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rolina, 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 indus. try 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 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, 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 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 eighjeen 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 anything 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 submit 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 an 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
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 landholders, 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 their 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 remedying discouragements of planters;” duties were“ given and grunted" 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 intro: duction 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 entended to other articles, upon new and ultered grounds. It was stated in the preamble to this act, “ that it was expedient that new provisions and regulations should be established for improving the revenue 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 duties, &c. Mr. Mauduit, agent for Massachusett's Bay, tells us, that he was instructed in the following terins to oppose Mr. Grenville's taxing system.--"You are to remonstrate against these measures, and, if possible, to obtain a repeal of 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, 1764."
The question proposed to Dr. Franklin alludes to this sugar áct in 1763. Dr. Franklin's answer appears to deserve the best attention of the reader. B. V.
you nothing in forts, citadels, garrisons, or armies, to keep them in subjection. They were governed by this country at the expence only of a little pen, ink, and paper: they were led by a thread. They had not only a respect, but an affection for Great Britain ; for its laws, its customs, and manners, and even a fondness for its fashions, that greatly increased the commerce. Natives of Britain were always treated with particular regard; to be an old England man was, of itself, a character of some respect, and gave a kind of rank among us.
Q. And what is their temper now? d. 0, very much altered.
Q. Did you ever hear the authority of parliament 10 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 in. creases 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 1723, the whole importation from Britain to Pensylvania was but about 15,0001, sterling; it is now near half a million.
l. In what light did the people of America use to consider the parliament of Great Britain ? d. They considered the parliament as the great bul
wark and security of their liberties and privileges, and always spoke of it with the utmost respect and veneration. Arbitrary ministers. they thought, might possibly at times, attempt to oppress them; but they relied on it, that the parliament, on application, would always give redress. They remembered, with gratitude, a strong instance of this, when a bill was brought into parliament, with a clause, to make royal instructions Jaws in the colonies, which the house of commons would not pass, and it was thrown out.
Q. And have they not still the same respect for parliament?
A. No, it is greatly lessened.
A. To a concurrence of causes; the restraints lately laid on their trade, by which the bringing of foreign gold and silver into [the] colonies was prevented; the prohibition of making paper-money among themselves*, and then demanding a new and heavy tax by stamps, taking away, at the same time, trials by juries, and refusing to receive and hear their humble petitions.
Q. Don't you think they would submit to the stamp act, if it was modified, the obnoxious parts taken out, and the duty reduced to some particulars, of small moment?
A. No, they will never submit to it.
Q. What do you think is the reason that the people in America increase faster than in England ?
A. Because they marry younger, and more generally, Q. Why so?
. Some of the colonies have been reduced to the necessity of bartering, from the want of a medium of eratfic. See p. 146. B. V.