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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 iis 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 expensire 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. Our people have been foolishly fond of their superfluous madęs and manufactures, to the impoverishing our own coun. try, 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 Briiish manufactures on which they are to levy the duties. Let us agree to consuine no more of their expensive gewgaws. Let us live frugally, and let us industriously manufacture what we can for ourselves: thus we sball
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 tiine 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. Tu 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 manufactures 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,
* F. S. possibly means Franklin's Seal. The paper, however, is undoubtedly the production of Dr. Franklin.
In the collection of tracts on the snbjects of tasing the British colonies in America, und regulating their trade (printed in 1773, in 4 vols. 8vo, by Almon) I find two papers, said there to have been published originally in 1739, and to have been drawn up by a club of American merchants, at the head of whom were Sir William Keith, (governor of Pensylvania) Joshua Gee, and many other eminent persons. The first paper proposes the raising the small body of regular troops 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 India trade, and tack care of the boundaries and back settlements. 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 stamp 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 perused 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 parlia' meet; and would have asked for that privilege, if they
could have had thd 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 ån equitable participation in the gorernment of the whole. "Then the next best thing seemed to be, leaving them in the quiet enjoyment of their respective constitutions; and when money is wanted for any publie service in which they ought to bear a part, calling upon them by requisitorial letters from the crown (according to the long established customs) to grant such aids as their loyalty shall dictate, and their abilities permit. The very sensible and benevolent author of that paper, seems not to have known, that such a constitutional custom subsists, and has always hitherto been practised in America ; or he would not have expressed himself in this manner : “ It is evident beyond a doubt, to the intelligent and impartial, that after the very extraordinary efforts, which were effectually made by Great Bri. tain in the late war to save the colonists from destruction, and attended of necessity with an uncommon load of debts in consequence, that the same colonists, now firmly secured from foreign enemies, should be somehow induced to contribute some proportion towards the exigencies of state in future.” This looks as if he conceived the war had been carried on at the sole expence of Great Britain, and the colonies only reaped the benefit, without hitherto sharing the burthen, and were therefore now indebted to Britain on that account. And this is the same kind of argument that is used by those who would fix on the colonies the heavy charge of unreasonableness and ingratitude, which I think your friend did not intend. Please to acquaint him then, that the fact is not so: that every year during the war, requisitions were made by the crown on the colonies, for raising money and men; that accordingly they made more extraordinary efforts, in proportion to their abilities, than Britain did; that they raised, paid and clothed, for five or six years, near 25,000 men, besides providing for other services (as building forts, equipping guard ships, paying transports, &c.) And that this was more than their fair proportion is not merely
* 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.