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benefit of governors, to the grievous burthen and discontent of the colonies, and prevention of their growth and increase.

That a power in governors to march the inhabitants from one end of the British and French colonies to the other, being a country of at least one thousand five hundred miles long, without the approbation or the consent of their representatives first obtained to such expeditions, might be grievous and ruinous to the people, and would put them upon a footing with the subjects of France in Canada, that now groan under such oppression from their governor, who for two years past has harassed them with long and destructive marches to Ohio.

That if the colonies in a body may be well governed by governors and councils appointed by the crown, without representatives, particular colonies may as well or better be so governed; a tax may be laid upon them all by act of Parliament for support of government, and their Assemblies may be dismissed as an useless part of the constitution.

That the powers, proposed by the Albany Plan of Union to be vested in a grand council representative of the people, even with regard to military matters, are not so great as those which the colonies of Rhode Island and Connecticut are intrusted with by their charters, and have never abused; for, by this plan, the president-general is appointed by the crown, and controls all by his negative; but in those governments, the people choose the governor, and yet allow him no negative.

That the British colonies bordering on the French are properly frontiers of the British empire; and the frontiers of an empire are properly defended at the joint expense of the body of the people in such

empire. It would now be thought hard by act of Parliament to oblige the Cinque Ports or seacoasts of Britain to maintain the whole navy, because they are more immediately defended by it, not allowing them at the same time a vote in choosing members of the Parliament; and, as the frontiers of America bear the expense of their own defence, it seems hard to allow them no share in voting the money, judging of the necessity and sum, or advising the measures.

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That, besides the taxes necessary for the defence of the frontiers, the colonies pay yearly great sums to the mother country unnoticed; for

1. Taxes paid in Britain by the landholder or artificer must enter into and increase the price of the produce of land and manufactures made of it; and great part of this is paid by consumers in the colonies, who thereby pay a considerable part of the British


2. We are restrained in our trade with foreign nations; and where we could be supplied with any manufacture cheaper from them, but must buy the same dearer from Britain, the difference of price is a clear tax to Britain.

3. We are obliged to carry a great part of our produce directly to Britain; and where the duties laid upon it lessen its price to the planter, or it sells for less than it would in foreign markets, the difference is a tax paid to Britain.

4. Some manufactures we could make, but are forbidden, and must take them of British merchants; the whole price is a tax paid to Britain.

5. By our greatly increasing the demand and consumption of British manufactures, their price is considerably raised of late years; the advantage is clear profit to Britain, and enables its people better to pay

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great taxes; and much of it, being paid by us, is clear tax to Britain.

6. In short, as we are not suffered to regulate our trade, and restrain the importation and consumption of British superfluities, as Britain can the consumption of foreign superfluities, our whole wealth centres finally amongst the merchants and inhabitants of Britain; and if we make them richer, and enable them better to pay their taxes, it is nearly the same as being taxed ourselves, and equally beneficial to the crown.

These kinds of secondary taxes, however, we do not complain of, though we have no share in the laying or disposing of them; but to pay immediate heavy taxes, in the laying, appropriation, and disposition of which we have no part, and which perhaps we may know to be as unnecessary as grievous, must seem hard measures to Englishmen, who cannot conceive, that, by hazarding their lives and fortunes in subduing and settling new countries, extending the dominion, and increasing the commerce of the mother nation, they have forfeited the native rights of Britons; which they think ought rather to be given to them, as due to such merit, if they had been before in a state of slavery.

These, and such kinds of things as these, I apprehend, will be thought and said by the people, if the proposed alteration of the Albany plan should take place. Then the administration of the board of governors and council so appointed, not having the representative body of the people to approve and unite in its measures, and conciliate the minds of the people to them, will probably become suspected and odious; dangerous animosities and feuds will arise between the governors and governed; and every thing go into confusion.

Perhaps I am too apprehensive in this matter; but, having freely given my opinion and reasons, your Excellency can judge better than I, whether there be any weight in them; and the shortness of the time allowed me, will, I hope in some degree excuse the imperfections of this scrawl.

With the greatest respect and fidelity, I have the honor to be

Your Excellency's most obedient,

and most humble servant,



Boston, December 22d, 1754.


Since the conversation your Excellency was pleased to honor me with, on the subject of uniting the colonies more intimately with Great Britain, by allowing them representatives in Parliament, I have something further considered that matter, and am of opinion, that such a union would be very acceptable to the

* Respecting this letter, Mr. John Adams said (in his History of the Dispute with America, first published in 1774); "Dr. Franklin, who was known to be an active and very able man, and to have great influence in the province of Pennsylvania, was in Boston in the year 1754, and Mr. Shirley communicated to him the profound secret, the great design of taxing the colonies by act of Parliament. gacious gentleman and distinguished patriot, to his lasting honor, sent the governor an answer in writing, with the following remarks on his scheme." Mr. Adams then quotes the principal parts of the above letter. EDITor.

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colonies, provided they had a reasonable number of representatives allowed them; and that all the old acts of Parliament restraining the trade or cramping the manufactures of the colonies be at the same time repealed, and the British subjects on this side the water put, in those respects, on the same footing with those in Great Britain, till the new Parliament, representing the whole, shall think it for the interest of the whole to reënact some or all of them. It is not that I imagine so many representatives will be allowed the colonies, as to have any great weight by their numbers; but I think there might be sufficient to occasion those laws to be better and more impartially considered, and perhaps to overcome the interest of a petty corporation, or of any particular set of artificers or traders in England, who heretofore seem, in some instances, to have been more regarded than all the colonies, or than was consistent with the general interest, or best national good. I think too, that the government of the colonies by a Parliament, in which they are fairly represented, would be vastly more agreeable to the people, than the method lately attempted to be introduced by royal instruction, as well as more agreeable to the nature of an English constitution, and to English liberty; and that such laws as now seem to bear hard on the colonies, would (when judged by such a Parliament for the best interest of the whole) be more cheerfully submitted to, and more easily executed.

I should hope too, that by such a union, the people of Great Britain, and the people of the colonies, would learn to consider themselves, as not belonging to different communities with different interests, but to one community with one interest; which I imagine



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