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suffered our chiefs to engage in these foolish and mis. chievous contentions, for little posts and paltry distino tions, that our hands might be bound up, our understand ing darkened and misled, and every means of our security neglected. It seems as if our greatest men, our cives nobilissimi *) of both parties, had sworn the ruin of the country, and invited the French, our most inveterate enemy do destroy it.
Where then shall we seek for succour and protection? The government we are immediately under denies it to us; and if the enemy comes, are far from Zidon, and there is no deliverer near. Our case is dangerously bad; but perhaps there is yet a remedy, if we have but the prudence and the spirit to
'If this new flourishing city, and greatly improving colony, is destroyed and ruined, it will not be for want of numbers of inhabitants able to bear arms in its defence. It is computed, that we have at least ( exclusive of the Quakers) sixty thousand fighting men, acquainted with fire-arms, many of them hunters and marksmen, hardy and bold. All we want is order, discipline, and a few
At present we are like the separate filaments of flax before the thread is formed, without strength, because without connection; but union would make us strong, and even formidable. Though the great should neither help nor join ús; thongh they should even oppose our uniting, from some mean views of their own, yet, if we resolve upon it, and it please God to inspire us with the necessary prudence and vigour, it may be effected. Great numbers of our people are of British race,
and though the fierce fighting animals of those happy islands are said to abate their native fire and intrepidity, when removed to a foreign clime, yet with the people it is not 80; our neighbours of New England afford the world a convincing proof, that Briton's, though a hundred years transplanted, and to the remotest part of the earth, may yet retain, even to the third and fourth descent that zeal for the public good, that military prowess, and that un. daunted spirit, which has in every age distinguished their nation. What numbers have we likewise of those brave people, whose fathers in the last age made so glorious a stand for our religion and liberties, when invaded by a powerful French army, joined by Irish Catholics, under a bigotted popish king! Let the memorable siege of Londonderry, and the signal actions of the Iniskillingers, by
ruin: for Pompey, observing that they then obstinately refused to
Josephus. *) Conjuravere cives nobilissimi patriam incendere; Gallorum Gentem, festissimam nomini Romano, ad bellum arcessunt.
Car. in Salust.
which the heart of that prince's schemes was broken, be perpetual testimonies of the courage and conduct of those - noble warriors ! Nor are there wanting amongst us, thou. sands of that warlike nation, whose sons have ever since the time of Cæsar maintained the character he gave their fathers of joining the most obstinate courage to all the other military virtues : I mean the brave and steady Ger mans. Numbers of whom have actually borne arms in the service of their respective princes; and if they fought well for their tyrants and oppressors, would they refuse to unite with us in defence of their newly acquired and most precious liberty and property? Were this union formed, were we once united, thoroughly armed and disciplined, was every thing in our power done for our security, as far as human means and foresight could provide, we might then, with more propriety, humbly ask the assistance of Heaven, and a blessing on our lawful endeavours. The very fame of our strenght and readiness would be a means of discouraging our enemies; for it is a wise and true saying, that one sword often keeps another in the scabbard. The way to secure peace is to be preparated for war. They that are on their guard, and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked, than the supine, secure and negligent. We have yet a winter before us, which may afford a good and almost sufficient opportunity for this, if we seize and improve it with a becoming vigour. And if the hints contained in this paper are so happy as to meet with a suitable disposition of niind in his countrymen and fellow-citizens, the writer of it will, in a few days, lay before them a form of an ASSOCIATION for the purposes herein mentioned, together with a practicable scheme for raising the money neccessary for the defence of our trade, city, and country, without laying a burthen on any man.
May the God of wisdom, strength, and power, the Lord of the armies of Israel, inspire us with prudence in this time of danger, take away from us all the seeds of contention and division, and unite the hearts and counsels of all of us, of whatever sect or nation, in one bond of peace, brotherly love, and generous public spirit; may he give us strength and resolution to annend our lives, and remove from among us every thing that is displeasing to him, afford us his most gracious prote on, confound the desiyns of our enemies, and give peace in all our borders, is the sincere prayer of 1744.
A TRADESMAN of Philadelphia.
THE EXAMINATION OF DR, BENJAMIN
FRANKLIN before the English House of Commons, in February, 1766, relative to the Repeal of the
American Stamp Act.
Q. What is your name, and place of abode ?
Q. Do the Americans pay any considerable taxes among themselves ?
A. Certainly many, and very heavy taxes.
Q. What are the present taxes in Pennsylvania, laid by the laws of the colony ?
A. There are taxes on all estates real and personal; a poll tax; a tax on all offices, professions, trades and businesses, according to their profits; an excise on all wine, rum, and other spirits; and a duty of ten pounds per head on all negroes imported, with some other duties.
A. For what purposes are those taxes laid ?
A. For the support of the civil and military establishments of the country, and to discharge the heavy debt contracted in the last war.
Q. How long are those taxes to continue ?
A. Those for discharging the debt are to continue till 1772, and longer, if the debt should not be then all discharged. The others must always continue.
Q. Was it not expected that the debt would have been sooner discharged ?
A. It was, when the peace was made with France and Spain. But a fresh war breaking out with the Indians, a fresh load of debt was incurred; and the taxes, of course, continued longer by a new law.
Q. Are not all the people very able to pay those taxes ?
À. No. The frontier counties, all along the continent, having been frequently ravaged by the enemy and greatly impoverished, are able to pay very little tax. And there. fore, in consideration of their distresses, our late tax laws do expressly favour those counties, excusing the sufferers; and I suppose the same is done in other governments.
Q. Are not you concerned in the management of the Post-office in America ?
A. Yes. I am deputy post-master general of North America.
Q. Don't you think the distribution of stamps by post to all the inhabitants very practicable, if there was no opposition ?
A. The posts only go along the sea-coasts; they do not,
except in a few instances, go back into the country; and if they did, sending for stamps by post would occasion an expence of postage, amounting, in many cases, to much more than that of the stamps themselves.
Q. Are you acquainted with Newfoundland ?
Q. Do you know whether there are any post-roads on that island?
A. I have heard that there are no roads at all, but that the communication between one settlement and another is by sea only.
Q. Can you disperse the stamps by post in Canada ?
A. There is only a post between Montreal and Quebec. The inhabitants live so scattered and remote from each other in that vast country, that posts cannot be supported among them, and therefore they cannot get stamps per post. The English colonies too along the frontiers are very thinly settled.
Q. From the thinness of the back settlements, would not the stamp act be extremely inconvenient to the inhabitants, if executed ?
A. To be sure it would: as many of the inhabitants could not get stamps when they had occasion for them, without taking long journeys, and spending perhaps three or four pounds, that the crown might get sixpence.
Q. Are not the colonies, from their circumstances, very able to pay the stamp duty ?
A. In my opinion there is not gold and silver enough in the colonies to pay the stamp duty for one year *).
Q. Don't you know that the money arising from the stamps was all to be laid out in America ?
A. I know it is appropriated by the act to the American service; but it well be spent in the conquered colonies, where the soldiers are; not in the colonies that pay it.
Q. Is there not a balance of trade due from the colo. nies where the troops are posted, that will bring back the money to the old colonies ?
A. I think not. I believe very little would come back, I know of no trade likely to bring it back. I think it would come from the colonies where it was spent, directly to England; for 1 have always observed, that in every colony the more plenty the means of remittance to Eng. land, the more goods are sent for, and the more trade with England carried on.
Q. What number of white inhabitants do you think there are in Pennsilvania ?
A. I suppose there may be about one hundred and sixty thousand.
Q. What number of them are Quakers ?
*) It was estimated in the House of Commons; that the American Stamp Act would produce 100,0001, sterling per ann, to the Revenue.
A. Perhaps a third.
A. Perhaps another third; but I cannot speak with certainty.
Q. Have any number of the Germans seen service, as soldiers, in Europe ?
A. Yes, many of them, both in Europe and America.
Q. Are they as much dissatisfied with the stamp duty as the English ?
A. Yes, and more; and with reason, as their stamps are, in many cases, to be double.
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 Pennsylvania 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 Earope, (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,
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 coasts 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, during the last war, near twenty-five thousand men, and spent many millions.
Q. Were you not reimbursed by parliament?
A. We were only reimbursed what, in your opinion, we had advanced beyond our proportion, or beyond what might reasonably be expected from us; and it as a very small part of what we spent., Pennsylvania, in particular,