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AN ADDRESS TO The COMMITTEE of CORRESPONDENCE IN BARBADOS. Occasioned by a late letter from them TO Their Agent in LONDON.

BY A NORTH-AMERICAN.

This word REBELLION hath froze them up Like Fish in a pond.

SHAKESPEARE.

PHILADELPHIA. Printed and Sold by WILLIAM BRADFORD, at his Book-Store in MARKET-STREET, adjoining the LONDON COFFEE-HOUSE. M,DCC,LXVI.

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PREFACE.

HAD the charge of REBELLION been made by a private person against the colonies on this continent, for their opposition to the Stamp Act, I should not have thought it worth answering.—But when it was made by men vested with a public character, by a committee of corre­spondence, representing two branches of legislature in a con­siderable government, and the charge was not only approved, as it is said, by those branches, but was actually published to the world in news-papers, it seemed to me to deserve notice. I waited some time, in hopes of seeing the cause espoused by an abler advocate, but being disappointed, I resolved, "favente Deo," to snatch a little time from the hurry of business, and to place, if I could, the letter of those gentlemen to their agent in a proper light.

It is very evident from the generality of their accusation against their "fellow-subjects on the northern continent"; of the expressions they use in the latter part of their letter, when they speak of the "violent spirit raised in the North-American colonies", and from what follows, that they do not apply the approbrious term they use, only to those few of the lower rank, who disturbed us with two or three mobs in some of the provinces, nor to any other particular class of people; but that the censure is designed for ALL the inha­bitants of these colonies who were any way concerned in the opposition that has been given, and consequently that the modes of that opposition are thereby condemned. Two considerations therefore have induced me to undertake their [Page ii] defence. First, to vindicate the honour of my country, which I think grossly and wantonly insulted. Secondly, to refute opinions, that in unfortunate times, may, if adopted, be injurious to liberty.

Many good pieces, have been published in these colonies, to shew their title to the rights claimed by them; the invasion of those rights by the Stamp Act; the other hard­ships imposed on them, and the bad consequences that probably would follow these measures: but nothing has appeared, at least I have seen nothing that I recollect, in defence of the principle on which the opposition has been made, and of the manner in which it has been conducted. These are points entirely new; and the consideration of them is now rendered necessary, by the public reproach that has been thrown on the people of this continent.

A LETTER from the COMMITTEE of CORRES­PONDENCE in BARBADOS, to their AGENT in LONDON.

SIR,

IN compliance with the united resolution of the two branches of our legislature, of which we have se­verally the honor to be members, and to compose their committee of correspondence, We are now to desire you to lay our complaints before his Majesty and the Parliament, on the hardships which this community labours under by the imposition of the Stamp Duties, lately put in force amongst us. We have, indeed, submitted, with all obedience, to the act of Parliament, yet our submission has, by no means, arisen from any consciousness of our ability to bear the burden of these taxes, or from the want of a due sense of the oppressive weight of them in all its parts, but [Page iii] from a principle of loyalty to our King and Mother Country, which has carried us above every conside­ration of our own distresses: yet, if we have suffered without resistance, we have learnt by it to complain with reason; and, since we have raised no clamours from our own fears, we must surely have the better title to remonstrate from our feelings. But, with re­spect to the manner in which our grievances in this case, along with so good a proof of our obedience to the laws of our mother country, are to be reported to his Majesty and the parliament, we must refer ourselves to your good judgment and discretion; so much better circumstanced as you are on that side of the water to judge for us, than we can do at this distance for our­selves; and so perfectly assured as we are also of your ability and zeal, in the conduct of every matter of importance that can be intrusted to your agency for this country's service. To you, Sir, therefore we give the power, in the name of our council and as­sembly, to present such a memorial, or memorials, to his Majesty, and the two houses of parliament (if to all be necessary) as to yourself shall seem most proper and adviseable; setting forth the anxiety and distresses of our country, under this new and extraordinary burden of taxation, by which we not only find our­selves loaded with a charge more than is proportioned to our circumstances, but deprived also of a privilege, which renders the oppression beyond measure grievous. We see two of the most important objects to such a colony as ours, trade and justice crouching under the load of these new duties; and by the manner in which the duties have been imposed, we find too the most valuable of all our civil rights and liberties sinking along with them. The design of this new and extraordinary charge upon our country is, towards defraying the expences of defending, protecting and securing, the colonies of AMERICA. But what new and extraordinary ex­pence [Page iv] has this colony put the nation to, for the ex­pence of maintaining of troops quartered in the several provinces of NORTH-AMERICA, for the pro­tection and security of those parts of the British dominions? This is just as reasonable, and just as merciful too, as it would be to impose a heavy mulct on the inhabitants of this place, by way of a punish­ment for the present REBELLIOUS opposition given to authority, by our fellow-subjects on the Northern con­tinent. But if we are to be subject to the power of the parliament of Great-Britain in our internal taxes, we must be always liable to impositions, that have nothing but the will of the imposers to direct them in the measure, since we have there no representatives to inform them of the true state of our circumstances, and of the degree of our strength to bear the burdens that are imposed. How far, indeed, we are intitled, by the constitution of ENGLAND, or our own peculiar charter, to an ex­emption from every other internal tax, than such as may be laid upon us by the representatives of our own people, in conjunction with the two other branches of our legislative body, we cannot positively say; but this is certain, that we have enjoyed that privilege, that seeming birthright of every BRITON, ever since the first establishment of a civil government in this island to the present time. And why we should at this period be condemned to the loss of so inestimable a blessing of society, we can see no cause; since the present period has afforded some instances of loyalty and affection to our King and mother country, which might rather have intitled us to new favours from the crown and nation, than have left us exposed to any deprivation of our old and valuable rights. Yet, how far it may be prudent and necessary to press this last considera­tion in your memorial to our superiors, must be referred to your good judgment; for as we mean to obtain a redress of our grievances by a dutiful representation [Page v] only of our case, so would we have any thing avoided in the stile and substance of that representation, as might give offence to those from whom only our redress can come, our appeal being to the very powers by whom we think ourselves oppressed; tho' we may remon­strate to them with justice, we cannot reproach them without danger; and the most effectual means of giving ourselves all the merit we hope for, and intend, both with our sovereign and the parliament, will be, we think, by giving our complaint on this matter the complexion of our conduct, shewing an humble sub­mission to authority, even under the most painful heart-burnings of our community, at its severe decrees. But, great as our distresses are, upon account of this new Taxation in its general course, we are yet fortunate enough not to have suffered so much greater, as by the particular calamity you seem to have apprehended for us, on the supposed seizure of the North-American traders; for the masters of those vessels, producing certificates at our custom-house, that no stamp papers were to be had at the ports they came from, have been admitted to an entry of their several ships and cargoes, being supposed only liable to the penalties inflicted by the Stamp Act, and of these no notice have been taken; so that our danger from the cir­cumstances you suggested to the ministers is over. But we see another arising from the violent spirit raised in the North-American colonies against this act, which threatens us with the same ill consequences; we mean, from their avowed resentment at the people of this island, for having so tamely submitted to the act, which they had been pleased so resolutely to op­pose. This having led them to some extraordinary attempts (as we have been informed) to prevent any vessels coming hither with provisions for our support, how far a combination of this kind, which has to struggle with the private interests of so many indivi­duals, [Page vi] can be formed amongst them, we may at first be led to doubt; yet, on a second review of things, how far the excesses of popular fury, which has no bounds, may hurry away all those individuals, to their own, as well as our immediate prejudice, we may reasonably fear; and we think it, at least, necessary to make mention of it to you, that you may take this, amongst all the other unhappy consequences we may feel from that injurious act, into your proper con­sideration.

N. B. The words in italick, are those animad­verted upon in the following address; and are printed in that manner, to be more easily distinguished and referred to by the reader.

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AN ADDRESS, &c.

GENTLEMEN,

I AM a North-American, and my intention is in addressing you at present, to answer so much of a late letter from you to your agent in London, as casts unmerited cen­sure on my countrymen. After this de­claration, as you entertain such unfavorable sentiments of the "popular fury" on this continent, I presume you expect to be treated with all the excess of passion natural to a rude people. You are mistaken. I am of their opinion, who think it almost as infamous, to disgrace a good cause by illiberal language, as to betray it by unmanly timidity. Complaints may be made with dignity; insults retorted with decency; and violated rights vindicated without violence of words.

YOU have nothing therefore to apprehend from me, gentlemen, but such reflections on your conduct, as may tend to rouse that remorse in you, which always arises in the minds of ingenuous persons, when they find that they have wounded by their rash calumnies the honor of those, who merit their highest esteem, —their warmest praises.

[Page 2]I KNOW there are in the island of Barbados, many men of sense, spirit, and virtue, and therefore I chuse to consider you rather in the character of such, whose understanding, resolution, and integrity, have been drugg'd by some pernicious draught into a slumber, than of those, who with irretrievable depravity, want all the qualities requisite to make them serviceable to their countrymen, or just to others.

HAD I only heard, gentlemen, that you had called the behavior of these colonies, a "REBELLIOUS OPPOSITION given to authority," I should have thought it a vain attempt, to aim at convincing you, how unjustifiable an aspersion that expression contained; because I should immediately have concluded, that you were so ignorant of the rights of British subjects, and so insensible of all concern on the invasion of those rights, that any man who should endeavour to shew you your error, would engage in as unpromising a project, as if he should think to communicate an idea of sound to the deaf, or of colour to the blind.

WHEN I read your letter, however, with an agreeable surprize I observed, that you, at the same time you have made the attack, have laid the foundation of a defence for my countrymen. Permit me to erect the super­structure, though I had much rather see it built by more skilful hands.

YOU acknowledge, the "burthen of the taxes im­posed by the Stamp Act, to be OPPRESSIVE IN ALL ITS PARTS"; that you are thereby not only "loaded with a charge more than is proportioned to your circum­stances, but DEPRIVED ALSO OF A PRIVILEGE, which renders the OPPRESSION BEYOND MEASURE GRIEVOUS:" that you "see two of the most important objects, TRADE and JUSTICE CROUCHING under the load of the [Page 3] new duties and by the manner in which these duties have been imposed, find too the MOST VALUABLE OF ALL YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES SINKING ALONG WITH THEM."

YOU say that if you "are to be subject to the power of the parliament of Great-Britain, in your internal taxes, you must always be liable to impositions, that have nothing but the WILL OF THE IMPOSERS to direct them in the measure." With what consistency you afterwards hesitate, and "cannot say," whether the pri­vilege of taxing yourselves, exclusively belongs to you, or talk of a "SEEMING birthright," I will leave to be determined by yourselves, or the agent to whose "good judgment and discretion," you with such strange, I had almost said "humble submission" "refer" your most im­portant affairs. However, your sentiments soon veer about again, and you speak of "AN INESTIMABLE BLESSING OF SOCIETY;" of "OLD AND VALUABLE RIGHTS, and even hazard the hardy appellation of "SEVERE DECREES."

WHEN it is so evident, that all these assertions are equally true with regard to yourselves, and "your fellow-subjects on the northern continent," it affords no slight cause of amazement, to see in the same letter that contains these assertions, the opposition to those confessedly destructive measures, branded as "REBEL­LIOUS". Wherefore this needless stroke against your "fellow-subjects?" Could not your "principle of loy­alty" sink you to a satisfactory depth of humiliation, unless you flung yourselves down with such a rage of prostration as to spatter all around you? Was not your surrender of "the most valuable of all rights and liberties" sufficiently completed by your declaration, that you "COULD NOT POSITIVELY SAY you were intitled to them," without reproaching those who have the mis­fortune [Page 4] of differing so widely from you in their sentiments, that they had rather die than make such a declaration?

TO talk of your "charter" gentlemen, on this oc­casion, is but weakening the cause by relying on false aids. Your opinion on this head seems to be borrowed from the doctrine of the unhappy Stuarts. They thought, or pretended to think, all the liberties of the subject were mere favours granted by charters from the crown. Of consequence, all claims of liberties not ex­presly mentioned in those charters, were regarded as in­vasions of the prerogative, which according to them, was a power vested in the prince, they could not tell how, for no better purpose, than to do as he pleased. But what said the nation? They asserted, that the royal charters were declarations but not gifts of liberties, made as oc­casions required, on those points in which they were most necessary, without enumerating the rest; and that the prerogative was a power vested in one for the benefit of all.

KINGS or parliaments could not give the rights essential to happiness, as you confess those invaded by the Stamp Act to be. We claim them from a higher source—from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth. They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals. They are created in us by the decrees of Providence, which establish the laws of our nature. They are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives. In short, they are founded on the immu­table maxims of reason and justice. It would be an insult on the divine Majesty to say, that he has given or allowed any man or body of men a right to make me miserable. If no man or body of men has such a rights, I have a right to be happy. If there can be no hap­piness [Page 5] without freedom, I have a right to be free. If I cannot enjoy freedom without security of property, I have a right to be thus secured. If my property cannot be secure, in case others over whom I have no kind of influence, may take it from me by taxes, under pre­tence of the public good, and for enforcing their de­mands, may subject me to arbitrary, expensive, and remote jurisdictions, I have an exclusive right to lay taxes on my own property, either by myself or those I can trust; of necessity to judge in such instances of the public good; and to be exempt from such jurisdictions. —But no man can be secure in his property, who is "liable to impositions, that have NOTHING BUT THE WILL OF THE IMPOSERS to direct them in the measure;" and that make "JUSTICE TO CROUCH UNDER THEIR LOAD."

THUS you prove, gentlemen, that the fatal act you allude to in these expressions, is destructive of our property, our freedom, our happiness: that it is in­consistent with reason and justice; and subversive of those sacred rights which GOD himself from the infinity of his benevolence has bestowed upon mankind.

YET after these expressed or implied concessions, you term the opposition made by my countrymen to the execution of this—imagination cannot supply me with an epithet equal to my meaning—act, "REBEL­LIOUS."

PRAY, gentlemen, let me not mistake your notion of "humble submission to authority." Do you main­tain, that because the parliament may legally make some laws to bind us, it therefore may legally make any laws to bind us? Do you assert, that where power is constitutionally vested in particular persons for certain purposes, the same obedience is due to the commands [Page 6] of those persons, when they exceed the limits of that power, as when they are restrained within them? Do you say, that all acts of authority are sanctified by the mere pleasure of their authors, and that "humble submission" is due to them, however injurious they may be to those over whom they are exercised—or that the oppressed ought to content themselves with "giving the COMPLEXION of your CONDUCT" to PALE petitions— and that all other opposition is "rebellious?"

GREATLY I am afraid, that you have published to the world too convincing proofs, that you hold these sentiments: sentiments, which I solemnly profess are so horrible to me, that I cannot wish the infection of them even to the bitterest enemies of my country.

HAVE you considered, gentlemen, the importance of the points to which your political creed may be appli­ed? What is your opinion of the revolution, that made the British liberty and British glory blaze out with their brightest lustre? Had you lived in those days of ignorance, with what lucky assistance might you have propp'd up the tottering tyrant, by maxims of law to prove, that kings can do no wrong; and texts of scripture to shew, that submission is due to the powers that be!

IT is as manifest, that the great and good men who then placed the throne in the temple of liberty, dis­dained your sentiments, as it is, that if they had ap­proved them, you would not at present enjoy the sa­tisfaction of being ruled by a prince whose virtues do honour to his rank. All the happiness you possess, you owe to the force of the principle, which you now reproach; and your professing your resolution to per­sist in an "humble submission" to acts that you ex­pressly say, "make your oppression beyond measure grievous," and destroy "the most valuable of your [Page 7] civil rights and liberties," is deserting and betraying as much as you can, that principle, on which the consti­tution of Great-Britain is established—A principle, that has operated differently among these colonies, as became them, from what it did in that kingdom at the memorable period abovementioned—not in action, but negative­ly, in a refusal to act, in a manner destructive to them.

LET me speak plainly. In such a cause to prevari­cate or fear, is worse, if possible, than falshood or cowardise. Good breeding in private life, or good behavior in public life, can never require a deviation from truth or virtue. Our obligation to these, is co­existent with us, and unchangeable. No other relation therefore can dissolve or diminish the primary, un­alterable duty.

DO you believe, gentlemen, that parliaments never did, or never will do wrong? Do you profess an in­fallibility in politics, which you ridicule in religion? If any man should tell the present parliament, they are all-wise and all-perfect, I am persuaded, it would be esteemed a wretched insult both on their understand­ing and piety. Say they are the wisest and justest as­sembly on earth; and you say right. But human wis­dom and human justice partake of human frailties. Such is the lot of our nature—and to bestow the attributes of heaven on mortals, who to day are, and to-morrow are not, is the wildness of adulation.

SURELY, you cannot persevere in your error. If the stamp-act, DETESTABLE as you have described it, can­not wake you from dreams of submission, yet is there no idea of danger or distress which your fancy can re­present to you, that you think would justify you in something else than petitioning? Have you no "feel­ings" by which you might be tortured a little beyond [Page 8] "remonstrating?" I do not know what is dreadful to YOU, nor can I form the least guess what would be so: but suppose to yourselves an act of parliament commanding you to do or suffer something the most dreadful in the world—to YOU: something ten thousand times more dreadful—to YOU I mean—than "oppression beyond measure grievous"; "crushing justice under insupport­able burthens;" or "sinking the most valuable of all civil rights and liberties." Whatever that would be to you, the stamp act is to my countrymen.

HERE permit me, gentlemen, to ask, whether in such a case you would "humbly submit," tho it should be in your power effectually to refuse? To make your conduct consistent with the sentiments avowed in your letter, you must. Would you? Then, if what we are told of the antient Cappadocians be true, you would exhibit the second instance since the creation of man­kind, of a people chusing to be slaves. Would you refuse? What then becomes of your "principle of loy­alty," and your "obedience to the laws of your mother country?" If so, they are only fine words, with which you intend to purchase some sort of reputation with some sort of people; you are then loyal and obedient, as you call yourselves, because you apprehend you can't safely be otherwise; and the pretended virtues you claim, like forced fruits, partake too strongly of the manure that gave them growth, to afford any agree­able relish. Thus you reduce yourselves to the miser­able dilemma of making a choice between two of the meanest characters—of those who would be slaves from inclination, tho they pretend to love liberty—and of those who are dutiful from fear, tho they pretend to love submission.

PARDON me, gentlemen, if I attribute to you the virtue, which your excessive modesty disclaims. Since [Page 9] you were deterred from reproaching, by the cautious consideration, that you could not "reproach WITHOUT DANGER;" I am almost persuaded, that you would pre­fer refusal to slavery, if you were assured, that you could "refuse WITHOUT DANGER."

YOU greatly injure me, gentlemen, if you imagine from what I have said, that I am not a hearty friend to my king, his illustrious family, to Great-Britain, or to the connexion between her and these colonies. In what I am now to say, I shall speak not only my own, but the universal sentiments of my countrymen. I am devoted to my gracious sovereign, and his truly royal house, by principle and affection. They appear to me to have been called by providence to the throne; not to have gained it by the least share of the guilt, or even of the art, that has so often exalted the most unworthy to the most splendid stations. They have risen with brightness upon the world, in due course, to shed blessings over mankind; and all history cannot furnish an instance of a family, whose virtues have had a more auspicious influence on the happiness of men, particularly of their subjects. Their government does not afford only gleams of joy, but cheers with a flowing uniformity, except when some evil spirit interrupts our felicity— But these interruptions have never lasted: can never last, while princes of the line of Brunswick "chara deo soboles" preside over us. Their amiable qualities are heredita­ry; these render, if I may be allowed the expression, our happiness hereditary; and I might therefore be justly deemed very deficient in sense or integrity, if it was not among my most ardent prayers, that the scepter of his dominions may be held by our present monarch and his family, till time shall be no more.

[Page 10]AS to Great-Britain, I glory in my relation to her. Every drop of blood in my heart is British; and that heart is animated with as warm wishes for her prosperi­ty, as her truest sons can form. As long as this globe continues moving, may she reign over it's navigable part; and may she resemble the ocean she commands, which recruits without wasting, and receives without exhausting, its kindred streams in every climate. Are these the sentiments of disloyalty or disaffection? Do these sentiments point at independency? Can you be­lieve it? Will you assert it? I detest the thought with inexpressible abhorrence, for these reasons; first, be­cause it would be undutiful to our sovereign; secondly, because it would be unjust to our mother-country; and thirdly, because it would be destructive both to her and to us.

THE British nation is wise and generous. They can distinguish between a disgust to government and to the administration of it; a distinction, which bad ministers are continually striving to confound. They set up their passions for the interests of their king and country; and then, whoever is offended with their conduct, is convicted by a very plain deduction of ministerial logic, of being an enemy to his king and country. No farmer dislikes the sun; but if it collects such thick clouds as too much intercept its beams, surely the poor man who sees all his hopes sickening and withering, may very innocently dislike the gloom, and wish the re­viving rays may be felt again. The British nation aims not at empire over vassals. And must, I am convinced, be better pleased to hear their children speaking the language of freemen, than muttering the timid mur­murs of slaves. Can you believe, gentlemen ▪ that they will be better pleased with the ‘stile and substance of your representation,’ than with the honest transports of North-American breasts, so exactly like what they [Page 11] feel, when they think themselves injured? If there is any people whose character it is, to submit to wrongs, basely pretending to prefer the pleasure of those who offer them, to their own welfare or honor, while cowardly hatred and malice lurk rankling and " heart-burning" in their bosoms, watching, wishing opportuni­ties of dire revenge, it belongs not to Britons, or their true sons. They can neither dissemble injuries, nor un­reasonably resent them. These are vices of little, cruel minds. Much better, much safer is it for all parties, particularly when we contend with noble spirits, man­fully to speak what we think, and thereby put it in their power—such will always have it in their inclination— to give us ample satisfaction. They know that those who are most sensible of injuries, are most sensible of benefits. There can be no friendship between freemen and slaves; and I have the strongest hopes that our mutual affection will henceforward be more cement­ed than it hitherto has been —on their part, because we have proved ourselves worthy of their esteem; and on our part, because their generosity will excuse the man­ner in which we have proved it.

SUPPOSE all this continent had imitated your exam­ple, and had repeated your doleful, doubtful notes, from one end of it to the other: had acknowledged upon their knees, "that they COULD NOT POSITIVELY SAY whether they were intitled to the exemption" they re­quired, was there the least probability of their obtain­ing it? I do not object to the probability, for want of justice or of affection towards us in our mother country; but for want of proper attention, which the artifices of our enemies in support of their own darling mea­sures, would always have prevented.

EVERY man must remember, how immediately after the tempest of the late war was laid, another storm began to gather over North-America. Every wind [Page 12] that blew across the Atlantic, brought with it additional darkness. Every act of the administration seemed calculated to produce distress, and to excite terror. We were alarmed—we were afflicted. Many of our colonies sent home petitions; others ordered their agents to make proper applications on their behalf. What was the effect? They were rejected without read­ing. They could not be presented, "without break­ing through a rule of the house." They insisted upon a right, that, it "was previously determined, should not be admitted." The language of the ministry was, "that they would teach the insolent North-Americans, the respect due to the laws of their mother country." They moved for a resolution "that the parliament could legally tax us." 'Twas made. For a bill— 'Twas framed. For its dispatch—'Twas past. The badges of our shame were prepared—too gross—too odious—even in the opinion of that administration, to be fastened upon us by any but Americans. Strange de­lusion! to imagine that treachery could reconcile us to slavery. They looked around: they found Americans— O Virtue! they found Americans, to whom the confi­dence of their country had committed the guardian­ship of her rights, on whom her bounty had bestowed all—the wreck of her fortunes could afford, ready to rivet on their native land, the nurse of their infancy, the protectrix of their youth, the honorer of their man­hood, the fatal fetters which their information had help­ed to forge. They were to be gratifyed with part of the plunder in oppressive offices for themselves and their creatures. By these, that they might reap the rewards of their corruption, were we advised—by these, that they might return masters who went out servants, were we desired— to put on the chains, and then with shackled hands to drudge in the dark, as well as we could, forgetting the light we had lost. "IF I FORGET THEE, LET MY RIGHT HAND FORGET HER CUNNING—IF I DO NOT REMEMBER THEE, MAY MY TONGUE CLEAVE TO THE ROOF OF MY MOUTH."

[Page 13]WHEN the intelligence of these astonishing things reached America, "then flam'd her spirit high."

WHAT could she do? send home petitions again? The first had been treated with contempt. What could be expected from a second trial? We knew, that the humble petition of meek, pious, venerable bishops, supplicating for the laws and religion of their country, had been called a false and seditious libel by a daring administration who were resolved to have no law but their own pleasure. We knew, that the liberty of our fellow subjects had been lately so boldly invaded even in our mother country, in that spot where the dignity of the empire may be said more peculiarly to reside, that their oppressors were hardly stopp'd in their career, by the u­nited voice of an injured and offended people. We knew, that the men who designed to oppress us, held up to those whose assistance they were obliged to use, specious pretences of immediate advantage, while every remoter mischief, every disagreeable truth was artfully conceal­ed from them. They were persuaded, that they were to promote their own interests, the public interests, by adopting the new-invented policy proposed to them. In short we knew, in what line every thought and act relating to us, ran. All was arbitrary, rigid, threat­ening, dreadful. What resourse had we? We wonder­ed and wept—At last imploring the divine protec­tion, and appealing to the British goodness, we were driven by apprehension and affliction into a conduct, that might justly have rendered us to the humane rather objects of pity, than resentment; but which you gen­tlemen, are pleased to call a "REBELLIOUS opposition to authority."

HOW much farther these colonies might have gone; how much farther it would have been proper for them to go, I will not pretend to say. I confine myself en­tirely [Page 14] to your state of the case, and to their behavior in that case. My soul sickens at the scenes that ob­trude themselves on my imagination, while I reflect on what might have happened. My attention turns with unspeakable pleasure to those brighter prospects now * opening on my country, and the approaching times, when thro' the mercy of ALMIGHTY GOD, to whom be ascribed everlasting glory, the inhabitants of these colonies, animated with sentiments of the most perfect gratitude, confidence, affection, and veneration, justly heightened by the engaging clemency of our amiable sovereign, and the endearing tenderness of our mother country, shall be diligently and delightfully employed in demonstrating, that they are not unworthy of the blessings bestowed upon them. Great-Britain has been long distinguished—she must be now perpe­tually celebrated, for her moderation. This is her peculiar praise. Other states have been as great in arms; as learned in arts; but none ever equalled her in moderation—a virtue, and the parent of virtues.

I AM very sorry that these colonies had any reason given them to think they were right in going so far as they lately did: yet tho many things have been done, that I sincerely wish had not been done, I should be glad to know what particular part of their conduct has provoked you to issue, if I may use one of your ex­pressions, so "severe a decree" against them.

DID the resolutions made by their several assemblies in vindication of their rights, deserve such a censure? You grant they were founded on truth and justice. Can it be criminal to maintain these? Perhaps you think they were guilty, in forming and persisting in their universal determination not to use stamped papers, as they were commanded to do. No man can be blam­ed for doing any thing, which if he had not done, he [Page 15] must have committed a worse action. Remember the opinion you have expressed of the liberties for which these colonies were struggling. Had they accepted the stamped papers, they would not only have betrayed themselves, and you, whose prosperity they wish from a generosity of temper, of which they hope you will hereafter give then more agreeable proofs, than you have yet done, but they would also have basely betray­ed ages yet unborn, to a condition that would have rendered their birth a curse. You think "a memorial or memorials" would have relieved them, if they had "humbly submitted;" that is, that injuries that could not be prevented by a regard to justice, liberty, and the happiness of millions, might be redressed by well-penned petitions. No! The right would have been surrendered by our act—a precedent would have been established by our acquiescence, for perpetual servility. Where would the demands of ministers, where would the miseries of America have stopped?

I BELIEVE your island and its neighbours have been more fortunate in "memorialising" than this continent. Had we any reason to expect relief from the conduct proposed? Has any thing happened since, to shew that we should have succeeded by it? Let any person con­sider the speeches lately made in parliament, and the resolutions said to be made there, notwithstanding the convulsions occasioned through the British empire by the opposition of these colonies to the stamp-act, and he may easily judge what would have been their situation, in case they had bent down and humbly taken up the burden prepared for them. What would have been their fate, since they have opposed, if one man the victor of his country's foreign and domestic foes, had not by his wisdom and virtue checked the rage that decep­tion might artfully have kind [...]ed in the most honest and humane people upon earth, heaven alone can tell.

[Page 16]WHEN the exclusion bill was depending in the house of commons, Col. Titus made this short speech—"Mr. speaker, I hear a lion roaring in the lobby. Shall we secure the door, and keep him there: or shall we let him in to try if we can turn him out again."

CAN it be possible, gentlemen, that our stopping on this continent the importation of goods from Great-Bri­tain, has brought your resentment upon us? If it has, it is the first time that industry and frugality have met with such hard judges.

THE only thing I can think of besides, which might induce you to treat my countrymen as you have done, is the behavior of the mobs composed of the lower ranks of people in some few of the colonies, to those who were favorers of the stamp-act— But surely that could not produce so general an accusation of "your fellow-subjects on the northern continent." It was indeed a very improper way of acting; but may not these ago­nies of minds not quite so polished as your own, be in some measure excused? if as the absolute monarch of Judea said "oppression maketh a wise man mad;" and if as the loyal committee of correspondence in Barbados says, "the subversion of justice" and "the most valuable of all civil rights and liberties" is "oppression beyond measure grievous." It is needless to dwell longer on this head; but if you chuse to enquire into the circum­stances of every mob that has happened here, taking for granted that the stamp-act is constitutional, I believe even you, on cool consideration, would not term any of them a rebellion.

UPON the whole, I acknowledge, that a regard to themselves, has influenced the inhabitants of these colo­nies; but it was not a regard void of the truest loyalty to their king, the warmest affection, the profoundest [Page 17] veneration, for their parent country. If my father deceived and urged on by bad or weak men, should offer me a draught of poison, and tell me it would be of service to me, should I be undutiful, if, knowing what it is I refuse to drink it? or if inflamed by pas­sion, he should aim a dagger at my heart, should I be undutiful, if I refuse to bare my breast for the blow? Should he complain, would it not be the com­plaint of Cataline, that the senator he attempted to assassinate, was so disrespectful to him, he WOULD NOT recieve the sword in his body? Or should I act like a man in his senses, if I swallow the dose or receive the stroke, in expectation that those who prompted or provoked my father to the action, would afterwards give me a cer­tain antidote or balsam—especially, if they would probably get a large part of my estate? I will beg leave to trouble you, gentlemen, with one more com­parison. If a fortune of immense value comes into my possession by being settled on me, as the lawful son of my father, which till then had been held solely by him, and my enemies should persuade my excellent parent to attempt to bastardize me, and take the whole into his hands again, I not having the least pros­pect of happiness without it, and he not having the least occasion for it—should I be undutiful, if after endeavoring by intreaties to prevent his proceedings, I carefully record all the proofs of my being legitimate, stop the circulation of all false vouchers to the contrary, decline the correspondence of those who join with him, and even break the head of a man, who slanders my honour and my title, by spreading an opinion that I am basely born? With how much less reason will the charge of undutifulness be made against me, if I have regularly advanced for my father all such sums as he has from time to time required, and have assured him by my professions and behavior, that he shall have all the profits of the estate, allowing me a comfortable [Page 18] maintenance, if he will suffer it to continue in my possession—and all the world knows, that by a con­dition annexed to this estate, I cannot part with it, without acknowledging myself to be a bastard.

TO conclude—gentlemen—I know none of you; not even one of your names. I mean no personal reflecti­ons in this address. I detest them. If you should take any thing I have said, so much in that way, as to feel uneasiness from it, I shall be very sorry. Neither do I intend any reflections on your country, tho you represented her when you attacked mine. I always de­tested these loose aspersions, that ever give most pain to bosoms that honour and delicacy have rendered most sensible; and this detestation has been greatly encreased, since, within these few years, we have seen such loads of obloquy thrown upon a * nation, whose magnani­mity in bearing them will be sufficient I hope, to pro­cure them the esteem of those, who have been so much blinded by passion, as to deny it to their other nume­rous virtues and accomplishments. Your island is re­spectable. Your private characters may be amiable: but in a public capacity, you have cast a most high and unprovoked censure on a gallant, generous, loyal people. You have propagated a set of sentiments, and have promoted a tenor of conduct, that may be hurtful to the cause of freedom. I have engaged with too unequal arms perhaps, to oppose you; but to fail in such a contest, will afford me some kind of pleasure. I wish you every blessing that men can enjoy; and as a foundation and security of all the rest, I wish you a true love of liberty.

A NORTH-AMERICAN.
FINIS

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