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RULES FOR REDUCING A GREAT EMPIRE TO A
Presented to a late minister, when he entered upon
his administration. An ancient sage valued himself upon this, that though he could not fiddle, he knew how to make a great city of a little one. The science that I, a modern simpleton, am about to communicate, is the very
I address myself to all ministers who have the management of extensive dominions, which from their very greatness have become troublesome to governbecause the multiplicity of their affairs leaves no time for fiddling.
1. In the first place, gentlemen, you are to consider, that a great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges. Turn your attention therefore first to your remotest provinces ; that, as you get rid of them, the next may follow in order.
2. That the possibility of this separation may al. ways exist, take special care the provinces are never incorporated with the mother country; that they do not enjoy the same common rights, the same privi. leges in commerce ; and that they are governed by severer laws, all of your enacting, without allowing them any share in the choice of the legislators. By carefully making and preserving such distinctions, you will (to keep to my simile of the cake) act like a
* First published about the beginning of 1774. The minister is supposed to be the earl of Hillsborough.
wise gingerbread baker ; who, to facilitate a division, cuts his dough half through in those places where, when baked, he would have it broken to pieces.
3. Those remote provinces have perhaps been acquired, purchased, or conquered, at the sole expense of the settlers or their ancestors; without the aid of the mother country. If this should happen to increase her strength, by their growing numbers, ready to join in her wars; her commerce, by their growing demand for her manufactures; or her naval power, by greater employment for her ships and seamen ; they may probably suppose some merit in this, and that it entitles them to some favour : you are therefore to forget it all, or resent it as if they had done you in. jury. If they happen to be zealous whigs, friends of liberty, nurtured in revolution principles ; remember all that to their prejudice, and contrive to punish it : for such principles, after a revolution is thoroughly established, are of no more use ; they are even odious and abominable.
4. However peaceably your colonies have submitted to your government, shown their affection to your interests, and patiently borne their grievances ; you are to suppose them always inclined to revolt, and treat them accordingly, quarter troops among them, who by their insolence may provoke the rising of mobs, and by their bullets and bayonets suppress them. By this means, like the husband who uses his wife ill from suspicion, you may in time convert your suspicions into realities.
5. Remote provinces must have governors and judges, to represent the royal person, and execute every where the delegated parts of his office and authority. You ministers know that much of the strength of government depends on the opinion of the people; and much of that opinion on the choice of rulers placed immediately over them. If you send them wise and good men for governors, who study the interest of the colonists, and advance their pros. perity ; they will think their king wise and good, and that he wishes the welfare of his subjects. If you send them learned and upright men for judges, they will think him a lover of justice. This may attach your provinces more to his government. You are therefore to be careful who you recommend for those offices. If you can find prodigals who have ruined their fortunes, broken gamesters or stockjobbers; these may do well as governors ; for they will probably be rapacious, and provoke the people by their extortions. Wrangling proctors and pettifogging lawyers, too, are not amiss ; for they will be for ever disputing and quarrelling with their little parliaments. If withal they should be ignorant, wrong headed and insolent, so much the better. Attorneys' clerks and Newgate solicitors will do for chief-justices, especially if they hold their places during your pleasure:-and all will contribute to impress those ideas of your government that are proper for a people you would wish to renounce it. : 6. To confirm these impressions, and strike them deeper, whenever the injured come to the capital with complaints of mal-administration, oppression, or in. justice ; punish such suitors with long delay, enormous expense, and a final judgment in favour of the oppressor.
This will have an admirable effect every way. The trouble of future complaints will be prevented, and governors and judges will be encouraged to farther acts of oppression and injustice, and thenoe
the people may become more disaffected, and at length desperate.
7. When such governors have crammed their coffers, and made themselves so odious to the people that they can no longer remain among them with safety to their persons, recal and reward them with pensions. You may make them baronets too, if that respectable order should not think fit to resent it. All will contribute to encourage new governors in the same practice and make the supreme government detestable.
8. If, when you are engaged in war, your colonies should vie in liberal aids of men and money against the common enemy, upon your simple requisition, and give far beyond their abilities--reflect that a penny taken from them by your power is more ho nourable to you than a pound presented by their benevolence; despise therefore their voluntary grants, and resolve to harass them with novel taxes. They will probably complain to your parliament that they are taxed by a body in which they have no representative, and that this is contrary to common right. They will petition for redress. Let the parliament flout their claims, reject their petitions, refuse even to suffer the reading of them, and treat the petitioners with the utmost contempt. Nothing can have a better effect in producing the alienation proposed ; for though many can forgive injuries, none ever forgave contempt.
9. In laying these taxes, never regard the heavy burthens those remote people already undergo; in defending their own frontiers, supporting their own provincial government, making new roads, building bridges, churches, and other public edifices; which in old countries have been done to your hands, by
your ancestors; but which occasion constant calls and demands on the purses of a new people. Forget the restraint you lay on their trade for your own benefit, and the advantage a monopoly of this trade gives your exacting merchants. Think nothing of the wealth those merchants and your manufacturers acquire by the colony commerce; their increased ability thereby to pay taxes at home; their accumulating in the price of their commodities, most of those taxes, and so levying them from their consuming customers : all this, and the employment and support of thousands of your poor by the colonists, you are entirely to forget. But remember to make your arbitrary tax more grievous to your provinces, by public declarations importing that your power of taxing them has no limits; so that when you take from them without their consent a shilling in the pound, you have a clear right to the other nineteen. This will probably weaken every idea of security in their property, and convince them, that under such a government they have nothing they can call their own; which can scarce fail of producing the happiest consequences !
10. Possibly indeed some of them might still comfort themselves, and say, “ Though we have no property, we have yet something left that is valuable ; we have constitutional liberty both of person and conscience. This king, these lords, and these commons, who it seems are too remote from us to know us, and feel for us, cannot take from us our Habeas Corpus right, or our right of trial by a jury of our neighbours : they cannot deprive us of the exercise of our religion, alter our ecclesiastical constitution, and compel us to be Papists, if they please, or Mahometans.” To annihilate this comfort, begin by laws to perplex their