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Moderate Political Hints



New-York, August 31, 1775.

Requisition from Government is the old Constitution, and will naturally come in course whenever we are at war


with any foreign Power; ' tis then that extra troops and extra sums of money are much wanting from every part of the King' s jurisdiction, and we in America not only cheerfully grant to the utmost extent of our abilities, but have a right to examine into accounts, and frequently expect and receive a reimbursement of a large part of our expenses; but the revenue in contest is a distinct affair; it is a small annual sum voluntarily given in cash or country produce, to be fixed either to the King' s civil list, or applied toward payment of interest money due on the national debt, as an acknowledgment for Government securing to us liberty, property, and freedom of trade. These ought (in truth and justice) to be the solemn obligations and agreement on both sides, prudently waiving the contest, whether the national debt was occasioned by fighting solely for America, as it was undoubtedly expended for the general good; for had any one of the British Empire fallen during the war, in either Europe or America, other parts must have fell of course.

A proposition from us of a voluntary revenue, guarded under good mercantile conditions, if received or rejected, I should apprehend would steadily fix our friends, and make our enemies tremble in every quarter; it would entirely eradicate and remove the simple notion of independence.

The civil list revenue (and there is one only) is a yearly sum of eight hundred thousand Pounds, established by Parliament to the King for life, for the support of His Majesty' s household, and of the honour and dignity of the Crown: it is charged upon and made payable out of the aggregate fund, and commenced from the demise of his late Majesty.

The Parliament grants for seven years, from 1757 to 1763, inclusive, amounted to above ninety-eight millions, and which occasioned the rapid growth of the national debt; if needful, on a future day, shall give specimens of their resolutions and provisions.

The Parliament provisions are generally by the land tax, malt tax, navy bills, debentures per loans and exchequer bills, and by the surplus of the sinking fund, including the customs and duties upon all kinds of liquors, home-made and foreign; also on tobacco, &c˙, &c˙, all paid by the holder and consumer in Britain. The manufactories, or their goods for exportation, are exempted from duties of excise, to enable them to send to market, and to sell better goods and cheaper than any other nation on the globe.

The superiour fineness, firmness, and weight of English broadcloths, &c˙, on that account, always did and ever will command the preference in market at every port in the four quarters of the world. The Asiaticks wisely proved the goodness of broadcloths by their fineness and weight in the scales, and gave the preference to those of Britain.

We are excellent customers to the British merchant for dry-goods — not immediately material contributors thereby to Government. Government is in debt, the common people poor; but the nobility, officers, landed gentlemen, merchants, and manufacturers, are immensely rich. Success in merchandising and wars hath brought nearly all the circulating specie from the East-Indies and from the West, from the North and from the South, to Great Britain. At this present time, there are more solid riches held by those individuals in Britain, than are held in any two nations in Europe, with its concomitant luxury; and which occasioneth their frequent scarcity of grain. England hath such a variety of soil, as they scarcely ever were in want of provisions in ancient times; for if crops failed in one part of the kingdom, they succeeded in another; but thousands and thousands of acres are now turned (and fenced) into parks, so that growing grain in abundance as formerly, for the industrious poor, they now grow venison for the luxury of the rich.

The manufactures of Great Britain and Ireland, and the product of American lands, in a very few years, if managed on each side with temper and wisdom, will naturally produce astonishing advantages and benefits to the whole Empire.

In the time of the stamp act, by a fortunate regulation of imports and exports, and by a straight line of smooth and manly deportment, we prevented even our most inveterate enemies in Britain from playing off their false but hurtful artillery of words of independence and rebellion, (self-defence comprehends neither,) a similar proceeding, as


nearly as our present critical circumstances will permit, I trust will yield consequences in the event agreeable to those successful and happy times.

A yearly sum of one shilling from every resident in America yields a moderate American revenue; I would, with much pleasure, pay above fifty times that sum annually, for this mode of procedure, or for any other constitutional voluntary plan toward the support of solid substantial Government. I am for the just thing. The whole British revenue raised there amounts to about eight millions yearly, in time of peace, nearly one-half of which is for interest money paid on the national debt.

I am neither a placeman, pensioner, nor ministerial hireling; but ' tis this method of a revenue, or something analogous, that appears to me as the most eligible and only plan to settle the dispute upon a lasting foundation; and am really assiduous to promote a constitutional voluntary revenue, under good mercantile conditions, and for negotiating with the Crown immedintely; the Crown to appoint Commissioners, to negotiate with Commissioners from the honourable the Continental Congress.