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villains of every denomination, who have forfeited their lives to the law in Prussia, but whom we, in our great clemency, do not think fit here to hang, shall be emptied out of our gabls into the said island of Great Britain, for the better peopling of that country.
“ We flatter vurselves, that these our royal regulations and commands will be thought just and reasonable by our much-favoured colonies in England ; the said regulations being copied from their statutes of 10 and il Will. III. c. 10- Geo. II. C. 22.-23 Geo, II. C. 29-4 Geo. I. c. 11. and from other equitable laws made by their parliaments, or from instructions given by their princes, or from resolutions of both houses, entered into for the good government of their own colowies in Ireland and America.
« And all persons in the said island are hereby cautioned, not to oppose in any wise the execution of this our edict, or any part thereof, such opposition being high-treason; of which all who are suspected shall be transported in fetters from Britain to Prussia, there to be tried and executed according to the Prussian law.
« Such is our pleasure.
“ Given at Potsdam, this twenty-fifth day of the
month of August, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-three, and in the thirty-third year of onr reign.
By the king, in his council.
« RECHTMÆSSIG, Sec."
Some take this edict to be merely one of the king's jeur d'esprit: others suppose it serious, and that he means a quarrel with England: but all here think the assertion it concludes with, “ that these regulations are copied from acts of the English parliament respecting their colonies," a very injurious one: it being impossible to believe, that a people distinguished for their love of liberty ; a nation so wise, so liberal in its sentiments, 80 just and equitable towards its neighbours, should from mean and injudicious views of petty immediate profit, treat its own children in a manner so arbitrary and tyrannical!
Preface by the British Editor [Dr. Franklin) to “ The Votes and
Proceedings of the Frecholders, and other Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, in Town-Meeting assembled according to Laiy (published by Order of the Town), &c.*"
ALL accounts of the discontent, so general in our colonies, have of late years been industriously smothered and concealed here, it seeming to suit the views of the American minister* to have it understood, that by his great abilities, all faction was subdued, all opposition suppressed, and the whole country quieted. That the true state of affairs there may be known,
* “ Boston printed : London reprinted, and sold by J. Wilkie, in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1778.”—I have given the reader only the preface.
It is said, that this little piece very much irritated the ministry. It was their determination, that the Americans should receive teas only from Great Britain, and accordingly the East India company sent out large cargoes under their protection. The colonists every where refused, either entrance, or else permission of sale, except at Boston, where, the force of government preventing more moderate measures, certain persons in disguise threw it into the ora.
The preamble of the stamp act produced the tea act; the tea act produced vilence ; violence, acts of parliament; acts of parliament, a revolt
d the true causes of that discontent well understood, the following piece (not the production of a private writer, but the unanimous act of a large American city) lately printed in New England, is republished here. This nation, and the other nations of Europe, may thereby learn, with more certainty, the grounds of a dissention, that possibly may, sooner or later, have consequences interesting to them all.
The colonies had, from their first settlement, been governed with more ease than perhaps can be equalled by any instance in history of dominions so distant. Theit affection and respect for this country, while they were treated with kindness, produced an almost implicit obedience to the instructions of the prince, and even to acts of the British parliament, though the right of binding them by a legislature, in which they were unrepresented, was never clearly understood. That respect and affection produced a partiality in favour of every thing that was English ; whence their preference of English modes and manufactures; their submission to restraints on the importation of foreign goods, which they had but little desire to use; and the monopoly we so long
A little neglect,” says poor Richard, “ may breed great mischief: for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; for want of a horse the rider was lost; being overtaken and slain by the enemy; all for want of a little care about a horse-shoe nail. B. V.
* Lord Hilsborough.-This nobleman, already first lord of trade, was introduced in 1708 into the new-titted office of secretary of state for the colonies. B.V.
enjoyed of their commerce, to the great enriching of our merchants and artificers. The mistaken policy of the stamp act first disturbed this happy situation ; but the flame thereby raised was soon extinguished by its repeal, and the old harmony restored, with all its concomitant advantage to our commerce. The subsequent act of another administration, which, not content with an established exclusion of foreign manufactures, began to make our own merchandize dearer to the consumers there by beavy duties, revived it again; and combinations were entered into throughout the continent, to stop trading with Britain till those duties should be repealed. All were accordingly repealed but one-the duty on tea. This was reserved (professedly so) as a standing claim and exercise of the right, assumed by parliament, of laying such duties.* The colonies, on this repeal, retracted their agreement, so far as related to all other goods, except that on which the duty was retained. This was trumpeted here by the minister for the colonies as a triumph; there it was considered only as a decent and an equitable measure, showing a willingness to meet the mother-country in every advance towards a reconciliation; and this disposition to a good understanding was so prevalent, that possibly they might soon have relaxed in the article of tea also. But the system of coinmissioners of customs, officers with
* Mr. Burke tells us (in his speech in 1774) that this preambulatory tax had lost us at once the benefit of the west and of the east; had thrown open folding-doors to contraband ; and would be the means of giving the profits of the colony-trade to every nation but ourselves. He adds in the same place, “ It is indeed a tax of sophistry, a tax of pedantry, a iax of disputation, a tax of war and rebellion, a tax for any thing but benefit to the imposers, or satisfaction to the subject.” B.V.
out end, with fleets and armies for collecting and enforcing those duties, being continued ; and these acting with much indiscretion and rashness (giving great and unnecessary trouble and obstruction to business, coinmencing unjust and vexatious suits, and harassing commerce in all its branches, while that minister kept the people in a constant state of irritation by instructions which appeared to bave no other end than the gratifying bis private resentment*) occasioned a persevering adhe. rence to their resolutions in that particular; and the event should be a lesson to ministers, not to risque, through pique, the obstructing any one branch of trade; since the course and connection of general business may be thereby disturbed to a degree, impossible to be foreseen or imagined. For it appears, that the colonies, finding their bumble petitions to have this duty repealed were rejected and treated with contempt, and tijạt the produce of the duty was applied to the rewarding, with undeserved salaries and pensions, every one of their enemies ; lhe duty itself became more odious, and their resolution to starve it more vigorons and obstipate. The Dutch, the Danes, and French, took this opportunity, thus offered them by our imprudence, and began to smuggle their teas into the plantations. At first this was something difficult; but at length, as all business is improved by practice, it became easy. A coast fifteen bundred miles in length could not in all parts be guarded, even by the whole navy of England; especially when their restraining authority was by all the inhabitants deemed unconstitutional, the smug
* Some of his cirçular letters had becu criticised, and exposed by one or two of the American assemblies.