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Paper by Josiah Martin, in behalf of the Sugar Colonies


The following is written by Colonel SAMUEL MARTIN, the father of his Excellency JOSIAH MARTIN, Esq˙, Governour of NORTH CAROLINA, a most sensible, venerable, and universally beloved gentleman, a native of ANTIGUA, sincerely attached to the liberty of his country, and an ornament to human nature:

"I was surprised to see in your Papers, the account of the late Convention at Boston, which began with a devout prayer to God, but was followed by impious Resolutions, of starving the British Sugar Colonies, so inconsistent with the natural benevolence due to our fellow-creatures, which is a leading principle of Christianity; for, to love, and do good to each other, is the great characteristick of the Disciples of Jesus Christ, or the mark of distinction between Christians and Heathens. Are not such Resolutions, after solemn addresses to the Throne of Mercy, a mockery of God? Beware my brother Colonists, least such a flagrant impiety may not draw down the judgments instead of the blessings of Heaven.

"But how do the inhabitants of the Sugar Colonies deserve the resentment of Boston and the other American Colonies? Is it because they


have not entered into the same resentment against the mother country? Alas! what avails the resentment of such small communities if inclined to it. Every British subject must see the absurdity of a former wicked Minister, who first adopted the plan of taxing the Colonies by a Legislature, in which they have no Representatives: it is contrary to the fundamental principles of the British Constitution. Yet that very Legislature repealed all the Tax Acts of America, except a very small tax upon tea, which was retained, not with views of increasing the Revenue, but as a mark of the dependency of the Colonies upon the mother country; and I dare say that power of the British, Legislature to impose rational taxes upon the Colonies, will never be exerted against them; yet this single instance is to be lamented, because it is contrary to the ancient rights of all the Colonies, where Legislatures were established by lawful authority, from their first settlement; and in those Legislatures of each Island and Province, the people had their Representatives according to the fundamental Constitution of the British Government; for that very reason it is a point to be lamented, and indeed opposed, with the moderation of good subjects; not with rage and popular fury, kindled by a few firebrands.

"But what hath the Sugar Colonies to do with all this combustion? Must they be starved for what they cannot remedy? An hard measure indeed, to be inflicted by our brethren and fellow Christians of North America. Yet to be dreaded from those, who for many years have treated their sister Colonies, the Sugar Islands, as aliens; for they sell their produce among them for gold and silver, which they lay out for the like produce of the French, Dutch, and Danish Islands, by a clandestine trade, contrary to the laws of commerce, to the great injury of all fair traders, and of the British Sugar Colonies.

"But is this principle of smuggling consistent with reason or Christianity? Surely not, for next to our duty to God, it is our duty to promote the great good and happiness of that society whereof we are members: and whatever smugglers may think of such an unjust practice, they must give a severe account of it at the great tribunal of Heaven. I hope private gain cannot justify publick injury.

"But it is said if the British Sugar Colonies are to be starved, what will the North Americans do with their own produce? To this they have a pat and ready answer, that they can dispose of their produce to all the foreign Nations of Europe and America. Are they sure of this? Are they sure that the Navy of Britain will not have orders to make captures of all their vessels found laden with foreign manufactures and production? even at the entrance of their own ports. Surely this is a vain expectation, absolutely inconsistent with common sense, and therefore I beg leave to advise ourbrethren of North America to treat all their sister Colonies with a benignity well becoming such near relations, who give freights to many of the largest ships of Boston, to the great emolument of that city, and its Province; for which and many other benefits, by way of requital, the Sugar Colonies are to be starved — Heu pietas, heu prisca fides!"