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[375] Postmaster General for America, and his son was a
CHAP. XLV.} 1770. Oct
royal Governor; but his mind had reasoned on politics with the same freedom from prejudice which marked his investigations into the laws of nature; and from questioning the right of Parliament to tax the Colonies externally, he had been led to the conviction, that the Colonies originally were constituted distinct States; that the legislative authority of Parliament over them was a usurpation; that Parliament was not supreme, nor the American Assemblies subordinate; that the American Assemblies with the King, had a true legislative authority, which ought not to be limited by his Parliament in Great Britain; and that the keeping up a standing army in America, without the consent of the colonial Assemblies, had no sanction in the Constitution.1 From the knowledge that these were his principles, and from confidence in his integrity and ability, the House readily confided the redress of their grievances to his care.2

At the time when Franklin was thus called by the people of Massachusetts to be their mediator with the mother country, he was sixty-four years of age. His large experience had ripened his judgment, without impairing the vigor of his mind; and he still retained the kindly benignity of manner, genial humor, and comprehensiveness of observation, which made him every where welcome. The difficult service demanded of him by the Colony of his nativity,

1 Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Cooper, London, 8 June, 1770; in Franklin's Witings, VII. 475. Compare also Franklin, IV. 408, VII. 392, and VII. 487 and Cooper to Franklin, 15 November, 1770, in Franklin, VII. 490.

2 See the letter of instructions to B. Franklin, 6 Nov. 1770, written by Samuel Adams.

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