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Considerations on the Measures



No one knows how far every person in Britain may be interested in the event of the measures now carrying on


with respect to our Colonies in North America. This seems to entitle any man, on account of his own stake therein, to speak his sentiments on the subject. The concern of the community gives to them likewise for the better security, a claim that every opinion may be offered for


consideration. These things result from the nature of a free society, and particularly from the Constitution of Great Britain, where the people choose one part of the Legislature, and where every man is supposed to have ultimately a share in the government of his country.

One point in dispute between us and the Americans is, the right of taxing them here at home. This may be said to concern the power of our Parliament; but so does every general proposition of right and wrong. When any thing is affirmed to be unjust, does not it include and is not it almost synonymous to the saying, that a law made to enforce it would be so too, and beyond the proper power of a Legislature? Vengeance and punishment do, in the course of things, assuredly pursue States and Nations for their oppression and injustice; against the commission of which it is beyond question the right of every member of the community to warn the rest.

I say it with submission, but the power of the Parliament is the right of the publick. The particular Members of that most respectable body are, in the statutes enacted by them, no more personally interested than the rest of their countrymen. These pass through their hands, but being so passed, they are themselves bound to obey them in common with others. They are, indeed, our trustees and guardians in that high office, but they will on that account be the more inclined, that every step taken or to be taken by them should be fully and carefully examined, like all other honest men earnest for the interest of those whose concerns are committed to their care.

A consideration of the measures now proposed may likewise possibly lead towards some nice and delicate conjunctures or circumstances, whether of the present time or of that to come. But it need not be said that the writer only finds the one and guesses at the other; they depend on an author much higher than Princes or their Ministers, but who is pleased to suffer the actions of these to have most essential effects in the producing them. What can then be a more fit means to induce a due reflection on our proceedings, and to insure from them a desirable success, than to lay before the publick or the Governours of it some possible consequences of their conduct?

We have not far to seek for the cause of the present situation of things between the mother country and our Colonies of North America; of the opposition and disturbances on the one hand, and of the violent laws, motions, and preparations on the other. These all undoubtedly proceed from our having taxed those Colonies without their consent. A perfect affection and union obtained between us until this was done; that attempt immediately stirred up animosity and opposition. However, these subsided, and peace and satisfaction were again restored on our staying our hands. We are now once more come back to the charge, and the spirit of discord seems likewise returned seven times stronger than it was before. Other broils, and contests may, and many no doubt will arise from this cause, should it proceed; but this is the origin, the spring, and the source.

The right itself of this measure is in question, as well as the expediency of it; I will therefore presume to say something to that proposition. The inhabitants of our Colonies in North America are supposed to consist of about two millions of persons. They occupy and possess a very extensive territory, much larger than Great Britain; they are not themselves the original people of the country, but they now stand in their place; they have, in general, been born and bred there, however they receive likewise yearly from other places many who mix themselves with them; they have divided themselves into several different Governments; they have, according to certain rules or laws, agreed upon among them, allotted every man his own; they have felled the forests; they have cleared and tilled the land — they have planted it — they have sown it — they have stocked it with cattle; they have built themselves houses; they have entered into exchange and commerce; they have spared and saved for a future day or for their families; they have by many and various means acquired many and various sorts of property; they are by nature entitled to welfare and happiness, and to seek and pursue those blessings by all the methods not attended with fraud or violence towards others, which they shall believe the most probable to procure or ensure them; they have, for that end, a right


to freedom in their Governments, and to security in their persons and properties. None are warranted to deprive or dispossess them of these things. Should, on the contrary, one man or a body of men, advance any claim which tended to enslave all the persons, or to unsettle all the property of this great community, to divest them of every thing which they possess, and to leave them nothing which they could call their own, of all that they have thus inherited, earned, or acquired; the very enormity, the evil and unnatural consequences of such a proposition would, of themselves, sufficiently shew its absurdity, weakness, and unreasonableness.

These are all either primary, essential inherent rights of human nature, or such as do with respect to persons in the situation before described, necessarily flow and follow from them. Those were conferred upon them by the great Author of their being, when he was pleased to endow them with the faculties of men; with the perception of good and evil; with the means of self-preservation and self-defence; with the organs of reason and of speech, and with a capacity to associate themselves for their mutual protection and support. They are common to all mankind; they subsist at all times, in all regions, and all climates: in Turkey, in Spain, in France, in Old England and in New, in Europe, and in America; whenever and wherever a number of men are found to be the objects of them. I don' t mean that they are in all these places always, or at this time, possessed and enjoyed as they ought to be; but they are to answer for that who do so commonly employ to the enslaving and oppressing of mankind, the powers which these entrust only for their protection and defence. However, this is only abuse, violence, and injustice; the right nevertheless subsists and remains.

It is not on this subject necessary to enter into any minute detail of reasoning, or long and learned discourse on the law of nature. These principles are with us common and publick; they are founded on the good, the welfare, and the happiness of mankind. They were the principles of our ancestors, of our grandfathers, and of our fathers. They may not, perhaps, be at present in their full vigour, however, I trust, that they are not yet so worn out or lost from among us, but that they still remain the principles of the Nation. They are, to describe them by a word well known in our language, the principles of Whigs; whereby I don' t, however, mean of certain modern Whigs, who seem more fond of the word than of any thing belonging to the character; who have, perhaps, at one time or other of their lives, counteracted all the measures and contradicted all the principles that ever did honour to the name — but I mean of Whigs before, the Revolution and at the time of it; I mean the principles which such men as Mr˙ Locke, Lord Molesworth, and Mr˙ Trenchard, maintained with their pens; Mr˙ Hampden and Lord John Russell with their blood, and Mr˙ Algernon Sydney with both; names which must surely, by all Englishmen, be ever revered, as those of some of the first among men. But let me add, that they are not only the principles of speculative students in their closets, or of great but unfortunate men whom their zeal and virtue have lead to martyrdom for the liberties of their country and the welfare of mankind; but that they are likewise the real principles of our present actual Government, the principles of the Revolution, and those on which are established the throne of the King, and the settlement of the illustrious family now reigning over us.

On the same principles rest both in general many rights of the Americans, and in particular the right now before us. These are hereby involved and interwoven with our highest and most sacred concerns. We cannot lift up our hands to take them away without forfeiting our national character; without renouncing the tenets and maxim whereon we have, on our most important and critical occasions ever acted as a People; without declaring that we claim a right to resist and oppose all those who oppress us ourselves, and at the same time to trample upon and tyrannize over all others, where we hope that we have the power to do it with impunity.

But it may he said that these are, indeed, in themselves, very true and commendable opinions; but that they are here introduced on subjects not worthy of them, a duty of a few Shillings upon some sorts of Paper or Parchment, and of a few Pence upon a pound of Tea. Let us, therefore,


more particularly consider the nature of the claim and pretension in question. Suppose, then, one person to have in his pocket an hundred Pounds, but another to have the right to take it from him and to put it into his own pocket, or to do with it what he pleases, to whom does that money belong? This needs no answer. Suppose the sum to be a thousand or ten thousand Pounds? That makes no difference. Suppose one person to have a right to demand of another not only one certain sum or what he has about him, but as much as he pleases and as often? This goes to the all of that other. But suppose not one single person only to be subject to such demands from one other, but a number of men, a Colony, or any other community to be so subject to the demands of some other society. What then? Why, then, that will go in like manner to their all. This seems to be so evident, that whoever shall multiply words on the subject, will hardly do it for the sake of being convinced.

But is this case that of the Americans; for if it is said that the money raised on them is to be employed for their own benefit, in their civil service or military defence? let me ask then, Who are in their case to determine, whether any money is at all wanted for such purposes, they who pay it, or they who take it? They who take it. Who are to determine the quantity wanted? They who take it. Who are to determine how often it is wanted? They who take it. Who are to determine whether it is really laid out in the purposes pretended? They who take it. Suppose the Americans should be of opinion, or declare that the money so raised is used not for their advantage, but the contrary, Is that a bar to the raising? No. Suppose them to complain that the money pretended to be laid out in their Civil service is given to corrupt their Governours or Judges, Is that a bar to the raising? No. Suppose them to signify that the money alleged to be used in their Military defence is employed in paying Troops to enslave them, and which they had rather be without, Is that a bar to the raising? No. Wherein, then, does this differ from will and pleasure in the most absolute sense?

This claim affects, therefore, most clearly, the all of the Americans. Two millions of people, subject to twelve different Governments or more, and inhabiting, possessing, and being masters of a country exceedingly larger than that of those who make the claim, or in whose name it is made, have, on this ground, no property at all, nothing which they can truly call their own, nothing but what may at any time be demanded of them, but what they may be deprived of without and against their will and consent. It cannot, therefore, surely be made a question, whether or no this is a matter of such a magnitude as to deserve the most serious discussion? But it might here be, without further words, left to the immediate determination of every man, whether it is on the one hand a reasonable ground whereon to put into confusion all the parts of the British Empire, to throw the mother country and her North American Colonies into the most deadly feuds, and perhaps a direct war with one another; or whether it is not, on the other hand, a proposition inconsistent with the essential laws of nature, subversive of the first and inherent rights of humanity, contrary to the principles whereon our forefathers defended, and under the sanction of which they have, through many civil wars, and with the deposition, banishment, and change of many Princes, delivered down to us the rights and properties which Englishmen now enjoy.

But it is in this dispute very often represented, that a total and absolute dependence on the British Parliament, without any exception whatsoever, either with regard to Taxes or any other, is liberty itself; it is British liberty, which is the best of liberty. I answer, who says otherwise in the case of us, who choose that Parliament; but that in some other cases this position may perhaps be more liable to question. Our North American Colonies are, as to their internal constitution, a very free people — as free as the Venetians, the Dutch, or the Swiss, or perhaps more so than any of them. This proceeds from their Assemblies being not only the nominal but the real Representatives of those whom they govern. These are elected fairly, fully, and often. In these Assemblies their liberty consists, and it is certainly true and genuine. But change the scene a little; let any one Colony be taxed and governed not by their own but by the Assembly of another,


what is then become of this their genuine liberty? It is lost and gone with their own Assembly. Let all the Colonies be so subjected to the Assembly of some one among them. That won' t mend the matter. Let us take a larger scale. Suppose this power over them to be lodged in the Parliament of Ireland. We are never the nearer. Let us come toward home. Were the Kingdom of Ireland under the taxation and direction of the British Parliament, would they then think themselves to be very free? For an answer to this question, inquire of one of that country. Place, then, the Irish under one of the Assemblies before mentioned; they would be yet further from home, and it might not be better with them. Let us take our own turn. Suppose Great Britain, on the like conditions, under the Parliament of Ireland. God forbid. I think that I have but one more point, before that I am at an end of my combination. Place over our heads, with all these powers in their full force, the Assembly of Massachusetts Bay, what then? I fancy that we should soon change a certain language, and sing another song, than what we do at present. Let me then most seriously question any man, from whose breast all candour and justice are not totally banished, where is as to liberty or property the difference between any of the cases now supposed and that original one which has given occasion to them? I speak this no otherwise than with the utmost reverence and respect towards our own Legislature; but are we to conceive, or would it be a compliment to them, or does any one mean to say that they are not men, or that they are to be excepted and exempted from the reasons and the rules which obtain and take place in the case of all the rest of mankind?

One of the long robe may, perhaps, demand the exact time when these rights begin, in rising and growing states, to take place, and how many years, months, and days a Colony must be first settled. I may venture to promise to resolve such an one, when he shall tell me in how many years, months, and days an oaken plant grows to be an oaken tree, or a boy becomes a man; which seem to be two much easier questions. The boundaries are seldom nicely distinguishable, where nature proceeds with an even and constant hand. But it is not difficult to answer that the event has already taken place, when near two millions of people are in full and peaceable possession of such a country as is occupied by our North American Colonies.

It may likewise be asked, whether these laws are applicable to all cases of private property between man and man. But the full resolution of this question might demand a Spanish casuist, or a book as big as a volume of our Statutes at large. Any man may for me amuse himself with trying the titles of Nations to the territories and possessions which they fill, enjoy, and inhabit, as he would do those between man and man about a house and garden; and should the process in the first case last as long in proportion as one does in the latter before some Courts of Justice in Europe, the defendants need not perhaps desire a longer or surer possession.

But may not these principles go far, if carried to the extent? That is, indeed, a very serious question, and perhaps well worthy of consideration. Our Colonies are content that we should, at our pleasure, regulate their trade, provided that what we do is bona-fide, really, truly, and sincerely for that purpose, and that only; but they deny that we shall tax them. They assent and agree to the first, but they absolutely refuse the last. These two different points do likewise not stand on the same foundation; they have to the one submitted ever since their origin; it has been corroborated by their perpetual and constant consent and acquiescence; the other is a novelty, against which they have, from its first attempt, most strongly protested and acted. Why cannot we, therefore, content us with the line drawn by themselves, and with the present establishment, from which we receive such prodigious benefit and advantage, now arising and yearly increasing? But may not they in time extend their objections to this also? The course of things, and the flux of years, will certainly produce very many things more extraordinary than that. All the whole of our Colonies must, do doubt, one day, without force or violence, fall off from the parent state, like ripe fruit in the maturity of time. The earth itself, having had a beginning, cannot but decay likewise,


pass away, and have an end. But why should we be overcurious about objects perhaps very far remote, and disturb ourselves about a futurity which does not affect us, and the distance of which we don' t know nor can divine. Why should we shake the fruit unripe from the tree, because it will of course drop off when it shall in due season have become fit and ripe for that purpose? Every time has its own circumstances, according to which the events of it must be provided for when they happen. That cannot now be done. New and unreasonable demands, injustice, oppression, violence on our parts, will forward and hasten these events even before their time. Let us withhold our hands from these things. We have never yet, on this subject, had reason to boast ourselves of such expedients; nor, let me add, ever to repent us of the contrary conduct. There are, no doubt, in all Governments, many most important points unsettled and undetermined; such in particular as relate to the limits between the power of the Sovereign and the obedience of the Subject. This must always be the case between Kings and their People, principal States and their dependencies, mother countries and their Colonies. It is very much the part of every prudent Ruler, whether the first Minister of a Prince or any other, to avoid with the utmost care and solicitude all measures which may possibly bring any such critical circumstances into publick debate and dispute. It is always a bad sign when such contests arise; they cannot do so without the disorder of the whole, but they are to the Sovereign, in particular ever dangerous, and often fatal. They may, perhaps, be compared to Gunpowder, than whose grain nothing is move harmless while it is at rest, but let it by the application of fire be put into action, and it will make the wildest ravages all around or overthrow the strongest bulwarks and fortifications. To how many of these questions did our Charles the First give in his time rise or occasion, and how dearly did he abide it! How many points of this sort are undetermined between Great Britain and Ireland, which are now to our mutual comfort entirely dormant, but which started and pursued with obstinacy and eagerness, might make one or both of the Islands to run with blood. They need, perhaps, be no further looked for than certain doctrines formerly advanced by Mr˙ Molyneux on the one hand, and the Law of Poinings on the other. But it has pleased Providence to shelter us hitherto from this mischief. Many months are not perhaps passed, since we did not want an opportunity to have engaged in one such. The alterations of a late Bill from that country were only accidental. However, does any one doubt, whether some forward man might not have been found who would have furnished reasons better or worse to maintain the claim of making them, if such an one had been sought for. But how much more prudent was our conduct on the occasion? If peace and harmony are then so beneficial and desirable between Great Britain and Ireland, and the measures producing or insuring them good, upright, and wise, why do these things alter their nature when they are applied to America? The present accursed question between us and our Colonies, how long was it unknown or unthought of? Who heard of it, from the first rise of those settlements until a very few years ago, that a fatal attempt forced it into notice and importance? But it is now already setting at work fleets and armies; it threatens the confusion and perhaps the destruction of both countries, and but too probably of one of them, although God only knows whether the calamity will fall on that of the two, which many men may now imagine and believe to be the most in danger. This point is not alone; there are other questions of the same sort, concerning which no man now disturbs himself, but which stirred and started by new demands, or any ether means, might in like manner, band against one another, Great Britain and its Colonies. Princes and States never do better than when their claims are not fathomed, nor, if I may use the expression, the bottom of them over-curiously sounded and examined. The terms of Municipal Laws usually favour the Sovereign; they are often framed or drawn by his creatures and dependants. The law of nature is more commonly in support of the people and the publick; it is the production of Him who sees with an equal eye Prince and Subject, high and low, European and American. God forbid that two such parts of the British Empire as the mother country and her Colonies should, in


our times, divide and contend against one another on the sanction of these two different Laws, which ought, in every state, to be constantly blended and united, and which can never, without the utter disorder and confusion thereof, be made to strike and to clash against each other. Whenever that shall happen, let us be assured that we are turning towards our ruin and destruction those very means which ought most to serve us for our peace, safety, and protection.

I have hitherto, on the law of nature and the common rights of humanity, considered the claim of the Americans not to be taxed by us here in England. It rests firmly on that foundation; but I don' t mean to say that it rests on that only. Could this be removed, there would yet remain another on which it would nevertheless stand sure and unshaken: I mean that of the Special Constitution of Great Britain, which does herein most justly and wisely coincide with the general constitution of humanity, and require that the property of no man living under its protection should, without his consent, by himself or representative, be taken from him, or, according to the language of the times, that representation should go along with taxation.

But this argument has particularly been in the hands of the first men of our times; they have set it in its full light, and their authority has recommended it to the attention of their country. It is well known, and well understood, and I am persuaded that it is unanswerable; but I bear more respect both to those persons and to the publick, than to go over it again so much to its disadvantage. I will therefore beg leave only to assume this reason, and to join it to my former; when the right of the Americans will stand on this double foundation of the general law of nature, and of the particular Constitution of Great Britain.

However, it has been said that the Americans are in our Parliament virtually represented. How that should be, when they are not really so, I shall leave to be explained by those who advance it. But God forbid that the condition of British subjects should ever be such, as for a whole people of them to be in danger of being stripped of all their properties only by the logick of such an unmeaning word or distinction as that is.

But what are then the precise bounds and limits of real representation? I will excuse myself from entering into that question. But will an American scruple to say, that if in any future time things should here at home be from their present state so far changed, and the Constitution of Great Britain so lost, that a great majority of its Representatives shall be named only by a handful of needy men; that they shall most evidently and most notoriously be both chosen by a corrupt and undue influence, and be afterwards guided and governed by the same, will he not say that it may, at that distant day, better become such a mock Representative to prove their right of taxing Britain, than to pretend to tax America? I will withal add, as an Englishman, that arguments tending to demonstrate that the House of Commons does not, in its present state, represent us inhabiting here, must he most strange ones to produce for the proving, that it does represent our Colonies lying beyond the Atlantic Ocean; that such points seem much more proper to raise scruples among ourselves at home, than to satisfy and appease those of people abroad. — (See Tucker' s Four Tracts, page 103.) I could, on this subject, speak more plainly and explicitly, if I would, but I avoid it.

So much for consent and representation. But there is another ground whereon the Americans likewise rely, which is that of their own Provincial Charters. I shall leave the particulars of this subject to themselves, who are best acquainted with them. However, I will in general say, that these Charters are no doubt in aid and assistance of the two sanctions before mentioned, very properly brought for the shortening and silencing of disputes and debates, by the producing the special authority of Government. But they must be interpreted by those before mentioned, and consistently with them. They cannot be construed so as to overturn the others. It would be the most downright absurdity, and the most direct contradiction in itself, to talk of a Grant or Patent or Charter of Rights given to any one to take away all the rights he had in the world, to confer on him the privilege of having nothing of


his own now, nor of being able to acquire any such thing in time to come, neither he, himself, or his posterity after him. Every thing of this kind must be understood so as to coincide with the original inherent rights of any single person or community, whether as men or as Britons.

Charters would, without doubt, be for some purposes very effectual, if every thing would take place as it is written on a paper or parchment. Suppose a parcel of miserable people, starved out of their native country, or persecuted and prosecuted there, because they don' t believe just what some other men do or pretend to do; that they cannot leave their homes without the consent of their persecutors; that they must take with them a piece of parchment; did their tyrants write thereon, that their descendants shall go upon all-fours, shall be born with hoofs instead of hands, and with instinct instead of reason, and the faculty of speech, and that these things would so happen? This might, to be sure, give very notable powers over them. They might then be yoked as horned cattle, saddled and bridled as horses, or fleeced and sheared as sheep. The difference in the species would naturally and necessarily effect this; but nothing of it all will come to pass. This future offspring will, notwithstanding, be born with the nature, the qualities, and the talents, and consequently with the claims, the rights, and the privileges of men. However, suppose these strange terms to be on account of the aburdity of them dropped, but that there are instead really entered on the parchment, or charter, such an arbitrary superiority, such despotick and uncontrollable powers and prerogatives over these poor people and their posterity, as are only fitting, suitable, and analogous to the former circumstances: Will this, in right or in reason, be a whit more valid than the other? or where is the sense or justice in demanding such enormous consequences, when we are forbidden the unnatural premises, from which alone they can follow? Suppose that it was on a paper or parchment written in fair characters, that the horses and other cattle of the New-Forest, in Hampshire, should have to them and their heirs forever, the said Forest, and it might be added to hold in free soccage of the Manor of East Greenwich? Suppose that dents were made in the paper or parchment, and a stamp put upon it, and that, it was signed, sealed, and delivered as an act and deed, what would be the effect? It will be answered that it would be a thing to laugh at; for how should brute beasts take property, who have neither understanding or capacity, or any means for that purpose; that it would be contrary to nature for them so to do. But let me demand in my turn, where is the difference as to the effect, whether it is written that beasts shall become men, or that men shall become beasts; that a herd of beasts shall be able to take and hold property, or that a community of men shall not? The one is just as contrary to nature as the other. It might, indeed, be a happy day for despotism could such things be done; but they are beyond its strength. The great Author of the World has, for the transcendent purposes of his unfathomable wisdom, placed in the hearts of men pride, ambition, avarice, and self-interest; but he has, at the same time, been pleased, with his most benevolent hand, and by the laws of nature and the course of things, to appoint bounds to the power of these passions, which they can no more surpass than the sea can exceed its shores.

So much for Charters in general. However I will likewise say something concerning one particular Charter before I leave the subject. When the havock happened among Charters in England, a short time before the Revolution, and which contributed not a little to produce that event, America was not spared. About the year sixteen hundred and eighty-four, a quo warranto was on that head issued against Massachusetts Bay; some of the Colonies did, on the like occasion, give way, and throw themselves on the pleasure of the King. Massachusetts Bay refused to do this; they were ex-parte, and for non-appearance condemned, and their Charter shared the same fate as that of the City of London and so many others. Four years afterwards the Revolution happened. As soon as ever the news of it arrived at Boston, the Colony declared in favour of it. They took possession of King James' s Governour, and of the rest of his creatures, and sent them all home to England. But then it will, perhaps, be said, they recovered in return their Charter. Is there almost


faith in man to believe otherwise? The other Colonies fared well enough, who did not withstand the will of the King, and whose Charters had not been vacated in a Court of Justice. They put them again in execution themselves, and no words were made. Our own Charters here at home were likewise returned. But the Colony of Massachusetts Bay did not find the same good fortune. They went on that account first into the Convention Parliament, where however, they could not get through. It is well known that our Parliaments are not usually dissolved or prorogued while any business is depending, which there is an inclination to pass. They had then nothing left but to beg and pray of the King' s Ministers. But is it credible, that they could not procure the restoration of their Charter of these Revolution-Ministers, of these makers and unmakers of Kings, who had so lately been on the same bottom with them, and in whose cause the Colony had so readily declared itself, but who had now obtained their own ends? Tired out, therefore, with delays, and not being sure of the worst that might happen, they were, in the end, obliged to accept of a new Charter, mutilated and castrated of many of the most important and essential privileges of the old. I shall take notice of no other particulars, than that before they chose annually their own Governour, Deputy-Governour, and Secretary. These were from this time to be appointed during pleasure by the King. Of what extreme consequence the change in the nomination of these their three Chief Officers has proved to them, no man at all acquainted with the name of Massachusetts Bay can be so ignorant of their history as not to be informed and sensible. Hence their differences with their own Governours there, and with our Ministers at home; hence the present Military Governour, and the Armies and Fleets now gone or going against them; hence the strange provision said to be in agitation, that their blood may not be liable to be answered for there. They would otherwise, in all appearance, be at this moment in the same situation on these subjects as their neighbours of Connecticut and Rhode-Island, with whose Charters, their own agreed, until they lost it by their resistance and opposition to the will of the two last Stuarts, when the others saved theirs by giving way. I shall leave my readers to judge, whether it was the good or the evil contained in this poor piece of parchment, which thus united against it Stuart Kings and Revolution-Ministers. But this Charter must certainly have been granted under an unfortunate planet, if what some people say be true; that it is now again under displeasure at home, and on the brink of being once more reversed and altered. But that event has not on the writing of this happened. I am therefore perfectly persuaded, that should any thing upon that subject take place it will, on the contrary, be the restoration of those its former privileges and powers, which was so unreasonably and so unjustly refused at the Revolution. But let any one consider this history of a Charter, and then reflect whether mankind have not reason to bless themselves that they have some rights of a higher nature than Charters, superiour to them, and independent of them.

But are we not the parent country? That is a very respectable word, but so likewise is the relation of it mutual. It has always hitherto had its full weight with our Colonies of North America, and will probably continue so to have, if we can content ourselves with any tolerably reasonable sense and use of it. But was every master and mistress of a family resident there the immediate son and daughter of a father and mother living now at this time in England, yet they being gone from us, and having established themselves, and got families of their own, and haying acquired a large territory, we could by no means, even as true and real parents, make out any claim having such consequences as that which we advance. However, the fact is very different; they left us in former times a part of the publick as well as others; they are since become hardly our cousin' s cousins, and no man knows how far we might mount toward Adam or Noah, to settle the real relation between us. But was their history told as it deserves: How they have made these their great establishments at their own charge, and with almost no expense of ours: How we have ever had the total command of the produce of that immense country, so as to regulate the commerce and exportation of it merely according to our own advantage and


convenience; that this is grown to be an object of perhaps no less than four millions sterling a year, all turned towards our profit. Could the extreme benefit be all set forth, which we have by this means received from the first foundation of these Colonies to this time, and the cheerfulness, fidelity, and loyalty wherewith they have submitted to this, the sincere and warm friendship and affection which they have ever born us while we kept ourselves within these bounds; the assistance which we have received from them in war, as well as the profits in peace: could all these circumstances be, with very many others, favourable to them, told and represented together, and in their full light, the story itself would bid fair to make these harsh and unmerited Acts of Parliament drop out of our hands, if we held them at the time. But, however these points may be forgotten or overlooked by us, they are not so by the Americans themselves; they are sensible and mindful of them, from whom they have proceeded, whatever we may be, who have received them. Our neglect and indifference on the subject have, with them, the effect of poison upon our weapons. They make every wound given by us to rankle and to fester. Every stroke carries with it, on that account, a tenfold sharpness and acrimony. However at least don' t let us extend a figurative and metaphorical saying to the divesting of all their properties, near upon two millions of people, and make it at the same time a warrant for ourselves to hold towards them an unjust, rapacious, and unnatural conduct, directly contrary to that of real parents towards their children, and totally inconsistent with the expression whereon we would ground our pretensions.

But how do these projectors and promoters of taxes and taxing hold concerning Ireland? Do they reckon that to be likewise within the jurisdiction of their ways and means, and in the same predicament with America? Adventurers went formerly from hence, others succeeded, more followed, until they were masters of the Island. It might be added, that this was done with a much greater expense of the blood and treasure of this country than our settlements in America ever cost us. The Representative body of Ireland is called a Parliament, that of America an Assembly; the term of Kingdom obtains in one country, and that of Colony in the other. Is there any charm in the sound of these words which makes a difference, or would the author of the Stamp Act have gone thither also, had the people of America shewn a facility to his first attempts with them, and if the Parliament of Ireland had ever made difficulties to his future demands there? Does any one imagine that learned or other arguments would have been wanting to maintain the rectitude of the one measure any more than of the other?

But is there any medium? Must not we either rigorously enforce obedience from our Colonies, or at once generously declare them free and independent of all allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain? To which I answer, if there is a medium between Great Britain and Ireland, why may there not be also between Great Britain and North America? The claims of the Colonies are not higher than those of Ireland, Certain rules of mutual respect preserved between us and that neighbouring part of the King' s Dominions, keep us on the best and happiest terms together, terms of perpetual and almost unspeakable profit and advantage to England. Does this overturn the Constitution of Great Britain, or weaken the dependency on its Crown, as some language has been? Why should not then forbearance, moderation, and regard towards that, a little more distant portion of our country, produce in the one case effects consonant and answerable to what the like causes do in the other? It is most evident, and may in general be depended on, that no evil consequences can happen from any condition or situation between Great Britain and her Colonies, which does actually and advantageously obtain between Great Britain and Ireland. How was it there twenty years ago, before the first or the last of these taxes were either of them thought of? All was then peace, cairn, and content. The repealing the first of them, the Stamp Act, did that do any mischief? Not unless the reconciling, uniting, and connecting again together all the part of our Government be such. There was hardly anywhere to be found a man, but who was pleased and happy in the measure, except a Minister or two at home, who


lost their power and their places on the occasion, and except a few sycophants abroad, who hoped to recommend themselves by traducing and disturbing those to whom they owed assistance and protection, and who desired to fish in troubles which they themselves contributed greatly to create. What evil star reigns then at this period, that these blessings cannot now take place as they formerly did?

I have on this subject no mind to play with the name of Ireland. I presume to introduce on the scene, and to couple, as it were, with America, that country only, in order to expose the more plainly by the instance of the one some notions advanced concerning the other, and at the same time, to the utmost of my small power, to recommend, inculcate, and enforce that cautious, considerate, brotherly, and affectionate conduct towards both, which I am sure that they each of them most exceedingly well deserve, whether of the Government or of the people of England.

It is sometimes made a claim on the Americans, that we incurred on their account a great expense in the late war. On whose account have we not since the Revolution incurred a great expense? Our whole history from that time to this is little else but a scene of prodigality in the service of different people or Princes, no way to our own advantage, and for which no man can give any good reason. However I answer on this occasion with the fact. We did not engage in the late war at the request of the Americans, nor upon any desire or inclination of theirs. The language at the time was on the contrary; that the less concerned the inhabitants of our Colonies appeared to be about the encroachments of the French, the more reason we had to be jealous on the subject. I believe that I may, in support of what I am saying, venture to appeal to those who are the best acquainted with that period. Had it been otherwise we should no doubt have heard enough of it. Substantial reasons might be given that the Americans judged better in the case than we. There may be ground for us to condemn ourselves for not having consulted them more on the subject than we did, before that we were so hasty to take up the hatchet. However there is not the least pretence for charging to their account the consequences of a war which we undertook without any instance and application from them, and entirely of our own motion.

But the honour of Government is concerned. That is certainly an unaccountable reasoning, though not perhaps very uncommon; that if Government, or, in plain English, the Minister and those about him, do a thing which had better been undone, they are therefore to proceed in the same road and do many more such, until at length the case may perhaps be beyond redress. Surely the more discredit is incurred, the deeper that people are plunged into mischief. The welfare and happiness of five or six millions of mankind, or more, is a prodigious object. Whoever puts himself at the helm of our State undertakes in a manner for that. We are all mortal and fallible. One in such a situation had need to march with the utmost caution, circumspection, and foresight; should he make an unlucky step, it is his highest duty to endeavour instantly to retreat and to retrieve it. In the present case a gulf is before us which will not admit of many steps forwards, but that the Government and the publick will both go headlong.

But their outrages about the Tea. I presume these to be an object of discourse as well as any other subject; how can they otherwise be discussed and considered? However I shall, without declaring any opinion of my own, take them up only in the light as they may appear to an American. He will certainly say that these receive their complexion from the claim of the Colonies not to be taxed by us, and accordingly as that shall be grounded or not. If that is not well founded, that then their whole opposition is unlawful, whether force and violence, or only concert and combination. That the former may indeed be productive of more mischief than the latter, but that they are, on such a supposition, both of them entirely unwarrantable. I would willingly, in this case, write freely, but without offence; he would therefore certainly add, that should the Americans, on the other hand, have a real right not to be so taxed, they are undoubtedly entitled likewise to the necessary means of using and enjoying that right. That this


is a rule of the law of nature, as well as of the law of the land, or rather that the latter has only borrowed it from the former. I speak with submission; but he would without doubt proceed that the means used on this occasion were absolutely those necessary ones and no other; that an object was artfully or judiciously chosen for this tax, which is so constant a part of diet or luxury, that it was totally impossible to prevent the tax from taking place without hindering the commodity itself from being introduced; that therefore the Americans must absolutely do that or lose their right; that the endeavouring so to do only by a general concert and agreement would have been no better than building a City out of the sands of the sea; that thereupon the Town of Boston did, at a sort of publick meeting, use every instance and application possible both with die Captains of the Tea Ships and with the Governour that the Tea might be returned, untouched and damaged as it came; that this would have secured their right, and they desired no more; that this was absolutely refused; that there was thereupon no expedient left for the preserving their right but destroying the Tea; that this was, without any express authority of the Town, done by private people, but in all appearance with the general inclination and with the least mischief and damage possible; that there was some Tea spilt, but no blood; that this refers the whole to the first and original question of the right; that the Americans make thereon the same claim as the people of Scotland would have in an essential circumstance of the union, or those of Ireland, should the line observed between them and Great Britain be passed in any point which would affect their whole interest and welfare as a Nation; that a right in any case whatsoever and an absolute duty of passive obedience and non-resistance in the same are inconsistent terms, a direct contradiction, and totally unintelligible; that in the other Colonies the Governours and Captains consented to the sending back the Tea, or to the shutting it up in such a manner as never to be sold or dispersed; that these did not therefore, in their cases, make immediate force necessary, but that their act was in effect the same, and stands on the same ground. That there is nothing malignant in the whole matter, nothing but a determined desire to support this their great and necessary right. This is no doubt the American idea, as appears by many proofs and papers from that side of the water. I shall myself presume to speak no opinion in the case, much less will I again call on the manes of our ancestors in support of this pretension. But should it be observed that it ends in a question which concerns the bounds and the limits of Government; I cannot, on the occasion, but repeat and enforce by this example the remark before made, of how dangerous and deadly a nature the disputes and contests are, which lead thither.

So much for the rectitude of taxing the Americans. But I may be told that I have not yet touched the true point; that I have been doing little more than a man who rides post out of his road. That Statesmen and Politicians do indeed sometimes talk of the right and wrong, of the justice and injustice of measures; but that this is all only ostensible reasoning, while there may at the bottom be nothing which they really care less about. That the great do everywhere bear hard on the little, the strong on the weak; that the hawk hunts the partridge, the lion the wolf, and the wolf the lamb; that powerful Princes and States oppress the helpless, and the high and the rich those beneath them; that this is the chapter of the law of Nature and Nations, which we intend to consult and to follow; that we want money at home; that our debts are very heavy, and our resources but too nearly at an end; that we have yet Fleets and Armies, and are determined to bend to our will our Colonies of America, and to make them subservient to our wants and occasions; that this is at the bottom, and that all my casuistry may in the mean time serve the purposes of Grocers and Pastry-Cooks; that when people write about matters of state, they ought to do it like men. It is very well; I join issue hereon; only don' t let us go too fast; one thing at a time.

I answer that you cannot force them, nor is there any appearance that you can. The number of free people in those Colonies is reckoned at towards two millions. The common calculation is of one fencible or fighting man in five persons; and this is supposed to be rather under than


over the truth. This will give us at least between three and four hundred thousand fighting men on the number before mentioned. Mr˙ Rome goes so far as to tell us in some Letters, &c˙, lately published in opposition to the Colonies, "that there is hardly any thing more common, than to hear them boast of particular Colonies, that can raise, on a short notice, a hundred thousand fighting men." The country is itself, in some respects, a very strong one; more so than any in Europe, or the better cultivated parts of the world. It is not on the side of the Sea guarded with Forts and Castles built by men; but it is within secured and protected by the natural fortifications of immense Forests and of large Rivers. What expectation or probability then can there be of sending from hence, Armies capable to conquer and subdue so great a force of men, defending and defended by such a Continent.

But can they arm so many? In any country very greatly taxed, and much more so than its inhabitants would willingly bear with, it is impossible, consistently with such a state of things, to arm the whole body of the people. These might be apt to count noses, and to consider who were the stronger, they themselves, or the Tax-gatherers and the Red-coats, or White-coats, or Black-coats, or any other who support them. The difficulty would be yet greater, were there any further dissatisfaction. But these are all Democratical Governments, where the power is in the hands of the people, and where there is not the least difficulty or jealousy about putting Arms into the hands of every man in the country.

But are they united among themselves? In the cause of not being taxed by us, it is well understood how much they are so. All accounts and reports from thence of all men, and of all parties, run in that style, and concur in that circumstance. It was so experienced to a very great degree, concerning the Stamps, and has now been found the same on the occasion of the Tea. Their conduct has in the case, been everywhere alike and correspondent. The Tea is either returned, without being landed, or received, without being suffered to be sold, at New-York, at Pennsylvania, at Carolina, at all the places to which it was sent. We reckon entirely without our host, if we don' t expect to have to do with a union of that Continent, or depend on any measures insufficient to master and overpower the whole.

But let me ask, how can we expect otherwise? They are not unacquainted with the history of the mother country; they know the weight of the taxing hand here; they have heard of our debt of one hundred and forty millions of Pounds sterling incurred, since the Revolution, besides other hundreds of millions spent currently within the same period. The time to come is to be judged of by the time past. Will our brethren of America expect, that this hand should be lighter on them at a distance, or that our breasts will feel more for them than for ourselves? Let an Englishman make the case his own, and question himself, what he should think, were he of that country, and his whole fortune and concerns there. Would not he believe his all to be at stake upon the cast? Does any one in America, or in England, imagine, that all these disputes and feuds are, at the bottom, only about a Duty of three Pence upon a pound of Tea? How can, then, any candid man, doubt whether there will be a general union and concurrence on the subject, or wonder if there is so?

They are said to have already Committees of Correspondence, and no doubt necessity will teach them other means of moving and acting together. Every thing is there by choice and election; they will probably have at their head, as capable, and as wise men, as are to be found among them. The power and influence of Governours, and other Civil Officers appointed from hence, must, on an open rupture, have an end. Our authority would perhaps then extend little further than where it was enforced by our own Troops. We shall bid fair to begin with the loss of the whole Continent.

But what are an untrained and undisciplined multitude? Could not an experienced Officer, with a few Regular Regiments, do what he would in America? I answer, that a different story may be told. In the war before last, our measures directed at home, were everywhere unsuccessful. The Plains of Flanders were fattened with some of the best blood of Britain and of Ireland. Our Government


was shaken almost to the foundation, by a rebellion contemptible in its beginning. Were we more fortunate in our attempts by sea, whether, first, in that against Pondicherry, or afterwards, in that against Port l' Orient? But the people of New England maintained at that time, the honour of our arms. It is well known, that they carried on with their own Councils, and with their own Soldiery, and under the command of one of their own Planters, against Cape Breton and Louisbourg, an expedition, the event of which need not now be told. We did not begin in a much better manner the last war. I am unwilling to call to mind our first campaigns in Germany, our situation and Treaty of Closter-Seven, the fate of Minorca, or the histories of Braddock and Abercrombie. But who were at that time the first to stem the tide of our ill-fortune? Was it not an American Militia, who, commanded by Sir William Johnson, a gentleman at that time of the country, met, fought, and beat the French and Indians, under Monsieur Dieskau, and made prisoner their commander? But what wonders were afterwards done by our people, properly conducted and directed? It is very true, and I am sure that I have no inclination to depreciate them. But neither did those of America want their share therein. However, the courage of our countrymen was never yet questioned; but may they always unite and employ it against our common enemies, and never be encamped or embattled against one another, either in America, or anywhere else. But should, through the extreme rashness and weakness of our Councils, such a very great misfortune fall out, is it to be doubted whether the Americans will be wanting to themselves, or whether they will not endeavour to stand in their own defence, against those, who have sometimes in the same country, come by the worst, with inferiour enemies, but over whom they have themselves alone, and without assistance, often triumphed?

But we are masters at Sea, and wherever our Ships can come. We may do whatever a Fleet can. Very true; but it cannot sail all over North America. It is said, that Marshal Saxe had, before the declaration of the last war but one, and at the time of our Army being in Germany, conceived a design to have landed on our Coast with ten thousand men, and to have tried the fortune of a brisk march to London. He did not find this so easy to execute as he thought for. He was most happily disappointed. But there was an object. No one can tell the consequence, had he succeeded. The present is a very different matter. No immediate impression upon the Town of Boston, nor possession taken of it by means of a Fleet, nor the same circumstance with regard to any other Towns of America, liable thereto by their situation, will carry the command of that whole Continent, or force it to submit to measures so universally against their bent and inclination.

It may however be said, that this is not the plan. The Charter of the Town of Boston is to be changed, and their Trade suspended, and other measures of the very strongest sort, are to be enforced against them. The moving mountain is, according to the imagination of Doctor Swift, to hang over them, and the sun not to shine, or the rain or the dew to fall on them, until they are brought to submission, and made to the rest of America, an example of the danger of refractoriness and disobedience to the mother country; all which we think may, and will, with time, be compassed and accomplished.

This is indeed, as to the question of force, the true point of the matter, I mean, which will at last, and at the end of a long trial, get the better; but I add, that this will probably not be Great Britain. Here I must again crave leave to write with freedom. If it is the first wisdom of a private man to know himself, so must it likewise be that of a state to consider in all its measures its own condition and situation. The searching into our circumstances neither makes or mars them. But what must be our case, should we have any wound or mischief, and that it might not be probed or examined? We must ever suppose our adversaries to be informed, and not by shutting our own eyes, pretend to blind other people. I shall, therefore, without scruple, inquire into the state of the publick, as far as it concerns my subject.

The condition of the great staple manufactures of our country is well known. Those of the Linen and the Silk are in the greatest distress, and the Woollen, and the Linen


are now publickly banded and contending against one another. One part of our people is starving at home, on the alms of their Parishes, and another running abroad to this very country that we are contending with. The produce of North America used to be sent yearly to Britain, is reckoned at about four millions sterling; the Manufactures of Britain, and other commodities returned from hence, at nearly the same sum; the debts due from people in America to the British Merchants here, at about six millions, or a year and a half of that commerce. I say, the time past must be our guide with respect to that to come. Supposing, therefore, the Americans to act in this case, as they did in that of the Stamp Act; we shall then have yearly, until the final settlement of this affair, Manufactures to the value of four millions sterling, left and heaped on the hands of our Merchants and Master Manufacturers, or we shall have workmen and poor people put out of employ and turned adrift in that proportion. There will likewise be withdrawn from our home consumption, and out of our general trade and traffick, North American commodities to the same value, and debts will, to the immense sum above mentioned, be withheld from private people here. This was the train of things begun before, and we must look for the like again. What effects these things will produce, considering the present state of our Trade, Manufactures, and Manufacturers, the condition of our poor at home, and the numbers of our people running abroad, it don' t want many words to explain and set forth. They were before very severely felt for the time that they lasted, and it is apprehended, that the present situation of the publick is yet more liable to the impression. These are some of the difficulties and distresses, which we are, for the sake of a trial of skill with our Colonies, going to bring on ourselves, and which must be perpetually magnifying and increasing, as long as the unnatural contest shall continue.

To these a former Administration gave way; but it is to be supposed, that the present has, by returning to the shock, resolved to be more callous on the occasion, and to leave the Americans, the Merchants, and the Manufacturers, to settle among themselves their matters as they may. Our people will indeed be less clamorous about the ears of their betters, if they shall all run and emigrate out of the Kingdom. But there is a circumstance not yet mentioned, which will bid fair to go further, and which may but too probably involve in one common confusion the Nation, the Government, and the Administration itself; I mean the danger of a disorder or failure of the Publick Revenue; the difficulty or impossibility to pay the interest of the Debt, the Navy, the Army, the Civil List, and our other expenses, if the present contention shall proceed and continue.

I desire in explanation of this, to consider our present income, our out-goings, and our resources. I will not enter into any detail thereon; the particulars in gross will be sufficient for the purpose before us. I will, however, in order to be the better understood, premise something about the Revenue in general. It may be divided into two parts, the one, of Taxes laid in perpetuity, the other, of such as are granted by the year and for the year. The first part consists of all our taxes in general whatsoever, except the Land Tax, and the annual Malt Tax; the latter consists of these two only. Perpetual Taxes are now, in the language of Europe, often expressed by the name of Funds, as affording a fixed and settled foundation for any special use, and particularly for that of borrowing money. It was to answer the interest of our debts that our own Funds were established, and they are now pledged for that purpose. These of ours have been chiefly thrown into three great common ones, called the General, the Aggregate, and the South Sea Funds. These are sometimes, with all other funds or perpetual taxes whatsoever, destined and settled for the discharge of the interest of our debt, comprehended and united together in discourse, and called the Sinking Fund; although there is in reality no one particular fund of that name, any more than there is such a piece of money as a Pound sterling, or a French Livre. The civil list is placed on the same funds as the interest of the publick debt. What remains annually of the whole collection of those funds, after the satisfying these two encumbrances, is what is meant by the surplus of the Sinking Fund. I have thought proper to preface these few


things, that my own language may at least be understood, in what little I shall say on the subject.

The interest of our debt amounts to near upon five millions a year; all annuities for lives or years, every thing redeemable or irredeemable included. The civil list is eight hundred thousand Pounds a year. The surplus of the Sinking Fund is changing and uncertain, that being composed of very many variable parts. It is impossible to fix it; but I will, at an average, for the sake of round numbers, suppose it to be two millions and more, about as much more as will answer to what the interest of the debt may want of five millions. We shall then have about seven millions and three-quarters for the produce of our perpetual taxes and funds. Our annual taxes remain then only to be considered, which are easily reckoned; the Land Tax granted for a million and a half, at three Shillings in the Pound, as it now is; the Malt Tax always granted at three-quarters of a million. These sums put together, give us about ten millions of Pounds sterling, being our present annual national income, and likewise our present annual national expense, including what may at times be paid towards the discharge of the publick debt, and besides the collection, which is not to my present purpose. Should any one be of opinion, that the surplus of the Sinking Fund is either overcharged or undercharged, he has my consent to make such addition to it, or subtraction from it, as he shall please. Neither the one or the other will affect the argument which I am upon. Our receipts and disbursements will in either case go hand in hand. I shall therefore, without any more nice disquisition, take these at the medium of about ten millions sterling each.

So much for our income and our expenses. Let us next consider our resources; I mean what resources we may be supposed to have in our power, without creating any new debt. The first to occur will be the surplus of the Sinking Fund. We apply of course to this on almost all occasions. We are by law obliged to discharge regularly the interest of our debt; but whatever prudence and a proper care of ourselves, and of those after us, may confessedly require, we are commonly understood to be, by no contract or engagement, bound to do more, or to pay off any part of the principal of it. This surplus we will therefore suppose to be one resource; but it is such no otherwise or further than it can be spared from our current expenses, towards which it is commonly in whole or in part taken. We can for our present purpose, reckon only on so much of it, as might otherwise be employed towards lessening the capital of our debt. We have now had between eleven and twelve years of peace, in which time, I reckon that we have discharged about eight millions of that capital. This will, therefore, supposing no part of it to be balanced by any debt or arrears incurred and unprovided for, give us, by the year, about seven hundred thousand Pounds. This is what we may look to for one of our resources. But we have likewise another, which is the Land Tax. That is now at three Shillings in the Pound, but it is sometimes at four. We may therefore count, in case of exigency, on one Shilling more; that is on half a million. These two sums amount together, to about one million two hundred thousand Pounds. These are our resources, and without borrowing, these are all.

Let us next turn in our thoughts, whether these twelve hundred thousand Pounds a year, being somewhat more than a ninth part of our present income, are likely to be sufficient for this American occasion. Fleets and Armies, Ships-of-War and Regiments, are the means and the instruments of executing the measures in question. A million goes but a very little way with us in such articles. This business must in it include a supposition, that all our Colonies, all our ancient Colonies on that Continent, may in the progress of it, be combined and united in one common association, interest and defence. There can be no reasonable hopes of success; nothing but mortification and disappointment directly in view, by proceeding on any plan which does not comprehend the probability of that circumstance. What a field is then here opened. Are our twelve hundred thousand Pounds to furnish us there likewise? However, these things concern only our expenses. Let us consider the other side of our situation; how much our income is at the same time likely to be lessened. Four millions sterling yearly of the produce of America; as


many of the merchandise of Great Britain; more of debts here at home, withheld and kept back from our Duties, our Customs, and our Excise. What an operation on the Revenue! Is our million two hundred thousand Pounds to supply all this besides? How is it possible either on the one hand, that a person with these circumstances before his eyes, should set on foot the present measures against our Colonies, or on the other, that any one having capacity and understanding to be at the head of the Government and Administration of a great Kingdom, should oversee and overlook them? This seems to be like not discerning the Sun at noon day, or the Moon and the Stars by night.

There is from the general condition of our country, and perhaps from the publick accounts themselves, but too much reason to apprehend, that the National Revenue is at this time, without these additional causes sinking and decreasing. This could not but add greatly to bur difficulties in the situation before described. But a particular investigation of this might lead into too long a labyrinth. I shall therefore not take it into the present account; but most assuredly, any one at the head of our affairs, ought not to forget it in his, if it is true.

But it may be said, that we will, in the supposed exigency, borrow, as our predecessors have done before us. I answer, that this may very probably be then out of our power. I will not go upon a general discussion, whether we should enter into another war with the same credit we have hitherto had; although this may in itself be a subject of the utmost importance, and whereon we have but too much reason to reflect. But the consideration properly before us is, what would be the state of our credit under a revolt and separation of our settlements in America, that great and essential source of our riches and Revenue? Loans and money advanced to us have as yet been reckoned equally secure; there has been no doubt made of the regular payment of the interest, nor in consequence of a publick market for the principal, whether we should ourselves happen to be more or less successful on any occasion, wherein we were at the time concerned, and for which they were borrowed. They were as safe under the defeats and disappointments of the war before, as upon the victories and conquests of the last. However, things could not in this case but be much changed. The security of millions lent must depend upon the future chance and fortune of war. It might be made a doubt, what fruits would, for some years to come, be received from Provinces mangled and mutilated in a severe contest decided to their disadvantage, should these at last return to us again; but no one could overlook what must be the case, if the event should terminate against us, and end, after an expense of much treasure and blood in so fatal and inestimable a loss on our side, as that of these Colonies would be. However, no man knows whether this dispute might run into a very long trial. There are ways of anticipating some parts of the Publick Revenue, and likewise of running behindhand some of the publick services. Things may perhaps be for a short space carried on in that manner, without much notice. But should we once come publickly and professedly to borrowing, and to funding in what some may affect to call a Yankee war, it will be well if the whole fabrick of our credit does not at that moment shake and tremble to its very foundation. A general breach and defection of these Colonies would withal cut the sinews of our power. We could not, most probably, in such a situation, long continue to provide and pay the interest of our most enormous debt already incurred and subsisting. It need not be repeated, that it is the assistance received from their commerce and produce, which enables us now to do it. Deprived of that, it will be but to little purpose for us to be inventing new funds at home. We have enough of them already. More would only run foul of one another. We may, then, without the operations of a war in America, without the sending or supplying Fleets or Armies at a distance, without creating new Debts, new Funds, and new Taxes, have at our own homes, from our actual situation, business enough on our hands to engage and employ us. We need not, perhaps, be at this time nice in comparing and measuring our force with that of the Americans; the evil of such a day will be but too sufficient to decide the contest.

But it may be asked, what will then be the consequence, should we from these causes become unable to pay the


interest of our present debt. I will be bold to say, that there is no man living, wise enough to answer that question in its extent. Experience teaches men; but there is no preceding history or tradition of any State or Nation whatsoever, which can throw sufficient light on that proposition. There never was before in the world, such a debt contracted or subsisting, as the British. Letters and books are older than money; I mean than gold and silver commonly current, and having their weight known by a stamp. But there is no occasion to ransack ancient times on this subject. The discovery of Mexico and Peru, and the possession of them by the Spaniards, is the era from whence we are to date the beginning of the present plenty in Europe of these two precious metals, which command often individuals, and sometimes Commonwealths and Kingdoms. The art of funding was formerly very confined. It is a succession of English Administrations which has carried it to an extent never before known among men. It is a new experiment in a state. There is no example of it in the annals of mankind. We are at a loss where to look for the consequences of such an unprecedented and unheard of deficiency or bankruptcy, as this would prove. However, we cannot but have before our eyes, disorder, anarchy, and confusion; the moneyed interest of the Nation banded against the landed, and the landed against the moneyed; rich moneyed men brought to beggary, and the land drained of the utmost farthing which can be forced from it; every one catching, rending, and providing for the present moment; our manufactures and commerce at a stand; the middling people emigrating out of our country, and the poor in famine or in sedition; foreigners pressing for their demands, and the Dutch particularly, in rage, and almost in madness, for their countless millions trusted and hazarded in our country; perhaps at the same time, our Navy unmanned, and our Army in mutiny for want of pay. Who can withal tell the end: for the debt, the burthen, and the demand, will ever remain. There was a time, when the Romans had formerly withdrawn themselves from this Island, that the possessions became here, through the weakness and helplessness of those remaining, the prize and the prey of all plunderers, pirates, robbers, and conquerors, who came and seized upon them, until that these people themselves, the Danes, the Saxons, and the Normans, replenished and strengthened again the country. Whether the like scenes will on the same spot be once more acted, or what issue awaits us, he only knows in whose hands these events are. But we must necessarily expect that the distant or detached parts of our Empire will fall from us; the stronger and the larger will probably provide for and govern themselves, the weaker and the lesser sink away, or seek another master. I don' t at all mean that they have any inclination so to do, where we give no cause or provocation; but the reins of Government will in such a conjuncture, of course, and of themselves, drop out of our hands. No man can tell, whether Great Britain itself might at that time continue in one, or whether it may again be split and divided into two. There have not been wanting endeavours towards that end. I don' t now pretend to decide at whose door this principally lies. It is not perhaps one man, or one party only, that is in fault. There have been on one hand, most unjust and cruel persecutions, and a series of the greatest injuries and provocations. High and strong resentments of these are no otherwise than natural and warrantable, nor do I in general mean to arraign those conceived or expressed on this occasion. But the person wronged, must surely, in his cooler and calmer moments, be himself sensible, that they have in one respect been carried to an unreasonable extent. Reflections have been made and continued, where they are totally ungrounded and unmerited. They have hitherto been borne with a national good sense, that brings more honour to the parties, than all the ribaldry in the world can ever do them discredit. But who knows how their effects maybe felt in such a time, as is before described? What a situation! Britain, or England, left alone with a debt of a hundred and forty millions sterling on its head! How can any one have before his eyes such an event, and yet run on the road which leads directly towards it?

But all is not yet said which this subject demands. I have hitherto only considered us and our Colonies as engaged between ourselves; not a word has been said of any


foreign state meddling in the matter. That is yet behind. We must look upon our Colonies in the light of the Provinces of Holland, when they contended with Spain. The wish, the hand of every man will be against us. I will not enter into a general discourse of politicks, how far it may be for the common good of mankind to split great states into small ones; to divide them into a size fit to profit and benefit others, but not to overbear or distress them. Let us consider the subject by examples familiar to us. Mexico and Peru are more distant from Great Britain, than our Colonies of North America from Spain or France; but were those in a state of defection and separation from the Spaniards, I wonder whether we should find a way to approach them, or to avail ourselves in any manner of that circumstance. France was pretty well plumed in the last war; but nevertheless, were the reviving or beginning settlements of Pondicherry, of Mauritius, and Madagascar, disjoined from it, or its own Continent broken once more into several different parts and separate Governments, would our endeavours contribute to unite them? Should Batavia, the Spice Islands, and the Cape of Good Hope, revolt from the United Provinces, would not Englishmen try to profit by the conjuncture? I will not touch on the Brazils; that may be a tender point. But would none of all mankind, neither French, or Spaniards, or Dutch, or Portuguese, or Danes, or Swedes, to say nothing of the Russians, or of the new maritime state of Prussia; would none of them all give, directly or indirectly, aid, assistance, encouragement, countenance, or protection, to our Colonies? Would they not trade or traffick with them; would they supply them with nothing wherewith to defend themselves, or to offend us? Is it very practicable to watch and guard such immense Coasts, or do we at home, with all the Navy of England in our Ports, find this so easy, with respect to those only of the two English Counties of Kent and Sussex? Did neither England or France support formerly the seven United Provinces in their breach with Spain? Have the French at this time afforded no essential assistance to the Turks, nor another Nation to the Russians, while each continues at peace with the enemies of their respective friends? Are the independence of the British Colonies in North America, and their disjunction from Great Britain, no object to other Nations; are not they in particular as much so to France, as this Turkish and Russian squabble? Was formerly that Nation ever wanting to Scotland, or insensible of its interest in assisting that division? I don' t at all mean hereby to signify any attempts or endeavours of other Governments to take possession of these Colonies, or any inability in them to defend themselves from that circumstance; but I mean the general desire and inclination, which there would assuredly be in all Europe, to see them disjoined from our Nation, and to become absolute, distinct, unconnected, independent States and Governments, in larger or in smaller portions, and more or less like the present States of Holland, as it should happen. Were there in sight such a condition with respect to Mexico and Peru, or the Dutch settlements in the East Indies, would not the English, without insisting on becoming masters themselves thereof, be most abundantly contented with their general advantage arising from the commerce and traffick with them, and from the other circumstances of their independency? It cannot be doubted, but that there will be found a conduct and actions consequent and correspondent to such universal and almost unanimous views and wishes of mankind.

This is all said on a supposition of peace. But what if one or more of the greatest powers in Europe, should, in a most critical and difficult moment, declare war against us? Have France and Spain forgot the loss of Canada and Georgia, and the many defeats and disgraces received in the last contest with us? Have they, for their honour or interest, no desire of revenge, nor that those Provinces should again return to their own Crowns? On whom does it depend whether it shall, in the case supposed, be peace or war? Is this to be determined at London, or at Madrid and Versailles? Is it in the power and in the breasts of ourselves, or of those who are most our rivals, and whose enmity may be said to be hardly yet cooled? Are four years past since we had two alarms? Is one year gone since we had one? Should there now be happily at the head of one or other Government a personage inclined to peace; yet,


how uncertain are the days of every mortal, and how are Princes, Ministers, or States, tempted into action by circumstances, opportunities, and advantages? Let us well weigh what it is for a private man, but much more for a great Nation, to part with the means of their prosperity out of their own hands, and to place it in the power and determination of those of whom they have, on account of a long and ancient rivalship, and the continuation of many bloody wars, the utmost reason to be suspicious and jealous.

We cannot too much consider or reflect upon what happened between Spain and the Dutch Provinces, at their breach and separation. The Spanish Government consisted, at that time, of Spain, of Portugal, of Mexico, and Peru, and other Provinces of America, of the Spanish and Portuguese, being all the European settlements at that time in the East Indies, and of Flanders, making seventeen Provinces, whereof those now united and then revolted, were only seven. How unequal a match! But yet the battle was not to the strong. The story and event of their war are well known. I am not about to repeat them. How little did, in the beginning, the Spaniards or Portuguese, or even the Dutch themselves, dream that the latter would, before long, strip and divest the former of the chief of these their settlements in the East Indies, and make them their own. They were, nevertheless, different Nations, spoke different languages, had different customs, and religions inconsistent together, and were themselves, before the end, extremely odious to one another. The Dutch obtained nothing except by force, victory, and conquest. But surely we are well aware how different things may, in these respects, be between us and the Americans, and how much to the advantage of the latter. We are one Nation, with the same language, the same manners, and the same religion. Their seamen, their soldiers, their people, are ours, and ours theirs. How easy will be the transition or the change of dependence, protection, or Government, between one and the other? Our people do already and at this moment seek with them shelter and refuge from their domestick poverty and misery. Should ever these our Provinces, in the events of chance and time, come to look us in the face with any near equality, or be much assisted by any other Nation, would it then be a very strange thing if they should cause a general revolt of all or of almost all the seamen of the British Empire? These might not look upon themselves as engaging or acting against their country, but as choosing between two parts of it. They will at their pleasure distribute the titles of unreasonable and unjust, of injured and oppressed. The best terms and the best treatment will not fail to carry the greater numbers. There is, perhaps, on the one side, towards this brave and deserving body of men, a most cruel, unjust, and impolitick practice, which has long cried for vengeance, and which cannot fail to be one day heard, and at that moment, perhaps, as likely as at any other. It is in every one' s discourse, that something of the same kind may happen with respect to our common soldiery. I will not, therefore, dwell on that point. But what part might our Islands in the West Indies take at such a conjuncture? To whom are they the nearest, or on whom do they most depend for their provisions, lumber, and other necessary circumstances of their trade? Would there be in the East Indies the same necessity of conquest as the Dutch found? Might more equal conditions, or independence itself, be no temptation to one or the other, or might it in that day be thought a great sin to change the words Old England for New? There is one point so important, so critical, that I hardly know either how to mention or how to be silent in it. Suppose that Ireland itself, I mean the Protestant, opulent, and ruling part of Ireland, should grow jealous — should begin to make comparisons between the state, situation, and relation of the Americans towards us and their own — but I will pass by this subject. However, I know so well the openness and frankness of that Nation, as to be fully assured that there are at least none of that country who advise or urge at this time the present proceedings with any distant or double view to forward and hasten the independence of Ireland, and that not at its own, but at the cost and hazard of America. The human heart can hardly be conceived to conceal such mysteries. But were it otherwise, our Administration would no doubt be sensible of it, and instead of being duped or imposed upon thereby,


be only the more circumspect on the occasion, and the more upon their guard.

Unhappy are the people which pursue those steps that their friends most fear, and their enemies most wish. Were the Cabinets of Versailles and Madrid, or any other the most jealous of the power and prosperity of Great Britain, united in council, and that they had it in their option to drive and push us, for their own advantage, upon some ruinous and destructive measure, what would they choose before this very one which we are now of ourselves so fatally and so madly running upon?

It is a common proverb in politicks, that any state may, at its own pleasure, commence war, but that they must afterwards ask their enemies when it shall be ended. Let us stay our hand and reflect once more while we may, and before that the die is cast not to be recalled. No man knows otherwise, whether the next time that we and the Americans shall treat upon terms, it may be on the ground of Acts of Parliament and Acts of Assembly, or upon that of a treaty of peace.

It is sometimes said that Providence blinds the understanding of those whom it destines to destruction. When things are ripe for that end, men often provoke and hasten their own fate. But God forbid that any one being at the helm of this state should ever not fully and repeatedly consider, or that he should from any unhappy impulse scruple or hesitate to stay and to stop such measures as may, in their consequences, make his master to sit uneasy on his throne, nor suffer himself to lay down his head upon his pillow, without bearing on it the curses of his country, but which may throw all the parts of the British Empire into such disorder and confusion, that neither he nor any man shall be able to guide or hold the reins of its Government.

I cannot guess into whose hands these sheets may fall, or how they may be received. It is not a Prince alone who may in these abject times be surrounded with flattery; a Minister may not want his share of it. It is withal but a poor satisfaction for a private person to wish, in the waste and havock of his country, that it may be remembered; that there was not wanting one who laid freely and plainly before the publick and those governing it, the risk and the likelihood of these fatal events and circumstances. But it is to be hoped that better and more substantial effects and consequences will follow, should the things here advanced be, on consideration, found no other than truth and reason. May not otherwise these advices and admonitions rise up one day in witness against those who shall now despise them? It is at the same time the furthest from my meaning, that futurity can be foreseen, or that it is permitted to look into the book of the time to come. There is nothing certain in human affairs; but in incidents of this prodigious importance; in the fate of States and of Kingdoms; in dangers of this transcendant magnitude, probability takes the place of certainty, and every prudent ruler ought to shun and avoid the one with almost as much caution as he would the other; nor can I finish this subject, without once more repeating, that our present debts puts us into a situation in which no Nation ever was before.

I know that some people affect to magnify the debts of France, but they are hardly worth speaking of in comparison of ours. I don' t believe that they exceeded, at the utmost, fifteen millions sterling, when the Regent Duke of Orleans took the method of the Mississippi to cancel and annihilate them. The wants of Louis the Fourteenth had been great, but his credit was as small. What can the present King have contracted since, to be compared to the debt of Great Britain? Where is the credit? Does any one believe the Dutch concerns of that kind to be equal in France to what they are in England, or has France itself supplied the rest? However, I will only observe more that the French debt consists, in great measure, of arrears of pensions, places, posts, and other grants which the same hand withholds as conferred; but that our debt was all received in millions sterling.

As to what has been said, that great men moving in a publick sphere are above the rules of right and wrong, he must be unworthy to hold the helm of any Government, who is so ignorant of the facts and incidents before his time, or so blind to those about him, as not to observe and perceive that good and virtuous actions, I mean such as are


really so, without the false colours of flattery and obsequiousness, produce in general and national matters their proper and correspondent effects. We have not indeed before our eyes, in that case, the formalities of a trial and a sentence, the Judge in his robes, or the apparatus of an execution; but due consequences do, from the original and universal law given to the world, follow a good or evil conduct in publick concerns, with much more certainty, justice, and impartiality, than they do by the means of municipal laws in private. But I desire to explain, that it is not the piety of a bigot on his knees, or the prayers even of a devout Prince, which will stay or turn the course and order of the world. Had that been the case, our Henry the Sixth would not have fallen in a prison by the hand of an assassin; nor Charles the First have suffered on a scaffold by the axe of the executioner; nor James the Second have led the latter part of his life in banishment. These were all both uncommonly devout and unfortunate Princes. I don' t at present enter into the consideration of what reward personal piety will meet with in another place; but it is the publick good — a love and regard for that, and attention to it — a constant resolution never to take directly or indirectly, by the means either of force or of corruption, the property of the subject at will and at pleasure, but to employ only for the welfare and happiness of the people, the powers and the prerogatives entrusted by them for that purpose, which are the true trial and touchstone of the conduct of Princes and Ministers as such. These naturally produce affection, loyalty, fidelity, attachment, and support. But should any man or number of men be regardless of the good or condition of others, trample on their rights, lay unjust hands on their properties, treat them rather like the beasts of the fields than as their fellows and equals, should they support themselves herein with the sword and a superiority of power, the great Author of mankind and of their welfare and happiness, has so linked and chained together causes and effects, that these things will certainly turn to the detriment and disadvantage of them and theirs who do them; sometimes by a silent and hardly observable course of things, and sometimes with long delay and at a great distance, but sometimes likewise at the moment and upon the occasion, with direct and immediate resistance and a common confusion, wherein the authors of the mischief are themselves involved, and wherein they often fall a prey and a sacrifice. The ways of Providence and the course of futurity are unsearchable; but were any man to presume to divine, how justice and injustice, and the general morality of the universe may possibly in the present case operate, it would perhaps be, that right will strongly unite, cement, and combine, by a mutual association and assistance, those acting under its banners, while wrong will, on the contrary, confound and weaken with disunion, dissension, and disturbances among themselves, that people by whom it shall unhappily have been adopted. These are on each side the natural, and, as it were, the necessary consequences of their own choice. But there appear at the same time, some untoward and threatening signs, that the hand of Heaven will, on the occasion, be heavy and severe, when wo to the party which shall abide it.

If any thing can, in this case, enhance the importance of the great stake, which we are about to venture, it must be a comparison of the very little profit that we are going to contend for. The Americans are willing and consenting to give us all they have, provided that we will accept it with our right hand; but we are obstinate to risk every thing, both of theirs and of our own, rather than not to take it with our left. Our whole object is on this occasion no more than the difference between those two propositions. Our Americans have now no gold or silver; it comes all to the mother country; it would equally do so did they receive as much again; they keep none for their own currency; they use themselves paper for that, and send us all the other. One would be amazed to think what men or Administrations can desire. Cannot we be contented with all, and do we insist on having more than all?

But it will be said we want to tax them. I ask why? It must be answered, because we are bent upon getting their money. I repeat again, we have it already. But says a ways-and-means man, we must have if in the shape of Taxes; no other will serve our purpose, I reply once


more, that we have it really in that shape; for cannot we and don' t we tax it when it comes hither, and is not that the same thing? Are there not Taxes enough to take it as soon as it gets to Britain, or why don' t you ask for more if there are not? Who say you nay here? I will be bold to say that there is at this time raised on Great Britain nothing less than ten millions sterling a year, besides the collection; that is the least; it may with the latter be fairly taken at eleven. Our specie has never been used to be reckoned at above twenty millions. It is said that about three millions and a quarter of guineas have, at the time of the writing this, been on occasion of the light gold, brought into the Bank. Let our currency be calculated on that ground, and we shall, according to any just reasoning thereon, appear to raise within the year, by Taxes, including the collection, a sum at least equal to half of the whole specie and current coin of the Kingdom; a prodigious proportion, and perhaps incredible, were we not to examine into particulars.

Should it be said that a circulating guinea cannot but pay twenty different taxes in a year, some might possibly be at first sight surprised at it. But how far short will that, on a more minute examination, be found of the truth? Let us consider only the course of a shilling for a very short time. A chairman pays out of it for his pot of porter. How many taxes does that include; the new and old taxes on beer and malt, and the tax on hops? They are more than I have time to reckon. His wife sends next morning to the shop for her tea and sugar. How many more are there? I will leave them to be counted by those better acquainted with the book of rates than I am. But here are a considerable number gone through out of one single shilling, by the time that a porter has got his beer over night, and his wife her breakfast the next morning. There remains, then, a third part of the money to run the gauntlet again in the service of the man at dinner-time; However, they do not perhaps amount quite to twenty; but so is likewise the time a good deal short of a year, and the money much less than a guinea. But this is not taking the matter in the strongest light. There is a chain and union of taxes, which operate insensibly and almost beyond imagination. Go into a shoemaker' s shop; buy a pair of shoes there. How many taxes does any one in effect pay then? The journeyman shoemaker must put into his day' s labour, and consequently there must be laid upon the shoes made by him all the taxes which he and his family pay in the mean time for his salt, for his soap, for his coals, for his candles, for the linen, and for the very shoes worn by him, his wife, and his children, and for very many other things. These are all just so much money out of his pocket, and he must be repaid them by his daily labour, which is his only means; he cannot otherwise live; there would be no shoes, and men must go without them. But it is not the immediate taxes of the shoemaker only which go upon his manufacture, but those likewise of his tradesmen. The price of his clothes is enhanced by the taxes which the tailor and the weaver paid while they were making and weaving them; however, not by theirs only, but by those likewise of the persons working for them in their turn, and so on. These must all be put on the shoes; insomuch, that the whole fully pursued and observed, makes a series and combination fit to put Newton or Demoivre at a stand. A poor guinea or shilling cannot, in England, put its bead, if I may so express myself, out of any man' s pocket, but that an army of these catchpoles are ready to seize upon it wherever it stirs. The matter being then viewed in these lights, it seems no longer strange if we raise a revenue equal to the half of our currency, or more. Increase that currency, and you increase in all appearance your revenue nearly in that proportion. This is a prodigious operation, and surely sufficient to satisfy any Administration whatsoever. Let us therefore content ourselves with getting hither the American money. That is our business. We know what to do with it here. This is the very land of taxes. It is now coming as fast as it can. Don' t let us move Heaven and Earth only to disturb it in its passage. Let us have the least patience and fall to work upon it at home. We are certain that it will be here and that it will then be taxed, and as it were, taxed upon taxed. The rest is, with all submission to my superiours, no better at the bottom than a childish fancy and impatience,


and owing only to the want of a full reflection and consideration on the subject.

I have yet something to add on this head; which is, that were the Irish and the Americans both of them unanimously to cry out to us to spare their lives and to take all they have; to beg of us to send them such another army of Tax-gatherers as our own, and with them a copy of our code of Revenue Laws, I will be bold to say, that it would nevertheless be in us the worst policy in the world, and totally contrary to our own interest to take them at their words, and to do in the least degree any such thing. We see the Thames flowing constantly into the Ocean, and yet always full. It need not be said that the rain and the dew are the causes of this, which first fall and fertilize the Earth, and then replenish that noble River. Were those two stopped or dried up, it would not be long before we should pass over dry-shod at London Bridge; were they so only in part, the stream would then likewise lower in proportion.

What our whole debt to foreigners amounts to, no one may probably know with exactness; but the more it has been inquired into, the higher it has always appeared. However, the interest of it is a current which runs perpetually into the Continent. We do not, indeed, see it with our eyes, as we do the Thames; otherwise, we love money so much better than we do water, that we might perhaps be less indifferent about it than we are. It passes imperceptibly, but nevertheless surely and without ceasing. What are then the causes which supply it? I answer, those two great sources, of Ireland and America. These first water and fructify with their most benignant current the whole Island of Great Britain, and then finish their course in the discharge of our debt abroad. Their way is no more visible than that of the interest itself of our debt, but it is alike certain and constant. Stop or dry up these, and you will as surely stop or dry up the funds of our debts, as withholding the rain or the dew of Heaven would lessen and lower the stream of the River Thames. Taxes will do this; they are the bane of Commerce and of Agriculture; they affect the Merchant, the Manufacturer, the Planter, the Farmer, and the Labourer. Our America is not of an age to support their operation. The things from above keep their course in spite of man, for his benefit and advantage. It is God' s very great mercy that the dew and the rain do not depend on Administrations; they would otherwise have undoubtedly been taxed and dried long ago. But it is not so with what is of our own fabrick or production. We have a great power over riches and treasure. Governments can effectually cut off the wells and the springs of these. We have only to look abroad in the world to be abundantly convinced of that truth. The example of Great Britain will not prove the contrary. It was when and while we were not taxed as we now are, that we prospered, grew great and rich. Those times gave us strength to bear for a while the burthen since imposed upon us. It is from the Revolution that our prodigious taxes have begun; they were laid by degrees, and so must their effects be perceived. They don' t operate like a storm or a whirlwind. Let us give them a fair and full trial before we declare that we are not undone by them. It will then be time enough to make ourselves a model for others. I ask, whether it is riot our own actual difficulties brought on by these very taxes, which do now at this instant urge us upon our Colonies, and which are the cause of all the present contest and disorder. It is one of the first principles in Commerce not to burthen the means and materials of Manufactures. It would be nipping the fruit in the bud. The same reasoning holds here. Let us keep our hands from these two great causes and sources of our treasure and wealth; they have hitherto wonderfully supplied and supported us; they may continue so to do, if we will suffer them.

But it may be said that we have at home great and profitable Manufactures, and our Woollen one in particular, whereby we stand less in need of distant assistance. That is very true; but so is it likewise, that we have on the Continent very many expenses and demands for money, besides the interest of our debt. We shall be very fortunate if we can, with the means of all our richest resources, make at the years end an even account.

But it may be asked, what are we then to do. We are pressed with our domestick burthens and encumbrances.


These put us first on the measure of Stamps in America, wherein we did not succeed. These induced us afterwards to make demands on the India Company, wherein we had rather better fortune. It is these which have again brought us back to our attack on America. How are we either to stand under them, or to march forward? Is it safe to rest as we are? What course are we to take if it is not? This is perhaps as serious a proposition as one Englishman can put to another. No man laments more than the writer of these sheets, that nearly twelve years of peace are now elapsed, without any thing being done, or establishment made, which may enable us to maintain another war, or perhaps even in peace, support long the present very heavy pressure under which we labour. We have in that time paid off eight millions. We borrowed, during the late war, twelve millions in a year; so that our discharge is in between eleven and twelve years of peace, equal to a debt of eight months of a war. We shall, at that rate, in about seventeen years of the first, if it should continue so long, free ourselves from the encumbrance of one year of the latter. Whereas, should the whole time be taken from the Revolution to the present, we have had as much of the one as of the other, except the difference of about ten years in the whole. Should, therefore, any one at the helm of Government, plume himself on this, what would he do but testify how very far short his own views and conceptions are of the real necessities and exigencies of the state? We are in the mean time daily liable to be again engaged in war. We have now had an uncommon interval of rest from it. It was but a very few years ago, that we were on the brink of a rupture with Spain, which would undoubtedly have been attended by one with France. How can any Minister sleep in peace who has on his hands the care of a Kingdom and the welfare of many millions of people, while publick affairs are in a condition so very unprepared for an event which may at any moment happen, and which may, in our present situation, bring with it consequences of an importance hardly to be conceived? Surely they think on these things, whose duty most demands it of them. It is impossible that such concerns of ours can be left only to chance and hazard; or, as it were, to the fortuitous concourse of atoms. One would think there could hardly be a man in Britain, Minister, or any other, not perpetually employed at the plough, but who must daily revolve in his mind the present circumstances of his country, our burthens, our debts, and our expenses, and at the same time cast in his own breast, what must be the best means of our supporting ourselves under them, whether in war or in peace. There is an issue which some men have in view, and which I will not express; we may, however, be assured, that they do but very superficially consider the matter, who imagine that this will, in our case, take place without the utter ruin and confusion of every thing. All is, notwithstanding, as yet tranquillity and sunshine with us. We possess a great and fine country; we have most noble and beneficial Dependencies; we have a Fleet; we have an Army; we have several hundred thousands, and perhaps near a million of Men capable of bearing arms in their own defence; we have a Revenue with a surplus above the interest of our debts and expenses. Surely there is yet an opportunity to find some plan; to settle some establishment, whereon things may rest safely and securely, and the publick and all reasonable persons be satisfied that they do so. There is, however, no time to be lost. It may be too late to prepare, as it were, in the day of battle, and at the moment when our difficulties press strongly upon us. But this is of itself a very wide field, and one of the greatest of considerations, nor is it my immediate subject. But the measures now carrying on will not effect it or any thing towards it. No surrounding dangers or difficulties are a good reason for running down a precipice; our fate can but lead us thither at last. However, no other end can happen to us from the way which we are now in, if we persevere and proceed in it.

This seems to be a sufficient answer to the point before us. However, I will not totally turn my back on this question, without frankly and freely proposing, what I trust will at least be more for our purpose, than that which we are now pursuing; what may be carried into execution, which the other cannot; what would increase our Revenue, which the other will not. I mean to do almost directly the contrary


of what we are about; that is, to give a greater liberty and latitude of trade both to Ireland and to America, including our West India Islands. That is my proposition. We are the seat and centre of Government; this is our strength; this is our advantage; this is what we are to preserve. While we retain this, all the money, riches, and treasure, of the more distant and dependent parts of our Empire cannot fail to flow in upon us. We have nothing to do with little jealousies about this trade or that manufacture; it is the proper business of the rich to spend their money, and of the poor to earn it; the state may well, without meddling in it, leave them to settle the means of that matter with one another. The end of all trades, and of all manufactures, must rest with us, while we continue the seat of Dominion. It is the necessary consequence of giving the tone and the law. Ambition, pleasure, fashion, business, curiosity, education, trade, and commerce, posts and places, possessed abroad by Englishmen, and numberless other causes, will contribute to and effect it. The Island of Jamaica, and our other Islands in the West Indies, what money, and commodities equivalent to money, have they not sent to England, could the whole be added together? Jamaica in particular, draws by its situation, Gold and Silver from the Spanish Main, that great modern Ophir, much more abundant in those metals than ever was the ancient. It is here almost impossible not to observe, that the same Statesmen forbid and stopped also this commerce, who contrived and passed the Stamp Act. I will not dwell on this circumstance. However, it is very remarkable; I shall therefore proceed to take notice, that had these Islands and Islanders acquired ten times as much as they did, it would undoubtedly have run the same road as the rest. The climate would have driven the possessors from thence, while the seat of Empire would have invited them hither. Do not we see the very Proprietaries of our Northern Colonies living in England as private gentlemen; and have not we sometimes known them voting in minorities of our Lower House of Legislature, while they might have been almost as Princes and Kings in their own Governments? Were it in the next month to rain over the different parts of Ireland a million of money, how long does any one imagine it would be, before at least nine hundred thousand Pounds of it would find its way into England? Have we lately wanted very sufficient proofs, that there remains no abundance of cash in that Kingdom? I will pot repeat what has been said of North America; but they have, by their Paper Money, invented the very contrivance of the world for sending to us every ounce of their Gold and Silver, did we but know when to be content. Look at the City of London; they neither plant, nor do they sow, nor do they reap; yet Solomon, or his Jerusalem, were not in all their glory, rich and great like that capital of our Dominions. But by what means does this happen? The money of our whole Empire is remitted thither, as the blood runs to the heart. Our great body politick is preserved and nourished by the dispersion and circulation of it again from thence. This is the constant and never-failing course of things. But the Case is much more strong, if we take Great Britain itself, whereof London is only a part. That would retain a considerable share of what it receives, did not the interest of our debt carry it out as fast as it comes in. This is the issue and the drain, which prevents us from perceiving ourselves more enriched and replenished from the vast quantity of treasure perpetually arriving to us from many parts. This may be the reason why we are less sensible, less attentive, and perhaps sometimes less grateful on the occasion. But that is all our own fault, our own doing. We have none to thank for it but ourselves. We ought not on that account to esteem these supplies the less; for had we not them, it would be much worse with us. Nothing could follow but our last decease and dissolution as a state. These must and will take place, whenever the others shall stop. However, these things don' t require much reasoning. We have the world before us for an example. Such are everywhere the effects between the centre and other parts of a Government, although perhaps in no case more so than in that of Great Britain, on account of certain circumstances and causes, attending that Empire, which are particularly suited to produce them. This is our point, if we are but sensible of our true interest; let us but preserve


this our great and sacred prerogative, and the other benefits and advantages will of course follow; the rest of these things will perform themselves, even while we are asleep.

I shall use no words to prove that this arrangement will bring a greater influx of treasure to those to whose liberty of trade it shall extend. The person the most prejudiced, or the most short-sighted in the case, will not dispute that with me. I will venture to presume on that point. This will therefore attach to us our Dependencies, at the same time that it enriches us ourselves. It will strengthen and fasten the bond and union between us. It will confirm our superiority, while it increases the fruits of it. It will bring us more spoils and profits than conquest, although it will operate by love and affection. It will require neither Fleets or Armies to enforce it; we need fear no revolts, no defections or confederacies on the account of it. How happy would it be, if all the circumstances of the other plan would in the same manner answer, and play into the hands of each other. When will men be contented to do to others no more mischief than what will turn to their own benefit? States and Ministers will have advanced no mean way in policy, as well as in morality, when they shall once have learned to confine all their evil towards others within that circle. It is the very perverseness of folly, to suppose that men can serve themselves only by oppressing others. But here, on the contrary, the hand of nature itself works with us. Freedom of trade is our foundation; no wonder then that so many blessings coincide together. There is open before us a rich and wide field; we have only to enter and to reap the harvest, which is ripe and plentiful. This proposal rests therefore on three points, to wit: that it will bring a greater influx of treasure into our outward Dominions; that this must enrich the centre of Empire; which cannot therefore likewise but increase its Revenue. These are short propositions, and no way perplexed. Let them be well examined. All falls to the ground which has been said on the subject, if any one of them be false or mistaken; but should they, on the contrary, be all of them most evident, most certain and indisputable, let any man, and the greatest in trust, the most consider, how he can answer to Ireland, to the Colonies, to his country at home, to his King himself, in the concern of his Revenue and his Exchequer, the refusing his attention and assistance to a measure so very practicable, and at the same time so universally beneficial and salutary.

This is the more, and much more necessary, on account of the present condition of Ireland. The late inquiry concerning their Linen Manufacture, the publick history of their emigrations, and the state of their credit at the beginning of their present session of Parliament, have made that sufficiently known. I shall not pretend to describe it. England has, perhaps, from that Island, reaped more real benefit, than Spain ever did from Mexico or Peru. Spain gains indeed from those possessions, great riches of Silver and Gold; but she has dearly purchased them, at the price of her inhabitants and people at home. Whereas, Ireland affords us in many ways a very advantageous assistance and support of men, while we receive from her at the same time, a constant, most rich influx and supply of money. We now so depend on these things, and can so ill do without them, and are by these means so united with our sister Island, that should she on any account unhappily sink, she cannot but like a mill-stone fastened about our necks, carry us down along with her. Should her condition grow worse, who knows but it may turn to rage and despair, and either have an effect on her Legislature, or that the majority thereof may be hardly able to manage and govern their own state. I am unwilling to point out such possibilities; but it will not be long health and wealth in England, should any irretrievable mischief happen in Ireland. A moderate remedy might however now be timely, for what may in futurity be beyond redress. A greater liberty and latitude of trade is the proper assistance in the case. It is what Ireland itself wishes and desires. It will at the same time be of more benefit to us than to them. France is beating us out of the trades of Turkey, of Spain, and even of Portugal. Let loose the Irish, and they will do as much for them, and likewise for some others. It is Great Britain which withholds the hand of Ireland, and not the nature of things that confines it. Let us but consent, and they will soon stretch out their right hand into many a


market in the world, where it now never appears; and having done so, they will immediately deliver to us with their left, the money gained there, as surely as that we are born Englishmen. I don' t point out particulars; lights will not be wanting in that respect, whenever there shall be an inclination to demand them. I don' t, moreover, mean to signify that any opening of the commerce of Ireland and America, recommended within the compass of these sheets, will of itself be adequate to all the demands of our present situation. That will, in all appearance, require a new and universal arrangement of our Taxes and Commerce, wherein Great Britain herself must bear a most material part. No man can say, that all the money in Europe is equal to our National Debt, nor can therefore any provision be sufficient, but what may produce effects answerable to such a very great necessity. Some plan seems to be demanded, which may bring into Great Britain a good part of all the Gold and Silver now current in the world. Nothing less will perhaps do our business. The practicability of this cannot but appear a doubtful problem. Were all States whatsoever formed on a constitution the most advantageous for commerce, whereof each is capable, it is evident that they would then share among them those two precious metals in so near a proportion, that no one could therein have over the rest any very great superiority. But this is exceedingly wide of the case. No one state is so constituted; but on the contrary, almost all Governments whatever are framed, and act on principles directly opposite thereto. This gives a very great opportunity for an extreme difference and disproportion in that respect. It is perhaps on the availing ourselves thereof, that depends the future welfare of our country, and the safety, the stability, and the very subsistence of our state. The Dutch are a small people, or at least have but a very confined territory, and that defended with difficulty from the Sea. They have nevertheless done a great deal in the way which we are speaking of. They are certainly therein at the head of all mankind. However, it is evident, and might easily be pointed out, that they are yet far short of perfection. There is good room for others to go beyond, and especially for a state which has such advantages as Great Britain. However, what degree of advantage the nature of things will admit of on this head, or how to attain thereto, are not questions of this present instant. I have said thus much, led to it by my subject, together with the interest of the publick therein, and the necessity which I am persuaded that my country is at this time under, of finding and carrying into execution some such great, general, and salutary measure. Happy will be the hand that shall in the first place, prevent the ruin whereon we are now running. We must begin there. That is the object directly before us. Let us next enlarge the trade of Ireland and America. This will do a great deal. It may likewise lead us towards a more universal plan, with which it cannot at the same time but coincide. It will withal be well, that this double benefit of these two parts of our country went hand in hand together. The present state of Ireland makes it absolutely and immediately necessary for the one, and the interest of Great Britain requires it for both.

I don' t enter into particulars concerning the stopping up the Port of Boston, or the new laws given to Massachusetts Bay. However, I must observe, that the alteration of their Charter, and of their Civil Government, is not temporary, like the other provisions, but perpetual. The breaking of Charters is making the worst war upon mankind. It involves the innocent, and those yet unborn. Every thing depends with men on their constitution of Government. Such a measure is therefore wantonly laying waste the Territories of the Earth, and I speak it with reverence; but it is even forbidding Providence itself to make mankind happy thereon, unless he shall, for the undoing the works of unreasonable and ill-judging men, perform immediate miracles, and suspend or counteract his own laws of nature, which is surely not to be supposed or expected. As for those who refuse or impede law and justice for blood, let them be well aware that they don' t thereby bring it on their own heads, or warrant private men to be themselves their own avengers. However, the whole will no doubt be received in America as a declaration of war, and depend upon the same issue. It must be by force and conquest, if they submit. It is probably not a month,


or a year, that will finally determine this affair. The flame may break out immediately, or the fire may smother until some fatal opportunity of our being engaged in a foreign war, or some other such occasion. The authors of these measures no doubt expect that the removal of the Custom House, and the suspension of the trade of Boston, will bring these people on their knees, and force them to submit to the rest of our measures. It is evident that this is their idea. They might have been well informed and instructed, and ought to have been so, before they proceeded so far. They may nevertheless find themselves much mistaken in the event, however forward they are to hazard on their opinion the welfare and prosperity of their country. It seems that some men cannot, even at the distance of America, bear a Constitution in any degree democratical. But they ought to know the history of the world better, than to be ignorant of the strength and the force of such a form of Government, and how strenuously and almost wonderfully people living under one, have sometimes exerted themselves in defence of their rights and liberties, and how fatally it has ended with many a man, and many a state, who have entered into quarrels, wars, and contests with them.

Some say, that all the contradiction and opposition of America originates from home, and that it is only the faction of England which catches there. Nothing perhaps testifies a greater ignorance of the true state of that country, than such a notion. What is all the spirit of patriotism or of liberty now left in England, more than the last snuff of an expiring lamp? It is not longer than four and thirty years ago, that it was otherwise with us. But who can say, whether the same flame, the same sacred flame, may not at this time burn brightly and strongly in America, which once showed forth such wonders in Greece and in Rome, and from whose ashes it still enlightens a great part of mankind — I mean all who are not sunk in ignorance or barbarity? They have certainly there excellent and free forms of Government, and which partake perhaps in some degree, of the principles whereon were framed the ancient ones of those eminent Cities. They are themselves, as yet, a new and uncorrupted people. They carried with them formerly, the spirit of liberty from England, at the time that it was in its greatest purity and perfection there, nor has it since degenerated by the climate. Whoever shall judge of their temper by ours at home, and proceed accordingly, will perhaps in the end be scorched by that flame, which he may find to burn too powerfully for him, and of the nature and of the proper means for extinguishing of which, he was totally ignorant.

I have now considered the rectitude, the practicability, and the profit to be expected from our present measures, and have gone so far as to offer another measure instead. I hope that I have proved my propositions to a great degree of clearness and certainty. I don' t know what to do more on this subject, unless I should propose something which might convince and satisfy, without the trouble of reason and argument. This seems difficult. However, I will not despair. My cause is a good and a strong one; that will help me; and I beg to be permitted to try my hand in the case. I will recommend, and so far as becomes me, desire and request, that every one, when he considers of this subject, and especially before he uses any hard words, or passes any harsh laws, will place himself in America; will imagine himself born, bred, resident, and having all his concerns and fortune there. — I don' t mean in the light of a Governour, or of one who seeks to recommend and to advance himself here at the expense of his countrymen in that part of the world, but as one who has no other views or interest, except in the common good of his Colony or Continent. Let then any such man candidly and fairly ask himself, in his own breast, what he should in that situation, think of being taxed at Westminster, and let no one on this occasion throw a stone, whose heart does not plainly and roundly answer him with its assent. I may make too free with Ministers of State; but I would particularly press this on those, whose desires, passions, and inclinations, are followed by effects, and who hold perhaps at this moment in their hands the fate of Great Britain, and of North America. This, I say, is an argument without a syllogism; but which, if properly brought home, and enforced by every man upon himself, may perhaps penetrate,


move, and soften, more than all the reasoning and earnestness which I have hitherto used.

I would willingly try this experiment of transposition upon a late transaction, wherein some people' s opinions seem to be affected by locality. Certain letters (see Letters of Governour Hutchinson, &c˙,) have been published of an American Governour and Lieutenant-Governour, and a third person, together with remarks, and the speech of a learned and ingenious gentleman. These are offered as an appeal to the publick against the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. They cannot, therefore, but be themselves likewise the objects of a publick consideration. I have, by the touchstone of locality, a mind to examine and question some of this learned gentleman' s reasoning. It is now but between eighty and ninety years since we of this country banished our King. On what ground did we do it? It will be answered, that we did not like his actions; for that they tended to deprive us of our best rights and properties. That we did it as Englishmen, on the Constitution of England. Who was the common judge between us and him? There was no such common judge. We judged for ourselves. He was our King, our Magistrate, our Trustee. When we found him to fail in the essential points of these offices, we took another. This was our right, as Englishmen; but we set aside one of his daughters from her turn in the succession, and appointed instead, a person who had no title by birth. The King' s horse threw him, and the Lady succeeded. But that was chance. It might in a course of nature, very well have happened, that she had never been Queen. What had she done? She had taken a remarkable part in the Revolution, and was totally unexceptionable. But there were in one scale the welfare and happiness of many millions of people, and in the other the advancement of only one Lady, although a deserving one. There was therefore no equality; the latter could not but kick the beam. I answer, that I subscribe to all this with my hand and my heart. But it is only one side of the medal. Let us turn the reverse. An American Governour is not so big as a King; he don' t wear a Crown, nor bear a Sceptre, nor sit on a Throne, nor is worshipped on the knee, nor has a Navy, nor an Army, nor makes Bishops, nor Judges, nor is his Civil List perhaps above a thousand Pounds a year. He seems to be much more responsible, and more removable, than a King. Suppose then, that one of our Colonies should take the strongest exceptions to their Governour, and desire to change him; would they in that case be permitted to judge for themselves? No. Why not? Because they are Americans. Who are to judge for them? We. Why so? Because we are Englishmen. But would their application be to us a sufficient cause for a removal? Perhaps not; but on the contrary, a reason to continue him at present, and to promote and advance him afterwards. That has been the case before, and may probably be so again. But why is the measure which we mete to them, so different from that which we measure to ourselves? That has been already answered. Because we are Englishmen, and they are Americans. This must be owned to be perfectly just and satisfactory, and the Americans are the most unreasonable men in the world, if they don' t see it exactly in the same light.

But suppose that the representative body of the Province should make the complaint? The answer would then be, that there was no accuser, or if any one chose to speak Latin, no delator. Suppose that they complain of falsehood and treachery towards the Province? That would be no charge, no crimen. Suppose that they gave in evidence the party' s own letters? That would complete the thing; for there would then be no evidence, no testis. Nil horum. But will this hold water? Admirably, with respect to America, and in Latin.

It is strongly disputed, whether these American letters are of a publick or a private nature. This may not in itself be a very important point. However, let us endeavour to settle it, since it lies in our way. Whatever concerns and affects the interests, the welfare and happiness of a whole people is, and must be, of a publick nature, whether papers, letters, or any other thing whatsoever. Good and evil are not matters of law or of logick. They are the most, if not the only essential circumstances of the world. They are what every thing else refers to. They


stamp an eternal mark and difference on all things, which even imagination cannot cancel or erase. The enjoyment of the one, and the avoiding of the other, is the very end of our being, and likewise of all the beings which do, or which even can be supposed to exist, and which have a sense and perception of them. Whatever therefore relates to the general good and evil of a people, is of a publick nature. It is that circumstance which makes it so. The terms are as good as synonymous. Whatever concerns, on the contrary, only this or that individual, is of a private nature; it is confined to his or their happiness or welfare, to his or their good and evil. There is again the true and unerring criterion. These things seem clear to the greatest degree of intuitive certainty. It is strange to be forced to reason about them. However, we are told otherwise. If some compliments happen in a letter to be made to an old lady, it changes the essence of every thing; she contracts and confines the whole matter, and all becomes of a private nature; although the chief subject of that very letter should be to advise and point out the means of altering the Charter, and of new-modelling the Constitution of a Colony, and that there should be recommended therein the finding some way, according to its own language, "to take off the original incendiaries," lest they should "continue to instil their poison into the minds of the people;" but the mention of the old lady makes it all private. (See Mr˙ Wedderburn' s Speech, page 94, and Letter of Mr˙ A. Oliver, February 13, 1769.) But suppose that these letters were really meant and intended to produce publick effects; what will that do? Nothing at all. If the person had not at that moment a place, to whom they were written, it signifies nothing; although he might have had a post before, and might look for one again, and although he might have communicated these letters to others for the very purpose of affecting the publick. All this will be of no importance, if the person did not happen to have a place at the time. Would not one be tempted to think, that as some endeavour to leave no property in America, others have a mind to banish all human reason out of American affairs?

But let us take this matter in another light: Suppose a Prince to have been the subject of these letters instead of a People, and his conduct and character to have therein been so freely treated and censured instead of theirs, and the divesting him of his power and dignity so plainly mentioned and recommended, instead of the depriving them of their rights and privileges, and the taking him off proposed instead of the taking off some of them, what would have been the consequence? High Treason. But might not these have been private letters of friendship, and the receiver have secreted and concealed them? There is no such thing as private letters in the case. No civilities sent to the fairest lady in the land can make them so. The person receiving must, at his own peril, carry them to a Secretary of State, or to a Justice of the Peace, or to some other Magistrate; we don' t otherwise want a word for him, which is misprision of treason. But who would take notice of such a thing? Let Mr˙ Attorney or Mr˙ Solicitor answer that. But on what ground is all this? Because the Prince is supposed to be the publick person, and to represent the whole people, and that what relates to him may affect them. But there are bad Princes; and writing against them is sometimes writing in support and in the interests of the publick and of the people; no such plea or proposition is ever suffered; it would, on the contrary, be an additional crime even to make or to offer it. But does any one by representing a body, acquire more prerogatives than belong to that body itself; or are the publick more affected through a third person than immediately in themselves? Yes, just so. Say a word against a Prince, and beware of informations, indictments, fines, prisons, scaffolds, and gibbets. These are the strongest arguments in the world, and I never knew any man to get the better in disputing with them. But abuse a people from morning till night, and every one knows that the rule and the law is, let them mend their manners, if it is true; let them despise it, and leave it to fall on the author if it is false; I am at the feet of Gamaliel, and desire only to learn. I shall not contradict the doctrine concerning a Prince, and I subscribe heartily to that about a People. Should these Commonwealths of America ever become as strong and


independent as they are now weak and dependent, and should they in their greatness and glory remember a word of the humblest and the meanest, but not of the least sincere or the least disinterested of their friends and advocates, it will be never to employ force and power against reason and argument; to leave those instruments to Cabinets, and to such as may want them, but to believe Truth to be ever the real interest of the people and the publick, and that no other incense or sacrifice should ever be offered at the altars of that Goddess, but the pure oblation of a freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing. But here it cannot well fail to be observed, that should these people, whose distresses are now pleaded, ever come to be masters both of themselves and of others, and to be glutted with power and riches, that they will certainly run the race of the rest of mankind, and learn in their turn tyranny and injustice, as their betters and their predecessors have done before them, I answer, no man perhaps believes this more than myself; however, that is not now the case. They are at present the injured and the oppressed party, and have, as such, a claim to the wishes or to the assistance of every generous and unprejudiced person. But whenever the other supposition shall obtain, it is to be hoped that neither may there, in that day, be wanting some honest man among them who will endeavour to make them blush at such a conduct, if he shall not be able to dissuade and divert them from it. However, I would willingly in my turn now ask, whether this last observation is also local and confined to America, or whether it extends itself likewise to the meridian of Great Britain?

It is not reason and argument, it is this locality, which operates on the present occasion. It is this only that makes many men easy and indifferent in the case about right and wrong, justice and injustice. Were my countrymen now in England dipped once in the River Delaware, I dare say that it would make an almost miraculous change in their opinions. If some, who might be named, were transposed into Assemblymen, they would perhaps be as ready to repeal certain late laws as ever they were to pass them. However I will not go back again to topicks which seem sufficient to awaken the most lethargick Englishman out of his soundest sleep, but I desire to put a case relating to this locality itself, and its power and effects, when it is to be hoped that we shall not find in the mirror any similitude or representation of ourselves.

At the beginning of the last century, there lived a gentleman of the name of Fawkes. He hired a house and some cellars and other apartments in Westminster. We will suppose that he had a lease of them. A lease is for the time as good as a purchase. It might not indeed be stamped; but stamps were not then in fashion, it was good without. He bought some Gunpowder; it is to be believed that he paid honestly for it. He could perhaps have produced for it a receipt; he placed it in the cellars or other apartment hired by him. He had, indeed, a mind to amuse himself with blowing up the Legislature of England, no doubt with the good intention of introducing a better. However, he and his trains were discovered, and the Nation not relishing his projects, he met with another reward than he desired. But suppose that he and Garnet, and the rest of their associates, instead of falling into the hands of an English Jury, had been tried at Rome before the Consistory Court, or any other Court there, they would no doubt have found an advocate; that is no other than the duty of the profession. I won' t take upon me to say whether he would, in this case, have flourished about private property, trespass, or forcible entry; but whatever turn the Italian Counsel had thought proper to give the cause of his clients, has any one seriously the least doubt but that they would have been cleared and acquitted, and probably by the Court of Rome itself in good time, preferred and promoted. So much can a difference of climate do. But Fawkes and Garnet and their friends were fools, Jesuits as some of them were. They did not understand their trade. They might have been told better ways of blowing up Legislatures than with Gunpowder; that don' t make a quarter of the crack and combustion, but which are ten times more effectual.

But our Colonies might be well enough, were it not for Doctor Franklin, who has, with a brand lighted from


the clouds, set fire to all America. No Governments care ever to acknowledge the people to be fairly against them: for whatever may be the case with the opinions of the multitude in abstruse and refined matters, which but little concern them, nor do they much trouble themselves about; yet the end, and therefore the touchstone and trial of all Government being their welfare and happiness, there is not common modesty in affecting to despise and refuse their sense concerning their own good and evil, their own feelings, benefits, or sufferings. It is in these things that the voice of the people is said to approach that of their Maker. The sycophants of Ministers endeavour, therefore, to throw on the artifice and influence of individuals all discontent or dissatisfaction of the publick. Mr˙ Wilkes moves England, and Doctor Franklin America; as if we had here no feeling but through the first, and they had there neither eyes or ears, but by the latter. It were happy for mankind, if Administrations procured their own votes and majorities with as much fairness as the voice of the people is commonly obtained. I wonder whether we should then have ever heard of any Government in Europe indebted in the sum of a hundred and forty millions sterling, or be at this moment under the alarm of a parent state attacking its own Colonies, or of a great Empire setting at work its Fleets and Armies only to throw the parts of itself into mischief and confusion. It is idle and childish to be crying out against this or that private person. The truth is, that whenever Governments heap up combustibles, there will always be found a hand to put the match to them, or these would heat and take fire of themselves if there were not.

But it seems that Doctor Franklin recommended to his constituents for the rule of their conduct, to refrain from all force and violence, but to preserve and keep alive in the mean time their claims by votes and resolves. — (Wedderburn' s Speech, page 110 and 111.) I have nothing to do with the defence of any individual. However, what more prudent or honest advice could, on the occasion, have been conceived or offered? Is the hour very far off when every man in Britain, and among the rest the Minister himself, and perhaps even his royal and illustrious Master, may most earnestly wish, that the same spirit of peace had inspired, the same caution and consideration guided the publick councils here at home on the subject, as appear to have dictated this advice attributed to Doctor Franklin, for the direction of our countrymen beyond the Atlantic. This may, I say, indeed happen soon, but with this most wide and infinite difference that the time may then be too late; that the circumstances of things can no more be recalled, but that the lot of our good or our evil, of our peace or our confusion, and possibly even of our existence or our dissolution, as a state, shall before have fatally and irrecoverably been cast.

However, is not Mr˙ W' s philipick against the Doctor a capital performance? I am sure that I have not the least inclination to depreciate the ingenuity of that learned gentleman, whose argument I have been making so free with. But the being charmed with spruce expressions or a smartness of invective, where the subject makes against the privileges or the liberties of a people, what is it better than if a parcel of prisoners or of galley-slaves were so abject as to take a pleasure in the noise and the rattling, or as it were, in the musick of their own chains?

I am drawing towards an end of my career. However, I will first say something to the Americans themselves. I observe them to charge sometimes on the British subjects in general, the measures with which they are aggrieved. Herein they do us wrong. I may venture to affirm, that there would not be hurt the hair of the head of an American, were it to be voted by all our country. Every one must remember the universal satisfaction produced by the repeal of the Stamp Act, and it would no doubt be the same again were the present measures discharged and remitted. But it often happens, that representatives and their constituents are, in the most essential and the most important points, directly and diametrically opposite to one another. I don' t pretend to account for this. It is a fatality, or perhaps it is a new kind of representation. But the Americans should consider, that two different parts of a country may be oppressed by one and the same


hand. Administrations have been squandering and running us in debt at home, until our whole substance is wasted and consumed. It may now be coming to their turn; but procul a Jove, procul a fulmine. Great Britain is first brought to its extremity. Let any of our Dependencies compare their burthens with ours, and then complain of the Nation if they shall find that ours are the lighter. I don' t mean to make a merit of this; but let them suppose the same strong hand to be upon us both, when they shall have been convinced how little we are in this respect to be envied.

I am unwilling to take my leave, without saying likewise one word to my countrymen of England. It is not only riches and power, men and money, which the centre of Government receives from the detached parts of its Dominions, but likewise credit and honour in the world. The Scotch and the Irish are as good men as any in Europe. This is well known wherever they seek service and establishments, and the which they are left to do in more parts than is for the benefit of Great Britain. Our countrymen of America have not yet so figured in our quarter of the globe; but it is hardly a compliment to place them clearly at the head of their own, the offspring of all other people there included. If there are any spoiled children of our national family, it must be the English themselves, unless that riches and luxury mend the manners of men. But, nevertheless, being so the seat of Empire, and all commands issuing from our capital, and our name being forward, the actions, the merits, the figure, the reputation, and the glory of all our countrymen, whatsoever and wheresoever, do exceedingly redound to us and to the honour of England and of Englishmen. There is another circumstance which none of us can observe but with pleasure: I mean that we seem to be as individuals, on as fair terms with the other parts of our Nation as they with one another; that the name of Englishman is as acceptable, and will go with them as far as that of any other of the appellations into which we are separated. Whether this is our desert, or a consequence of the same cause, I won' t say; however it is what cannot but afford us satisfaction. In return for these things, they desire no more than a just sense and acknowledgment of them. Whether we do make this return; whether these circumstances have always the weight with us which they merit, Englishmen will best determine, by examining into their own breasts. But this we may be assured of, that the good will, affection, and attachment of our countrymen, spread throughout our common Empire, will be our firmest strength and security, if it shall be our lot to continue in our present splendour and prosperity; as likewise that the same cannot but be our best support and assistance, wherewith to weather the storms of fate and fortune, if Heaven shall, on the contrary, have any reverse or times of difficulty and distress in store for us.

I have now finished, unless it may be a few words with respect to the Author himself. He hopes, that should in the warmth of writing, any inadvertencies or inaccuracies have escaped him, that they will be readily overlooked; he is persuaded that there are none such as affect his argument. He has wrote with freedom, but he trusts without offence. He has no personal views whatsoever in anything that he has advanced or offered; he has no interest in any distant part of the British Dominions, neither in Scotland, Ireland, or America; he has neither trade or traffick with them, nor a foot of land in any of them. His concerns, his property, his family, his friendships, his affections, every thing most dear to him, centre in South-Britain. He has no intercourse or connection with any man that either is, or that ever was, or who, to the best of his knowledge, desires to be a Minister. He is totally indifferent who shall be at the head of our affairs, any otherwise than as the publick may be concerned in it. He would not, perhaps, in his humble situation, accept of any place or post, high or low, which the King has to confer, great and powerful as he is. He wishes only that these sheets may be read, as they are written, with the purest and the most disinterested intentions for the good, the greatness, and the stability of the whole British Empire; for the union, harmony, and preservation of all its parts, and for the particular interest, safety, peace, prosperity, and happiness of England.

April, 1774.



* The author of this Pamphlet, who, it is said is the eldest brother of the celebrated Mrs. Montague, is a very able and spirited advocate for the Colonies; discussing with great strength of argument the claim of Taxation, and the danger of enforcing it, even though the contest should be in our favour. We will not injure it by an abridgment, but heartily recommend the dispassionate consideration of the whole to all our Statesmen and Senators, to all who have it in their power by lenient measures to avert the evils which Mr˙ Robinson, without the spirit of prophecy, prognosticates. At all events, his name, and that of Bishop Shepley, will ever be held in honour in America, and we shall not wonder if their busts are placed by the side of the statues of Lords Chatham and Camden. — Gent. Mag.