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THE LATE REGULATIONS RESPECTING THE BRITISH COLONIES ON THE CONTINENT OF AMERICA CONSIDERED, In a Letter from a Gentleman in PHILADELPHIA to his Friend in LONDON.

Prosunt minus recte excogitata; cum alios incitent saltem ad veritatis investigationem. FULB. A BARTOL.

PHILADELPHIA: Printed and Sold by WILLIAM BRADFORD, at the Corner of Market and Front-Streets. M.DCC.LXV.

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THE LATE REGULATIONS RESPECTING THE BRITISH COLONIES CONSIDERED.

SIR,

WHEN I last wrote to you and said, "that the late measures respecting America, would not only be extremely injurious to the Colonies, but also to Great-Britain," I little thought I was entring into an engagement, which would oblige me to exceed the usual limits of a letter: but since you desire to have at large the reasons in support of this opinion, and I always think it my duty to comply with your requests, I will endeavour in the clearest manner I can, to lay my sentiments before you.

THE American continental colonies are inhabited by persons of small fortunes, who are so closely employed in subduing a wild country, for their subsistence, and who would labour under such difficulties in contending with old and populous countries, which must exceed them in workmanship and cheapness, that they have not [Page 4] time nor any temptation to apply themselves to ma­nufactures.

HENCE arises the* importance of the colonies to Great-Britain. Her prosperity depends on her com­merce; her commerce on her manufactures; her [Page 5] manufactures on the markets for them; and the most constant and advantageous markets are afford­ed by the colonies, as in all others the rest of Europe interferes with her, and various accidents may interrupt them. The benefit from hence is at present immense; but in future times when America shall be more fully peopled, must exceed with prudent management the warmest wishes of a British Patriot.

Our chief productions are provisions, naval stores, furs, iron and lumber. Some few colonies yield tobac­co and indigo. Many of these commodities are ne­cessary to Great-Britain; but all that she requires are [Page 6] vastly insufficient to pay for her manufactures which we want. The productions of some of the Southern Co­lonies may perhaps be equal to their demands, but the case is widely different with the Northern; for in these, the importations from Great-Britain are computed to be generally more than double the value of their immediate exportations to that kingdom.

THE only expedient left us for making our remit­tances, is to carry on some other trade, whereby we can obtain silver and gold, which our own country does not afford. Hence it is evident, that if our taking off and paying for her manufactures, is beneficial to Great-Britain, the channels by which we acquire money for that purpose, ought to be industriously kept open and uninterrupted.

OUR trade with Spain, Portugal and the foreign plantations in the West-Indies have chiefly answered this end, though with much difficulty, the mother country having long since drawn the* commercial cords with which the colonies are bound, extremely tight upon them. Every thing produced here, that Great-Britain chuses to take to herself, must be carried to that king­dom [Page 7] only—Every thing we chuse to import from Europe, must be shipped in§ Great-Britain—Heavy duties have been laid on our importations from the foreign plantations.

HOWEVER under all these restraints and some others that have been imposed on us, we have not till lately been unhappy. Our spirits were not depressed. We apprehended no design formed against our liberty. We for a long time enjoyed peace, and were quite free from any heavy debt, either internal or external. We had a paper currency which served as a medium of domestic commerce, and permitted us to employ all the gold and silver we could acquire, in trade abroad. We had a multitude of markets for our provisions, lum­ber and iron. These allowed liberties, with some others we assumed, enabled us to collect considerable sums of money for the joint benefit of ourselves and our mother country.

[Page 8] BUT the modern regulations are in every circum­stance afflicting. The remittances we have been able to make to Great-Britain, with all the licence hi­therto granted or taken, and all the money brought among us in the course of the late war, have not been sufficient to pay her what we owe; but there still remains due, according to a late calculation made by the English merchants, the sum of four millions sterling. Besides this, we are and have been for many years heavily taxed, for the payment of the debts contracted by our efforts against the common enemy. These seem to be difficulties severe enough for young colonies to contend with. The last sinks our paper currency very fast. The former sweeps off our silver and gold in a torrent to Great-Britain, and leaves us continually toiling to supply from a number of distant springs the continually wasting stream.

THUS drained, we are prohibited by new and stricter restraints being laid on our trade, from procuring these coins as we used to do; and from instituting among ourselves bills of credit in the place of such portions of them as are required in our internal traffic; and in this exhausted condition, our languishing country is to strive to take up and to totter under the addi­tional burthen of the STAMP ACT.

IN defence of the prohibition to institute bills of cre­dit, it may be said, "that some few colonies, by injudi­cious emissions of paper currency, did great injury to indi­viduals." [Page 9] It is true: But it is as true, that others always supported the credit of their bills in such a manner, that their emissions were of vast benefit both to the provinces and to Great-Britain. The inconveniencies under which the colonies laboured before these emissions are well remembred, and were produced by the same cause that distresses us at this time; that is, by Great-Britain's taking off all our gold and silver. There was then so little money among several of them, that a stop was put in a manner to buying and selling, and even shop-keepers were obliged to barter their goods for food. The effect produced by these emissions was surprizing—Trade revived; and the remarkable and immediate§ increase of our importations shewed how advantageous they were to Great-Britain. If any [Page 10] inconveniences were feared from this kind of currency, means might have been found to prevent them, with­out utterly abolishing it: but now, the apprehension of mischiefs that might have been more easily obviated, has deprived us of real benefits.

PERHAPS no mode could be devis'd more advantage­ous to the public, or to individuals, than our method of emitting bills in this province for our own use. They are lent out upon good security, chiefly real, at the interest of five per cent. The borrowers are allowed a long term for payment, and the sums borrowed being divided into equal portions, they are obliged to pay one of these with the interest of the whole, every year during the term. This renders the payments very easy; and as no person [Page 11] is permitted to borrow a large sum, a great number are accommodated. The consequences of such regulations are obvious. These bills represent money in the same manner that money represents other things. As long therefore as the quantity is proportioned to the uses, these emissions have the same effects, that the gradual introduction of additional sums of money would have. People of very small fortunes are enabled to purchase and cultivate land, which is of so much consequence in settling new countries, or to carry on some business, that without such assistance they would be incapable of managing: For no private person would lend money on such favourable terms. From the borrowers the currency passes into other hands, encreases consump­tion, raises the prices of commodities, quickens circu­lation, and after communicating a vigour to all kinds of industry, returns in its course into the possession of the borrowers, to repay them for that labour which it may properly be said to have produced. They deliver it, according to the original contracts, into the treasury, where the interest raises a fund without the imposition of taxes, for the public use.

WHILE emissions are thus conducted with prudence, they may be compared to springs, whose water an industrious and knowing farmer spreads in many mean­dering rivulets through his gardens and meadows, and after it has refreshed all the vegetable tribes it meets with, and has set them a growing, leads it into a re­cevoir, where it answers some new purpose.

IF it could be possible to establish a currency through­out the colonies, on some foundation of this kind, per­haps greater benefits might be derived from it, than would be generally believed without the trial.

[Page 12] WITH respect to the rstrictions laid on our trade to foreign plantations, it has been alledg'd, as a reason for them, "that our islands ought to be encouraged." They ought to be: But should the interest of one colony be prefered to that of another? Should the welfare of mil­lions be sacrificed to the magnificence of a few? If the exorbitant profits of one colony must arise from the depression of another, should not such injustice be redressed?

THERE is a vast difference to be made in calculating the gains of any particular branch of business to the public, and to individuals. The advantages to the last may be small, and yet great to the first, or the reverse. The statutes made to restrain the trade of the continent in favour of the islands, seem to tend rather towards [Page 13] promoting partial than general, interests; and it ap­pears to me no patadox to say, that the public would be as great a gainer, if estates there were so moderate, that not a tenth part of the West India gentlemen who now sit in the House of Commons, could obtain that frequently expensive honour.

IT is allowed by those well acquainted with the islands, that they cannot supply Great-Britain and these colonies [Page 14] with sugar and other articles, and that they can by no means consume the productions of these colonies; yet in* favour to them, we are almost entirely prevented from sending these productions to any other markets. Hence it follows, that we are frequently obliged to sell our commodities to them at so low a price, as not to pay the first cost and freight; while we, being in a manner prohibited from getting the West-India productions, for which we have occasion, any where else but from them, must pay extravagantly for them.

NOR is this management attended, as it is pre­sumed, with any benefit to the Mother Country, but with a disadvantage; either where the productions of the foreign plantations are consumed among us, or re-exported to Europe. By the compulsion on us to take from our islands, the price of their productions is raised on the people of Great-Britain. The Revenue would be encreased by this restriction being taken off, as we should willingly pay a moderate duty upon importations from the French and Spaniards, without attempting to run them; while a very considerable duty would be paid [Page 15] on the§ sugars of our islands, which, instead of coming to us, would then go to Great-Britain. Besides, whatever extraordinary price we pay for the productions of our own islands, must lessen our demand for British manu­factures; since it is an undeniable truth, that what we [Page 16] should save in that way, would be chiefly spent in this. It may also justly be added, that our commerce with the foreign plantations, carries to them very conside­rable quantities of British manufactures, for their con­sumption.

IF our importations from them should be re-exported to Europe, the profits would center in Great-Britain, according to the usual course of our trade. The statute passed in the twenty-fifth year of Charles the second, indeed mentions this practice as injurious. It might be so, if regarded without its attendant circumstances; but if they are taken into view, and it be considered, that if we do not carry these productions to Europe, foreigners will, no mischief seems likely to ensue from our becoming the carriers.§

THE restriction also with regard to our iron, is thought particularly severe. Whenever we can get a better price in Great-Britain than elsewhere, it is un­necessary; whenever we can get a better price in other places, it is* prejudicial. Cargoes composed of this [Page 17] metal, provisions and lumber, have been found to an­swer very well at the Portuguese and some other mar­kets; and as the last articles are frequently very low, and our foreign trade is reduced to so few commodities, the taking away any one of them must be hurtful to us. Indeed, to require us to send all our iron to Great-Britain, is, in the opinion of some of our most judicious merchants, to require an impossibility: For as this article is so heavy, and such small quantities can be sent in one vessel, they assert, that we cannot find freight directly home for one half of it.

BESIDES the circumstances already mentioned to prove the injurious consequences of the late restrictions, there is another, which has great force in persuading me that our trade ought by all means to be more encou­raged and extended at this time, than was formerly necessary. Our settlements then comprehended only a narrow strip along the shore of the ocean; they were less populous; and their distance from the sea ports [Page 18] being small, they were supplied with every thing they wanted from thence, without any length of inland carriage. But now we have penetrated boundless forests, have passed over immense mountains, and are daily pushing further and further into the wilderness, the inhabitants of these remote regions, must of ne­cessity hold very little intercourse with those which are near the sea, unless a very extensive commerce shall enable these to supply them with such quantities of* foreign commodities as they want, and at such prices as they can afford to pay. Every restriction on our trade, seems to be a restriction on this intercourse, and must gradually cut off the connection of the interior parts with the maritime and the mother country.

But it is unnecessary to endeavour to prove by rea­soning on these things, that we shall suffer, for we already suffer. Trade is decaying; and all credit is expiring. Money is become so extremely scarce, that reputable freeholders find it impossible to pay debts which are trifling in comparison to their estates. If creditors sue, and take out executions, the lands and personal estate, as the sale must be for ready money, are sold for a small part of what they were worth when the debts were contracted. The debtors are ruined. The cre­ditors get but part of their debts, and that ruins them. [Page 19] Thus the consumers break the shop-keepers; they break the merchants; and the shock must be felt as far as London. Fortunate, indeed, is the man who can get satisfaction in Money for any part of his debt, in some counties; for in many instances, after lands and goods have been repeatedly advertised in the public gazettes, and exposed to sale, not a buyer appears.

BY these means multitudes are already ruined, and the estates of others are melting away in the same manner. It must strike any one with great surprize and concern, to hear of the number of debtors discharged every court by our insolvent act. Though our courts are held every quarter, yet at the last term for the county of Philadelphia alone, no less than thirty-five persons ap­plied for the benefit of that act. If it be considered, that this law extends only to those who do not owe any single debt above £ 150, that many are daily released by the lenity of their creditors, and that many more remove, without their knowledge, it will not be difficult to form a judgment of the condition to which the people are reduced.

IF these effects are produced already, what can we expect, when the same causes shall have operated longer? What can we expect, when the exhausted co­lonies shall feel the STAMP ACT drawing off, as it were, the last drops of their blood? From whence is the silver to come, with which the taxes imposed by this act, and the duties imposed by other late acts, are to be paid? Or how will our merchants and the lower ranks of people, on whom the force of these regulations will fall first, and with the greatest violence, bear this additional load?

[Page 20] THESE last are to be considered in a very different light from those of the same classes in Great-Britain. There the nature of their employments, and the plenty of money give them very little occasion to make contracts in writing; but here they are continually making them, and are obliged to do so The STAMP ACT, therefore, will be severely felt by these, in whose welfare the prosperity of a state is always so much in­terested; and* transfers of property, that ought, in new countries particularly, to be made as easy as possible, will be much discouraged. From the necessity they are under of making contracts to be executed afterwards, the lower ranks of people here are frequently engaged in law suits; and as the law is already a very heavy tax on the subject in all parts of the British dominions, this act will render it destructive here; for the necessities, the follies and the passions of mankind, will not suffer them to cease from harrassing one another in that way.

NEITHER are the merchants here by any means able to bear taxes, as they do at home. A very great num­ber of them there put such stocks into trade, as would be thought large fortunes among us; and our mer­chants would think themselves very happy to leave off business with such estates as the others begin with. I speak of the merchants in general; for we have on the continent individuals who are rich, but their number [Page 21] is too inconsiderable to deserve any notice or this oc­casion. Besides, the interest of money being lower at home than it is here, those who trade on borrowed stocks, can do it to much greater advantage there than we can. Indeed, among us it is almost impossible to get money to trade upon at any rate. How unequal, under the present disadvantages, a merchant's commerce will be to the payment of all the taxes imposed by the STAMP ACT on his policies, fees with clerks, charter parties, protests, his other notarial acts his letters, and even his advertisements, experience, I am afraid will unhappily prove.

THUS, I apprehend, that this Act will be extremely heavy on those who are least able to bear it; and if our merchants and people of little substance languish under it, all others must be affected. Our mode of taxation, hath always been by making as exact an estimate as could be formed of each man's estate; by which means, our taxes have been proportioned to the abilities of those who were to pay them. Few persons are employed in the col­lection of them; their allowance is very moderate; and therefore the expence is small. No excessive penalties, no tribes of informers, no dreadful and detestable courts are necessary. This I imagine, is the mode of taxation, which in young colonies, will be found to be least oppressive and destructive, and certainly the most equal: But by the Stamp Act, the wealthy who have money to let out at interest, or to make purchases, and undoubtedly ought to pay the most towards the public charges, will escape these taxes, while the whole [Page 22] weight of them will fall on the necessitous and industri­ous, who most of all require relief and encouragement.

BUT it may be said, "That the merchants will not be affected by these taxes, because they will raise the prices of their goods in proportion, and that at length all taxes must arise from lands."

THIS rule seems more applicable to very populous and rich countries, where the manufacturers and land­holders through necessity or the force of fashions, have pressing demands upon the merchants, than to such a country as this, where a great majority of the people live on their lands in a very plain way. For by practising a strict frugality and industry, we may render ourselves more independent of the merchants, than the circumstances of more populous and wealthy states will permit the other classes of their people to be. The high prices therefore which our merchants impose upon their goods, will discourage the sale of them, and conse­quently they must "be affected by the taxes," which oblige them to raise the prices in this manner.

HOWEVER, granting that all taxes must arise from lands; it follows, that where the profits of the lands are small, they can bear but small taxes. The more labour is bestowed on them, the greater the profits will be, and the taxes may be. In old populous countries there is an opportunity of bestowing this labour, and the manner of doing it is well understood. Thus in England, the profits of land are so great, as to support a very large number of nobility and gentry in splendor, and to afford means of raising taxes to an amazing amount. Nor are the workers of the land unrewarded; for the farmers have such long leases, and other encouragements, that they thrive and live com­fortably, and many of them are very wealthy.

[Page 23] How different is the case in America? The inhabi­tants being scattered thin through the country, and labourers being very scarce, they think themselves for­tunate, if they can clear their land, fence it, and any how put their grain into the ground in season. Ma­nuring or improving soils is not known, except in some small closes near cities; but every one must be content with what his land will yield of itself. With this it must be considered, that at least four fifths of the people in America, live upon farms either of their own, or rented, and spend their small profits in maintaining their fami­lies; and it frequently happens from the length and seve­rity of our winters, that the whole produce of a man's farm is not sufficient to maintain his family and stock.*

WE are informed, that an opinion has been indu­striously propagated in Great-Britain, that the colonies are§ wallowing in wealth and luxury, while she is la­bouring [Page 24] under an enormous load of debt. Never was there a greater mistake. This opinion has arisen from slight observations made in our cities during the late war, when large sums of money were spent here in support of fleets and armies. Our productions were then in great demand, and trade flourished. Having a number of strangers among us, the people na­turally not ungenerous or inhospitable, indulged themselves in many uncommon expences. But the cause of this gaiety has ceased, and all the effect re­maining, is, that we are to be treated as a rich people, when we are really poor. Tully mentions a man who lost an honourable office, by the homely entertainment he gave the people of Rome, when he could have af­forded a better; but we have lost vastly more by the imprudent excess of kindness, with which we have [Page 25] treated the people of Great-Britain who have come among us, at an expence that did not suit our fortunes.

To all the disadvantages that have been mentioned, it must be added, that our markets are much more precarious than those at home. It is computed, that one half of the people there live in cities, and conse­quently there must be a perpetual domestic demand for the productions of the earth; and foreign markets are not far distant for the overplus. Here the quantity sold for consumption among us is small, and most of the foreign markets are very remote.

THESE reasons induce me to think, that the colonies, unless some fortunate events, not to be expected, should happen, cannot bear the restrictions and taxations laid upon them by their mother country, without suffering very severely. What then can we do? Which way shall we turn ourselves? How may we mitigate the miseries of our country? Great-Britain gives us an example to guide us. SHE TEACHES US TO MAKE A DI­STINCTION BETWEEN HER INTERESTS AND OUR OWN. Teaches! She requires—commands—insists upon it—threatens—compels—and even distresses us into it.

WE have our choice of these two things—to continue our present limited and disadvantageous commerce—or to promote manufactuers among our­selves, with a habit of oeconomy, and thereby remove the necessity we are now under of being supplied by Great-Britain.

IT is not difficult to determine which of these things is most eligible. Could the last of them be only so far [Page 26] executed, as to bring our demand for British manu­factures below the profits of our foreign trade, and the amount of our commodities immediately remitted home, these colonies might revive and flourish. States and families are enriched by the same means; that is, by being so industrious an I frugal, as to spend less than what they [...] can pay for.

WE have examples in this province, which if imi­tated by others, must unavoidably produce the most happy effects for us: I mean the examples of the in­dustrious, frugal, honest Germans. Their lands are as well cultivated as they can be in this new country, and they have the good sense to require very little provisi­ons and cloaths more than they can get from their own farms, and make with their own hands. If we only consider for a moment the consequences of such a con­duct, should it be general, we must be convinced it must produce commerce, since all superfluities would be exported; and the Owners having few demands in return, that commerce would of course produce wealth.

INDEED we shall be compelled, I apprehend, generally to imitate these examples. The late regulations, and our con­stant remittances to Great-Britain, have extremely les­sened the quantity of money among us, and yet these remittances are not sufficient to pay for those things we want from home. Necessity will teach us two ways to relieve ourselves. The one is, to keep the British ma­nufactures we purchase longer in use or wear than we have been accustomed to do. The other is, to supply their place by manufactures of our own. I dont sup­pose our difficulties will immediately produce expert ar­tists among us; but as the inhabitants here generally [Page 27] reside on their lands, and live in a plain rustic way, they will be able to supply themselves with many arti­cles. Some author, and I think Keysler, says, that in Switzerland, every family has all the trades in it that are necessary for its use. Their work is not, it may be presumed, at all in the taste of London or Paris, but it serves their purpose; and their coarse cloaths and simple furniture enable them to live in plenty, and to defend their liberty. Something of this kind will be, nay, already is, practised by us. It is surprising to see the linen and cloth that have been lately made among us. Many gentlemen in this city dress now in suits produced, manufactured, and made up in this province. The cloth is not equal in fineness to the best broad-cloth, but it is warm, strong, and not very homely; and when the British workmen understand that they may meer with better encouragement here than they do at home, I believe in a few years we shall have very different kinds of cloth among us from these we now make. Instances are not wanting to justify the most sanguine expectations on this head. Spain used formerly to be entirely supplied with cloths from England; but in the reigns only of their two last kings, Philip the Vth, and Ferdinand the VIth, their manufactures have been improved to such a degree, even by that proud and indolent people, that this commerce has entirely ceased in most parts of that kingdom. The same thing has happened in France, notwithstanding the destructive wars in which she has been continually involved. Switzerland some time ago spent large sums of money in foreign commodities, but now they make excellent cloths, and good sink, though the scheme at first laboured under very great difficulties. That country used also to be supplied by Savoy with [Page 28] wine; but the Duke laying a duty upon it, the Swit­zers remonstrated, but in vain. At last some of the principal men promoted the cultivation of vines, though their predecessors had never planted any. The result exceeded their hopes. "The demand for the Sa­voyard wine daily decrased, and instead of the preca­rious advantage arising form this impolitic duty, the certain revenue was irretrieveably lost, and the indu­strious subject deprived of the benefit of his labour."

"BEFORE the settlement of these colonies," says Po­stlethwayt, "our manufactures were few, and those but indifferent, In those days we had not only our naval stores, but our ships from our neighbours. Germany furnished us with all things made of metal, even to nails. Wine, paper, linens, and a thousand other things, came from France. Portugal supplied us with sugar; all the products of America were poured into us from Spain; and the Venetians and Genoese retailed to us the commodities of the East-Indies, at their own price."

THE astonishing alterations in all these particulars, are too well known to need enumeration.

THESE instances, and many others that might be mentioned, may convince us, that nothing is too dif­ficult for men to effect, whose hearts are filled with a generous love of their country; and they may con­vince the world of the dangers that attend provoking innovations in commerce. A branch of trade once lost, is lost for ever. In short, so strong a spirit is raised in these colonies by late measures, and such success­ful [Page 29] efforts are already made among us, that it cannot be doubted, that before the end of this century, the modern regulations will teach America, that she has resources within herself, of which she never otherwise would have thought. Individuals, perhaps, may find their benefit in opposing her use of these resources; but I hope very, very few, will wish to receive benefits by such means. The man who would promote his own in­terests by injuring his country, is unworthy of the blessings of society.

IT has hitherto been thought, by the people of Great-Britain, and I hope it will still be thought, that sufficient advantages are derived by her from the colonies, without laying taxes upon them. To re­present them as an "expensive appendage of the British empire, that can no other way repay the trouble and treasure they cost her," is certainly one of the greatest errors; and to spend much time in refuting this notion, would be unnecessary. Every advantage accruing to the colonies by their connection with the mother country, is amplydearly—paid for, by the be­nefits derived to her from them, and by the restrictions of their commerce. These benefits have been allowed by the best writers to be immense, and consist in the various employment and the support they afford her people. If the colonies enable her to pay taxes, is it not as useful to her, as if they paid them? Or, indeed, may not the colonies with the strictest propriety be said to pay a great part of those taxes, when they con­sume the British manufactures loaded with the advanced prices occasioned by such taxes? Or, further, as the colonies are compelled to take those manufactures thus [Page 30] loaded, when they might furnish themselves so much cheaper from other countries, may not the difference between these prices be called an enormous tax paid by them to Great Britain? May they not also be said to pay an enormous tax to her, by being compelled to carry their most valuable productions to her alone, and to receive what she pleases to give for them, when they might sell them at other markets to much greater advantage? Lastly, may they not be said to pay a heavy tax to her, in being prohibited from carrying on such manufactures as they could have employed themselves in with advantage, and thus being obliged to resort to her for those things with which they might supply themselves? If these things are ture, and can they be denied! may not the mother country more justly be called expensive to her colonies, than they can be called expensive to her?

WHAT would France give for such expensive domi­nions? Would she refuse the empire of North-America, unless the inhabitants would submit to any taxes she should please to impose? Or would she not rather af­ford them her utmost protection, if ever they should [Page 31] be wretched enough to require it, for one half of the emoluments Great-Britain receives from them? In short, the amazing increase of the wealth and strength of this kingdom, since the reign of queen Elizabeth, in whose time the colonies began to be settled, appears to be a sufficient proof of their importance: And therefore I think it may justly be said, that THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE POWER AND GLORY OF GREAT BRITAIN ARE LAID IN AMERICA.

WHEN the advantages derived by the mother coun­try from her colonies are so important and evident, it is amazing, that any persons should venture to assert, "that she poured out her wealth and blood in the late war, only for their defence and benefit; and that she cannot be recompensed for this expence and loss, but by taxing them."

IF any man who does not chuse to spend much time in considering this subject, would only read the speeches from the throne during that period, with the addresses in answer to them, he will soon be convinced for whose benefit Great-Britain thought she was exerting herself. For my part, I should not now be surprized, if those who maintain the abovementioned assertions, should contend, that Great Britain ought to tax Protugal. For was not that kingdom "defended by the troops and treasure of Great-Britain?" And how can she be "otherwise re­compensed for this expence and loss?" If the protection of Portugal, though no taxes are received from thence, was beneficial to Great Britain, infinitely more so was the protection of the colonies.

SO far I must beg leave to dissent from these gentle­men, that if the colonies, by an increase of industry [Page 32] and frugality, should become able to bear this taxation, it will, in my apprehension, notwithstanding be in­jurious to Great-Britain. If the sum be trifling, it cannot be worth the discontent and unhappiness the taking it will produce among so many faithful subjects of his Majesty. If it be considerable, it must also be hurtful in another respect.

It must be granted, that it is not merely the bringing money into a nation that makes it wealthy, but the bringing money into it by the general industry of its inhabitants. A country may perpetually receive vast sums, and yet be perpetually poor. It must also be granted, that almost all the money acquired by the co­lonies in their other branches of trade, is spent by them in Great-Britain, and finds employment for her people. Whatever then lessens the sum so spent, must lessen that employment. This I think will be one conse­quence of the STAMP ACT: For our demand will be as much less for British manufactures, as the amount of the sums raised by the taxes. So much the fewer British merchants, artists, seamen and ships will be em­ployed by us, and so much the more distressed at first, and afterwards so much the more frugal, ingenious, laborious and independent will the colonists become.

It is evident from the concurrent testimony of her own most noted authors on this subject, that Great-Britain is sure of having our money at* last; and it appears no difficult matter to determine, whether it is better to take it in taxes or trade.—Suppose the [Page 33] STAMP ACT, enforced by uncommon penalties and unheard of jurisdictions, should pick up every piece of gold and silver that shall wander into the plantations, what would Great-Britain gain by this measure? Or rather what would she not lose, by attempting to advance her revenue by means so distressing to commerce?

BUT if the late restrictions shall not prove profitable, perhaps they may by some be called prudent for another reason. We are informed that many persons at home affect to speak of the colonists, as of a people designing and endeavouring to render themselves independent, and therefore it may be said to be proper as much as possible to depress them. This method for securing obedience, has been tried by many powerful nations, and seems to be the constant policy of commonwealths: But the attempt in almost every instance from Athens down to Genoa, has been unsuccessful. Many states and kingdoms have lost their dominions by severity and an unjust jealousy. I remember none that have been lost by kindness and a generous confidence. Evils are frequently precipitated, by imprudent attempts to pre­vent them. In short, we never can be made an inde­pendent people, except it be by Great-Britain herself; [Page 34] and the only way for her to do it, is to make us frugal, ingenious, united and discontented.

BUT if this event shall ever happen, which Providence I hope will never permit, it must be when the present generation and the present set of sentiments are extinct. Late measures have indeed excited an universal and un­exampled grief and indignation throughout the colonies. What man who wishes the welfare of America, can view without pity, without passion, her restricted and almost stagnated trade, with its numerous train of evils—taxes [Page 35] torn from her without her consent—Her legislative assemblies, the principal pillars of her liberty, crushed into insignificance—A formidable force established in the midst of peace, to bleed her into obedience—The sacred right of trial by jury, violated by the erection of arbitrary and unconstitutional jurisdictions—and general poverty, discontent and despondence stretching them­selves over his unoffending country?

THE reflections of the colonists on these melancholy subjects, are not a little embittered by a firm persuasion, that they never would have been treated as they are, if Canada still continued in the hands of the French. Thus, their hearts glowing with every sentiment of duty and affection towards their mother country, and expecting, not unreasonably perhaps, some marks of tenderness in return, are pierced by a fatal discovery, that the vigo­rous [Page 36] assistance which they faithfully afforded her in ex­tending her dominions, has only proved the glorious but destructive cause of the calamities they now deplore and resent.

YET still their resentment is but the resentment of dutiful children, who have received unmerited blows from a beloved parent. Their obedience to Great-Britain is secured by the best and strongest ties, those of affection; which alone can, and I hope will form an everlasting union between her and her colonies. May no successes or suspicions ever tempt her, to deviate from the natural generosity of her spirit—And may no dreadful revolution of sentiments, ever teach them, to fear her victories or to repine at her glories.

I am, &c.
[Page 37]

POSTSCRIPT.

I Have omitted mentioning one thing that seems to be connected with the foregoing subject.

WITH a vast expence of blood and wealth, we fought our way in the late war up to the doors of the Spanish treasuries, and by the possession of Florida, might obtain some recompence for that expence. Pensacola and the other ports in that country, are convenient places, where the Spaniards might meet us, and exchange their silver for the manufactures of Great Britain, and the provisions of these colonies. By this means, a commerce inconceivably beneficial to the British subjects, might be carried on. This commerce the Spaniards wish and have endeavoured to carry on. Many hundred thou­sand dollars have been brought by them to Pensacola to lay out there; but the men of war on that station have compelled them to take back their cargoes, the receipt of which, it may from thence be presumed, would be de­structive to the interests of Great Britain.—Thus we re­ceive less advantage from Florida, now it belongs to us, than we did when it was possessed by our enemies; for then by permission from the Spanish governors, to trade there, we derived considerable emoluments from our intercourse with them.

UPON what reasons this conduct is founded, is not easy to determine. Sure no one considers Florida in the same light with these colonies, and thinks that no vessels should be permitted to trade there, but British shipping. This would be to apply the acts of navi­gation [Page 38] to purposes directly opposite to the spirit of them. They were intended to preserve an intercourse between the mother country and her colonies, and thus to cultivate a mutual affection; to promote the interests of both, by an exchange of their most valuable productions for her manufacutures; thereby to increase the shipping of both; and thus render them capable of affording aid to each other. Which of these purposes is answered by pro­hibiting a commerce, that can be no other way carried on? That is, by forbidding the Spaniards to bring their wealth for us to Florida, which is an unhealthy sand-bank, held by a garrison, at a great expence of money, and a greater of lives, that cannot for ages, if ever it will, yield a single advantage to Great-Britain, but that she refuses to enjoy.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

Page 5, line 10 from the top, for some, read A. In the next line, read some, for many. Page 7, line 1 of the note, for its, read her.

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