IN the course of years Franklin has learned that the thing which is impossible to the go-getter, frequently comes round of its own motion to him who waits. On his previous visit to London, he had tried unsuccessfully to see the Great Commoner, William Pitt. He must therefore have smiled one of his shrewdest smiles when one morning in August, 1774, fourteen years later, he hears a knock at the door and learns that the great man is outside and craves an interview with him.
Pitt is now the august Lord Chatham; his powers are waning as his gout increases; but his is still a weighty influence throughout the land. He invites Franklin to come home with him in his carriage. He civilly questions Franklin upon the state of affairs in America. Is it true that the colonies there aim to set themselves up as an independent state, and that they particularly intend to get rid of the Navigation Acts? Franklin reassures him. He declares he has never heard the least wish for a separation; and as to the Navigation Acts, he is sure that the colonies are perfectly willing to accept the provision requiring that trade be carried on in British or plantation bottoms, that foreign ships be excluded from American ports, and that the crews be at least three-fourths British. His lordship expresses his gratification and adds that he hopes he will see Franklin again.