« PreviousContinue »
Added to these, the Americans remembered the act authorizing the most cruel idsult that perhaps was ever offered by one people to another, that of emptying our gaols into their settlements ; Scotland too having with in these two years obtained the privilege it had not before, of sending its rogues and villains also to the plantations---I say, reflecting on these things, they said one to another (their newspapers are full of such discourses) « These people are not content with making a monopoly of us (forbidding us to trade with any other country of Europe, and compelling us to buy every thing of
“ I cannot say, how long after the taking off this restriction, as I have not the acts, but I think in less than eighteen months, another act of parliament passed, in which the word • Ireland' was left out as it had been before. The matter being a second time explained was a second time regulated.
" Now if it be considered, that the omission mentioned, struck off, with one word, so very great a part of our trade, it must appear remarkable: and equally so is the method by which rice became an enumerated commodity, and therefore could be carried to Great Britian only."
“ The enumeration was obtained, (says Mr. Gee on Trade, p. 32) by one Cole, a captain of a ship, employed by a company then trading to Caro
for several ships going from England thither, and purchasing rice for Portugal, prevented the aforesaid captain of a loading. Upon his conjing home he possessed one Mr. Lowndes, a meraber of parliament, (who was frequently employed to prepare bills) with an opinion, that carrying rice directly to Portugal was a prejudice to the trade of England, and privately got a clause into an act to make it an enumerated commodity, by which means he secured a freight to himself. But the consequence proved a vast lose to the nation."
“ I find that this clause, 'privately got into an act, for the benefit of Captain Cole, to the vast loss of the nation,' is foisted into the 3d Anne, shapter 5th, intitled, 'an act for granting to her majesty a further subsidy on wines and merchandizes imported,' with which it has no more connect ion, than with 34th Edward I. 31th and 33th of Henry VIII. or the 25th Charles II. which provide that no person shall be taxed but by himself or his representatives," B.V.
them, though in many articles we could furnish ourselves ten, twenty, and even to fifty per cent cheaper elsewhere ;) but now they have as good as declared they have a right to tax us ad libitum, internally and externally; and that our constitutions and liberties shall all be taken away, if we do not submit to that claim.
« They are not content with the high prices at which they sell us their goods, but have now begun to enhance those prices by new duties, and by the expensive apparatus of a new set of officers, appear to intend an augmentation and multiplication of those burthens, that shall still be more grievous to us.
us. Our people have been foolishly fond of their superfluous modes and manufactures, to the impoverishing our own country, carrying off all our cash, and loading us with debt; they will not suffer us to restrain the luxury of our inhabitants, as they do that of their own, by laws: they can make laws to discourage or prohibit the importation of French superfluities : but though those of England are as ruinous to us as the French ones are to them, if we make a law of that kind, they immediately repeal it. Thus they get all our money from us by trade; and every profit we can any where make by our fisheries, our produce, or our commerce, centres finally with them ;---but this does not satisfy.---It is time then to take care of ourselves by the best means in our power. Let us unite in solemn resolution and engagements with and to each other, that we will give these new officers as little trouble as possible, by not consuming the British manufactures on which they are to levy the duties. Let us agree to consume no more of their expensive gewgaws. Let us live frugally, and let us industriously manufacture what we can for ourselves : thus we shall
be able honourably to discharge the debts we already owe them; and after that, we may be able to keep some money in our country, not only for the uses of our internal commerce, but for the service of our gracious sovereign, whenever he shall have occasion for it, and think proper to require it of us in the old constitutional manner.---For notwithstanding the reproaches thrown out against us in their public papers and pamphlets, notwithstanding we have been reviled in their senate as rebels and traitors, we are truly a loyal people. Scotland has had its rebellions, and England its plots against the present royal family; but America is untainted with those crimes; there is in it scarce a man, there is not a single native of our country, who is not firmly attached to his King by principle and by affection. But a new kind of loyalty seems to be required of us, a loyalty to parliament; a loyalty, that is to extend, it is said, to a surrender of all our properties, whenever a house of commons, in which there is not a single member of our chusing, shall think fit to grant them away without our consent, and to a patient suffering the loss of our privileges as Englishmen, if we cannot submit to make such surrender. We were separated too far from Britain by the ocean, but we were united to it by respect and love; so that we could at any time freely have spent our lives and little fortunes in its cause: but this unhappy new system of politics tends to dissolve those bands of union, and to sever us for ever."
These are the wild ravings of the, at present, halfdistracted Americans. To be sure, no reasonable man in England can approve of such sentiments, and, as I said before, I do not pretend to support or justify them: but I sincerely wish, for the 'sake of the manua factures and commerce of Great Britain, and for the sake of the strength, which a firm union with our growing colonies would give us, that these people had never been thus needlessly driven out of their senses.
them: F. S.
I am, yours, &c.
* F. S. possibly means Franklin's Seal. The paper, however, is undoubtedly the production of Dr. Franklin.
In the collection of tracts me the subjects of turing the British colonies in America, and regulating their trade (printed in 1773, in 4 vols. 8vo. by Almon) I find two papers, said there to have been published originally in 3739, and to have been drawn up by a club of American merchants, at the bead of whom were Sir William Keith (governor of Pensylvania) Joshua Gee, and many other eminent persons. The first paper proposes the . raising a small body of regular trroops under the command of an officer appointed by the crown and independent of the governors (who were nevertheless to assist him in council on emergent occasions) in order to protect the Indian trade, and take care of the boundaries and back settle. ments. They were to be supported by a revenue to be established by act of parliament, in America ; which revenue was to arise out of a duty on stampt paper and parchment. The second paper goes into the particulars of this proposed stamp duty, offers reasons for extending it over all the British plantations, and recites its supposed advantages. If these papers are at all genuine (a fact about which I am not in the least informed) Mr. George Grenville does not appear to have been original in conceiving Stamps as a proper subject for his new tax. See ib. vol. I. B.V.
Letter concerning the Gratitude of America, and the probability
and effects of an Union with Great Britain ; and concerning the Repeal or Suspension of the Stamp-Act.*
Jan. 6, 1766. I HAVE attentively perased the paper you sent me, and am of opinion, that the measure it proposes, of an union with the colonies, is a wise one: but I doubt it will hardly be thought so here, till it is too late to attempt it. The time has been, when the colonies would have esteemed it a great advantage, as well as honour to them, to be permitted to send members to parliament; and would have asked for that privilege, if they could have had the least hopes of obtaining it. The time is now come, when they are indifferent about it, and will probably not ask it, though they might accept it if offered them; and the time will come, when they will certainly refuse it. But if such an union were now established (which methinks it highly imports this country to establish) it would probably subsist as long as Britain shall continue a nation. This people, however, is too proud, and too much despises the Americans, to bear the thought of admitting them to such an equitable participation in the government or the whole. Then the next best thing seems to be, leaving them in the quiet enjoyment of their respective constitutions ; and when money is wanted for any public service in which they ought to bear a part, calling upon them by
* The name of the person to whom this letter is addressed cannot be made out in the original copy. The letter, to which it is a reply, appears to have contained the letter of some third person equally unknown to the editor, B. V.