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Would you think it possible that thousands even here should be made to believe this,—and many hundreds be raised in arms not only to kill some converted Indians supposed to be under the Quakers' protection, but to punish the Quakers who were supposed to give that protection ? Would you think these people audacious enough to avow such designs in a public declaration sent to the government? Would you imagine that innocent Quakers, men of fortune and character, should think it necessary to fly for safety out of Philadelphia into the Jerseys, fearing the vio. lence of such armed mobs, and confiding little in the power or inclination of the government to protect them ? And would you imagine that strong suspicions now prevail, that these mobs, after committing twenty barbarous murders hitherto unpunished, are privately tampered with to be made instruments of government, to awe the assembly into proprietory measures ? And yet all this has happened within a few weeks past!
More wonders! You know that I don't love the proprietor, and that he does not love me. Our totally different tempers forbid it. You might, therefore, expect that the late new appoint. ment of one of his family would find me ready for opposition; and yet when his nephew arrived our governor, I considered government as government; paid him all respect; gave him on all occasions my best advice ; promoted in the assembly a ready compliance with every thing he proposed or recommended ; and when these daring rioters, encouraged by the general approbation of the populace, treated his proclamations with VOL. V.
contempt, I drew my pen in the cause,-wrote a pamphlet (that I sent you) to render the rioters unpopular; promoted an association to support the authority of government, and defend the governor, by taking arms,-signed it first myself, and was followed by several hundreds, who took arms accordingly; the governor offered me the command of them, but I chose to carry a musket, and strengthen his authority, by setting an example of obedience to his orders. And would you think it, this proprietory governor did me the honour, on an alarm, to run to my house at midnight, with his counsellors at his heels, for advice, and made it his head quarters for some time; and within four and twenty hours your old friend was a common soldier,-a counsellor, -a kind of dictator,-an ambassador to the country mob,—and on their returning homeNobody again? All this happened within a few weeks.
More wonders! The assembly received a governor of the proprietory family with open arms, addressed him with sincere expressions of kindness and respect, opened their purses to him, and presented him with 6001., made a riot act, and prepared a militia bill immediately at his instance, granted supplies, and did every thing he requested, and promised themselves great happiness under his administration. But suddenly, his dropping all inquiry after the murderers, and his answering the deputies of the rioters privately, and refusing the presence of the assembly, who were equally concerned in the matters contained in their remonstrance, brings him under suspicion ; his insulting the assembly without the least provocation, by charging them with disloyalty, and with making an infringement on the king's prerogatives,- only because they had presumed to name (in a bill offered for his assent) a trifling officer (something like one of your toll gatherers at a turnpike), without consulting him, and his refusing several of their bills, or proposing amendments needlessly disgusting ;- these things bring him and his government into sudden contempt; all regard for him in the assembly is lost; all hopes of happiness under proprietory government are at an end. It has now scarce authority enough left to keep the common peace; and was another mob to come against him, I question whether, though a dozen men were sufficient, one could find so many in Philadelphia willing to rescue him or his attorney general, I won't say from hanging, but from any common insult. All this too has happened in a few weeks !
In fine, every thing seems in this country, once · the land of peace and order, to be running fast into anarchy and confusion.
I have been already too long. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever yours affectionately,
DR. FRANKLIN TO —
Sept. 14, 1767. We set out on the 28th post: all the way to Dover we were furnished with postchaises hung so as to lean forward, the top coming down over one's eyes, like a hood, as if to prevent one's seeing the country, which being one of my great pleasures, I was engaged in perpetual disputes with the innkeepers, hostlers, and postilions, about getting the straps taken up a hole or two before, and let down as much behind : they in. sisted that the chaise leaning forward was an ease to the horses, and that the contrary would kill them. I suppose, the chaise leaning forward looks to them like a willingness to go forward ; and that its hanging back shows a reluctance. They added other reasons, that were no reasons at all; and made me, as upon a hundred other occasions, almost wish that mankind had never been endowed with a reasoning faculty, since they know so little how to make use of it, and so often mislead themselves by it, and that they had been furnished with a good sensible instinct instead of it.
At Dover, the next morning, we embarked for Calais, with a number of passengers who had never been before at sea. They would previously make a hearty breakfast, because, if the wind should fail, 'we might not get over till supper time. Doubtless, they thought that when they had paid for their breakfast they had a right to it, and that when they had swallowed it they
were sure of it. But they had scarce been out half an hour before the sea laid claim to it, and they were obliged to deliver it up : so it seems there are uncertainties, even beyond those between the cup and the lip. If ever you go to sea, take my advice, and live sparingly a day or two beforehand ; sea sickness, if any, will be the lighter and sooner over.
We got to Calais that evening : various impo. sitions we suffered from boatmen, porters, &c. on both sides the water; I know not which are most rapacious, the English or French; but the latter have, with their knavery, the most politeness. · The roads we found equally good with our's in England ; in some places paved with smooth stones, like our new streets, for many miles togen ther, and rows of trees on each side, and there are no turnpikes. But then the poor peasants complained to us grievously, that they were obliged to work upon the roads full two months in the year, without being paid for their labour. (Whether this is truth, or whether, like Englishmen, they grumble, cause or no cause, I have not been able fully to inform myself.)
The women we saw at Calais, on the road, and at Boulogne, and in the inns and villages, are generally of a dark complexion ; but arriving at Abbeville, we found a sudden change, a multitude both of men and women, in that place, appearing remarkably fair. Whether this is owing to a small colony of spinners, woolcombers, and weavers, brought hither from Holland with the woollen manufactory, about sixty years ago, or