dined at home and spent the afternoon and Evening with Dr. Franklin[,] alone.
December 10. Dined with Mr. Allyne[,] an eminent Counsellor at Law and spent the Evening with him [and] Dr. Franklin, Messrs. Lee, Galloway,62 a member of Parliament, and others.
December 11. Spent the Day and Evening at Books.
December 12. At the desire of Lord Shelburne63 (transmitted by Dr. Price) I waited on his Lordship and spent two hours in conversation on American affairs. His Lordship appeared a very warm friend to the Americans:—approved much of their Conduct and spirit and said if they continued united, they must have all they ask. He said the Ministry would not be able to carry on a Civil War against America; that they began to hesitate and would be obliged to give way. His Lordship confirmed my former intelligence of Governor Hutchinson[’s] assiduity, assurance and influence. But in the end observed, that the eyes of the nation and ministry must soon be opened. He particularly said that Lord Mansfield last Session assured the House of Lords that the plan they had laid would go down in America sine clade,64 and affirmed that he had the best intelligence what might be carried through there. Lord Shelburne intimated, that he had no doubt Lord Mansfield’s opinion was grounded on Governor Hutchinson’s information. I had before had a very similar account of Lord Mansfield’s Declarations in the house from Mr. Counsellor Allyne and Arthur Lee.
Went to the Drury Lane Theatre and Saw Garrick in Hamlet. He is certainly the Prince of Players, but most certainly is not without his faults as an Orator. Saw also the Ridiculous new farce called The Cobler. Received W.P.’s and E_a’s65 Letters of October 17.
December 13. Dined with Mr. Hollis (Brother to the late Benefactor of Harvard Colledge66) with a large circle of friends to liberty and spent the Evening with Dr. Franklin.
December 14. W[rote] to E____.
Spent the Evening with Mr. Sayre67 in company with Dr. Franklin and others. In the course of conversation Dr. Franklin said that more than sixteen years ago, long before any dispute with America, the present Lord Cambden, then Mr. Pratt[,]68 said to him “For all what you Americans say of your loyalty and all that, I know you will one day throw of your dependance upon this country and notwithstanding your boasted affection to this Country, you will set up for independence.” Dr. Franklin said that he assured him no such idea was entertained in the mind of the Americans, and no such idea will ever ever enter their heads[,] unless you grossly abuse them. Very true, replied Mr. Pratt, that is one of the main causes I see will happen, and will produce the Event.
NB. This Evening settled:
St. James Chronicle
London Evening Post
Penn and Quincy[?]69
December 15. Breakfasted with Sir George Saville and spent three hours with him and two other members of Parliament. Dined with Mr. Towgood70 with a large circle of warm friends to America.
December 16. Attend[ed] the House of Commons and heard a debate on Americans affairs. Heard Lord North explain what he meant when he said he would have America at his feet. Heard also Lord Clare, Governor Johnson, Mr. Rigby, Charles [James] Fox, Mr. Hartley and Mr. Crugher (his first essay) and others in the course of the debate.71
Supped[,] at the request of Alderman Oliver, with Mr. Fuller72 and divers members of Parliament at the King[’]s Arms Tavern, where spent the Evening in conversation on Political subjects affecting the Colonies.
NB. Mr. Rose Fuller told me his late Election cost him £10,000 Sterling and more!
Wrote a Letter to E___.
December 17. Wrote Mr. McDougall,73 New York. Inclosed a last Letter to E__to him. Received Mr. Reed’s Letter from Philadelphia. Spent the morning and afternoon in writing and the Evening with Dr. Franklin, Arthur Lee and Dr. Bancroft. Wrote very long Letter to Mr. Reed.74
December 18. Spent the Sabbath at Islington with Mr. Bromfield.
Dined with Colonel Boyd in company with three members of parliament [and] two or three of the Bar and other Gentlemen. Spent the Evening with Dr. Franklin. This evening received a Letter from John Dickinson Esqr. of Philadelphia.
December 20. Wrote an answer to Mr. Dickinson and sent to Mr. McDougall by the same conveyance.
Dined with Messrs. Dillys in [a] large circle of friends.
December 21. Spent the morning at home. Visited by Mr. Hartley[,] member for Hull. Dined at the Cecil Coffee house. Spent the Evening at Covent Garden Theatre, where was presented Jane Shore and Milton’s masque of Comus. Mr. and Mrs. Barry performed well: Mrs. Hartley better. Comus was altered much for the worse; and no part was performed well but the part by Miss Catley[,] which being wanton was done admirably by her.75
December 22. Breakfasted with Mr. Hartley abovementioned [and] spent about two hours in conversation on American affairs and afterwards a like space of time with Rose Fuller Esqr.[,] another member of the House. Spent the residue of the day and Evening at the London Coffee-house with the Wednesday Club of friends to Liberty and science. A question was debated by assignment whether Capital punishments are in any case warrantable in right.
NB. This day delivered my accepted Bill of Exchange for £200 Sterling on Messrs Cham[pion] and Dickason76 to Messrs. E. & C. Dilly who are to advance me money as I want it.
December 23. Mr. Inspector Williams called on me and assured [me that] Governor Hutchinson was a most inveterate and indefatigable enemy against me with the ministry and very broadly intimated, that Lords Dartmouth and North had both told him so. He also assured, that Dr. Paine had applied to him to use his influence with [the] Administration to get him a place in America and had offered Mr. Williams any reasonable sum of money for his present office of Inspector, in case Williams would voluntarily resign in his favor, or would recommend him (Paine) in case he (Williams) was advanced to be a Commissioner.
Dined in a family way with Samuel Vaughan Esq. from whom [I] received a fee of five guineas for [my] opinion; advice; and retainer relative to his claim on the Estate of Benjamin Hallowell Esqr.[,] deceased.
Received two Letters of the 25[th] and 27th October last from my good friend Joseph Reed Esqr. of Philadelphia.
Drank tea and spent the Evening with Dr. Franklin.
December 24. Dined with Mr. Vaughan and went to Wanstead and kept Christmas and did not return till this.
December 27. Returned from Mr. Vaughan’s and dined in a circle of friends with Messrs. Dillys[,] from whom [I] received twenty five guineas in a Banknote and gold on account of my Bill of Exchange delivered [to] them [on the] 22nd instant.
This Evening went to Cox’s museum,77 which exhibits the most superb peice of Mechanism in the World.
Wrote Letter to William Phillips Esq.
December 28. Visited by Governor Pownall, Mr. Thornton and others.
Spent the afternoon and Evening in preparing for a tour to Bath with Mr. Arthur Lee and Mr. Williams.
December 29. Set off with the preceding Gentlemen for Bath.
December 30. Visited Dr. Priestly at Calne78 and was received very politely.
Visited Lord Shelburne at his superb seat at Bow-wood [and] was very much urged to spend the day and night by his Lordship, but declined the invitation; and proceeded to Bath where I arrived about 5 oClock and then went to a grand Ball at the Lower Rooms. About one hundred very Old and very ugly and two hundred very Bath-Coquets composed the female circle; and the men were well calculated for partners for such Ladies.
December 31. Visited the Celebrated Mrs. Macaulay79 and delivered my Letters to her, and was favored with a Conversation with her of about an hour and a half[,] in which I was much pleased with her good sense and liberal turn of mind. She is indeed a most extraordinary woman.
Was waited upon by [the] Honorable John Temple Esqr.80 to see the Circus and the Crescent and other places of public resort and notice at Bath. Then I took a walk of about two hours round at a distance from the Town, where on the hills encircling this splendid city I had a most enchanting prospect.81
1775. January 1. At the Pump room [I] had about half an hour’s Conversation with the celebrated Col. Barry82 on American affairs.
Went to hear Divine service performed at the Abbey Church in this city.
Went also to the several Coffee houses of public resort, where I had an opportuinity of seeing much of the manner of [the] People at Bath.
Dined with Mr. Temple and spent the Evening with him.
Received a very polite billet from Mrs. Macaulay to spend a few hours with her on the morrow or Wednesday.
January 2. Was waited upon by the Honorable Mr. Temple, who spent about an hour with me. Went again over Bath in order to review the buildings.
Spent the afternoon in very improving conversation with Mrs. Macaulay and went in the Evening to a Ball in the New Rooms, which was very splendid and full. The Rooms are most magnificently elegant, and the Paintings which cover the windows[,] taken from the drauft of the figures found at the Ruins of the Herculaneum[,] have a fine effect.
This Evening had about two hours and a half conversation with Col. Barré, and from him I learnt that he was once the friend of Mr. Hutchinson in opposition to Governor Pownall, but that he had for a long time[,] and especially since his last arrival in England[,] wholly deserted him. Col. Barré, while we were viewing the pictures taken from ruins found at Herculaneum[,] said (pointing with his fingers)[,] [“]I hope you have not the books containing the drafts of those ruins with you. I replied there was one set I believed in the Public Library at our College. Keep them there, said he, and they may be of some service as a matter of curiosity for the speculative, but let them get abroad and you are ruined. They will infuse a taste for buildings and sculpture, and when a people get a taste for the fine arts, they are ruined. ’Tis taste that ruins whole kingdoms; ’tis taste that depopulates whole nations. I could not help weeping when I surveyed the ruins at Rome: All the remains of the Roman Grandeur are of works which were finished when Rome and the spirit of Romans was no more, unles I except the Ruins of the Emilian Baths. Mr. Quincy[,] let your countrymen beware of taste in their buildings[,] equipage and dress, as a deadly poison.”
Col. Barré also added in the course of Conversation, [“]About fourteen or fifteen years ago I was through a considerable part of your country, for in the expedition against Canada my business called me to pass by land through Pennsylvania, New Jersies, York and Albany; and when I return[ed] again to this country, I was often speaking of America, and could not help speaking well of its climate, soil and inhabitants (for you must know, Sir, America was always a favorite with me)[,] but will you believe it, Sir, yet I assure you, it is true, more than two thirds of this Island at that time thought the Americans were all negroes.” I replied[, “]I did not in the least doubt it, for if I was to judge by the late acts of Parliament, I should suppose that a majority of the people of Great Britain still thought so, for I found that their representatives still treated them as such.” He smiled and the discourse droped. Col. Barre was among those who voted for the Boston Port Bill.83
January 3. Agreeable to the polite invitation of Lord Shelburne [I] took a Post Chaise and went from Bath to his Lordship’s magnificent seat at Bowwood. I met his Lordship walking alone at a considerable distance from his mansion-house, and alighted to walk with him over his grounds. His Lordship politely walked into the fields to show me several new invented ploughs and other like curiosities. He next called his shepherd and we viewed his flock of one thousand sheep, and then proceeded to a place where [there were] many ruins (such as paved ways, gold and copper Coins, medals, and walls of their baths) of Roman arts. We then proceeded to view his artificial lake and when we arrived at the house, we regaled with a very sumptuous table and very fine wines.
Lady Jean (daughter of Earl___)[,] her husband and four other Gentlemen dined and spent the Evening with us. His Lordship’s two only Children are very promising Sons[,] the one about Eleven, the other about seven years of age. They are educated in the best manner and seem very sprightly geniuses.84 They kissed all the Company round on departing for bed and took their leaves with much grace and propriety.
With his Lordship I went over his splendid buildings, gardens &c. Every thing is great and truely noble, and surpassing any idea that I can convey by my discription. His Lordship is said to set down in London at a hundred thousand sterling; and should think he could not set down at less here. His Lordship repeatedly assured me he should take the tour of America with his two sons as soon as they were a little older: He seemed to be very much in earnest about the matter.
January 4. Though much pressed by Lord Shelburne to spend another night with him, yet I set off for Bath, after having taken a review of his Lordship’s fine paintings. His Lordship’s politeness and hospitality demand my gratitude and applause.
Arrived at Bath towards Evening and went to see Mr. Temple, and afterward concluded the Evening by attending the Lecture of the celebrated George Alexander Stevens.85
January 5. Set off from Bath and arrived at Bristol about 12 oClock. Went to view the exchange and other publick edifices, after which drank tea and spent the evening with Mr. Joseph Waldo, who received me with much cordial hospitality.
January 6. Went over to Clifton and viewed the celebrated Grotto and water works of Mr. Goldney.86 The Grotto is undoubtedly the finest of any in England. The View from Clifton hill is one of the finest I ever saw. Went to the hot wells and drank the waters, and then returned through the Park to Bristol.
Dined with Mr. Waldo and spent the evening in company with Mr. Crugher and Col. Gorham87 at the American Coffee house.
January 7. Went to view the several glass manufactories and also a Shalloon Manufactory in Bristol. Viewed also Radcliff Church built by the Knights Templars and its famous Paintings. After which took another rout[e] round this second commercial city in the kingdom.
Wrote to John Dickinson Esqr. by Capt. Spain88 for Philadelphia.
Wrote E___by Capt. Caldwell for York, who engages to deliver every letter with his own hand.
Supped with Mr. Hayes[,] A merchant in this City, partner with Mr. Sherbrooke of New York, in company with Mr. Crugher and others.
January 8. Dined with Mr. Waldo and spent the Evening with him.
January 9. Set out for London.
January 10. Returned to London. Received: Letter Nov. 3 and 14 from E___a; ditto Oct. 10, 25 and 28, James Lovell; Ditto Nov. 3, Ditto; Ditto Oct. 21, Dr. Chauncey; Ditto Nov. 3 Ditto; Ditto Nov. 15, Dr. Oliver Wendell.
January 11. Wrote E___a by Capt. Gordon. Received Nathaniel Appleton’s Letter of Nov. 15. Received Dr. Chauncey’s of Nov. 4.
January 12. Spent three hours in private conversation with Governor Pownall on American affairs. Received some intelligence from him which I shall forthwith transmit to America.
Received from [him] a present of two sets of his Administration of the Colonies: one for Dr. Cooper; the other for myself.
January 13. Received visits from Governor Pownall and Mr. Brand Hollis and others.
Received A Letter of Oct. 15, Nov. 3, and Nov. 8 from E_a. Received Ditto from my father. Received ditto from Nancy Quincy.
January 14. Wrote to E_a. Wrote to Jeremiah Lee. Esqr.89 N.B. Sent all the above Letters as well as those of Sheriff Lee and Dr. Baillie inclosed by Capt. Gordon, who sails in Col. Lee’s employ.
January 15. Dined with Mr. Edward Dilly in the family way.
January 16. Received Dr. Warren’s Letter of Nov. 21 by Mr. J. Williams Jr.
Dined with Mr. Brand Hollis in company with Dr. Priestly, Dr. Franklin, Price and others.
January 17. Dined with Mrs. Stevenson90 with a number of American gentlemen and British ladies, in celebration of Dr. Franklin’s birthday who made one of the festive company, though he this day enters the91 year of his age.
January 18. Spent this day and evening at St. James, in attending the celebration of the Queen’s birthday at the Drawing and Ball room. The dresses of men and women were splendid and magnificent[,] much beyond anything I had ever before seen. The Queen is very92 but very affable and sprightly. The young Prince of Wales resembles his mother in countenance and air very much. The Bishop of Osnaburgh is a very handsome boy. The little princes are comely enough!
January 19. Attended [the] House of Commons and heard debates between North, Burke and Mr. Eden.93
Spent the Evening at the London Coffee house with Drs. Franklin, Priestley, Price, Calder and many others.
January 20. Attended the debates of the House of Lords. Good fortune gave me one of the best places for hearing or stealing a few minutes.
Lord Chatham rose like Marcellus—“Viros supereminet Omnes.”94 He seemed to feel himself superior to those around him. His language, voice and gesture were more pathetic, than I ever saw or heard before at the Bar or Senate. He seemed like an old Roman Senator, rising with the dignity of age, yet speaking with the fire of youth. The illustrious Sage stretched forth his hand with the decent solemnity of a Paul, and rising with his subject he smote his breast with the energy and grace of a Demosthenes.
This great and astonishing Character opened with some general observations on the importance and magnitude of the present American Quarrell (as he called it): he enlarged upon the dangerous and ruinous events, that were coming upon the nation in consequence of the present dispute and the measures already begun and now carrying on by his Majesty’s Ministers. He arraigned their conduct with great severity and freedom.95
My Lords[,] these papers from America, now laid by Administation for the first time before your Lordships, have been to my knowledge five or six weeks in the pockett of the minister. And notwithstanding the fate of this kingdom hangs upon the event of this great controversy we are but this moment called to a consideration of this important subject. My Lords, I do not want to look into one of those papers; I know their contents well enough already: I know that there is not a member in this house but acquainted with their purport also. There ought therefore to be no delay in entering upon this matter; we ought to proceed to it immediately.
We ought to seise the first moment to open the door of reconciliation. The American[s] will never be in a temper or state to be reconciled (they ought not to be), till the troops are withdrawn. The troops are a perpetuall irritation to these people: they are a bar to all confidence and all cordial reconcilement. I therefore (my Lords) move That a humble address &c. See the Inclosed from Lord Stanhope.96
The way must be immediately opened for reconcilliation. It will soon be too late. I know not who advised the present measures: I know not who advises to a perseverance and enforcement of these but this I will say, that who ever advises them ought to answer for it at his utmost peril. I know that no one will avow; that he advised or that He was the author of these measures: every one shrinks from the Charge. But somebody has advised his Majesty to these measures, and if his majesty continues to hear such evil Counsellors His Majesty will be undone. His Majesty may indeed wear his Crown, but the American Jewell out of it[,] it will not be worth the wearing.
What more shall I say? I must not say, that the King is betrayed; but this I will say, the Nation is ruined. What foundation have we for our claims over America? What our right to persist in such cruel and vindictive measures Against that loyal respectable people? They say you have no right to tax them without their consent: they say truely Representation and taxation must be go together: they are inseperable. Yet there is scarce a man in our streets, though so poor as scarce to be able to get his daily bread, but thinks, he is the Legislator of America. Our American subjects, is a commonplace in [the] mouth of the lowest orders of our Cities.
But property, my Lords[,] is the sole and entire dominion of the owner: it excludes all the world besides the owner. None can intermeddle with it. It is unity: a mathematical point: it is an atom: intangible by any but the proprietor. Touch it—and the owner loses his whole property. The touch contaminates the whole mass: the whole property vanishes—the touch of another annihilates it—For whatever is a man’s own is absolutely and exclusively his own.
In the last Parliament was anger: all was rage. Administration did not consider what was practicable, but what was revenge. Sine clade victor97 was the language of the ministry last sessions but every body knew, an idiot might know, that such would not be the issue. But the ruin of the nation was a matter of no concern, if Administration might be revenged. Americans were abused[,] misrepresented and traduced in the most atrocious manner, in order to give a colour and urge the most precipitate, unjust, and cruel measures that ever disgraced a nation.
Gnossius haec Radamanthus habet durissima regna; Castigatque, auditque: auditque, My Lords.98 The very infernal spirits, they chastise, castigatque, sed auditque my Lords: the very spirits of the infernal regions hear, before they punish. If that intemperate American (who said of the Boston Port Bill, that if it had been formed in Hell, and presented to his Satannic Majesty for his approbation, the Devil himself would not have signed) was to turn Commentator on this passage; he would doubtless infer, that it was his Lordship’s opinion, that there was more justice in Hell, than in the British Parliament.
But how have this respectable people behaved in all their grievances? With unexampled patience, with unparalleled wisdom. They chose delegates by their free suffrages: no bribery; no corruption, no influence here[,] my Lords. Their representatives meet with the sentiments and temper and speak the sense of the Continent. For genuine sagacity, for singular moderation, for solid wisdom[,] only spirit, sublime sentiments and simplicity of language; for every thing respectable and honourable, the Congress of Philadelphia shine unrivalled. This wise people speak out. They do not hold the language of slaves: they tell you what they mean. They do not ask you to repeal your laws as a favor, they claim it as a right: they demand it. They tell you they will not submit to them: and I tell you the acts must be repealed; you can not enforce them.
The ministry are checkmated: they have [not] a move to make on the board: not a move but they are ruined. Repeal, therefore my Lords, I say. But base repeal will not satisfy this enlightened and spirited people. What[,] repeal a bit of paper[,] repeal a peice of parchment! That alone won’t do, my Lords. You must go thorough work. You must declare you have no right to tax, then they may trust you, then they will have some confidence in you.
I have heard a noble Lord speak who seem[s] to lay some blame upon General Gage. I think that honorable Gentleman has behaved with great prudence and becoming caution. He has entrenched himself and strengthened his fortifications: I don’t know what he could do more. His situation puts me in mind of a similar transaction in the Civil wars of France, when the Great Conde on one side, and Marshall Turenne on the other, with large armies lay many weeks very near each other. Turenne[,] conscious of the terrible consequences of a victory to himself and country[,] though the armies were several days in sight of each other, never came to a battle. On his return to the Court of France the Queen asked him, [“]why Marshall I think you lay several days in sight of your enemy, and you might have been up with him at any time:—pray why didn’t you take him?[”] The General very shrewdly replied, “Parce que, Sire, si je l’avois fait tout Paris en revanche mauroit pris.” “Should I take him, please, your majesty, I was afraid all Paris would take me.”
My Lords, there [are] three millions of Whiggs. Three millions of Whiggs[,] my Lords[,] with arms in their hands are a very formidable body. Twas the Whiggs[,] my Lords, that set his majesty’s royal ancestors upon the throne of England. I hope[,] my Lords, there are yet double the number of Whiggs in England, that there are in America. I hope the Whiggs of both countries will join and make a common cause. Ireland is with the Americans to a man. The Whiggs of that country will and those of this country ought to think the American cause is their own: they are allied to each other in sentiment and interest: united in one great principle of defence and resistance to tyranny and oppresion. They ought therefore[,] and they will run to embrace and support these bretheren.
The cause of Ship-money was the cause of all the Whiggs of England. You shall not take my money without my consent is the doctrine and the language of Whiggs. ’Tis the doctrine and voice of Whiggs in America and Whiggs here. Tis the doctrine in support of which I do not know how many names I could[,] I may call in this House: among the living I cannot say how many I could to join with me and maintain these doctrines with their blood: but among the dead I could name an host innumerable. And my Lords, at this day, there are a very many sound[,] substantial, honest Whiggs. Whigs who ought and who will consider this American Controversy is a great common Cause. My Lords[,] consistent with the preceeding doctrines, and with what I have ever and shall continue to maintain, I say I shall oppose America whenever I see her aiming at throwing off the Navigation Act, and other regulatory acts of trade made bona fide for that purpose, and wisely framed and calculated for reciprocity of Interest and the General extended wellfare and security of the whole empire. ’Tis suggested such is their design. I see no evidence of it. But to come at a certain knowledge of their sentiments and designs on this head, it would be proper first to do them justice: treat them as subjects, before you treat them as aliens, rebels and traitors.
My Lords[,] deeply impressed with the importance of taking some healing measures at this most alarming[,] distracted state of our affairs, though bowed down with a cruel disease, I have crawled to this [House] to give you my best experience and council: and my advice is “to beseech his Majesty &c. This best I can think of. It will convince America, that you mean to try her cause in the spirit and by the laws of freedom and fair enquiry, and not by Codes of Blood. How can she now trust you with the bayonet at her breast? She has all the reason in the world now to believe you mean to her death and bondage.
Thus entered on the threshold of this business, I will knock at your gates for Justice, without ceasing[,] unless inveterate infirmities stay my hand: My Lords[,] I pledge myself never to leave this business: I will pursue it to the end in every shape. I will never fail of my attendance on it at every step and period of this great matter, unless nailed down to my bed by the severity of disease. My Lords there is no time to be lost: every moment is big with dangers. Nay, while I am now speaking the decisive blow may be struck and millions are involved in the consequence. The very first drop of blood will make a wound, that will not easily be skinned over. Years, perhaps ages, may not heal it. It will be irritabile vulnus: A wound of that rancorous, malignant, corroding, festering nature, that in all probability it will mortify the whole body.
Let then, my Lords set to this busines in earnest, not take it up by bits and scraps as formerly, just as exigencies pressed without any regard to general relations, connections and dependencies. I would not by any thing I have said[,] my Lords[,] be thought to encourage Americans to proceed beyond the right line. I reprobate all acts of violence by her mobility, but when her inherent, constitutional rights are invaded, those rights that she has are equitable claims to the full enjoyment of by the fundamental laws of the English Constitution, and engrafted thereon by the unalterable laws of nature; then I own myself an American; and feeling myself such, shall to the verge of my life, vindi[cate] those rights against all men, who strive [to] trample upon, or oppose them.
It beggars all description how such wisdom and eloquence effected a right honorable and right reverend senate of modern Britain; but we may conjecture how such a union would have touched, to what deeds it would have moved, and to what noble doings it would have inspired a Senate of Antient Sparta or an assembly of Old Romans. Indeed from the effects of this speech on the great audience without the bar, and from my own emotions and feelings, the miracles of antient eloquence—the blaze of genius and the burst of thought—with which Grecian and Roman Orators have been said to work wonders in the Senate and the field, no longer appeared fabulous.
Lord Cambden (undoubtedly the first Common Lawyer in England) spoke next on the side of America and support of the motion. He equalled Lord Chatham in every thing but that fire and pathos which are the forte of his Lordship. In learning, perspicuity and pure eloquence, probably no one ever surpassed Lord Cambden. His Lordship opened briefly upon the nature of property, the right of taxation, and its inseperability from Representation.
My Lords I will not enter into the large field of collateral reasoning applicable to the abstruse distinctions touching the omnipotence of parliament. The declaratory law sealed my mouth, and I have been silent.99 But this, I will say, not only as a Statesman, politician, and phylosopher, but as a Common Lawyer, my Lords you have no right to tax America. I have searched the matter. I repeat it, my Lords, you have no right to tax America.
The natural rights of man by the immutable laws of nature are all with that people. Much stress is laid on the supreme legislative authority of Great Britain and so far as the doctrine is directed to its proper object I accede to it. But it is equally according to all approved writers on government, that no man agreeable to the principles of natural as civil liberty could be divested of any part his property without his consent. Every thing has been staked on the single position that acts of Parliament must be obeyed; but this general, unconditional, unlimited assertion, I am far from thinking applicable to every possible case, that may arise in the turn of times. For my part, I imagine, that a power resulting from a trust arbitrarily exercised, may be lawfully resisted; whether the power is lodged in a collective body or single person, in the few or the many. However modified makes no difference.
Whenever the trust is wrested to the injury of the people; whenever oppression begins, all is unlawfull and unjust; and resistance of Course becomes law-full and right. But some Lords tell us seriously that the Americans must reduce the Americans to obedience and submission; that is, you must make them slaves—absolute and infamous; and then—what? We will, say they, give them full liberty. Aye! is this, the nature of man? No, my Lords, I would not trust myself, American, as I am, in this situation. I do not think, I should in that case be myself for giving of them liberty. No, if they submitted to such unjust, such cruel, such degrading slavery, I should think they were made for slaves; that servility was suited to their nature and genius; I should think they would best serve this country as their slaves, that their servility would be for the benefit of Great Britain; and I should be for keeping such Cappadocians in a state of servitude, such as was suited to their constitution, and might redound much to our advantage.
My Lords, some noble Lords talk very much of resistance to acts of Parliament: Kings, Lords and Commons are fine sounding names. But my Lords[,] acts of Parliament have been resisted in all ages. Kings, Lords and Commons may become tyrants as well as others. Tyranny in one or more is the same. ’Tis as lawfull to resist the tyranny of many as of one. Somebody once asked the great Mr. Selden in what law book, in what record or archives of state you might find the law for resisting tyranny. “I don’t know,[”] said Mr. Selden, [“]whether it is worth your while [to]look deeply into the books, upon this matter; but I’ll tell [you] what is most certain, that it has always been the custom of England;—and the Custom of England is the Law of the Land.[”]100
There is a gentleman whom I need not name, his works are well received and well known, who avoids stating any rule, when resistance is lawfull; and he lays down the Revolution as the only precedent: he says that the various circumstances, events and incidents that may justify cannot be defined; but the people at large will judge of their wellfare and happiness and act accordingly.101 The same writer says, that whenever a case, exactly similar in all its parts and circumstances to the Revolution, when a case shall run upon all fours with that then the law seems to be settled, that resistance is lawfull. I do not pretend to quote his words, I think his meaning is very much as I have stated it. But undoubtedly in Cases in many respects dissimilar, but in equal degree tyrannical and oppressive, resistance may be lawfull, and the people in all ages, countries and climes have at times known these things, and they have, and they will forever act accordingly.
Lord Shelburne in the Course of his argument said—
“My Lords, we know, we all know, that justice and injustice, right and wrong, are not at all considered in the course of our Parliamentary proceedings. We all know that nothing is debated in Parliament for information or conviction, but for mere form. Every thing is considered in the cabinet and brought into Parliament not for consideration, but for the sanction of the Legislature, and the screening [of] the Councellors of the King. The measures of Parliament are the measures of the minister; and the measures of this minister are very often those of his Commis!”
The Marquess of Rockingham supported the motion also. Lords Littleton, Suffolk, Gower, Townsend, Rochford, and Weymouth102 spoke in opposition. I omit stating what their Lordships said, least I should be suspected by any who may see this journal of an unfair report of their speeches. But a very remarkable saying of Lord Gower, I cannot omit. His Lordship said, “I am for enforcing these measures (and with [a] great sneer of contempt) let the Americans sit talking about their natural and divine rights, their rights as men and citizens; their rights from God and nature.”
The Duke of Richmond103 in the course of his speech said—
Some noble seems to think, that regular troops will easily vanquish raw soldiers. But, my Lords, discipline was intended only as a subsitute for what the Americans have already: attachment to their cause—virtue to inspire—a common Cause—their all to keep them to their duty. Americans will keep to their duty without discipline. They will keep to their standard without fear without fear of discipline in case they desert it. My Lords Americans have the substance of what discipline is only the shadow: discipline is only the substitute for a Common Cause—to attach through fear and keep to their ranks and standard those who would otherwise desert them. But, my Lords[,] suppose you succeed; you cannot enforce these acts: you cannot force a form of Government upon any people. You may spread fire[,] sword and desolation, but that will not be government. You must change your places as you make your march of destruction. When you leave one place to subdue another, your government is gone. You can’t force men to serve in office. You cannot force men to be Councellors, Judges, or Sheriffs. You cannot compell Jurors to set on trials. You can’t force Juries to present offences—in short no people can ever be made to submit to a form of government, they say they will not receive.
The House at about ten, divided, after the preceeding debates, on the question, Contents 18, Non Contents 77, including proxies.
NB The Duke of Richmond[,] Lord Shelburne[,] and Lord Camden pledged themselves to attend at all hazards and all times, as Lord Chatham had done.
Went from the debates to visit Hugh Bailie LLD,104 a scotch gentleman of very liberal sentiments, and a most zealous partizan of America. I supped and returned to my lodgings and spent most of the Night and morning in entering the preceeding speeches.
January 21. Spent the morning with Dr. Franklin. Dined at the Exchange Coffee house with Messrs. Bromfield and Williams, and went for the first time to the serious Opera of Armida in the Evening. Some parts of the music exquisitely fine: the dancing elegant indeed: but in general, but a poor entertainment for an Englishman.
January 22. Wrote to William Phillips Eqs. Ditto to E_a very long [letter], containing Chatham’s speech &c &c. Ditto to Josiah Quincy, Esqr. The letters to P. And Q. scarcely sealed. Dined and spent the evening with Dr. Franklin.
January 23. Attended a long debate in the house of Commons on the American affairs.
Against the Americans
Sir William Meredith
Charles [James] Fox
Sir George McCartney
Lord John Cavendish
Sir G[ilbert] Eliot
This debate and division show that if King, Lords and Commons can subdue America into bondage against the almost universal sentiment, opinion, wish and hope of the Englishmen of this Island, the deed will be done.
This night for the first time being in this Island taken very ill with a fever and spasms.
January 24. Visited by Dr. Fothergill107 who prescribed for my disorder. Was this day to have dined at Mr. Towgood’s with Franklin, Dr. Price, Dr. Jeffries, and Dr. Priestley, but my illness prevented that pleasure.
January 25. Visited by Dr. Fothergill, who peremptorily refused his fee.108 Received [an] invitation to dine on Friday at Mrs. Huson’s, Kensington109—and Sunday with Mr. Hollis. Health obliged me to decline both. Dined at Lord Shelburne[’s] in company with Lord Tankerville, Drs. Franklin, Price, Priestley, counsellors Dunning, Lee, Leigh,110 and several others. After a very elegant entertainment his Lordship laid before us copies of the papers from America now lying before the Two houses for their consideration.
January 26. Visited by Dr. Fothergill and confined to my house all day. Mr. Williams watched with me this night.
January 27. Visited by Dr. Fothergill who again refused his fee[,] saying “I consider there is a public cause to which we must all contribute.[”] Waited upon by Mr. Alderman Sawbridge[,] who spent an hour and a half with me in Conversation on American and Parliamentary concerns. Went out to reside with my good friend Mr. Bromfield at Islington while in my present feeble state. Received and treated by this amiable family with great hospitality and kindness, and it is now
February 3 during which time I [have] been treated in the most friendly and amiable manner. This day Dr. Fothergill visited me—gave me new prescriptions and refused any fee, but at last he received a guinea, which was but half his fee.
February 6. Every day since I have been at Islington I have[received] the greatest evidence of the number and attachment of my friends—who are many and affectionate.
February 7. Mr. Edward Dilly brought me from his Jeweller’s, Mrs. Phillips’s diamond ring new set and new diamonds: Allowed for the old gold 4 £ sterling[,] paid for the new work and materials 51 shillings sterling. Balance is £2:7:0.
February 9. Visited by Dr. Fothergill who again absolutely refused his fees. Every day visited by more or less of my many friends; and great numbers send daily to enquire after my health whom I never saw.
February 13. Received Mr. Jonathan Mason’s Letter of December 21. And it is a little remarkable that it was put into my hands at the very instant I was writing directions to the Jeweler for the motto of two mourning rings for his wife.
February 15. Mollison—generally trading to Virginia; Norton—in some trade; Wooldridge and Company—in the York trade; Sheriff Lee—Virginia trade; Barclay—Philadelphia; Mildred—Philadelphia; Serjeant and Company—New York; Athurst—Virginia; Dupee and Company or Henry and Thomas Bromfield—New England.111 Take out the above from the List of London Merchants and where will you find a friend to America?—or rather[,] are not the residue its bitter enemies at heart?112
February 25. This Day the Celebrated Dr. Burgh,113 (author of political Disquistions), who has seen none but his own family for many months, took a double dose of opium to allay the pains of the Stone, and sent for me in, and I spent an hour with him.
February 26. Rode out for the fourth time on horseback[,] about 12 or 14 miles. Evidently better when I am in the open air, and the motion of the horse not fatiguing.
My friends redouble in number and frequency their visits, as the time of my departure for America draws nigh. Among many others this past week, often visited by Dr. Price, Priestley[,] Franklin, Rogers, Towgood[,] Sheriff Lee, Arthur Lee &c &c.
It is a good deal against my own private opinion and inclination that I now sail for America.
I have had no letter from thence since they knew of my arrival—I know not what my next Letters may contain. Besides the fine season is now coming on here, and Dr. Fothergill thinks Bristol[’s] air and water would give me perfect health. On the other hand my most intimate friends (except Mr. Bromfield) insist upon my going directly to Boston: they say no letters can go with safety; and that I can deliver more information and advise viva voce, than could or ought to be wrote. They say my going now must be (if I arrive safe) of great advantage to the American Cause.
February 27. Went to London and paid Mr. Thomas Wingfield’s Account[,] which contains the articles of a Diamond Ring[,] one for Mrs. Phillips, wife of William Phillips, Jr., and the other for Miss Elizabeth Mason at 8 guineas. £16:16:0 sterling.
Went to Fulham in a Post Chaise with Mr. Bromfield and dined with Mr. Abraham Dupuis (partner with Mr. Thomas Bromfield)[,] a very amiable[,] sensible friend of liberty and mankind.
March 1. Went to London in order to go to the British Museum with Dr. Franklin, when we came there, we found it was Ash Wednesday and no day of Exhibition. I returned with Dr. Franklin to his house, who obligingly gave me a Letter to Dr. Moreton114 for my Introduction to that world of curiosities on the morrow.
On this day I had about and hour and a half private conversation with Dr. Franklin on the subject of the present situation of American affairs, and what course America and especially New England ought now and during the spring and summer to hold. I opened the discourse by telling him of the opinions of Dr. Price, Dr. Priestly, William Lee, Arthur Lee and others on those subjects. The Dr. utterly dissented from them all: he entered largely into the subject, and spoke the most substantial good sense and solid wisdom for near an hour. I wish I might with propriety enter his discourse: it would do lasting honor to his sagacity, judgment, morality and benevolence. I was charmed: I renounced my own opinion: I became a Convert to his. I feel a kind of enthusiasm which leads me to believe, that it was something almost supernatural which induced this discourse and prompted the Dr. to speak so fully and divinely upon the subject. This interview may be a means of preventing much calamity and producing much good to Boston and the Massachusetts Bay, and in the end to all America.
March 2. William Lee Esq. (late Sheriff) came and spent three hours with me in conversation on American affairs.
NB: Gen: Con: Vote of Credit for the raising and supporting [troops] for the defence of the Liberties of America in whatever part attacked.
A proper person to____
France and Spain____
The Heriditary Prince of Brunswick115
Supposes Boston ought to be abandoned.
Delancey and Watts of New York to be_____116
Urges me much to attend the Congress at Philadelphia and then return from thence here.
This Day Thomas Rogers Esq., Banker near the exchange, politely presented me with all Dr. Price’s works in three vols. very elegantly bound and lettered.
March 3. This day (being the day before my departure) I dined with Dr. Franklin, and had three hours private conversation with him. Disswades from France or Spain or [the] Heriditary Prince of Brunswick. Intimate with both the Spanish and French ambassador: the latter a great shrewd man. By no means take any step of great consequence (unless on a sudden emergency) without advice of the Continental Congress. Explicitly and in so many words said that only New England would hold for ages against this Country and if they were firm and united in seven years would conquer them. Said he had the best intelligence that the manufacturers were bitterly feeling and loudly complaining of the loss of the American trade. Let your adhernce be to the nonimportation and non-exportation agreement and a year from next September, or to the next session of Parliament, and the day is won.
Received this day from my friend Thomas Brand Hollis Esqr. of eight valuable books and eight pamphlets. Same Day Received two books and two pamphlets from that most worthy and extraordinary Character the Reverend Mr. Theophilus Lindsey[,] Being the whole of his works.117
Had great satisfaction in reading my reports of the Debates of the House of Lords to one or two friends who heard them: they thought them exceedingly correct, and were amazed at the blunders, omissions and misrepresentations of all the various printed accounts.118
At Sea April the 21st 1775119
Forseeing their will be many Inexaplacancy in the way of my friends to Account for many things Ready to my Conduct I should been glad if god had spared my Life to Converse with them once more but this is holly Providence seems fully Settle to Deny but some Few matters I have Prevail with a friend on board to Minute for their Information.
My going to America at this time was very Considerable against my Inclination, more Especially as Doctor Fothergil was of Opinion that Bristol waters would be considerable Advantage to me but did not Disswade from my going to America but advise Very Strongly my going to America In Prefarance to Staying at London or any its Environs, but the great Prevailing motives of my going home where my not being able to Precure a friend to Accompany to Bristol and my being in such a State of Health to require a Watcher or Lodger in the Room to give me Sustinance every night but the most await of motive of all that Determed my Conduct was the Extreem Ergency of about fifteen or twenty most Stance friends to america and many of them the most Learning and Respectable Charrectars in the kingdom for my Emediately Proceeding to Boston, their Sentiments what ort to be at the Conduct of Boston and the Continent at this and the Aproaching Season. I had heard very Ofing in Social Circle in what things they differ I Parfectly knew.
It Appear of high Importance that the Sentiments of such Persons should be known in America to Commit their Sentiments to writing was Easey tractable at this time nor Prudent at this time.
To the Bosom of a friend they Could Intrust what might been great advantage to both Countrys to me that trust was Commited and I was Amediately upon my Arrival to Assemble Certain Persons to wom I was to Communicate my trust, and had god spare my life it Seems it would been great Service to my Country.
Ever Since I have been out allmost Everything as been Diferent to what I Expected. Instead of Pleasant Weather the most Inclemant and Damp which Remove me Intirely from the Deck and when I was flatter of gitting it to Port Six Days ago I am hear as Disstant from it as when the Incouragement was gaving me had Providence been Please that I should have Reach amiraca Six Days ago I should been able to Converse with my friends. I am Perswaded that this Voyge and Passage their Instruments to Put a End to my Being.
His holely will be done.120
Should I Die before I see my friends my Inclination would be that my Body should Rest in the tomb of my Ancestors Brentree till my Exceauter Under the Direction of my most Dear and honour father should be Able to Erect a Large Decent Durable Stone Tomb which I would have Place on a small Darable Stone Monument and on the Top of all be Place a Slab of the most Durable Marvel I would then have my Body move in to this tomb.
But all this is upon Subbosition but my most Dear and belove wife will Consent to her being Laid by me at her Death in that town, for it his the Last Desire of a Dying Man the Last Request that Expiring Husband that she may Lay by my side at her Death to this Purpose. I am willing to be Inter any where and Pray that my Request may not be Derided because sum People will think it Wimcicale because
Mr. Quincy is so low that he has not been able to Read a word of the forgoing but it is to be hope it will be Intelligible with a Little Pains.