« ZurückWeiter »
wark and security of their liberties and privileges, and always spoke of it with the utmost respect and veneration. Arbitrary ministers, they thought, might possibly, at times, attempt to oppress them; but they relied on it, that the parliament, on application, would always give redress. They remembered, with gratitude, a strong instance of this, when a bill was brought into parliament, with a clause, to make royal instructions laws in the colonies, which the house of commons would not pass, and it was thrown out.
Q. And have they not still the same respect for parliament?
A. No, it is greatly lessened.
A. To a concurrence of causes; the restraints lately, laid on their trade, hy which the bringing of foreign gold and silver into [the] colonies was prevented; the prohibition of making paper-money among themselves, and then demanding a new and heavy tax by stamps, taking away, at the same time, trials by juries, and refusing to receive and hear their humble petitions.
Q. Don't you think they would submit to the stamp act, if it was modified, the obnoxious parts taken out, and the duty reduced to some particulars, of small moment?
A. No, they will never submit to it.
Q. What do you think is the reason that the people in America increase faster than in England?
A. Because they marry younger, and more generally. Q. Why so?
* Some of the colonies have been reduced to the necessity of bartering, from the want of a medium of traffic. See p. 146. B. V.
A. Because liament
A. Because any young couple, that are industrious, may easily obtain land of their own, on which they can raise a family.
Q. Are not the lower rank of people more at their ease in America than in England ?
A. They may be so, if they are sober and diligent; as they are better paid for their labour.
Q. What is your opinion of a future tax, imposed on the same principle with that of the stamp act ? how would the Americans -receive it?
A. Just as they do this. They would not pay it.
Q. Have not you heard of the resolutions of this house, and of the house of lords, asserting the right of parliament relating to America, including a power to tax the people there?
1. Yes, I have heard of such resolutions.
Q. What will be the opinion of the Americans on those resolutions ?
A. They will think them unconstitutional and unjust.
Q. Was it an opinion in America before 1763, that the parliament had no right to lay taxes and duties there?
A. I never heard any objection to the right of laying duties to regulate commerce, but a right to lay internal taxes was never supposed to be in parliament, as we are not represented there.
Q. On what do you found your opinion, that the people in America made any such distinction?
A. I know that whenever the subject has occurred in conversation where I have been present, it has appeared to be the opinion of every one, that we could not be taxed in a parliament where we were not represented. But the payment of duties laid by act of par
liament as regulations of commerce, was never disputed.
Q. But can you name any act of assembly, or public act of any of your governments, that made such distinction ?
A. I do not know that there was any; I think there was never an occasion to make
such act, till now that you have attempted to tax us : that has occasioned resolutions of assembly, declaring the distinction, in which I think every assembly on the continent, and every member in every assembly, have been unanimous.
Q. What then could occasion conversations on that subject before that time?
A. There was in 1754 a proposition made (I think it came from hence) that in case of a war, which was then apprehended, the governors of the colonies should meet, and order the levying of troops, building of forts, and taking every other necessary measure for the general defence; and should draw on the treasury here for the suins expended; which were afterwards to be raised in the colonies by a general tax, to be laid on them by act of parliament. This occasioned a good deal of conversation on the subject; and the general opinion was, that the parliament neither would nor could lay any tax on us, till we were duly represented in parliament; because it was not just, nor agreeable to the nature of an English constitution.
Q. Don't you know there was a time in New York, when it was under consideration to make an application to parliament to lay taxes on that colony, upon a deficiency arising from the assembly's refusing or neglecting to raise the necessary supplies for the support of the civil government? YOL, III.
A. I never heard of it.
Q. There was such an application under consideration in New York:—and do you apprehend they could suppose the right of parliament to lay a tax in America was only local, and confined to the case of a deficiency in a particular colony, by a refusal of its assembly to raise the necessary supplies ?
A. They could not suppose such a case, as that the assembly would not raise the necessary supplies to support its own government. An assembly that would refuse it must want common sense; which cannot be supposed. I think there was never any such case at New York, and that it must be a misrepresentation, or the fact must be misunderstood. I know there have been some attempts, by ministerial instructions from hence, to oblige the assemblies to settle permanent salaries on governors, which they wisely refused to do; but I believe no assembly of New York, or any other colony, ever refused duly to support government by proper allowances, from time to time, to public officers.
Q. But in case a governor, acting by instruction, should call on an assembly to raise the necessary supplies, and the assembly should refuse to do it, do you not think it would then be for the good of the people of the colony, as well as necessary to government, that the parliament should tax them? A. I do not think it would be
necessary. sembly could possibly be so absurd, as to refuse raising the supplies requisite for the maintenance of government among them, they could not long remain in such a situation ; the disorders and confusion occasioned by it must soon bring them to reason.
If an as
Q. If it should not, ought not the right to be in Great Britain of applying a remedy?
A. A right, only to be used in such a case, I should have no objection to; supposing it to be used merely for the good of the people of the colony.
l. But who is to judge of that, Britain or the colony?
A. Those that feel can best judge.
Q. You say the colonies have always 'submitted to external taxes, and object to the right of parliament only in laying internal taxes; now can you show, that there is any kind of difference between the two tares to the colony on which they may be laid?
A. I think the difference is very great. An external tax is a duty laid on commodities imported; that duty is added to the first cost and other charges on the commodity, and, when it is offered to sale, makes a part of the price.' 'If the people do not like it at that price, they refuse-it; they are not obliged to pay it. But an internal tax is forced from the people without their cona sent, if not laid by their own representatives. The stamp act says, we shall have no commerce, make do exchange of property with each other, neither purchase nor' grant, nor recover debts; we shall neither marry nor make our wills, unless we pay such and such sums; and thus it is intended to extort our money from us, or ruin us by the consequences of refusing to pay it.
Q. But supposing the external tax or duty to be laid on the necessaries of life imported into your colony, will not that be the same thing in its effects as an interpal tax? A. I do not know a single article imported into the