A Vindication of the British Colonies against the Aspersions of the Halifax Gentleman, in His Letter to a Rhode Island Friend by James Otis from “Pamphlets of the American Revolution,” ed. by Bernard Bailyn
I — A VINDICATION of the British Colonies against the Aspersions of the Halifax Gentleman, in His Letter to a Rhode Island Friend

IT HAD been long expected that some American pen would be drawn, in support of those measures which to all thinking men must appear to be very extraordinary. Those who are above party can peruse the speculations of a Whig or a Tory, a Quaker or a Jacobite, with the . same composure of mind. Those who confine themselves within the bounds of moderation and decency are so far respectable. All who grow outrageous are disgustful. The “head of a tribunitian veto” with a mob at his heels and a grand Asiatic monarch with a shoal of sycophants clinging about him, like the little wretches in the well-known print o' Hobbe's Leviathan, may be objects of equal diversion, derision, and contempt. Mankind ever were, are, and will be, divisible into the great and small vulgar. Both will have their respective heads. The laws of nature are uniform and invariable. The same causes will produce the same effects from generation to generation. He that would be a great captain must for a season exult in the honor of being a little one.

Bred on the mountains had proud Julius been, He'd shone a sturdy wrestler on the green.

The Halifax gentleman having discovered that Governor H—Pk—nJ is “totally unacquainted with style and diction,” and yet “eagerly fond to pass upon the world for a man of letters,” great perfection might be reasonably expected in the composition of the friendly epistle. Instead of this are found inaccuracies in abundance, declamation and false logic without end; verse is retailed in the shape of prose, solecisms are at tempted to be passed off for good grammar, and the most indelicate fustian for the fine taste. The whole performance is truly Filmerian. The picture is very well charged with shade and thick darkness, intermixed with here and there a ray of light, now and then a flash, and once in a while is heard a little rumbling thunder from a few distant broken clouds.

Some future bard may sing the present times, And HE be made the hero of the song.

These two lines are crowded together in one short sentence in a prosaic form (p. 4).

The gentleman (p. 5) has given us a portrait of the English nation. It contains but a dozen lines, and expresses or plainly implies the following wonderful group of ideas, viz., “A high pitch of glory and power, envy and admiration of surrounding slaves, holding fast the balance of Europe, a rival in arts and arms of every period, ancient and modern, impatience, jealousy, pride and folly, prodigality, particularly in laying wagers to the value of kingdoms, and a quick sensibility and consciousness of dignity, which renders plain simple truth intolerable.” As the English nation expired about sixty years since in the union of the two kingdoms, 'tis needless to inquire whether this be a just character of that once brave and generous, free and loyal people; but if this should be intended for a filial compliment to Great Britain, 'tis a very indifferent one. In the late war America joined in the stakes: the bet was not for the safety of the colonies alone; it was for the salvation of Great Britain as well as the plantations, i.e., for the whole community. Cornwall raises and pays one company of dragoons, Devonshire another. Is Cornwall more obliged to Devonshire than Devonshire is to Cornwall? They are both obliged by the strongest ties of duty and loyalty to the gracious prince who protects and defends both; to each other they owe but love and good will.

I cannot think Mr. H—k—s or any other of the writers who have the misfortune to fall under the sore displeasure of the Halifax gentleman ever really intended to encourage so groundless a claim as an independent, uncontrollable provincial legislative. Most of them 'tis well known expressly disavow such a claim. It is certain that the Parliament of Great Britain hath a just, clear, equitable, and constitutional right, power, and authority to bind the colonies by all acts wherein they are named. Every lawyer, nay, every tyro, knows this. No less certain is it that the Parliament of Great Britain has a just and equitable right, power, and authority to impose taxes on the colonies, internal and external, on lands as well as on trade. This is involved in the idea of a supreme legislative or sovereign power of a state. It will, however, by no means from thence follow that 'tis always expedient and in all circumstances equitable for the supreme and sovereign legislative to tax the colonies, much less that 'tis reasonable this right should be practiced upon without allowing the colonies an actual representation. An equal representation of the whole state is, at least in theory, of the essence of a perfect parliament or supreme legislative.

There is not the least color of a contradiction between the passages from the Rights of the Colonies cited pages 6 and 7. It must indeed be confessed and lamented that the last citation involves a sophism unworthy the pen from whence it fell. But the critic with all his sagacity has not pointed where the fallacy lies. He has reduced His Honor's argument to the form of a syllogism, which is conclusive. “The people of Great Britain have not any sort of power over the Americans; the House of Commons have no greater authority than the people of Great Britain who are their constituents; ergo, the House of Commons have not any sort of power over the Americans.” This I take to be literally true. Yet by the following reduction the fallacy of His Honor's argument will appear: “The common people of Great Britain have no sovereign absolute authority over their fellow subjects in America”; the House of Commons alone have no greater authority than the common people of Great Britain; ergo, the British Parliament, the King's Majesty, Lords, and Commons, have no sovereign absolute authority over the subjects in the colonies. Who does not see the fallacy of this conclusion? The inquiry was not of the sole and separate power and authority of the House of Commons, but of the authority of that august and transcendent body the Parliament, which is composed of the three branches of the grand legislature of the nation considered as united. But all this shows that the last citation at most is but an implicit, and is far from an “express denial of the authority of Parliament,” and should by that candor that is inseparable from a liberal mind have been imputed to mere inadvertency.

We come now to the rationale of the epistle. “I have endeavored,” says the gentleman, “to investigate the true, natural relation, if I may so speak, between the colonies and their mother state, abstracted from compact or positive institution.” What a parade is here? What “a solemnity” does “he give to his performance”? “If I may so speak.” Who would not think the world was about to be favored with some extraordinary discovery too mighty for the powers and precision of language?

Let us attend the course of the bubble. “But here,” adds he, “I can find nothing satisfactory. Yet till this relation is clearly defined upon rational and natural principles our reasoning upon the measures of the colonies' obedience will be desultory and inconclusive. Every connection or relation in life has its reciprocal duties; we know the relation between a parent and a child, husband and wife, master and servant, and from thence are able to deduce their respective obligations. But we have no notices of any such precise natural relation between a mother state and its colonies, and therefore cannot reason with so much certainty upon the power of the one or the duties of the other.,” If, as the gentleman tells us, he could not find anything satisfactory, he could only guess what reasoning would follow; and I leave it to his readers to determine whether he has not proved that he guessed very rightly. He has placed the relation of master and servant among what he calls natural relations. In a state of nature, where all are equal, I believe the gentleman would be as much puzzled to find his master or servant as others now may be to find his equal. 'Tis a little strange he should attempt to reason on a subject of which he confesses he could find no “satisfactory notices.” But he seems determined to flounder on through thick and thin, be his reasonings “desultory” or conclusive.

“The ancients,” says he, “have transmitted (for handed down; 'tis a wonder it had not been transported) to us nothing that is applicable to the state of the modern colonies, because the relation between these (“and their mother state” should have been added) is formed by “political compact.” Brave! “And the condition of each variant in their original and from each other.” Better and better still If condition means the present state, and I think it can mean nothing else, what a delectable piece of jargon does the close of this period make. It amounts to this: “The present state of each modern colony is variant in its original, and from each other.” Be this as it may, if the relation of modern colonies to their mother states is founded on political compact, how came the gentleman to beat his brains to find out “their natural relation abstracted from compact or positive institution”? For what purpose he has done this he tells us when he confesses he can find nothing “satisfactory” about it. Are not natural and merely political or civil relations different things? Is it not a little jargonical and inconsistent in one breath to talk of “investigating the true, natural, clearly defined relation of the colonies to their mother state, abstracted from compact or positive institution,” and in the next to affirm that so far as relates to modern colonies this relation depends or “is founded on political compact”? Was there a natural relation between ancient states and their colonies and none between the modern states and their colonies? Is not a “political compact” the same thing with a “positive institution”,? Is this “freeing a subject from embarrassment,”? Well might the gentleman “shun the walk of metaphysics.” I wish he had not so much avoided that of logic. He everywhere seems to consider power and duty as correlates. Surely he should be the last man to charge his adversary with “vague and diffuse talk of” those leveling notions, “rights and privileges.” He bewilders himself for half a poor creeping page more, abruptly sings a requiem to his sweet soul, composes the surges of his “philosophically inquisitive mind” fatigued with its late flight after natural and political relations, and very gravely contents himself with considering the “colonies' rights upon the footing of their charters.” This foothold, by a new and bold figure in rhetoric, he calls “the only plain avenues that lead to the truth of this matter.”

. . . facilis descensus Averni.6

The gentleman is at a loss (p. 8) to “conceive how it comes to pass that the colonies now claim any other or greater rights than are expressly granted to them” by charter. Is the gentleman a British-born subject and a lawyer, and ignorant that charters from the crown have usually been given for enlarging the liberties and privileges of the grantees, not for limiting them, much less for curtailing those essential rights which all His Majesty's subjects are entitled to by the laws of God and nature as well as by the common law and by the constitution of their country ?

The distinction (p. 8) between personal and political rights is a new invention, and, as applied, has perplexed the author of it. He everywhere confounds the terms rights, liberties, and privileges, which in legal as well as vulgar acceptation denote very different ideas. This is a common mistake with those who cannot see any difference between power and right, between a blind, slavish submission and a loyal, generous, and rational obedience to the supreme authority of a state.

The rights of men are natural or civil. Both these are divisible into absolute and relative. The natural absolute personal rights of individuals are so far from being opposed to political or civil rights that they are the very basis of all municipal laws of any great value. “The absolute rights of individuals regarded by the municipal laws compose what is called political or civil liberty.” “The absolute liberties of Englishmen, as frequently declared in Parliament, are principally three: the right of personal security, personal liberty, and private property.” “Besides these three primary rights, there are others which are secondary and subordinate (to preserve the former from unlawful attacks): (I) The constitutionor power of Parliament; (2) The limitation of the King's prerogative (and to vindicate them when actually violated); (3) The regular administration of justice; (4) The right of petitioning for redress of grievances; (5) The right of having and using arms for self-defense.” See Mr. Blackstone's accurate and elegant analysis of the laws of England. The gentleman seems to have taken this and some other of his distinctions from that excellent treatise very ill understood. The analysis had given this general view of the objects of the laws of England: I. Rights of persons; II. Rights of things; III. Private wrongs; IV. Public wrongs. Rights of persons are divided into these: (I) of natural persons; (2) of bodies politic or corporate, i.e., artificial persons or subordinate societies. The rights of these are by the Letter Writer strangely confounded with the political and civil rights of natural persons. And because corporate rights so far as they depend upon charter are matters of the mere favor and grace of the donor or founder, he thence infers (p. g) that “the colonies have no rights independent of their charters,” and that “they can claim no greater than those give them.” This is a contradiction to what he admitted in the preceding page, viz., that “by the common law every colonist hath a right to his life, liberty, and property.” And he was so vulgar as to call these the “subject's birthright.” But what is this birthright worth if it depends merely upon a colony charter that, as he says rightly enough, may be taken away by the Parliament? I wish the gentleman would answer these questions. Would he think an estate worth much that might be taken from him at the pleasure of another ? Are charters from the crown usually given for enlarging the liberties and privileges of the grantees in consideration of some special merit and services done the state, or would he have his readers consider them like the ordinances of a French monarch, for limiting and curtailing those rights which all Britons and all British subjects are entitled to by the laws of God and nature, as well as by the common law and the constitution of their country so admirably built on the principles of the former? By which of these laws in contradistinction to the other are the rights of life, liberty, and estate, personal?

The gentleman's positions and principles that “the several New England charters ascertain, define, and limit the respective rights and privileges of each colony,” and that “the colonies have no rights independent of their charter,” and that “they can claim no greater than those give them,” if true, would afford a curious train of consequences. Life, liberty, and property are by the law of nature as well as by the common law secured to the happy inhabitants of South Britain, and constitute their primary civil or political rights. But in the colonies these and all other rights, according to our author, depend upon charter. Therefore those of the colonies who have no charter have no right to life, liberty, or property. And in those colonies who have charters, these invaluable blessings depend on the mere good will, grace, and pleasure of the supreme power, and all their charters and of course all their rights, even to life, liberty, and property, may be taken away at pleasure. Thus every charter in England may be taken away, for they are but voluntary and gracious grants of the crown of certain limited, local, political privileges superadded to those of the common law. But would it be expedient to strike such a blow without the most urgent necessity? “In all states there is (and must be) an absolute supreme power, to which the right of legislation belongs: and which by the singular constitution of these kingdoms is vested in the King, Lords, and Commons.” Now Magna Carta is but a law of their making, and they may alter it at pleasure; but does it thence follow that it would be expedient to repeal every statute from William the Conqueror to this time? But by the gentleman's principles this may be done wantonly and without any reason at all. Further, by his logic the Parliament may make the monarchy absolute or reduce it to a republic, both which would be contrary to the trust reposed in them by the constitution, which is to preserve, not destroy it; and to this all are sworn, from the King's Majesty in his coronation oath to the meanest subject in the oath of allegiance. Into such absurd and treasonable doctrines must the gentleman run in order to be consistent. Nay, all the vagaries of Filmer, Mainwaring, and Sibthorpe, and of the whole tribe of King Adam's subjects will follow As I. That Adam was the first monarch of this earth. No prince has a title to his crown but he who can prove himself to be the eldest heir male of the body of Adam. That all other princes are usurpers and tyrants. That according to Filmer, God hath given to every father over his children, and much more to every prince over his subjects, a power “absolute, arbitrary and unlimited, and unlimitable over the lives, liberties, and estates of such children and subjects; so that he may take or alienate their estates, sell, castrate, or use their persons as he pleases, they being all his slaves, and the father or prince, lord proprietor of everything, and his unbounded will their law.” This is the substance of one of Mr. Locke's inferences from these words of Filmer, “God hath given to the father a right or liberty to alien his power over his children to any other; whence we find the sale and gift of children to have been much in use in the beginning of the world when men had their servants for a possession and inheritance as well as other goods (and chattels), whereupon we find the power of castrating and making eunuchs (for singing songs like ‘Lillibullero,’ etc.) much in use in old times.” Obs. I55. “Law is nothing else but the will of him that hath the power of the supreme father.” Horrid blasphemy! The Lord omnipotent reigneth, but to whom hath he committed his supreme power and authority? The pope claims to be but lord lieutenant of Heaven, and before Sir Robert none but the devil ever had vanity or folly enough to contend for the whole power of the supreme father. According to Filmer and his followers, among which the Halifax gentleman is a close imitator, “they that shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and their daughters whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan,” did no more than they had a right to do. Upon such principles Pharoah was a pious, virtuous prince. And the drowning the infants in the Nile was as justifiable a piece of preventive policy as seizing the ships of the French without a declaration of war. The Philistine rulers too acted very commendably in depriving the Hebrews of the use of iron, it being very certain that any (of) the most polite people without the free use of this invaluable metal would in one century return to the savage state of the Indians. “If the example of what hath been done,” says Mr. Locke, “be the rule of what ought to be, history would have furnished our author with instances of this absolute fatherly power in its height and perfection, and he might have showed us in Peru people that begot children on purpose to fatten and eat them.” Mr. Locke has recited a story of this kind, so horrid that I would for the honor of the human species think it incredible and but the mere flight of imagination in Garcilaso de Vega; like Swift's proposal to the people of Ireland, to fatten their children for sale in Leadenhall market, as almost the only branch of commerce that would give no offense to the good people of England. See the story cited by Mr. Locke in his treatise on government, chaps. II and VI.ll The Filmerians often preach the principles of anarchy in one breath and those of despotism in another. The gentleman (p. 9) says, “The individuals of the colonists participate of every blessing the English constitution can give them. As corporations created by the crown they are confined within the primitive views of their institution. Whether therefore their indulgence is liberal or scanty can be no cause of complaint; for when they accepted of their charters they tacitly submitted to the terms and conditions of them.” This is admirable! To be sure a liberal indulgence could be no cause of complaint. I have heard of a scanty allowance, and it often happens in a transportation across the Atlantic, but what is a scanty indulgence? I am in doubt under what species of Hellenism to rank it. Is it Doric or Ionic? Attic I am sure it is not. But at present I am content it should pass as very good English for a poor pittance of bread, water, stinking beef, and coarse clothes instead of the roast beef of Old England praised and sung by such authors as delight in compositions like “Lillibullero.” Has a servant no reason to complain that his allowance is scanty, that he is half naked and more than half starved, while his less faithful and less loyal fellow servant is well-fed, plump, gay, and clothed in purple and scarlet and fine linen, faring sumptuously every day upon the spoils of his neighbor? But admitting the former has no right to complain or utter a single sigh, the forced effect of “submissive fear and mingled rage,” cannot for the heart of me conceive how he “participates of every blessing” of his fellow servant; unless the gentleman will contend that half a loaf is equal to a whole one, and that Martyn and Jack were really a couple of scoundrels for denying that the crusts Lord Peter would have palmed upon them were very good Banstead-down mutton. That “the colonists do not hold their rights as a privilege granted them nor enjoy them as a grace and favor bestowed, but possess them as an inherent indefeasible right,” as Mr. H—k—s very justly asserts, is a self-evident proposition to everyone in the least versed in the laws of nature and nations, or but moderately skilled in the common law, except the learned gentleman of Halifax. Even the King's writs are divided into those which the subject hath a right to ex debito justitiae and those which depend upon mere grace and favor. These may be denied, the others cannot. The essential rights of British colonists stand on the same basis with those of their fellow subjects of the same rank in any of the three kingdoms.

What the gentleman adds, viz., “that this postulatum of Mr. H—pk—s cannot be true with regard to political rights,” by which he evidently means the peculiar privileges of subordinate powers granted by charter, is (asking his pardon) mere impertinence, and in a gentleman of his sense could arise only from a certain set of prejudices having so far blinded him as to make him confound the ideas of corporate subordinate privileges with essential, natural, and civil rights, as is above most abundantly demonstrated, and clearly appears from his own words (p. 10): “The force of an act of Parliament over the colonies is predicated upon the common law, the origin and basis of all those inherent rights and privileges which constitute the boast and felicity of a Briton.,, I wish he had said the justly boasted felicity of a Briton, because in that case I should not have suspected him of a Filmerian sneer in this place, which jealousy his dogmas elsewhere will justify. The inherent, indefeasible rights of the subject, so much derided and despised in other parts of the performance, are here admitted, in jest or in earnest, I care not which. The origin of those rights is in the law of nature and its author. This law is the grand basis of the common law and of all other municipal laws that are worth a rush. True it is that every act of Parliament which names the colonies or describes them as by the words “plantations or dominions” binds them. But this is not so strictly and properly speaking by the common law as by the law of nature and by the constitution of a parliament or sovereign and supreme legislative in a state. 'Tis as true that when the colonies are not named or described by an act of Parliament, they are not bound by it.

What is the reason of all this? Qui haeret in litera haeret in cortice. Surely the bare naming of the colonies hath no magical charm or force in it. That the colonies should be bound by acts of Parliament wherein they are named is an exception from a general rule or maxim. What is that rule or maxim ? It is that the colonies being separate dominions and at a distance from the realm, or mother state, and in fact unrepresented in Parliament shall be governed by laws of their own making; and unless named in acts of Parliament shall not be bound by them. “Quia non mittunt milites ad parliamentum,” says Lord Coke. Yet as a mark of, and to preserve their dependency on, and subordination to, the mother state, and to prevent imperium in imperio, the greatest of all political solecisms, the mother state justly asserts the right and authority to bind her colonies where she really thinks the good of the whole requires it; and of this she remains the supreme judge, from whose final determination there is no appeal. The mother state hath also an undoubted right to unite a colony to itself and wholly to abrogate and annihilate all colony or subordinate legislation and administration if such alteration shall appear for the best interest of the whole community. But should this be done needlessly and wantonly and without allowing the colonies a representation, the exercise of the power that would otherwise be just and equitable would cease to be distinguished by those amiable qualities. Should a mother state even think it reasonable to impose internal as well as external taxes on six millions of subjects in their remote dominions without allowing them one voice, it would be matter of wonder and astonishment; but it could not be said that the supreme legislative had exceeded the bounds of their power and authority, nor would this render a petition undutiful and seditious. Those six millions must on such an event, unless blind, see themselves reduced to the mortifying condition of mere ciphers and blanks in society. Should all this ever happen to the British colonies, which God forbid, might it not be truly and safely affirmed that the representation in the House of Commons would be very unequal? The right of a supreme power in a state to tax its colonies is a thing that is clear and evident; and yet the mode of exercising that right may be questionable in point of reason and equity. It may be thought to be unequal and contrary to sound policy to exercise the right, clear as it is, without allowing a representation to the colonies. And though a representation would avail the colonies very little in this generation, yet to posterity it might be an invaluable blessing. It may also in future ages be very beneficial to Great Britain. Is it to be believed that when a continent of 3000 miles in length shall have more inhabitants than there are at this day in Great Britain, France, and Ireland, perhaps in all Europe, they will be quite content with the bare name of British subjects, and to the end of time supinely acquiesce in laws made, as it may happen, against their interest by an assembly 3000 miles beyond sea, and where, should they agree in the sentiments with the Halifax gentleman, it may be thought that an admission of an American member would “sully and defile the purity of the whole body”? One hundred years will give this continent more inhabitants than there are in the three kingdoms.

Many great and good men have complained of the inequality of the representation in Great Britain. This inequality can never be a reason for making it more so; which, however, is the method of reasoning adopted by the Halifax gentleman. At his rate, it would be just that half the counties and boroughs in Great Britain which now return members should be curtailed of their right. If so, why not half the remainder, and so on till the House of Commons will be reduced to a single member, and when he was split, one branch of the legislature would be annihilated. By a like process the House of Lords, the second branch of the legislature, might be destroyed. This would be a shorter cut to absolute and unlimited monarchy than ever Filmer was fortunate enough to invent. This brings us to the consideration of the maxim that “no Englishman can be taxed but by his own consent, in person or by his representative. This dry maxim, taken in a literal sense and little understood like the song of ‘Lillibullero’ has made all the mischief in the colonies,,” says the gentleman (p. 1I). I cannot conceive how this or any other dry maxim, or the song of “Lillibullero” like it, well or ill understood, can make any mischief in the colonies. What notable harm has the song of “Lillibullero” wrought in the colonies, or what like it has this “dry maxim” effected? “It is,” says the gentleman (p. II), “the opinion of the House of Commons and may be considered as a law of Parliament that they are the representatives of every British subject wheresoever he be.” Festina lente domine! This may be true in one sense. The supreme legislative indeed represents the whole society or community, as well the dominions as the realm; and this is the true reason why the dominions are justly bound by such acts of Parliament as name them. This is implied in the idea of a supreme sovereign power; and if the Parliament had not such authority the colonies would be independent, which none but rebels, fools, or madmen will contend for. God forbid these colonies should ever prove undutiful to their mother country! Whenever such a day shall come it will be the beginning of a terrible scene. Were these colonies left to themselves tomorrow, America would be a mere shambles of blood and confusion before little petty states could be settled. How many millions must perish in building up great empires? How many more must be ruined by their fall? Let any man reflect on the revolutions of government, ancient and modern, and he will think himself happy in being born here in the infancy of these settlements, and from his soul deprecate their once entertaining any sentiments but those of loyalty, patience, meekness, and forbearance under any hardships that in the course of time they may be subjected to. These, as far as may be consistent with the character of men and Christians, must be submitted to. If it is the opinion of the present honorable House of Commons that they in fact represent the colonies, it is more than I know. Should this be their opinion, the gentleman may if he pleases “consider it as a law of Parliament.” But I should rather choose to consider it only as the very respectable opinion of one branch of the supreme legislative. The opinion of the House of Lords and then above all the sanction of the King's Majesty must be superadded, and the concurrence of both is absolutely necessary to make any opinion of the House of Commons an act or law of Parliament. ,Tis humbly conceived that it was not as representatives in fact of the colonies that the House of Commons granted His Majesty an external tax on the colonies in the instance of the late act. Nor, if before this time an act for granting internal taxes on the colonies should be passed, could I conceive that the House of Commons are our representatives in fact. As one branch of the supreme legislative, they have an undoubted right to originate any bills that, by naming them, shall bind the colonies when passed into an act, let it be for levying internal or external taxes, or for any other regulation that may appear needful. But I cannot find it affirmed or declared in one act of Parliament, history, or journal of Parliamentary proceedings, nor in one English law book, that a British House of Commons are in fact the representatives of all the plebeian subjects, without as well as within the realm. Lord Coke indeed says that “the House of Commons represent all the commons of England, electors and nonelectors”, but he nowhere asserts that the House of Commons in fact represent the provincials of Ireland and other dominions out of the realm. He says, however, the people of Ireland are not represented in the English Parliament, and assigns that as the very reason why, in general, acts of Parliament are confined to the realm. Though from the necessity of the thing, in several cases, by naming them the provinces are bound. In the Fourth Institute, speaking of the truly high and most honorable court on earth, and never more so than in the present state of the British Parliament and nation, his lordship says, “This court consisteth of the King's Majesty, sitting there as in his royal political capacity and of the three estates of the realm, viz., of the lords spiritual, archbishops and bishops, being in number 24, who sit there by succession in respect of their counties, or baronies parcel of their bishoprics, which they hold also in their politic capacity; and every one of these, when any Parliament is to be holden, ought, ex debito justitiae, to have a (writ of) summons. The lords temporal, dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts, and barons, who sit there by reason of their dignities which they hold by descent or creation, in number at this time 106, and likewise every one of these being of full age, ought to have a writ of summons ex debito justitiae. The third estate is the commons of the realm, whereof there be knights of shires or counties, citizens of cities, and burgesses of burghs. All which are respectively elected by the shires or counties, cities, and burghs by force of the King's writ ex debito justitiae, and none of them ought to be omitted; and these represent all the commons of the whole realm, and trusted for them, and are in number at this time 493.”

Here is not one word of the House of Commons representing or being trusted by or for the provincials of Ireland or the colonists in America. And though in page 4 of the same Institute he says, “in many cases multitudes are bound by acts of Parliament which are not parties to the election of knights, citizens, and burgesses, as all they that have no freehold or have freehold in ancient demesne, and all women, having freehold or no freehold, and men within the age of twenty-one years etc.” —this “etc.” may be supplied with female infants, lunatics, idiots, and bedlamites in general. Yet this will not prove that these nonelectors are in fact represented and in fact trust the representatives in the House of Commons. In estimation of law they are justly deemed as represented. They have all fathers, brothers, friends, or neighbors in the House of Commons, and many ladies have husbands there. Few of the members have any of these endearing ties to America. We are as to any personal knowledge they have of us as perfect strangers to most of them as the savages in California. But according to our Letter Writer we are not only in law but in deed represented in the House of Commons. How does he support this? Why, he has dreamt that some one House of Commons in some former reign once thought they were in fact our representatives. That “the opinion of a House of Commons is a law of Parliament,” therefore “'tis determined by act of Parliament that we are and shall believe we are in fact represented in the House of Commons.” Here's more logic. Suppose some future House of Commons should be of opinion that they were the true and proper representatives of all the common people upon the globe; would that make them so and oblige all mankind to believe and submit to it? Would a fiction of the common law of England satisfy the innumerable multitudes on the face of the whole earth that they were in fact represented and consenting to all such taxes and tributes as might be demanded of them? Will any man's calling himself my agent, representative, or trustee make him so in fact? At this rate a House of Commons in one of the colonies have but to conceive an opinion that they represent all the common people of Great Britain, and according to our author they would in fact represent them and have a right to tax them. 'Tis strange the gentleman can see no difference between a literal sense of a fundamental principle or “dry maxim,” as he calls it, and no sense at all. Does it follow because it is “impracticable that each individual should be in fact represented,” that therefore there should be no representation at all, or a very unequal one? Because the little insignificant isles of Jersey, Guernsey, and Man have never obtained a representation, is it reasonable that the whole kingdom of Ireland and the plantations should be forever excluded from returning members to the British Parliament, even should the Parliament impose external and internal taxes on them and take from them every subordinate power of local legislation? If this would be equal and rational why might not Wales have been excluded from returning members, why may they not be excluded now, and Devonshire and Cornwall, and every other county and borough share the same fate? Matter of fact is one thing, matter of right another. The people of a state may in fact be very unequally represented; but few men would, like our author, in effect contend that it were best they should not be represented at all. Has the gentleman forgot the maxim “that equity is equality.” 'Tis hoped he will not consider this as a leveling principle, as it has been more than once-called. How astonishing is it that the instances (p. I2) of the unequal representation in Great Britain, to which he might have added those of “ten Cornish barns and an ale house,” should be brought as an argument to prove that “the right of being represented in Parliament” is “an utopian privilege,” a “phantom,” a “cloud in the shape of Juno” ? This is far from a fine compliment to the honorable House of Commons, of which as one of the branches of the supreme legislative and of the privilege of sitting with them it would have been more decent to have made a different choice of expressions. To atone for this indelicacy, the next moment the pendulum vibrates as far the other way.

In page 13, the Parliament is represented as so pure and perfect that “the beauty and symmetry of this body would be destroyed and its purity defiled by the unnatural mixture of representatives from every part of the British dominions. Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and the dwellers of Mesopotamia, etc., would not in such a case speak the same language. What a heterogeneous council would this form? What a monster in government would it be?” Let me add, was ever insolence equal to this? Are the inhabitants of British America all a parcel of transported thieves, robbers, and rebels, or descended from such? Are the colonists blasted lepers, whose company would infect the whole House of Commons? There are some in the colonies who value themselves on their descent. We have the names of Tudor and of Stuart, of Howard, Seymour, and of Russell, who boast an unsullied descent from our ancient princes and nobles, or at least claim the honor of being of the same blood. Can none of these be returned as members without breeding a plague in the House? If this writer is a European, his insults upon the British colonies are quite unpardonable; if he be a native he is an ungrateful parricide. Is he a venal hireling of a party, his employers on either side the Atlantic should discard him as a mere Sir Martyn Marplot? Depend upon it, one such letter as his, if known to breathe the sentiments of the great, would tend more to disgust the colonies against the conduct of their superiors than a hundred thousand such pamphlets as the author scolds at. Parliaments are not only “as ancient as our Saxon ancestors” but as old as the commonwealths of Israel, Greece, and Rome; nay as old as the first compact for changing a simple democracy into any other form of government. “Attendance in Parliament” is not, therefore, as the gentleman conceives, a “duty arising from a tenure of lands or the feudal system” but from the nature of man, of society, and of all original, just, social, and civil compacts for forming a state. “So that the privilege of sitting in it,” i.e., in a parliament or grand council of a nation, is not “territorial,, in the sense of the Letter Writer, nor in its nature “confined to Great Britain.” What is there, what can there be that should naturally and necessarily confine the privilege of returning members to the inhabitants of Great Britain more than to those of London and Westminster?

The gentleman (p. I4) says “the Parliament may levy internal taxes as well as regulate trade, there is no essential difference.” By regulating trade I suppose he means, according to the common sophism, taxing trade. Even in this sense 'tis admitted the Parliament have the same right to levy internal taxes on the colonies as to regulate trade, and that the right of levying both is undoubtedly in the Parliament. Yet 'tis humbly conceived and hoped that before the authority is fully exerted in either case it will be thought to be but reasonable and equitable that the dominions should be in fact represented. Else it will follow that the provincials in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America ought to all generations to content themselves with having no more share, weight, or influence, even in the provincial government of their respective countries, than the Hottentots have in that of China, or the Ethiopians in that of Great Britain.

I should be glad to know how the gentleman came by his assurance that “a stamp duty is confessedly the most reasonable and equitable that can be devised” (ibid.). Some few may be of this opinion, and there never was a new invented tax or excise but its favorers and partisans would highly extol as the most just and equitable device imaginable. This is a trite game “at ways and means.” But bold assertions will not pass for clear proofs with “philosophically inquisitive minds.” If “the shaft is sped” and the aim so good, I wonder the gentleman should even faintly pretend to “desire not to see a stamp duty established among us,,” or “wish to prevent the blow.” Were I convinced, as he is, that it is reasonable and best that the colonies should be taxed by Parliament without being allowed a representation, and that it is become not only necessary to levy internal taxes on them but that the art of man could not devise so equitable and reasonable a tax as a stamp duty, I should heartily pray for its establishment.

The gentleman nowhere discovers his temper more plainly than in his comparison of Greece and Rome in their conduct towards their colonies. 'Tis well known the Grecians were kind, humane, just, and generous towards theirs. 'Tis as notorious that the Romans were severe, cruel, brutal, and barbarous towards theirs. I have ever pleased myself in thinking that Great Britain since the Revolution might be justly compared to Greece in its care and protection of its colonies. I also imagined that the French and Spaniards followed the Roman example. But our Letter Writer tells quite a different story. He compliments the nation and comforts the colonies by declaring that these “exactly resemble those of Rome. The Roman coloniae,” says he, “did not enjoy all the rights of Roman citizens. They onlyused the Roman laws and religion and served in their legions, but had no right of suffrage or bearing honors.” “In these respects,” adds he, “our English colonies exactly resemble them. We enjoy the English laws and religion but not the right of suffrage or of bearing honors in Great Britain.”

Is this enjoying the rights, liberties, and privileges of British-born subjects within the realm to all intents, constructions, and purposes? I find all this confirmed to the colonists, not only by the common law and by their charters, but by act of Parliament. Where does the gentleman find it decreed that the British “coloniae have no right of bearing honors in Great Britain”? Has not the King's Majesty, the fountain of honor, an undoubted right by his prerogative to confer any rank he may be graciously pleased to bestow on his American subjects, as well as on those in Great Britain? Cannot the word of a King as easily make even a Halifaxian Letter Writer or his Rhode Island friend a knight of the garter or thistle as if either of them had been dropped and drawn their first breath in one of the three kingdoms ?

The gentleman may in his anger wish for the laws of “Draco to be enforced on America,” and in his fierce anger, for the “iron rod of a Spanish inquisitor.” These may be sudden gusts of passion, without malice prepense, that only hurt his cause, and which his employers will not thank him for. But hard, very hard must his heart be who could employ all his stock of learning in a deliberate attempt to reduce the rights of the colonists to the narrow bound of a bare permission to “use the English laws and religion without a suffrage in things sacred or civil and without a right to bear honors in Great Britain,” “except that of being shot at for six pence a day in her armies at home as well as abroad.,” What is the English religion? Pray wherein does it differ from that of Scotland, Ireland, and the plantations? If it differs, and the colonies are obliged to use the religion of the metropolis on her embracing paganism, so must the colonies. Since the Revolution all dissenters, both at home and abroad, papists only excepted, have enjoyed a free and generous toleration. Would the gentleman deprive all Protestant dissenters of this invaluable blessing? If he is an American by birth, what does he deserve of his country for attempting to realize to this and to all future generations the dreary prospect of confinement to the use of the laws and religion of a region 3000 miles beyond sea, in framing which laws and in forming the modes of which religion they shall have no voice nor suffrage, nor shall they have any preferment in church or state, though they shall be taxed without their consent to the support of both?

.....aes triplex Circa pectus crat.

The gentleman hath been at great pains in order to represent the merchants of America as a parcel of infamous smugglers. He says, “smuggling had well nigh become established in some of the colonies.” 'Tis notoriously known who have been the great abettors and patrons of smugglers and who have shared the greatest part of the profits. All the riot at Ephesus proceeded from certain collectors of the revenues of Diana of the Ephesians; the shrine makers and silversmiths were but their tools. The craft was in danger, but if it had been only that of Demetrius and his journeymen we might not have heard of that day's uproar. 'Tis a very unjust aspersion to charge the American merchants in general with a design to elude and evade the acts of trade. I cannot so well tell how matters have been managed at Halifax or Rhode Island; but in some other colonies only a few favorites have been indulged in the lucrative crime of smuggling, which, after an eminent writer, the gentleman calls a crime “against the law of nature”; 'tis a wonder it had not been recorded from some old commentator crimen lesae Majestatis, high treason. The like indulgence, as far as I can learn, has in Rhode Island been confined also to a few choice friends. The article of molasses is everywhere to be excepted. It was known at home that the importation of this was universally tolerated, paying about one tenth of the duties imposed by the old act. The connivance became very general.

I have perused Mr. H—k—s' book over and over but cannot find the least reflection on Dr. Spry; nor do I think any was intended. The Doctor perhaps may thank the gentleman for bringing his name into question, but I doubt, notwithstanding the gentleman's assertions to the contrary, whether the Doctor's “appointments place him above any kind of influence.” I believe he is under the influence of honor and conscience, a clear head, and a good heart, all which the gentleman seems too much a stranger to. And should the Doctor also be under that influence which flows from a general aversion and contempt of flattery and falsehood, he must conceive an opinion of his Halifax neighbor that will be very mortifying to one who hopes to make his court to the great, and to the Doctor among the rest, by abusing the colonies. The Doctor hath been in America some months, but I have not heard of one cause that has been tried before him. This is a tolerable proof either that smuggling was not so common a thing as the Letter Writer asserts, or that those who used to be concerned in it are reformed. I think it proves both.

In the 2Ist and last page but one of the Letter, the gentleman bethought himself, and having in a manner finished his epistle, makes an apology for not following Mr. H—k—s “with somewhat more of method.,” His excuse is that Mr. H—k—s hath not “divided his argument with precision.” He then formally proceeds to a curious and, as he doubtless thought, precise division of the argument. “The dispute,” says he, “between Great Britain and the colonies consists of two parts. First, the jurisdiction of Parliament; and secondly, the exercise of that jurisdiction. His honor has blended these together, and nowhere marked the division between them. The first I have principally remarked upon.” I know of no dispute between Great Britain and her colonies. Who is so hardy as to dispute the jurisdiction of the Parliament? But were there a thousand disputes between Great Britain and the colonies, if the colonists in general were as the Letter Writer represents them, “a simple, credulous, and hitherto loyal people,” in danger of “having their minds embittered and their affections alienated from Great Britain by a few pamphlets,” and if “from the pride of some and ignorance of others the cry against mother country had spread from colony to colony; and it were to be feared that prejudices and resentments were kindled among them which it will be difficult ever thoroughly to sooth or extinguish,” all which insinuations are however very injurious—what would this prove against The Rights of Colonies Examined or any other of the pamphlets that have been lately published in America? Mr. H—k—s, pages 10 and 11 of his book, speaking of the general concerns of the whole British Empire, saith, “These it is absolutely necessary should have a general power to direct them, some supreme and overruling authority, with power to make laws and form regulations for the good of all and to compel their execution and observation. It being necessary some such general power should exist somewhere, every man of the least knowledge of the British constitution will be naturally led to look for and find it in the Parliament of Great Britain; that grand and august legislative body must from the nature of their authority and the necessity of the thing be justly vested with this power.” Is not this a very clear admission and acknowledgement of the jurisdiction, power, and authority of Parliament over the colonies? What could put it into the gentleman's head to think the jurisdiction of the Parliament was a matter in dispute? I have perused a pamphlet published in Connecticut relating to their rights, but can find no question made of the jurisdiction of the Parliament. The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved I have also read. This was published before either Mr. H—k—s' or that from Connecticut. These, so far as I can find, are all the pamphlets that have been published in America upon the proposed new regulations of the colonies. From the knowledge I have of the sentiments of the “head of the tribunitian veto,” as the gentleman is pleased to describe him, I take upon me to declare that I have heard him in the most public manner declare his submission to the authority of Parliament; and that from his soul he detests and abhors the thought of making a question of their jurisdiction.

The following passages from The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved may serve to show how careful a hand the Halifax gentleman is at a matter of fact.

“I also lay it down as one of the first principles from whence I intend to deduce the civil rights of the British colonies that all of them are subject to and dependent on Great Britain, and that therefore as over subordinate governments the Parliament of Great Britain has an undoubted power and lawful authority to make acts for the general good that, by naming them, shall and ought to be equally binding as upon the subjects of Great Britain within the realm.” “When the Parliament shall think fit to allow the colonists a representation in the House of Commons, the equity of their taxing the colonies will be as clear as their power is at present of doing it without, if they please.” “No such claim (i.e., of an independent legislative) was ever thought of by the colonists. They are all better men and better subjects; and many of them too well versed in the laws of nature and nations and the law and constitution of Great Britain to think they have a right to more than a provincial subordinate legislative. All power is of GOD. Next and only subordinate to Him in the present state of the well-formed, beautiful(ly) constructed British monarchy, standing where I hope it ever will stand, for the pillars are fixed in judgment, righteousness, and truth, is the King and Parliament.” “From all which it seems plain that the reason why Ireland and the plantations are not bound unless named by an act of Parliament is because they are not represented in the British Parliament. Yet in special cases the British Parliament has an undoubted right, as well as power, to bind both by their acts. But whether this can be extended to an indefinite taxation of both is the great question. I conceive the spirit of the British constitution must make an exception of all taxes until it is thought fit to unite a dominion to the realm. Such taxation must be considered either as uniting the dominions to the realm or disfranchising them. If they are united they will be entitled to a representation as well as Wales; if they are so taxed without a union or representation, they are so far disfranchised.” “The sum of my argument is: that civil government is of God; that the administrators of it were originally the whole people; that they might have devolved it on whom they pleased; that this devolution is fiduciary, for the good of the whole; that by the British constitution this devolution is on the King, Lords, and Commons, the supreme, sacred, and uncontrollable legislative power, not only in the realm but through the dominions; that by the abdication, the original compact was broken to pieces; that by the Revolution it was renewed and more firmly established, and the rights and liberties of the subject in all parts of the dominions more fully explained and confirmed; that in consequence of this establishment and the act of succession and union, His Majesty GEORGE III is rightful King and sovereign, and, with his Parliament, the supreme legislative of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging; that this constitution is the most free one and by far the best now existing on earth; that by this constitution every man in the dominions is a free man; that no part of His Majesty's dominions can be taxed without their consent; that every part has a right to be represented in the supreme or some subordinate legislature; that the refusal of this would seem to be a contradiction in practice to the theory of the constitution; that the colonies are subordinate dominions and are now in such a state as to make it best for the good of the whole that they should not only be continued in the enjoyment of subordinate legislation but be also represented in some proportion to their number and estates in the grand legislature of the nation; that this would firmly unite all parts of the British empire in the greatest peace and prosperity, and render it invulnerable and perpetual.” Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved, pp. 32, 48, 59, 61, 64, (65). Can the gentleman read these passages and say they imply any question of the power and authority of Parliament? Will he not blush when he reflects that he hath indiscriminately asserted that these pamphlets “have a tendency to embitter the minds of a simple, credulous, and hitherto loyal people, and to alienate their affections from Great Britain, their best friend and alma mater,”? Can terms expressive of greater loyalty or submission to the jurisdiction and authority of Parliament be conceived than many that are to be found in those pamphlets? Yet the gentleman has the effrontery to talk of the “frequent abuse poured forth in pamphlets against the mother country,” and laments that before his, “not one filial pen in America had been drawn in her vindication.,” How grand we look! Are not his dragoons enough, but he must fight with his pen too? I believe he must be a man of parlous courage; and yet he is modest withal. He says he has “no ambition of appearing in print,” though he is the only loyal subject His Majesty hath in his American dominions and master of the only filial pen worth a button. If this be true, well might he call his countrymen a parcel of scoundrels, rebels, smugglers, and traitors. I shall take leave of my gentleman by desiring him to reflect in his cooler hours and well consider what would soon be his fate if the Americans should treat him as he most richly deserves.

I too have seen in all the pride of May, A flaunting singsong genius toujours gay; Whose life was one short senseless pretty dream, Frisk on the margin of a mighty stream, Till circling dances seize his tender brain: He fall! He dies! alas a calf is slain.

“Narcissus, in contemplating his own image, was turned into a daffodil. Who can think of this and feel no pity for the pride and weakness of man that is born of a woman.”

So have I seen, on some bright summer's day, A calf of genius debonair and gay, Dance on the brink, as if inspired by fame, Fond of the pretty fellow in the stream.

Four lines of Dr. Young very modestly applied to Governor H—k—s in the 5th page of the letter from Halifax, as above cited with the allusion to Narcissus


Since the above sheets were finished two or three pieces have been published in the Providence Gazette. The first of these hath furnished us with a clear and concise account of the several principal reasonings and arguments upon the subject of internal taxes to be imposed on the colonies by Parliament while they are unrepresented in the House of Commons. The sum is:

I. That it is the incontestible right of the subject in Great Britain not to be taxed out of Parliament; and every subject within the realm is in fact or in law represented there.

2. The British colonists being British subjects, are to all intents and purposes entitled to the rights, liberties, and privileges of the subject within the realm and ought to be represented in fact as well as in law in the supreme or some subordinate legislature where they are taxed, else they will be deprived of one of the most essential rights of a British subject, namely that of being free from all taxes but such as he shall by himself or representative grant and assess.

3. As the colonies have been erected into subordinate dependent dominions with subordinate powers of legislation, particularly that of levying taxes for the support of their respective subordinate governments, and at their own expense have not only supported the civil provincial administration but many of them have, to their utmost ability, contributed both in men and money for the common cause, as well as for their more immediate defense against His Majesty's enemies, it should seem very hard that they should be taxed also by Parliament, and that before they are allowed a representation in fact and while they are quite unable to pay such additional taxes.

4. The immense commercial advantages resulting to Great Britain from her plantations, the revenues thence arising to the crown, the taxes we pay by the consumption of an infinity of British manufactures may be thought a reasonable return for the protection received, as tis really all that at present is in our power to yield.

5. If the colonies could and ought to yield greater aids towards the national expense, yet it should seem but reasonable either to allow them, (1) to raise such further sums as may be required by taxing themselves in the most easy way and manner their several provincial legislatures could devise; or, (2) at least to allow them a representation in the House of Commons. This with some animadversions on the present state of commerce, with the extension and enlargement of the admiralty jurisdiction in America, is the substance of all that has so much incensed the Halifax gentleman. Governor H—k—s hath nowhere said that “the colonies have rights independent of, and not controllable by, the authority of Parliament.” See Providence Gazette, Feb. (23, 1765).

According to the gentleman “it will follow that we may enjoy personal liberty, and yet be slaves in a political sense; and so vice versa, we may be personally slaves and yet have a political right to liberty. Life, liberty, and estate, being personal rights, are (by the gentleman admitted to be) secured to us by the common law. I do not remember to have heard that the colonies ever contended for more; and yet (by this personal and political distinction) our estates may be taken away from us against our consent without any violation of our personal right, and all this for want of a political right.” Providence Gazette, February (23), 1765.

“The gentleman confidently maintains that acts of Parliament derive their force from the common law; and for that reason he says they are obligatory on the colonies. I ask him how it is possible that the Parliamentary power which controls, alters, and amends the common law at will can derive its support from the common law. Providence Gazette, (March 2, I 765 ) .

[Hand sign] The power and authority of Parliament is from the constitution, and above all other laws but those of God and nature.

“There may be a natural relation between two subjects that exist by nature; but mother country and colony exist only by policy, and may and no doubt have a political relation to each other, but can have no natural one.” Providence Gazette, March 2, (1765).

This remark is ingenious, and the manner in which 'tis elucidated is diverting; but I fear 'tis not solid. There is nonsense and contradiction enough of all conscience in the Halifax gentleman's attempt to investigate the “natural relation between colonies and their mother state” without denying the existence of such a relation. Our allegiance is natural, and if this be admitted of each individual in a colony, as it must be, it would be strange to deny a natural relation between two whole bodies between all the respective parts of which a natural relation is admitted. Society is certainly natural and exists prior to and independent of any form of civil policy, always excepting family societies and simple democracies. As there is a natural relation between father and son, so is there between their two families, and so is there between a mother state or metropolis and its colonies. The natural relation between two independent states or societies is the basis of the law of nations, and all its obligations are thence deducible. It would be strange that a natural relation should subsist between two neighboring states and none be between a metropolis and a colony. I can see no absurdity in supposing both natural and political relations to subsist between a mother state and its colonies any more than supposing two qualities in one and the same subject. The same man may be choleric and humane, another is calm and inveterate. The same two men may be father and son, fellow men, fellow subjects, fellow citizens, and brother aldermen. Political relations are but modifications of those which are founded in nature, and from whence rise duties of universal obligation.

I cannot suppress all my indignation at a remark in the close of the Halifax letter, which should have been taken notice of before, but it escaped me. “It may become necessary for the supreme legislature of the nation to frame some code (and canons might have been as properly added) and therein adjust the rights of the colonies with precision and certainty, otherwise Great Britain will always be teased with new claims about liberty and privileges” (p. 22).

If I mistake not, there is in the air of this period the quintessence of a mere martial legislator, the insolence of a haughty and imperious minister, the indolence and half-thought of a petit-mattre, the flutter of a coxcomb, the pedantry of a quack, and the nonsense of a pettifogger. A strange gallimaufry this; but I am not answerable for it or for any other of the exhibitions of a monster monger. We want no foreign codes nor canons here. The common law is our birthright, and the rights and privileges confirmed and secured to us by the British constitution and by act of Parliament are our best inheritance. Codes, pandects, novels, decretals of popes, and the inventions of the d—l may suit the cold, bleak regions (of) Brandenburg and Prussia or the scorching heats of Jamaica or Gambia; but we live in a more temperate climate, and shall rest content with the laws, customs, and usages of our ancestors, bravely supported and defended with the monarchy, and from age to age handed down. These have and ever will finally triumph over the whims of political and religious enthusiasts, the extremes of which are libertinism and despotism, anarchy and tyranny, spiritual and temporal, from all which may God ever preserve us. I must recommend it to the Halifax gentleman before he publishes any more epistles diligently to read over Swift's Tale of a Tub, and to take special note of Lord Peter's method of reasoning with his brethren. He will there find all the forms of syllogism from the sorites to the categoric. Of the last form he will find this, to prove that a little learning puffeth little men up:

Words are but wind, Learning is nothing but words, Ergo. Learning is nothing but wind.

Of the former kind of argumentation he will find a species he seems to be peculiarly fond of.

“In the midst of all this clutter and revolution, in comes Lord Peter with a file of dragoons at his heels, and gathering from all hands what was in the wind, he and his gang, after several millions of scurrilities and curses not very important here to repeat, by main force very fairly kicks them (Martyn and Jack) both out of doors, and would never let them come under his roof from that day to this.”

Tale of a Tub, I04, 79.