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PREFACE. - Josiah Tucker, Four Tracts on Political and Commercial Subjects 
Four Tracts on Political and Commercial Subjects, 2nd edition (Glocester: R. Raikes, 1774).
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THE first of these Pieces was never printed before, and is now published as a Kind of Introduction to those that follow, or as a Sort of Basis on which the succeeding Arguments are chiefly founded. The Piece itself arose from a Correspondence in the Year 1758, with a Gentleman of North-Britain, eminently distinguished in the Republic of Letters. Tho’ I cannot boast that I had the Honour of making the Gentleman a declared Convert, yet I can say, and prove likewise, that in his Publications since our Correspondence, he has wrote, and reasoned, as if he was a Convert.
The second Tract was first published in the Year 1763, just after the Conclusion of the War. At that Juncture the Mob and the News-Writers were so enraged at the Thoughts of Peace, that the Pamphlet lay neglected above a Year in the Hands of the Publisher, and had very few Readers. But the Approbation which it has since met with, especially from Abroad, where Premiums have been instituted for Dissertations on a like Plan, induce me to hope that Prejudices begin to wear off, and that it hath a better Chance now than it had before of being read with Candour, and attended to with Impartiality. Indeed it was necessary for me to publish it in this Collection, because of the Use which will be made of the same Train of Arguments in the fourth of these Tracts, when we come to shew the true Interests of Great-Britain with respect to the Colonies, and the only Means of living with them on Terms of Harmony and Friendship.
One Thing more I have to say on this Head: The Tract sets forth, that it is the Fragment of a greater Work. This Work was undertaken at the Desire of Dr. Hayter, then Lord Bishop of Norwich, and Preceptor to the Prince of Wales, his present Majesty. His Lordship’s Design was to put into the Hands of his Royal Pupil such a Treatise as would convey both clear, and comprehensive Ideas on the Subject of National Commerce, freed from the narrow Conceptions of ignorant, or the sinister Views of crafty and designing Men; and my honoured Friend, and revered Diocesan, the late Lord Bishop of Bristol, Dr. Conybeare, was pleased to recommend me, as a Person not altogether unqualified to write on such a Subject. I therefore entered upon the Work with all imaginable Alacrity, and intended to intitule my Performance, The Elements of Commerce, and Theory of Taxes. But I had not made a great Progress, before I discovered that such a Work was by no Means proper to be sheltered under the Protection of a Royal Patronage, on account of the many Jealousies to which it was liable, and the Cavils which might be raised against it. In fact, I soon found that there was scarcely a Step I could take, but would bring to Light some glaring Absurdity, which Length of Time had rendered sacred, and which the Multitude would have been taught to contend for, as if their All was at Stake: Scarce a Proposal could I make for introducing a free, generous, and impartial System of national Commerce, but it had such Numbers of popular Errors to combat, as would have excited loud Clamours, and fierce Opposition; and, therefore, as the Herd of Mock-Patriots are ever on the Watch to seize on all Opportunities of inflaming the Populace by Misrepresentations, and false Alarms; and as the People are too apt to swallow every idle Tale of this Sort, I determined to give no Occasion to those who continually seek Occasion. In short, as I perceived I could not serve my Prince, by a liberal and unrestrained Discussion of the Points relative to these Matters, I deemed it the better Part to decline the Undertaking, rather than do any Thing under the Sanction of his Patronage, which might disserve him in the Eyes of others: For these Reasons I laid the Scheme aside; and if ever I should resume, and complete it, the Work shall appear without any Patronage, Profection, or Dedication whatever.
The third Tract is, A Letter from a Merchant in London to his Nephew in America. This was first printed in the Year 1766, towards the Close of the Debate about the Stamp Act; and the Character which it assumes, is not altogether fictitious:—For an elderly Gentleman, long versed in the North-American Trade, and perfectly acquainted with all the Wiles there practised both during Peace, and in Time of War, and who had Relations settled in that Part of the World, desired me to write on this Subject, and to give the Treatise that Turn of Expression, and Air of Authority, which would not be unbecoming an old Man to his dependent Relation. He furnished me with some curious Materials, and remarkable Anecdotes, concerning the Smuggling Trade which the Americans carried on with the French and Spaniards during the Heat of the War, even to the supplying them with Ships, and naval and military Stores, for destroying the Trade and Shipping of the Mother-Country, and even in Defiance of Mr. Secretary Pitt’s circular Letter to the Governors of the Provinces, forbidding such an infamous Trafic, and traiterous Correspondence. But if I was obliged to the old Gentleman in these Respects, my Argument was a Sufferer by him in another: For tho’ he admitted, that the Colonies were grown ungovernable; tho’ he himself declared, from his own Experience, that we gave a better Price for their Iron, Hemp, Flax-Seed, Skins, Furs, Lumber, and most other Articles, than they could find in any other Part of Europe; and that these Colonies took nothing scarcely from us in Return, but what it was their Interest to buy, even supposing them as independent of Great-Britain, as the States of Holland, or any other People; and tho’ he evidently saw, that the longer the Connection subsisted between the Colonies and the Mother-Country, the more heavy would the Burdens grow upon the latter, and the greater would be the Opportunities for the artful and designing Men of both Countries to irritate and inflame the giddy, unthinking Populace; tho’ he admitted, I say, and allowed all these Premises, he could not come at the Conclusion: For he startled as much at the Idea of a Separation, as if he had seen a Spectre! And the Notion of parting with the Colonies entirely, and then making Leagues of Friendship with them as with so many independent States, was too enlarged an Idea for a Mind wholly occupied within the narrow Circle of Trade, and a Stranger to the Revolutions of States and Empires, thoroughly to comprehend, much less to digest. In Consequence of this, I was obliged, as the Reader will see towards the Conclusion, to give the Argument such a Turn, as expressed rather a casual Threat to separate, than a settled Project of doing it.
Now, to supply this Defect, or rather to make the Conclusion to correspond with the Premises, I have added a fourth Tract, wherein I attempt to shew what is the true Interest of Great-Britain in regard to the Colonies; and to explain the only Means of living with them on Terms of mutual Satisfaction and Friendship. Referring therefore the Reader to the Tract itself, I shall only say at present, that the more we familiarize ourselves to the Idea of a Separation, the less surprized, and the more prepared we shall be whenever that Event shall happen. For that it will, and must happen, one Day or other, is the Opinion of almost every Man,—unless indeed we except the extraordinary Notion of the celebrated Dr. Franklin, and of a few other exotic Patriots and Politicians, who are pleased to think, that the Seat of Government ought to be transferred from hence to America; in Consequence of which Translation, this little Spot will necessarily become a Province of that vast and mighty Empire. Surely every home-born Englishman will readily prefer a Separation, even a speedy Separation, to such an Union as this; and yet, alas! the Time is approaching, when there can be no other Alternative.