Page images

if I go into a white man's house at Albany, and ask for victuals and drink, they say, where is your money, and if I have none, they say get out, you Indian dig. You see they have not yet learned those liitle goud things that we need no meetings 10 be' instructed in, because our mothers taught them to is when we were children ; and therefore it is impossible their meetings should be, as they say, for any such purpose, or hare any such effect; they are only to contrive the cheating of Indians in the price of beaver.

To Mr. Dubourg, Concerning the Dissensions between England and America.

LONDON, (CTOBER 2, 1770. I SEE with pleasure that we think pretty much alike on the subject of English America. We of the colonies have never insisted that we ought to be exempt from contributing to the common expences necessary to support the prosperity of the empire. We only assert, that having parliaments of our own, and not have ing representatives in that of Great Britain, our parliaments are the only judges of what we can and what we ought to contribute in this case ; and that the English parliament has no right to take our money without our consent. In fact, the British empire is not a single state ; it comprehends many; and though the parliament of Great Britain has arrogated to itself the power of taxing the colonies, it has no more right to do so, than it has to tax Hanover. We have the same king, but not the same legislatures.

voyage and shipwreck on the island of Melita, says," the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness :. for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold." This note is taken from a small collection of Franklin's papers, printed for Dilly.

The dispute between the two countries has already cost England many millions sterling, which it has lost in its commerceand America has in this respect been a proportionable gainer. This commerce consisted principally of superfluities; objects of luxury and fashion, which we can well do without ; and the resolution we have formed of importing no more till our grievances are redressed, has enabled many of our infant manufactures to take root; and it will not be easy to make our people abandon them in future, even should a connection more cordial than ever succeed the present troubles. I have, indeed, no doubt that the parliament of England will finally abandon its present pretensions, and leave us to the peaceable enjoyment of our rights and privileges.


A comparison of the conduct of the ancient Jews and of the Antifederalists in the United

States of America. A Zealous advocate for the proposed Federal Constitution in a certain public assembly, said, that “ the repugnance of a great part of mankind, to good govern. maent was such that he believed, that if an angel from heaven was to bring down a constitution formed there for our use, it would nevertheless meet with violent opposition.” He was reproved for the supposed extravagance of the sentiment ; a'd he did not justify it.--Probably it might not have iininediately occurred to him that the experiment had been tried, and that the event was recorded in the most faithful of all histories, the Holy Bible ; otherwise he might, as it seems to me, have supported his opinion by that unexceptionable authority.

The Supreme Being had been pleased to nourish up a single family, by continued acts of his attentive Providence, till it became a great people : and having rescued them from bondage by many miracles performed by his servant Moses, he personally delivered to that chosen servant, in presence of the whole nation, a constitution and code of laws for their observance: accompanied and sanctioned with promises of great rewards, and threats of severe punishments, as the consequence of their obedience or disobedience.

This constitution, though the Deity himself was to be at its head (and it is therefore called by political writers a theocracy) could not be carried into execution but by means of his ministers; Aaron and his sons were therefore commissioned to be, with Moses, the first established ministry of the new government.

One would have thought, that the appointment of men who had distinguished themselves in procuring the liberty of their nation, and had hazarded their lives in openly opposing the will of a powerful monarch who would have retained that nation in slavery, might have

an appointment acceptable to a grateful people ; and that a constitution, framed for them by the Deity himself, might on that account have been secure of an universal welcome reception. Yet there were, in every one of the thirteen tribes, some discontented, restless. spirits, who were continually exciting them to reject the proposed new government, and this from various motives.

Many still retained an affection for Egypt, the land of their nativity, and these, whenever they felt any in convenience or hardship, though the natural and unăvoidable effect of their change of situation, exclaimed against their leaders as the authors of their trouble ; and were not only for returning into Egypt, but for stoning their deliverers.* Those inclined to idolatry were displeased that their golden calf was destroyed. Many of the chiefs thought the new constitution might be injurious to their particular interests, that the profila ble places would be engrossed by the families and friends

Numbers, chape Bivo

of Moses and Aaron, and others equally well born exes cluded.*--In Josephus, and the Talmud, we learn sonte particulars, not so fully narrated in the scripture. We are there told, " that Corah wasambitious of the priesthood; and offended that it was conferred on Aaron ; and this, as he said, by the authority of Moses anly, without the consent of the people. He accused Moses of having, by various artifices, fraudulently obtained the government, and deprived the people of their liber. ties; and of conspiring with Aarun to perpetuate the tyranny of their family. Thus, though Corah's real. motive was the supplanting of Aaron, he persuaded. the people that he meant only the public good ; and they, moved by his insinuations, began to cry outmama 66 Let us maintain the common liberty of our respective tribes ; we have freed ourselves froin the slavery iinposed upon us by the Egyptians, and shall we suffer ourselves to be made slaves by Moses? If we must have a master, it were better to return to Pharaoh, who at least fed us with bread and onions, than to serve this new tyrant, who by his operations has brought us into danger of famine." Then they called in question the reality of his conference with God: and objected to the privacy of the meetings, and the preventing any of the people from being present at the colloquies, or even approaching the place, as grounds of great suspicion. They accused Moses also of peculation ; as embezzling. part of the golden spoons, and the silver chargers, that ahe princes had offered at the dedication of the altart and the offerings of the gold of the common peoplejt as well as most of the poll tax ;) and Aaron they ac

* Numbers, chap. xvi. ver. 3. 6. And they gathered: themselves together against Moses and Aaron, and said: unto them ye take too much upon you, seeing all the con gregations are holy, every one of them wherefore, then bift ye up yourselves above the congregations ?"

t. Numbers, chap. vii. | Exodus, chafo XXXV. ver. 22.# Numbers, chap. iii. and Exodus, chap. XXX.

cused of pocketing much of the gold of which he pretended to have made a molten calf. Besides peculation, they charged Moses with ambition ; to gratify which passion, he had, they said, deceived the people, by promising to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey; instead of doing which, he had brought them from such a land ; and that he thought light of this mischief, provided he couid make himself an absolute prince.* That, to support the new dignity with splendor in his family, the partial poll tax already levied and given to Aaront was to be followed by a general one, I which would probably be augmented from time to time, if he were suffered to go on promulgating new laws on pretence of new occasional revelations of the divine will, till their whole fortunes were devoured by that aristocracy.

Moses denied the charge of peculation ; and his accusers were destitute of proofs to support it; though facts, if real, are in their nature capable of proof. “I have not,” said he, (with holy confidence in the presence of God) “ I have not taken from this people the value of an ass, nor done them any other injury.” But his enemies had made the charge, and with some cess among the populace ; for no kind of accusation is so readily made, or easily believed, by knaves, as the accusation of knavery.

In fine, no less than two hundred and fifty of the principal men, “famous in the congregation, men of renown," heading and exciting the mob, worked them up to such a pinch of phrensy, that they called out, stone 'tin, stone 'em and thereby secure our liberties; and let us choose other captains that may lead us back


* Numbers, chap. xvi. ver. 13. " Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up.out of a land flowing wiih milk and honey, to kill us in this wilderness, except thozo make thyself altogether a prince over us?" t Nienbers, chap. iii. I Exodus,.chap. XXX..

Numbers, chap. xvi.

« PreviousContinue »