to pass an act for the repeal of the four late [Coercive] acts respecting America . . . being fully persuaded that the passing of such an act will be of the utmost importance for the security of the excellent constitution, and the restoration of the rights and liberties of our fellow-subjects in America. 32
One friend of America (though not necessarily for this reason), Governor Pownall, lost his seat in this election. However, Lord North, possibly to win him over and/or to take advantage of his expertise, quickly found him another seat. Even though this meant deserting the Whig opposition, Pownall still hoped to play a role in settling the American conflict. Toward the end of 1774, he attempted to convince Benjamin Franklin that a commission headed by him ( Pownall) might be sent to America to "settle the differences" between the colonists and Great Britain, but Franklin had little faith in the project ever materializing. 33 Pownall had discussed such a proposal with Lord Dartmouth, the colonial secretary who tended to take a somewhat more conciliatory attitude toward America than his colleagues. As Dartmouth noted, Pownall "had a mind to go to America and be the King's Representative and preside over all the colonies." Dartmouth broached the scheme to his ministerial colleagues but, as Franklin had predicted, "it was scouted at." 34
Instead, the cabinet decided to present more repressive measures to Parliament: Military and naval reinforcements were to be sent to America and colonial trade was to be limited to Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies; all foreign ports were to be off-limits. The only "conciliatory" proposal was the promise that Parliament would not tax any colony that promised to provide adequate support of its military and administrative needs. But the discussion, and the results, of these measures must await another chapter.