IT may perhaps seem strange to slight consideration, that these LETTERS which have already passed through all America, should now a second time be produced before the Public in their present form. But a little further reflection will shew the UTILITY of this WORK. The sacred cause of liberty is of too great consequence, and the necessity of freedom for the security of human happiness too obvious, not to render every precaution wise, that tends to prevent the introduction of slavery. Notwithstanding therefore, these letters have been already published, yet here, they have been seen only in the Gazettes, which, from the incertainty of their dispersion, and the length of time passing between the reception of newspapers in the country, may probably have prevented much of the benefit to be derived from a col­lective, uninterrupted view of the manly reasoning, the timely information, and the true constitutional principles of liberty with which these letters every where abound. Whoever considers again that the nature of men in authority is inclined rather to commit two errors than to retract one*, will not be surprised to see the Stamp-Act followed by a Bill of Right, declaring the power of Parliament to bind us in all cases what­soever; and this act followed again by another, imposing a duty on paper, paint, glass, &c. imported into these colonies. But however unbounded may be the wish of power to extend itself, however unwilling it may be to acknowledge mistakes, 'tis surely the duty of every wise and worthy American, who at once wishes the prosperity of the Mother country and the colonies, to point out all invasions of the public liberty, and to shew the proper methods of obtaining redress. This has been done by the Authors of the following LETTERS with a force and spirit becoming freemen, English freemen, contending for our just and legal possession of property and freedom. A pos­session that has its foundation on the clearest principles of the law of nature, the most evident declarations of the English constitution, the plainest contract made between the Crown and our forefathers, and all these sealed and sanctified by the usage of near [Page ii] two hundred years. American rights thus resting on the best and strongest ground, it behoves all her inhabitants with united heads, hearts, and hands, to guard the sacred deposit committed by their fathers to their care, as well to bless posterity as to secure the happiness of the present generation. In vain 'tis for some few (and very few I hope they are) who, governed either by base principles of fear, or led by vile hopes of gain, the reward of prostituted virtue, to say, "your rights are indeed invaded, but Great-Britain is too strong. What can we do against superior strength?" Let these evil de­signing men remember what the highest authority has told us, "that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong." And if inspiration needed to receive assistance from genius, Shakespeare says, "thrice is he armed that has his quarrel just, and he but naked, tho' lock'd up in steel, whose conscience, with injustice, is oppressed." History also informs us, that Xerxes with his armed millions could not accomplish his purpose of reducing to slavery the much weaker but free States of Greece. Three hundred brave men at Thermophyl [...]e, contending for liberty, destroyed twenty thousand who attempted its ruin. In later times we see the States of Holland free, and the generous Corsicans likely to be so, although the far greater powers of Spain, Germany, and France, have at different periods combined to enslave these noble nations.

THE truth is, that the great Author of nature has created nothing in vain, and having with the life of man joined liberty, the virtuous enjoyment and free possession of property honestly gained, has undoubtedly furnished all nations with the means of defending their natural rights, if they have but wisdom and fortitude to make the proper use of such means. In this instance we find ourselves three thousand miles removed from Great-Britain, we possess a country abounding with woods in all parts, and in many with mountains of difficult and dangerous access. The ease with which the staple colonies could put an entire stop to the exportation of their commodities, and the peaceable but vital injury that this would convey to those who might insist on oppressing them, are truths so plain as to require no further animadversion. Ver [...]um sapienti sat est. The nature of the climate, the soil, and its various produce, point out the ease and extent with which manufactures may be conducted here. These things are men­tioned as a proof of what is above asserted, that the bountiful Author of nature has furnished his creatures with the means of securing their proper rights, and that the event depends much upon their own wise and brave determinations. A benevolent mind in­deed, cannot but lament that either ambition, avarice, or ill-placed resentment, should ever be so exercised as to force men into the investigation of those methods by whi [...] they may be secured from the operation of these bad passions. For certain it is, that there is nothing more becoming to human nature than well ordered government, or more valuable than liberty: How ignominious then must his conduct be who turns the first into confusion, and the latter into slavery? But whatever may be the opinion, or the design of a rapacious ill-advised Minister, the Americans have in their view this happy prospect; that the people of Great-Britain are generous and brave, they know the value of liberty, because they have purchased that knowledge with much of their blood: [Page iii] and therefore they cannot but esteem us their children for venerating the good old cause which they themselves have contended for in many a well-fought field. It is really wonderful that this unhappy dispute between Great-Britain and her colonies should ever have existed, when a moment's retrospection shews the Mother country for near two centuries exercising legislative authority here without complaint, while she abstained from that single destructive claim of taking our money from us without the consent of our representatives. The exercise of which claim, would indeed reduce America, to a state of slavery more deplorable and more ignominious than has ever yet been known in the world. But to what purpose this should be desired is still more amazing, when Britain from her exclusive trade to these colonies, and from the manner in which she tied up our manufacturing hands, not only received the entire produce of the lands and labour of these countries, but has besides involved the people here in a heavy debt, which agriculture, without arts, and a trade so confined, will probably never pay. Mr. Gren­ville it seems had the honour of devising this new system of American policy.

—Till one shall rise
Of proud ambitious heart, who not content
With fair equality, fraternal state,
Will arrogate dominion undeserved
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
Concord and the law of nature from the earth,
With war and hostile snare such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous.
—O execrable son so to aspire
Above his brethren, to himself assuming
Authority usurped, from God not given:
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over men
He made not lord; such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free.
—Justly thou abhorrest
That son, who on the quiet state of men
Such trouble brough [...].—




I AM a Farmer, settled, after a variety of fortunes, near the banks of the river Delaware, in the province of Pennsylvania. I received a liberal education, and have been engaged in the busy scenes of life; but am now convinced, that a man may be as happy without bustle, as with it. My farm is small; my servants are few, and good; I have a little money at interest; I wish for no more my employment in my own affairs is easy; and with a contented grateful mind, undisturbed by worldly hopes or fears, relating to myself, I am compleating the number of days allotted to me by Divine goodness.

BEING generally master of my time, I spend a good deal of it in library, which I think the most valuable part of my small estate; and being acquainted with two or three Gentlemen of abilities and learning, who honour me with their friendship, I have acquired, I believe, a greater knowledge in history, and the laws and constitution of my country, than is generally attained by men of my class, many of them not being so fortunate as I have been in the opportunities of getting information.

[Page 2] FROM my infancy I was taught to love humanity and liberty. Enquiry and experi­ence have since confirmed my reverence for the lessons then given me, by convincing me more fully of their truth and excellence. Benevolence towards mankind, excites wishes for their welfare, and such wishes endear the means of fulfilling them. Th [...]se can be found in liberty only, and therefore her sacred cause ought to be espoused by every man, on every occasion, to the utmost of his power. As a charitable, but poor person does not withhold his mite, because he cannot relieve all the distresses of the miserable, so should not any honest man suppress his sentiments concerning freedom, however small their influence is likely to be. Perhaps he "may touch some wheel*, " that will have an effect greater than he could reasonably expect.

THESE being my sentiments, I am encouraged to offer to you, my countrymen, my thoughts on some late transactions, that appear to me to be of the utmost importance to you. Conscious of my own defects, I have waited some time, in expectation of seeing the subject treated by persons much better qualified for the task; but being therein disappointed, and apprehensive that longer delays will be injurious, I venture at length to request the attention of the public, praying, that these lines may be read with the same zeal for the happiness of British America, with which they were wrote.

WITH a good deal of surprize I have observed, that little notice has been taken of an act of Parliament, as injurious in its principle to the liberties of these colonies, as the Stamp-Act was: I mean the act for suspending the legislation of New-York.

THE Assembly of that government complied with a former act of Parliament, requiring certain provisions to be made for the troops in America, in every particular, I think, except the articles of salt, pepper, and vinegar. In my opinion they acted imprudently, considering all circumstances, in not complying so far as would have given satisfaction, as several colonies did: But my dislike of their conduct in that instance, has not blinded me so much, that I cannot plainly perceive, that they have been punished in a manner pernicious to American freedom, and justly alarming to all the colonies.

IF the British Parliament has a legal authority to issue an order, that we shall furnish a single article for the troops here, and to compel obedience to that order, they have the same right to issue an order for us to supply those troops with arms, cloaths, and every necessary; and to compel obedience to that order also; in short, to lay any burthens they please upon us. What is this but taxing us at a certain sum, and leaving to us only the manner of raising it? How is this mode more tolerable than the Stamp-Act? Would that act have appeared more pleasing to Americans, if being ordered thereby to raise the sum total of the taxes, the mighty privilege had been left to them, of saying how much should be paid for an instrument of writing on paper, and how much for another on parchment?

AN act of Parliament, commanding us to do a certain thing, if it has any validity, is a tax upon us for the expence that accrues in complying with it; and for this reason, I believe, every colony on the continent, that chose to give a mark of their respect for Great-Britain, in complying with the act relating to the troops, cautiously avoided the mention of that act, lest their conduct should be attributed to its supposed obligation.

[Page 3] THE matter being thus stated, the Assembly of New-York either had, or had not, a right to refuse submission to that act. If they had, and I imagine no Ame­rican will say they had not, then the Parliament had no right to compel them to execute it. If they had not this right, they had no right to punish them for not executing it; and therefore no right to suspend their legislation, which is a punish­ment. In fact, if the people of New-York cannot be legally texed but by their own representatives, they cannot be legally deprived of the privilege of legislation, only for insisting on that exclusive privilege of taxation. If they may be legally deprived in such a case, of the privilege of legislation, why may they not, with equal reason, be deprived of every other privilege? Or why may not every colony be treated in the same manner, when any of them shall dare to deny their assent to any impositions, that shall be directed? Or what signifies the repeal of the Stamp-Act, if these colonies are to lose their other privileges, by not tamely surrendering that of taxation?

THERE is one consideration arising from this suspension, which is not generally attended to, but shews its importance very clearly. It was not necessary that this suspension should be caused by an act of Parliament. The Crown might have restrained the Governor of New-York, even from calling the Assembly together, by its prerogative in the Royal governments. This step, I suppose, would have been taken, if the conduct of the Assembly of New-York had been regarded as an act of disobedience to the Crown alone: but it is regarded as an act of* "disobedience to the authority of the British legisla­ture." This gives the suspension a consequence vastly more affecting. It is a Parlia­mentary assertion of the supreme authority of the British legislature over these colonies, in the point of taxation, and is intended to COMPEL New-York into a submission to that authority. It seems therefore to me as much a violation of the liberties of the people of that province, and consequently of all those colonies, as if the Parliament had sent a number of regiments to be quartered upon them till they should comply. For it is evident, that the suspension is meant as a compulsion; and the method of compelling is totally indifferent. It is indeed probable, that the sight of red coats, and the hearing of drums, would have been most alarming; because people are generally more influ­enced by their eyes and ears, than by their reason. But whoever seriously considers the matter, must perceive, that a dreadful stroke is aimed at the liberty of these colo­nies. I say, of these colonies; for the cause of one is the cause of all. If the Par­liament may lawfully deprive New-York of any of her rights, it may deprive any, or all the other colonies of their rights; and nothing can possibly so much encourage such attempts, as a mutual inattention to the interests of each other. To divide, and thus to destroy, is the first political maxim in attacking those, who are powerful by their union. He certainly is not a wise man, who folds his arms, and reposes himself at home, viewing, with unconcern, the flames that have invaded his neighbour's house, without using any endeavours to extinguish them. When Mr. Hampden's ship-money cause, for Three Shillings and Four Pence, was tried, all the people of England, with anxious expectation, interested themselves in the important decision; and when the [Page 4] slightest point, touching the freedom of one colony, is agitated, I earnestly wish, that all the rest may, with equal ardour, support their sister. Very much may be said on this subject; but I hope, more at present is unnecessary.

WITH concern I have observed, that two Assemblies of this province have sat and adjourned, without taking any notice of this act. It may perhaps be asked, what would have been proper for them to do? I am by no means fond of inflammatory measures; I detest them. I should be sorry that any thing should be done, which might justly displease our Sovereign, or our Mother country: But a firm, modest exertion of a free spirit, should never be wanting on public occasions. It appears to me, that it would have been sufficient for the Assembly, to have ordered our agents to represent to the King's Ministers, their sense of the suspending act, and to pray for its repeal. Thus we should have borne our testimony against it; and might therefore reasonably expect that, on a like occasion, we might receive the same assistance from the other colonies.

Concordia res parvae cres [...]unt.
Small things grow great by concord.



THERE is another late act of Parliament, which appears to me to be unconsti­tutional, and as destructive to the liberty of these colonies, as that mentioned in my last letter; that is, the act for granting the duties on paper, glass, &c.

THE Parliament unquestionably possesses a legal authority to regulate the trade of Great-Britain, and all her colonies. Such an authority is essential to the relation between a Mother country and her colonies; and necessary for the common good of all. He, who considers these provinces as states distinct from the British empire, has very slender notions of justice, or of their interests. We are but parts of a whole; and therefore there must exist a power somewhere, to preside, and preserve the con­nection in due order. This power is lodged in the Parliament; and we are as much dependant on Great-Britain, as a perfectly free people can be on another.

I HAVE looked over every statute relating to these colonies, from their first settle­ment to this time; and I find every one of them founded on this principle, till the [Page 5] Stamp-Act administration.* All before, are calculated to regulate trade, and preserve or promote a mutually beneficial intercourse between the several constituent parts of the empire; and though many of them imposed duties on trade, yet those duties were always imposed with design to restrain the commerce of one part, that was injurious to another, and thus to promote the general welfare. The raising a revenue thereby was never intended. Thus the King, by his Judges in his courts of justice, imposes fines, [Page 6] which all together amount to a very considerable sum, and contribute to the support of government: But this is merely a consequence arising from restrictions, that only meant to keep peace, and prevent confusion; and surely a man would argue very loosely, who should conclude from hence, that the King has a right to levy money in general upon his subjects. Never did the British Parliament, till the period abovementioned, think of imposing duties in America, for the purpose of raising a revenue. Mr. Grenville first introduced this language, in the preamble to the 4th of George III. Chap. 15, which has these words, "And whereas it is just and necessary that a revenue be raised in your Majesty's said dominions in America, for defraying the expences of defending, protect­ing, and securing the same: We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great-Britain, in Parliament assembled, being desirous to make some pro­vision [Page 7] in this present session of Parliament, towards raising the said revenue in America, have resolved to give and grant unto your Majesty the several rates and duties herein after mentioned, &c.

A FEW months after came the Samp-Act, which reciting this, proceeds in the same strange mode of expression, thus—And whereas it is just and necessary, that provision be made for raising a further revenue within your Majesty's dominions in America, towards defraying the said expences, we your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great-Britain, &c. give and grant," &c. as before.

THE last act, granting duties upon paper, &c. carefully pursues these modern pre­cedents. The preamble is, "Whereas it is expedient that a revenue should be raised in your Majesty's dominions in America, for making a more certain and adequate pro­vision for defraying the charge of the administration of justice, and the support of civil government in such provinces, where it shall be sound necessary; and towards the fur­ther defraying the expences of desending, protecting and securing the said dominions, we your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great-Britain, &c. give and grant, &c." as before.

HERE we may observe an authority expressly claimed and exerted to impose duties on these colonies; not for the regulation of trade; not for the preservation or promotion of a mutually beneficial intercourse between the several constituent parts of the empire, heretofore the sole objects of Parliamentary institutions; but for the single purpose of levying money upon us.

THIS I call an innovation*; and a most dangerous innovation. It may perhaps be objected, that Great-Britain has a right to lay what duties she pleases upon her ex­ports, and it makes no difference to us, whether they are paid here or there.

To this I answer. These colonies require many things for their use, which the laws of Great-Britain prohibit them from getting any where but from her. Such are paper and glass.

THAT we may legally be bound to pay any general duties on these commodities, relative to the regulation of trade, is granted; but we being obliged by her laws to take them from Great-Britain, any special duties imposed on their exportation to us only, [Page 8] with intention to raise a revenue from us only, are as much taxes upon us, as those imposed by the Stamp-Act.

WHAT is the difference in substance and right, whether the same sum is raised upon us by the rates mentioned in the Stamp-Act, on the use of paper, or by these duties, on the importation of it. It is only the edition of a former book, shi [...]ting a sentence from the end to the beginning.

SUPPOSE the duties were made payable in Great-Britain?

IT signifies nothing to us, whether they are to be paid here or there. Had the Stamp-Act directed, that all the paper should be landed at Floriad, and the duties paid there, before it was brought to the British colonies, would the act have raised less money upon us, or have been less destructive of our rights? By no means: [...]or as we were under a necessity of using the paper, we should have been under the necessity of paying the duties. Thus, in the present case, a like necessity will subject us, if this act continues in force, to the payment of the duties now imposed.

WHY was the Stamp-Act then so pernicious to freedom? It did not enact, that every man in the colonies should buy a certain quantity of paper—No: It only directed, that no instrument of writing should be valid in law, if not made on stamped paper, &c.

THE makers of that act knew full well, that the confusions that would arise from the disuse of writings, would compel the colonies to use the stamped paper, and there­fore to pay the taxes imposed. For this reason the Stamp-Act was said to be a law that would execute itself. For the very same reason, the last act of Parliament, if it is granted to have any force here, will execute itself, and will be attended with the very same consequences to American liberty.

SOME persons perhaps may say, that this act lays us under no necessity to pay the duties imposed, because we may ourselves manufacture the articles on which they are laid; whereas by the Stamp-Act no instrument of writing could be good, unless made on British paper and that too stamped.

SUCH an objection amounts to no more than this, that the injury resulting to these colonies, from the total disuse of British paper and glass, will not be so afflicting as that which would have resulted from the total disuse of writing among them; for by that means even the Stamp-Act might have been eluded. Why then was it universally detested by them as slavery itself? Because it presented to these devoted provinces no­thing but a choice* of calamities, imbittered by indignities, each of which it was unworthy of freemen to bear. But is no injury a violation of right but the greatest injury? If the eluding the payment of the taxes imposed by the Stamp-Act, would have subjected us to a more dreadful inconvenience, than the eluding the payment of those imposed by the late act; does it therefore follow, that the last is no violation of our rights, though it is calculated for the same purpose the other was, that is, to raise money upon us, without our consent?

THIS would be making right to consist, not in an exemption from injury, but from a certain degree of injury.

[Page 9] BUT the objectors may further say, that we shall suffer no injury at all by the disuse of British paper and glass. We might not, if we could make as much as we want. But can any man, acquainted with America, believe this possible? I am told there are but two or three Glass-Houses on this continent, and but very few Paper-Mills; and suppose more should be erected, a long course of years must clapse, before they can be brought to perfection. This continent is a country of planters, farmers, and fishermen▪ not of manufacturers. The difficulty of establishing particular manufactures in such a country, is almost insuperable. For one manufacture is connected with others in such a manner, that it may be said to be impossible to establish one or two, without establishing several others. The experience of many nations may convince us of this truth.

INEXPRESSIBLE therefore must be our distresses in evading the late acts, by the disuse of British paper and glass. Nor will this be the extent of our misfortune, if we admit the legality of that act.

GREAT-BRITAIN has prohibited the manufacturing iron and steel in these colonies, without any objection being made to her right of doing it. The like right she must have to prohibit any other manufacture among us. Thus she is possessed of an undisputed precedent on that point. This auhtority, she will say, is founded on the original inten­tion of settling these colonies; that is, that she should manufacture for them, and that they should supply her with materials. The equity of this policy, she will also say, has been universally acknowledged by the colonies, who never have made the least objection to statutes for that purpose; and will further appear by the mutual benefits flowing from this usage, ever since the settlement of these colonies.

OUR great advocate, Mr. Pitt, in his speeches on the debate concerning the repeal of the Stamp-Act, acknowledged, that Great-Britain could restrain our manufactures. His words are these—"This kingdom, as the supreme governing and legislative power, has always bound the colonies by her regulations and restrictions in trade, in navigation, in manufactures—in every thing, except that of taking their money out of their pockets, without their consent." Again he says, "We may bind their trade, confine their manu­factures, and exercise every power whatever, except that of taking their money out of their pockets, without their consent."

HERE then, my dear countrymen, rouse yourselves, and behold the ruin hanging over your heads. If you ONCE admit, that Great-Britain may lay duties upon her exportations to us, for the purpose of levying money on us only, she then will have no­thing to do, but to lay those duties on the articles which she prohibits us to manufacture—and the tragedy of American liberty is finished. We have been prohibited from pro­curing manufactures, in all cases, any where but from Great-Britain (excepting linens, which we are permitted to import directly from Ireland.) We have been prohibited, in some cases, from manufacturing for ourselves; and may be prohibited in others. We are therefore exactly in the situation of a city besieged, which is surrounded by the works of the besiegers in every part but one. If that is closed up, no step can be taken, but to surrender at discretion. If Great-Britain can order us to come to her for necessaries we want, and can order us to pay what taxes she pleases before we take them [Page 10] away, or when we land them here, we are as abject slaves as France and Poland can shew in wooden shoes, and with uncombed hair*.

PERHAPS the nature of the necessities of dependant states, caused by the policy of a governing one, for her own benefit, may be elucidated by a fact mentioned in history. When the Carthaginians were possessed of the island of Sardinia, they made a decree, that the Sardinians should not raise corn, nor get it any other way than from the Car­thaginians. Then, by imposing any duties they would upon it, they drained from the miserable Sardinians any sums they pleased; and whenever that oppressed people made the least movement to assert their liberty, their tyrants starved them to death or submis­sion. This may be called the most perfect kind of political necessity.

FROM what has been said, I think this uncontrovertible conclusion may be deduced, that when a ruling state obliges a dependant state to take certain commodities from her alone, it is implied in the nature of that obligation; is essentially requisite to give it the least degree of justice; and is inseparably united with it, in order to preserve any share of freedom to the dependant state; that those commodities should never be loaded with duties, for the sole purpose of levying money on the dependant state.

UPON the whole, the single question is, whether the Parliament can legally impose duties to be paid by the people of these colonies only, for the sole purpose of raising a revenue, on commodities which she obliges us to take from her alone, or, in other words, whether the Parliament can legally take money out of our pockets, without our con­sent. If they can, our boasted liberty is but

Vox et praeterea nihil.
A sound and nothing else.



I REJOICE to find that my two former letters to you, have been generally received with so much favour by such of you, whose sentiments I have had an opportunity of knowing. Could you look into my heart, you would instantly perceive a zealous attachment to your interests, and a lively resentment of every insult and injury offered to you, to be the motives that have engaged me to address you.

[Page 11] I AM no further concerned in any thing affecting America, than any one of you; and when liberty leaves it, I can quit it much more conveniently than most of you: But while Divine Providence that gave me existence in a land of freedom, permits my head to think, my lips to speak, and my hand to move, I shall so highly and gratefully value the blessing received, as to take care, that my silence and inactivity shall not give my implied assent to any act, degrading my brethren and myself from the birthright, where­with Heaven itself "hath made us free *"

SORRY I am to learn, that there are some few persons, who shake their heads with solemn motion, and pretend to wonder, what can be the meaning of these letters. "Great-Britain, " they say, "is too powerful to contend with; she is determined to oppress us; it is in vain to speak of right on one side, when there is power on the other; when we are strong enough to resist, we shall attempt it; but now we are not strong enough, and therefore we had better be quiet; it signifies nothing to convince us that our rights are invaded, when we cannot defend them; and if we should get into riots and tumults about the late act, it will only draw down heavier displeasure upon us."

WHAT can such men design? What do their grave observations amount to, but this—"that these colonies, totally regardless of their liberties, should commit them, with humble resignation, to chance, time, and the tender mercies of Ministers."

ARE these men ignorant, that usurpations, which might have been successfully opposed at first, acquire strength by continuance, and thus become irresistable? Do they condemn the conduct of these colonies, concerning the Stamp-Act? Or have they forgot its suc­cessful issue? Ought the colonies at that time, instead of acting as they did, to have trusted for relief, to the fortuitous events of futurity? If it is needless "to speak of rights" now, it was as needless then. If the behaviour of the colonies was prudent and glorious then, and successful too; it will be equally prudent and glorious to act in the same manner now, if our rights are equally invaded, and may be as successful. There­fore it becomes necessary to enquire, whether our rights are invaded." To talk of "defending" them, as if they could be no otherwise "defended" than by arms, is as much out of the way, as if a man having a choice of several roads to reach his jour­ney's end, should prefer the worst, for no other reason, but because it is the worst.

As to "riots and tumults, " the Gentlemen who are so apprehensive of them, are much mistaken, if they think, that grievances cannot be redressed without such assistance.

I WILL now tell the Gentlemen, what is "the meaning of these letters." The mean­ing of them is, to convince the people of th [...]se colonies, that they are at this moment exposed to the most imminent dangers; and to persuade them immediately, vigorously, and unanimously, to exert themselves, in the most firm, but most peaceable manner, for obtaining relief.

THE cause of liberty is a cause of too much dignity, to be fullied by turbu­lence and tumult. It ought to be maintained in a manner suitable to her nature. Those who engage in it, should breathe a sedate, yet servent spirit, animating them to actions of prudence, justice, modesty, bravery, humanity and magnanimity.

[Page 12] To such a wonderful degree were the antient Spartans, as brave and free a people as ever existed, inspired by this happy temperature of soul, that rejecting even in their battles the use of trumpets, and other instruments for exciting heat and rage, they marched up to scenes of havock and horror*, with the sound of flutes, to the tunes of which their steps kept pace—"exhibiting," as Plutarch says, "at once a terrible and delightful light, and proceeding with a deliberate valour, full of hope and [...] assurance, as if some Divinity had sensibly assisted them."

I HOPE, my dear countrymen, that you will, in every colony, be upon your guard against those, who may at any time endeavour to stir you up, under pretences of patrio­tism, to any measures disrespectful to our sovereign and our Mother country. Hot, rash, disorderly proceedings, injure the reputation of a people, as to wisdom, valour, and virtue, without procuring them the least benefit. I pray GOD, that he may be pleased to inspire you and your posterity, to the latest ages, with a spirit of which I have an idea, that I find a difficulty to express. To express it in the best manner I can, I mean a spirit, that shall so guide you, that it will be impossible to determine whether an American's character is most distinguishable, for his loyalty to his Sove­reign, his duty to his Mother country, his love of freedom, or his affection for his native soil.

EVERY government at some time or other falls into wrong measures. This may pro­ceed from mistake or passion. But every such measure does not dissolve the obligation between the governors and the governed. The mistake may be corrected; the passion may subside. It is the duty of the governed to endeavour to rectify the mistake, and to appease the passion. They have not at first any other right, than to represent their grievances, and to pray for redress, unless an emergence is so pressing, as not to allow time for receiving an answer to their applications, which rarely happens. If their ap­plications are disregarded, then that kind of opposition becomes justifiable, which can be made without breaking the laws, or disturbing the public peace. This consists in the prevention of the oppressors reaping advantage from their oppressions, and not in their punishment. For experience may teach them, what reason did not; and harsh methods cannot be proper, till milder ones have failed.

IF at length it becomes undoubted, that an inveterate resolution is formed to annihi­late the liberties of the governed, the English history affords frequent examples of resistance by force. What particular circumstances will in any future case justify such resistance, can never be ascertained, till they happen. Perhaps it may be allowable to say generally, that it never can be justifiable, until the people are fully convinced, that any further submission will be destructive to their happiness.

WHEN the appeal is made to the sword, highly probable is it, that the punishment will exceed the offence; and the calamities attending on war out-weigh those preceding it. These considerations of justice and prudence, will always have great influence with good and wise men.

[Page 13] To these reflections on this subject, it remains to be added, and ought for ever to be remembered, that resistance, in the case of colonies against their Mother country, is extremely different from the resistance of a people against their Prince. A nation may change their King, or race of Kings, and, retaining their antient form of government, be gainers by changing. Thus Great-Britain, under the illustrious house of Bruns­wick, a house that seems to flourish for the happiness of mankind, has found a felicity, unknown in the reigns of the Stewarts. But if once we are separated from our Mother country, what new form of government shall we adopt, or where shall we find another Britain, to supply our loss? Torn from the body, to which we are united by religion, liberty, laws, affections, relation, language and commerce, we must bleed at every vein.

IN truth—the prosperity of these provinces is founded in their dependance on Great-Britain; and when she returns to her "old good humour, and her old good nature, " as Lord Clarendon expresses it, I hope they will always think it their duty and interest, as it most certainly will be, to promote her welfare by all the means in their power.

WE cannot act with too much caution in our disputes. Anger produces anger; and differences, that might be accommodated by kind and respectful behaviour, may, by imprudence, be enlarged to an incurable rage. In quarrels between countries, as well as in those between individuals, when they have risen to a certain height, the first cause of dissension is no longer remembered, the minds of the parties being wholly engaged in recollecting and resenting the mutual expressions of their dislike. When feuds have reached that fatal point, all considerations of reason and equity vanish; and a blind fury governs, or rather confounds all things. A people no longer regards their interest, but the gratification of their wrath. The sway of the Cleons * and Clodius's, the designing and detestable flatterers of the prevailing passion, becomes confirmed. Wise and good men in vain oppose the storm, and may think themselves fortunate, if, in attempting to preserve their ungrateful fellow citizens, they do not ruin themselves. Their prudence will be called baseness; their moderation will be called guilt; and if their virtue does not lead them to destruction, as that of many other great and excellent persons has done, they may survive to receive from their expiring country the mournful glory of her acknowledgment, that their counsels, if regarded, would have saved her.

THE constitutional modes of obtaining relief, are those which I wish to see pursued on the present occasion; that is, by petitions of our Assemblies, or where they are not permitted to meet, of the people, to the powers that can afford us relief.

WE have an excellent Prince, in whose good dispositions towards us we may conside. We have a generous, sensible and humane nation, to whom we may apply. They may be deceived, they may by artful men, be provoked to anger against us. I cannot believe they will be cruel or unjust; or that their anger will be implacable. Let us behave like dutiful children, who have received unmerited blows from a beloved parent. Let us complain to our parent; but let our complaints speak at the same time the language of affliction and veneration.

[Page 14] IF, however, it shall happen, by an unfortunate course of affairs, that our applications to his Majesty and the Parliament for redress, prove ineffectual, let us then take another step, by withholding from Great-Britain all the advantages she has been used to receive from us. Then let us try, if our ingenuity, industry, and frugality, will not give weight to our remonstrances. Let us all be united with one spirit, in one cause. Let us in­vent—let us work—let us save—let us, continually, keep up our claim, and incessantly repeat our complaints—But, above all, let us implore the protection of that infinitely good and gracious Being, "by whom Kings reign, and Princes decree justice*."

Nil desperandum.
Nothing is to be despaired of.



AN objection, I hear, has been made against my second letter, which I would willingly clear up before I proceed. "There is, " say these objectors, "a material difference between the Stamp-Act and the late act for laying a duty on paper, &c. that justifies the conduct of those who opposed the former, and yet are willing to submit to the latter. The duties imposed by the Stamp-Act were internal taxes; but the present are external, and therefore the Parliament may have a right to impose them."

To this I answer, with a total denial of the power of Parliament to lay upon these colonies any "tax" whatever.

THIS point, being so important to this, and to succeeding generations, I wish to be clearly understood.

To the word "tax, " I annex that meaning which the constitution and history of England require to be annexed to it; that is—that it is an imposition on the subject, for the sole purpose of levying money.

IN the early ages of our monarchy, certain services were rendered to the Crown for the general good. These were personal* But, in process of time, such institutions [Page 15] being sound inconvenient, gifts and grants of their own property were made by the people, under the several names of aids, tallages, tasks, taxes and subsidies, &c. These were made, as may be collected even from the names, for public service upon "need and necessity." All these sums were levied upon the people by virtue of their voluntary gift. Their design was to support the national honour and interest. Some of those grants comprehended duties arising from trade; being imposts on merchandizes. These Lord Chief Justice Coke classes under "subsidies, " and "Parliamentary aids." They are also called "customs." But whatever he name was, they were always considered as gists of the people to the Crown, to be employed for public uses.

COMMERCE was at a low ebb, and surprizing instances might be produced how little it was attended to for a succession of ages. The terms that have been mentioned, and, among the rest, that of "tax, " had obtained a national, Parliamentary meaning, drawn from the principles of the constitution, long before any Englishman thought of impo­sition of duties, for the regulation of trade.

[Page 16] WHENEVER we speak of "taxes" among Englishmen, let us therefore speak of them with reference to the principles on which, and the intentions with which they have been established. This will give certainty to our expression, and safety to our conduct: But if, when we have in view the liberty of these colonies, we proceed in any other course, we pursue a Juno * indeed, but shall only catch a cloud.

IN the national, Parliamentary sense insisted on, the word "tax" was certainly un­derstood by the congress at New-York, whose resolves may be said to form the Ame­rican" bill of rights."

The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth resolves are thus expressed.

III. "THAT it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the un­doubted right of Englishmen, that NO TAX be imposed on them, but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives."

IV. "THAT the people of the colonies are not, and from their local circumstances, cannot be represented in the House of Commons in Great-Britain."

V. "THAT the only representatives of the people of the colonies, are the persons chosen therein by themselves; and that NO TAXES ever have been, or can be consti­tutionally imposed on them, but by their respective legislatures."

VI. "THAT all supplies to the Crown, being free gifts of the people, it is un­reasonable, and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the British constitution, for the people of Great-Britain to grant to his Majesty the property of the colonies."

HERE is no distinction made between internal and external taxes. It is evident from the short reasoning thrown into these resolves, that every imposition "to grant to his Majesty the property of the colonies," was thought a "tax;" and that every such im­position, if laid any other way, than "with their consent, given personally, or by their representatives, " was not only "unreasonable, and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the British constitution, " but destructive "to the freedom of a people."

THIS language is clear and important. A "tax" means an imposition to raise money. Such persons therefore as speak of internal and external "taxes, " I pray may pardon me, if I object to that expression, as applied to the privileges and interests of these colonies. There may be internal and external impositions, founded on different prin­ciples, and having different tendencies; every "tax" being an imposition, though every imposition is not a "tax." But all taxes are founded on the same principle; and have the same tendency.

EXTERNAL impositions, for the regulation of our trade, do not "grant to his Majesty the property of the colonies." They only prevent the colonies acquiring property, in things not necessary, in a manner judged to be injurious to the welfare of the whole em­pire. [Page 17] But the last statute respecting us, "grants to his Majesty the property of the colonies," by laying duties on the manufactures of Great-Britain which they must take, and which she settled them, on purpose that they should take.

WHAT "tax *" can be more internal than this? Here is money drawn, without their consent, from a society, who have constantly enjoyed a constitutional mode of raising all money among themselves. The payment of this tax they have no possible method of avoiding; as they cannot do without the commodities on which it is laid, and they can­not [Page 18] manufacture these commodities themselves. Besides, if this unhappy country should be so lucky as to clude this act, by getting parchment enough, in the place of paper, or by reviving the antient method of writing on wax and bark, and by inventing some­thing to serve instead of glass, her ingenuity would stand her in little stead; for then the Parliament would have nothing to do but to prohibit such manufactures, or to lay a tax on ha [...]s and woollen cloths, which they have already prohibited the colonies from supplying each other with; or on instruments and tools of steel and iron, which they have prohibited the provincials from manufacturing at all *: And then, what little gold and silver they have, must be torn from their hands, or they will not be able, in a short time, to get an ax, for cutting their firewood, nor a plough, for raising their food▪ In what respect, therefore, I beg leave to ask, is the late act preferable to the Stamp-Act, or more consistent with the liberties of the colonies? For my own part, I regard them both with equal apprehension; and think they ought to be in the same manner opposed.

[...] quidem senatus consultum,tanquam gladium in vagina repositum.
We have a statute, laid up for future use, like a sword in the scabbard.



PERHAPS the objection to the late act, imposing duties upon paper, &c. might have been safely rested on the argument drawn from the universal conduct of Par­liaments and Ministers, from the first existence of these colonies, to the administration of Mr. Grenville.

WHAT but the indisputable, the acknowledged exclusive right of the colonies to tax themselves, could be the reason, that in this long period of more than one hundred and [Page 19] fifty years, no statute was ever passed for the sole purpose of raising a revenue on the colonies? And how clear, how cogent must that reason be, to which every Parliament, and every Minister, for so long a time submitted, without a single attempt to innovate?

ENGLAND, in part of that course of years, and Great-Britain, in other parts, was engaged in several fierce and expensive wars; troubled with some tumultuous and bold Parliaments; governed by many daring and wicked Ministers; yet none of them ever ventured to touch the Palladium of American liberty. Ambition, avarice, faction, ty­ranny, all revered it. Whenever it was necessary to raise money on the colonies, the requisitions of the Crown were made, and dutifully complied with. The Parliament, from time to time, regulated their trade, and that of the rest of the empire, to preserve their dependence, and the connection of the whole in good order.

THE people of Great-Britain, in support of their privileges, boast much of their antiquity. It is true they are antient; yet it may well be questioned, if there is a single privilege of a British subject, supported by longer, more solemn, or more un­interrupted testimony, than the exclusive right of taxation in these colonies. The people of Great-Britain consider that kingdom as the sovereign of these colonies, and would now annex to that sovereignty a prerogative never heard of before. How would they bear this, was the case their own? What would they think of a new prerogative claimed by the Crown? We may guess what their conduct would be, from the transports of passion into which they fell about the late embargo, though laid to relieve the most emergent necessities of state, admitting of no delay; and for which there were numerous precedents. Let our liberties be treated with the same tenderness, and it is all we desire.

EXPLICIT as the conduct of Parliaments, for so many ages, is, to prove that no money can be levied on these colonies by Parliaments, for the purpose of raising a reve­nue, yet it is not the only evidence in our favour.

EVERY one of the most material arguments against the legality of the Stamp-Act, operates with equal force against the act now objected to; but as they are well known, it seems unnecessary to repeat them here.

THIS general one only shall be considered at present: That though these colonies are dependent on Great-Britain; and though she has a legal power to make laws for preserving that dependence; yet it is not necessary for this purpose, nor essential to the relation between a Mother country and her colonies, as was eagerly contended by the advocates for the Stamp-Act, that she should raise money on them without their consent.

COLONIES were formerly planted by warlike nations, to keep their enemies in awe; to relieve their country, overburthened with inhabitants; or to discharge a number of discontented and troublesome citizens. But in more modern ages, the spirit of violence being, in some measure, if the expression may be allowed, sheathed in commerce, colo­nies have been settled by the nations of Europe for the purposes of trade. These purposes were to be attained, by the colonies raising for their Mother country those things which she did not produce herself; and by supplying themselves from her with things they wanted. These were the national objects in the commencement of our colonies, and have been uniformly so in their promotion.

[Page 20] To answer these grand purposes, perfect liberty was known to be necessary; all history proving, that trade and freedom are nearly related to each other. By a due regard to this wise and just plan, the infant colonies, exposed in the unknown climates and unex­plored wildernesses of this new world, lived, grew, and flourished.

THE Parent country, with undeviating prudence and virtue, attentive to the first principles of colonization, drew to herself the benefits she might reasonably expect, and preserved to her children the blessings, on which those benefits were founded. She made laws, obliging her colonies to carry to her all those products which she wanted for her own use; and all those raw materials which she chose herself to work up. Besides this restriction, she forbad them to procure manufactures from any other part of the globe, or even the products of European countries, which alone could rival her, without being first brought to her. In short, by a variety of laws, she regulated their trade in such a manner as she thought most conducive to their mutual advantage, and her own welfare. A power was reserved to the Crown of repealing any laws that should be enacted: The executive authority of government was also lodged in the Crown, and its representatives; and an appeal was secured to the Crown from all judgments in the administration of justice.

FOR all these powers, established by the Mother country over the colonies; for all these immense emoluments derived by her from them; for all their difficulties and dis­tresses in fixing themselves, what was the recompence made them? A communication of her rights in general, and particularly of that great one, the foundation of all the rest—that their property, acquired with so much pain and hazard, should be disposed of by none but themselves*—or, to use the beautiful and emphatic language of the sacred scriptures, "that they should sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and none should make them afraid. "

CAN any man of candour and knowledge deny, that these institutions form an affinity between Great-Britain and her colonies, that sufficiently secures their dependence upon her? Or that for her to levy taxes upon them, is to reverse the nature of things? Or that she can pursue such a measure, without reducing them to a state of vassalage?

IF any person cannot conceive the supremacy of Great-Britain to exist, without the power of laying taxes to levy money upon us, the history of the colonies, and of Great-Britain, since their settlement, will prove the contrary. He will there find the amazing advantages arising to her from them—the constant exercise of her supremacy—and their filial submission to it, without a single rebellion, or even the thought of one, from their first emigration to this moment—And all these things have happened, with­out one instance of Great-Britain's laying taxes to levy money upon them.

How many British authors have demonstrated, that the present wealth, power and [Page 21] glory of their country, are founded upon these colonies? As constantly as streams tend to the ocean, have they been pouring the fruits of all their labours into their mother's lap. Good Heaven! and shall a total oblivion of former tendernesses and blessings, be spread over the minds of a good and wise nation, by the fordid arts of intriguing men, [Page 22] who, covering their selfish projects under pretences of public good, first enrage their countrymen into a frenzy of passion, and then advance their own influence and inte­rest, by gratifying the passion, which they themselves have basely excited.

[Page 23] HITHERTO Great-Britain has been contented with her prosperity. Moderation has been the rule of her conduct. But now, a generous humane people, that so often has protected the liberty of strangers, is enflamed into an attempt to tear a privilege from her own children, which, if executed, must, in their opinion, sink them into slaves: And for what? For a pernicious power, not necessary to her, as her own experience may convince her; but horribly dreadful and detestable to them.

[Page 24] IT seems extremely probable, that when cool, dispassionate posterity, shall consider the affectionate intercourse, the reciprocal benefits, and the unsuspecting confidence, that have subsisted between these colonies and their Parent country, for such a length of time, they will execrate, with the bitterest curses, the infamous memory of those men, whose pestilential ambition unnecessarily, wantonly, cruelly, first opened the sources of civil discord between them; first turned their love into jealousy; and first taught these provinces, filled with grief and anxiety, to enquire—

Mens ubi materna est?
Where is maternal affection?



IT may perhaps be objected against the arguments that have been offered to the Pub­lic, concerning the legal power of the Parliament, "that it has always exercised the power of imposing duties, for the purposes of raising a revenue on the productions of [Page 25] these colonies carried to Great-Britain, which may be called a tax on them." To this objection I answer, that this is no violation of the rights of the colonies, it being implied in the relation between and Great-Britain, that they should not carry such com­modities to other nations, as should enable them to interfere with the Mother country. The imposition of duties on these commodities, when brought to her, is only a conse­quence of her parental right; and if the point is thoroughly examined, the duties will be found to be laid on the people of the Mother country. Whatever they are, they must proportionably raise the price of the goods, and consequently must be paid by the consumers. In this light they were considered by the Parliament in the 25th Charles II. Chap. 7, Sect. 2, which says, that the productions of the plantations were carried from one to another free from all customs, "while the subjects of this your kingdom of Eng­land have paid great customs and impositions for what of them have been spent here, &c.

BESIDES, if Great-Britain exports these commodities again, the duties will injure her own trade, so that she cannot hurt us, without plainly and immediately hurting her­self; and this is our check against her acting arbitrarily in this respect.

* IT may be perhaps further objected, "that it being granted that statutes made for regulating trade, are binding upon us, it will be difficult for any persons, but the makers of the laws, to determine, which of them are made for the regulating of trade, and which for raising a revenue; and that from hence may arise confusion."

To this I answer, that the objection is of no force in the present case, or such as [Page 26] resemble it; because the act now in question, is formed expressly "for the sole purpose of raising a revenue."

HOWEVER, supposing the design of Parliament had not been expressed, the objection seems to me of no weight, with regard to the influence which those who may make it might expect it ought to have on the conduct of these colonies.

IT is true, that impositions for raising a revenue, may be hereafter called regulations of trade: But names will not change the nature of things. Indeed we ought firmly to believe, what is an undoubted truth, confirmed by the unhappy experience of many states heretofore free, that unless the most watchful attention be exerted, a new servi­tude may be slipped upon us, under the sanction of usual and respectable terms.

THUS the Caesars ruined the Roman liberty, under the titles of tribunicial and dicta­torial authorities—old and venerable dignities, known in the most flourishing times of freedom. In imitation of the same policy, James II. when he meant to establish popery talked of liberty of conscience, the most sacred of all liberties; and had thereby almost deceived the Dissenters into destruction.

ALL artful rulers, who strive to extend their power beyond its just limits, endeavour to give to their attempts as much semblance of legality as possible. Those who succeed them may venture to go a little further; for each new encroachment will be strengthened by a former. "That which is now supported by examples, growing old, will become an example itself,*" and thus support fresh usurpations.

A FREE people therefore can never be too quick in observing, nor too firm in opposing the beginnings of alteration either in form or reality, respecting institutions formed for their security. The first kind of alteration leads to the last: Yet, on the other hand, no­thing is more certain, than that the forms of liberty may be retained, when the sub­stance is gone. In government, as well as in religion, "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

I WILL beg leave to enforce this remark by a few instances. The Crown, by the constitution, has the prerogative of creating Peers. The existence of that order, in due number and dignity, is essential to the constitution; and if the Crown did not ex­ercise that prerogative, the peerage must have long since decreased so much as to have lost its proper influence. Suppose a Prince, for some unjust purposes, should from time to time, advance so many needy, profligate wretches to that rank, that all the inde­pendence of the House of Lords should be destroyed: there would then be a manifest violation of the constitution, under the appearance of using legal prerogative.

THE House of Commons claims the privilege of forming all money bills, and will not suffer either of the other branches of the legislature to add to, or alter them; contend­ing that their power simply extends to an acceptance or rejection of them. This pri­vilege appears to be just: But under pretence of this just privilege, the House of Com­mons has claimed a licence of tacking to money bills, clauses relating to things of a totally different kind, and thus forcing them in a manner on the King and Lords. This seems to be an abuse of that privilege, and it may be vastly more abused. Sup­pose [Page 27] a future House, influenced by some displaced, discontented demagogues, in a time of danger, should tack to a money bill, something so injurious to the King and Peers, that they would not assent to it, and yet the Commons should obstinately insist on it; the whole kingdom would be exposed to ruin by them, under the appearance of main­taining a valuable privilege.

IN these cases it might be difficult for a while to determine, whether the King in­tended to exercise his prerogative in a constitutional manner or not; or whether the Commons insisted on their demand sactiously, or for the public good: But surely the conduct of the Crown, or of the House, would in time sufficiently explain itself.

OUGHT not the people therefore to watch? to observe facts? to search into causes? to investigate designs? And have they not a right of judging from the evidence before them, on no slighter points than their liberty and happiness? It would be less than trifling, wherever a British government is established, to make use of any arguments to prove such a right. It is sufficient to remind the reader of the day, on the anni­versary of which the first of these letters is dated.

I WILL now apply what has been said to the present question.

THE nature of any impositions laid by Parliament on these colonies, must determine the design in laying them. It may not be easy in every instance to discover that design. Wherever it is doubtful, I think submission cannot be dangerous; nay, it must be right; for, in my opinion, there is no privilege these colonies claim, which they ought in duty and prudence more earnestly to maintain and defend, than the authority of the British Parliament to regulate the trade of all her dominions. Without this authority, the benefits she enjoys from our commerce, must be lost to her: The blessings we en­joy from our dependence upon her, must be lost to us. Her strength must decay; her glory vanish; and she cannot suffer without our partaking in her misfortune. Let us therefore cherish her interests as our own, and give her every thing that it becomes free­men to give or to receive.

THE nature of any impositions she may lay upon us may, in general, be known, by considering how far they relate to the preserving, in due order, the connection between the several parts of the British empire. One thing we may be assured of, which is this—Whenever she imposes duties on commodities, to be paid only upon their expor­tation from Great-Britain to these colonies, it is not a regulation of trade, but a design to raise a revenue upon us. Other instances may happen, which it may not be neces­sary at present to dwell on. I hope these colonies will never, to their latest existence, want understanding sufficient to discover the intentions of those who rule over them, nor the resolution necessary for asserting their interests. They will always have the same rights, that all free states have, of judging when their privileges are invaded, and of using all prudent measures for preserving them.

Quocirca vivite fortes
Fortiaque adversis opponite pectora rebus.
Wherefore keep up your spirits, and gallently oppose this adverse course of affairs.
[Page 28]


My dear Countrymen,

THIS letter is intended more particularly for such of you, whose employments in life may have prevented your attending to the consideration of some points that are of great and public importance: For many such persons there must be even in these colonies, where the inhabitants in general are more intelligent than any other people whatever, as has been remarked by strangers, and it seems with reason.

SOME of you, perhaps, filled, as I know your breasts are, with loyalty to our most excellent Prince, and with love to our dear Mother country, may feel yourselves in­clined, by the affections of your hearts, to approve every action of those whom you so much venerate and esteem. A prejudice thus flowing from goodness of disposition, is amiable indeed. I wish it could be indulged without danger. Did I think this possible, the error should have been adopted, and not opposed by me. But in truth, all men are subject to the frailties of nature; and therefore whatever regard we entertain for the persons of those who govern us, we should always remember that their conduct, as rulers, may be influenced by human infirmities.

WHEN any laws, injurious to these colonies, are passed, we cannot suppose, that any injury was intended us by his Majesty, or the Lords. For the assent of the Crown and Peers to laws, seems, as far as I am able to judge, to have been vested in them, more for their own security, than for any other purpose. On the other hand, it is the particular business of the people, to enquire and discover what regulations are useful for themselves, and to digest and present them in the form of bills, to the other orders, to have them enacted into laws. Where these laws are to bind themselves, it may be expected, that the House of Commons will very carefully consider them: But when they are making laws that are not designed to bind themselves, we cannot imagine that their deliberations will be as* cautious and scrupulous, as in their own case.

[Page 29] I AM told, that there is a wonderful address frequently used in carrying points in the House of Commons, by persons experienced in these affairs.—That opportunities are watched—and sometimes votes are passed, that if all the members had been present, would have been rejected by a great majority. Certain it is, that when a powerful and artful man has determined on any measure against these colonies, he has always suc­ceeded in his attempt. Perhaps therefore it will be proper for us, whenever any op­pressive act affecting us is passed, to attribute it to the inattention of the members of the House of Commons, and to the malevolence or ambition of some factious great man, rather than to any other cause.

Now I do verily believe, that the late act of Parliament, imposing duties on paper, &c. was formed by Mr. Grenville, and his party, because it is evidently a part of that plan, by which he endeavoured to render himself popular at home; and I do also be­lieve, that not one half of the members of the House of Commons, even of those who heard it read, did perceive how destructive it was to American freedom. For this reason, as it is usual in Great-Britain, to consider the King's speech as the speech of the Ministry, it may be right here to consider this act as the act of a party, perhaps I should speak more properly, if I was to use another term.

THERE are two ways of laying taxes. One is, by imposing a certain sum on parti­cular kinds of property, to be paid by the user or consumer, or by rating the person at [Page 30] a certain sum. The other is, by imposing a certain sum on particular kinds of pro­perty, to be paid by the s [...]ller.

WHEN a man pays the first sort of tax, he knows with certainty that he pays so much money for a tax. The consideration for which he pays it, is remote, and it may be, does not occur to him. He is sensible too, that he is commanded and obliged to pay it as a tax; and therefore people are apt to be displeased with this sort of tax.

THE other sort of tax is submitted to in a very different manner. The purchaser of any article, very seldom reflects that the seller raises his price, so as to indemnify him­self for the tax he has paid. He knows that the prices of things are continually fluc­tuating, and if he thinks about the tax, he thinks at the same time, that he might have paid as much, if the article he buys had not been taxed. He gets something visible and agreeable for his money; and tax and price are so confounded together, that he cannot separate, or does not chuse to take the trouble of separating them.

THIS mode of taxation therefore is the mode suited to arbitrary and oppressive govern­ments. The love of liberty is so natural to the human heart, that unfeeling tyrants think themselves obliged to accommodate their schemes as much as they can to the appearance of justice and reason, and to deceive those whom they resolve to destroy, or oppress, by presenting to them a miserable picture of freedom, when the inestimable original is lost.

THIS policy did not escape the cruel and rapacious Nero. That monster, apprehen­sive that his crimes might endanger his authority and life, thought proper to do some popular acts, to secure the obedience of his subjects. Among other things, says Ta­citus," he remitted the twenty-fifth part of the price on the sale of slaves, but rather in shew than reality; for the seller being ordered to pay it, it became part of the price to the buyer *.

THIS is the reflection of the judicious historian; but the deluded people gave their infamous Emperor full credit for his false generosity. Other nations have been treated in the same manner the Romans were. The honest, industrious Germans, who are settled in different parts of this continent, can inform us, that it was this sort of tax that drove them from their native land to our woods, at that time the seats of perfect and undisturbed freedom.

THEIR Princes, enflamed by the lust of power, and the lust of avarice, two furies that the more they are gorged, the more hungry they grow, transgressed the bounds they ought, in regard to themselves, to have observed. To keep up the deception in the minds of subjects, "there must be," says a very learned author, "some propor­tion between the impost and the value of the commodity; wherefore there ought not to be an excessive duty upon merchandizes of little value. There are countries in which the duty exceeds seventeen or eighteen times the value of the commodity. In this case the Prince removes the illusion. His subjects plainly see they are dealt with in an unreasonable manner, which renders them most exquisitely sensible of their slavish [Page 31] situation." From [...] it appears, that subjects may be ground down into misery by this sort of taxation, as well [...] former. They will be as much impoverished, if their money is taken from [...] this way as in the other; and that it will be taken, may be more evident, by attending to a few more considerations.

THE merchant or importer, who pays the duty at first, will not consent to be so much money out of pocket. He therefore proportionably raises the price of his goods. It may then be said to be a contest between him and the person offering to buy, who shall lose the duty. This must be decided by the nature of the commodities, and the purchaser's demand for them. If they are mere luxuries, he is at liberty to do as he pleases, and if he buys, he does it voluntarily: But if they are absolute necessaries, or conveniences, which use and custom have made requisite for the comfort of life, and which he is not permitted, by the power imposing the duty, to get elsewhere, there the seller has a plain advantage, and the buyer must pay the duty. In fact, the seller is nothing less than a collector of the tax for the power that imposed it. If these duties then are extended to the necessaries and conveniences of life in general, and enormously increased, the people must at length become indeed "most exquisitely sensible of their slavish situation." Their happiness therefore entirely depends on the modera­tion of those who have authority to impose the duties.

I SHALL now apply these observations to the late act of Parliament. Certain duties are thereby imposed on paper and glass imported into these colonies. By the laws of Great-Britain we are prohibited to get these articles from any other part of the world. We cannot at present, nor for many years to come, though we should apply ourselves to these manufactures with the [...] industry, make enough ourselves for our own use. That paper and glass [...] not [...] convenient, but absolutely necessary for us, I imagine very few will contend. Some perhaps, who think mankind grew wicked and luxurious, as soon as they found out another way of communicating their sentiments than by speech, and another way of dwelling than in caves, may advance so whimsical an opinion. But I presume no body will take the unnecessary trouble of refuting them.

FROM these remarks I think it evident, that we must use paper and glass; that what we use, must be British; and that we must pay the duties imposed, unless those who sell these articles, are so generous as to make us presents of the duties they pay.

SOME persons may think this act of no consequence, because the duties are so small. A fatal error. That is the very circumstance most alarming to me. For I am convinced, that the authors of this law would never have obtained an act to raise so trifling a sum as it must do, had they not intended by it to establish a precedent for future use. To that is set for us, praising the neatness of the workmanship. Suppose the duties im­posed by the late act could be paid by these distressed colonies with the utmost ease, and that the purposes to which they are to be applied, were the most reasonable and equitable that can be convinced, the contrary of which I hope to demonstrate before these letters are concluded; yet even in such a supposed case, these colonies ought to regard the act with abhorrence. For who are a free people? Not those, over whom [Page 32] government is reasonably and equitably exercised, but those, who live under a govern­ment so constitutionally checked and controuled, that proper provision is made against its being otherwise exercised.

THE late act is founded on the destruction of this constitutional security. If the Parliament have a right to lay a duty of Four Shillings and Eight-Pence on a hundred weight of glass, or a ream of paper, they have a right to lay a duty of any other sum on either. They may raise the duty, as the author before quoted says has been done in some countries, till it "exceeds seventeen or eighteen times the value of the com­modity." In short, if they have a right to levy a tax of one penny upon us, they have a right to levy a million upon us: For where does their right stop? At any given num­ber of Pence, Shillings or Pounds? To attempt to limit their right, after granting it to exist at all, is as contrary to reason—as granting it to exist at all, is contrary to justice. If they have any right to tax us—then, whether our own money shall continue in our own pockets or not, depends no longer on us, but on them. "There is nothing which" we "can call our own; or, to use the words of Mr. Lockewhat property have we in that, which another may, by right, take, when he pleases, to himself?" *

THESE duties, which will inevitably be levied upon us—which are now levying upon us—are expressly laid for the sole purpose of taking money. This is the true definition of "taxes." They are therefore taxes. This money is to be taken from us. We are therefore taxed. Those who are taxed without their own consent, expressed by them­selves or their representatives, are slaves. We are taxed without our own consent, expressed by ourselves or our representatives. We are therefore—SLAVES.

Miserabile vulgus.
A miserable tribe.
[Page 33]



IN my opinion, a dangerous example is set in the last act relating to these colonies. The power of Parliament to levy money upon us for raising a revenue, is therein avowed and exerted. Regarding the act upon this single principle. I must again repeat, and I think it my duty to repeat, that to me it appears to be unconstitutional.

No man, who considers the conduct of the Parliament since the repeal of the Stamp-Act, and the disposition of many people at home, can doubt, that the chief object of atten­tion there, is to use Mr. Grenville's expression, "providing that the dependence and obedience of the colonies be asserted and maintained."

[Page 34] UNDER the influence of this notion, instantly on repealing the Stamp-Act, an act passed declaring the power of Parliament to bind these colonies in all cases whatever. This however was only planting a barren tree, that cast a shade indeed over the colonies, but yielded no fruit. It being determined to enforce the authority on which the Stamp-Act was founded, the Parliament having never renounced the right, as Mr. Pitt advised them to do; and it being thought proper to disguise that authority in such a manner, as not again to alarm the colonies; some little time was required to find a method, by which both these points should be united. At last the ingenuity of Mr. Grenville and his party accomplished the matter, as it was thought, in "an act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America, for allowing drawbacks, "&c. which is the title of the act laying duties on paper, &c.

THE Parliament having several times before imposed duties to be paid in America, it was expected, no doubt, that the repetition of such a measure would be passed over, as an usual thing. But to have done this, without expressly "asserting and maintaining" the power of Parliament to take our money without our consent, and to apply it as they please, would not have been, in Mr. Grenville's opinion, sufficiently declarative of its supremacy, nor sufficiently depressive of American freedom.

THEREFORE it is, that in this memorable act we find it expressly" provided," that money shall be levied upon us without our consent, for purposes, that render it, if pos­sible, more dreadful than the Stamp-Act.

THAT act, alarming as it was, declared, the money thereby to be raised, should be applied "towards defraying the expences of defending, protecting and securing the British colonies and plantations in America:" And it is evident from the whole act, that by the word "British," were intended colonies and plantations settled by British people, and not generally, those subject to the British crown. That act therefore seemed to have something gentle and kind in its intention, and to aim only at our own welfare: But the act now objected to, imposes duties upon the British colonies, "to defray the expences of defending, protecting and securing his Majesty's dominions in America."

WHAT a change of words! What an incomputable addition to the expences intended by the Stamp-Act! "His Majesty's dominions" comprehend not only the British co­lonies, but also the conquered provinces of Canada and Florida, and the British garri­sons of Nova-Scotia; for these do not deserve the name of colonies.

WHAT justice is there in making US pay for "defending, protecting and securing" these places? What benefit can WE, or have WE ever derived from them? None of them was conquered for US; nor will "be defended, protected or secured" for US.

IN fact, however advantageous the subduing or keeping any of these countries may be to Great-Britain, the acquisition is greatly injurious to these colonies. Our chief property consists in lands. These would have been of much greater value, if such pro­digious additions had not been made to the British territories on this continent. The natural increase of our own people, if confined within the colonies, would have raised the value still higher every fifteen or twenty years: Besides, we should have lived more compactly together, and have been therefore more able to resist any enemy. [Page 35] But now the inhabitants will be thinly scattered over an immense region, as those who want settlements, will chuse to make new ones, rather than pay great prices for old ones.

THESE [...] the consequences to the colonies, of the hearty assistance they gave to Great-Britain in the late war—a war undertaken solely for her own benefit. The ob­jects of it were, the securing to herself the rich tracts of land on the back of these co­lonies, with the Indian trade; and Nova Scotia, with the fishery. These, and much more, has that kingdom gained; but the inferior animals, that hunted with the lion, have been amply rewarded for all the sweat and blood their loyalty cost them, by the honour of having sweated and bled in such company.

I WILL not go so far as to say, that Canada and Nova Scotia are curbs on New-England; the chain of forts through the back woods on the Middle Provinces; and Florida on the rest: But I will venture to say, that if the products of Canada, Nova Scotia and Florida deserve any consideration, the two first of them are only rivals of our northern colonies, and the other of our southern.

IT has been said, that without the conquest of these countries, the colonies could not have been "protected, defended and secured." If that is true, it may with as much propriety be said, that Great-Britain could not have been "defended, protected and secured," without that conquest: For the colonies are parts of her empire, which it as much concerns her as them to keep out of the hands of any other power.

BUT these colonies, when they were much weaker, defended themselves, before this conquest was made, and could again do it, against any that might properly be called their ememies. If France and Spain indeed should attack them, as members of the British empire, perhaps they might be distressed; but it would be in a British quarrel.

THE largest account I have seen of the number of people in Canada, does not make them exceed 90, 000. Florida can hardly be said to have any inhabitants. It is com­puted that there are in our colonies 3, 000, 000. Our force therefore must increase with a disproportion to the growth of their strength, that would render us very safe.

THIS being the state of the case, I cannot think it just that these colonies, labouring under so many misfortunes, should be loaded with taxes, to maintain countries, not only not useful, but hurtful to them. The support of Canada and Florida cost yearly▪ it is said, half a million sterling. From hence we may make some guess of the load that is to be laid upon US; for WE are not only to "defend, protect and secure" them, but also to make "an adequate provision for defraying the charge of the admi­nistration of justice, and the support of civil government, in such provinces where it shall be found necessary."

NOT one of the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, or Florida, has ever defrayed these expences within itself: And if the duties imposed by the last statute are collected, all of them together, according to the best information I can get, will not pay one quarter as much as Pennsylvania alone. So that the British colonies are to be drained of the rewards of their labour, to cherish the scorching sands of Florida, and the icy rocks of Canada and Nova-Scotia, which never will return to us one farthing that we send to them.

[Page 36] GREAT-BRITAIN—I mean, the Ministry in Great-Britain, has cantoned Canada and Florida out into five or six governments, and may form as many more. There now are fourteen or fifteen regiments on this continent; and there soon may be as many more. To make "an adequate provision" for all these expences, is, no doubt, to be the inheritance of the colonies.

CAN any man believe that the duties upon paper, &c. are the last that will be laid for these purposes? It is in vain to hope, that because it is imprudent to lay duties on the exportation of manufactures from a Mother country to colonies, as it may promote manufactures among them, that this consideration will prevent such a measure.

AMBITIOUS artful men have made it popular, and whatever injustice or destruction will attend it in the opinion of the colonists, at home it will be thought just and salutary.*

THE people of Great-Britain will be told, and have been told, that they are sink­ing under an immense debt—that great part of this has been contracted in defending the colonies—that these are so ungrateful and undutiful, that they will not contribute one mite to its payment—nor even to the support of the army now kept up for their "defence and security"—that they are rolling in wealth, and are of so bold and repub­lican a spirit, that they are aiming at independence—that the only way to retain them in "obedience," is to keep a strict watch over them, and to draw off part of their riches in taxes—and that every burden laid upon them, is taking off so much from Great-Britain.—These assertions will be generally believed, and the people will be persuaded that they cannot be too angry with their colonies, as that anger will be pro­fitable to themselves.

IN truth, Great-Britain alone receives any benefit from Canada, Nova-Scotia, and Florida; and therefore she alone ought to maintain them. The old maxim of the law is drawn from [...]eason and justice, and never could be more properly applied, than in this case.

Qui sentit commodum, sentire debet et onus.
They who feel the benefit, ought to feel the burden.


My dear Countrymen,

I HAVE made some observations on the purposes for which money is to be levied upon us by the late act of Parliament. I shall now offer to your consideration some fur­ther reflections on that subject: And unless I am greatly mistaken, if these purposes are [Page 33] accomplished according to the expressed intention of the act, they will be found effec­tually to supersede that authority in our respective Assemblies, which is essential to liberty. The question is not "whether some branches shall be lopped off—The axe is laid to the root of the tree; and the whole body must infallibly perish, if we remain idle specta­tors of the work.

No free people ever existed, or can ever exist, without keeping, to use a common, but strong expression, "the purse strings," in their own hands. Where this is the case, they have a constitutional check upon the Administration, which may thereby be brought into order without violence: But where such a power is not lodged in the people, oppres­sion proceeds uncontrouled in its career, till the governed, transported into rage, seek redress in the midst of blood and confusion.

THE elegant and ingenious Mr. Hume, speaking of the Anglo Norman government, says—"Princes and Ministers were too ignorant, to be themselves sensible of the ad­vantage attending an equitable administration, and there was no established Council or Assembly, which could protect the people, and by withdrawing supplies, regularly and peaceably admonish the King of his duty, and ensure the execution of the laws."

THUS this great man, whose political reflections are so much admired, makes this power one of the foundations of liberty.

THE English history abounds with instances, proving that this is the proper and suc­cessful way to obtain redress of grievances. How often have Kings and Ministers endeavoured to throw off this legal curb upon them, by attempting to raise money by a variety of inventions, under pretence of law, without having recourse to Parliament? And how often have they been brought to reason, and peaceably obliged to do justice, by the exertion of this constitutional authority of the people, vested in their represen­tatives?

THE inhabitants of these colonies have, on numberless occasions, reaped the benefit of this authority lodged in their Assemblies.

IT has been for a long time, and now is, a constant instruction to all Governors, to obtain a PERMANENT support for the offices of government. But as the author of The Administration of the Colonies says, "this order of the Crown is generally, if not universally, rejected by the legislatures of the colonies."

THEY perfectly know how much their grievances would be regarded, if they had no other method of engaging attention, than by complaining. Those who rule, are ex­tremely apt to think well of the constructions made by themselves in support of their own power. These are frequently erroneous, and pernicious to those they govern. Dry re­monstrances, to shew that such constructions are wrong and oppressive, carry very little weight with them, in the opinion of persons who gratify their own inclinations in making these constructions. They CANNOT understand the reasoning that opposes their power and desires. But let it be made their interest to understand such reasoning—and a wonderful light is instantly thrown upon the matter; and then, rejected remonstrances become as clear as "proofs of holy writ.*"

[Page 34] THE three most important articles that our Assemblies, or any legislatures can provide for, are, First—the defence of the society: Secondly—the administration of justice: And thirdly—the support of civil government.

NOTHING can properly regulate the expence of making provision for these occasions, but the necessities of the society; its abilities; the conveniency of the modes of levying money in it; the manner in which the laws have been executed; and the conduct of the officers of government: All which are circumstance, that cannot possibly be properly known, but by the society itself; or if they should be known, will not probably be pro­perly considered but by that society.

IF money be raised upon us by others, without our consent, for our "defence," those who are the judges in levying it, must also be the judges in applying it. Of consequence the money said to be taken from us for our defence, may be employed to our injury. We may be chained in by a line of fortifications—obliged to pay for the building and main­taining them—and be told, that they are for our defence. With what face can we dis­pute the fact, after having granted that those who apply the money, had a right to levy it? For surely, it is much easier for their wisdom to understand how to apply it in the best manner, than how to levy it in the best manner. Besides, the right of levying is of infinitely more consequence, than that of applying. The people of England, who would burst out into fury, if the Crown should attempt to levy money by its own autho­rity, have always assigned to the Crown the application of money.

As to the "administration of justice"—the judges ought, in a well regulated state, to be equally independent of the executive and legislative powers. Thus in England judges hold their commissions from the Crown "during good behaviour," and have sala­ries, suitable to their dignity, settled on them by Parliament. The purity of the courts of law since this establishment, is a proof of the wisdom with which it was made.

BUT in these colonies, how fruitless has been every attempt to have the judges appoint­ed "during good behaviour?" Yet whoever considers the matter will soon perceive, that such commissions are beyond all comparison more necessary in these colonies, than they were in England.

THE chief danger to the subject there, arose from the arbitrary designs of the Crown; but here, the time may come, when we may have to contend with the designs of the Crown, and of a mighty kingdom. What then must be chance, when the laws of life and death are to be spoken by judges totally dependent on that Crown, and that kingdom—sent over perhaps from thence—filled with British prejudices—and backed by a STANDING army—supported out of OUR OWN pockets, to "assert and maintain" OUR OWN "dependence and obedience."

BUT supposing that through the extreme lenity that will prevail in the government through all future ages, these colonies will never behold any thing like the campaign of Chief Justice Jeffreys, yet what innumerable acts of injustice may be committed, and how fatally may the principles of liberty be sapped, by a succession of judges utterly in­dependent of the people? Before such judges, the supple wretches, who cheerfully join in avowing sentiments inconsistent with freedom, will always meet with smiles; while [Page 35] the honest and brave men, who disdain to sacrifice their native land to their own advan­tage, but on every occasion boldly vindicate her cause, will constantly be regarded with frowns.

THERE are two other considerations relating to this head, that deserve the most seri­ous attention.

BY the late act, the officers of the customs are "impowered to enter into any HOUSE, warehouse, shop, cellar, or other place, in the British colonies or plantations in Ame­rica, to search for or seize prohibited or unaccustomed goods, "&c. on "writs granted by the superior or supreme court of justice, having jurisdiction within such colony or plantation respectively."

IF we only reflect, that the judges of these courts are to be during pleasure—that they are to have "adequate provision" made for them, which is to continue during their complaisant behaviour—that they may be strangers to these colonies—what an en­gine of oppression may this authority be in such hands?

I AM well aware, that writs of this kind may be granted at home, under the seal of the Court of Exchequer: But I know also, that the greatest asserters of the rights of Englishmen have always strenuously contended, that such a power was dangerous to free­dom, and expressly contrary to the common law, which ever regarded a man's house as his castle, or a place of perfect security.

IF such power was in the least degree dangerous there, it must be utterly destructive to liberty here. For the people there have two securities against the undue exercise of this power by the Crown, which are wanting with us, if the late act takes place. In the first place, if any injustice is done there, the person injured may bring his action against the offender, and have it tried before independent judges, who are* no parties in com­mitting the injury. Here he must have it tried before dependent judges, being the men who granted the writ.

To say, that the cause is to be tried by a jury, can never reconcile men who have any idea of freedom, to such a power. For we know that sheriffs in almost every co­lony on this continent, are totally dependent on the Crown; and packing of juries has been frequently practised even in the capital of the British empire. Even if juries are well inclined, we have too many instances of the influence of over-bearing unjust judges upon them. The brave and wise men who accomplished the revolution, thought the independency of judges essential to freedom.

THE other security which the people have at home, but which we shall want here, is this.

IF this power is abused there, the Parliament, the grand resource of the oppressed people, is ready to afford relief. Redress of grievances must precede grants of money. But what regard can we expect to have paid to our Assemblies, when they will not hold even the puny privilege of French Parliaments—that of registering, before they are put in execution, the edicts that take away our money.

[Page 36] THE second consideration above hinted at, is this. There is a confusion in our laws, that is quite unknown in Great-Britain. As this cannot be described in a more [...] or exact manner, than has been done by the ingenious author of the history of New York, I beg leave to use his words. "The state of our laws opens a door to much controver­sy. The uncertainty, with respect to them, renders property precarious, and greatly exposes us to the arbitrary decision of bad judges. The common law of England is ge­nerally received, together with such statutes as were enacted before we had a legislature of our own; but our courts exercise a sovereign authority, in determining what parts of the common and statute law ought to be extended: For it must be admitted, that the difference of circumstances necessarily requires us, in some cases, to REJECT the deter­mination of both. In many instances, they have also extended even acts of Parliament, passed since we had a distinct legislature, which is greatly adding to our confusion. The practice of our courts is no less uncertain than the law. Some of the English rules are adopted, others rejected. Two things therefore seem to be absolutely necessary for the public security. First, the passing an act for settling the extent of the English laws. Secondly, that the courts ordain a general set of rules for the regulation of the practice."

How easy it will be, under this "state of our laws," for an artful judge, to act in the most arbitrary manner, and yet cover his conduct under specious pretences; and how difficult it will be for the injured people to obtain relief, may be readily perceived. We may take a voyage of 3000 miles to complain; and after the trouble and hazard we have undergone, we may be told, that the collection of the revenue, and maintenance of the prerogative, must not be discouraged—and if the misbehaviour is so gross as to ad­mit of no justification, it may be said, that it was an error in judgment only, arising from the confusion of our laws, and the zeal of the King's servants to do their duty.

IF the commissions of judges are during the pleasure of the Crown, yet if their sala­ries are during the pleasure of the people, there will be some check upon their conduct. Few men will consent to draw on themselves the hatred and contempt of those among whom they live, for the empty honour of being judges. It is the forbid love of gain, that tempts men to turn their backs on virtue, and pay their homage where they ought not.

As to the third particular, "the support of civil government,"—few words will be suf­ficient. Every man of the least understanding must know, that the executive power may be exercised in a manner so disagreeable and harrassing to the people, that it is absolutely requisite, that they should be enabled by the gentlest method which human policy has yet been ingenious enough to invent, that is, by shutting their hands, to "ADMONISH" (as Mr. Hume says) certain persons "of their duty."

WHAT shall we now think when, upon looking into the late act, we find the Assem­blies of these provinces thereby stript of their authority on these several heads? The declared intention of the act is, "that a revenue should be raised in his Majesty's DOMINIONS in America, for making a more certain and adequate provision for de­fraying the charge of the administration of justice, and the support of civil government [Page 37] in such provinces where it shall be found necessary, and towards further defraying the expences of defending, protecting and securing the SAID DOMINIONS."

LET the reader pause here one moment—and reflect—whether the colony in which he lives, has not made such "certain and adequate provision" for these purposes, as is by the colony judged suitable to its abilties, and all other circumstances. Then let him re­flect—whether if this act takes place, money is not to be raised on that colony without its consent, to make "provision" for these purposes, which it does not judge to be suitable to its abilities, and all other circumstances. Lastly, let him reflect—whether be taken from them under the notion of right, when they have refused to give it.

FOR my part, I think I have good reason for vindicating the honour of the Assem­blies on this continent, by publicly asserting, that THEY have made as "certain and adequate provision" for the purposes abovementioned, as they ought to have made, and that it should not be presumed, that they will not do it hereafter. Why then should these most important trusts be wrested out of their hands? Why should they not now be permitted to enjoy that authority, which they have exercised from the first settlement of these colonies? Why should they be scandalized by this innovation, when their re­spective provinces are now, and will be, for several years, labouring under loads of debt, imposed on them for the very purpose now spoken of? Why should all the inhabi­tants of these colonies be, with the utmost indignity, treated as a herd of despicable stupid wretches, so utterly void of common sense, that they will not even make "ade­quate provision" for the "administration of justice, and the support of civil govern­ment" among them, or for their own "defence"—though without such "provision" every people must inevitably be overwhelmed with anarchy and destruction? Is it possi­ble to form an idea of a slavery more compleat, more miserable, more disgraceful than that of a people, where justice is administered, government exercised, and a standing army maintained, at the expence of the people, and yet without the least dependence upon them? If we can find to relief from this infamous situation, it will be fortunate for us, if Mr. Grenville, setting his fertile fancy again at work, can, as by one exertion of it he has stript us of our property and liberty, by another deprive us of so much of our understanding, that, unconscious of what we have been or are, and ungoaded by tor­menting reflections, we may bow down our necks, with all the stupid serenity of servi­tude, to any drudgery, which our lords and masters shall please to command.

WHEN the charges of the "administration of justice," the "support of civil govern­ment," and the expences of "defending, protecting and securing" us, are provided for, I should be glad to know, upon what occasions the Crown will ever call our Assemblies together. Some few of them may meet of their own accord, by virtue of their charters. But what will they have to do, when they are met? To what shadows will they be reduced? The men, whose deliberations heretofore had an influence on every matter relating to the liberty and happiness of themselves and their constituents, and whose authority in domestic affairs at least, might well be compared to that of Roman senators, will now find their deliberations of no more consequence, than those of con­stables [Page 38] They may perhaps be allowed to make laws for the yoking of hogs, or pound­ing of stray cattle. Their influence will hardly be permitted to extend so high, as the keeping roads in repair, as that business may more properly be executed by those who receive the public cash.

ONE most memorable example in history is so applicable to the point now insisted on, that it will form a just conclusion of the observations that have been made.

SPAIN was once free. Their Cortes resembled our Parliaments. No money could be raised on the subject, without their consent. One of their Kings having received a grant from them to maintain a war against the Moors, desired, that if the sum which they had given, should not be sufficient, he might be allowed, for that emergency only, to raise more money without assembling the Cortes. The request was violently opposed by the best and wisest men in the Assembly. It was, however, complied with by the votes of a majority; and this single concession was a PRECEDENT for other con­cessions of the like kind, until at last the Crown obtained a general power of raising money, in cases of necessity. From that period the Cortes ceased to be useful,—the people ceased to be free.

Venienti occurrite morbo.
Oppose a disease at its beginning.



THE consequences, mentioned in the last letter, will not be the utmost limits of our misery and infamy, if the late act is acknowledged to be binding upon us. We feel too sensibly, that any Ministerial measures *relating to these colonies, are soon carried successfully through the Parliament. Certain prejudices operate there so strong­ly against us, that it may be justly questioned, whether all the provinces united, will ever be able effectually, to call to an account before the Parliament, any Minister who shall abuse the power by the late act given to the Crown in America. He may divide the spoils torn from us in what manner he pleases, and we shall have no way of making [Page 39] him responsible. If he should order, that every Governor shall have a yearly salary of 5000l. sterling; every Chief justice of 3000l. every inferior officer in proportion; and should then reward the most pro [...]gate, ignorant, or needy dependents on himself or his friends, with places of the greatest trust, because they were of the greatest profit, this would be called an arrangement in consequence of the "adequate provision for defraying the charge of the administration of justice, and the support of the civil government:" And if the taxes should prove at any time insufficient to answer all the expences of the num­berless offices, which Ministers may please to create, surely the members of the House of Commons will be so "modest, " as not to "contradict a Minister, " who shall tell them, it is become necessary to lay a new tax upon the colonies, for the laudable pur­poses of defraying the charges of the "administration of justice, and support of civil government" among them. Thus, in fact, we shall be taxed* by Ministers. In short, it will be in their power to settle upon us any civil, ecclesiastical, or military establish­ment, which they choose.

WE may perceive, by the example of Ireland, how eager Ministers are to seize upon any settled revenue, and apply it in supporting their own power. Happy are the men, and happy the people who grow wise by the misfortunes of others. Earnestly, my dear countrymen, do I beseech the author of all good gifts, that you may grow wise in this manner; and if I may be allowed to take such a liberty, I beg leave to recommend to you in general, as the best method of attaining this wisdom, diligently to study the histories of other countries. You will there find all the arts, that can possibly be prac­tised by cunning rulers, or false patriots among yourselves, so fully delineated, that, changing names, the account would serve for your own times.

IT is pretty well known on this continent, that Ireland has, with a regular consist­ency of injustice, been cruelly treated by Ministers in the article of pensions; but there are some alarming circumstances relating to that subject, which I wish to have better known among us.

THE revenue of the Crown there arises principally from the Excise granted "for pay of the army, and defraying other PUBLIC charges, in defence and preservation of [Page 40] the kingdom"—from the tonnage and additional poundage granted "for protecting the trade of the kingdom at sea, and augmenting the PUBLIC revenue"—from the hearth money granted—as a "PUBLIC revenue, for PUBLIC charges and expences." There are some other branches of the revenue, concerning which there is not any express ap­propriation of them for PUBLIC service, but which were plainly so intended.

OF these branches of the revenue the Crown is only trustee for the Public. They are unalienable. They are inapplicable to any other purposes, but those for which they were established; and therefore are not legally chargeable with pensions.

THERE is another kind of revenue, which is a private revenue. This is not limited to any public uses; but the Crown has the same property in it, that any person has in his estate. This does not amount, at the most, to fifteen thousand pounds a year, pro­bably not to seven, and is the only revenue, that can be legally charged with pensions.

IF Ministers were accustomed to regard the rights or happiness of the people, the pensions in Ireland would not exceed the sum just mentioned: But long since have they exceeded that limit; and in December 1765, a motion was made in the House of Com­mons in that kingdom, to address his Majesty on the great increase of pensions on the Irish establishment, amounting to the sum of 158, 685 l. in the last two years.

ATTEMPTS have been made to gloss over these gross encroachments, by this specious argument—"That expending a competent part of the public revenue in pensions, from a principle of charity or generosity, adds to the dignity of the Crown; and is there­fore useful to the public." To give this argument any weight, it must appear, that the pensions proceed from "charity or generosity only"—and that it "adds to the dignity of the Crown," to act directly contrary to law.

FROM this conduct towards Ireland, in open violation of law, we may easily foresee what we may expect, when a Minister will have the whole revenue of America in his own hands, to be disposed of at his own pleasure: For all the monies raised by the [Page 41] late act are to be "applied by virtue of warrants under the sign manual, countersigned by the High Treasurer, or any three of the commissioners of the Treasury." The RESIDUE indeed is to be "paid into the receipt of the Exchequer, and to be disposed of by Parliament." So that a Minister will have nothing to do, but to take care, that there shall be no residue, and he is superior to all controul.

BESIDES the burden of pensions in Ireland, which have enormously encreased within these few years, almost all the offices in that poor kingdom, have been, since the com­mencement of the present century, and now are bestowed upon strangers. For though the merit of persons born there, justly raises them to places of high trust when they go abroad, as all Europe can witness, yet he is an uncommonly lucky Irishman, who can get a good post in his NATIVE country.

WHEN I consider the manner* in which that island has been uniformly depressed for [Page 42] so many years past, with this pernicious particularity of their Parliament * continuing as long as the Crown pleases, I am astonished to observe such a love of liberty still animating that loyal and generous nation; and nothing can raise higher my idea of the integrity and public spirit of a people, who have preserved the sacred fire of freedom from being extinguished, though the altar on which it burnt, has been overturned.

IN the same manner shall we unquestionably be treated, as soon as the late taxes laid upon us, shall make posts in the "government," and the "administration of justice" here, worth the attention of persons of influence in Great-Britain. We know enough already to satisfy us of this truth. But this will not be the worst part of our case.

THE principals, in all great offices, will reside in England, making some paltry al­lowance to deputies for doing the business here. Let any man consider what an ex­hausting drain this must be upon us, when Ministers are possessed of the power of creating what posts they please, and of affixing to such posts what salaries they please, and he must be convinced how destructive the late act will be. The injured kingdom lately mentioned, can tell us the mischiefs of ABSENTEES; and we may perceive already the same disposition taking place with us. The government of New-York has been exercised by a deputy. That of Virginia is now held so; and we know of a number of secretary-ships, collectorships, and other offices, held in the same manner.

[Page 43] TRUE it is, that if the people of Great-Britain were not too much blinded by the passions, that have been artfully excited in their breasts, against their dutiful children the colonists, these considerations would be nearly as alarming to them as to us. The in­fluence of the Crown was thought by wise men, many years ago, too great, by reason of the multitude of pensions and places bestowed by it. These have been vastly encreased since*, and perhaps it would be no difficult matter to prove that the people have decreased.

SURELY therefore, those who wish the welfare of their country, ought seriously to reflect, what may be the consequence of such a new creation of offices, in the disposal of the Crown. The army, the administration of justice, and the civil government here, with such salaries as the Crown shall please to annex, will extend Ministerial influence as much beyond its former bounds, as the late war did the British dominions.

BUT whatever the people of Great-Britain may think on this occasion, I hope the people of these colonies will unanimously join in this sentiment, that the late act of Parliament is injurious to their liberty, and that this sentiment will unite them in a firm opposition to it, in the same manner as the dread of the Stamp-Act did.

SOME persons may imagine the sums to be raised by it, are but small, and therefore may be inclined to acquiesce under it. A conduct more dangerous to freedom, as before has been observed, can never be adopted. Nothing is wanted at home but a PRECE­DENT, the force of which shall be established, by the tacit submission of the colonies. With what zeal was the statute erecting the post-office, and another relating to the [Page 44] recovery of debts in America, urged and tortured, as precedents in support of the Stamp-Act, though wholly inapplicable. If the Parliament succeeds in this attempt other statutes will impose other duties. Instead of taxing ourselves, as we have [...] accustomed to do, from the first settlement of these provinces, all our usual taxes will be converted into Parliamentary taxes on our importations; and thus the Parliament will levy upon us such sums of money as they chuse to take, without any other limi­tation than their pleasure.

WE know how much labour and care have been bestowed by th [...]se colonies, in lay­ing taxes in such a maner, that they should be most easy to the people, by being laid on the proper articles; most equal, by being proportioned to every man's circumstances; and cheapest, by the method directed for collecting them.

BUT Parliamentary taxes will be laid on us, without any consideration, whether there is any easier mode. The only point regarded will be, the certainty of levying the taxes, and not the convenience of the people on whom they are to be levied; and there­fore all statutes on this head will be such as will be most likely, according to the fa­vourite phrase, "to execute themselves."

TAXES in every free state have been, and ought to be, as exactly proportioned as is possible to the abilities of those who are to pay them. They cannot otherwise be just. Even a Hottentot would comprehend the unreasonableness of making a poor man pay as much for "defending" the property of a rich man, as the rich man pays himself.

LET any person look into the late act of Parliament, and he will immediately per­ceive, that the immense estates of Lord Fairfax, Lord Baltimore *, and our Proprie­taries, which are amongst his Majesty's other DOMINIONS to be "defended, protected and secured" by the act, will not pay a single farthing for the duties thereby imposed, except Lord Fairfax wants some of his windows glazed; Lord Baltimore and our Proprietaries are quite secure, as they live in England.

I MENTION these particular cases, as striking instances how far the late act is a de­viation from that principle of justice, which has so constantly distinguished our own laws on this continent, and ought to be regarded in all laws.

THE third consideration with our continental Assemblies in laying taxes, has been the method of collecting them. This has been done by a few officers, with moderate allow­ances, under the inspection of the respective Assemblies. No more was raised from the subject, than was used for the intended purposes. But by the late act, a Minister may appoint as many officers as he pleases for collecting the taxes; may assign them what salaries he thinks "adequate;" and they are subject to no inspection but his own.

IN short, if the late act of Parliament takes effect, these colonies must dwindle down into "common corporations, " as their enemies, in the debates concerning the repeal of [Page 45] the Stamp-Act, strenuously insisted they were; and it seems not improbable that some future historian may thus record our fall.

"THE eighth year of this reign was distinguished by a very memorable event, the American colonies then submitting, for the FIRST time, to be taxed by the British Parliament. An attempt of this kind had been made about two years before, but was defeated by the vigorous exertions of the several provinces, in defence of their liber­ties. Their behaviour on that occasion rendered their name very celebrated for a short time all over Europe; all states being extremely attentive to a dispute between Great-Britain, and so considerable a part of her dominions. For as she was thought to be grown too powerful, by the successful conclusion of the late war she had been engaged in, it was hoped, by many, that as it had happened before to other kingdoms, civil dis­cords would afford opportunities of revenging all the injuries supposed to be received from her. However, the cause of dissention was removed, by a repeal of the statute that had given offence. This affair rendered the submissive conduct of the colonies so soon after, the more extraordinary; there being no difference between the mode of taxation which they opposed, and that to which they submitted, but this, that by the first, they were to be continually reminded that they were taxed, by certain marks stamped on every piece of paper or parchment they used. The authors of that statute triumphed greatly on this conduct of the colonies, and insisted, that if the people of Great-Britain had persisted in enforcing it, the Americans would have been, in a few months, so fatigued with the efforts of patriotism, that they would have yielded obedience.

"CERTAIN it is, that though they had before their eyes so many illustrious exam­ples in their Mother country, of the constant success attending firmness and perseverance, in opposition to dangerous encroachments on liberty, yet they quietly gave up a point of the "last importance." From thence the decline of their freedom began, and its decay was extremely rapid; for as money was always raised upon them by the Parlia­ment, their Assemblies grew immediately useless, and in a short time contemptible: And in less than one hundred years, the people sunk down into that tameness and supineness of spirit, by which they still continue to be distinguished."

Ét majores vestros & posteros cogitate.
Remember your ancestors and your posterity.



I HAVE several times, in the course of th [...]se letters, mentioned the late act of Par­liament, as being the foundation of future measures injurious to these colonies; and the belief of this truth I wish to prevail, because I think it necessary to our safety.

[Page 46] A PERPETUAL jealousy, respecting liberty, is absolutely requisite in all free states. The very texture of their constitution, in mixt governments, demands it. For the cautions with which power is distributed among the several orders, imply that each [...] that share which is proper for the general welfare, and therefore that any further acqui­sition must be pernicious. Machiavel * employs a whole chapter in his discourses, to prove that a state, to be long lived, must be frequently corrected, and reduced to its first principles. But of all states that have existed, there never was any, in which this jealousy could be more proper than in these colonies. For the government here is not only mixt, but dependent, which circumstance occasions a peculiarity in its form, of a very delicate nature.

Two reasons induce me to desire, that this spirit of apprehension may be always kept up among us, in its utmost vigilance. The first is this—that as the happiness of these provinces indubitably consists in their connection with Great-Britain, any sepa­ration between them is less likely to be occasioned by civil discords, if every disgusting measure is opposed singly, and while it is new: For in this manner of proceeding, every such measure is most likely to be rectified. On the other hand, oppressions and dissatisfactions being permitted to accumulate—if ever the governed throw off the load, they will do more. A people does not reform with moderation. The rights of the subject therefore cannot be too often considered, explained or asserted: And whoever attempts to do this, shews himself, whatever may be the rash and peevish reflections of pretended wisdom, and pretended duty, a friend to those who injudiciously exercise their power, as well as to them, over whom it is so exercised.

HAD all the points of prerogative claimed by Charles the First, been separately con­tested and settled in preceding reigns, his fate would in all probability have been very different; and the people would have been content with that liberty which is compatible with regal authority. But he thought, it would be as dangerous for him to give up the powers which at any time had been by usurpation exercised by the Crown, as those that were legally vested in it. This produced an equal excess on the part of the people. For when their passions were excited by multiplied grievances, they thought it would be as dangerous for them to allow the powers that were legally vested in the Crown, as those which at any time had been by usurpation exercised by it. Acts, that might by themselves have been upon many considerations excused or extenuated, derived a con­tagious malignancy and odium from other acts, with which they were connected. They were not regarded according to the simple force of each, but as parts of a system of oppression. Every one therefore, however small in itself, became alarming, as an addi­tional evidence of tyrannical designs. It was in vain for prudent and moderate men to [Page 47] insist, that there was no necessity to abolish Royalty. Nothing less than the utter destruction of monarchy, could satisfy those who had suffered, and thought they had reason to believe, they always should suffer under it.

THE consequences of these mutual distrusts are well known: But there is no other people mentioned in history, that I recollect, who have been so constantly watchful of their liberty, and so successful in their struggles for it, as the English. This considera­tion leads me to the second reason, why I "desire that the spirit of apprehension may be always kept up among us in its utmost vigilance."

THE first principles of government are to be looked for in human nature. Some of the best writers have asserted, and it seems with good reason, that "government is founded on* opinion."

CUSTOM undoubtedly has a mighty force in producing opinion, and reigns in nothing more arbitrarily than in public affairs. It gradually reconciles us to objects even of dread and detestation; and I cannot but think these lines of Mr. Pope as applicable to vice in politics, as to vice in ethics.

"Vice is a monster of so horrid mien,
"As to be hated, needs but to be seen;
"Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
"We first endure, then pity, then embrace."

When an act injurious to freedom has been once done, and the people bear it, the repe­tition of it is most likely to meet with submission. For as the mischief of the one was found to be tolerable, they will hope that of the second will prove so too; and they will not regard the infamy of the last, because they are stained with that of the first.

INDEED nations, in general, are not apt to think until they feel; and therefore na­tions in general have lost their liberty; For as violations of the rights of the governed, are commonly not only specious, but small at the beginning, they spread over the mul­titude in such a manner, as to touch individuals but slightly.Thus they are disre­garded. [Page 48] The power or profit that arises from these violations, centering in few per­sons, is to them considerable. For this reason the governors, having in view their par­ticular purposes, successively preserve an uniformity of conduct for attaining them. They regularly encrease the first injuries, till at length the inattentive people are com­pelled to perceive the heaviness of their burthens.—They begin to complain and en­quire—but too late. They find their oppressors so strengthened by success, and them­selves so entangled in examples of express authority on the part of their rulers, and of tacit recognition on their own part, that they are quite confounded: For millions en­tertain no other idea of the legality of power, than that it is founded on the exercise of power. They voluntarily fasten their chains, by adopting a pusillanimous opinion, "that there will be too much danger in attempting a remedy,"—or another opinion no less fatal,—"that the government has a right to treat them as it does." They then seek a wretched relief for their minds, by persuading themselves, that to yield their odedience, is to discharge their duty. The deplorable poverty of spirit, that prostrates all the dignity bestowed by Divine Providence on our nature—of course succeeds.

FROM these reflections I conclude, that every free state should incessantly watch, and instantly take alarm on any addition being made to the power exercised over them. In­numerable instances might be produced to shew, from what slight beginnings the most extensive consequences have flowed: But I shall select two only from the history of England.

HENRY the Seventh was the first monarch of that kingdom, who established a standing body of armed men. This was a band of fifty archers, called Yeomen of the Guard: And this institution, notwithstanding the smallness of the number, was, to pre­vent discontent, "disguised under pretence of majesty and grandeur." In 1684 the standing forces were so much augmented, that Rapin says—"The King, in order to make his people fully sensible of their new slavery, affected to muster his troops, which amounted to 4000 well armed and disciplined men." I think our army, at this time, consists of more than seventy regiments.

THE method of taxing by EXCISE was first introduced amidst the convulsions of the civil wars. Extreme necessity was pretended for it, and its short continuance promised. After the restoration an excise upon beer, ale and other liquors, was granted to the King, one half in fee, the other for life, as an equivalent for the court of wards. Upon James the Second's accession, the Parliament* gave him the first excise, with an additional duty on wine, tobacco, and some other things. Since the revolution it has been extended to salt, candles, leather, hides, hops, soap, paper, pasteboards, mill-boards, scaleboards, vellum, parchment, starch, silks, calicoes, linens, stuffs, printed, stained, &c. wire, wrought plate, coffee, tea, chocolate, &c.

[Page 49] THUS a standing army and excise have, from their first slender origins, though al­ways hated, always feared, always opposed, at length swelled up to their vast present bulk.

THESE facts are sufficient to support what I have said. 'Tis true, that all the mis­chiefs apprehended by our ancestors from a standing army and excise, have not yet hap­pened: But it does not follow from thence, that they will not happen. The inside of a house may catch fire, and the most valuable apartments be ruined, before the flames burst out. The question in these cases is not, what evil has actually attended particular measures—but what evil, in the nature of things, is likely to attend them. Certain cir­cumstances may for some time delay effects, that were reasonably expected, and that must ensue. There was a long period, after the Romans had prorogued his command to* Q. Publilius Philo, before that example destroyed their liberty. All our Kings from the revolution to the present reign, have been foreigners. Their Ministers gene­rally continued but a short time in authority; and they themselves were mild and virtuous princes.

A BOLD, ambitious Prince, possessed of great abilities, firmly fixed in his throne by descent, served by ministers like himself, and rendered either venerable or terrible by the glory of his successes, may execute what his predecessors did not dare to attempt. Henry the Fourth tottered in his seat during his whole reign. Henry the Fifth drew the strength of that kingdom into France, to carry on his wars there, and left the Commons at home, protesting, "that the people were not bound to serve out of the realm."

IT is true, that a strong spirit of liberty subsists at present in Great-Britain; but what reliance is to be placed in the temper of a people, when the Prince is possessed of an unconstitional power, our own history can sufficiently inform us. When Charles the second had strengthened himself by the return of the garrison of Tangier, England (says Rapin) saw on a sudden an amazing revolution; saw herself stripped of all her rights and privileges excepting such as the King should vouchsafe to grant her: And what is more astonishing, the English themselves, delivered up these very rights and privileges to Charles the Second, which they had so passionately, and, if I may say it, furiously defended against the designs of Charles the First." This happened only thirty-six years after this last Prince had been beheaded.

SOME persons are of opinion, that liberty is not violated, but by such open acts of force; but they seem to be greatly mistaken. I could mention a period within these [Page 50] forty years, when almost as great a change of disposition was produced by the SECRE [...] measures of a long administration, as by Charles's violence. Liberty, perhaps, is neve [...] exposed to so much danger, as when the people believe there is the least; for it may be subverted, and yet they not think so.

PUBLIC disgusting acts are seldom practised by the ambitious, at the beginning of their designs. Such conduct silences and discourages the weak, and the wicked, who would otherwise have been their advocates or accomplices. It is of great consequence, to allow those who, upon any account, are inclined to favour them, something specious to say in their defence. Their power may be fully established, though it would not be safe for them to do whatever they please. For there are things, which, at some times, even them to do whatever they please. For there are things, which, at some times, even slaves will not bear. Julius Caesar, and Oliver Cromwell, did not dare to assume the title of King. The Grand Seignor dares not lay a new tax. The King of France dares not be a protestant. Certain popular points may be left untouched, and yet free­dom be extinguished. The commonalty of Venice imagine themselves free, because they are permitted to do what they ought not. But I quit a subject, that would lead me too far from my purpose.

BY the late act of Parliament, taxes are to be levied upon us, for "defraying the charge of the administration of justice—the support of civil government—and the ex­pences of defending his Majesty's dominions in America."

IF any man doubts what ought to be the conduct of these colonies on this occasion, I would ask him these questions.

Has not the Parliament expressly AVOWED their INTENTION of raising money from us for certain purposes? Is not this scheme popular in Great-Britain? Will the taxes, imposed by the late act, answer those purposes? If it will, must it not take an immense sum from us? If it will not, is it to be expected, that the Parliament will not fully exe­cute their INTENTION when it is pleasing at home, and not opposed here? Must not this be done by imposing NEW taxes? Will not every addition, thus made to our taxes, be an addi­tion to the power of the British legislature, by increasing the number of officers employ­ed in the collection? Will not every additional tax therefore render it more difficult to abrogate any of them? When a branch of revenue is once established, does it not appear to many people invidious and undutiful, to attempt to abolish it? If taxes, sufficient to accomplish the INTENTION of the Parliament, are imposed by the Parliament, what taxes will remain to be imposed by our Assemblies? If no material taxes remain to be imposed by them, what must become of them, and the people they represent?

* "If any person considers these things, and yet thinks our liberties are in no danger, I wonder at that person's security."

ONE other argument is to be added, which, by itself, I hope, will be sufficient to convince the most incredulous man on this continent, that the late act of Parliament is only designed to be a PRECEDENT, whereon the future vassalage of these colonies may be established.

EVERY duty thereby laid on articles of British manufacture, is laid on some commo­dity, upon the exportation of which from Great-Britain, a drawback is payable. Those [Page 51] drawbacks, in most of the articles, are exactly double to the duties given by the late [...]. The Parliament therefore might, in half a dozen lines, have raised much more money, only by stopping the drawbacks in the hands of the officers at home, on exporta­tion to these colonies, than by this solemn imposition of taxes upon us, to be collected here. Probably, the artful contrivers of this act formed it in this manner; in order to reserve to themselves, in case of any objections being made to it, this specious pretence—"that the drawbacks are gifts to the colonies, and that the late act only lessens those gifts." But the truth is, that the drawbacks are intended for the encouragement and promotion of British manufactures and commerce, and are allowed on exportation to any foreign parts, as well as on exportation to these provinces. Besides, care has been taken to slide into the act, some articles on which there are no drawbacks. However, the whole duties laid by the late act on all the articles therein specified are so small, that they will not amount to as much as the drawbacks which are allowed on part of them only. If therefore, the sum to be obtained by the late act, had been the sole object in forming it, there would not have been any occasion for "the Commons of Great-Britain, to give and grant to his Majesty rates and duties for raising a revenue IN his Majesty's dominions in America, for making a more certain and adequate provision for defraying the charges of the administration of justice, the support of civil government, and the expence of defending the said dominions;"—nor would there have been any occasion for an expensive Board of Commissioners, and all the other new charges to which we are made liable.

UPON the whole, for my part, I regard the late act as an experiment made of our disposition. It is a bird sent out over the waters, to discover, whether the waves, that lately agitated this part of the world with such violence, are yet subsided. If this ad­venturer gets footing here, we shall quickly find it to be of the kind described by the poet.—

"Infelix vates."
A direful foreteller of future calamities.
[Page 52]



SOME states have lost their liberty, by particular accidents: But this calamity is generally owing to the decay of virtue. A people is travelling fast to destruction, when individuals consider their interests as distinct from those of the public. Such no­tions are fatal to their country, and to themselves. Yet how many are there, so weak and sordid as to think they perform all the offices of life, if they earnestly endeavour to encrease their own wealth, power, and credit, without the least regard for the society, under the protection of which they live; who, if they can make an immediate profit to themselves, by lending their assistance to those, whose projects plainly tend to the injury of their country, rejoice in their dexterity, and believe themselves entitled to the cha­racter of able politicians. Miserable men! Of whom it is hard to say, whether they ought to be most the objects of pity or contempt. But whose opinions are certainly as detestable, as their practices are destructive.

THOUGH I always reflect, with a high pleasure, on the integrity and understanding of my countrymen, which, joined with a pure and humble devotion to the great and graci­ous author of every blessing they enjoy, will, I hope, ensure to them, and their posteri­ty, all temporal and eternal happiness; yet when I consider, that in every age and country there have been bad men, my heart, at this threatening period, is so full of ap­prehensions, as not to permit me to believe, but that there may be some on this continent, against whom you ought to be upon your guard—Men, who either* hold, or expect to [Page 53] hold certain advantages, by setting examples of servility to their countrymen—Men, who trained to the employment, or self taught by a natural versatility of genius, serve as de­coys for drawing the innocent and unwary into snares. It is not to be doubted but that such men will diligently bestir themselves on this and every like occasion, to spread the infection of their meanness as far as they can. On the plans they have adopted, this is their course. This is the method to recommend themselves to their patrons.

FROM them we shall learn, how pleasant and profitable a thing it is, to be for our SUBMISSIVE behaviour well spoken of at St. James's, or St. Stephen's; at Guildhall, or the Royal Exchange. Specious fallacies will be drest up with all the arts of delusion, to persuade one colony to distinguish herself from another, by unbecoming condescenti­ons, which will serve the ambitious purposes of great men at home, and therefore will be thought by them to entitle their assistants in obtaining them to considerable rewards.

OUR fears will be excited. Our hopes will be awakened. It will be insinuated to us, with a plausible affectation of wisdom and concern, how prudent it is to please the powerful—how dangerous to provoke them—and then comes in the perpetual incantation that freezes up every generous purpose of the soul in cold, inactive expectation—"that if there is any request to be made, compliance will obtain a favourable attention."

OUR vigilance and our union are success and safety. Our negligence and our division are distress and death. They are worse—They are shame and slavery. Let us equally shun the benumbing stillness of overweening sloth, and the feverish activity of that ill in­formed zeal, which busies itself in maintaining little, mean and narrow opinions. Let us, with a truly wise generosity and charity, banish and discourage all illiberal distinctions, which may arise from differences in situation, forms of government, or modes of religi­on. Let us consider ourselves as menfreemenchristian freemenseparated from [Page 54] the rest of the world, and firmly bound together by the same rights, interests and dan­gers. Let these keep our attention inflexibly fixed on the great objects, which we must continually regard, in order to preserve those rights, to promote those interests, and to avert those dangers.

LET these truths be indelibly impressed on our minds—that we cannot be HAPPY, without being FREE—that we cannot be free, without being secure in our property—that we cannot be secure in our property, if, without our consent, others may, as by right, take it away—that taxes imposed on us by Parliament, do thus take it away—that duties laid for the sole purpose of raising money, are taxes—that attempts to lay such duties should be instantly and firmly opposed—that this opposition can never be effectual, unless it is the united effort of these provinces—that therefore BENEVOLENCE of temper towards each other, and UNANIMITY of counsels, are essential to the welfare of the whole—and lastly, that for this reason, every man amongst us, who in any man­ner would encourage either dissention, di [...]idence, or indifference, between these colonies, is an enemy to himself, and to his country.

THE belief of these truths, I verily think, my countrymen, is indispensibly necessary to your happiness. I beseech you, therefore, "teach them diligently unto your chil­dren, and talk of them when you sit in your houses, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up."

WHAT have these colonies to ask, while they continue free? Or what have they to dread, but insidious attempts to subvert their freedom? Their prosperity does not depend on ministerial favours doled out to particular provinces. They form one political body, of which each colony is a member. Their happiness is founded on their constituti­on; and is to be promoted, by preserving that constitution in unabated vigour, through­out every part. A spot, a speck of decay, however small the limb on which it appears, and however remote it may seem from the vitals, should be alarming. We have all the rights requisite for our prosperity. The legal authority of Great-Britain may in­deed lay hard restrictions upon us; but, like the spear of Telephus, it will cure as well as wound. Her unkindness will instruct and compel us, after some time, to dis­cover, in our industry and frugality, surprising remedies—if our rights continue unvio­lated: For as long as the products of our labour, and the rewards of our care, can properly be called our own, so long it will be worth our while to be industrious and frugal. But if when we plow—sow—reap—gather—and thresh—we find, that we plow—sow—reap—gather—and thresh for others, whose PLEASURE is to be the SOLE LIMITATION how much they shall take, and how much they shall leave, WHY should we repeat the unprofitable toil? Horses and oxen are content with that portion of the fruits of their work, which their owners assign them, in order to keep them strong enough to raise successive crops; but even these beasts will not submit to draw for their masters, until they are subdued by whips and goads

LET us take care of our rights, and we therein take care of our prosperity. * "SLA­VERY IS EVER PRECEDED BY SLEEP."Individuals may be dependent on [Page 55] Ministers, if they please. States should scorn it;—and if you are not wanting to your­selves, you will have a proper regard paid you by those, to whom if you are not respect­able, you will be contemptible. But—if we have already forgot the reasons that urged us, with unexampled unanimity, to exert ourselves two years ago—if our zeal for the public good is worn out before the homespun cloaths, which it caused us to have made—if our resolutions are so faint, as by our present conduct to condemn our own late successful example—if we are not affected by any reverence for the memory of our ancestors, who transmitted to us that freedom in which they had been blest—if we are not animated by any regard for posterity, to whom, by the most sacred obligations, we are bound to deliver down the invaluable inheritance—THEN, indeed, any Minister—or any tool of a Minister—or any creature of a tool of a Minister—or any lower in­strument of administration, if lower there be, is a personage whom it may be dan­gerous to offend.

[Page 56] I SHALL be extremely sorry, if any man mistakes my meaning in any thing I have said. Officers employed by the Crown, are, while according to the laws they condu [...] themselves, intitled to legal obedience and sincere respect. These it is a duty to rende [...] them; and these no good or prudent person will withhold. But when these officers, through rashness or design, desire to enlarge their authority beyond its due limits, and expect improper concessions to be made to them, from regard for the employments they bear, their attempts should be considered as equal injuries to the Crown and People, and should be courageously and constantly opposed. To suffer our ideas to be con­founded by names on such occasions, would certainly be an inexcusable weakness, and probably an irrem [...]diable error.

WE have reason to believe, that several of his Majesty's present Ministers are good men, and friends to our country; and it seems not unlikely, that by a particular con­currence of events, we have been treated a little more severely than they wished we should be. They might not think it prudent to stem a torrent. But what is the diffe­rence to us, whether arbitrary acts take their rise from Ministers, or are permitted by them? Ought any point to be allowed to a good Minister*, that should be denied to a bad one? The mortality of Ministers, is a very frail mortality. A—may suc­ceed a Shelburne—A—may succeed a Conway.

WE find a new kind of Minister lately spoken of at home—"THE MINISTER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS." The term seems to have peculiar propriety when re­ferred to these colonies, with a different meaning annexed to it, from that in which it is taken there. By the word "Minister" we may understand not only a servant of the Crown, but a man of influence among the Commons, who regard themselves as having a share in the sovereignty over us. The "Minister OF the House" may, in a point re­specting the colonies, be so strong, that the Minister of the Crown in the House, if he is a distinct person, may not choose, even where his sentiments are favourable to us, to come to a pitched battle upon our account. For though I have the highest opinion of the deference of the House for the King's Minister, yet he may be so good-natured, as not to put it to the test, except it be for the mere and immediate profit of his master or himself.

BUT whatever kind of Minister he is, that attempts to innovate a single iota in the privileges of these colonies, him I hope you will undauntedly oppose; and that you will never suffer yourselves to be either cheated or frightened into any unworthy obsequious­ness. On such emergencies you may surely, without presumption, believe, that AL­MIGHTY GOD himself will look down upon your righteous contest with gracious ap­probation. You will be a "band of brothers," cemented by the dearest ties,—and [Page 57] strengthened with inconceivable supplies of force and constancy, by that sympathetic ar­dor, which animates good men, confederated in a good cause. Your honour and wel­fare will be, as they now are, most intimately concerned; and besides—you are as­signed by Divine Providence, in the appointed order of things, the protectors of unborn ages, whose fate depends upon your virtue. Whether they shall arise the generous and indisputable heirs of the noblest patrimonies, or the dastardly and hereditary drudges of imperious task-masters, YOU MUST DETERMINE.

To discharge this double duty to yourselves, and to your posterity, you have nothing to do, but to call forth into use the good sense and spirit of which you are possessed. You have nothing to do, but to conduct your affairs peaceablyprudentlyfirmlyjointly. By these means you will support the character of freemen, without losing that of faithful subjects—a good character in any government—one of the best under a British government.—You will prove, that Americans have that true magnanimity of soul, that can resent injuries, without falling into rage; and that though your devo­tion to Great Britain is the most affectionate, yet you can make proper distinctions, and know what you owe to yourselves, as well as to her—You will, at the same time that you advance your interests, advance your reputation—You will convince the world of the justice of your demands, and the purity of your intentions.—While all mankind must, with unceasing applauses, confess, that you indeed deserve liberty, who so well understand it, so passionately love it, so temperately enjoy it, and so wisely, bravely, and virtuously assert, maintain, and defend it.

"Certe ego libertatem, quoe mihi a parente meo tradita est, experiar: Verum id frustra an ob rem faciam, in vestra manu situm est, quirites."

FOR my part, I am resolved to contend for the liberty delivered down to me by my ancestors; but whether I shall do it effectually or not, depends on you, my countrymen.

"How little soever one is able to write, yet when the liberties of one's country are threatened, it is still more difficult to be silent."


Is there not the strongest probability, that if the universal sense of these colonies is immediately expressed by Resolves of the assemblies, in support of their rights, by Instructions to their agents on the subject, and by Petitions to the Crown and Par­liament for redress, these measures will have the same success now, that they had in the time of the Stamp-Act.

See the act of suspension.
The day of King WILLIAM the Third's landing.

For the satisfaction of the reader, recitals from the former acts of Parliament relating to these colonies are added. By comparing these with the modern acts, he will perceive their great difference in expression and intention.

The 12th Charles, Chap. 18, which forms the foundation of the laws-relating to our trade; by enacting that certain productions of the colonies should be carried [...]o England only, and that no goods shall be imported from the plantations but in ships belonging to England, Ireland, Wales, Berwick, or the Plantations, &c. begins thus: "For the increase of shipping, and encouragement of the navigation of this nation, wherein, under the good providence and protection of GOD, the wealth, safety, and strength of this kingdom is so much concerned, "&c.

The 15th Charles II. Chap. 7. enforcing the same regulation, assigns these reasons for it. "In regard his Majesty's plantations, beyond the seas, are inhabited and peopled by his subjects of this his kingdom of England; for the maintaining a greater correspondence and kindness between them, and keeping them in a firmer dependance upon it, and rendering them yet more beneficial and advantageous unto it, in the further employment and increase of English shipping and seamen, vent of English woollen, and other manufactures and com­modities, rendering the navigation to and from the same more safe and cheap, and ma­king this kingdom a staple, not only of the commodities of those plantations, but also of the commodities of other countries and places for the supplying of them; and it being the usage of other nations to keep their plantations trade to themselves, "&c.

The 25th Charles II. Chap. 7, made expressly "for the better securing the plantation trade, " which imposes duties on certain commodities exported from one colony to another, mentions this cause for imposing them: "Whereas by one act, passed in the 12th year of your Majesty's reign, intituled, An act for encouragement of shipping and navigation, and by several other laws, passed since that time. It is permitted to ship, &c. sugars, tobacco, &c. of the growth, &c. of any of your Majesty's plantations in America, &c. from the places of their growth, &c. to any other of your Majesty's plantations in those parts, &c. and that without paying custom for the same, either at the lading or unlading the said com­modities, by means whereof the trade and navigation in those commodities, from one plan­tation to another, is greatly increased, and the inhabitants of divers of those colonies, not conten [...]in themselves with being supplied with those commodities for their own use, free from all [...] (while the subjects of this your kingdom of England have paid great customs and impositions for what of them have been spent here) but▪ contrary to the express letter of the aforesaid laws, have brought into divers parts of Europe great quantities thereof, and do also vend great quantities thereof to the shipping of other nations, who bring them into divers parts of Europe, to the great hurt and dimination of your Majesty's customs, and of the trade and navigation of this your kingdom; for the prevention there­of, &c.

The 7th and 8th William III. Chap. 22, intituled, "An act for preventing frauds, and regulating abuses in the plantation trade," recites that, "notwithstanding divers acts, &c. great abuses are daily committed, to the prejudice of the English navigation, and the loss of a great part of the plantation trade to this kingdom, by the artifice and cunning of ill disposed persons; for remedy whereof, &c. And whereas in some of his Majesty's American plantations, a doubt or misconstruction has ar [...]sen upon the before mentioned act, made in the 25th year of the reign of King Charles II. whereby certain duties are laid upon the commodities therein enumerated (which by law may be transported from one plantation to another, for the supply of each others wants) as if the same were, by the payment of those duties in one plantation, discharged from giving the securities intended by the aforesaid acts, made in the 12th, 22d and 23d years of the reign of King Charles II. and consequent­ly be at liberty to go to any foreign market in Europe," &c.

The 6th Anne, Chap. 37. reciting the advancement of trade, and encouragement of ships of war, &c. grants to the captors the property of all prizes carried into America, subject to such customs and duties, as if the same had been first imported into any part of Great-Britain, and from thence exported, &c.

This was a gift to persons acting under commissions from the Crown, and therefore it was reasonable that the terms prescribed in that gift, should be complied with—more especially as the payment of such duties was intended to give a preference to the productions of Bri­tish colonies, over those of other colonies. However, being found inconvenient to the colonies, about four years afterwards, this act was, for that reason, so far repealed, that by another act "all prize goods, imported into any part of Great-Britain, from any of the plantations, were made liable to such duties only in Great-Britain, as in case they had been of the growth and produce of the plantations."

The 6th George II. Chap. 13, which imposes duties on foreign rum, sugar and melasses, imported into the colonies, shews the reasons thus—"Whereas the welfare and prosperity of your Majesty's sugar colonies in America, are of the greatest consequence and importance to the trade, navigation and strength of this kingdom; and whereas the planters of the said sugar colonies, have of late years fallen into such great discouragements, that they are un­able to improve or carry on the sugar trade, upon an equal footing with the foreign sugar colonies, without some advantage and relief be given to them from Great-Britain; for re­medy whereof, and for the good and welfare of your Majesty's subjects," &c.

The 29th George II. Chap. 26, and the 1st George III. Chap. 9. which continue the 6th George II. Chap. 13, declare, that the said act hath, by experience, been found useful and beneficial, &c. These are all the most considerable statutes relating to the commerce of the colonies; and it is thought to be utterly unnecessary to add any observations to these extracts, to prove that they were all intended solely as regulations of trade.


"It is worthy observation how quietly subsidies, granted in forms usual and accustom­able (though heavy) are borne; such a power hath use and custom. On the other side, what discontentments and disturbances subsidies framed in a new mould do raise (such an inbred hatred novelty doth hatch) is evident by examples of former times."

— Lord Coke's 2d Institute, p. 33.

Some people think that Great-Britain has the same right to impose duties on the ex­ports to these colonies, as on the exports to Spain and Portugal, &c. Such persons attend so much to the idea of exportation, that they entirely drop that of the connection between the Mother country and her colonies. If Great-Britain had always claimed, and exer­cised an authority to compel Spain and Portugal to import manufactures from her only, the cases would be parallel: But as she never pretended to such a right, they are at liberty to get them where they please; and if they chuse to take them from her, rather than from other nations, they voluntarily consent to pay the duties imposed on them.
Either the disuse of writing, or the payment of taxes imposed by others without our consent.
The peasants of France wear wooden shoes; and the vassals of Poland are remark­able for matted hair, which never can be combed.
GAL. V. I.
Plutarch in the life of Lyourgus. Archbishop P [...]tter's Archaeologia Graeca.
Cleon was a popular fireband of Athens, and Clodius of Rome; each of whom plunged his country into the deepest calamities.
PROV. viii. 15.
It is very worthy of remark, how watchful our wise ancestors were, lest their services should be encreased beyond what the law allowed. No man was bound to go out of the realm to serve the King. Therefore, even in the conquering reign of Henry the Fifth, when the martial spirit of the nation was highly enflamed by the heroic courage of their Prince, and by his great success, they still carefully guarded against the establishment of illegal services. "When this point (says Lord Chief Justice Coke) concerning maintenance of wars out of England, came in question, the Commons did make their continual claim of their antient freedom and birthright, as in the first of Henry the Fifth, and in the seventh of Henry the Fifth, &c. the Commons made a PROTEST, that they were not bound to the maintenance of war in Scotland, Ireland, Calice, France, Normandy, or other foreign parts, and caused their PROTESTS to be entered into the Parliament rolls, where they yet remain; which, in effect, agreeth with that which, upon like occasion, was made in the Parliament of 25th Edward 1." 2d Inst. p. 528.
4th Inst. p. 28.

Reges Angliae, nihil tale, nisi convocatis primis ordinibus, et assentiente populo suscipiunt. Phil. Comines. 2d Inst.

These gifts entirely depending on the pleasure of the donors, were proportioned to the a­bilities of the several ranks of people who gave, and were regulated by their opinion of the public necessities. Thus Edward I, had in his 11th year a thirtieth from the Laity, a twentieth from the Clergy; in his 22d year a tenth from the Laity, a sixth from London, and other corporate towns, half of their benefices from the Clergy; in his 23d year an eleventh from the Barons and others, a tenth from the Clergy, a seventh from the Burgesses, &c. Hume's Hist▪ of England.

The same difference in the grants of the several ranks is observable in other reigns.

In the famous statute de tallagio non concedendo, the King enumerates the several classes, without whose consent, he and his heirs never should set or levy any tax—"nullum tallaguium, vel auxilium per nos, vel haeredes nostros in regno nostro ponatur seu levetur, sine voluntate [...]t assensu archiepiscoporum, episcoporum, comitum, baronum, militum, burgensium, et aliorum liberorum com▪ de regno nostro." 34th Edward I.

Lord Chief Justice Coke, in his comment on these words, says—"for the quieting of the Commons, and for a perpetual and constant law for ever after, both in this and other like cases, this act was made." These words are plain, without any scruple, absolute, without any saving." 2d Coke's Inst. p. 532, 533. Little did the venerable judge imagine, that "other like cases" would happen, in which the spirit of this law would be despised by Eng­lishmen, the posterity of those who made it.

The Goddess of Empire, in the Heathen Mythology; according to an antient fable, Ixion pursued her, but she escaped in a cloud.
In this sense Montesquieu uses the word "tax," in his 13th book of Spirit of Laws.
The rough draught of the resolves of the congress at New-York are now in my hands, and from some notes on that draught, and other particular reasons, I am satisfied, that the congress understood the word "tax" in the sense here contended for.

It seems to be evident, that Mr. Pitt, in his defence of America, during the debate concerning the repeal of the Stamp-Act, by "internal taxes, " meant any duties "for the purpose of raising a revenue;" and by "external taxes, " meant duties imposed "for the regulation of trade." His expressions are these—"If the Gentleman does not understand the difference between internal and external taxes, I cannot help it; but there is a plain distinction between taxes levied for the purposes of raising a revenue, and duties imposed for the regulation of trade, for the accommodation of the subject, altho', in the consequences, some revenue might incidentally arise from the latter."

These words were in Mr. Pitt's reply to Mr. Grenville, who said he could not under­stand the difference between external and internal taxes.

In every other part of his speeches on that occasion, his words confirm this construction of his expressions. The following extracts will shew how positive and general were his assertions of our right.

"It is my opinion that this kingdom has no right to lay a tax upon the colonies."—"The Americans are the sons, not the bastards of England. Taxation is no part of the governing or legislative power."—"The taxes are a voluntary gift and grant of the Com­mons alone. In legislation the three estates of the realm are alike concerned, but the con­currence of the Peers and the Crown to a tax, is only necessary to close with the form of a law. The gift and grant is of the Commons alone.""The distinction between legislation and taxation is essentially necessary to liberty."—"The Commons of America, repre­sented in their several Assemblies, have ever been in possession of the exercise of this their constitutional right, of giving and granting their own money. They would have been SLAVES, if they had not enjoyed it." "The idea of a virtual representation of Ame­rica in this House, is the most contemptible idea that ever entered into the head of man.—It does not deserve a serious refutation."

He afterwards shews the unreasonableness of Great-Britain taxing America, thus—"When I had the honour of serving his Majesty, I availed myself of the means of infor­mation, which I derived from my office, I speak therefore from knowledge. My materials were good. I was at pains to collect, to digest, to consider them; and I will be [...]old to affirm, that the profit to Great-Britain from the trade of the colonies, through all its branches, is two millions a year. This is the fund that carried you triumphantly through the last war. The estates that were rented at two thousand pounds a year, threescore years ago, are three thousand pounds at present. Those estates fold then from fifteen to eighteen years purchase; the same may now be sold for thirty. You owe this to America. This is the price that America pays you for her protection."—"I dare not say how much higher these profits may be augmented."—"Upon the whole, I will beg leave to tell the House what is really my opinion; it is, that the Stamp-Act be repealed absolutely, totally, and immediately. That the reason for the repeal be assigned, because it was founded on an er [...]oneous principle."

"And that pig and bar iron, made in his Majesty's colonies in America, may be fur­ther manufactured in this kingdom, be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after the twenty fourth day of June, 1750, no mill, or other engine, for slitting or rolling of iron, or any plating forge, to work with a tilt hammer, or any furnace for making steel, shall be erected: o [...], after such erection, continued in any of his Majesty's colonies in America." 23d George II. Chap. 29, Sect 9.
Tho' these particular [...] are mentioned as being absolutely necessary, yet perhaps they are not more so than glass in our severe winters, to keep out the cold from our houses; or than paper, without which such inexpressible confusions must ensue.
The power of taxing themselves, was the privilege of which the English were, "with reason, " particularly jealous. HUME's Hist. of England.
Mic. iv. 4.

It has been said in the House of Commons, when complaints have been made of the decay of trade to any part of Europe," That such things were not worth regard, as Great-Britain was possessed of colonies that could consume more of her manufactures than she was able to supply them with.

"As the case now stands, we shall shew that the plantations are a spring of wealth to this nation, that they work for us, that their treasure centers all here, and that the laws have tied them fast enough to us; so that it must be through our own fault and mismanage­ment, if they become independent of England."

DAVENANT on the Plantation Trade.

"It is better that the islands should be supplied from the Northern colonies than from England; for this reason, the provisions we might send to Barbados, Jamaica, &c. would be unimproved product of the earth, as [...]grain of all kinds, or such product where there is little got by the improvement, as ma [...], salt, beef and pork; indeed the exportation of salt fish thither would be more advantage [...]s, but the goods which we send to the Northern colonies, are such, whose improvement may be justly said, one with another, to be near four fifths of the value of the whole commodity, as apparel, houshold furniture, and many other things."


"New-England is the most prejudicial plantation to the kingdom of England; and yet, to do right to that most industrious English colony, I must confess, that though we lose by their unlimited trade with other foreign plantations, yet we are very great gainers by their direct trade to and from Old England. Our yearly exportations of English manufactures, malt and other goods, from hence thither, amounting, in my opinion, to ten times the value of what is imported from thence; which calculation I do not make at random, but upon mature consideration, and▪ peradventure, upon as much experience in this very trade, as any other person will pretend to; and therefore, whenever reformation of our corre­spondency in trade with that people shall be thought on, it will, in my poor judgment, re­quire great tenderness, and very serious circumspection."

Sir JOSIAH CHILD's Discourse on Trade.

"Our plantations spend mostly our English manufactures, and those of all sorts almost imaginable, in egregious quantities, and employ near two thirds of all our English shipping; so that we have more people in England, by reason of our plantations in America."


Sir JOSIAH CHILD says, in another part of his work, "That not more than fifty fami­lies are maintained in England by the refining of sugar." From whence, and from what Davenant says, it is plain, that the advantages here said to be derived from the planta­tions by England, must be meant chi [...]ly of the continental colonies.

"I shall sum up my whole remarks on our American colonies, with this observation, that as they are a certain annual revenue of several millions sterling to their Mother coun­try, they ought carefully to be protected, duly encouraged, and every opportunity that presents, improved for their increment and advantage, as every one they [...]an possibly reap, must at last return to us with interest."

BEAWES's Lex Merc. Red.

"We may safely advance, that our trade and navigation are greatly encreased by our colonies, and that they really are a source of treasure and naval power to this kingdom, since they work for us, and their treasure centers here. Before their settlement, our manufactures were few, and those but indifferent; the number of English merchants were very small, and the whole shipping of the nation much inferior to what now belongs to the Northern colonies only. These are certain facts. But since their establishment, our con­dition has altered for the better, almost to a degree beyond credibility. Our manufactures are prodigiously encreased, chiefly by the demand for them in the plantations, where they at least take off one half, and supply us with many valuable commodities for exportation, which is as great an emolument to the Mother kingdom, as to the plantations themselves."

— POSTLETHWAYT's Univ. Dict. of Trade and Commerce.

"Most of the nations of Europe have interfered with us, more or less, in divers of our staple manufactures, within half a century, not only in our woollen, but in our lead and tin manufactures, as well as our fisheries."


"The inhabitants of our colonies, by carrying on a trade with their foreign neighbours, do not only occasion a greater quantity of the goods and merchandizes of Europe being sent from hence to them, and a greater quantity of the product of America to be sent from them hither, which would otherwise be carried from, and brought to Europe by foreigners, but an increase of the seamen and navigation in those parts, which is of great strength and security, as well as of great advantage to our plantations in general. And though some of our colonies are not only for preventing the importations of all goods of the same species they produce, but suffer particular planters to keep great runs of land in their pos­session uncultivated, with design to prevent new settlements, whereby they imagine the prices of their commodities may be affected; yet if it be considered, that the markets of Great-Britain depend on the markets of ALL Europe in general, and that the European markets in general depend on the proportion between the annual consumption and the whole quantity of each species annually produced by ALL nations; it must follow, that whether we or foreigners are the producers, carriers, importers and exporters of American produce, yet their respective prices in each colony (the difference of freight, customs and importations considered) will always bear proportion to the general consumption of the whole quantity of each sort, produced in all colonies, and in all parts, allowing only for the usual contingencies that trade and commerce, agriculture and manufactures, are liable to in all countries."


"It is certain, that from the very time Sir Walter Releigh, the father of our English colonies, and his associates, first projected these establishments, there have been persons who have found an interest, in misrepresenting, or lessening the value of them—The at­tempts were called chimerical and dangerous. Afterwards many malignant suggestions were made about sacrificing so many Englishmen to the obstinate desire of settling colonies in countries which then produced very little advantage. But as these difficulties were gradu­ally surmounted, those complaints vanished. No sooner were these lamentations over, but others arose in their stead; when it could be no longer said, that the colonies were useless, it was alledged that they were not useful enough to their Mother Country; that while we were loaded with taxes, they were absolutely free; that the planters lived like Princes, while the inhabitants of England laboured hard for a tolerable subsistence."

— POSTLETHWAYT, i [...]id.

"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.

"If it be asked, whether foreigners, for what goods they take of us, do not pay on that consumption a great portion of our taxes? It is admitted they do."

— POSTLETHWAYT's Great-Britain's True System.

"If we are afraid that one day or other the colonies will revolt, and set up for them­selves, as some seem to apprehend, let us not drive them to a necessity to feel themselves independent of us; as they will do, the moment they perceive that "they can be supplied with all things from within themselves, " and do not need our assistance. If we would keep them still dependent upon their Mother country, and, in some respects, subservient to her views and welfare; let us make it their interest always to be so."

— TUCKER on Trade.

"Our colonies, while they have English blood in their veins, and have relations in Eng­land, and while they can get by trading with us, the stronger and greater they grow, the more this Crown and kingdom will get by them; and nothing but such an arbitrary power as shall make them desperate, can bring them to rebel."

— DAVENANT on the Plantation Trade.

"The Northern colonies are not upon the same footing as those of the South; and having a worse soil to improve, they must find the recompence some other way, which only can be in property and dominion: Upon which score, any innovations in the form of go­vernment there, should be cautiously examined, for fear of entering upon measures, by which the industry of the inhabitants be quite discouraged. 'Tis always unfortunate for a people, either by consent, or upon compulsion, to depart from their primitive institutions, and those fundamentals, by which they were first united together."


"The most effectual way of uniting the colonies, is to make it their common interest to oppose the designs and attempts of Great-Britain.

"All wise states will well consider how to preserve the advantages arising from colonies, and avoid the evils. And I conceive that there can be but two ways in nature to hinder them from throwing off their dependence; one to keep it out of their power, and the other, out of their will. The first must be by force; and the latter, by using them well, and keeping them employed in such productions, and making such manufactures, as will support themselves and families comfortably, and procure them wealth too, and at least not preju­dice their Mother country.

"Force can never be used effectually to answer the end, without destroying the colonies themselves. Liberty and encouragement are necessary to carry people thither, [...] keep them together when they are there; and violence will hinder both. Any body of troops, considerable enough to awe them, and keep them in subjection, under the direction too of a needy Governor, often sent thither to make his fortune, and at such a distance from any application for redress, will soon put an end to all planting, and leave the country to the soldiers alone, and if it did not, would eat up all the profit of the colony. For this reason, arbitrary countries have not been equally successful in planting colonies with free ones; and what they have done in that kind, has either been by force, at a vast expence, or by departing from the nature of their government, and giving such privileges to planters as were denied to their other subjects. And I dare say, that a few prudent laws, and a little prudent conduct, would soon give us far the greatest share of the riches of all America, perhaps drive many of other nations out of it, or into our colonies for shelter.

"There are so many exigencies in all states, so many foreign wars, and domestic disturb­ances, that these colonies can never want opportunities, if they watch for them, to do what they shall find their interest to do: and therefore we ought to take all the precautions in our power, that it shall never be their interest to act against that of their native country; an evil which can no otherwise be averted, than by keeping them fully employed in such trades as will increase their own, as well as our wealth; for it is much to be feared, if we do not find employment for them, they may find it for us; the interest of the Mother country, is always to keep them dependent, and so employed; and it requires all her ad­dress to do it; and it is certainly more easily and effectually done by gentle and insensible methods, than by power alone." — CATO's Letters.


If any one should observe that no opposition has been made to the legality of the 4th George III. Chap. 15, which is the first act of Parliament that ever imposed duties on the importations into America, for the expressed purpose of raising a revenue there; I answer—First, That though the act expressly mentions the raising a revenue in America, yet it seems that it had as much in view the "improving and securing the trade between the same and Great-Britain," which words are part of its title: And the preamble says, "Where­as it is expedient that new provisions and regulations should be established for improving the revenue of this kingdom, and for extending and securing the navigation and commerce between Great-Britain and your Majesty's dominions in America, which by the peace have been so happily extended and enlarged, "&c. Secondly, All the duties mentioned in that act are imposed solely on the productions and manufactures of foreign countries, and not a single duty laid on any production or manufacture of our Mother country. Thirdly, The authority of the provincial Assemblies is not therein so plainly attacked as by the last act, which makes provision for defraying the charges of the "administration of justice," and the "support of civil government." Fourthly, That it being doubtful, whether the intention of the 4th Geroge III. Chap. 15. was not as much to regulate trade, as to raise a revenue, the minds of the people here were wholly engrossed by the terror of the Stamp-Act, then impending over them, about the intention of which there could be no doubt.

These reasons so far distinguish the 4th George III. Chap. 15, from the last act, that it is not to be wondered at, that the first should have been submitted to, though the last should excite the most universal and spirited opposition. For this will be found, on the strictest examination, to be, in the principle on which it is founded, and in the consequences that must attend it, if possible, more destructive than the Stamp-Act. It is, to speak plainly, a prodigy in our laws; not having one British feature.

2 Cor. iii. 6.

Many remarkable instances might be produced of the extraordinary inattention with which bills of great importance, concerning these colonies, hafe passed in Parliament; which is owing, as it is supposed, to the bills being brought in by the persons who have haste of business, to discover their tendency.

The following instances shew the truth of this remark. When Mr. Grenville, in the violence of reformation, formed the 4th of George III. Chap. 15th, for regulating the American trade, the word "Ireland" was dropt in the clause relating to our iron and lumber, so that we could send these articles to no part of Europe, but to Great-Britain. This was so unreasonable a restriction, and so contrary to the sentiments of the legislature▪ For many years before, that it is surprising it should not have been taken notice of in the House. However the bill passed into a law. But when the matter was explained, this re­striction was taken off by a subsequent act. I cannot positively say how long after the taking off this restriction, as I have not the act, but I think, in less than 18 months, another act of Parliament passed, in which the word "Ireland" was left out, just as it had been before. The matter being a second time explained, was a second time regulated.

Now if it be considered, that the omission mentioned struck off with one word so very great a part of our trade, it must appear remarkable; and equally so is the method, by which rice because an enumerated commodity.

"The enumeration was obtained (says Mr. [a] Gee) by one Cole, a Captain of a ship, employed by a company then trading to Carolina; for several ships going from England thither, and purchasing rice for Portugal, prevented the aforesaid Captain of a loading. Upon his coming home, he possessed one Mr. Lowndes, a member of Parliament (who was very frequently employed to prepare bills) with an opinion, that carrying rice direct­ly to Portugal, was a prejudice to the trade of England, and privately got a clause into an act, to make it an enumerated commodity; by which means he secured a freight to him­self. But the consequence proved a vast loss to the nation."

I find that this clause, "privately got into an act, "for the benefit of Captain Cole, to the "vast loss of the nation, " is foisted into the 3d and 4th Anne, Chap. 5th, intituled, “An act for granting to her Majesty a further subsidy on wines and merchandizes import­ed,” with which it has no more connection, than with 34th Edward I. the 34th and 35th of Henry VIII. and the 25th of Charles II. which provide, that no person shall be taxed but by himself or his representative.

[a] Gee on Trade, page 32.

Tacitus's Ann. Book 13. § 31.
Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws, Book 13, Chap. 8.
Lord Camden's speech.

"It is my opinion, that this kingdom has no right to lay a tax upon the colonies."—"The Americans are the sons, not the bastards of England."—"The distinction between legislation and taxation is essentially necessary to liberty."—"The Commons of America, represented in their several Assemblies, have ever been in possession of this their constitu­tional right, of giving and granting their own money. They would have been slaves, if they had not enjoyed it." "The idea of a virtual representation of America in this House, is the most contemptible idea, that ever entered into the head of man.—It does not deserve a serious refutation." — Mr. Pitt's speech on the Stamp-Act.

That great and excellent man Lord Camden, maintains the same opinion. His speech in the House of Peers, on the declaratory bill of the sovereignty of Great-Britain over the colonies, has lately appeared in our papers. The following extracts so perfectly agree with, and confirm the sentiments avowed in these letters, that it is hoped the inforting them in this note will be excused.

"As the affair is of the utmost importance, and in its consequences may involve the fate of kingdoms, I took the strictest review of my arguments; I re-examined all my authorities; fully determined, if I found myself mistaken▪ publicly to own my mistake, and give up my opinion: But my soarches have more and more convinced me, that the British Parlia­ment have "no right to tax" the Americans.""—"Nor is the doctrine new; it is as old as the constitution; it grew up with it; indeed it is its support."—"Taxation and represen­tation are inseparably united. GOD hath joined them: No British Parliament can sepa­rate them: To endeavour to do it is to stab our vitals."

"My position is this—I repeat it—I will maintain it to my last hour—taxation and re­presentation are inseparable—this position is founded on the laws of nature; it is more, it is itself an eternal law of nature; for whatever is a man's own, is absolutely his own; no man hath a right to take it from him without his consent, either expressed by himself or representative; whoever attempts to do it, attempts an injury; whoever does it, commits a robbery; he throws down the distinction between liberty and slavery."—"There is not a blade of grass, in the most obscure corner of the kingdom, which is not, which was not ever represented, since the constitution began: There is not a blade of grass, which, when taxed, was not taxed by the consent of the proprietor." "The forefathers of the Americans did not leave their native country, and subject themselves to every danger and distress, to be reduced to a state of slavery. They did not give up their rights: They looked for protection, and not for chains, from their Mother country. By her they expected to be defended in the possession of their property, and not to be deprived of it: For should the present power continue, there is nothing which they can call their own; or, to use the words of Mr. Locke, "what property have they in that, which another may, by right, take, when he pleases, to himself?"

It is impossible to read this speech, and Mr. Pitt's, and not be charmed with the gene­rous zeal for the rights of mankind that glows in every sentence. These great and good men, animated by the subject they speak upon, seem to rise above all the former glorious exertions of their abilities. A foreigner might be tempted to think they are Americans, asserting, with all the ardour of pratriotism, and all the anxiety of apprehension, the cause of their native land—and not Britons, striving to stop their mistaken countrymen from oppressing others. Their reasoning is not only just—it is, as Mr. Hume says of the elo­quence of Demosthenes," vehement." It is disdain, anger, boldness, freedom, involved in a continual stream of argument.

"So credulous as well as obstinate, are the people in believing every thing, which flat­ters their prevailing passion.
The writs for searching houses in England, are to be granted "under the seal of the Court of Exchequer," according to the statute—and that seal is kept by the Chan­cellor of the Exchequer. 4 th Inst. page 104.
"The Gentleman must not wonder he was not contradicted, when, as Minister, he asserted the right of Parliament to tax America. I know not how it is, but there is a modesty in this House, which does not choose to contradict a Minister. I wish Gentlemen would get the better of this modesty. If they do not, perhaps the collective body may begin to abate of its respect for the representative."Mr. Pitt's speech.
"Within this act (statute de tallagio non concedendo) are all new offices erected with new fees, or old offices with new fees, for that is a rallage put upon the subject, which cannot be done without common assent by act of Parliament. And this doth notably ap­pear by a petition in Parliament in anno 13 Henry IV. where the Commons complain, that an office was erected for measurage of cloths and canvas, with a new fee for the same, by colour of the King's letters patent, and pray that these letters patent may be revoked, for that the King could erect no offices with new fees to be taken of the people, who may not so be charged but by Parliament." — 2d Inst. p. 533.

An enquiry into the legality of pensions on the Irish establishment, by Alexander M'Auly, Esq; one of the King's Council, &c.

Mr. M'Auly concludes his piece in the following beautiful manner. "If any pensions have been obtained on that establishment, to serve the corrupt purposes of ambitious men.—If his Majesty's revenues of Ireland have been employed in pensions, to debauch his Majesty's subjects of both kingdoms.—If the treasure of Ireland has been expended in pensions, for corrupting men of that kingdom to betray their country; and men of the neighbouring kingdom, to betray both.—If Irish pensions have been procured, to support gamesters and gaming-houses; promoting a vice which threatens national ruin.—If pensions have been purloined out of the national treasure of Ireland, under the mask of salaries annexed to public offices, useless to the nation; newly invented, for the purposes of corruption.—If Ireland, just beginning to recover from the devastations of massacre and rebellion, be ob­structed in the progress of her cure, by swarms of pensionary vultures preying on her vitals.—If, by squandering the national substance of Ireland, in a licentious, unbounded profusion of pensions, instead of employing it in nourishing and improving her infant agriculture, trade and manufactures, or in enlightening and reforming her poor, ignorant, deluded, miserable natives (by nature most amiable, most valuable, most worthy of public attention)—If, by such abuse of the national substance, sloth and nastiness, cold and hunger, naked­ness and wretchedness, popery, depopulation and barbarism, still maintain their ground; still deform a country, abounding with all the riches of nature, yet hitherto destined to beggary.—If such pensions be found on the Irish establishment; let such be cut off: And let the perfidious advisers be branded with indelible characters of public infamy; adequate, if possible, to the dishonour of their crime."


In Charles the Second's time, the House of Commons, influenced by some factious demagogues, were resolved to prohibit the importation of Irish cattle into England. A­mong other arguments in favour of Ireland it was insisted—"That by cutting off almost entirely the trade between the kingdoms, all the natural bands of union were dissolved, and nothing remained to keep the Irish in their duty, but force and violence."

"The King (says Mr. Hume, in his History of England) was so convinced of the just­ness of these reasons, that he used all his interest to oppose the bill, and he openly declared, that he could not give his assent to it with a safe conscience. But the Commons were reso­lute in their purpose."—"And the spirit of tyranny, of which nations are as susceptible as individuals, had animated the English extremely to exert their superiority over their de­pendent state. No affair could be conducted with greater violence than this by the Com­mons. They even went so far in the preamble of the bill, as to declare the importation of Irish cattle to be a nusance. By this expression they gave scope to their passion, and at the same time barred the King's prerogative, by which he might think himself intitled to dis­pense with a law, so full of injustice and bad policy. The Lords expunged the word, but as the King was sensible that no supply would be given by the Commons, unless they were gratified in all their prejudices, he was obliged both to employ his interest with the Peers, to make the bill pass, and to give the Royal assent to it. He could not, however, forbear expressing his displeasure, at the jealousy entertained against him, and at the intention which the Commons discovered, of retrenching his prerogative.

This law brought great distress for some time upon Ireland, but it has occasioned their applying with greater industry to manufactures, and has proved in the issue beneficial to that kingdom."

Perhaps the same reason occasioned the "barring the King's prerogative" in the late act suspending the legislation of New-York.

This we may be assured of, that we are as dear to his Majesty, as the people of Great-Britain are. We are his subjects as well as they, and as faithful subjects; and his Ma­jesty has given too many, too constant proofs of his piety and virtue, for any man to think it possible, that such a Prince can make any unjust distinction between such subjects. It makes no difference to his Majesty, whether supplies are raised in Great-Britain, or Ame­rica; but it makes some difference to the Commons of that kingdom.

To speak plainly, as becomes an honest man on such important occasions, all our misfor­tunes are owing to a lust of power in men of abilities and influence. This prompts them to seek popularity by expedients profitable to themselves, though ever so destructive to their country.

Such is the accursed nature of lawless ambition, and yet—What heart but melts at the thought!—Such false, detestable patriots, in every state, have led their blind, con [...]iding country, shouting their applauses, into the jaws of shame and ruin. May the wisdom and goodness of the people of Great-Britain, save them from the usual fate of nations.

"—mentem mortalia [...]angant."

The last Irish Parliament continued 33 years, during all the late King's reign. The present Parliament there has continued from the beginning of this reign, and probably will continue till this reign ends.

I am informed, that within these few years, a petition was presented to the House of Commons, setting forth "that herrings were imported into Ireland from some foreign parts of the north so cheap, as to discourage the British herring fishery, and therefore pray­ing that some remedy might be applied in that behalf by Parliament."—

That upon this petition, the House came to a resolution, to impose a duty of Two Shil­lings sterling on every barrel of foreign herrings imported into Ireland; but afterwards dropt the affair, for fear of engaging in a dispute with Ireland about the right of TAXING her.

So much higher was the opinion, which the House entertained of the spirit of Ireland, than of that of these colonies.

I find, in the last English papers, that the resolution and firmness with which the people of Ireland have lately asserted their freedom, have been so alarming in Great-Britain, that the Lord Lieutenant, in his speech on the 20th of last October, "recommended to that Par­liament, that such provision may be made for securing the Judges in the enjoyment of their offices and appointments, during their good behaviour, as shall be thought most expedient."

What an important concession is thus obtained, by making demands becoming freemen, with a courage and perseverance becoming freemen!


One of the reasons urged by that great and honest statesman, Sir William Temple, to Charles the Second, in his famous remonstrance, to dissuade him from aiming at arbitrary power, was, that the King "had few offices to bestow."Hume's Hist. of England.

"Tho' the wings of prerogative have been clipt, the influence of the Crown is greater than ever it was in any period of our history. For when we consider in how many boroughs the go­vernment has the votes at command; when we consider the vast body of persons employed in the collection of the revenue, in every part of the kingdom, the inconceivable number of placemen, and candidates for places in the customs, in the excise, in the post-office, in the dock-yards, in the ordnance, in the salt-office, in the stamps, in the navy and victualling offices, and in a variety of other departments; when we consider again the extensive influ­ence of the money corporations, subscription jobbers and contractors, the endless depend­encies created by the obligations conferred on the bulk of the Gentlemens families through­out the kingdom, who have relations preferred in our navy and numerous standing army; when I say, we consider how wide, how binding a dependence on the Crown is created by the above enumerated particulars, and the great, the enormous weight and influence which the Crown derives from this extensive dependence upon its favour and power, any Lord in waiting, any Lord of the Bedchamber, any man may be appointed Minister."

A doctrine to this effect is said to have been the advice of L—H—. Late Newspaper.

"Here may be observed, that when any ancient law or custom of Parliament is broken, and the Crown possessed of a precedent, how difficult a thing it is to restore the subject a­gain to his former freedom and safety." — 2 d Coke's Inst. page 529.

"It is not almost credible to foresee, when any maxim or fundamental law of this realm is altered (as elsewhere hath been observed) what dangerous inconveniencies do follow." — 4 th Coke's Inst. page 41.

Maryland and Pennsylvania have been engaged in the warmest disputes, in order to obtain an equal and just taxation of their Proprietors estates: But this late act of Parliament does more for those Proprietors, than they themselves would venture to demand. It total­ly exempts them from taxation—tho' their vast estates are to be "secured" by the taxes of other people.
Machiavel's DiscoursesBook 3. Chap. I.
The author is sensible that this is putting the gentlest construction on Charles's con­duct; and that is one reason why he chooses it. Allowances ought to be made for the er­rors of those men, who are acknowledged to have been possessed of many virtues. The education of this unhappy prince, and his confidence in men not so good or wise as him­self, had probably filled him with mistaken notions of his own authority, and of the conse­quences that would attend concessions of any kind to a people, who were represented to him, as aiming at too much power.

Opinion is of two kinds, viz. opinion of INTEREST, and opinion of RIGHT. By opi­nion of interest, I chiefly understand, the sense of the public advantage which is reaped from government; together with the persuasion, that the particular government which is established, is equally advantageous with any other, that could be easily settled

"Right is of two kinds, right to power, and right to property. What prevalence opi­nion of the first kind has over mankind, may easily be understood, by observing the attachment which all nations have to their antient government, and even to those names which have had the sanction of antiquity. Antiquity always begets the opinion of right."—"It is sufficient­ly understood, that the opinion of right to property, is of the greatest moment in all mat­ters of government.— "Hume's Essays.

Omnia mala exempla ex bonis initiis orta sunt — SALLUST, Bell, Cat. S. 50.

"The republic is always attacked with greater vigour, than it is defended: For the audacious and profligate, prompted by their natural enmity to it, are easily impelled to act by the least nod of their leaders: Whereas the HONEST, I know not why, are generally slow and unwilling to stir; and neglecting always the BEGINNINGS of things, are never roused to exert themselves, but by the last necessity: So that through [...]PRESOLU­TION and DELAY, when they would be glad to compound at last for their QUIET, at the expence even of their HONOUR, they commonly lose them BOTH."


Such were the sentiments of this great and excellent man, whose vast abilities, and the calamities of his country during his time, enabled him, by mournful experience, to form a just judgment on the conduct of the friends and enemies of liberty.

Rapin's History of England.
12 Char. II. Chap. 23 and 24.
1 James II. Chap. 1 and 4.

In the year of the city 428, "Duo singularia haec ei viro primum contigerc; prorogatio imp [...]rii non ante in u [...]lo facta, et acto honore triumphus."Liv. B. 8. Chap. 23. 26.

"Had the rest of the Roman citizens imitated the example of L. Quintius, who refu­sed to have his consulship continued to him, they had never admitted that custom of pro­roguing of Magistrates, and then the prolongation of their commands in the army had never been introduced, which very thing was at length the ruin of that commonwealth."

Machiavel's Discourses, B. 3. Chap. 24.

I don't know but it may be said, with a good deal of reason, that a quick rotation of Ministers is very desirable in Great-Britain. A Minister there has a vast store of materials to work with. Long administrations are rather favourable to the reputation of a people abroad, than to then liberty.
Demosthenes's 2d Philippic.

The expence of this Board, I am informed, is between Four and Five Thousand Pounds sterling a year. The establishment of officers, for collecting the revenue in America, a­mounted before to Seven Thousand Six Hundred Pounds per annum; and yet, says the author of "The regulation of the colonies," "the whole remittance from all the taxes in the colonies, at an average of thirty years, has not amounted to One Thousand Nine Hun­dred Pounds a year, and in that sum Seven or Eight Hundred Pounds per annum only, have been remitted from North-America.

The smallness of the revenue arising from the duties in America, demonstrates;that they were intended only as regulations of trade: And can any person be so blind to truth, so dull of apprehension in a matter of unspeakable importance to his country, as to imagine, that the Board of Commissioners lately established at such a charge, is instituted to assist in collecting One Thousand Nine Hundred Pounds a year, or the trifling duties imposed by the the late act? Surely every man on this continent must perceive, that they are established for the care of a new system of revenue, which is but now begun.

"Dira caelaeno, "&c. Virgil, AEneid 3.

It is not intended, by these words, to throw any reflection upon Gentlemen, because they are possessed of offices: For many of them are certainly men of virtue, and lovers of their country. But supposed obligations of gratitude, and honour, may induce them to be silent. Whether these obligations ought to be regarded or not, is not so much to be con­sidered by others, in the judgment they form of these Gentlemen, as whether they think they ought to be regarded. Perhaps, therefore, we shall act in the properest manner to­wards them, if we neither reproach nor imitate them. The persons meant in this letter, are the base spirited wretches, who may endeavour to distinguish themselves, by their fordid zeal in defending and promoting measures, which they know, beyond all question, to be destructive to the just rights and true interests of their country. It is scarcely possible to s;peak of these men with any degree of patience—It is scarcely possible to speak of them with any degree of propriety—For no words can truly describe their guilt and meanness—But every honest bosom, on their being mentioned, will feel what cannot be expressed.

If their wickedness did not blind them, they might perceive along the coast of these colo­nies, many men, remarkable instances of wrecked ambition, who, after distinguishing themselves in the support of the Stamp-Act, by a courageous contempt of their country, and of justice, have been left to linger out their miserable existence, without a government, collectorship, secretaryship, or any other commission, to console them as well as it could, for loss of virtue and reputation—while numberless offices have been bestowed in these colonies on people from Great-Britain, and new ones are continually invented, to be thus bestowed. As a few great prizes are put into a lottery to tempt multitudes to lose, so here and there an American has been raised to a good post.—

"Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto."

Mr. Grenville, indeed, in order to recommend the Stamp-Act, had the unequalled generosity, to pour down a golden shower of offices upon Americans; and yet these ungrateful colo­nies did not thank Mr. Grenville for shewing his kindness to their countrymen, nor them for accepting it. How must that great statesman have been surprised, to find, that the un­polished colonies could not be reconciled to infamy by treachery? Such a bountiful dispo­sition towards us never appeared in any Minister before him, and probably never will ap­pear again: For it is evident, that such a system of policy is to be established on this con­tinent, as, in a short time, is to render it utterly unnecessary to use the least art in order to conciliate our approbation of any measures. Some of our countrymen may be employed to fix chains upon us, but they will never be permitted to hold them afterwards. So that the utmost, that any of them can expect, is only a temporary provision, that may expire in their own time; but which, they may be assured, will preclude their children from having any consideration paid to them. Natives of America must sink into total neglect and con­tempt, the moment that their country loses the constitutional powers she now possesses.

Deuteron. vi. 7.
Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws, Book 14, Chap. 13.
"Instrumenta regni, "Tacitus's Ann. Book 12, § 66.

If any person shall imagine that he discovers, in these letters, the least dislike of the dependence of these colonies on Great-Britain, I beg that such person will not form any judgment on particular expressions, but will consider the tenor of all the letters taken to­gether. In that case, I flatter myself, that every unprejudiced reader will be convinced, that the true interests of Great-Britain are as dear to me, as they ought to be to every good subject.

If I am an Enthusiast in any thing, it is in my zeal for the perpetual dependence of these colonies on their Mother country.—A dependence founded on mutual benefits, the conti­nuance of which can be secured only by mutual affections. Therefore it is, that with ex­treme apprehension I view the smallest seeds of discontent, which are unwarily scattered abroad. Fifty or Sixty years will make astonishing alterations in these colonies; and this consideration should render it the business of Great-Britain more and more to cultivate our good dispositions towards her: But the misfortune is, that those great men, who are wrestling for power at home, think themselves very slightly interested in the prosperity of their country Fifty or Sixty years hence, but are deeply concerned in blowing up a popular clamor for supposed immediate advantages.

For my part, I regard Great-Britain as a bulwark, happily fixed between these colo­nies and the powerful nations of Europe. That kingdom remaining safe, we, under its protection, enjoying peace, may diffuse the blessings of religion, science, and liberty, thro' remote wildernesses. It is therefore incontestibly our duty, and our interest, to support the strength of Great-Britain. When considing in that strength, she begins to forget from whence it arose, it will be an easy thing to shew the source. She may readily be re­minded of the loud alarm spread among her merchants and tradesmen, by the universal association of these colonies, at the time of the Stamp-Act, not to import any of her ma­nufactures.

In the year 1718, the Russians and Swedes entered into an agreement, not to suffer Great-Britain to export any naval stores from their dominions but in Russian or Swedish ships, and at their own prices. Great-Britain was distressed. Pitch and tar rose to Three Pounds a barrel. At length she thought of getting these articles from the colonies; and the attempt succeeding, they fell down to Fifteen Shillings. In the year 1756, Great-Britain was threatened with an invasion. An easterly wind blowing for six weeks, she could not man her fleet, and the whole nation was thrown into the utmost consternation. The wind changed. The American ships arrived. The fleet sailed in ten or fifteen days. There are some other reflections on this subject, worthy of the most deliberate attention of the British Parliament; but they are of such a nature, that I do not choose to mention them publicly. I thought it my duty, in the year 1765, while the Stamp-Act was in suspence, to write my sentiments to a Gentleman of great influence at home, who afterwards distin­guished himself, by espousing our cause, in the debates concerning the repeal of that act.

Ubi imperium ad ignaros aut minus bonos pervenit; novum illud exemplum, ab dignis & idoneis, ad indignos & non idoneos transfertur. — Sall. Bell. Cat. § 50.


[Page 61]



WOULD to Heaven I could hang a comet on every letter of this motto, to warn my countrymen of the danger that threatens their liberties from the adoption of this maxim into the British counsels respecting America. When the Stamp-Act had raised so universal an opposition both in America and Great-Britain, that the execution of it was impracticable, it was repealed; and however joyous that event might be, yet in its effects it may be fatal. It is but too evident that the enemies to our liberties have drawn from it this dangerous lesson, to change the mode of that act, not the measures which dictated it; that is to sap, not to storm, our freedom. To accomplish this, two things were necessary; to divide us among ourselves, and to divide us from those who declared themselves our friends in Great-Britain. In pursu­ance of this plan, implicit obedience was required in one colony only at first to an act of Parliament which touched their internal polity, and was effectually a tax. It was hoped that the rest of the colonies would not interest themselves in the fate of one; but look with silence a [...]d unconcern on this violation of American freedom, in the British Par­liament's disposing of the property of the people of New-York, and suspending their go­vernment.

[Page 62] THUS were we to be divided, and our liberties seized upon by such degrees, as should not alarm us into opposition, till it was too late; and as they well knew, that the majo­rity of those who opposed the Stamp-Act in Great-Britain, did it not from any friendship to our liberties and rights (a ground of opposition confined to Mr. Pitt, and a few others) but from a persuasion that it would operate injuriously to their own interests; these were to be drawn off by the never failing cord of self-interest; for which purpose a duty was laid on those British manufactures, which we were supposed to be under a necessity of using, for the purposes of a revenue; that is, to save the money of the people of Great-Britain, who must otherwise be taxed to furnish this revenue. Well might Mr. Townshend say, when he presented this bill to the House, that the Americans would raise no statues to him; for he knew the baleful tendency of it to their dearest rights. His words, however, furnish us a very salutary hint, which we should not neglect. They manifest his expectation, that we should feel its injuries so as to make us execrate its author.

IN this manner was the great plan of division accomplished, in this manner our enemies have purposed our final ruin. For to speak in the words of the great Sir Thomas Went­worth, on a similar occasion, in the time of Charles, the First, They have taken from us, what? What shall I say? Indeed what have they left us? They have ravished from us all means of supplying the King, and ingratiating ourselves with him, taking up the root of all property. If the Parliament of Great-Britain, over which we have no earthly restriction, may give and grant our property for the purpose of a revenue, in whatever manner it be affected, the root of all our property is effectually taken up, and we at best are but tenants at will. But I desist from any farther exposi [...]tion of the uncon­stitutional oppression and injustice of these proceedings; taking it for granted, that no one can be unacquainted with what has been so often and so fully set forth, particularly in the late excellent and unanswerable LETTERS of the FARMER.

THE evil being known, what shall be the remedy? I shall offer my sentiments in a few words. Let us, as a patriot said when the liberties of England were in like dan­ger from James the First, petition and petition the King again, as we usually do to God, and without ceasing till be hear us. *.

LET us study to pursue the plan of these great men who first formed the petition, and then the bill of rights. A noble Duke, in a late debate on American freedom, said, the Americans were not mentioned in the bill of rights. Let us then frame a petition of rights, and never desist from the solicitation till it be confirmed into a charter of liberty.

Hu [...] parvi properemus et ampli
Si patr [...]e volumus si nobis vivere ca [...]i.

[...] every colony contend which shall stand foremost in petitioning our most gracious Sovereign against the billeting act, and the suspension of the legislature of New-York; shewing that we consider these as wounds to American liberties, through that of one colony. Let us petition against the giving away our money by the British Parliament, as did the county of Durham, and the palatinate of Chester. Let us, in the mean time, by our [...]gality and industry in manufacturing for ourselves convince our adversa­ries [Page 63] of their mistake in one grand point, that we are under a necessity of using the manu­factures of Britain. To accomplish these noble and necessary purposes, let the people of every county instruct their members to petition, and let associations [...]e formed to promote manufactures; that we may manifest to all the world, how unanimously we are deter­mined, both with hand and heart, to maintain our freedom, and frustrate the designs of those, who, by dividing, would enslave us.


Servitus, malorum omnium postremum, non modo bello, sed morte etiam repellendum.

A SENTIMENT which breathes so pure and exalted a sense of freedom, and de­testation of slavery, could hardly have arisen in a mind not enobled by the influ­ence of liberty, in a free state. Cicero, in this our motto, calls slavery the worst of all evils; for in his short acquaintance with it, he had seen it extinguish all those virtues, which had made Rome the habitation of heroes, and the mistress of the world; nourish­ing in their place such vices as were most detestable, and plainly ominous of that de­struction to the Roman empire, which they speedily produced.

It would be the greatest happiness to which I could attain, to impress upon the minds of my countrymen, a love of liberty, and hatred of slavery, so indelible as to render it impossible to six chains upon them, by whomsoever forged. And though the poorness of my abilities, inadequate, very inadequate to so glorious an end, should frustrate the completion of my wish, yet will the intention, I hope, pass uncensured. Pulchrum est benifacere reipublicoe, etiam benedicere haud absurdum. * Nor let it be deemed enthusiastic to imagine, that though we are a weak people, yet the principles of liberty fully infused into us, will render it impossible to enslave us. For, does not liberty give unwonted vigour to the arm, and fill the heart with a spirit that is invincible? Does it not give birth to every noble sentiment, and energy to every hardy exploit? Where then is the power that shall subdue those who are truly animated with this unconquerable vir­tue? "It appears, says Herodotus, not from one instance only, but from all history, how noble is the virtue of liberty; so the Athenians when under the tyranny of Pisistra­tus were of no excellency in war, but when they had expelled the tyrants, they became the first in martial prowess." Was it not this all-conquering spirit of liberty that [Page 64] sustained three hundred Spartans against the might of Xerxes and his innumerable host? Was it not this spirit that made the whole Athenian people quit their city, and trust to their ships, rather than submit to a tyrant? Was it not this that animated the single arm of [...]les to maintain a bridge against the whole Tuscan army, that lifting the daring hand of S [...]vola, to stab the invader of their liberties in the midst of his troops, that dictated this answer from the Roman people (already reduced to famine) to a powerful invader, "That Porsenna might spare his interposition, and his efforts for the Tarquins, since they were firmly resolved to undergo every species of misery rather than receive the ty­rant and his race." Was it not this spirit that, in later times, vindicated the liberties of the unwarlike people of Flanders §, against the bravest troops and most powerful Monarch in Europe? Such are the heroes, whom liberty inspires, devota morti pectora liberoe ; such are the immortal deeds which she has effected; what then shall she not accomplish?

The more I reflect on the nature of man, or read the histories of nations; the more fully am I convinced of the truth of this observation of the illustrious Sidney's, That li­berty produces virtue, order and stability; while slavery is of necessity accompanied with vice, weakness and misery.

L'aime des grands travaux, l'objet des nobles voeux.
La liberte !

LIBERTY, the life and soul of great pursuits, of noble actions, enlarges the heart and stimulates the understanding. In times of liberty, a man depends upon himself, his elo­quence, integrity, spirit, ingenuity, and every virtue have incentives to kindle and en­flame them, a proper field to display themselves, and to operate to his own emolument and his country's glory. Whether his natural inclination be to the field or the cabinet, to philosophy, or arts, he pursues it with an ardour, which conscious freedom always inspires, and which cannot but crown him with distinguished success. But when slavery has spread its baneful influence over a people, the minds of men are subdued and ener­vated; they depend on their tyrants for what they are pleased to grant them, property, or life or honours, to which they aspire, not by virtue, but by cunning, servility and wickedness*, from whence they soon become habitually vicious, weak and miserable.

It is with perfect propriety then, that Aristotle hath said, a slave can have no virtue; that Longinus has called slavery the prison of the soul, and a public dungeon; that Sir [Page 65] Walter Raleigh, that illustrious ornament of human nature, considered it as a conditi­ [...] [...] much below that of brutes, as to act against reason is worse than to act without * it, in fine, that Cicero, Cato, Cassius and Brutus, thought it an evil, non modo bello, sed morte etiam repellendum .

While the sun of liberty shone on Thebes, it dispelled even the fogs of Boeotia, and ripened into greatness of soul a Pelopidas, an Epaminondas, and a Pindar; and if in 500 years of slavery a Stilico and a Belisarius did arise in that Italy, fertile of heroes while free, they serve but to deepen the horrors of tyranny, the one having been assassinated by his jealous Emperor, the other compelled, by the ungrateful tyrant, to beg better bread through realms his valour saved. During the three centuries from the death of Pisistratus to the time of Alexander, at what a glorious height, in arts and arms, did the Athenians, under the happy influence of liberty, arrive; but how few were the years of slavery which reduced them to weakness, misery and contempt! From the birth of Roman liberty, at the expulsion of the Tarquins, to its total extinction by the death of Brutus, was little more than 500 years. In this period, how glorious was the empire which freedom established, how firm, how happy! What an illustrious train of heroes did this free spirit produce, the Fabii, Fabricii, Decii, Metelli, Scipiones, AEmelii, and others, without number! The immortal Cato has informed us what were the characteristics of this potent republic. Domi industria foris justum imperium, animus in consulendo liber neque delicto neque lubidini obnoxius §. Such was the virtue, order, and stability, which liberty produced, such vital energy did it infuse through the whole body of the state, that it baffled every attempt to overthrow it; stood the impetuous assaults of such dreadful foes as Hannibal and Pyrr [...]us, firm and unshaken; a battle lost, served but to arouse still greater exertions of that vigour, which, animated by a sense of freedom, was invincible. How shall we view the sad reverse which slavery produced, without tears—without detestation! Behold that senate, which appeared to the Ambassador of King Pyrrhus like an Assembly of Gods, whose word set nations free, and quelled the tyranny [Page 66] of Kings*, reduced to be the servile Ministers of arbitrary power over their fellow citizens, to be the wretched spectators and applauders of low obscene shews, with­out power, virtue, dignity or worth. Even so early as the reign of Augustus, had slavery operated with this baneful influence on the senate, nor was the whole Roman people less infected. For now, as an author of insinite erudition observes, "idleness, trifling amusements, tumblers, dancers, races, and wild beasts, occupied the minds of those who had been wont to think of honours, triumphs and laborious virtues."

The Roman name was now no more§, no more that hardy and incorruptible virtue, that called a Cincinnatus from the plough, to be dictator of Rome . The Fabricii and Catones were no more; the epicurean Apicii and Nasideini had occupied their places, feasts and debauchery were substituted for arts and arms.**. The Roman people were already wicked††, they were soon to be weak and miserable; they were soon to groan under the most execrable monsters that ever blackened human nature; Tiberius, Nero, Caligula, Commodus, Caracalla and Domitian. They were to be harrassed with perpetual contentions, under what tyrant they should bleed‡‡; their empire, like a reed, [Page 67] was to be shaken by every assault*, till, after a few miserable centuries, it was to be overturned by Barbarians—falling, like Lucifer, never to rise again; serving only as a dreadful and everlasting monument of the atrocious ills that slavery begets, Shall we not then, my countrymen, combine to oppose this fiend, whenever he shall invade us? Shall we not use every caution, work every nerve, to repel his open, or elude his con­cealed, attacks? Shall we not hold our liberty as the immediate jewel of our souls? Hardily did our forefathers venture into this once savage wild; what animated their attempts and soothed their toils? Liberty: What did they bequeath us? Liberty; Let us then never—never resign it.

That we may secure this valuable blessing, and learn the greatness of its worth, let me, with all respect, earnestly beg leave to recommend to my countrymen, especially the younger part, a thorough acquaintance with those records of illustrious liberty, the histories of Greece and Rome; from whence they will imbibe a just hatred of tyranny and zeal for freedom. Let them study well the godlike actions of those heroes and patriots, whose lives are delivered down to us by Plutarch, that they may be inspired with a glo­rious emulation of those virtues, which have immortalized their names. Let them exa­mine thoroughly and particularly into our own history and constitution, that they may well understand its full force, form and excellence; the methods which bad Princes and wicked Ministers have taken to destroy it, and by what means it has been preserved. These things should be thoroughly considered, we should entertain one another frequent­ly in conversation on these subjects; that we may implant in ourselves a lively sense of liberty and law; and infuse into all around us a generous love for their country and the British constitution §. Such a love as dictated this speech, which ought to enroll its author in that sacred list of patriots, where Timoleon, Cato, Brutus, Cassius, and the first Nassa [...], shine immortal. It is the speech of Sir William Wallace to Bruce, who was soliciting him to gain King Edward's favour by giving up the defence of his country. Vos, said the indignant hero, quibus potior est turpis cum securitate servitus, quam honesta, cum periculo, libertas; istam, quam magni estimatis, fortunam amplectameni: Ego, in patria soepe defensa, liber et libens morear; nec me prius ejus caritas quam vita relinquet . Godlike resolve, patriot approved! Thy grateful country shall un­ceasing [Page 68] ceasing pour blessings and praises on thy name. Such too was the divine spirit which animated our deliverer, the Prince of Orange, when exhorted to make his terms with Lewis XIV. since he could not avoid seeing his country enslaved, he replied firmly, yes, I can, thy dying in the laft ditch. *.

READER, whoe'er thou art, revere these names, and emulate their virtues—Remem­ber Thy lise is not thy own when Rome demands it.


Salus populi suprema lex esto, is a fundamental law; and sure I am, the safety of the commonwealth is ill provided for, if the liberty be given up.

TO the many and great authorities which I adduced in my last, to prove the una­voidable connection between liberty and happiness in a state, I have now subjoined this sentiment of my Lord Bolingbroke. I therefore presume no one will question that position: Indeed I even hope there are few of my countrymen who want much proof to evince a truth, which is, as it were, graved on the heart of every freeman. The end of government is the good of the majority; and when it is diverted to the emolument of one or a few, it then becomes bad, it then becomes, detested be the name, it then becomes a tyranny. When this is vested in one, as in an unlimited monarchy, it is bad, but much more is it to be dreaded when in the hands of many. Thus the Decemviri at Rome, the Thirty at Athens, the Doge and Senate at Venice, were more woeful tyrannies than even that of the Grand Signior; and the most tremendous tyranny that ever existed would be the House of Commons in England, if it were independent of the people; that is, if the seats were for life; filled up when vacant by the members themselves, and they not affected by the laws they made. If they made a law to take away the proper­ty of the people, their own would be untouched; if to endanger the lives of the peo­ple, they themselves would not feel its severity. From the dreadful calamities of such a form of government, if persisted in, there could be no hope of relief but from that which Mr. Locke calls an appeal to Heaven. The people, says he, have by a law, antecedent and paramount to all positive laws of man, reserved that ultimate determination to themselves, which belongs to all mankind, when there lies no appeal on earth, namely, to make their appeal to Heaven, that is, to the sword; and this judgment they cannot part with. The reader will observe, I am supposing what is called the House of Com­mons, to be no longer elected by the people, and therefore no longer their representa­tives; [Page 69] or suppose the House of Lords should say to the people of England, we are your virtual representatives, and therefore have a right to tax you; suppose they were, upon this declaration, to tax them accordingly; what would the people say? They would tell their Lordships that they possessed, and, have ever possessed, a right by the constitution, an unalienable right to chuse representatives, who are their trustees, and are bound in duty and interest to preserve their liberty * and property; with these therefore, and these only, they would trust their property, and not with their Lordships, over whom they had no such restriction; should the Lords persist, the people would without doubt make their last appeal to Heaven. There would not be wanting some, who would stile this rebellion; but (I speak the words of Mr. Sidney) they who seek after truth will find, that there can be no such thing in the world as the rebellion of a whole nation against its magistrates.

BUT I have dwelt too long, perhaps, in supposing miseries, to which I hope the peo­ple of England will never be reduced; that is, I hope they never will taste of the bitter cup of slavery, which they are forcing upon us. When I began this paper, it was with an intention of admonishing my countrymen, or rather lamenting with them on the woeful prospect before us. Our privileges are all virtual, our sufferings are real. We have freeholds, and I read, in the address of the Lords to Queen Anne, that "the right of election, is a legal interest, incident to the freehold, or founded upon custom, or the letters patent of your Majesty's Royal ancestors, or upon particular acts of Parlia­ment;" but our freeholds are all virtually included in the manor of Greenwich; is then the authority exercised over the same virtual freehold in Greenwich? Alas! No. When we are to be taxed, we are in America; when duties are laid upon the commo­dities we purchase from Great-Britain; when our governments are to be suspended, un­less we will be humble, complying, unmurmuring, very, very slaves, we are then in America; but when we are to chuse our representatives, our trustees, who are bound thereby in duty and interest to treat us with the same justice and tenderness, with which they would treat themselves, then, my countrymen, we are unhappily in the manor of Greenwich. Thus, I John Thomas, of the county of Richmond, in Virginia, free­holder, do vote without knowing it, for a burgess in the manor of Greenwich, in Eng­land; which manor I never saw, nor indeed ever heard of before, to lay a duty upon the glass I want to mend my windows in my tenement, on my freehold, in Richmond [Page 70] county, Virginia. This, my countrymen, would, in the days of superstition, have been called witchcraft; but, the gen [...]est of all shepherds, the wisest, virtuousest, dis­creetest, best of all Ministers, Mr. Grenville, calls it a virtual representation. We might have flattered ourselves, that a virtual obedience, would have exactly corresponded with a virtual representation; but it is the ineffable wisdom of Mr. Grenville, to reconcile, what, to our feeble comprehensions, appeared to be contradictions; and therefore a real obedience is required to this virtual power. How does this great man soar above those weaknesses that govern mankind on this earth; truth, justice, wisdom, law, and right? It was not until his compleat triumph over these human weaknesses, that he de­clared America represented in the manor of Greenwich; but who is the representative? Does he know us? Or we him? No. Have we any restriction over his conduct? No. Is he bound in duty and interest to preserve our liberty and property? No. Is he ac­quainted with our circumstances, situation, wants, &c.? No. What then are we to expect from him? Nothing but taxes without end. Unhappy people! We are fallen into that deplorable state in which I supposed the English would be, were they taxed by those whom they did not elect. So vitally injurious would such a power be to the liber­ties of that people, that such of their Kings as were tyrannically disposed, have, through the whole course of their history, been endeavouring to accomplish it; but so sensible were the people of its importance, that they as constantly reclaimed that right by their representatives; till the bill of rights suppressed entirely all such attempts. Thus, Mr. Petit, in his Jus Parliamentarum, asserts that never any imposition was set on by the King out of Parliament, but what was complained of in Parliament; and not one that ever stood after such complaint, but remedy was afforded for it. Even when the British Parliament attempted to tax a part of Britain, which it did not actually represent; the violation of liberty was perceived, reclaimed against, and redressed. And that the in­justice of such proceedings might stand recorded to all futurity, it is set forth in the statutes 34 and 5, H. VIII, in these words, "that the inhabitants of Durham and Chester, having neither Knight ne Burgess in the Parliament of Westminster, for the lack thereof have been oftimes touched and grieved with acts and statutes, made within the said court, as well derogatory unto the most antient jurisdictions, liberties and privileges of your said county palatine (and of Durham) as prejudicial unto the commonwealth, quietness, rest and peace of your Grace's most bounded subjects inhabiting in the same." Such was the sacred reverence paid to the rights and liberties of the subject! But if the people of the counties of Durham and Chester, so nearly connected with those who voted for the representative, whose circumstances might so easily be known, were yet touched and grieved by the acts of that representative; how much more shall we be injured, who are remote, unknown, unfriended, unsopported? Shall we not be touched to the quick? Shall we not be grieved to the heart? Will not our jurisdictions, liber­ties, and privileges, be totally violated? Shall we not sink into slaves? O liberty! O virtue! O my country!

My Lord CAMDEN has justly and emphatically observed, that there is not a blade of grass in Great-Britain but what is represented; for what unheard of crime is it, [Page 71] that not a blade of grass in America is represented? What can prevent us from being treated with all the severity which the cruel rapacity of a wicked Minister may dictate, If we be once subjected to an authority unlimited and unrestrained? Every needy de­pendent on the Minister will be immediately provided for in America, new places will be framed, new, endless, and insupportable taxes will be laid upon us, for their support, rendering us the slaves of slaves. When Sir Robert Walpole was endeavouring to ex­tend the excise in England, Mr. Pulteney, after having shewed [...]ow fatal it would be to the liberties of the people, to what misery and contempt it would reduce them, to what dangerous excess it would extend the influence of the Minister, adds, "Nay, Sir, I do not know but some of us may live to see some vain overgrown Minister of State, driving along the streets, with six Members of Parliament behind his coach*." In like manner I think it not at all improbable, that, under this new system, a Minister will be waited upon at table by half a dozen American Governor [...]; while their deputies are exercising us with the iron rod of extortion. I can conceive that it would give the malignant heart of Grenville infinite pleasure, to be thus avenged by sending his foot­men to tread upon the necks, and grind the faces of those people, whose spirit once dis­appointed his oppressive purposes; and held him up to infamy and cotempt. Some perhaps may flatter themselves, this will never be the case; but I would ask them, on what ground they cherish this hope, or where is the security in this new model of our con­stitution, against all the ignominy and evils of tyranny? For it is most certain that wicked Ministers do frequently exist, and that a government (as Mr. Fletcher has before ob­served) is not only a tyranny when tyrannically exercised; but also when there is no sufficient caution in the constitution that it may not be used tyrannically. Where is this caution in ours?

LET me then again exhort my countrymen, over the whole continent, that they instruct their representatives to draw up a petition of rights, and never desist from the sollici­tation till it be confirmed into a bill of rights. Then, and then only, will there be truly such a thing as American freedom; then oly shall we be safe from those ills which ty­ranny pours down upon its wretched vassals. From which, may GOD of his infinite mercy, preserve us.

P. S. As the right of election is the very pillar of our constitution; I hope the following explanation of it, by Sir Joseph Jekyll, a very learned and able lawyer, will not be unacceptable. I take the right, says he, of every elector in England to accrue to him by the common law, for he is under one or other these qualifications: Either [...]e is a freeholder, and then he has a right to vote for knights of the shi [...]e; or he has a right by charter, or a right by prescription; which two last rights take in the right of noting in all cities and boroughs. Now I would be glad to know whether the right of a freeholder is not by the common law? Whether a right by charter is not by common law? Is it not that law that enables the Crown to grant charters and qualifies that power? Whether a right by prescription is not by the common law? Is not prescription [Page 72] common usage? And is the common law any thing but common usage? The freeholder's right of voting is of the essence of his freehold, and you may as well take away his freehold, as take away the right of voting, which he has by virtue of that freehold, &c. Now I proceed to observe, that were the House of Commons in England our real representative, they could not, of right, either take away, or did in taking away from us this right; for this right of election, being the very pillar of our constitution, it cannot be removed without destruction to the constitution itself, and surely the repre­sentative is chosen not to subvert or aid in subverting, but to support the constitution; and it manifestly is the highest inconsistency to suppose the people would chuse trustees to take from them that very right by which they chose them. It is a right which the people cannot give away, it is truly a divine right, prior and paramount to all laws, and which may be modelled, but cannot be resigned. How truly contemptible then, how throughly wicked is that Grenvillean idea, that a virtual representative can rightfully take the privilege of electing from the people of America?


Potior visa est periculosa libertas, quieto servitio.
Liberty procured with danger, seemed preferable to slavery with case.

IN my preceding papers, I have endeavoured to warn my countrymen of the danger that threatens their liberties. I have proved, from the sentiments of the greatest men of all ages, and from the histories of nations, how necessarily virtue, happiness and strength, attend a free government; and that weakness, vice, ignominy and wretch­edness, are the unavoidable concomitants of slavery. I have farther taken the liberty of suggesting to my countrymen, the necessity of instructing their representatives to petition to our most Gracious Sovereign against the late acts of the British Parliament; which are destructive of the rights and liberties of the British colonies in America. And I shall now proceed to offer the outlines of the instructions, which it is incumbent on the people, as they value the liberty their forefathers bequeathed them, to give their repre­sentatives.

1. That we the freeholders or electors of the—country or—borough, are fully sensible, that the privilege, which we have always possessed, of electing our own representatives, to raise taxes, or levy money upon us, as the exigencies of go­vernment shall require, and we are able to supply, is essentially necessary to our free­dom: So that without this privilege, we must inevitably be slaves.

2. That we regard every attempt to take this privilege from us, or to injure us for not resigning it, as in the highest manner oppressive and unjust.

[Page 73] 3. That we consider such attempts made upon any one colony, equally interesting to every British colony in America.

4. We therefore recommend it to you, in the most earnest manner, by the regard you have for our liberties and rights, with which we have now intrusted you, to do your utmost in the next Assembly, towards having petitions drawn up to our most Gracious King against the late acts of the British Parliament, for billeting soldiers in America, for suspending the government of New-York and for laying certain duties, for the pur­pose of raising money on glass, paper, paint, &c. imported into America from Great­Britain.

5. We think, and shall always think, that any impositions whatever laid upon us by the British Parliament, which does not and cannot represent us, are absolutely destructive of our liberty.

6. We therefore recommend it to you, that you endeavour to have these our sen­timents formed into a petition of rights; or in any other manner that shall seem, to your wisdom, most proper to procure their being established into a bill of rights; to the end that we may no more be alarmed with invasions of our liberties, but rest in peace, each man under his own vine, and each man under his own [...]ig-tree.

7. We again heartily recommend the utmost attention to these our most important concerns; and we promise to support you, in the prosecution of these measures, to the utmost of our abilities.

These I think are the necessary heads of the instructions, which ought to be given to all the representatives of the people in America. They specify what we feel to be our rights, and what have been the invasions of them; they recommend to our repre­sentatives, to petition against these violations, and to endeavour the preventing them for the future; lastly, they promise them a just support in this business.

It has been objected to this method of petitioning, that it will probably be ineffec­tual; and this supposition is founded upon the fate of our petitions and remonstrances against the Stamp-Act. The disregard they met with, it is thought, will fall upon these, But I must beg leave to think there is no validity in this objection; because the cir­cumstances of things is entirely altered. The affairs of America were then neither at all understood; nor in the least regarded. I remember to have heard some considerable members say in the lobby, during the debates on the repeal of the Stamp-Act, that, though they were in the House when it first passed, yet they did not pay so much atten­tion to the reading as to hear what the bill contained. It is not so now; the affairs of America have become the object of national attention; and I am confident, the A­merican petitions will not be again treated so cavalierly, nay, I would venture to assert, that no Minister will dare to imitate the violence of Mr. Grenville, in suppressing or withholding these petitions. I must observe further on this head, that two things more contributed to the rendering those petitions abortive; one was, that the colonies were not by any means unanimous in sending them; the other was, that either through want of proper Instructions, or though neglect of them, the affair was not properly managed at home, VIRGI [...]A was, I think, the only colony that remonstrated and [Page 74] petitioned at first; few only did so at all; and therefore the general sense of the colo­nies, expressed by their Assemblies, will hardly meet with the same fate. Either no instructions were sent, directing our remonstrances and petitions to be made public, or they were not complied with in time; and this omission had the fatal effect of prejudi­cing the people of England against our proceedings. They thought us violent and dis­respectful in making such spirited resolves, and opposing the execution of the Stamp-Act, without previously petitioning against it. Innumerable times did I hear this ur­ged against the Americans; which would not have happened, had our remonstrances and petitions been made public. The people of England are candid, just, and generous; under the influence of passion, they may act repugnant to this character, but otherwise I am confident they never will; I am confident they will applaud our conduct, when they perceive we are vindicating our liberties, in a respectful, tho' firm and spirited manner, in the manner that they themselves began to reclaim their own, in the time of James I. The voice of the people of England has that weight with the administra­tion, which the voice of every free people ought to have; it has great weight; and therefore care should be taken to render it favourable, which a fair appeal to them, will, in consequence of that nobleness of nature which distinguishes them, generally ob­tain. I do not wish to injure those Gentlemen who serve the colonies as agents; but it is notorious, that many of them were our enemies in the affair of the Stamp-Act: some of them, I know, were outrageously such. I think it my Duty to admonish my country­men of this, that they may not trust these very important concerns to those, who, from the nature of things, cannot be sufficiently interested in them, and of whose abilities we cannot be proper judges. I submit it to their consideration, whether we might not reasonably expect more success from men chosen from among ourselves; on whose known wisdom, integrity and spirit, we might safely roly.

I WILL beg the reader to indulge me a little longer, while I touch upon the right of constituents to instruct their representatives. It has been lately denied that they have such a right. I say, lately, that is, since the system of corruption, which is now arrived at so dangerous a heighth, began first to predominate in our constitution. Then it was, that arbitrary Ministers, and their prostituted dependents, began to maintain this doctrine, dangerous to our liberty, that the representatives were independent of the people. This was necessary to serve their own tyrannical and selfish purposes; it was therefore called by Sir John Barnard and others, a new and wicked Doctrine: "It is, Sir," said Sir William Wyndh [...]em, "not only a new doctrine, but it is the most monstrous, the most flavish doctrine, that was ever heard, and such a doctrine as I hope no man will ever dare to support within these walls.*."

MY Lord Coke, in his institutes, says, "it is also a law and custom of Parliament, that when any new device is moved in the King's behalf in Parliament, for his aid, or the like, the Commons may answer, that they tendered the King's estate, and are rea­dy to aid the same, only in this new device they dare not agree without conference with their countries; whereby it appeareth that such conference is warrantable by the law [Page 75] and custom of Parliament." He has cited an instance of this in the Parliament held the 9th of Edward III. and Mr. Petit, in his Jus Parliamentarium, has given a­nother precedent of it in the 13th year of the same reign. It appears then, that by the constitution, the representatives ought not to agree to any new device, before they have taken the sentiments of their constituents; and why agree to any old device? Because they are supposed to have received already the instructions of the people. The constitution therefore supposes the Knight or Burgess always to receive the instructions of his constituents, before he acts; and surely, when these are received, it would be the highest absurdity to suppose the member was not bound by them, for this would be to set the opinion and interests of one man against those of thousands; which would be absurd, ruinous, and unjust. It is, without question, but common justice, that they who are to feel the effects of any measure, should direct in the conduct of it, otherwise they would be slaves and wretched tools; the representatives are trustees for their constituents, to transact for them the business of government; and therefore I presume it is, that the writ runs, to serve in Parliament; and for this service, they, like all other agents, were paid by their constituents; 'til they found it more advantageous to fell their voices in Parliament, and then it was they broached this monstrous doctrine, and wished to become independent of the people. I hope the origin of this opinion will suffice to condemn it; the right of the people to instruct, must have began with the constitution, because it is necessary to that freedom which is the essence of it, and is founded in the laws of justice, which are eternal and immutable; and when this right is taken from us, we may justly complain, as Demesthenes did for the Athenians, "that the representative has now usurped the right of the people, and exercises an ar­bitrary authority over his antient and natural lord*." Nor is there any one instance in which the people have abused this right, or reason to apprehend they will ever do it; they act from what they feel; and when that feeling is general, it must be real:

"The Nobility and Gentry," says Mr. Addison, "have so many private expectations, and particular interests, that hang like a false b [...]ass upon their judgments, and may possibly dispose them to sacrifice the good of their country to the advancement of their own fortunes; whereas the gross of the people can have no other prospect in changes and revolutions, than of public blessings, that are to diffuse themselves through the whole state in general."

FOR these reasons, I hold it to be an antient and unalienable right in the people, to instruct their representatives; nor has it any weight with me, that Mr. Blackstone, in his commentary on the law of England, has asserted the contrary; since he founds his opinion on that fiction, of a person's being, after he is elected, the representative of the whole kingdom, and not of a particular part. The sophistry of this argument is sufficiently manifest, and has been fully exploded. The British constitution is not to be new-modelled by every Court Lawyer; any more than the liberties of America [Page 76] are to be reasoned down, or wafted away from us, by the silver tongue, or venal breath of a Court judge*.


Ad reipublic [...] firmandas & stabiliendas vires, sanandos populos, omnis nostra p [...]rgit oratio.
CICERO de Legibus.
The aim of these papers is to establish the rights of the colonies, to provide for their strength and welfare, upon a sure and solid foundation.

WHEN I earnestly recommend to my countrymen in America, the instructing their real representatives to petition to our most Gracious Sovereign against those late acts of the British Parliament, which infringe our liberties, and for a confirmation of those rights, which we have hitherto uninterruptedly possessed, I comply perfectly, in my judgment, with the profession made in this motto. For these acts tending to make all property among us precarious, to expose us to vice, violence and contempt, are but too manifestly inconsistent with our strength or welfare; and a confirmation of our rights, would establish them on a sure and solid foundation, so as to merit the title of the Magna Charta Americana. What were the means, by which our forefathers in England obtained their Magna Charta, I do not stop here to enquire; it is privileges which they had long enjoyed; and what was therefore in justice their due. The rights we claim, have been our uninterrupted possession for upwards of an hundred years. I say uninterrupted; for otherwise our rights are as old as the British constitution, since we are the direct and lineal descendants of Britons. Our American forefathers had there­fore no absolute occasion for charters to confirm their liberties to us their descendants, as it must have been concluded that we were in course entitled to them; but they justly considered, that a possession so dear as liberty could not be guarded with too much se­curity. This consideration is a sufficient answer to those, who conclude our privileges to be null and void, because they were held from the Royal charter; which, say they, it is not in the power of prerogative to grant* these charters are not grants of new rights, but in confirmation of old ones; nor is it worth disputing whether prerogative could grant them; it would be enough for us, that prerogative did grant them, that the Parliament acquiesced in the grant, and that the free people of Britain acted under the security [Page 77] of that grant. Surely the [...] [...] could not be deemed consistent with the laws of honour or justice, that the Parliament [...] [...]ould suffer the people to be deluded by a nu­gatory grant; that they should [...], at least, these charters, under the security of which, the first settlers might be tempted to divest themselves of the real liberties they possessed in Great-Britain. The very supposition is in the highest manner dero­gatory of the credit, and injurious to the honour of Parliament; and therefore cannot be admitted. But this supposition, wretched as it is, will become still more contempti­ble, when we reflect, that the last of these charters was granted in the reign of George the Second, when there remained little doubt concerning the nature of the British con­stitution, the liberties of the people, or the power of prerogative, since the bill of rigths had, long before that period, fixed them upon the same determined principles by which they have ever since been governed. And this last charter, has reserved to the Americans the same privileges, and in the same words, as hath the first in the reign of James the First. What? Were all the Parliaments, from that period to this, asleep, that they suffered prerogative thus to usurp their rights; till Grenville and his patriotic party awakened this Parliament to reclaim them?

OF the same leaven is that supposition, that these liberties were never intended or thought of in those charters. Have words then no meaning, or are they to give up their meaning, like we our liberties, to please the accomplished Mr. Grenville? The words are reserving to the Americans, the privileges, immunities, franchises and liber­ties of British subjects, as if born within the realm of Britain. Could words so ex­press, so positive as these, be without meaning? Could they fail being perfectly under­stood, by those who granted and those who received the charters? To imagine then that the first settlers did not understand these words, in the sense of giving their pro­perty by their own consent, expressed by themselves, or their representatives, which was the well known ground of British liberty, when, agreeably to this acceptation, they immediately chose representatives to tax them, and who have continued solely to lay impositions upon them, is a supposition that deserves only to be mentioned, that it may be despised. It is like all the rest of Grenville's sophistry, most contemptible; indeed I have often lamented, that Mr. Grenville's speech, in support of the Stamp-Act, was not printed, as well as Mr. Pitt's against it. The wretched sophistry, with which he endeavoured to prove the legitimacy of his hideous offspring, seemed to me the strongast mark of its being spurious. How strange, how very strange it is, that a wise, a free, a generous people, should ever have been influenced by a man, who never, in any one act of his administration, shewed either wisdom or virtue; and whose chief charac­teristic, is the being obstinately wedded to his own weak, confined and wicked politics! Strange that they do not see their own liberties embarked in the s [...]me bottom with ours; and that the violence which sinks the one, must overwhelm the other. When our rights are thus plain and indubitable, our case becomes general, and Britain her­self is interested in the support of it: Whenever our liberties are laid low, their rights [Page 78] and privileges will not be be of long duration; whenever any impious man shall dare to impose shackles upon us, their hands will not long remain unsettered.

The liberties then of our forefathers, were coeval with the British constitution, they were confirmed by various Kings, and recognized by various Parliaments; we then my countrymen are free: And let us tell our brethren in Britain, that we are free; let us tell it with a spirit becoming those who claim so noble a brotherhood; with a British spirit, than which a nobler never yet animated a free people!

IN looking forward, to the very probable consequences of a peaceable acquiescence under the late assumed authority of the British Parliament, I shudder with apprehension. Our money only is seized upon now, to relieve the debt of Great-Britain; and will not our youth be ravaged from us next to fight her battles, in the fields of Germany, or in the Indian ocean? Will not a press-gang be our next scourge? I see already men torn from their weeping and distressed families, without hope, without redress, never to re­turn, by an unrelenting, lawless crew, unbridled by our own civil and legislative au­thority, and wantonly cruel in the execution of despotic power. I see every endearing tie of father, husband, son and brother, torn asunder, unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev­ed. I see my weeping country, worn down with reiterated sorrows and alarms, implor­ing aid, peace, respite, or revenge: Alas! In vain, her youthful sons are now no more, fallen in foreign wars and on unhospitable shores; nothing but feeble age remains to mix his unavailing tears with hers. Gods! Are we men, and shall we suffer the foundation to be laid for miseries like these; shall we look tamely on while the yoke is fixed upon us, under which we must for ever groan? We and our posterity forever. Shall we thus devote ourselves and them to the malice of private lurking informers, and the hateful insults of petty authority; to be hunted like beasts of prey, like murderers and felons; our property, our liberty, our happiness given up to Ministers, who having grown savage in the exercise of despotism, shall contrive for us new hardships, new op­pressions, and tyrannize without measure, without fear, without mercy. Even in Eng­land, a Minister has been found daring and wicked enough to propose in Parliament, that authority should be given to the officers of press-gangs of break into any house, and at any time, and carry off any one who was said to be a sailor, to make it punishable for any one to conceal such men, and to put them to their own oath, to prove the facts for which they were to suffer. And this bill, fraught as it was with cruelty and oppression, could hardly be rejected by the universal indignation expressed against it, by all the efforts of patriotism and powers of eloquence, such as even Cicero and Demosthenes never excelled. What shall we then, who are unrepresented, unfriended and unheard ex­pect? Shall we hope a Minister so wicked and so daring will never live? Vain hope, even now he lives. Mr. Pitt's speech informs us that Sir Robert Walpole, daring and wicked as he was, did not dare to tax America. But he who has dared, has wickedly dared to tax her, lives still, he lives to see his measures adopted, asserted and executed; and he may live to propose successfully an impress bill for America. When such a bill, tyrannical in itself, and parental of tyranny in others, giving considence to the arrogant, and security to the cruel, shall have passed; then must we prepare to see our property [Page 79] ravished from us, our houses broke open, our wives, our daughters, violated, ourselves torn from the tenderness and caresses of our families, and dragged, with every circum­stance of violence and barbarity, ot hardships, labour, insults, and oppression. So will the tyrant or his minions doom; such are the ills which tyranny invents, and slavery must bear; ills, which cannot be heard without indignation, nor thought of without horror.* If there be yet any among my countrymen, who doubt whether Grenville himself would be capable of such atrocious cruelties, let such bethink them how necessary a part of his plan a press-bill is, to continue us in that weakness, which having once admitted, will always confirm his tyranny. The taking from us our youth, and strength, will rivet the chains, which the giving and granting our property must impose upon us. Even those who

Counsel, ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,

flatter themselves, that when we grow stronger, we shall shake off the yoke. Delusive hope! Will the tyrannous minister suffer us to grow stronger? Does slavery give strength? Have I not shewn that the fabric which liberty rears to beauty, strength and grandeur, by slavery is soon defaced and ruined? We have indeed grown strong, and flourished to amazement, for our years; but why? Because the unquestioned enjoy­ment of liberty and property, drew emigrants to us in troops: but when these attrac­tions are no more, when, in their stead, grim tyranny shall rear his hideous form, who is it that will approach him? Then, when an American and a slave are one, who is it that will voluntarily seek bondage in America? If any man be yet inclined to leave his liberty at mercy, and trust in the justice and humanity of great men, let them read the list of bribes, for which the Chancellor Bacon set justice to sale; let him examine the impeachments of the Chief-Justice Tressilian, and the rest of the judges, the cam­paign of Jess;rey's and the administration of Sir Robert Walpole ; then blush at his credulity, and retract his error.

SOME there are, who acknowledging, for who can deny it, the violation of our li­berties, yet think there is a necessity of submitting to it. Necessity, absolute necessity, is a formidable sound; well calculated to awe the weak into silence, and terrify the ti­mid into submission. But, for my part, I cannot conceive the necessity of becoming a slave, while there remains a ditch in which one may die free; nor can I well imagine a greater necessity ever to exist, than that which impended over the Athenians, from Xerxes, and his million, over the starving Romans, from a powerful besieger, over the [Page 80] unwarlike people of Flanders, from veteran troops, and a very potent Monarch, or than that which now operates upon the Corsicans, from the French and Gen [...]ese, upon the Georgians, from the mighty force of the Turkish empire. They who know that the battle is not always to the strong, nor the race to the swift, will not pay a very ready acquiescence to formidable words, and consident assertions. But, where is the necessity that withholds us from carrying the sufferings of the innocent, and the injuries of the oppressed, to the foot of the throne? That throne, whose supports are justice and mercy, that throne, from whence our most gracious Sovereign has already promised us, that he will maintain the liberties and rights of all his subjects. I counsel not se­ditions and tumultuous opposition, but a clear and respectful representation of our rights and grievances, with an humble petition for relief. And I rely on the known grace and justice of his Majesty, for redress, on the virtue of the free people of England, for encouragement and approbation. But in no event must our liberties be given up; our liberties, which like the hairs of the strong man, are the seat of our strength; if these therefore be shorn away, it will be then in vain to cry out The Philistines be upon you.


Oppression, tyranny, and power usurp'd,
Draw all the vengeance of his arm upon them.

WHY, my friend, said a Gentleman the other day, do you employ your time in writing on Liberty, which may possibly bring you into some difficulties or dan­ger; when you might use it so much more to your own emolument?—Because Li­berty is the very idol of my soul, the parent of virtue, the nurse, of heroes, the dispen­ser of general happiness; because slavery is the monstrous mother of every abominable vice, and every atrocious ill; because the liberties of my country are invaded, and in danger of entire destruction, by the late acts of the British Parliament; because I would with joy be the sacrifice to the re-establishment of them, upon a sure and solid founda­tion. Very many there are, infinitely more able than myself, to support the rights of their country, and why they comply not with this most cogent of all duties, I cannot divine. Perhaps they think not with me, that it is the duty of every man to pay the tribute of speaking out, to his country; to rouse the spirit of Liberty, to protest against what he cannot prevent, and claim, without ceasing, what he cannot by his own strength recover. And, surely no mortal can aspire to a higher station, or to greater [Page 81] glory, than that of being, on every occasion, the support of good, the controul of bad government, and the guardian of public liberty.

WHEN I consider the willingness and alacrity with which the people resign the greatest part of the fruits of their labour, for the ease and luxury, of their Gover­nors; for which they expect, in neturn, protection to their persons, and security in the free use of the remaining pittance; I am fired with indignation at the ingratitude and wickedenss of those who, envying them the free enjoyment even of that pittance, would urge them still further, endeavour arbitrarily to extort from them the last far­thing, and have their persons at devotion, who would put saddles upon the backs, and bridles in the mouths of the rest of the community, that they themselves might secure­ly spur and goad them, as the wantonness of vice, the insatiability of avarice, or the atrociousness of cruelty may suggest. These are the views of [...]yrants and their mi­nions, these were the views of him who devised the Stamp-Act for America, and the rest of those acts, of which we are now complaining. We have ever contributed both in men and money, with the utmost of our abilities, to the support of government; but we have done it constitutionally, by our own consent, given in our several assm­blies to the requisitions of our Sovereign; what then do these new acts aim at, but the extorting from us, as slaves, the remainder of that which we gave, as freemen? The abolishing, or what is the same, the rendering our Assemblies nugatory and useless, by vesting the disposal of our property, and the arbitration of our liberty, and the dispen­sation of justice, in a British Minister, and British Parliament. That we may be reined and spurred at will, that our properties, our lives, and every thing that is dear and sacred among men, may be at the absolute disposal of those, who, instead of be­ing under any controul from us, under any necessity to treat us with tenderness and prudence, will have all the incitements that can urge men, inflamed by power, mis [...]ed by folly, and stimulated by ambition, to exhaust us with absurd or continual exactions, and sink us down with merciless and unremitting oppressions.

Is any imagination capable of conceiving a people more absolute, more abject slaves, than when they are taxed, not only without their consent, but directly contrary to their express will? Yet this must be the state of the Americans, if taxed by the Bri­tish Parliament, when they chuse representatives for that purpose. The very idea of it is absurd, is monstrous, big with iniquity, stupidity, and evil; nor is it wonderful, that more than an hundred years should have passed away, before the man was born who could devise so vile a complication of tyranny and folly.

THE attempt of any Minister, to take from us the right of giving our money by our own consent, (of which, from long experience we know the value, and how essential it is to our freedom) to annihilate our own representative, and constitute an unlimited authority over us, deserves surely no better treatment, than that of being branded as tyrannous and foolish. Taxing us against our express will, is adding insult to oppres­sion; doing it without our consent, is taking from us at once all [...] property. For what property can I have in that, which another may take from me, rightfully, with­out my consent? "To tax me, without consent, is little better, if at all, than down­right [Page 82] robbing me. I am sure the great patriots of liberty and property, the free people of England cannot think of such a thing but with abhorrence*."

THERE are some who think, they fully justify this oppression on the Americans, by saying, there are great numbers of people in Great-Britain, who never vote for a re­presentative, yet are taxed by the British Parliament. This, as sophistry often does, seems to carry weight with it; but it is a mere petitio principio, a begging the question. We are not contending that our rabble, or all unqualified persons, shall have the right of voting, or not be taxed; but that the freeholders, and electors, whose right accrues to them from the common law, or from charter, shall not be deprived of that right; and, let any man shew me one instance in Great-Britain, where a man, so qualified, does not vote for a representative? Is it not then most pitiful, most detestable sophistry, to tell us, that because there are a number of people in Great-Britain, who are, by the constitution, unqualified to vote for a representative, and yet are taxed, therefore all the people in America, who are qualified, shall be treated in the same manner? This is truly Grenvillian reasoning, a confusion of absurdity and injustice, too flagrant to be extenuated, too gross to admit of exaggeration. When such arguments are used, to justify the usurpation of our liberties, it is surely time for the people of Eng­land to be alarmed, lest, when tyranny, which, from its nature, knows no bounds, be­comes unsatiated with despotic rule in America, the same argument should be turned upon them, and an arbitrary Minister should say, that, as one third of the people of Bri­tain have been long taxed, without their consent, it can be no injury or injustice to re­duce the rest to the same condition. And, certainly, the having enslaved America, under the shadow of such reasoning, will be no feeble precedents for trying its efficacy in Great-Britain. It is true, nothing but force will ever accommodate it to our com­prehensions here; and a standing army, artfully increased, or maintained in America, may one day give it the same weight there. Certain it is, that the British grandeur and constitution, stands or falls with us; we are her natural and necessary support, and when we fall, it must be like the strong man, embracing the pillars of her constitution, and its ruins will follow us.

SOME of my countrymen seem to think, that as we are weak, we should be silent; and endeavour, by manufacturing for ourselves, to convince Great-Britain of our im­portance to her prosperity; and therefore induce her to treat us with more tenderness, justice and respect.

BUT they must pardon me, for differing with them; for, though I am well satisfied that we might supply ourselves with manufactures, and thereby give a very sensible [Page 83] wound to the trade of Britain, yet this is but an inadequate method of vindicating our rights. Our view should be to re-establish our constitution; not to injure or quar­rel with the people of Britain: And when I have advised the forming associations for the encouragement of manufactures, it was chiefly with this intention, that if the inex­orable severity of Britain should refuse us redress, we might not be absolutely depen­dent upon her for the necessaries of life. The bond of union between Great-Britain and America, is support from us, protection from her; should we no longer continue to supply her with raw materials, and consume her manufactures, that union would be dissolved. I therefore cannot think this method altogether eligible, neither do I con­ceive it adequate. For, to what purpose shall we save money, which others may take away at pleasure?

THE Farmer has already, in his very useful letters, developed, with great sagacity, the designs and tendency of the late act concerning America; and he has, with equal perspicuity, and political learning, warned us of their consequences, and exhorted us against permitting encroachments; which, however small at first, will soon be drawn into precedents for the most dangerous and oppressive invasions of Liberty. Suffer me to add my feeble voice to his, and exhort you to suppress the disease in its infancy; lest it arrive to a degree of violence, dangerous in its effects, and uncertain in its re­medy.

IT is easy to shew, that the right assumed by any one of the three acts of Parlia­ment, already specified, if given up, would be sufficient to enslave us. As the influ­ence of money and places, generally procures to the Minister a majority in Parliament, in the conduct even of British affairs, it will certainly be secure in those of America: This right may therefore be considered, as in the Crown and its Minister.

LET us suppose, then, that the Minister possessed the right alone of forming a reve­nue by duties, upon goods imported from Great-Britain; what would be the conse­quence? Either that we must cease to take any goods whatever from Britain, and therefore dissolve the union between us; or, the Minister would have it in his power to raise money upon us at pleasure. Our Assemblies would then be of no use, we should have no restraint upon the Crown, no method of ingratiating ourselves with our Sovereign, by granting him aids; the Crown would have obtained a perpetual revenue from us, which the Commons of Britain know would be so injurious to their liberties, that they have ever guarded against it with unremitting vigilance. Under the influence of such a right, we should experience the fate of the Roman people, in the deplo­rable times of their slavery, and be sleeced by every exaction which the ingenuity of tax-gatherers could devise*; and we should, like that miserable people, pay tributes, not by law and reason, but at the will of the Ministerdagger. We should be slaves.

[Page 84] BUT if we possessed, as we ought, the right of granting money for a revenue, by our own Assemblies only; and the Minister had either that of supporting and quartering troops upon us at will, or of suspending our legislature at his pleasure, we should, in the same manner, be reduced to slavery; for, unless our elections are free, they are useless; and, how easy it would be for a Minister to force and form them to his own purposes, with troops at his devotion, is self evident. The Parliament of Britain has therefore taken care to enact that no troops shall ever be near the places of their elec­tion. In a similar manner, would the suspending power operate to force the voice of the representative body, tho' freely chosen, so that the Crown and its Minister, would, by this single right, be arbitrary in America. It is such a power as this, that renders the Parliament of France useless to the people, and enables their Monarch to rule without controul. In short, freedom in electing our members, who shall, with a free voice, give our consent to the taxes laid upon us, is an indispensable requisite to the pre­servation of our liberty; it is the essence of our constitution, and every attempt to vi­olate it, is dangerous and alarming.

WE, therefore, my countrymen, must never cease to remonstrate against every such attempt; and to claim our rights without fear or intermission; we must imitate the il­lustrious example of the British Barons, in their

Nolumus leges Anglioe mutari.
We will not have the constitution chang'd.


"The legislative power must not raise taxes on the property of the people, without the consent of the people, given by themselves, or their deputies."
LOCKE on Government, chap. xi.

MR. LOCKE, one of the clearest reasoners the world has yet seen, and who seems first to have taught men precision in thinking, has, in the words above, laid down, clearly and explicitly, the principle of freedom in the British constitution; taxation by representation only. This essential right, inherent, unalienably inherent, in the people, or their representative, is wrested from us by the late acts, and, to shew how absolute the slavery is, to which we must submit, the tax is perpetual, and the produce of it is to be remitted home, there to be disposed of by the Crown, without any controul from the people, by whom it is paid, or by their representative.

OUR property, thus taken from us, without our consent, nay, contrary to our ex­press will, for ever too, and submitted to the uncountrouled disposal of the Crown, or [Page 85] its Minister; what further aggravation can be added? What injury, what indignity, more? The measure of slavery (as far as money is concerned) is now full; and there wants the humble acquiescence only of these colonies, to pour its bitterness upon us, without mercy, and without end.

THE right of the representative of the people, to enquire into the manner in which the taxes raised by them on their constituents have been disposed of by the executive part of government, that is, by the Crown, or its Minister, is also essential to liberty and good government. Without this right, taxes would more frequently serve to make Ministers wicked, and enable them to vitiate and corrupt the government, than they would answer the purposes for which they were [...]aised. The representative of the peo­ple of Great-Britain, do possess this important privilege; and, why the colonies are not to possess it, can only be, because they are not to be free.

I SHALL now lay before my countrymen, those parts of the act, for laying duties on the goods we consume, which demonstrate the plenitude of that power asserted over us.

WE, your Majesty's most dutiful subjects, the Commons of Great-Britain, have re­solved to give and grant unto your Majesty, the several rates and duties herein after mentioned; and do most humbly beseech your Majesty, that it may be enacted, and be it enacted, &c. that from and after the twentieth day of November, 1767, there shall be raised, levied, collected, and paid, unto his Majesty, his heirs and successors, for, and upon the respective goods herein after mentioned, which shall be imported from Great-Britain, into any colony or plantation in America, which now is, or hereafter may be, under the dominion of his Majesty, his heirs, or successors, the several rates and duties following, &c. &c. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that his Majesty, and his successors, shall be, and are hereby empowered, from time to time, by any warrant, or warrants, under his, or their royal sign manual, or sign manuals, countersigned by the high treasurer, or any three or more of the commissi­oners of the treasury, for the time being, to cause such monies to be applied, out of the produce of the duties granted by this act, as his Majesty, or his successors, shall think proper or necessary, for the defraying the charges of the administration of justice, and the support of the civil government, within all, or any of the said colonies or plantations.

THE injuries and oppressions with which this act alone is fraught, are manifest from a bare recital of these parts. Has not the administration of government been always suffi­ciently provided for by the colonies themselves, in a constitutional manner: Where then was the propriety of invading our rights, and innovating upon the constitution for this purpose? Have we given any late instances of such folly or stupidity, that it might be justly concluded, we could not discern the exigencies of government; or, discerning, would not have capacity or inclination to answer them? I think, I may safely defy the framers and abettors of these acts, to prove this upon us. Why then are we deprived of that check, which we had upon government, arising from that right? Surely, for no other reason, but because we are no longer to be free.

[Page 86] THE advocates for this act, (who happily are indeed but very few) support it upon this principle, that the Parliament has a right to lay duties upon her own manufactures. The subterfuges of sophistry and injustice, are as endless as they are futile. Let these Gentlemen shew me where an import duty on British commodities was ever laid by the British Parliament on any other people, but the Americans. Yet unless they can do this, the instance is inapplicable. But what would the Spaniards think, were the Parliament of Britain to lay certain import duties on the British cloth imported into Spain; and for the purpose of a revenue to support the civil government of Spain? Gentlemen chuse to forgèt the purposes of this act, when they undertake to justify it; but they will presently hear of further purposes in it. still more abhorrent from our rights. In the mean time, I think, a wise friend to Great-Britain, would not be forward in establishing this practice of a native's laying what duties she pleased even on her own exports; since, under the shadow of this right, the Swede and the Dane might raise intolerable exactions on Great-Britain, for their hemp and iron; to which she must either submit, or the British fleet would be rendered use­less*.

THIS act is also defended upon precedent; a duty, it is said, has been laid on Ma­deira wine, and we have submitted to it. What then?—Can precedent reverse the nature of right? Can it change the eternal laws of justice? Can precedent support that, which justice abandons? It is true, precedent, or long usage, give a [...]ind of ve­neration to what is right, and makes it more forcible, not because it is more just, but because its utility also may be justly inferred from its antiquity: But never can it make that right, which is in its nature wrong, or vindicate injustice from impeachment. Look back into the English history, and you will find that every right of freedom that people possesses, has been occasionally violated; and shall it be therefore pleaded, on precedent, that they have no rights? This would indeed be the plea of M—s—d and G—v—le, to sanctify the despotism they are executing over America; and meditating over Britain. It has already been embraced by the artful Mr. Hume, in vindicating the tyranny of the Stuarts, from the opprobrium it deserved. He, be­cause the reigns of the Tudors furnished many precedents fer arbitrary power, cautions us, in the most friendly manner, against the useless curiosity of looking any further back into our history, since it is covered with darkness, and involved in perplexity; so our precedent friends, will dissuade us from looking farther back than the short period, since a duty was laid on Madeira wine, or the right of taxing the colonies declared. But the learning and patriotism of Dr. Hurd have amply vindicated the liberties of Britain, against the finesse of Mr. Hume; and, I hope, the FARMER's LETTERS will for ever guard us against the baleful arts of these sinister friends. I cannot quit this subject of precedent, without presenting my reader with the sentiments of that [Page 87] most upright judge, and illustrious defender of British and American liberties, my Lord Camden, in his letter on general warrants, &c. "But even, if the usage had been both immemorial and uniform, and ten thousand similar warrants could have been pro­duced, it would not have been sufficient, because, the practice must likewise be a­greeable to the principles of law, in order to be good; whereas, this is a practice in­consistent with, and in direct opposition to the first and clearest principles of law. Im­memorial uniform usage will not even support the bye-law of a corporation, if it be flatly repugnant to the fundamentals of the common law; much less will it authorize the secret practice of a political office."

THE preamble of this act, for laying duties, &c. declares it expedient also, that a revenue should be thus raised on us, "towards defraying the expences of defending, protecting, and securing these dominions."

NOW, I should be glad to know, in what we are to be defended, protected and secu­red; not in our liberty and property, without question, for this act takes them both away from us, and when we are deprived of the possessions we thought our own, of the freedom we imagined was our right, what will then remain a worthy object of invasion from others, or protection to us? But, to be more particular on this subject of protec­tion. These colonies have two enemies, the French and Indians. The French are their political enemies, in consequence of their connection with Great-Britain, and the support they furnish to Britain, enabling her to rival France, and baffle the ambitious views of that monarchy. What are we justly to expect from Britain for this support? PROTECTION from the French; and thus it is, as I have before observed, that the bonds of union between Great-Britain, and her colonies, are, support from us, protection from her. There are some people who cannot see how we support Great-Britain; yet nothing is more obvious, nothing more easily comprehended. It is but to reflect a moment on the number of ships and seamen the trade to the colonies sup­ports, the manufacturers they maintain, and the taxes they pay in the consumption of Bri­tish manufactures. The Tobacco trade, alone, may be computed to maintain upwards of 4000 seamen*, and 250 sail of ships annually; and the very great value of the whole plantation trade, may be easily judged from the veneration which is paid in Britain to the act of navigation which secures that trade to her. It is speaking greatly within bounds, to say, there are 100, 000 manufacturers in Great-Britain, who draw their daily subsis­tence from America; and, I am much mistaken, if the colonies do not actually pay, half a million, at least, of the taxes in Great-Britain, The manner in which they pay it, is plain; the shoes I now have on, were made in England; the grazier, or butcher, who sold the raw hide, paid the land tax, and was reimbursed by the tanner, with interest; in like manner, the tanner was repaid by the shoemaker, for that, and [Page 88] every other tax, which he might pay, window-lights, &c. local or general; and this I refund to the shoemaker, with interest upon it, and all his taxes, besides the taxes of the merchant, and all others, who are necessary to my obtaining the manufacture I want; all these charges must be, and are always accumulated on the price, the consu­mer must at length pay for the commodity*.

PROTECTION from the attacks of our European enemies, is justly due to us on the part of Britain; and, from the Indians, I humbly apprehend, we can defend our­selves. It is not probable, the whole force which the Indians could possibly bring a­gainst us, would amount (were all the nations we know, combined, which is hardly possible) to 30, 000 sighting men; our Militia, on the continent, amounts to more than 100, 000. We effectually maintained 25, 000 troops, during the last war: Is it then to be presumed we are not able to defend ourselves against the Indians? Is it presume­able we shall not always be able to defend ourselves against them, when it is certain they decrease, and, on the contrary, we increase, so as to double our number in 25 years, This act would indeed render such protection necessary, because it would make us slaves; and the state of slavery, is that of weakness. To suppose we want protection from the Indians, is to imagine we have greatly indeed degenerated from the spirit of our fore­fathers; who, when not a tenth of our number, not only defended themselves from them, but drove them as far back as they pleased. Have we not, with ease, defended ourselves against them for upwards of 100 years, and what instance has this period fur­nished of such national degeneracy, that we may be supposed incapable of continuing this defence? The supposition of such incapacity, is an insult that hardly has an equal, except i [...] be that of importing a few Hessian and Hanoverian mercenaries, to defend Great-Britain from the invasions of the French.

I HAVE marked a single word in the preamble of this act, which points out a very alarming purpose of this tax, in its being raised for the use of all, or any of the colo­nies. It is but too plain, that we are taxed in this unconstitutional manner, of support the unfertile dominion of Florida, and the conquered province of Canada. By the custom-house accounts in the year 1766, Canada produced 22, 000 pounds yearly: Florida nothing. They are maintained at half a million annual expence to Britain: They were conquered and secured by our united endeavours, with those of the British troops, in which we furnished a large quota of troops, and suffered heavy taxes. They never can be of any advantage to us, but may be eventually injurious, by rendering our produce less valuable. Yet, we are to pay for their support and protection: We are to maintain a small army of British troops in them, not only for their security, but to enforce, occasionally, upon ourselves, any oppressive measures, which an arbitrary or ignorant Minister, shall wickedly devise, and obstinately pursue. In this miserable state, we may have the poor comfort, perhaps, of murmuring out, like the wretched Romans, [Page 89] in the times of their slavery, when grievously taxed by their Emperors, to bribe the Barbarians from invading the remote provinces.

Facta est servitus nostra, pretium securitatis alienae!
Our slavery is to provide for the security of others.

P. S. I did intend to say something particular about our petition to his Majesty; but, as that is in a fair way of being considered in its proper place, the H—of B—g—s, it would be unnecessary: I will, however, beg leave to mention one thing, that should be prayed for, namely, that his Majesty would be graciously pleased, always to withhold his assent to any bill, in which we are concerned, till we are apprized of it, and can lay our sense of it at his feet. This, the remoteness of our situation, renders just and necessary.


Nill sine magno
Vita labore dedit mortalibus.
Every pursuit in life requires industry.

GO to the ant, thou sluggard, and learn her ways, faith the wisdom of Solomon: and never was there any people, or any time, in which such a lesson was more necessary, more beneficial. This is the period, in which our happiness, our liberties, depend in a great measure, on our industry in manufacturing for ourselves the necessaries of life. So far, the first of all charities*, the preservation of our country demands; that we may not be under a dangerous and slavish dependence on any other people. To urge manufactures further at present, with a view of distressing Great-Britain, more than is absolutely requisite to our own welfare, is what I do not wish to see; it is ab­horrent totally from my heart, and I hope from those of all my countrymen. I love, I revere, Great-Britain, her history is the illustrious record of heroes and patriots; her clifts are the venerable ramparts of freedom. Never did any people so long pre­serve such an uniform character for bravery, wisdom, and virtue; and above all for an invincible spirit of liberty. Never did any people better deserve the blessings she bestows. Who then could behold without concern, without the deepest concern, this glorious bulwark of civil and religious liberties, crumbled into dust, by the unrelenting [Page 90] aversion of her colonies. For sure I am, that it is in the power of these colonies, to work the fall of Britain, by un [...]mitting industry in manufactures; I am sure, upon the maturest reflection, she is so dependent on America for support, that without it, she must speedily sink, with all her blushing honours into ruin. The balance o [...] trade is against her in Europe; America and India, reimburse and sustain her; but without the former, the latter would be very unequal to her support. With the political, as well as the natural body, the seeds of inevitable dissolution, are incorporated; bravery, [...]quest, riches, luxury, anarchy, ruin; behold the sated course, which the best con­stituted governments must run. To this fate, Britain herself, great, glorious, mighty as she is, must comeDagger: Perish the kindred hand that would wantonly precipitate her fall! The part of British liberty, which we have hitherto enjoyed, has been sufficient to make us, though subordinate, a flourishing and happy people; let us wait with pious patience, till this course of nature shall gently relieve us from this subordination, and bestow upon America, that full inheritance of liberty, which is her birthright indeed, but which, as the younger branch, she cannot yet claim without impious violence. Be it our care to vin­dicate our just rights, to pay that due reverence to the British constitution of preserving it here in its fundamental rights, at least (taxation by representation, trial by jury, and habeas corpus) inviolate, that Britain may rise like a phoenix from her ashes, to liberty and glory in America, Listen not, my dear countrymen, to those who would incite you (if there be any such) to relinquish your connection with Great-Britain, No wound can be inflicted on her, at which our own blood will not issue, a thousand tenderest strings of our hearts will be on the rack, when we are dissevered from her, and the violence will make us bleed at every pore. Just, amiable, generous and brave, as the people of Britain are, nothing would move me to any contest with them, but that great cause, to which every other interest must yield subordinate, the cause of liberty.

LET me now take leave to propose the following form of association for the encou­ragement of American manufactures.

We the underwritten to agree, and solemnly promise to prefer on every occasion, the manufactures of America, to those of every other country; and to promote with the ut­most of our abilities, American manufactures, so far as to furnish ourselves with the necessaries of life.

THE beneficial influence of associations, and institutions of the same kind, on the progress of manufactures, has been too often experienced to be now questioned. The linen hall at Dublin, and wise regulations attentively pursued, have brought the linen [Page 91] manufacture in Ireland, to state as flourishing as it is beneficial. The board for the improvement of fisheries and manufactures in Scotland, constituted in the year 1727, aided by a national spirit, in which we are rather too deficient, have brought the manu­facture of linen there, in a few years, to great perfection. "They" says an approved writer* on bleaching, "have with unwearied and disinterested zeal, contributed in a very great measure to raise and direct a spirit of industry among us, by their own exam­ple, by their experience, by adopting the experience of our neighbours, and by distri­buting with great prudence, those small funds, intrusted by the government, for their management."

HAVE not we, in this colony, a committee for the same purpose? What pre­vents their imitating this laudable example? The supplying ourselves with linen, would be highly advantageous to us, without interfering with the manufactures of Great-Britain; nay, we might make it a part of our export, in return for those commodities we may receive from her. This would save her a large balance, paid to foreigners, for their linen. If my memory does not fail me, a computation I received from one of the commissioners of the linen company in Scotland, made Britain debtor for much more than half of what she consumed, and Mr. Gee, makes the balance of trade with Germany, Flanders, and Russia, for this article, to amount to near one mil­lion annually against Britain. We have therefore an ample field before us, to animate and reward our industry, in pursuing this single branch of manufactures.

THERE are many people, who seem to think the attempt of manufacturing, even necessaries for ourselves, too arduous to be successful. But certainly, they whose in­citements are great, will overcome difficulties, which to the unanimated, appear insur­mountable. And can there be greater incitements, than the vindicating our liberties, and maintaining a just independence of grinding extortion, and arbitrary impositions? Were we once determined upon the attempt, all difficulties would vanish; for what is there too laborious to be accomplished by the fostering care and wisdom of the legis­lature, by a judicious distribution of public and private bounties, by giving attention and encouragement to every useful project, by wisdom in planning, by industry, unanimity, and spirit in execution? The example of the Gentlemen will instruct and encourage the poor; and associations for the use of American manufactures, will hold up to them a sure reward for their industry and labour. These colonies, like all young countries, abound in children; every individual of which may, from the time they are able to move their hands or feet, be employed in manufactures of various kinds. One may see in the manufactories of England, the young, the decrepid, and the old people per­forming tasks proportioned to their abilities, with great utility. In the Foundling Hos­pital, every female child is seen knitting, sewing, or spinning; every male at the loom, or some other useful occupation. In this colony, we have numbers of Negro children, and superannuated field Negroes, who are rather an expence than profit; though they are perfectly fit for manufactures, and might be engaged in them much to the advantage of [Page 92] their masters. There are some worthily industrious Gentlemen among us, who, the last year, cloathed entirely upwards of an hundred of their people with the labour chiefly of these, otherwise useless hands. It is [...] industry, great industry, is neces­sary to make manufactures prosper among us; they will never be accomplished by the slothful man, who, to speak in the emphatical language of Solomon, sitteth with his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as lift it up to his forehead; or lieth in his bed, crying there is a lion in the way, he will devour me. Slothfulness, is at all times injurious to a state; but at this period, it may be quickly and vitally pernicious.

WHEREFORE let every man bear in his mind this admonition of a judicious poet,

Vitanda est improba syren
Sloth, that baneful syren, must be shunned.


Hinc spargere voces
In vulgum ambiguas et quoerere conscius arma.
Conscious of the badness of his cause, he thenceforward began to spread false reports, and inflame the people to violence.

THE great art of Mr. Grenville and his partisans, has been, to spread such [...] ­mours among the people of Great-Britain, as, by inflaming their passions, should hurry them, contrary to what reason would have dictated, into an approbation and sup­port of his arbitrary measures. With this view every expression of discontent under his ruinous and oppressive administration was imputed to a desire in those colonies to dissolve all connection with Britain; every tumult here, was inflamed into rebellion.

LET it be our study, my countrymen, to invalidate these pernicious endeavours, as far as is consistent with the maintenance of our just rights. Let our opposition, while it is animated by a full sense of our privileges as freemen, be moderated by that respect and tenderness which are due to friends and brothers. Soft words turn away wrath, and if the people in Britain have been deceived and incensed, by the guileful practices and inflammatory arts of those who are equally enemies to both, let us frus­trate their mischievous intentions, by gently recalling the people to their reason, by treating them as if they had hastily shot their arrows o'er the house, and hurt their brothers.

IT must not be judged from what I have said, that we should resign one atom of our rights, or ever desist, from asserting and supporting them; but the direful necessity [Page 93] of doing this, by other instruments than reason, is not yet come; when it do [...], hea­ven only must decide the controversy. We are engaged in a contest the most dignified and important of any that can claim the attention or the lives of men; a contest for li­berty: Let us preserve its dignity unfullied by ourselves, unimpaired by others. The more we reflect on the cause we are vindicating, the more fully shall we be convinced of its justness, the more immutably shall we be determined in its support. For my own part, every hour I consider the late attempts upon our liberties, makes them ap­pear more monstrous, more replete with oppression, more absolutely productive of a tremendous despotism.

IT may well be supposed, that Mr. Grenville, and his abettors, are conscious of the badness of their cause, how little it will bear the test of reason, when they endeavour to support it by inflammatory exaggerations, by infusing suspicions, jealousies and pre­judices into mens minds; and executing that by passion, which they despair of accom­plishing by reason. A measure, so supported, wears a very suspicious aspect; nor is its gloom much dispelled, by the act declarative of a right to tax these colonies, in whatever manner they please. When a measure was adopted, of taxing us without out consent, and we deeming it invasive of our privileges, as freemen, and violative of the constitution, denied the right by which it was done; the passing an act declarative of that right, was confessing, either that it did not exist before, or was very dubious, Resolutions are both the proper and sufficient means of declaring a right, that is real and original. The bringing in a bill, and passing an act, looked like establishing some new and assumed power; not declaring an original right. "Besides, an act of par­liament, says my Lord Camden, newly made, is not so venerable in the eyes of the world. or so secure against future alterations, as the old common law of the land, which has been, from time immemorial, the inheritance of every Englishman, and is, on account of its antiquity, held, as it were, sacred in every man's mind.*."

NOW this, my countrymen, is our claim; the old common law of the land, the constitution, the immemorial inheritance of every Englishman, the sacred right of par­ticipating by our representatives, in the legislature, and maintaining that privilege, which so naturally belongs to us, of giving our money by our own consent or that of our real representative. Any tax or imposition, whatever, [...] upon us, without our own consent, is a violation of this constitution, so sacred for its wisdom, so venerable for its antiquity. Its antiquity, which we may trace with the sagacious Montesquieu, into the woods of Germany dagger. And, shall a novel act of parliament, subvert this sa­cred and venerable monument of antiquity and freedom? It seemed to me not impro­per to take notice of this declarative act of parliament; that those of my countrymen, who have not leisure to enquire far into such things, may not be deceived into an opi­nion, that it has more authority than is consistent with the liberty we claim. Our free­dom [Page 94] is what we can neither give up, nor they take from us; and therefore, even an act of Parliament, is limited, in this respect, like the imperious waves of the ocean, hither it may come, but no further. It cannot touch, or subvert that consitution, in which its own existence is founded. GOD has made us, says my Lord Bolingbroke, to desire happiness, he has made that happiness dependent on society, and the happiness of society, on good or bad government; his intention therefore was, that government should be good." I would say farther, that the happiness of society depends upon free government, for this is the only form which consults and provides for the good, security, and happiness of many; in opposition to the will and pleasure of one, or of a few*. It is most certain, that men cannot be happy or virtuous in that society, where the will of one is the law; where liberty, life, and property, are in the arbi­tration of one, or a few persons; in so precarious, so perilous a situation, happiness and virtue can rarely, if at all, be found. Insensibility of the ills, to which they are exposed, the wretched boon of long and painful suffering, sometimes assumes, even in slavery, the specious form of happiness; but, how poor is this, when compared with that inexpressibly happy feeling, which conscious dignity and worth inspire.

Where freedom in the streets is known,
And tells a Monarch on his throne,
He lives, he reigns, by her alone dagger.

IMPIOUS then, and detestable is the attempt, to take from men, by force or guile, that liberty in which their happiness and virtue consist: Impious the government which pampers and inflames the vices of a few, by the groans, the tears, the miseries of many, Let every abettor of despotism, every subverter of freedom, take care, that conscience do not bes [...]t his pillow with thorns, that he keap not upon his own head coals of fire; [Page 95] the vengeance of an injured and Incensed people, may at length seize him, or the cries of oppression lift the red hand of heaven against his execrated head.

IT is a happiness resulting from the cause we maintain, that recollection, while it fills the hearts of our adversaries with bitterness and anguish, will be forever pleasing to us. The just gratulations of our own hearts, the applause of mankind, the blessings which our posterity, whose rights we are defending, must bestow upon us, will be like balm to every wound. a cordial in every hardship we may sustain. The question now is, whether we shall be slaves, or freemen, whether we shall bequeath bondage or liberty to our children; wherefore I beseech you, my countrymen, that on this great occa­sion, ye be determined in your conduct; and attentive to its issue.


Quis autem amicior quam frater fratri; aut quem alienum fidum invenies, si tuis hostis fueris?
What tie can be stronger than the mutual interest of these colonies; or, how can we expect sidelity from others, if we are not faithful to one another?

IN the great and important question now before us, my countrymen, a question on which the liberty or bondage, the weal or woe, of millions now, and tens of mil­lions hereafter, will depend, it is incumbent on us, to study the most perfect unanimi­ty in sentiment and action. Like a band of brothers, these colonies should be indisso­luby firm, in defending the sacred fire of freedom from being extinguished. Our uni­ted efforts will be weighty, and, in all probability, successful; if divided, we shall counteract one another, and all our endeavours, to vindicate the constitution from ruin, and ourselves from bondage, will be feeble and ineffectual. It is one common interest, that claims our union; the rights of every colony rest upon the same foundation, and cannot be subverted in one, without being overthrown in all.

OUR friends too, in Great-Britain, would be increased and encouraged by our una­nimity in opposition; divisions among ourselves, would silence and dishearten them. It is not to be hoped, that we shall find men in Britain faithful to our interests, if we ourselves abandon them, or determined in their opposition to measures, injurious to us, while we appear dubious or divided. It is unquestionably the wish and aim of our ene­mies in, Britain, to enfeeble the interest of America there, to create in us a distrust of our friends on the other side of the Atlantic, to excite an universal jealousy of us in [Page 96] them, and to spread dissention and dismay among ourselves, by partial exertions of im­perious and arbitrary rule. These are the means, by which they hope the more effec­tually to disturb, subdue, and enslave us; these are the views, with which they have changed the oppressive Stamp-Act, into a not less oppressive, though more speciously just, duty, on certain British manufactures imported into America, have pursued the same arbitrary plan, under what we called and deemed an American administration, and have endeavoured to enforce absolute obedience to the billetting-act, by the sus­pension of the Legislature in one province.

THE colonies of Virginia and Massachusetts-Bay, have, by their respective representa­tives, given their sense of the ruinous tendency and arbitrary nature of these measures. In Virginia, they have sent petitions, memorials and remonstrances, to the different branches of the British Parliament, against all these acts, not excepting that for suspending the legislative power of New-York, which they justly deem equally destructive to their own liberties, as to those of that particular province. While I rejoice in this transaction, I promise myself, that the influence of so noble and useful an example will be universal, that every colony will, in like manner, bear its testimony against these acts, and the principle upon which they are founded.

NEXT to the importance of unanimity among the colonies, in expressing their abhorrence of the arbitrary measures lately adopted against American freedom, stands that of the concurrence of the two branches of the Legislature, in each colony, the As­sembly and Council, in remonstrating against them, and petitioning for redress. Such a concurrence must give the greatest weight and efficacy to our public proceedings, must place, in the strongest light, the dignity and value of our rights, when no consideration of place or profit can influence men to [...]it in silence, and see them violated. This co­lony, I mention it with the highest satisfaction, has pursued such a plan, the Upper House of Assembly having concurred with the Lower, in all the proceedings against the late acts of Parliament. Such unanimity in conduct, it is to be hoped, will be as uni­versally imitated, as it must be generally approved; since it cannot but redound to the immortal honour of those gentlemen, who thus sacrifice every private consideration to the public good, and the maintainance of our invaluable rights.

As the sanction of the Legislature gives dignity and weight to the sentiments of the people; so it must receive from them support and strength. It is therefore the duty of every individual to second, with his utmost abilities, the endeavours of the legislative powers in vindication of American liberty. It is now that we are called upon by every sacred and valuable tie, by our own rights, by the rights of our children, and their posterity, by the veneration due to our free constution, by the virtue, happi­ness and glory, that spring from its admirable frame; to frustrate and repel every at­tempt of those, who would violate and corrupt it. It is at this juncture that fru­gality and industry will have double the beneficial influence which usually flows from them, that harmony and spirit in thinking, speaking and acting, against usurpation or oppression, will restore and reanimate our liberties, so as to preserve the [...] long safe, [Page 97] and uninjured, by simllar invasions. It is now, that every man ought to grave upon his free heart, this noble Roman determination:

Manus hoec inimica tyrannis
Ense p [...]tit placidam, sub libertate quietem.

To tyrants, and to tyranny, a foe, I will maintain my liberty at the hazard of my life.

I HAVE thus adventured to lay before the public, in a series of papers, my senti­ments on the present state of affairs; to shew the nature and excellence of liberty, the vices, the miseries and abasement which slavery produces, to develope the artful designs of our enemies; the arbitrary tendency of their late conduct in Britain, the fatal consequences' that must inevitably follow our acquiescence under the rights lately assumed and exercised over us, by the British Parliament; and the necessity of an unanimous and determined opposition to the meditated subve [...]sion of our constructional freedom and happiness.

IT will be for ever pleasing to me, if I have thrown any light on this very important subject, if I have aided the understanding of any one man, or infused into his mind the true and noble spirit of liberty, determining him to support it with his latest breath.

I HAVE now to take leave of my countrymen, which I shall do in these words of the great, good, and patriotic CICERO: Duo modo [...] opto; unam, [...]t [...] popu­lum Romanum liberum relinquam, [...]os mihi majus a diis immortalibus dari [...] potest; alterum, ut ita cuique, eveniat, ut de republica quisque mereatur *.

Two things I earnestly wish, that every man may be esteemed in proportion to his real patriotism, and that I may hail my country free with my last [...].

SUCH, in that hour, as in all past,
O save my country, Heaven! shall be my last.
[Page 98]


COME join hand in hand, brave AMERICANS all,
And rouse your bold hearts at fair LIBERTY'S call;
No tyrannous acts shall suppress your free claim,
Or stamp the word SLAVE, on AMERICA'S name.
In freedom we're born, and in freedom we'll live,
Our money is ready,
Steady, boys, steady,
Let's give it as Freemen, but never as Slaves.
Our worthy Forefathers, let's give them a cheer,
To climates they knew not, full bravely did steer,
Thro' oceans, to desarts, in freedom they came,
And, dying, bequeath'd us their freedom and fame.
In freedom, &c.
The Tree their own hands had to liberty rear'd,
Deep rooted in earth, grew strong and rever'd:
Then, from all assaults, we this tree will maintain,
And leave to our children the fruit of our pain,
In freedom, &c.
Here's a health to our King, and the Nation at home,
AMERICA and BRITAIN should ever be one:
In liberty's cause, we united shall stand
The envy and dread of each neighbouring land.
In freedom, &c.
Then join hand in hand, brave AMERICANS all,
By uniting, we stand, by dividing, we fall;
In so righteous a cause, we must surely succeed,
For Heaven approves of each generous deed.
In freedom, &c.

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