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PASSAGES IN “AN INQUIRY INTO THE NATURE AND CAUSES OF THE DISPUTES BETWEEN THE BRITISH COLONIES IN AMERICA AND
THEIR MOTHER COUNTRY.-LONDON, 1769."
“ SUPREME power and authority must not, | dependent legislatures. By this means, the cannot, reside equally every where throughout remotest parts of a great empire may be as an empire.'
well governed as the centre; misrule, opWriters on this subject often confuse them- pressions of proconsuls, and discontents and selves with the idea, that all the king's do- rebellions thence arising, prevented. By minions make one state, which they do not, this means the power of a king may be exnor ever did since the conquest. Our kings tended without inconvenience over territories have ever had dominions not subject to the of any dimensions, how great soever. AmeEnglish parliament. At first the provinces rica was thus happily governed in all its of France, of which Jersey and Guernsey different and remote settlements, by the remain, always governed by their own laws, crown and their own Assemblies, till the appealing to the king in Council only, and new politics took place of governing it by not to our courts or the House of Lords. one Parliament, which have not succeeded Scotland was in the same situation before and never will. the union. It had the same king, but a “Should we carry our supposition much far. separate Parliament, and the Parliament of ther, the inconveniences attending such long England had no jurisdiction over it. Ire-journeys would be very great, although not in. land the same in truth, though the British terrupted by water." Parliament has usurped a dominion over it. Water, so far from being an obstruction, The colonies were originally settled in the is a means of facilitating such assemblies idea of such extrinsic dominions of the from distant countries. A voyage of three king, and of the king only, Hanover is thousand miles by sea is more easily pernow such a dominion.
formed than a journey of one thousand by “ If each Assembly, in this case, were abso- land. lute, they would, it is evident, form not one It is, in my opinion, by no means imprac. only, but so many different governments per- ticable to bring representatives conveniently fectly independent of one another."
from America to Britain ; but I think the This is the only clear idea of their real present mode of letting them govern thempresent condition. Their only bond of union selves by their own Assemblies much preis the king.
ferable. They will always be better go"Now that of Great Britain being exactly verned; and the Parliament has business the kind of government I have been speaking enough here with its own internal concerns. of, the absolute impossibility of vesting the "Whether they should not be allowed American Assemblies with an authority in all such a form of government, as will best secure respects equal to that of the mother country, to them their just rights and natural liberties." without actually dismembering the British em- They have it already. All the difficulties pire, must naturally occur to every one." have arisen from the British Parliament
It would not be dismembering it, if it latiempting to deprive them of it. never was united, as in truth, it never yet “Is it not, let me ask, most egregious folly, has been. Breaking the present union be- so loudly to condemn the Stuart family, who tween England and Scotland would be dis- would have governed England without a Parliamembering the empire; but no such union ment, when at the same time we would, almost has yet been formed between Britain and all of us, govern America upon principles not the colonies.
at all more justifiable ?" “ Where divers remote and distant countries! Very just. Only that the arbitrary goare united under one government, an equal and vernment of a single person is more eligible, fair representation becomes almost impracticable, than the arbitrary government of a body or, at least, extremely inconvenient.”
of men. A single man may be afraid or Here appears the excellency of the inven- ashamed of doing injustice; a body is never tjon of colony government, by separate, in- either one or the other, if it is strong enough. Ii cannot aprehend assassination, and by Parliament grant but three. But Parliaments dividing the shame among them, it is so and provincial Assemblies may always be little apiece that no one minds it.
safely trusted with this power of refusing And consistently with our rights of or granting in part. Ministers will often sovereignty over them."
den and too much. But Assemblies, being I am surprised, that a writer, who, in
acquainted properly with the occasion, will
| always grant what is necessary. As proother respects, appears often very reasonable,
tection is, as I said before, mutual and equal should talk of our sovereignty over the colonies! As if every individual in England
in proportion to every man's property, the
colonies have been drawn into all British was a part of a sovereign over America !
wars, and have annoyed the enemies of The king is the sovereign of all.
Britain as much in proportion as any other The Americans think, that, while they
subjects of the king, equal in numbers and can retain the right of disposing of their
property. Therefore, this account has al. own money, they shall thereby secure all their other rights. They have, therefore,
re ways balanced itself. not yet disputed your other pretensions.
“ It may further be observed, that their pro" That England has an undeniable right to ce
in ceedings are not quite so rapid and precipitate
as those of the Privy Council ; so that, should consider America as a part of her dominions is a fact, I presume, which can never be ques
it be found unnecessary, they will have more
time to petition or make remonstrances. For tioned."
this privilege, the least which a subject can You do, indeed, presume too much. Ame
enjoy, is not to be denied them.” rica is not part of the dominions of England, but of the king's dominion. England is a
Late experience has fully shown, that dominion itself, and has no dominions.
| American petitions and remonstrances are “I will only observe at present, that it was
little regarded in Britain. The privilege
of petitioning has been attempted to be England, in some sense, which at first gave
"wrested from them. The Assemblies uniting them being." In scme sense! In what sense? They
to petition has been called a flagitious at. were not planted at her expense. As 10
tempt in the ministers' letters; and such
Assemblies as would persist in it have theredefence, all parts of the king's dominion
fore been dissolved. have mutually always contributed to the defence one of the other. The man in
It is a joke to talk thus to us, when we
know that Parliament, so far froin solemnly America, who contributes sixpence towards an armament against the common enemy,
canvassing our petitions, has refused to recontributes as much to the common protec
ceive or read them. tion as if he lived in England.
| “Our right of legislation over the Americans, They have always been ready to contri- unrepresented as they are, is the point in quesbute, but by voluntary grants according to
tion. This right is asserted by most, doubted their rights; nor has any Englishman yet of by some, and wholly disclaimed by a few.” had the effrontery to deny this iruth.
I am one of those few; but am persuaded “ If they are at liberty to choose what sums ihe time is not far distant, when the few to raise, as well as the manner of raising them, will become the many; for, Magna est veritas it is scarcely to be doubted, that their allowance et prevalebit. will be found extremely short. And it is evi- ' “ But, to put the matter in a stronger light. dent they may, upon this footing, absolutely re- the question. I think, should be whether we fuse to pay any taxes at all. And if so, it has
And.so, it have a general right of making slaves, or not.” would be much better for England, if it were consistent with her safety, to disclaim all further
A very proper state of the question. connexion with them, than to continue her pro
“ And the Americans may be treated with as tection to them wholly at her own expense." much equity, and even tenderness, by the ParWhy is it to be doubted, that they will
liament of Great Britain, as by their own Assemnot grant what they ought to grant? No bhe
No blies. This, at least, is possible, though perhaps complaint was ever yet made of their refusal | not very probable." or deficiency. He says, if they are not How can we Americans believe this, without reserve obliged to comply with the when we see almost half the nation paying reqnisiions of the ministry, they may abso- but one shilling and sixpence in the pound, lutely refuse to pay any taxes at all. Let while others pay full four shillings; and him apply this to the British Parliament, that there is not virtue and honesty enough and the reasoning will equally prove, that in Parliament to rectify this iniquity? How the Cemmons ought likewise to comply can we suppose they will be just to us at absolutely with the requisitions of the mi- such a distance, when they are not just to nistry. Yet I have seen lately the ministry one another? It is not, indeed, as the author demand four shillings in the pound, and the says, very probable. The unequal representation, too, that prevails in this kingdom, they Then leave it as it is. It was very well, are so far from having virtue enough to ai- till you attempted alterations and novelties. tempt to remedy, that they make use of it
| “In respect to the article of levying taxes, it as an argument why we should have no should be deemed only a matter of grace, to be representation at all.
resumed at pleasure.” “ To the equity of this measure [an American Your humble servant! We thank you representation in Parliament) the Americans for nothing. Keep up your claim, and make themselves, I presume, could have nothing fairly the most of it. to object.”
“ To be placed upon a level with the rest of Provided they had an equitable number the subjects of the British crown, is the utmost of representatives allowed them.
| the colonies can challenge!" “As to those, indeed, which attend only the
No. They may challenge all that was choosing a new Parliament, they may, perhaps,
I promised them by charters to encourage by proper means, be considerably lessened, |
them to settle there. They have performed though not wholly removed.”.
their part of the contract, and therefore Let the old members continue till super- have a right to expect a performance of the seded by new ones from America.
other part. They have, by the risks and “But should the king at any time be disposed expenses they have incurred, additional to dissolve his Parliament, and convene a new merit, and are therefore to be considered as one, as hath been often done, only at a few | above the level of other subjects. weeks' notice, this, upon the same footing, could
“We cannot otherwise maintain our sove not be effected."
reignty over it, unless our safety were actually By the above it might.
| at stake and absolutely required it.” “ The method, however, of examining and I am quite sick of our sovereignty. Your deciding contested elections, when necessary, safety is only endangered by quarrelling must undoubtedly with respect to America be with the colonies; not by leaving them to set, in a great measure, upon a different footing the free enjoyment of their own liberties. from that at present practised in this kingdom."
“They, who first migrated from England to Let the members be chosen by the Ame-settle in America, well knew, I presume, they rican Assemblies, and disputed elections | were still to continue the subjects of the same settled there, if any; but there would be government.” none.
They well knew the contrary. They " It is not in the least, at this time, probable, would never have gone, if that had been that an American representation will ever be the case. They fled from your government, convened in England."
which oppressed them. If they carried I think so too; where neither side approve your government with them, and of course a match, it is not likely to be made.
your laws, they had better have stayed and
endured the oppression at home, and not “They will be almost wholly excluded the have added to it all the hardships of making benefit of private acts, by reason of the im.
a new settlement. They carried not your moderate expense.'
laws; but, had they carried your governThey may make them at home. The ex- ment and laws, they would now have been pense of private acts in England is shame-subject to spiritual courts, tythes, church fully great.
acts of parliament, game acts, &c. &c., _“The repairing of highways, making |
which they are not, and never were since rivers navigable, and cutting canals, with a their being out of the realm, variety of other things of the like kind, wherein « They knew they were not to be independ. recourse must be had to Parliament, and yet the ent." expense be supplied chiefly, if not wholly, by They were to depend on the king only. private persons." All this may be done by their own laws
“ For no one, I imagine, would doubt, if their at home.
charters granted them an inconsistent power, but
that they might be justly cancelled; as no go“ This mode of compromise may as well be vernment can be supposed to alienate prerogawaived, as it cannot be effected, it is evident, tives necessary to its safe existence.” without immense trouble.”
Every government is supposed to be Very little.
compos mentis when it grants charters, and "And if they should be divided in their sen- shall not be allowed to plead insanity. If timents upon it, and uncertain what measures you break the charters, or violate them, you to adopt and follow, it cannot be matter of just dissolve all ties between us. wonder and censure."
| “However, a right of sovereignty in this case we may undeniably claim and vindicate ; though the number (of American representatives in Parwe might safely grant them independency." | liament) might be properly limited, as those of
You may claim it; but you have not, Scotland were at the union.” never had, nor, I trust, ever will have it. A proper limitation can only be this, that You, that is, the people of England, cannot they shall from time to time have such a grant the Americans independency of the number of additional members, as are proking. It can never be, but with his consent portioned to their increasing share of the and theirs.
taxes and numbers of people. « Preserving our sovereignty over them, “An exact estimate can scarcely be made although at the expense of some portion of of what expense their protection stands in to their natural prerogatives. They partly consist Great Britain.” of our own plantations, and partly of the con- 1 The protection is mutual. They are quests we have made from a nation in whose always in time of war at as much expense hands it would have been dangerous for us to as would be necessary to protect themselves : have continued."
first, by the troops and armed ships they Our sovereignty! Our sovereignty for raise and equip; secondly, by the higher ever. Of their, not our plantations. The price they pay for all commodities, wher conquests may be yours partly; but they drawn into war by English European quarare partly conquests belonging to the colo- rels; thirdly, by obstructions to the vent nies, who joined their forces with yours in of their produce by general embargo. equal proportion.
“ They are justly chargeable with a certain “Our very being, therefore, at least as a free portion of the civil list; for this most indubitapeople, depends upon our retention of them.” bly constitutes a part of government. How
Take care, then, how you use thein. this article at present is managed in England, “They are now treated as children. Their
| is not now my business to inquire.” complaints are heard, and grievances redressed. | I will tell you how it is managed. The But then they would be treated rather as slaves, colonies maintain their governors, who are having the swords of their masters perpetually the king's representatives; and the king held at their throats, if they should presume to receives a quitrent from the lands in most offer half the indignities to the officers of the of the colonies. French crown, which they have often with im- “In many parts they are little, perhaps, or punity done to those of the British.”
nothing at all inferior in respect of their conThe direct contrary is true; they are not veniences to the mother country." redressed; they are refused to be heard. As these differences cannot be known in Fresh oppressions and insults are continually Parliament here, how can you proportion added. English swords are now held at and vary your taxes of America so as to our throats. Every step is taking to con- make them equal and fair ? It would be vince us, that there is no difference in go undertaking what you are not qualified for, vernment.
as well as doing what you have no right to “Nay, they have Assemblies of their opin to do. redress their grievances.”
“ Yet it must be granted, that they know best It is well they have.
the state of their own funds, and what taxos "And if that should be done, what marks of they can am
they can afford to pay." sovereignty will they allow us to enjoy? What And yet you would be meddling. sort of claim will they indulge us with? Only, “It is very certain, that England is entitled I suppose, a mere titular one. And if so, would to a great deal of gratitude from her colonies.” they then expect, that we should still protect The English are eternally harping on this them with our forces by sea and land? Or will string, the great obligation the colonies are they themselves maintain an army and navy | under for protection from the French. I sufficient for that purpose ? This they cer- I have shown, already, that the defence was tainly at present are not able to do, if they weri?
mutual. Every inan in England, and every not sheltered by the wings of Great Britain."
man's estate, have been defended from the What would you have? Would you, the French; but is it sense to tell any particular people of England, be subjects and kings at
| man, “ The nation has incurred a debt of the same time? Don't be under any appre-l one hundred and forty-eight millions to prohensions for them. They will find allies tect you and your estate and ther
tect you and your estate ; and therefore you and friends somewhere; and it will be worth
owe a great deal of gratitude to the nation ?" no one's while to make them enemies, or to lie will say, and justly, “I paid my proattack so poor a people, so numerous, and portion, and I am under no obligation." 30 well armed.
The colonies, as I have shown in preceding “Nor is there any reason to apprehend, that netes, have always paid more in various they should be at all formidable to England; as wilys, and besides extending your trade Vol. II.
sometimes (from which you exclude the “And if she had not thought proper to cen, colonies), and for whims about the balance almost all her care, as she has done, upon mar of power, and for the sake of continental ing the late peace, in procuring them a safe connexions in which they were separately tablishment, and to sacrifice to it, in a mann. unconcerned. On the other hand, they every other object, she might, at least, expı have, from their first settlement, had wars from them a more decent and dutiful demea in America, in which they never engaged our.” you. The French have never been their In the last war America kept up tweni enemies, but on your account.
| five thousand men at her own cost for fi “ That the late war was chiefly kindled and
were in all battles, all service. Thousan. carried on, on your account, can scarcely be denied."
of her youth fell a sacrifice. The crow
gained an immense extent of territory, ai It is denied.
a great number of new subjects. Brita --"By the steps they seem to take to shake gained a new market for her manufacture off our sovereignty."
and recovered and secured the old one amor Our sovereignty again! This writer, like the Indians, which the French had inte the Genoese queens of Corsica, deems him- rupted and annihilated. But what did ti self a sprig of royalty!
Americans gain, except that safe establis, “For as soon as they are no longer dependent
ment, which they are now so taunted with upon England, they may be assured they will
vill Lands were divided among none of then immediately become dependent upon France.”
» The very fishery, which they fought to o
tain, they are now restrained in. The plui We are assured of the contrary. Weak
der of the Havana was not for them. 'Ar states, that are poor, are as safe as great
this very safe establishment they might i ones that are rich. They are not objects of
well have had by treaty with the French envy. The trade, that may be carried on
their neighbours, who would probably hai with them, makes them objects of friend
been easily made and continued their friend ship. The smallest states may have great
if it had not been for their connexion wii allies; and the mutual jealousies of great| nations contribute to their security,
“And it seldom happens, that any one fan - "And whatever reasons there might the better for his insolence.” exist to dispose them in our favour in prefer
| ence to the French; yet, how far these would
Then don't be insolent with your power operate, no one can pretend to say."
“For should matters on all sides, as I hoj · Then be careful not to use them ill.
they never will, be carried to extremities, I cai
not take upon me to say but England may ye is a better reason for using them kindly.
produce both a Ministry and Parliament, th: That alone can retain their friendship.
would rather share them once more with th. Your sovereignty will be of no use if the
French, than totally relinquish her present pri people hate you. Keeping them in obe
tensions." dience will cost you more than your profits from them amount to.
We have been often threatened with thi
wise measure of returning Canada to Francı " It is not, indeed, for their jealousy of their
their Do it when you please. Had the Frenc rights and liberties, but for their riotous and
power, which you were five years subduin, seditious manner of asserting them.”
with twenty-five thousand regulars, an Do you Englishmen then pretend to cen- twenty-five thousand of us to help you sure the colonies for riots ? Look at home! continued at our backs ready to support an I have seen, within a year, riots in the coun- assist us, whenever we might think prope try about corn; riots about elections; riots to resist your oppressions, you would neve about work-houses; riots of colliers; riots have thought of a Stamp Act for us; yo of weavers; riots of coal-heavers; riots of would not have dared to use us as you har sawyers; riots of sailors; riots of Wilkes- done. If it be so politic a measure to hav ites; riots of government chairmen; riets enemies at hand (as the notion is) to kee, of smugglers, in which custom-house officers your subjects in obedience, then give part o and excisemen have been murdered, the Ireland to the French to plant. Plant and king's armed vessels and troops fired at, &c. ther French colony in the Highlands, to kee In America, if one mob rises, and breaks a rebellious Scotland in order. Plant anothe few windows, or tars and feathers a single on Tower Hill, to restrain your own mob: rascally informer, it is called rebellion, There never was a notion more ridiculous troops and fleets must be sent, and military Don't you see the advantage you may nave execution talked of, as the decentest thin if you preserve our connexion ! The fift in the world. Here, indeed, one would thousand men and the fleet employed i think riots part of the mode of government. America, during the last war are now s