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Q. How many white men do you suppose there are in North America ?
A. About three hundred thousand, from sixteen to sixty years of age *.
Q. What may be the amount of one year's imports into Pensylvania from Britain ?
A. I have been informed that our merchants compute the imports from Britain to be above 500,0001.
Q. What may be the amount of the produce of your province exported to Britain ?
A. It must be small, as we produce little that is wanted in Britain. I suppose it cannot exceed 40,0001.
Q. How then do you pay the balance?
A. The balance is paid by our produce carried to the West Indies (and sold in our own islands, or to the French, Spaniards, Danes, and Dutch)
---by the same [produce] carried to other colonies in North America, (as to New England, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Carolina, and Georgia)---by the same, carried to different parts of Europe, (as Spain, Portugal, and Italy.) In all which places we receive either money, bills of exchange, or commodities that suit for remittance to Britain; which, together with all the profits on the industry of our merchants and mariners, arising in those circuitous voyages, and the freights made by their ships, centre finally in Britain to discharge the balance, and pay for British manufactures continually used in the province, or sold to foreigners by our traders.
within the said colonies aud plantations, in any other than the English language.” This measure, I presume, appeared to be suggested by motives of convenience, and the policy of assimilating persons of foreign to those of British descent, and preventing their interference in the conduct of law business till this change should be effected. It seems however to have been deened too precipitate, immediately to extend this clause to newlyconquered countries. An exemption therefore was granted, in this particular, with respect to Canada and Grenada, for the space
of five years, to be reckoned from the commencement of the duty. (See the Stamp Act.) B. V.
* Strangers excluded, some parts of the northern colonies double their numbers in fifteen or sixteen years; to the southward they are longer : but, taking one with another, they have doubled by natural generation only, once in twenty-five years. Pensylvania, I believe, inelnding strane gers, has doubled in about sixteen years. The calculation for February 1766. will not then suit 1779. B. V.
Q. Have you heard of any difficulties lately laid on the Spanish trade?
A. Yes, I have heard that it has been greatly obstructed by some new regulations, and by the English men of war and cutters stationed all along the coast in America,
Q. Do you think it right that America should be protected by this country, and pay no part of the expence?
A. That is not the case. The colonies raised, clothed, and paid, dyring the last war, near twenty-five thousand men, and spent many millions.
Q. Were you not reimbursed by parliament?
your opinion, we had advanced beyond our proportion, or beyond what might reasonably be expected from us; and it was a very small part of what we spent. Pensylvania, in particular, disbursed about 500,0001. and the reimbursements, in the whole, did not exceed 60,0001.
Q. You have said, that you pay heavy taxes in Pensylvania, what do they amount to in the pound?
A. The tax on all estates, real and personal, is eighteen pence in the pound, fully rated; and the tax on
the profits of trades and professions, with other taxes, do, I suppose, make full half-a-crown in the pound.
Q. Do you know any thing of the rate of exchange in Pensylvania, and whether it has fallen lately?
A. It is commonly from one hundred and seventy to one hundred and seventy-five. I have heard, that it has fallen lately from one hundred and seventy-five to one hundred sixty-two and a half; owing, I suppose, to their lessening their orders for goods; and when their debts to this country are paid, I think the exchange will probably be at par.
Q. Do not you think the people of America would kubmit to pay the stamp duty, if it was moderated ?
A. No, never, unless compelled by force of arms.
Q. Are not the taxes in Pensylvania laid on unequally, in order to burthen the English trade; particularly the tax on professions and business?
A. It is not more burthensome in proportion, than the tax on lands. It is intended, and supposed to take án equal proportion of profits.
Q. How is the assembly composed? Of what kinds of people are the members; landholders or traders ?
A. It is composed of landholders, merchants, and artificers.
Q. Are not the majority landholders?
Q. Do not they, as much as possible, shift the tax off from the land, to ease that, and lay the burthen heavier on trade?
A. I have never understood it so. I never heard such a thing suggested. And indeed an attempt of that kind could answer no purpose. The merchant or trader is always skilled in figures, and ready with his
pen and ink. If unequal burthens are laid on his trade, he puts an additional price on his goods; and the consumers, who are chiefly landłolders, finally pay the greatest part, if not the whole.
Q. What was the temper of America towards Great Britain before the year 1763*?
A. The best in the world. They submitted willingly to the government of the crown, and paid, in theis courts, obedience to acts of parliament. Numerous as the people are in the several old provinces, they cost
* In the year 1733--" for the welfare and prosperity of our sugar colonies in America,” and “ for reinedying discouragements of planters ;” du. ties were “given and granted” to George the Second upon all rum, spirits, molasses, syrups, sugar, and paneles of foreign growth, produce, and ma. nufacture, imported into our colonies. This regulation of trade, for the benefit of the general empire was acquiesced in, notwithstanding the introduction of the novel terms “ give and grant.” But the act, which was made only for the term of five years, and had been several times renewed in the reign of George the Second, and once in the reign of George the Third; was renewed again in the year 1763, in the reign of George the Third, and extended to other articles, upon new and altered grounds. 16 was stated in the preamble to this act, “ that it was expedient that new provisions and regulations should be established for improving the revenus of this kingdom ;” that it was just and necessary that a revenue should be raised in America for defending, protecting, and securing the same;" " and that the commons of Great Britain ... desirous of making some provision ....... towards raising the said revenue in America, have resolved to give and grant to his majesty the several rates and due jies, &c. Mr. Mauduit, agent for Massachusett's Bay, tells us, that he was instructed in the fullowing terms to oppose Mr. Grenville's taxing system.---" You are to remonstrate against these measures, and, if possible, to obtain a repeal or the sugar act, and prevent the imposition of any further duties or taxes on the colonies. Measures will be taken that you may be joined by all the other agents. Boston, June 14, 1761."
The question proposed to Dr. Franklin alludes to this sugar act in 1763. Dr. Franklin's answer appears to deserve the best attention of the reader. B. Y.
you nothing in forts, citadels, garrisons, or armies, to
Q. And what is their temper now?
Q. Did you ever hear the authority of parliament to make laws for America questioned till lately?
A. The authority of parliament was allowed to be valid in all laws, except such as should lay internal taxes. It was never disputed in laying duties to regulate commerce.
Q. In what proportion hath population increased in America?
A. I think the inhabitants of all the provinces together, taken at a medium, double in about twenty-five years. But their demand for British manufactures increases much faster; as the consumption is not merely in proportion to their numbers, but grows with the growing abilities of the same numbers to pay for them. In 1793, the whole importation from Britain to Pensylvania was but about 15,0001. sterling; it is now near half a million.
Q. In what light did the people of America use to consider the parliament of Great Britain? A. They considered the parliament as the great bul