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'was soon to be provided for them, that they might earn their salaries) began seriously to consider their situation; and to revolve afresh in their minds grievances, which, from their respect and love for this country, they had long borne, and seemed alinost willing to forget. They reflected how lightly the interest of all America had been estimated here, when the interests of a few of the inhabitauts of Great Britain happened to have the smallest competition with it: that the whole American peo. ple was forbidden the advantage of a direct importation of wine, oil, and fruit, from Portugal; but must take them, loaded with all the expense of a voyage, one thousand leagues round about, being to be lauded first in England, to be re-shipped for America; expenses amounting, in war time, at least to thirty pounds per cent, more than otherwise they would have been charged with; and all this merely that a few Portugal merchants in London may gain a commission on those goods passing through their hands : (Portugal merchants, by the bye, that can complain loudly of the smallest hardships laid on their trade by foreigners, and yet even in the last year could oppose with all their influence the giving ease to their fellow-subjects labouring under so heavy an oppression !) that on a slight complaint of a few Virginia merchants, nine colonies had been restrained from making paper-money, become absolutely necessary to their internal com. merce, from the constant remittance of their gold and silver to Britain. But not only the interest of a particular body of merchants, but the interest of any small body of British tradesmen or artificers, has
been found, they say, to outweigh that of all the king's subjects in the colonies. There cannot be a stronger natural right than that of a man's making the best profit he can of the natural produce of his lands, provided he does not thereby hurt the state in general. Iron is to be found every where in America, and beaver is the natural produce of that country: hats, and nails, and steel, are wanted there as well as here. It is of no importance to the common welfare of the empire, whether a subject of the king gets his living by making hats on this, or on that side of the water. Yet the hatters of England have prevailed to obtain an act in their own favour, restraining that manufacture in America, in order to oblige the Americans to send their beaver to England to be manufactured, and purchase back the hats, loaded with the charges of a double transportation. In the same manner have a few nail-makers, and still a smaller body of steel. makers (perhaps there are not half a dozen of these in England), prevailed totally to forbid, by an act of parliament, the erecting of slitting-mills or steel furnaces in America ; that the Americans may be obliged to take all their nails for their buildings, and steel for their tools, from these artificers, une der the same disadvantages.
Added to these, the Americans remembered the act authorising the most cruel insult that perhaps was ever offered by one people to another; that of emptying our gaols into their settlements : Scotland too having within these two years obtained the privilege it had not before, of sending its rogues and villajos also to the plantations-I say, reflecting on
these things, they said one to another, their newspapers are full of such discourses) “ These people are not content with making a monopoly of us (forbidding us to trade with any other country of Eu. rope, and compelling us to buy every thing of them, though in many articles we could furnish ourselves ten, twenty, and even fifty per cent. cheaper elsewhere ;) but now they have as good as declared they have a right to tax us ad libitum, internally and externally; and that our constitutions and liberties shall all be taken away, if we do not submit to that claim.
“ They are not content with the high prices at which they sell us their goods, but have now begun to enhance those prices by new duties; and by the expensive apparatus of a new set of officers, appear to intend an augmentation and multiplication of those burthens, that shall still be more grievous to us. Our people have been foolishly fond of their superfluous modes and manufactures, to the impoverishing our own country, carrying off all our cash, and loading us with debt : they will not suffer us to l'estrain the luxury of our inhabitants, as they do that of their own, by laws: they can make laws to discourage or prohibit the importation of French superfluities; but though those of England are as ruinous to us as the French ones are to them, if we make a law of that kind, they immediately repeal it. Thus they get all our money from us by trade; and every profit we can any where make by our fisheries, our produce, or our commerce, centres finally with them : but this does not satisfy. It is time then to take care of ourselves by the best means in our power. Let us unite in solemn resolution and engagements with and to each other, that we will give these new officers as little trouble as possible, by not consuming the British manufactures on which they are to levy the duties. Let us agree to consume no more of their expensive gewgaws. Let us live frugally, and let us industriously manufacture what we can for ourselves : thus we shall be able honourably to discharge the debts we already owe them; and after that, we may be able to keep some money in our country, not only for the uses of our internal commerce, but for the service of our gracious sovereign, whenever he shall have occasion for it, and think proper to require it of us in the old constitutional manner. For notwithstanding the reproaches thrown out against us in their public papers and pamphlets, notwithstanding we have been reviled in their senate as rebels and traitors, we are truly a loyal people. Scotland has had its rebellions, and England its plots against the present royal family; but America is untainted with those crimes; there is in it scarce a man, there is not a single native of our country, who is not firmly attached to his king by principle and by affection. But a new kind of loyalty seems to be required of us, a loyalty to parliament; a loyalty that is to extend, it is said, to a surrender of all our properties, whenever a house of commons, in which there is not a single member of our choosing, shall think fit to grant them away without our consent, and to a patient suffering the loss of our privileges as Eng. lishmen, if we cannot submit to make such surrender. We were separated too far from Britain
by the ocean, but we were united to it by respect and love; so that we could at any time freely have spent our lives and little fortunes in its cause : but this unhappy new system of politics tends to dissolve those bands of union, and to sever us for ever."
These are the wild ravings of the at present half-distracted Americans. To be sure, no reasonable man in England can approve of such senti. ments, and, as I said before, I do not pretend to support or justify them: but I sincerely wish, for the sake of the manufactures and commerce of Great Britain, and for the sake of the strength, which a firm union with our growing colonies would give us, that these people had never been thus needlessly driven out of their senses.
I am, yours, &c.
CONCERNING THE DISSENSIONS BETWEEN
ENGLAND AND AMERICA.
To M. Dubourg.
London, October 2, 1770. I see with pleasure that we think pretty much alike on the subjects of English America. We of the colonies have never insisted that we ought to be exempt from contributing to the common expenses necessary to support the prosperity of the empire: we only assert, that having parliaments of our own,
• F. S. possibly means Franklin's Seal.