« ZurückWeiter »
“ 10. Castle William' to be restored to the province of the Massachusetts Bay, and no fortress built by the crown in any province, but with the consent of its legislature.
“11. The late Massachusetts and Quebec Acts to be repealed, and a free government granted to Canada.
“12. All judges to be appointed during good behaviour, with equally permanent salaries, to be paid out of the province revenues by appointment of the Assemblies. Or, if the judges are to be appointed during the pleasure of the crown, let the salaries be during the pleasure of the Assemblies, as heretofore.
“13. Governors to be supported by the Assemblies of each province.
“14. If Britain will give up its monopoly of the American commerce, then the aid above mentioned to be given by America in time of peace as well as in time
“15. The extension of the act of Henry the Eighth, concerning treasons to the colonies, to be formally disowned by Parliament.
“16. The American admiralty courts reduced to the same powers they have in England, and the acts establishing them to be reënacted in America.
“ 17. All powers of internal legislation in the colonies to be disclaimed by Parliament.”
In reading this paper a second time, I gave my reasons at length for each article.
On the first I observed, That, when the injury was done, Britain had a right to reparation, and would certainly have had it on demand, as was the case when injury was done by mobs in the time of the Stamp Act; or she might have a right to return an equal injury, if she rather chose to do that; but she could not have a right both to reparation and to return an equal injury; much less had she a right to return the injury ten or twenty fold, as she had done by blocking up the port of Boston. All which extra injury ought, in my judgment, to be repaired by Britain. That, therefore, if paying for the tea was agreed to by me, as an article fit to be proposed, it was merely from a desire of peace, and in compliance with their opinion expressed at our first meeting, that this was a sine quâ non, that the dignity of Britain required it, and that, if this was agreed to, every thing else would be easy. This reasoning was allowed to be just; but still the article was thought necessary to stand as it did.
On the second, That the act should be repealed, as having never answered any good purpose, as having been the cause of the present mischief, and never likely to be executed. That, the act being considered as unconstitutional by the Americans, and what the Parliament had no right to make, they must consider all the money extorted by it, as so much wrongfully taken, and of which therefore restitution ought to be made; and the rather, as it would furnish a fund out of which the payment for the tea destroyed might best be defrayed. The gentlemen were of opinion, that the first part of this article, viz. the repeal, might be obtained, but not the refunding part, and therefore advised striking that out; but, as I thought it just and right, I insisted on its standing.
On the third and fourth articles I observed, we were frequently charged with views of abolishing the Navigation Act. That, in truth, those parts of it which were of most importance to Britain, as tending to increase its naval strength, viz. those restraining the trade, to be carried on only in ships belonging to British subjects, navigated by at least three quarters British or colony
seamen, &c., were as acceptable to us as they could be to Britain, since we wished to employ our own ships in preference to foreigners, and had no desire to see foreign ships enter our ports. That indeed the obliging us to land some of our commodities in England before we could carry them to foreign markets, and forbidding our importation of some goods directly from foreign countries, we thought a hardship, and a greater loss to us than gain to Britain, and therefore proper to be repealed. But, as Britain had deemed it an equivalent for her protection, we had never applied, or proposed to apply, for such a repeal. And, if they must be continued, I thought it best (since the power of Parliament to make them was now disputed), that they should be reënacted in all the colonies, which would demonstrate their consent to them. And then, if, as in the sixth article, all the duties arising on them were to be collected by officers appointed and salaried in the respective governments, and the produce paid into their treasuries, I was sure the acts would be better and more faithfully executed, and at much less expense, and one great source of misunderstanding removed between the two countries, viz. the calumnies of low officers appointed from home, who were for ever abusing the people of the country to government, to magnify their own zeal, and recommend themselves to promotion. That the extension of the admiralty jurisdiction, so much complained of, would then no longer be necessary ; and that, besides its being the interest of the colonies to execute those acts, which is the best security, government might be satisfied of its being done, from accounts to be sent home by the naval officers of the fourth article. The gentlemen were satisfied with these reasons, and approved the third and fourth articles; so they were to stand.
The fifth they apprehended would meet with difficulty. They said, that restraining manufactures in the colonies was a favorite idea here; and therefore they wished that article to be omitted, as the proposing it would alarm and hinder perhaps the considering and granting others of more importance; but, as I insisted on the equity of allowing all subjects in every country to make the most of their natural advantages, they desired I would at least alter the last word from repealed to reconsidered, which I complied with.
In maintaining the seventh article (which was at first objected to, on the principle that all under the care of government should pay towards the support of it,) my reasons were, that, if every distinct part of the King's dominions supported its own government in time of peace, it was all that could justly be required of it; that all the old or confederated colonies had done so from their beginning; that their taxes for that purpose were very considerable; that new countries had many public expenses, which old ones were free from, the works being done to their hands by their ancestors, such as making roads and bridges, erecting churches, court-houses, forts, quays, and other public buildings, founding schools and places of education, hospitals and alms-houses, &c. &c.; that the voluntary and the legal subscriptions and taxes for such purposes, taken together, amounted to more than was paid by equal estates in Britain. That it would be best for Britain, on two accounts, not to take money from us, as contribution to its public expense, in time of peace; first, for that just so much less would be got from us in commerce, since all we could spare was already gained from us by Britain in that way; and, secondly, that, coming into the hands of British ministers, accustomed to prodigality of public money, it would be squandered
and dissipated, answering no good general purpose. That, if we were to be taxed towards the support of government in Britain, as Scotland has been since the union, we ought then to be allowed the same privileges in trade as she has been allowed. That, if we are called upon to give to the sinking fund, or the national debt, Ireland ought be likewise called upon; and both they and we, if we gave, ought to have some means established of inquiring into the application, and securing a compliance with the terms on which we should grant. That British ministers would perhaps not like our meddling with such matters; and that hence might arise new causes of misunderstanding. That, upon the whole, therefore, I thought it best on all sides, that no aids shall be asked or expected from the colonies in time of peace; that it would then be their interest to grant bountifully and exert themselves vigorously in time of war, the sooner to put an end to it. That specie was not to be had to send to England in supplies, but the colonies could carry on war with their own paper money; which would pay troops, and for provisions, transports, carriages, clothing, arms, &c. So this seventh article was at length agreed to without further objection.
The eighth the gentlemen were confident would never be granted. For the whole world would be of opinion, that the King, who is to defend all parts of his dominions, should have of course a right to place his troops where they might best answer that purpose. I supported the article upon principles equally important, in my opinion, to Britain as to her colonies; for that, if the King could bring into one part of his dominions troops raised in any other part of them, without the consent of the legislatures of the part to which they were brought, he might bring armies raised in