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7th. “If they are relieved in part only, what do you, as a reasonable and dispassionate man, and an equal friend to both sides, imagine will be the probable consequence ?"
A. I imagine, that repealing the offensive duties in part will answer no end to this country; the commerce will remain obstructed, and the Americans go on with their schemes of frugality industry, and manufactures, to their own great advantage. How much that may tend to the prejudice of Britain, I cannot say; perhaps not so much as some apprehend, since she may in time find new markets. But I think, if the union of the two countries continue to subsist, it will not hurt the general interest; for whatever wealth Britain loses by the failing in trade with the colonies, America will gain; and the crown will receive equal aids from its subjects upon the whole, if not greater.
And now I have answered your questions, as to what may be, in my opinion, the consequences of this or that supposed measure, I will go a little further, and tell you, whại 1 fear is more likely to come to pass in reality. I apprehend, that the ministry, at least the
them violent measures; not less than les dragonades; and to have the tax collected by the troops we have there. For my part, I never saw a froward child mended by whipping : and would not have the mother be. come a step-mother.” Letter, No. 360.
" It is a certain maxiın,” pleads Mr. Burke, "ļhat the fewer causes of dissatisfaction are left by government, the more the subject will be in: clined to resist and rebel?” “I confess I do not feel the least alarm from the discontents which are to arise from putting people at their ease. Nor do I apprehend the destruction of this empire, from giving, by an act of free grace and indulgence, to two millions of my fellow citizens, some share of those rights, upon which I have always been taught to value my. self.” Speeches in 1774 and 1775. B. V.
American American part of it, being fully persuaded of the right of parliaineni, think it ought to be enforced, whatever may be the consequences ; and at the same time do not believe, there is even now any abaternent of the trade between the two countries on account of these disputes; or that if there is, it is small, and cannot long continue. They are assured by the crown-officers in America, that manufactures are impossible there; that the discontented are few, and persons of little consequence; that almost all the people of property and importance are satisfied, and disposed to submit quietly to the taxing power of parliament; and that, if the revenue acts are continued, and those duties only that are called anti-commercial be repealed, and others perhaps laid in their stead, the power ere long will be patiently submitted to, and the agreements not to import be broken, when they are found to produce no change of measures here. From these and similar misinformations, which seem to be credited, I think it likely, that no thorough redress of grievances will be afforded to America this session. This may inflame matters still more in that country; farther rash measures there may create more resentment here, that may produce not merely ill-advised dissolutions of their assemblies, as last year, but attempts to dissolve their constitution* ; more troops may be sent over, which will create more uneasiness; to justify the measures of government, your writers will revile the Americans in your newspapers, as they have already begun to do,
* This was afterwards attempted by the Britisha legislature, in the case of the Massachusetts Bay: B. V.
treating treating them as miscreants, rogues, dastards, rebels, &c. to alienate the minds of the people here from them, and which will tend farther to dininish their affections to this country. Possibly too, some of their warm patriots may be distracted enough to expose themselves by some mad action to be sent for bither, and government here be indiscreet enough to hang them, on the act of Henry VIII*. Mutual provocations will thus
go on to complete the separation; and instead of that cordial' affection, that once and so long existed and that harmony, so suitable to the circumstances, and so necessary to the happiness, strength, safety, and welfare of both countries, an implacable malice and mutual hatred, such as we now see subsisting between the Spaniards and Portuguese, the Genoese and Corsicans, from the same original misconduct in the superior governments, will take place: the sameness of nation, the similarity of religion, manners, and language not in tbe least preventing in our case, more than it did in theirs. I hope however, that this may all prove false prophecy, and that you and I may live to see as sincere and perfect a friendship established between our respective countries, as has so many years subsisted between Mr. Strahan, and his truly affectionate old friend,
* The lords and communs very prudently concurred in an address for this purpose, and the king graciously assured them of his compliance with their wishes. B. V.
State of the Constitution of the Colonies, by Governor Pownall*;
with Remarks by Dr. Franklin.
(PRINCIPLES.] 1. WHEREVER any Enlishmen go forth without the realm, and make settlements in partibus exteris, “. These settlements as English settlements, and these inhabitants as English subjects (carrying with them the laws of the land wherever they form colonies, and receiving his majesty's protection by virtue of his royal chartert” or commissions of government) “ have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects, to all intents constructions and purposes whatsoever, as if they and every of them were born within the realmf;" and are bound by the like allegiance as every other subject of the realm.
Remarks. The settlers of colonies in America did not carry with them the laws of the land, as being bound by them wherever they should settle. They left the realm to avoid the inconveniences and hardships they were under, where some of those laws were in force, particularly ecclesiastical laws, those for payment of tythes and others. Had it been understood, that they were to carry these laws with them, they had better have staid at home among their
* This State of the Constitution of the Colonies was printed at the close of 1769, and communicated to various persons, with a view to prevent mischief, from the misunderstandings between the government of Great Britain and the people of America. I have taken the liberty of ascribing it to governor Pownall, as his name could have been no secret at the time. Dr. Franklin's remarks (which from their early date are the more curious) are in manuscript and from an observation in reply signed T. P. appear to have been communicated to governor Pownall. B. V. + Pratt and York. General words in all charters.
friends, friends, unexposed to the risque and toils of a new settlement. They carried with them, a right to such parts of the laws of the land, as they should judge advantageous or useful to them; a right to be free from those they thought hurtful; and a right to make such others, as they should think necessary, not infringing the general rights of Englishmen: and such new laws they were to form, as agreeable as might be to the laws of England. B. F.
2. Therefore the common law of England, and all such statutes as were enacted and in force at the time in which such settlers went forth, and such colonies and plantations were established, (except as hereafter excepted) together with all such alterations and amendments as the said common law may bave receiver, is from time to time, and at all times, the law of those colonies and plantations.
Rem. So far as they adopt it, by express laws or by practice. B. F.
3. Therefore all statutes, touching the right of the succession, and settlement of the crown, with the statutes of treason relating thereto* ; all statutes, regulating or
* [i. e.] All statutes respecting the general relation between the crown and the subject, not such as respect any particular or peculiar establishment of the realm of England. As for instance : by the 13th and 14th of Car. II. £, ?, the supreme military power is declared to be in general, without limitation, in his majesty, and to have always been of right annex. ed to the office of king of England, throughout all his majesty's realms and dominions; yet the enacting clause, which respects only the peculiar establishment of the militia of England, extends to the realm of England only : so that the supreme military power of the crown in all other his majesty's realms and dominions stands, as to this statute, on the basis of its general power, unlimited. However, the several legislatures of his majesty's kingdom of Ireland, of his dominions of Virginia, and of the several