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POSTSCRIPT. - 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 only set of Objections, as far as they have come to my Knowledge, which have been hitherto made to the Principles and Reasonings laid down and illustrated in the foregoing Treatise, are the four following:
1st. That according to this Hypothesis, Improvements, Industry, and Riches, may be advanced and encreased ad infinitum; which is a Position too extravagant to be admitted.
2dly. That in Consequence of this accumulating Scheme, one Nation might engross the Trade of the whole World, and beggar every other State or Kingdom: which Opinion is not only contradicted by Fact and Experience, but is also contrary to my own System of Commerce, wherein I strongly declare against Monopoly and Exclusion of every Kind.
3dly. That tho’ a poor Country cannot immediately and at once rival a rich one in its Trade and Manufactures, yet it may do it by Degrees, beginning first with the coarser and less complicated Kinds, and then advancing Step by Step to others more compounded, operose, and costly; ’till at length it hath reached that Summit of Art, Industry, and Riches, from which the rich Country hath lately fallen, and from whence also this upstart Adventurer must recede in its Turn. And to strengthen this Reasoning, it may be observed,
4thly. “That all human Things have the Seeds of Decay within themselves:—Great Empires, great Cities, great Commerce, all of them receive a Cheque, not from accidental Events, but from necessary Principles.”
Thus stand the Objections of that acute Philosopher, and celebrated Writer, who honoured the above Treatise with his ingenious Remarks. Let us now therefore attend to the Force of each of these Objections with that Care and Impartiality which the Cause of Truth deserves; and with that Respect also, which is due to a Person of Eminence in the Republic of Letters.
And 1st. I must beg Leave to observe, that the Gentleman has, in Part at least, mistaken my Meaning, where I say, towards the Close of the Treatise, “That Gold and Silver acquired by general Industry, and used with Sobriety, and according to good Morals, will promote still greater Industry, and go on, for any thing that appears to the contrary, still accumulating:”—I say, he has mistaken my Meaning, if he imagined, that I roundly and positively there asserted, that the Progress must be, ad infinitum: For I did not intend to assert any such Thing, and one Reason, among others, which restrained me, was the Consideration that I am not Metaphysician enough to comprehend was Infinity really means. Therefore what I undertake to maintain is this,—That such a Progression as here described, may be so far carried on, as evidently to prove, that no Man can positively define, when, or where it must necessarily stop: No Man can set Bounds to Improvements even in Imagination; and therefore, ’till the ne plus ultra of all Advancements in Arts, Sciences, and Manufactures, in Agriculture, Trade, and Navigation, &c. &c. is clearly demonstrated (a Thing which I presume no one will be in Haste to attempt) we may still be allowed to assert, that the richer manufacturing Nation will maintain its Superiority over the poorer one, notwithstanding this latter may be likewise advancing towards Perfection. This being the Cause it follows,
2dly. That my Hypothesis is so far from supposing that one Nation may engross the Trade of the whole World, and beggar all the rest, that it remains just the contrary: Because it follows, from my System, that every Nation, poor as well as rich, may improve their Condition if they please. The poorer Nation, for Example, may adopt the good Police,—the Abolition of Monopolies and exclusive Companies, and several useful Regulations of its richer neighbouring State: All these it may adopt without Expence, at the same Time that it may avoid their Errors or Mistakes; for Errors there will be, more or less, in all human Institutions. Moreover, tho’ the poorer Nation cannot rival the Manufactures of a richer one at a third Place, or in a foreign Market, where the Goods and Merchandize of both are supposed to be admissible on the same Footing, yet it may, and ought, by Means of judicious Taxes, to discourage the too great or excessive Consumption of alien Manufactures, and especially Liquors, within its own Territories; and as this likewise may be done without Expence, nay, to the great Advantage of the Revenue, it therefore follows, that the poorer Nation may get forwards in many Respects without being obstructed by the rich one. To which Consideration we should not forget to add, that there are certain local Advantages resulting either from the Climate, the Soil, the Productions, the Situation, or even the natural Turn and peculiar Genius of one People preferably to those of another, which no Nation can deprive another of, unless by Violence and Conquest; and therefore, these being out of the Question, the necessary Consequence is, that the poor Country is left at Liberty to cultivate all these natural and local Advantages, as far as it can. Nay, I observe further, than the very superior Riches of a neighbouring State may contribute greatly to the carrying of such a Plan into Execution: And here I do not mean merely to say, that the Manufactures and Merchant Adventurers of the poorer Country may avail themselves of the Wealth of a richer by borrowing Money, at a low Interest, to be employed in Trade; tho’ by the bye, that is no small Benefit: But what I lay the chief Stress on at present is, that a rich Neighbour is more likely to become a good Customer than a poor one; and consequently, that the Traders of the poorer Country will find a better Market, and a more general Demand for their peculiar Productions, whether of Art or Nature, by Means of the superior Wealth and great Consumptions of their richer Neighbours, than they could possibly have had, were the latter equally poor with themselves. Moreover, vice versa, I affirm on the other Hand, that even the rich Country will be benefited in its Turn, by this Accession of Wealth flowing into the poor one. For when the Inhabitants of the poorer Country feel themselves enabled, there is no Doubt to be made, but that they will also become proportionably willing to purchase some of the more commodious or more sumptuous Furniture, and elegant Manufactures, of those Persons, who are actually their best Customers, as well as richer Neighbours. Indeed, to say the Truth, these Things are no other than the usual Consequences, and almost necessary Effects of natural Causes: And surely that Man must have been a very great Stranger to what passes in the World, who cannot discern these daily Rotations of Commercial Industry.
But there is one Circumstance more, relative to this Subject, which being not so obvious to common Observers, seems therefore to require a particular Explanation. The Circumstance is this,—That the very same Country may be relatively both richer and poorer than another at the very same Time, if considered in different Points of View; and consequently, that all the opposite and seemingly contradictory Assertions concerning both the Cheapness and the Dearness of Manufactures, may be found to correspond with Truth and Matters of Fact. Thus, for Example, England is undoubtedly richer either than Scotland or Ireland, in regard to most Branches of Trade and Manufacture; and therefore it sells those Manufactures much cheaper than they can be fabricated in either of those Countries. But nevertheless, both Scotland and Ireland are richer than England in respect to one particular Point; for both these Countries have got the Start of England in respect to the Linen Manufacture, by more than Half a Century; and in Consequence thereof, their Capitals are larger, their Machinery is better, and their Correspondences are become more extensive; so that in short, almost every thing relative to the Linen Manufacture in those Countries is conducted with more Adroitness, and managed to greater Advantage, than in England. Hence therefore it is easily to be accounted for, how it comes to pass that the Scotch and Irish can sell their Linens, and more especially their fine Linens, considerably cheaper than the English Linen Manufacturer is able to do. Nay, by Way of strengthening the general Argument, I would observe further, that tho’ the Modes of Living are more expensive, tho’ the daily Wages, and Rents of Houses and Lands, and the Prices of Provisions, are at least doubled, if not trebled, in the manufacturing Parts of Scotland and Ireland, to what they were about 60 or 70 Years ago,—yet the present Linens are both better and cheaper than the former, in a very considerable Degree; so that theScotland and Ireland of the Year 1763, if compared with the Scotland or Ireland of 1700, are as strong an Instance, and as convincing a Proof, as can possibly be desired of the Truth of these Positions:—And hence also we may observe, that the Riches of England in many Branches, and the Riches of Scotland and Ireland in some Branches, are mutually assistant to, and reciprocally advantageous to each other: For by mutually consuming and wearing each other’s Manufactures, the English, Scotch, and Irish, become the better and the greater Customers to each other.
The 3d Objection needs not a Reply so long and laboured as the second: For when the Gentleman proposed, that the poorer Country should first begin with the coarser and more simple Manufactures, and then proceed Step by Step to others more operose, complicated, and expensive, ’till at last it had supplanted the rich one in all its Trade and Manufactures,—he unfortunately forgot, that in Proportion as his poorer Country made a Progress in these Things, in the same Proportion, or nearly the same, would the Price of Labour, of Provisions, and of raw Materials, advance likewise; so that all these imaginary Advantages would vanish away like a Dream, when they were most wanted, and when he most depended on their Assistance. In fact, his not paying due Attention to this Circumstance was probably the very Thing which led him and others into so many Errors on this Head. But as he had one Objection more to offer, let us see whether the Weight of that will make up for the Deficiency of the others.
Now his 4th Objection, or rather his Observation, is, “That all Human Things have the Seeds of Decay within themselves: Great Empires, great Cities, great Commerce, all of them receive a Cheque, not from accidental Events, but from necessary Principles.” From all which it is implied, that the richer Nation cannot maintain its Superiority over a poorer one; because, when it comes to a certain Period, it must necessarily fall to Decay;—I say, this must be the Inference intended, otherwise the Observation is not applicable, and has nothing to do with the present Subject.
Here therefore, as the Ideas and Terms made use of, are borrowed from the State of natural Bodies, and from thence metaphorically transferred to political Constitutions, one Thing is taken for granted in this Argument, to which I cannot readily assent. It is taken for granted, that as all Animals, by having the Seeds of Decay within themselves, must die sooner or later, therefore political or commercial Institutions are subject to the like Fate, and on the same Principles. Now this remains to be proved; for the Parallel doth not hold in all Respects; and tho’ it be true that the Body Politic may come to an End, as well as the Body Natural, there is no physical Necessity that it must. A Set of Rules and Regulations may be formed for the distributing Property, the securing and disfusing Industry, the preventing the present shocking Vices of Electioneering, and in general, for the correcting most, if not all of those Evils, which great Riches, Excess of Liberty, and Length of Time, are too apt to introduce. I say such a Set of Rules and Regulations may be formed; against the Admission of which into our Code of Laws, there cannot be the least Pretence of a Physical Impossibility. In one Word, the Constitution of the Body Natural is so framed, that after a certain length of Time, no Remedy in Nature can restore it to its pristine Health and Vigour; for at last old Age will necessarily destroy it, if nothing else shall put a Period to it sooner:—But the Diseases of the Body Politic are not absolutely incurable; because Care and Caution, and proper Remedies, judiciously and honestly applied, will produce those Effects in one Case, which it would be impossible for them to produce in the other.
The CASE of going to War; BEING The Fragment of a greater Work.
Prevention of Wars.
DID the Difficulty in this Argument consist in the Dubiousness of the Fact, ‘Whether Wars were destructive to Mankind, or not,’ that Difficulty would not long subsist; for, if ocular Demonstration can be allowed to be Proof, it is but too manifest, That both the conquering, and conquered Countries, are prodigious Losers by them. But, alas! in this Case the Difficulty lies not in the Obscurity of the Proof, but in the Feebleness of the Attempt to dissuade Men from a Practice they have been long accustomed to consider in a very different Light from that in which it will be here set forth: And such is the Inveteracy of bad Habits, such the bewitching, tho’ empty Sounds of Conquest and Glory, that there remains only the bare Possibility of Hopes of Success in these Endeavours; for as to all the Degrees of Probability, they are certainly on the contrary Side.
However, as the Nature of my Argument leads me to set forth the several Means of rendering a Country populous, certainly the Prevention of Wars, as one of the most capital Means, cannot be omitted: And therefore I must consider myself in this Case as People do when they commence Adventurers in a Lottery; where, though there are perhaps almost an infinite Number of Chances against any single Adventurer, yet every Individual cherishes the flattering Expectation, that he shall be the happy Man to whose Share the great Prize will fall. Now, if a Conduct, grounded on so much Improbability, can escape the Censure of general Ridicule, it is to be hoped, that my Folly, for such I acknowledge it, may escape likewise; at least, as it is of so innocent and harmless a Nature, let me be allowed to petition, that mine may be esteemed less irrational than that military and political Folly which consists in seeking for Empire by Means of Desolation, and for national Riches by introducing universal Poverty and Want.
In ancient Times, Men went to War without much Ceremony or Pretence: It was thought Reason good enough to justify the Deed, if one Man liked what another Man had; and War and Robbery were the honourable Professions: Nothing was adjudged dishonourable but the Arts of Peace and Industry. This is Herodotus’s Account of the Manner of living of the Barbarians of Thrace; and this, with very small Alterations, might serve to characterise all other Barbarians, either of ancient or modern Times.
But at present, we, who chuse to call ourselves civilized Nations, generally affect a more ceremonious Parade, and many Pretences. Complaints are first made of some Injury received, some Right violated, some Incroachment, Detention, or Usurpation; and none will acknowledge themselves to be the Aggressors; nay, a solemn Appeal is made to Heaven for the Truth of each Assertion; and the final Avenger of the Oppressed, and Searcher of all Hearts, is called upon to maintain the righteous Cause, and to punish the wrong Doer. Thus it is with both Parties; and while neither of them will own their true Motives, perhaps it is apparent to all the World, that, on one Side, if not on both, a Thirst of Glory, a Lust of Dominion, the Cabals of Statesmen, or the ravenous Appetites of Individuals for Power or Plunder, for Wealth without Industry, and Greatness without Merit, were the only real and genuine Springs of Action.
Now the Aims of Princes in these Wars are partly the same with, and partly different from, those of their Subjects: As far as Renown is concerned, their Views are alike, for Heroism is the Wish and Envy of all Mankind; and to be a Nation of Heroes, under the Conduct of an heroic Leader, is regarded, both by Prince and People, as the Summit of all earthly Happiness. It is really astonishing to think with what Applause and Eclat the Memoirs of such inhuman Monsters are transmitted down, in all the Pomp of Prose and Verse, to distant Generations: Nay, let a Prince but feed his Subjects with the empty Diet of military Fame, it matters not what he does besides, in regard to themselves as well as others; for the Lives and Liberties, and every Thing that can render Society a Blessing, are willingly offered up as a Sacrifice to this Idol, Glory. And were the Fact to be examined into, you would find, perhaps without a single Exception, that the greatest Conquerors abroad, have proved the heaviest Tyrants at Home. However, as Victory, like Charity, covereth a Multitude of Sins, thus it comes to pass, that reasonable Beings will be content to be Slaves themselves, provided they may enslave others; and while the People can look up to the glorious Hero on the Throne, they will be dazzled with the Splendor that surrounds him, and forget the Deeds of the Oppressor.
Now, from this View of Things, one would be tempted to imagine, that a Practice so universally prevailing, was founded in the Course and Constitution of Nature. One would be tempted to suppose, that Mankind were created on Purpose to be engaged in destructive Wars, and to worry and devour one another. “Perhaps the Earth would be overstocked with Numbers were it not for such Evacuations, salutary upon the whole, and necessary for the Good of the Remainder. Perhaps, likewise, there may be some Truth in what is vulgarly given out, that one Nation cannot thrive but by the Downfall, and one People cannot grow rich but by the impoverishing, of its Neighbours.”
And yet, when we examine into this Affair, neither Reason, nor Experience will give the least Countenance to this Supposition. The Reason of the Thing we will consider now, and reserve the Fact ’till by and by. Here then, if Principles of Reason are to be our Guide, one would think, that a Being overflowing with Benevolence, and not limitted in Power, might have made a much better Provision for his Cretures, than what is here suggested: Certainly he might have rendered their several Interests less repugnant to each other; or rather, he might have caused them all to spring from one common Center, or to unite in one common Basis. And we are confirmed in this Train of Reasoning, when we reflect, that even the Benevolence and Power of human Governments, narrow and imperfect as they are, do actually provide for the Safety and Welfare of their respective Subjects by this very Method of an Union and Coalition of separate Interests. Thus for Example, the Inhabitants of one County, or of one City, have not so much as an Idea, that they are, and must be, according to the unalterable Course of Things, the constitutional Foes of those of another County or City under the same Government: Nor do we at all conceive that this or that particular Town, or District, cannot grow rich, or prosper, ’till the Districts, or Towns around it are reduced to Poverty, or made a dreary Waste. On the contrary, we naturally conclude, and justly too, that their Interests are inseparable from our own: And were their Numbers to be diminished, or their Circumstances altered from Affluence to Want, we ourselves, in the Rotation of Things, should soon feel the bad Effects of such a Chance. If, therefore, this is the Case, with respect to human Governments; and if they, notwithstanding all their Faults and Failings, can regulate Matters so much for the better; how then comes it to pass, that we should ascribe so much Imperfection, such Want of Benevolence, such Partiality, nay such premeditated Mischief to that great and equal Government, which presideth over all? Is it do you think, that the Almighty God cannot govern two large Districts, France and England for Example, as well, and as wisely as you can govern two small ones? Or is it, that he hath so egregiously blundered in his first framing the Constitution of Things as to render those Exploits, called Wars, necessary for the Good of the Whole under his Administration, which you would justly consider to be a Disgrace to yours, and severely punish as an Outrage? Surely no: And we cannot without Blasphemy, ascribe that Conduct to the best of Beings; which is almost too bad to be supposed of the worst: Surely it is much more consonant to the Dictates of unbiassed Reason to believe, that our common Parent and universal Lord regards all his Children and Subjects with an Eye of equal Tenderness and Good-will; and to be firmly persuaded, that in his Plan of Government the political Interest of Nations cannot be repugnant to those moral Duties of Humanity and Love which he has so universally prescribed.
So much as to the Reason of the Thing: Let us now consider the Fact, and be determined by Experience. Princes expect to get by successful Wars, and a Series of Conquests, either more Territory, or more Subjects, or a more ample Revenue; or perhaps, which is generally the Case, they expect to obtain all three. Now, in regard to Territory, if mere Superficies were the Thing to be aimed at, it must be allowed, that a Country of a Million of square Miles is more in Quantity than one of half that Extent. But if Countries are not to be valued by Acres, but by the Cultivation and the Produce of those Acres, then it follows, that ten Acres may be better than a thousand, or perhaps ten thousand; and Bishop Berkley’s Query may come in here very apropos,—“May not a Man be the Proprietor of twenty Miles square in North America, and yet be in Want of a Dinner?”
As to Numbers of Subjects, surely War and Conquest are not the most likely Means for attaining this End; and a Scheme, which consists in the Destruction of the Human Species, is a very strange one indeed to be proposed for their Increase and Multiplication: Nay granting that Numbers of Subjects might be acquired, together with the Accession of Territory, still these new Subjects would add no real Strength to the State; because new Acquisitions would require more numerous Defences, and because a People scattered over an immense Tract of Country are, in fact, much weaker than half their Numbers acting in Concert together, and able by their Vicinity to succour one another.
Moreover, as to the Affair of the Revenue, and the Produce of Taxes, the same Arguments conclude equally strong in this Case as in the former: And the indisputable Fact is, that an ill-peopled Country, though large and extensive, neither produces so great a Revenue as a small one well cultivated and populous; nor if it did, would the neat Produce of such a Revenue be equal to that of the other, because it is, in a Manner, swallowed up in Governments, Guards, and Garrisons, in Salaries and Pensions, and all the consuming Perquisites and Expences attendant on distant Provinces.
In reference to the Views of the People—as far as such Views coincide with those of the Prince, so far they have been considered already: But, seeing that the Thirst of inordinate Riches in private Subjects, which pushes them on to wish so vehemently for War, has something in it distinct from the Avarice of Princes, let us now examine, whether this Trade of War is a likely Method to make a People rich, and let us consider every Plea that can be offered. “Surely, say these Men, to return Home laden with the Spoils of wealthy Nations is a compendious Way of getting Wealth; surely we cannot be deceived in so plain a Case: For we see that what has been gathering together and accumulating for Years, and perhaps for Ages, thus becomes our own at once; and more might be acquired by a happy Victory within the Compass of a Day, perhaps of an Hour, than we could otherwise promise to ourselves by the tedious Pursuits of Industry through the whole Course of a long laborious Life.”
Now, in order to treat with this People in their own Way, I would not awake them out of their present golden Dream; I would therefore suppose, that they might succeed to their Heart’s Desire, though there is a Chance at least of being disappointed, and of meeting with Captivity instead of Conquest; I will wave likewise all Considerations drawn from the intoxicating Nature of Riches, when so rapidly got, and improperly acquired: I will also grant, that great Stores of Gold and Silver, of Jewels, Diamonds, and precious Stones, may be brought Home; and that the Treasures of the Universe may, if you please, be made to circulate within the Limits of our own little Country: And if this were not enough, I would still grant more, did I really know what more could be wished for or expected.
The Soldier of Fortune, being thus made rich, sits down to enjoy the Fruits of his Conquest, and to gratify his Wishes after so much Fatigue and Toil: But alas! he presently finds, that in Proportion as this heroic Spirit and Thirst for Glory have diffused themselves among his Countrymen, in the same Proportion the Spirit of Industry hath sunk and died away; every Necessary, and every Comfort and Elegance of Life are grown dearer than before, because there are fewer Hands, and less Inclination to produce them; at the same Time his own Desires, and artificial Wants, instead of being lessened, are greatly multiplied; for of what Use are Riches to him unless enjoyed? Thus therefore it comes to pass, that his Heaps of Treasure are like the Snow in Summer, continually melting away; so that the Land of Heroes soon becomes the Country of Beggars. His Riches, it it true, rushed in upon him like a Flood; but, as he had no Means of retaining them, every Article he wanted or wished for, drained away his Stores like the Holes in a Sieve, ’till the Bottom became quite dry: In short, in this Situation the Sums, which are daily and hourly issuing out, are not to be replaced but by a new War, and a new Series of Victories; and these new Wars and new Victories do all enhance the former Evils; so that the relative Poverty of the Inhabitants of this warlike Country becomes so much the greater, in Proportion to their Success in the very Means mistakenly proposed for enriching them.
A few indeed, excited by the strong Instinct of an avaricious Temper, may gather and scrape up what the many are squandering away; and so the Impoverishment of the Community may become the Enrichment of the Individual. But it is utterly impossible, that the great Majority of any Country can grow wealthy by that Course of Life which renders them both very extravagant, and very idle.
To illustrate this Train of Reasoning, let us have recourse to Facts: But let the Facts be such as my Opponents in this Argument would wish of all others to have produced on this Occasion: And as the Example of the Romans is eternally quoted, from the Pamphleteer in the Garret, to the Patriot in the Senate, as extremely worthy of the Imitation of Britons, let their Example decide the Dispute. “The brave Romans! That glorious! That godlike People! The Conquerors of the World! Who made the most haughty Nations to submit! Who put the Wealthiest under Tribute, and brought all the Riches of the Universe to centre in the Imperial City of Rome!”
Now this People, at the Beginning of their State, had a Territory not so large as one of our middling Counties, and neither healthy, nor fertile in its Nature; yet, by Means of Frugality and Industry, and under the Influence of Agrarian Laws (which allotted from two to six, or eight, or perhaps ten Acres of Land to each Family) they not only procured a comfortable Subsistence, but also were enabled to carry on their petty Wars without Burden to the State, or pay to the Troops; each Husbandman or little Freeholder serving gratis, and providing his own Cloaths and Arms during the short Time that was necessary for him to be absent from his Cottage and Family on such Expeditions.
But when their Neighbours were all subdued, and the Seat of War removed to more distant Countries, it became impossible for them to draw their Subsistence from their own Farms; or in other Words, to serve gratis any longer; and therefore they were under a Necessity to accept of Pay. Moreover, as they could seldom visit their little Estates, these Farms were unavoidably neglected, and consequently were soon disposed of to engrossing Purchasers: And thus it came to pass, that the Lands about Rome, in Spite of the Agrarian Laws, and of the several Revivals of those Laws, were monopolized into a few Hands by Dint of their very Conquests and Successes: And thus also the Spirit of Industry began to decline, in Proportion as the military Genius gained the Ascendant* . A Proof of this we have in Livy, even so far back as the Time of their last King Tarquinius Superbus: For one of the Complaints brought against that Prince was couched in the following Terms, That having employed his Soldiers in making Drains and Common Sewers, “they thought it an high Disgrace to Warriors to be treated as Mechanics, and that the Conquerors of the neighbouring Nations should be degraded into Stone-cutters and Masons,” though these Works were not the Monuments of unmeaning Folly, or the Works of Ostentation, but evidently calculated for the Health of the Citizens and the Convenience of the Public. Had he led forth these indignant Heroes to the Extirpation of some neighbouring State, they would not have considered that as a Dishonour to their Character.
But to proceed: The Genius of Rome being formed for War, the Romans pushed their Conquests over Nations still more remote: But alas! the Quirites, the Body of the People, were so far from reaping any Advantage from these new Triumphs, that they generally found themselves to be poorer at the End of their most glorious Wars than before they begun them. At the Close of each successful War it was customary to divide a Part of the Lands of the vanquished among the veteran Soldiers, and to grant them a Dismission in order to cultivate their new Acquisitions. But such Estates being still more distant from the City, became in fact so much the less valuable; and the new Proprietor had less Inclination than ever to forsake the Capital, and to banish himself to these distant Provinces. [For here let it be noted, that Rome was become by this Time the Theatre of Pleasure, as well as the Seat of Empire; where all, who wished to act a Part on the Stage of Ambition, Popularity, or Politics; all who wanted to be engaged in Scenes of Debauchery, or Intrigues of State; all, in short, who had any Thing to spend, or any Thing to expect, made Rome their Rendezvous, and resorted thither as to a common Mart] This being the Case, it is not at all surprising, that these late Acquisitions were deserted and sold for a very Trifle; nor that the Mass of the Roman People were so immersed in Debt, as we find by their own Historians, when we reflect, that their military Life indisposed them for Agriculture or Manufactures, and that their Notions of Conquest and of Glory rendered them extravagant, prodigal, and vain.
However, in this Manner they went on, continuing to extend their Victories and their Triumphs; and, after the Triumph, subsisting for a while by the Sale of the Lands above-mentioned, or by their Shares in the Division of the Booty: But when these were spent, as they quickly were, then they sunk into a more wretched State of Poverty than before, eagerly wishing for a new War as the only Means of repairing their desperate Fortunes, and clamouring against every Person that would dare to appear as an Advocate for Peace: And thus they encreased their Sufferings, instead of removing them.
At last they subdued the World, as far as it was known at that Time, or thought worth subduing; and then both the Tribute, and the Plunder of the Universe were imported into Rome; then, therefore, the Bulk of the Inhabitants of that City must have been exceedingly wealthy, had Wealth consisted in Heaps of Gold and Silver; and then likewise, if ever, the Blessings of Victory must have been felt had it been capable of producing any. But alas! whatever Riches a few Grandees, the Leaders of Armies, the Governors of Provinces, the Minions of the Populace, or the Harpies of Oppression might have amassed together, the great Majority of the People were poor and miserable beyond Expression; and while the vain Wretches were strutting with Pride, and elated with Insolence, as the Masters of the World, they had no other Means of subsisting, when Peace was made, and their Prize-Money spent, than to receive a Kind of Alms in Corn from the public Granaries, or to carry about their Bread Baskets, and beg from Door to Door. Moreover, such among them as had chanced to have a Piece of Land left unmortgaged, or something valuable to pledge, found to their Sorrow, that the Interest of Money (being hardly ever less than twelve per Cent. and frequently more) would soon eat up their little Substance, and reduce them to an Equality with the rest of their illustrious Brother-Beggars. Nay, so extremely low was the Credit of these Masters of the World, that they were trusted with the Payment of their Interest no longer than from Month to Month,—than which there cannot be a more glaring Proof, both of the abject Poverty, and of the cheating Dispositions of these heroic Citizens of Imperial Rome.
Now this being the undoubted Fact, every humane and benevolent Man, far from considering these People as Objects worthy of Imitation, will look upon them, with a just Abhorrence and Indignation; and every wise State, consulting the Good of the Whole, will take Warning by their fatal Example, and stifle, as much as possible, the very Beginnings of such a Roman Spirit in its Subjects.
The Case of the ancient Romans having thus been considered at large, less may be requisite as to what is to follow. And therefore suffice it to observe, that the Wars of Europe for these two hundred Years last past, by the Confession of all Parties, have really ended in the Advantage of none, but to the manifest Detriment of all: Suffice it farther to remark, that had each of the contending Powers employed their Subjects in cultivating and improving such Lands as were clear of all disputed Titles, instead of aiming at more extended Possessions, they had consulted both their own and their People’s Greatness much more efficaciously, than by all the Victories of a Cæsar, or an Alexander
Upon the Whole, therefore, it is evident to a Demonstration, that nothing can result from such Systems as these, however specious and plausible in Appearance, but Disappointment, Want, and Beggary. For the great Laws of Providence, and the Course of Nature, are not to be reversed or counter-acted by the feeble Efforts of wayward Man; nor will the Rules of sound Politics ever bear a Separation from those of true and genuine Morality. Not to mention, that the Victors themselves will experience it to their Costs sooner or later, that in vanquishing others, they are only preparing a more magnificent Tomb for their own Interrment.
In short, the good Providence of God hath, as it were, taken peculiar Pains to preclude Mankind from having any plausible Pretence for pursuing either this, or any other Scheme of Depopulation. And the Traces of such preventing Endeavours, if I may so speak, are perfectly legible both in the natural, and in the moral Worlds.
In the natural World, our bountiful Creator hath formed different Soils, and appointed different Climates; whereby the Inhabitants of different Countries may supply each other with their respective Fruits and Products; so that by exciting a reciprocal Industry, they may carry on an Intercourse mutually beneficial, and universally benevolent.
Nay more, even where there is no remarkable Difference of Soil, or of Climates, we find a great Difference of Talents; and if I may be allowed the Expression, a wonderful Variety of Strata in the human Mind. Thus, for Example, the Alteration of Latitude between Norwich and Manchester, and the Variation of Soil are not worth naming; moreover, the Materials made Use of in both Places, Wool, Flax, and Silk, are just the same; yet so different are the Productions of their respective Looms, that Countries, which are thousands of Miles apart, could hardly exhibit a greater Contrast. Now, had Norwich and Manchester been the Capitals of two neighbouring Kingdoms, instead of Love and Union, we should have heard of nothing but Jealousies and Wars; each would have prognosticated, that the flourishing State of the one portended the Downfall of the other; each would have had their respective Complaints, uttered in the most doleful Accents, concerning their own Loss of Trade, and of the formidable Progress of their Rivals; and, if the respective Governments were in any Degree popular, each would have had a Set of Patriots and Orators closing their inflammatory Harangues with a delenda est Carthago. “We must destroy our Rivals, our Competitors, and commercial Enemies, or be destroyed by them; for our Interests are opposite, and can never coincide.” And yet, notwithstanding all these canting Phrases, it is as clear as the Meridian Sun, that in Case these Cities had belonged to different Kingdoms (France and England for Example) there would then have been no more Need for either of them to have gone to War than there is at present. In short, if Mankind would but open their Eyes, they might plainly see, that there is no one Argument for inducing different Nations to fight for the Sake of Trade, but which would equally oblige every County, Town, Village, nay, and every Shop among ourselves, to be engaged in civil and intestine Wars for the same End: Nor, on the contrary, is there any Motive of Interest or Advantage that can be urged for restraining the Parts of the same Government from these unnatural and foolish Contests, but which would conclude equally strong against separate and independant Nations making War with each other on the like Pretext.
Moreover, the Instinct* of Curiosity, and the Thirst of Novelty, which are so universally implanted in human Nature, whereby various Nations and different People so ardently wish to be Customers to each other, is another Proof, that the curious Manufactures of one Nation will never want a Vent among the richer Inhabitants of another, provided they are reasonably cheap and good; so that the richer one Nation is, the more it has to spare, and the more it will certainly lay out on the Produce and Manufactures of its ingenious Neighbour. Do you object to this? Do you envy the Wealth, or repine at the Prosperity of the Nations around you?—If you do, consider what is the Consequence, viz. that you wish to keep a Shop, but hope to have only Beggars for your Customers.
Lastly, the good Providence of God has further ordained, that a Multiplication of Inhabitants in every Country should be the best Means of procuring Fertility to the Ground, and of Knowledge and Ability to the Tiller of it: Hence it follows, that an Increase of Numbers, far from being a Reason for going to War in order to thin them, or for sending them out to people remote Desarts, operates both as an exciting Cause to the Husbandman to increase his Quantity, in Proportion to the Demand at Market; and also enables him to raise more plentiful Crops, by the Variety and Plenty of those rich Manures, which the Concourse of People, their Horses, Cattle, &c. &c. produce: And it is remarkable, that very populous Countries are much less subject to Dearth or Famines than any other.—So much as to those Stores of Providence, which are laid up in the natural World, and graciously intended for the Use of Mankind.
As to the moral and political World, Providence has so ordained, that every Nation may increase in Frugality and Industry, and consequently in Riches* , if they please; because it has given a Power to every Nation to make good Laws, and wise Regulations, for their internal Government: And none can justly blame them on this Account. Should, for Example, the Poles, or the Tartars grow weary of their present wretched Systems, and resolve upon a better Constitution; should they prefer Employment to Sloth, Liberty to Slavery, and Trade and Manufactures to Theft and Robbery; should they give all possible Freedom and Encouragement to industrious Artificers, and lay heavy Discouragements on Idleness and Vice, by Means of judicious Taxes; and lastly, should they root out all Notions of beggarly Pride, and of the Glory of making maroding Incursions;—what a mighty, what a happy Change would soon appear in the Face of those Countries! And what could then be said to be wanting in order to render such Nations truely rich and great?
Perhaps some neighbouring State (entertaining a foolish Jealousy) would take the Alarm, that their Trade was in Danger. But if they attempted to invade such a Kingdom, they would find to their Cost, that an industrious State, abounding with People and with Riches, having its Magazines well stored, its frontier Towns* well fortified, the Garrisons duly paid, and the whole Country full of Villages and Enclosures; I say, they would feel to their Cost, that such a State is the strongest of all others, and the most difficult to be subdued: Not to mention that other Potentates would naturally rise up for its Defence and Preservation; because, indeed, it would be their interest that such a State as this should not be swallowed up by another, and because they themselves might have many Things to hope from it, and nothing to fear.
But is this Spell, this Witchcraft, of the Jealousy of Trade never to be dissolved? And are there no Hopes that Mankind will recover their Senses as to these Things? For of all Absurdities, that of going to War for the Sake of getting Trade is the most absurd; and nothing in Nature can be so extravagantly foolish. Perhaps you cannot digest this; you don’t believe it:—I grant, therefore, that you subdue your Rival by Force of Arms: Will that Circumstance render your Goods cheaper at Market than they were before? And if it will not, nay if it tends to render them much dearer, what have you got by such a Victory? I ask further, What will be the Conduct of foreign Nations when your Goods are brought to their Markets? They will never enquire, whether you were victorious or not; but only, whether you will fell cheaper, or at least as cheap as others? Try and see, whether any Persons, or any Nations, ever yet proceeded upon any other Plan; and if they never did, and never can be supposed to do so, then it is evident to a Demonstration, that Trade will always follow Cheapness, and not Conquest. Nay, consider how it is with yourselves at Home: Do Heroes and Bruisers get more Customers to their Shops because they are Heroes and Bruisers? Or, would not you yourself rather deal with a feeble Person, who will use you well, than with a Brother-Hero, should he demand a higher Price?
Now all these Facts are so very notorious, that none can dispute the Truth of them. And throughout the Histories of all Countries, and of all Ages, there is not a single Example to the contrary. Judge, therefore, from what has been said, whether any one Advantage can be obtained to Society, even by the most successful Wars, that may not be incomparably greater, and more easily procured, by the Arts of Peace.
As to those who are always clamouring for War, and sounding the Alarm to Battle, let us consider who they are, and what are their Motives; and then it will be no difficult Matter to determine concerning the Deference that ought to be paid to their Opinions, and the Merit of their patriotic Zeal.
1. The first on the List here in Britain (for different Countries have different Sorts of Firebrands) I say the first here in Britain is the Mock-Patriot and furious Anti-Courtier: He, good Man, always begins with Schemes of Oeconomy, and is a zealous Promoter of national Frugality* . He loudly declaims against even a small, annual, parliamentary Army, both on Account of its Expence, and its Danger; and pretends to be struck with a Panic at every Red-Coat that he sees. By persevering in these laudable Endeavours, and by sowing the Seeds of Jealousy and Distrust among the Ignorant and Unwary, he prevents such a Number of Forces, by Sea and Land, from being kept up, as are prudently necessary for the common Safety of the Kingdom: This is one Step gained. In the next Place, after having thrown out such a tempting Bait for Foreigners to catch at, on any trifling Affront he is all on Fire; his Breast beats high with the Love of his Country, and his Soul breathes Vengeance against the Foes of Britain: Every popular Topic, and every inflammatory Harangue is immediately put into Rehearsal; and, O Liberty! O my Country! is the continual Theme. The Fire then spreads; the Souls of the noble Britons are enkindled at it; and Vengeance and War are immediately resolved upon. Then the Ministry are all in a Hurry; new Levies are half-formed, and half-disciplined:—Squadrons at Sea are half-manned, and the Officers mere Novices in their Business. In short, Ignorance, Unskilfulness, and Confusion, are unavoidable for a Time; the necessary Consequence of which is some Defeat rereceived, some Stain or Dishonour cast upon the Arms of Britain. Then the long-wished for Opportunity comes at last; the Patriot roars, the Populace clamour and address, the Ministry tremble, and the Administration sinks. The ministerial Throne now being vacant, the Patriot triumphantly ascends it, adopts those Measures he had formerly condemned, reaps the Benefit of the Preparations and Plans of his Predecessor, and, in the natural Course of Things, very probably gains some Advantages; this restores the Credit of the Arms of Britain: Now the Lion is roused, and now is the Time for crushing our Enemies, that they may never be able to rise again. This is Pretext enough; and thus the Nation is plunged into an Expence ten Times as great, and made to raise Forces twenty Times as numerous, as were complained of before. “However, being now victorious, let us follow the Blow and manfully go on, and let neither Expence of Blood nor of Treasure be at all regarded; for another Campaign will undoubtedly bring the Enemy to submit to our own Terms, and it is impossible that they should stand out any longer.” Well, another Campaign is fought,—and another,—and another,—and another, and yet the Enemy holds out; nor is the Carte blanche making any Progress in its Journey into Britain. A Peace at last is made: the Terms of it are unpopular. Schemes of excessive Œconomy are called for by a new Set of Patriots; and the same Arts are played off to dethrone the reigning Minister, which he had practised to dethrone his Predecessor. And thus the patriotic Farce goes round and round; but generally ends in a real and bloody Tragedy to our Country and to Mankind.
2. The next in this List is the hungry Pamphleteer, who writes for Bread. The Ministry will not retain him on their Side, therefore he must write against them, and do as much Mischief as he can in order to be bought off. At the worst, a Pillory, or a Prosecution is a neverfailing Remedy against a political Author’s starving; nay, perhaps it may get him a Pension or a Place at last: In the Interim, the Province of this Creature is to be a Kind of Jackall to the Patriot-Lion; for he beats the Forest, and first starts the Game; he explores the reigning Humour and Whim of the Populace, and by frequent Trials discovers the Part where the Ministry are most vulnerable. But above all, he never fails to put the Mob in Mind, of what indeed they believed before, that Politics is a Subject which every one understands,—except the Ministry; and that nothing is so easy as to bring the King of France to sue for Peace on his Knees at the Bar of a British House of Commons, were such—and such—at the Helm, as honest and uncorrupt as they ought to be. “But alas! What shall we say! French Gold will find an Admission every where; and what can we expect, when the very Persons, who ought to have saved us, have sold their Country?” This is delightful, and this, with the old Stories of Agincourt and Gressy, regales, nay intoxicates, the Mob, and inspires them with an Enthusiasm bordering upon Madness. The same Ideas return; the former Battles are fought over again; and we have already taken Possession of the Gates of Paris in the Warmth of a frantic Imagination: Though it is certain, that even were this Circumstance ever to happen, we ourselves should be the greatest Losers; for the Conquest of France by England, in the Event of Things, would come to the same Point as the Conquest of England by France; because the Seat of Empire would be transferred to the greater Kingdom, and the lesser would be made a Province to it.—[The philosophic Dr. Franklin adopts the same Ideas in regard to the present Contest between North-America and Great-Britain. He supposes, agreeably to the Newtonian Philosophy, that there is a mutual Attraction and Gravitation between these two Countries; but nevertheless, that the Powers of Gravitation and Attraction being so much stronger in the vast Continent of North-America, than in the little Spot of Great-Britain, it therefore follows, that the former will swallow up, or absorb the latter, and not vice versa. The present astonishing Emigrations from Great-Britain and Ireland seem to confirm the Hypothesis of this eminent Philosopher but too well: And it were greatly to be wished, that the magical Spell, which is made to chain this our Island to those immense Regions, were dissolved ’e’re it be too late.]
3. Near a-kin to this Man, is that other Monster of modern Times, who is perpetually declaiming against a Peace, viz. the Broker, and the Gambler of Change-alley. Letters from the Hague, wrote in a Garret at Home for Half a Guinea;—the first News of a Battle fought (it matters not how improbable) with a List of the Slain and Prisoners, their Cannon, Colours, &c. Great Firings heard at Sea between Squadrons not yet out of Port;—a Town taken before the Enemy was near it;—an intercepted Letter that never was wrote;—or, in short, any Thing else that will elate or depress the Minds of the undiscerning Multitude, serves the Purpose of the Bear or the Bull to sink or raise the Price of Stocks, according as he wishes either to buy or sell. And by these vile Means the Wretch, who perhaps the other Day came up to London in the Waggon to be an Under-Clerk or a Message Boy in a Warehouse acquires such a Fortune as sets him on a Par with the greatest Nobles of the Land.
4. The News-writers are a fourth Species of political Firebrands: A Species which abounds in this Country more than in any other; for as Men are in this Kingdom allowed greater Liberties to say, or write what they please; so likewise is the Abuse of that Blessing carried to a higher Pitch. In fact these People may be truly said to trade in Blood: For a War is their Harvest; and a Gazette Extaordinary produces a Crop of an hundred Fold: How then can it be supposed, that they can ever become the Friends of Peace? And how can you expect that any Ministers can be their Favourites, but the Ministers of War? Yet these are the Men who may be truly said to govern the Minds of the good People of England, and to turn their Affections withersoever they please; who can render any Scheme unpopular which they dislike, and whose Approbation, or Disapprobation, are regarded by Thousands, and almost by Millions, as the Standard of Right or Wrong, of Truth or Falshood: For it is a Fact, an indisputable Fact, that this Country is as much News mad, and News ridden now, as ever it was Poperymad, and Priest-ridden, in the Days of our Forefathers.
5. The Jobbers and Contractors of all Kinds and of all Degrees for our Fleets and Armies;—the Clerks and Pay-Masters in the several Departments belonging to War;—and every other Agent, who has the fingering of the public Money, may be said to constitute a distinct Brood of Vultures, who prey upon their own Species, and fatten on human Gore. It would be endless to recount the various Arts and Stratagems by which these Devourers have amassed to themselves astonishing Riches, from very slender Beginnings, through the Continuance and Extent of the War: Consequently, as long as any Prospect could remain of squeezing somewhat more out of the Pockets of an exhausted, but infatuated People; so long the American War-hoop would be the Cry of these inhuman Savages; and so long would they start and invent Objections to every Proposition that could be made for the restoring Peace,—because Government Bills would yet bear some Price in the Alley, and Omnium and Scrip. would still sell at Market.
6. Many of the Dealers in Exports and Imports, and several of the Traders in the Colonies, are too often found to be assistant in promoting the Cry for every new War; and, when War is undertaken, in preventing any Overtures towards a Peace. You do not fathom the Depth of this Policy? you are not able to comprehend it. Alas! it is but two easily explained; and when explained, but too well proved from Experience. The general Interest of Trade, and the Interest of particular Traders, are very distinct Things; nay, are very often quite opposite to each other. The Interest of general Trade arises from general Industry; and, therefore can only be promoted by the Arts of Peace: But the Misfortune is, that during a Peace the Prices of Goods seldom fluctuate, and there are few or no Opportunities of getting suddenly rich. A War, on the contrary, unsettles all Things, and opens a wide Field for Speculation; therefore a lucky Hit, or the engrossing a Commodity, when there is but little at Market,—a rich Capture,—or a Smuggling, I should rather say a traiterous, Intercourse with the Enemy, sometimes by Bribes to Governors and Officers, and sometimes through other Channels;—or perhaps the Hopes of coming in for a Share in a lucrative Job, or a public Contract: These, and many such like notable Expedients are cherished by the Warmth of War, like Plants in a Hot bed; but they are chilled by the cold languid Circulation of peaceful Industry.
This being the Case, the warlike Zeal of these Men, and their Declamations against all reconciliatory Measures, are but too easily accounted for; and while the dulcis odor lucri is the governing Principle of Trade, what other Conduct are you to expect?
But what if the Men of landed Property, and the numerous Band of English Artificers and Manufacturers, who constitute, beyond all Doubt, the great Body of the Kingdom, and whose real Interests must be on the Side of Peace; what if they should not be so military in their Dispositions as these Gentlemen would wish they were? Why then all Arts must be used, and indefatigable Pains be taken to persuade them, that this particular War is calculated for their Benefit; and that the Conquest of such, or such a Place would infallibly redound both to the Advantage of the landed Interests, and the Improvement and Extension of Manufactures. “Should (for Example) the English once become the Masters of Canada, the Importation of Skins and Beavers, and the Manufacture of fine Hats, would extend prodigiously: Every Man might afford to wear a Beaver Hat if he pleased, and every Woman be decorated in the richest Furs; in return for which our coarse Woollens would find such a Vent throughout those immense Northern Regions as would make ample Satisfaction for all our Expences.” Well, Canada is taken, and is now all our own: But what is the Consequence after a Trial of some Years’ Possession? Let those declare who can, and as they were before so lavish in their Promises, let them at last prove their Assertions, by appealing to Fact and Experience. Alas! they cannot do it: Nay, so far from it, that Beaver, and Furs, and Hats are dearer than ever: And all the Woollens, which have been consumed in those Countries by the Native Inhabitants, do hardly amount to a greater Quantity than those very Soldiers and Sailors would have worn and consumed, who were lost in the taking, defending, and garrisoning of those Countries.
“However, if Canada did not answer our sanguine Expectations, sure we are, that the Sugar Countries would make Amends for all: And, therefore, if the important Islands of Guadaloupe and Martinico were to be subdued, then Sugars and Coffee, and Chocolate, and Indigo, and Cotton, &c. &c. would become as cheap as we could wish; and both the Country Gentleman and the Manufacturer would find their Account in such Conquests as these.” Well, Guadaloupe and Martinico are both taken, and many other Islands besides are added to our Empire, whose Produce is the very same with theirs. Yet, what Elegance of Life, or what Ingredient for Manufacture, is thereby become the cheaper? And which of all these Things can be purchased at a lower Rate, at present than before the War?—Not one can be named. On the contrary, the Man of landed Property can tell but too circumstantially, that Taxes are risen higher than ever,—that the Interest of Money is greater;—that every additional Load of National Debt is a new Mortgage on his exhausted and impoverished Estate;—and that, if he happens to be a Member of Parliament, he runs the Risque of being bought out of his Family Borough, by some upstart Gambler, Jobber, or Contractor.
TheEnglish Manufacturer, likewise, both sees and feels, that every foreign Material, of Use in his Trade is grown much dearer,—that all Hands are become extremely scarce,—their Wages prodigiously raised,—the Goods, of course, badly and scandalously manufactured,—and yet cannot be afforded at the same Price as heretofore,—that, therefore, the Sale of English Manufactures has greatly decreased in foreign Countries since the Commencement of War;—and what is worse than all, that our own Colonies, for whose Sakes the War was said to be undertaken, do buy Goods in Holland, in Italy, and Hamburgh, or any other Market where they can buy them cheapest, without regarding the Interest of the Mother-Country, when found to be repugnant to their own. All these Things, I say, the English Manufacturer both sees and feels: And is not this enough? Or must be carry his Complaisance still farther, and never be a Friend to Peace ’till it becomes the Interest of the Trader to befriend it likewise? Surely, surely, this is rather too much to be expected. In one Word, and to return to the Point from which we set out, the Interest of the Trader, and the Interest of the Kingdom, are two very distinct Things; because the one may, and often doth, get rich by that Course of Trade, which would bring Ruin and Desolation on the other.
7. The Land and Sea Officers are, of course, the invariable Advocates for War. Indeed it is their Trade, their Bread, and the sure Way to get Promotion; therefore no other Language can be expected from them: And yet, to do them Justice, of all the Adversaries of Peace, they are the fairest and most open in their Proceedings; they use no Art or Colouring, and as you know their Motive, you must allow for it accordingly. Nay, whether from a Principle of Honour natural to their Profession, or from what other Cause I know not; but so it is, that they very frankly discover the base and disingenuous Artifices of other Men. And the Author of these Sheets owes much of his Intelligence to several Gentlemen of this Profession, who were Eye and Ear-witnesses of the Facts related.
But after all, What have I been doing? and how can I Rope for Proselytes by this Kind of Writing?—It is true, in regard to the Points attempted to be proved, I have certainly proved that, “Neither Princes nor People can be Gainers by the most successful Wars:—Trade in particular, will make its Way to the Country where Goods are manufactured the best and cheapest:—But conquering Nations neither manufacture well nor cheap:—And consequently must sink in Trade in Proportion as they extend in Conquest,” These Things are now incontestibly clear, if any Thing ever was so. But, alas! Who will thank me for such Lessons as these? The seven Classes of Men just enumerated certainly will not; and as to the Mob, the blood thirsty Mob, no Arguments, and no Demonstrations whatever, can persuade them to withdraw their Veneration from their grim Idol, the God of Slaughter. On the contrary, to knock a Man on the Head is to take from him his All at once. This is a compendious Way, and this they understand. But to excite that Man (whom perhaps they have long called their Enemy) to greater Industry and Sobriety, to consider him as a Customer to them, and themselves as Customers to him, so that the richer both are, the better it may be for each other; and, in short, to promote a mutual Trade to mutual Benefit: This is a Kind of Reasoning, as unintelligible to their Comprehensions, as the Antipodes themselves.
Some few perhaps, a very few indeed, may be struck with the Force of these Truths, and yield their Minds to Conviction;—Possibly in a long Course of Time their Numbers may encrease;—and possibly, at last, the Tide may Turn;—so that our Posterity may regard the present Madness of going to War for the Sake of Trade, Riches, or Dominion, with the same Eye of Astonishment and Pity, that we do the Madness of our Forefathers in fighting under the Banner of the peaceful Cross to recover the Holy Land. This strange Phrenzy raged throughout all Orders and Degrees of Men for several Centuries; and was cured at last more by the dear-bought Experience of repeated Losses and continual Disappointments, than by any good Effects which cool Reason and Reflection could have upon the rational Faculties of Mankind. May the like dear-bought Experience prevail at last in the present Case!
A Letter from a Merchant in London TO HIS NEPHEW in AMERICA.
YOUR Letters gave me formerly no small Pleasure, because they seemed to have proceeded from a good Heart, guided by an Understanding more enlightened than is usually found among young Men: And the honest Indignation you express against those Artifices and Frauds, those Robberies and Insults, which lost us the Hearts and Affections of the Indians, is particularly to be commended; for these were the Things, as you justly observed, which involved us in the most bloody and expensive War that ever was known; and these, by being repeated, will stimulate the poor injured Savages to redress their Wrongs, and retaliate the Injury as soon as they can, by some Means or other. You did therefore exceedingly right, in manifesting the utmost Abhorrence and Detestation of all such Practices.
But of late I cannot say, that I receive the same Satisfaction from your Correspondence: You, and your Countrymen, certainly are discontented to a great Degree; but whether your Discontent arises from a Desire of Change, and of making Innovations in your Form of Government, or from a mistaken Notion, that we are making Innovations in it, is hard to say.
Give me Leave, therefore, to expostulate with you, on this strange Alteration in your Conduct. You indeed talk loudly of Chains, and exclaim vehemently against Slavery:—But surely you do not suspect, that I can entertain the most distant Wish of making any Man a Slave, much less my own Brother’s Son, and my next of Kin.—So far from it, that whether I can make you a Convert to my Way of thinking or not, I shall still act by you as my nearest Relation; being always desirous of allowing that Liberty to others, which I hope ever to enjoy myself,—of letting every Man see with his own Eyes, and act according to his own Judgment:—This I say, I would willingly indulge every Man in, as far as ever is consistent with good Government, and the public Safety. For indeed Governments there must be of some Kind or other; and Peace and Subordination are to be preserved; otherwise, there would be no such Thing as true Liberty subsisting in the World.
In Pursuance therefore of this rational Plan of Liberty, give me Leave to ask you, young Man, What is it you mean by repeating to me so often in every Letter, The Spirit of the Constitution? I own, I do not much approve of this Phrase, because its Meaning is so vague and indeterminate; and because it may be made to serve all Purposes alike, good or bad. And indeed it has been my constant Remark, That when Men were at a Loss for solid Arguments and Matters of Fact, in their political Disputes, they then had Recourse to the Spirit of the Constitution as to their last Shift, and the only Thing they had to say. An American, for Example, now insists, That according to the Spirit of the English Constitution, he ought not to be taxed without his own Consent, given either by himself, or by a Representative in Parliament chosen by himself. Why ought he not? And doth the Constitution say in so many Words, that he ought not? Or doth it say, That every Man either hath, or ought to have, or was intended to have a Vote for a Member of Parliament? No, by no Means: The Constitution says no such Thing.—But the Spirit of it doth; and that is as good, perhaps better.—Very well: See then how the same Spirit will presently wheel about, and assert a Doctrine quite repugnant to the Claims and Positions of you Americans. Magna Charta, for Example, is the great Foundation of English Liberties, and the Basis of the English Constitution. But by the Spirit of Magna Charta, all Taxes laid on by Parliament are constitutional, legal Taxes; and Taxes raised by the Prerogative of the Crown, without the Consent of the Parliament, are illegal. Now remember, young Man, that the late Tax of Duties upon Stamps was laid on by Parliament; and therefore, according to your own Way of reasoning, must have been a regular, constitutional, legal Tax. Nay more, the principal End and Intention of Magna Charta, as far as Taxation is concerned, was to assert the Authority and Jurisdiction of the three Estates of the Kingdom, in Opposition to the sole Prerogative of the King: So that if you will now plead the Spirit of Magna Charta against the Jurisdiction of Parliament, you will plead Magna Charta against itself.
Leaving therefore all these shifting, unstable Topics, which, like changeable Silks, exhibit different Colours, according as they are viewed in different Lights; let us from the Spirit of the Constitution, come to the Constitution itself. For this is a plain, obvious Matter of Fact; and Matters of Fact are said to be stubborn Things. Now the first Emigrants, who settled in America, were certainly English Subjects,—subject to the Laws and Jurisdiction of Parliament, and consequently to parliamentary Taxes, before their Emigration; and therefore subject afterwards, unless some legal, constitutional Exemption can be produced.
Now this is the Question, and the sole Question between you and me, reduced to a plain, simple Matter of Fact. Is there therefore any such Exemption as here pretended? And if you have it, why do you not produce it?—“The King, you say, hath granted Charters of Exemption to the American Colonies.” This is now coming to the Point; and this will bring the Dispute to a short Issue. Let us therefore first enquire, Whether he could legally and constitutionally grant you such a Charter? And secondly, Whether he did ever so much as attempt to do it? And whether any such Charters are upon Record?
Now, upon the first settling an English Colony, and before ever you, Americans, could have chosen any Representatives, and therefore before any Assembly of such Representatives could have possibly met,—to whose Laws, and to what legislative Power were you then subject? To the English most undoubtedly; for you could have been subject to no other. You were Englishmen yourselves; and you carried the English Government, and an English Charter over along with you. This being the Case, were you not then in the same Condition, as to Constitutional Rights and Liberties, with the rest of your Fellow-subjects, who remained in England? Certainly you were. I most cordially agree, that you ought not to have been placed in a worse; and surely you had no Right to expect a better. Suppose, therefore, that the Crown had been so ill advised, as to have granted a Charter to any City or County here in England, pretending to exempt them from the Power and Jurisdiction of an English Parliament;—what would the Judges? what would the Lawyers? nay, what would you Americans have said to it? Apply this now to your own Case; for surely you cannot wish to have it put upon a fairer Footing; try, therefore, and see, and then tell me; is it possible for you to believe, that the King has a Power vested in him by the Constitution of dividing his Kingdom into several independant States, and petty Kingdoms, like the Heptarchy in the Times of the Saxons? Or can you really imagine, that he could crumble the parliamentary Authority and Jurisdiction, were he so minded, into Bits and Fragments, by assigning one Parliament to one City or County, another to another, and so on? Is it possible, I say, for you to believe an Absurdity so gross and glaring? And yet gross and palpable as this Absurdity is, you must either believe it, or adopt a still greater, viz. that, though the King cannot do these strange Things in England, yet he can do them all in America; because the Royal Prerogative, like Wire coiled up in a Box, can be stretched and drawn out to almost any Length, according to the Distance and Extent of his Dominions. Good Heavens! what a sudden Alteration is this! An American pleading for the Extension of the Prerogative of the Crown? Yes, if it could make for his Cause; and for extending it too beyond all the Bounds of Law, of Reason, and of Common Sense!
But though I have for Argument’s Sake, and merely to confute you in your own Way, here supposed, that the Crown had been so ill-advised, as to grant Charters to the Colonies so unconstitutional and illegal, as these undoubtedly must have been;—yet the Fact itself is far otherwise* ; for no such Charters were ever granted. Nay, many of your Colony Charters assert quite the contrary, by containing express Reservations of Parliamentary Rights, particularly that great one of levying Taxes. And those Charters which do not make such Provisoes in express Terms, must be supposed virtually to imply them; because the Law and Constitution will not allow, that the King can do more either at home or abroad, by the Prerogative Royal, than the Law and Constitution authorize him to do.
However, if you are still doubtful, and if you would wish to have a Confirmation of this Argument by some plain Fact, some striking Proof, and visible Example, I will give you one; and such an one too, as shall convince you, if any thing can, of the Folly and Absurdity of your Positions: The City of London, for Instance,—a Body Politic as respectable, without Offence, as the greatest of your Colonies, with Regard to Property, and superior to many of them with respect to Numbers;—this great City, I say, the Metropolis of the whole British Empire, hath long enjoyed, before the Colonies were ever thought of, the threefold Power of Jurisdiction, Legislation, and Taxation in certain Cases: But no Man in his Senses ever yet supposed, that the City of London either was, or could be exempted by these Charters from Parliamentary Jurisdiction, or Parliamentary Taxes; and if any Citizen should plead the Charters in Bar to Parliamentary Authority, or refuse to pay his Quota of the Land Tax, because that Tax is not laid on by an Act of the Lord-Mayor, Aldermen, and Common-Council;—I do not say, indeed, that the Judges would commit him to Newgate;—but I do verily believe, that they would order him to another Place of Confinement, much fitter for a Person in his unhappy Situation.
And now, my good Friend, what can you say to these Things?—The only Thing which you ought to say is, that you did not see the Affair in its true Light before; and that you are sincerely sorry for having been so positive in a wrong Cause. Confuted most undoubtedly you are beyond the Possibility of a Reply, as far as the Law and Constitution of the Realm are concerned in this Question. But indeed it seems to me by certain Passages in your Letters, that, though you raise a terrible Outcry against the supposed Violation of your Charters; you yourself would not rest the Merits of your Cause upon the Proof of such a Violation; and that you would rather drop that Point, than attempt to justify the Charge if called upon to do it.
What then is it, which you have next to offer? Oh! “The Unreasonableness! the Injustice! and the Cruelty of taxing a free People, without permitting them to have Representatives of their own to answer for them, and to maintain their fundamental Rights and Privileges!”
Strange, that you did not discover these bad Things before! Strange, that though the British Parliament has been, from the Beginning, thus unreasonable, thus unjust, and cruel towards you, by levying Taxes on many Commodities outwards and inwards,—nay, by laying an internal Tax, the Post-Tax for Example, on the whole British Empire in America;—and, what is still worse, by making Laws to affect your Property,—your Paper Currency, and even to take away Life itself, if you offend against them:—Strange and unaccountable, I say, that after you had suffered this so long, you should not have been able to have discovered, that you were without Representatives in the British Parliament, of your own electing, ’till this enlightening Tax upon Paper opened your Eyes! And what a Pity is it, that you have been Slaves for so many Generations, and yet did not know that you were Slaves until now.
But let that pass, my dear Cousin; for I always choose to confute you in your own Way. Now, if you mean any Thing at all by the Words unreasonable, unjust, and cruel, as used in this Dispute; you must mean, that the Mother Country deals worse by you, than by the Inhabitants of Great-Britain; and that she denies certain Constitutional Rights and Privileges to you abroad, which we enjoy here at home. Now pray what are these constitutional Rights and Liberties, which are refused to you? Name them, if you can. The Things which you pretend to alledge are, “The Rights of voting for Members of the British Parliament; and the Liberty of chusing your own Representatives.” But surely you will not dare to say, that we refuse your Votes, when you come hither to offer them, and choose to poll: You cannot have the Face to assert, that on an Election Day any Difference is put between the Vote of a Man born in America, and of one born here in England. Yet this you must assert, and prove too, before you can say any thing to the present Purpose. Suppose therefore, that an American hath acquired a Vote (as he legally may, and many have done) in any of our Cities or Counties, Towns, or Boroughs; suppose, that he is become a Freeman, or a Freeholder here in England;—on that State of the Case, prove if you can, that his Vote was ever refused, because he was born in America:—Prove this, I say, and then I will allow, that your Complaints are very just; and that you are indeed the much injured, the cruelly treated People, you would make the World believe.
But, my good Friend, is this supposed Refusal the real Cause of your Complaint? Is this the Grievance that calls so loudly for Redress? Oh! no, you have no Complaint of this Sort to make: But the Cause of your Complaint is this; that you live at too great a Distance from the Mother Country to be present at our English Elections, and that in Consequence of this Distance, the Freedom of our Towns, or the Freeholds in our Counties, as far as voting is concerned, are not worth attending to. It may be so; but pray consider, if you yourselves do choose to make it inconvenient for you to come and vote, by retiring into distant Countries,—what is that to us? And why are we to be reproached for committing a ‘Violation on the Birth-rights of Englishmen, which, if it be a Violation, is committed only by yourselves?’ It seems, you find it to be your particular Interest to live in the Colonies; it seems, that you prefer the Emoluments of residing there to your Capacity, or Capability (take which Word you please) of residing and voting here. Now this is your own free Choice; and we leave you at full Liberty to act as you think proper: But then, are we obliged to alter our Political System merely to accord with your Convenience? Are we to change and new model our fixed and ancient Constitution, just as you shall see fit to command us? and according as it shall please you to remove from Place to Place? And is this the Complaisance, which you expect the Mother Country should shew to her dutiful Children? Yes, it is; and you demand it too with a loud Voice, full of Anger, of Defiance, and Denunciation.
However, the Lion is not always so fierce as he is painted; and ’till we are beaten into a Compliance, it is to be hoped, that we may be allowed to expostulate with you in a few harmless, unbloody Words. Granting therefore, that the Colonies are unrepresented in the British Parliament: Granting that two Millions of People in America have, in this Respect, no Choice, nor Election of their own, through the Necessity of the Case, and their Distance from the Place of Election:—What would you infer from this Concession? And wherein can such Kind of Topics support your Cause? For know, young Man, that not only two Millions which are the utmost, that your exaggerated Accounts can be swelled to;—I say not only two Millions, but six Millions at least of the Inhabitants of Great-Britain, are still unrepresented in the British Parliament. And this Omission arises, not from the Necessity of the Case, not from consulting Interest and Convenience as with you, but from original Ideas of Gothic Vassalage,—from various Casualties and Accidents,—from Changes in the Nature of Property,—from the Alteration of Times and Circumstances,—and from a thousand other Causes. Thus, for Example, in the great Metropolis, and in many other Cities, landed Property itself hath no Representative in Parliament; Copyholds and Leaseholds of various Kinds have none likewise, though of ever so great a Value. This you yourself very well know; because when you were here last, you knew, that I was possessed of considerable landed Property in London, and of several Copyhold and beneficial Leaseholds, in the Country, and yet that I never had a Vote. Moreover, in some Towns neither Freedom, nor Birth right, nor the serving of an Apprenticeship, shall entitle a Man to give his Vote, though they may enable him to set up a Trade: In other Towns the most numerous, the most populous and flourishing of any, there are no Freedoms or Votes of any Sort; but all is open; and none are represented. And besides all this, it is well known, that the great East-India Company, which have such vast Settlements, and which dispose of the Fate of Kings and Kingdoms abroad, have not so much as a single Member, or even a single Vote, quatenus a Company, to watch over their Interests at home. What likewise shall we say in regard to the prodigious Number of Stock-holders in dur public Funds? And may not their Property, perhaps little short of One hundred Millions Sterling, as much deserve to be represented in Parliament, as the scattered Townships, or straggling Houses of some of your Provinces in America? Yet we raise no Commotions; we neither ring the Alarm-Bell, nor sound the Trumpet; but submit to be taxed without being represented, and taxed too, let me tell you, for your Sakes. Witness the additional Duties on our Lands, Windows, Houses; also on our Malt, Beer, Ale, Cyder, Perry, Wines, Brandy, Rum, Coffee, Chocolate, &c. &c. &c. for defraying the Expences of the late War,—nor forgetting the grievous Stamp-Duty itself. All this, I say, we submitted to, when you were, or at least, when you pretended to be, in great Distress; so that neither Men, almost to the last Drop of Blood we could spill,—nor Money, to the last Piece of Coin, were spared: But all was granted away, all was made a Sacrifice, when you cried out for Help. And the Debt which we contracted on this Occasion, is so extraordinary, as not to be parallelled in History. It is to be hoped, for the Credit of human Nature, that the Returns which you have made us for these Succours, and your present Behaviour towards us, which perhaps is still more extraordinary, may not be parallelled likewise.
But as you Americans do not chuse to remember any thing, which we have done for you;—though we, and our Children shall have Cause to remember it ’till latest Posterity;—let us come to the Topic, which you yourselves do wish to rest your Cause upon, and which you imagine to be the Sheet Anchor of your State Vessel. “You are not represented; and you are Two Milions; therefore you ought not to be taxed.” We are not represented; and we are Six Millions; therefore we ought not to be taxed. Which now, even in your own Sense of Things, have most Reason to complain? And which Grievance, if it be a Grievance, deserves first to be redressed? Be it therefore supposed, than an Augmentation ought to take place in our House of Commons, in order to represent in Parliament the prodigious Numbers of British Subjects hitherto unrepresented. In this Case the first Thing to be done, is to settle the Proportion. And therefore if Two Millions (the Number of Persons actually represented at present) require Five Hundred and Fifty-eight Representatives (which I think is the Number of our modern House of Commons) how many will Six Millions require?—The Answer is, that they will require One Thousand Six Hundred and Seventy-four Representatives. Now this is the first Augmentation, which is to be made to our List of Parliament Men. And after this Increase, we are to be furnished, by the same Rule of Proportion, with Five Hundred and Fifty-eight more from the Colonies. So that the total Numbers will be Two Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Representatives in Parliament! A goodly Number truly! and very proper for the Dispatch of Business! Oh, the Decency and Order of such an Assembly! The Wisdom and Gravity of Two Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Legisiators all met together in one Room! What a Pity is it, that so hopeful a Project should not be carried into immediate Execution!
But, my noble Senator,—for certainly you yourself intend to figure away in such an august Assembly,—permit an old Man to reveal one Secret to you, before you proceed any further in your representing Scheme—That the Complaint itself of being unrepresented, is entirely false and groundless. For both the Six Millions at home, and the Two Millions in the Colonies, are all represented already. This perhaps may startle you; but nevertheless this is the Fact. And though I have hitherto used a different Language merely to accommodate myself to your Ideas, and to confute your Folly in your own Way, I must now tell you, that every Member of Parliament represents you and me, and our public Interests in all essential Points, just as much as if we had voted for him. For though one Place, or one Set of Men may elect, and send him up to Parliament, yet, when once he becomes a Member, he becomes then the equal Guardians of all. And he ought not, by the Duty of his Office, to shew a Preference to his own Town City, or County, but in such Cases only, where a Preference shall not be found to interfere with the general Good. Nay, he ought in Conscience to give his vote in Parliament against the Sense, and against the Instructions of his Electors, if he should think in his Conscience, that what they require, is wrong in itself, is illegal or injurious, and detrimental to the public Welfare. This then being the Case, it therefore follows, that our Birminghams, Manchesters, Leeds, Halifaxes, &c. and your Bostons, New-Yorks, and Philadelphias, are all as really, though not so nominally represented, as any Part whatsoever of the British Empire:—And that each of these Places have in fact, instead of one or two, not less than Five Hundred and Fifty-eight Guardians in the British Senate. A Number abundantly sufficient, as far as human Prudence can suggest, or the present imperfect State of Things will permit, for the Security of our Rights, and the Preservation of our Liberties.
But perhaps you will say, That though it may be a Senator’s Duty to regard the Whole rather than a Part, and to be the equal Protector of all;—yet he will, in fact, regard that most, which can best promote his own Interest, and secure his Election another Time. It may be so: For who can guard against all Possibility of Danger? And what System can there be devised, but may be attended with Inconveniences and Imperfections in some Respect or other?—Nevertheless, if your general Objection proves any thing, it proves a great deal too much: For it proves that no Man ought to pay any Tax, but that only, to which the Member of his own Town, City, and County, hath particularly assented: Because all other Members being chosen by other Persons, and not by him, and perhaps by Persons in an opposite Interest are therefore not his Representatives, and consequently not the true Guardians of his Property. Being therefore without a Representative in such a Parliament, he is under no Obligation to obey its Laws, or pay any of its Taxes.
Where now, my Friend, will you turn? And what can you do to extricate yourself from the Difficulties which arise on all Sides on this Occasion? You cannot turn about, and say, that the other Representatives, whom this Man never chose, and for whom he had no Vote to give, and against whom perhaps he had particular Exceptions, have nevertheless a Right of taxing him because he makes a Part of the Body Politic implied in, and concluded by the rest;—you cannot say this, because the Doctrine of Implication is the very Thing to which you object, and against which you have raised so many Batteries of popular Noise and Clamour. Nay, as the Objection is entirely of your own making, it must go still further: For if your Argument is good for any thing, it is as good for North-America as it is for Great-Britain; and consequently you must maintain, that all those in your several Provinces who have no Votes (and many Thousands of such there are) and also all those Voters, whose Representatives did not expressly consent to the Act of your Assemblies for raising any of your own provincial Taxes,—ought not to be compelled to pay them. These now are the happy Consequences of your own Principles, fairly, clearly, and evidently deduced: Will you abide by them?
But however, not to push you into more Absurdities of this Kind, let us wave the present Point, and come to another. For, after all your doleful Complaints, what if it should appear, that these Five Hundred and Fifty-eight Parliamentary Guardians, who represent you only by Implication, have, in fact, been kinder and more bountiful to you Americans, than they have been to their own British Voters, whom they represent by Nomination? And, what if even this Argument, so full of Sorrow and Lamentation, should at last be retorted upon you, and made to conclude, like all the rest, the very Reverse of what you intended? This, I believe, is what you little expected: But nevertheless, this is the Case: For if there be any Partiality to be complained of in the Conduct of the British Parliament, it will appear to be a Partiality in Favour of the Colonies, and against the Mother Country. Do you demand my Authority; for this Assertion? I will give it you:—The Statutes of the Realm are my Authority; and surely you cannot demand a better. By these then it will appear, that a Colonist, who is consequently subordinate to the Mother Country in the very Nature to Things, is nevertheless put upon a better Footing, in many Respects, than an Inhabitant of Great-Britain. By these it will appear, that the Parliament, like an over-indulgent Parent to his favourite, froward Child, hath been continually heaping Favours upon you, of which we are not permitted to taste. Thus, for Example, you have your Choice, whether you will accept of my Price for your Tobacco,—or after bringing it here, whether you will carry it away, and try your Fortune at another Market: But I have no Alternative allowed, being obliged to buy yours at your own Price; or else to pay such a Duty for the Tobacco of other Countries, as must amount to a Prohibition. Nay, in order to favour your Plantations, I am not permitted to plant this Herb on my own Estate, though the Soil should be ever so proper for it. Again, the same Choice, and the same Alternative are allowed to you, and denied to me, in regard to Rice; with this additional Advantage, that in many Respects you need not bring it into England at all, unless you are so minded. And what will you say in Relation to Hemp? The Parliament now gives you a Bounty of 8l. per Ton for exporting your Hemp from North-America; but will allow me nothing for growing it here in England; nay, will tax me very severely for fetching it from any other Country; though it be an Article most essentially necessary for all the Purposes of Shipping and Navigation. Moreover in respect to the Culture of Raw Silk, you have an immense Parliamentary Premium for that Purpose; and you receive further Encouragements from our Society for Arts and Sciences, which is continually adding fresh Rewards:—But I can receive no Encouragement either from the one, or from the other, to bear my Expences at first setting out; though most undeniably the white Mulberry-Trees can thrive as well on my Grounds, as they can in Switzerland, Brandenburgh, Denmark, or Sweden, where vast Quantities are now raising. Take another Instance:—Why shall not I be permitted to buy Pitch, Tar, and Turpentine,—without which I cannot put my Ships to Sea;—and Indigo, so useful in many Manufactures;—why shall not I be permitted to purchase these Articles wherever I can, the best in their Kind, and on the best Terms?—No, I shall not; for though they are all raw Materials, which therefore ought to have been imported Duty free, yet I am restrained by an heavy Duty, almost equal to a Prohibition, from purchasing them any where, but from you:—Whereas you on the contrary are paid a Bounty for selling these very Articles, at the only Market, in which you could sell them to Advantage, viz. the English* .
Much more might have been said on this Subject; and the like Observations might have been extended to the Sugar Colonies: But I forbear. For indeed enough has been said already (and as it exposes our Partiality and Infatuation a little severely, perhaps too much)—in order to prove to the World, that of all People upon Earth, you have the least Reason to complain.
But complain you will; and no sooner is one Recital of imaginary Grievances silenced and confuted; but like the Hydra in the Fable, up starts another. Let us see, therefore, what is your next Objection, which I think, is the last, that with all your Zeal, and Goodwill, you are able to muster up.—“The Inexpediency and Excessiveness of such a Tax! a Tax ill-timed in itself, and ill digested! unseasonably laid on! and exceeding all Rules of Proportion in regard to the Abilities of those who are to pay it!”
Now, my Friend, had there been any Truth, in these Assertions, which I shall soon make to appear, that there is not;—but had there been, the Plea itself comes rather at the latest, and out of Place from you:—from you, I say, who peremptorily object to the very Power and Authority of the British Parliament of laying any internal Taxes upon the Colonies, great or small or at any Time seasonable, or unseasonable. And therefore, had you been able to have proved the Illegality of such a Tax, it would have been quite superfluous to have informed us afterwards, that this Usurpation of your Rights and Liberties was either an excessive, or an unseasonable Usurpation. But as you have failed in this first Point; nay, as all your own Arguments have proved the very reverse of what you intended; and very probably, as you yourself was not originally quite satisfied with the Justice of your Cause;—and must have seen abundant Reason before this Time to have altered your former hasty, and rash Opinion;—I will therefore wave the Advantage, and now debate the Point with you, as though you had acknowledged the Parliamentary Right of Taxation, and only excepted to the Quantum, or the Mode, the Time, or the Manner of it.
Now two Things are here to be discussed; first, the pretended Excessiveness of the Tax; and secondly, the Unseasonableness of it. As to the Excessiveness of the Stamp Duties, the Proof of this must depend upon the Proof of a previous Article,—the relative Poverty, and Inability of those, who are to pay it. But how do you propose to make out this Point? And after having given us for some Years past such Displays of your growing Riches and encreasing Magnificence, as perhaps never any People did in the same Space of Time; how can you now retract and call yourselves a poor People? Remember, my young Man, the several Expostulations I had with your deceased Father on the prodigious Increase of American Luxury. And what was his Reply? Why, that an Increase of Luxury was an inseparable Attendant on an Increase of Riches; and that, if I expected to continue my North-American Trade, I must suit my Cargo to the Taste of my Customers; and not to my own old-fashioned Notions of the Parsimony of former Days, when America was a poor Country. Remember therefore the Orders given by him, and afterwards by you, to have your Assortment of Goods made richer, and finer every Year. And are your Gold and Silver Laces;—your rich Brocades, Silks and Velvets;—your Plate, and China, and Jewels;—your Coaches and Equipages,—your sumptuous Furniture, Prints, and Pictures. Are all these Things now laid aside? Have you no Concerts, or Assemblies, no Play Houses, or Gaming Houses, now subsisting? Have you put down your Horse Races and other such like Sports and Diversions? And is the Luxury of your Tables, and the Variety and Profusion of your Wines and Liquors quite banished from among you?—These are the Questions, which you ought to answer, before an Estimate can be made of your relative Poverty, or before any Judgment can be formed concerning the Excessiveness of the Tax.
But I have not yet done with you on this Head. For even though you were poor (which you know, you are not, compared with what you were Thirty Years ago) it may nevertheless happen, that our relative Poverty may be found to be greater than yours. And if so, when a new Burden is to be laid on, the proper Question is, which of these two Sorts of poor People, is the best able, or, if you please, the least unable to bear it?—especially if it be taken into the Account, that this additional Load is an American Burthen, and not a British one. Be it therefore granted, according to what you say, that you are Two Millions of Souls; be it also allowed, as it is commonly asserted, that the Public Debt of the several Provinces amounts to about 800,000l. Sterling; and in the next Place, be it supposed, for Argument’s Sake, that were this general Debt equally divided among the Two Millions, each Individual would owe about the Value of Eight Shillings. Thus stands the Account on one Side. Now we in Britain are reckoned to be about Eight Millions of Souls; and we owe almost One Hundred and Forty-four Millions of Money; which Debt were it equally divided among us, would throw a Burthen upon each Person of about 18l. Sterling. This then being the State of the Case on both Sides, would it be so capital an Offence, would it be High-Treason in us to demand of you, who owe so little, to contribute equally with ourselves, who owe so much, towards the public Expences;—and such Expences too as you were the Cause of creating?—Would it be a Crime of a Nature so very heinous and diabolical, as to call forth the hottest of your Rage and Fury? Surely no:—And yet, my gentle Friend, we do not so much as ask you to contribute equally with ourselves, we only demand, that you would contribute something. And what is this something? Why truly it is, that when we raise about Eight Millions of Money annually upon Eight Millions of Persons, we expect, that you would contribute One Hundred Thousand Pounds (for the Stamp Duty upon the Continent alone, without comprehending the Islands, cannot possibly amount to more) I say, we expect, that you should contribute One Hundred Thousand Pounds to be raised on Two Millions: that is, when each of us pays, one with another, Twenty Shillings per Head, we expect, that each of you should pay the Sum of One Shilling! Blush! blush for shame at your perverse and scandalous Behaviour!—Words still more severe, and perhaps more just, are ready to break forth, through an honest Indignation:—But I suppress them.
Perhaps you will say, and I think it is the only Thing left for you to say in Excuse for such Proceedings, that you have other Public Taxes to pay, besides those which the British Parliament now requires. Undoubtedly you have, for your Provincial and other Taxes are likewise to be paid: But here let me ask, is not this our Case also? And have not we many other Taxes to discharge besides those which belong to the Public, and are to be accounted for at the Exchequer? Surely we have: Witness our County Taxes, Militia Taxes, Poor Taxes, Vagrant Taxes, Bridge Taxes, High Road and Turnpike Taxes, Watch Taxes, Lamps and Scavenger Taxes, &c. &c. &c.—all of them as numerous and as burthensome as any that you can mention, And yet with all this Burthen, yea, with an additional Weight of a National Debt of 18l. Sterling per Head,—we require of each of you to contribute only One Shilling to every Twenty from each of us!—yes; and this Shilling too to be spent in your own Country, for the Support of your own Civil and Military Establishments; together with many Shillings drawn from us for the same Purpose. Alas! had you been in our Situation, and we in yours, would you have been content with our paying so small, so inconsiderable a Share of the Public Expences? And yet, small and inconsiderable as this Share is, you will not pay it. No, you will not! And be it at our Peril, if we demand it.
Now, my Friend, were Reason and Argument, were Justice, Equity, or Candour to be allowed by you to have any Concern in this Affair, I would then say, that you Americans are the most unfortunate People in the World in your Management of the present Controversy. Unfortunate you are, because the very Attempts you make towards setting forth your Inability, prove to a Demonstration, that you are abundantly able, were you but truly willing to pay this Tax. For how, and in what Manner do you prove your Allegations? Why truly, by breaking forth into Riots and Insurrections, and by committing every kind of Violence, that can cause Trade to stagnate, and Industry to cease. And is this the Method, which you have chosen to pursue, in order to make the World believe, that you are a poor People? Is this the Proof you bring, that the Stamp Duty is a Burthen too heavy for you to bear? Surely, if you had really intended our Conviction, you would have chosen some other Medium: And were your Inability, or Poverty the single Point in Question, you would not have taken to such Courses, as must infallibly render you still the poorer. For in fact, if, after all your Complaints of Poverty, you can still afford to idle away your Time, and to waste Days, and Weeks, in Outrages and Uproars; what else do you prove, but that you are a prodigal, and extravagant People? For you must acknowledge, that if but Half of this Time were spent, as it ought to be, in honest Industry and useful Labour, it would have been more than sufficient to have paid double the Tax which is now required.
But you will still say, that though the Tax may be allowed (nay indeed it must be allowed) to be very moderate, every thing considered, and not all excessive; “It may nevertheless be laid on very unseasonably; it may be wrong-timed, and ill-digested.”
Now, here I must own, that I am somewhat at a Loss how to answer you, because I am not quite certain that I unsterstand your Meaning. If, for Example, by the Term ill-digested, you would insinuate, that the American Stamp Duty would grind the Faces of the Poor, and permit the Rich to escape;—that it would affect the Necessaries, and not the Superfluities of Life;—that it would prevent the Building of Houses, or the Clearing of Lands, or the Cultivation of Estates already cleared;—or lastly, that it would diminish the Number of your Shipping, or stop the Pay of your Sailors: If these, or any of these are the Evils, which you would lay to the Charge of the Stamp Duty, nothing upon Earth could be a falser Charge; and you could not give a stronger Proof either of your Defect in Judgment, or Want of Integrity, than by uttering such Assertions as these;—Assertions, which both daily Experience and the Nature of Things evidently demonstrate to be void of Truth. We in Britain have been subject to a Stamp Duty for many, very many Years; a Duty much higher than that which is intended for America; and yet we know by long Experience, that it hath not been attended with any of the dreadful Consequences which are here supposed.
Again, as to the wrong-timing, or the Unseasonableness of this Tax:—If by this you mean to say, that it was laid on, at a Time, when you were poorer, and less able to bear it, than you were before;—that is false also. For you never were richer, and you never were more able to contribute your Quota towards the general Expences, than at the Juncture of laying on this Tax. To prove this, let it be observed, that just before this Event, you had not only been draining the Mother Country by the immense Sums drawn from us to pay our Fleets and Armies, when acting in Defence of America;—and that your Jobbers and Contractors had not only been sucking our Blood and Vitals by their extortionate Demands;—but you had also been enriched by the Spoils, and by the Traffic of the numerous Colonies of France and Spain. For you were continually acting the double Part either of Trade, or War, of Smuggling, or Privateering, according to the Prospect of greater Gain. And while we at Home were exerting our utmost to put a speedy End to the War by an honourable Peace,—you on the contrary were endeavouring to prolong it as much as possible; and were supplying our Enemies with all Manner of Provisions, and all Sorts of warlike Stores for that Purpose. Nay, because a Part of these ill-gotten Riches was laid out in English Manufactures (there being at that Time hardly a Possibility of purchasing any but English, when our Fleets were absolute Masters of the Sea) your Advocates and Authors trumpeted aloud the prodigious Profits of this North-American Trade;—not considering, or rather not willing that we should consider, that while a few Individuals were getting Thousands, the Public was spending Millions.
Once more:—If by the Epithet unseasonable, you would be understood to mean, that there was no need of taxing you at all at that Juncture; because the Mother Country was still as able to carry the additional Load, which you had brought upon her, as she had been to bear all the rest: If this be your Meaning, I must tell you once for all, that you are egregiously mistaken. For we can bear no more: we cannot support ourselves under heavier Taxations, even were we ever so willing; we have strained every Nerve already, and have no Resources left for new Impositions. Therefore let what will come of the present Affairs, let the Stamp Duty be repealed, or not; still the Expences of America must be borne by the Americans in some Form, or under some Denomination or other.
But after all; perhaps you meant none of these Things; perhaps you meant to insinuate (though it was Prudence in you not to speak out) that the late Act was ill-contrived and ill-timed; because it was made at a Juncture, when neither the French nor Indians were in your Rear to frighten, nor the English Fleets and Armies on your Front to force you to a Compliance. Perhaps this was your real Meaning; and if it was, it must be confessed, that in that Sense, the late Act was not well-timed; and that a much properer Season might have been chosen. For had the Law been made five or six Years before, when you were moving Heaven and Earth with your Cries and Lamentations; not a Tongue would then have uttered a Word against it; all your Orators would have displayed their Eloquence on other Topics; and even American Patriotism itself would at that Season have made no Difficulty of acknowledging, that the Mother Country had a Right to the Obedience of the Colonies in Return for her kind and generous Protection.
Upon the whole therefore, what is the Cause of such an amazing Outcry as you raise at present?—Not the Stamp Duty itself; all the World are agreed on that Head; and none can be so ignorant, or so stupid, as not to see, that this is a mere Sham and Pretence. What then are the real Grievances, seeing that the Things which you alledge are only the pretended ones? Why, some of you are exasperated against the Mother Country, on account of the Revival of certain Restrictions laid upon their Trade:—I say, a*Revival; for the same Restrictions have been the standing Rules of Government from the Beginning; though not enforced at all Times with equal Strictness. During the late War, you Americans could not import the Manufactures of other Nations (which it is your constant Aim to do, and the Mother Country always to prevent) so conveveniently as you can in Times of Peace; and therefore, there was no Need of watching you so narrowly, as far as that Branch of Trade was concerned. But immediately upon the Peace, the various Manufactures of Europe, particularly those of France, which could not find Vent before, were spread, as it were, over all your Colonies, to the prodigious Detriment of your Mother Country; and therefore our late Set of Ministers acted certainly right, in putting in Force the Laws of their Country, in order to check this growing Evil. If in so doing, they committed any Error; or, if the Persons to whom the Execution of these Laws were intrusted, exceeded their Instructions; there is no Doubt to be made, but that all this will be rectified by the present Administration. And having done that, they will have done all that in Reason you can expect from them. But alas! the Expectations of an American carry him much further: For he will ever complain and smuggle, and smuggle and complain, ’till all Restraints are removed, and ’till he can both buy and sell, whenever, and wheresoever he pleases. Any thing short of this, is still a Grievance, a Badge of Slavery, an Usurpation on the natural Rights and Liberties of a free People, and I know not how many bad Things besides.
But, my good Friend, be assured, that these are Restraints, which neither the present, nor any future Ministry can exempt you from. They are the standing Laws of the Kingdom; and God forbid, that we should allow that dispensing Power to our Ministers, which we so justly deny to our Kings. In short, while you are a Colony, you must be subordinate to the Mother Country. These are the Terms and Conditions, on which you were permitted to make your first Settlements: They are the Terms and Conditions on which you alone can be entitled to the Assistance and Protection of Great Britain;—they are also the fundamental Laws of the Realm;—and I will add further that if we are obliged to pay many Bounties for the Importation of your Goods, and are excluded from purchasing such Goods, in other Countries (where we might purchase them on much cheaper Terms) in order to promote your Interest;—by Parity of Reason you ought to be subject to the like Exclusions, in order to promote ours. This then being the Case, do not expect, from the present Ministry, that which is impossible for any Set of Ministers to grant. All that they can do, is to connive a while at your unlawful Proceedings. But this can be but of short Duration: For as soon as ever fresh Remonstrances are made by the British Manufacturers, and British Merchants, the Ministry must renew the Orders of their Predecessors; they must enforce the Laws; they must require Searches, and Confiscations to be made; and then the present Ministers will draw upon themselves, for doing their Duty, just the same Execrations, which you now bestow upon the last.
So much as to your first Grievance; and as to your second, it is, beyond Doubt, of a Nature still worse. For many among you are sorely concerned, That they cannot pay their British Debts with an American Sponge. This is an intolerable Grievance; and they long for the Day when they shall be freed from this galling Chain. Our Merchants in London, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow &c. &c. perfectly understand your many Hints and Inuendoes to us, on this Head. But indeed, lest we should be so dull as not to comprehend your Meaning, you have spoken out, and proposed an open Association against paying your just Debts. Had our Debtors in any other Part of the Globe, had the French or Spaniards proposed the like (and surely they have all at least an equal Right) what Name would you have given to such Proceedings? But I forget: You are not the faithless French or Spaniards: You are ourselves: You are honest Englishmen.
Your third Grievance is the Sovereignty of Great-Britain: For you want to be independent: You wish to be an Empire by itself, and to be no longer the Province of another. This Spirit is uppermost; and this Principle is visible in all your Speeches, and all your Writings, even when you take some Pains to disguise it.—“What! an Island! A Spot such as this to command the great and mighty Continent of North-America! Preposterous! A Continent, whose Inhabitants double every five and twenty Years! Who therefore, within a Century and an Half will be upwards of an hundred and twenty Millions of Souls!—Forbid it Patriotism, forbid it Politics, that such a great and mighty Empire as this, So should be held in Subjection by the paltry Kingdom of Great-Britain! Rather let the Seat of Empire be transferred; and let it be fixt, where it ought to be, viz. in Great America!”
Now my good Friend, I will not stay to dispute with you the Calculations, on which your Orators, Philosophers, and Politicians have, for some Years past, grounded these extravagant Conceits (though I think the Calculations themselves both false, and absurd); but I will only say, that while we have the Power, we may command your Obedience, if we please: And that it will be Time enough for you to propose the making us a Province to America, when you shall find yourselves able to execute the Project.
In the mean Time, the great Question is, What Course are we to take? And what are we to do with you, before you become this great and formidable People?—Plain and evident it is by the whole Tenor of your Conduct, that you endeavour, with all your Might to drive us to Extremities. For no Kind of Outrage, or Insult, is omitted on your Part, that can irritate Individuals, or provoke a Government to chastise the Insolence, not to say the Rebellion, of its Subjects; and you do not seem at all disposed to leave Room for an Accommodation. In short, the Sword is the only Choice, which you will permit us to make; unless we will chuse to give you entirely up, and subscribe a Recantation. Upon those Terms indeed, you will deign to acknowledge the Power and Authority of a British Parliament;—that is, you will allow, that we have a Right and a Power to give you Bounties, and to pay your Expences; but no other. A strange Kind of Allegiance this! And the first that has ever yet appeared in the History of Mankind!
However, this being the Case, shall we now compel you, by Force of Arms, to do your Duty?—Shall we procrastinate your Compulsion?—Or shall we entirely give you up, and have no other Connections with you, than if you had been so many Sovereign States, or Independent Kingdoms? One or other of these three will probably be resolved upon: And if it should be the first, I do not think that we have any Cause to fear the Event, or to doubt of Success.
For though your Populace may rob and plunder the Naked and Defenceless, this will not do the Business when a regular Force is brought against them. And a British Army, which performed so many brave Actions in Germany, will hardly fly before an American Mob; not to mention that our Officers and Soldiers, who passed several Campaigns with your Provincials in America, saw nothing either in their Conduct, or their Courage, which could inspire them with a Dread of seeing the Provincials a second Time.—Neither should we have the least Cause to suspect the Fidelity of our Troops, any more than their Bravery,—notwithstanding the base Insinuations of some of your Friends here (if indeed such Persons deserve to be called your Friends, who are in reality your greatest Foes, and whom you will find to be so at the last); notwithstanding, I say, their Insinuations of the Feasibility of corrupting his Majesty’s Forces, when sent over, by Means of large Bribes, or double Pay. This is a Surmise, as weak as it is wicked: For the Honour of the British Soldiery, let me tell you, is not so easily corrupted. The French in Europe never found it so, with all their Gold, or all their Skill for Intrigue, and insinuating Address. What then, in the Name of Wonder, have you to tempt them with in America, which is thus to overcome, at once, all their former Sense of Duty, all the Tyes of Conscience, Loyalty and Honour?—Besides, my Friend, if you really are so rich, as to be able to give double Pay to our Troops, in a wrong Cause; do not grudge, let me beseech you, to give one third of single Pay (for we ask no more) in a right one:—And let it not be said, that you complain of Poverty, and plead an Inability to pay your just Debts, at the very Instant that you boast of the scandalous Use which you intend to make of your Riches.
But notwithstanding all this, I am not for having Recourse to Military Operations. For granting, that we shall be victorious, still it is proper to enquire, before we begin, How we are to be benefitted by our Victories? And what Fruits are to result from making you a conquered People?—Not an Increase of Trade; that is impossible: For a Shop-keeper will never get the more Custom by beating his Customers: And what is true of a Shop-keeper, is true of a Shop-keeping Nation. We may indeed vex and plague you, by stationing a great Number of Ships to cruize along your Coasts; and we may appoint an Army of Custom-house Officers to patrole (after a Manner) two thousand Miles by Land. But while we are doing these Things against you, what shall we be doing for ourselves? Not much, I am afraid: For we shall only make you the more ingenious, the more intent, and the more inventive to deceive us. We shall sharpen your Wits, which are pretty sharp already, to elude our Searches, and to bribe and corrupt our Officers. And after that is done, we may perhaps oblige you to buy the Value of twenty or thirty thousand Pounds of British Manufactures, more than you would otherwise have done,—at the Expence of two or three hundred thousand Pounds Loss to Great Britain, spent in Salaries, Wages, Ships, Forts, and other incidental Charges. Is this now a gainful Trade, and fit to be encouraged in a commercial Nation, so many Millions in Debt already? And yet this is the best, which we can expect by forcing you to trade with us, against your Wills, and against your Interests?
Therefore such a Measure as this being evidently detrimental to the Mother Country, I will now consider the second Proposal, viz. to procrastinate your Compulsion.—But what good can that do? And wherein will this Expedient mend the Matter? For if Recourse is to be had at last to the Military Power we had better begin with it at first; it being evident to the whole World, that all Delays on our Side will only strengthen the Opposition on yours, and be interpreted by you as a Mark of Fear, and not as an Instance of Lenity. You swell with too much vain Importance, and Self-sufficiency already; and therefore, should we betray any Token of Submission; or should we yield to these your ill-humoured and petulant Desires; this would only serve to confirm you in your present Notions, viz. that you have nothing more to do, than to demand with the Tone of Authority, and to insist, with Threatenings and Defiance, in order to bring us upon our Knees, and to comply with every unreasonable Injunction, which you shall be pleased to lay upon us. So that at last, when the Time shall come of appealing to the Sword, and of deciding our Differences by Dint of Arms, the Consequence of this Procrastination will be, that the Struggle will become so much the more obstinate, and the Determination the more bloody. Nay, the Merchants themselves, whose Case is truly pitiable for having confided so much to your Honour, and for having trusted you with so many hundred thousand Pounds, or perhaps with some Millions of Property, and for whose Benefit alone such a Suspension of the Stamp Act could be proposed; they* will find to their Costs, that every Indulgence of this Nature will only furnish another Pretence to you for the suspending of the Payment of their just Demands. In short, you declare, that the Parliament hath no Right to tax you; and therefore you demand a Renunciation of the Right, by repealing the Act. This being the Case, nothing less than a Renunciation can be satisfactory; because nothing else can amount to a Confession, that the Parliament has acted illegally and usurpingly in this Affair. A bare Suspension, or even a mere Repeal, is no Acknowledgement of Guilt; nay, it supposes quite the contrary; and only postpones the Exercise of this usurped Power to a more convenient Season. Consequently if you think you could justify the Non-payment of your Debts, ’till a Repeal took Place, you certainly can justify the Suspension of the Payment ’till we have acknowledged our Guilt. So that after all, the Question may come to this at last, viz. Shall we renounce any Legislative Authority over you, and yet maintain you as we have hitherto done? Or shall we give you entirely up, unless you will submit to be governed by the same Laws as we are, and pay something towards maintaining yourselves?
The first it is certain we cannot do; and therefore the next Point to be considered is (which is also the third Proposal) Whether we are to give you entirely up?—And after havingobliged you to pay your Debts, whether we are to have no further Connection with you, as a dependent State, or Colony.
Now, in order to judge properly of this Affair, we must give a Delineation of two Political Parties contending with each other, and struggling for Superiority:—And then we are to consider, which of these two, must be first tired of the Contest, and obliged to submit.
Behold therefore a Political Portrait of the Mother Country;—a mighty Nation under one Government of a King and Parliament,—firmly resolved not to repeal the Act, but to give it Time to execute itself,—steady and temperate in the Use of Power,—not having Recourse to sanguinary Methods,—but enforcing the Law by making the Disobedient feel the Want of it,—determined to protect and cherish those Colonies, which will return to their Allegiance within a limited Time (suppose twelve or eighteen Months)—and as determined to compel the obstinate Revolters to pay their Debts,—then to cast them off, and to exclude them for ever from the manifold Advantages and Profits of Trade, which they now enjoy by no other Title, but that of being a Part of the British Empire. Thus stands the Case; and this is the View of Things on one Side.
Observe again a Prospect on the other; viz. a Variety of little Colonies under a Variety of petty Governments,—Rivals to, and jealous of each other.—never able to agree about any thing before,—and only now united by an Enthusiastic Fit of false Patriotism;—a Fit which necessarily cools in Time, and cools still the faster, in Proportion, as the Object which first excited it is removed, or changed. So much as to the general Outlines of your American Features;—but let us now take a nearer View of the Evils, which by your own mad Conduct you are bringing so speedily upon yourselves.
Externally, by being severed from the British Empire, you will be excluded from cutting Logwood in the Bays of Campeache and Honduras,—from fishing on the Banks of Newfoundland, on the Coast of Labrador, or in the Bay of St. Laurence,—from trading (except by Stealth) with the Sugar Islands, or with the British Colonies in any Part of the Globe. You will also lose all the Bounties upon the Importation of your Goods into Great-Britain: You will not dare to seduce a single Manufacturer or Mechanic from us under Pain of Death; because you will then be considered in the Eye of the Law as mere Foreigners, against whom these Laws were made. You will lose the Remittance of 300,000l. a Year to pay your Troops; and you will lose the Benefit of these Troops to protect you against the Incursions of the much injured and exasperated Savages; moreover, in Case of Difference with other Powers, you will have none to complain to, none to assist you: For assure yourself, that Holland, France, and Spain, will look upon you with an evil Eye; and will be particularly on their Guard against you, lest such an Example should infect their own Colonies; not to mention that the two latter will not care to have such a Nest of professed Smugglers so very near them. And after all, and in Spite of any thing you can do, we in Britain shall still retain the greatest Part of your European Trade; because we shall give a better Price for many of your Commodities than you can have any where else; and we shall sell to you several of our Manufactures, especially in the Woollen, Stuff, and Metal Way, on cheaper Terms. In short you will do then, what you only do now; that is, you will trade with us, as far as your Interest will lead you; and no farther.
Take now a Picture of your internal State. When the great Power, which combined the scattered Provinces together, and formed them into one Empire, is once thrown off; and when there will be no common Head to govern and protect, all your ill Humours will break forth like a Torrent: Colony will enter into Bickerings and Disputes against Colony; Faction will intrigue and cabal against Faction; and Anarchy and Confusion will every where prevail. The Leaders of your Parties will then be setting all their Engines to work, to make Fools become the Dupes of Knaves, to bring to Maturity their half-formed Schemes and lurking Designs, and to give a Scope to that towering Ambition which was checked and restrained before. In the mean Time, the Mass of your People, who expected, and who are promised Mountains of Treasures upon throwing off, what was called, the Yoke of the Mother Country, will meet with nothing but sore Disappointments: Disappointments indeed! For instead of an imaginary Yoke, they will be obliged to bear a real, a heavy, and a galling one: Instead of being freed from the Payment of 100,000l. (which is the utmost that is now expected from them) they will find themselves loaded with Taxes to the Amount of at least 400,000l.: Instead of an Increase of Trade, they will feel a palpable Decrease; and instead of having Troops to defend them, and those Troops paid by Great-Britain, they must desend themselves, and pay themselves. Nay, the Number of the Troops to be paid, will be more than doubled; for some must be stationed in the back Settlements to protect them against the Indians, whom they have so often injured and exasperated, and others also on each Frontier to prevent the Encroachments of each Sister Colony. Not to mention, that the Expences of your Civil Governments will be necessarily increased; and that a Fleet, more or less, must belong to each Province for guarding their Coasts, ensuring the Payment of Duties, and the like.
Under all these Pressures and Calamities, your deluded Countrymen will certainly open their Eyes at last. For Disappointments and Distresses will effectuate that Cure, which Reason and Argument, Lenity and Moderation, could not perform. In short, having been severely scourged and disciplined by their own Rod, they will curse their Ambitious Leaders and detest those Mock-Patriots, who involved them in so many Miseries. And having been surfeited with the bitter Fruits of American Republicism, they will heartily wish, and petition to be again united to the Mother Country. Then they will experience the Difference between a rational Plan of Constitutional Dependence, and the wild, romantic, and destructive Schemes of popular Independence.
And you also, after you have played the Hero, and spoke all your fine Speeches; after you have been a Gustavus Vasa, and every other brave Deliverer of his Country; after you have formed a thousand Utopian Schemes, and been a thousand Times disappointed; perhaps even you may awake out of your present political Trance, and become a reasonable Man at last. And assure yourself, that whenever you can be cured of your present Delirium, and shall betray no Symptoms of a Relapse, you will be received with Affection by
Your old Uncle,
THE True Interest of Great-Britain SET FORTH In REGARD to the COLONIES;
A VERY strange Notion is now industriously spreading, that ’till the late unhappy Stamp-Act, there were no Bickerings and Discontents, no Heartburnings and Jealousies subsisting between the Colonies and the Mother Country. It seems ’till that fatal Period, all was Harmony, Peace, and Love. Now it is scarcely possible even for the most superficial Observer, if his Knowledge extends beyond the Limits of a Newspaper, not to know, That this is entirely false. And if he is at all conversant in the History of the Colonies, and has attended to the Accounts of their original Plantation, their Rise, and Progress, he must know, that almost from the very Beginning, there were mutual Discontents, mutual Animosities and Reproaches. Indeed, while these Colonies were in a mere State of Infancy, dependent on their Mother Country, not only for daily Protection, but almost for daily Bread, it cannot be supposed that they would give themselves the same Airs of Self-sufficiency and Independence, as they did afterwards, in Proportion as they grew up to a State of Maturity. But that they began very early to shew no other Marks of Attachment to their antient Parent, than what arose from Views of Self-Interest and Self-Love, many convincing Proofs might be drawn from the Complaints of, and the Instructions to, the Governors of the respective Provinces; from the Memorials of our Boards of Trade, presented from Time to Time to his Majesty’s Privy Council against the Behaviour of the Colonists; from the frequent Petitions and Remonstrances of our Merchants and Manufacturers to the same Effect; and even from the Votes and Resolutions of several of their Provincial Assemblies against the Interest, Laws, and Government of the Mother Country; yet I will wave all these at present, and content myself with Proofs still more authentic and unexceptionable; I mean the public Statutes of the Realm: For from them it evidently appears, that long before there were any Thoughts of the Stamp-Act, the Mother Country had the following Accusations to bring against the Colonies, viz. 1st, That they refused to submit to her Ordinances and Regulations in Regard to Trade.—2dly, That they attempted to frame Laws, and to erect Jurisdictions not only independently of her, but even in direct Opposition to her Authority.—And 3dly, That many of them took unlawful Methods to skreen themselves from paying the just Debts they owed to the Merchants and Manufacturers of Great-Britain.
These are the Objections of the Mother-Country to the Behaviour of the Colonies long before their late Outrages, and their present Conduct:—For even as early as the Year 1670, it doth appear, that manyComplaints (the very Words of the Act) had been made against the American Proprietors of Ships and Vessels, for engaging in Schemes of Traffic, contrary to the Regulations contained in the Act of Navigation, and in other Statutes of the Realm made for confining the Trade of the Colonies to the Mother Country. Nay, so sensible was the Parliament, above an hundred Years ago, that Prosecutions for the Breach of those Laws would be to little or no Effect, if carried on in American Courts, or before American Juries, that it is expressly ordained, “It shall, and may be lawful for any Person or Persons to prosecute such Ship or Vessel [offending as described in the preceding Section] in any Court of Admiralty in England; the one Moiety of the Forfeiture, in Case of Condemnation, to be to his Majesty, his Heirs, and Successors; and the other Moiety to such Prosecutor or Prosecutors thereof.” [See 22 and 23 of Ch. II. Cap. 26, § 12 and 13.] And we find, that two Years afterwards, viz. 25 of Ch. II. Cap. 7. the same Complaints were again renewed; and in Consequence thereof higher Duties and additional Penalties were laid on, for the more effectually enforcing of the Observance of this and of the former Laws: But in Spite of all that was done, Things grew worse and worse every Day. For it is observable, that in the Year 1696, the very Authority of the English Legislature, for making such Laws and Regulations, seemed to have been called in Question; which Authority, therefore, the Parliament was obliged to assert in Terms very peremptory;—and I may likewise add, very prophetical. The Law made on this Occasion was the famous Statute of the 7th and 8th of William II. Cap. 7. wherein, after the Recital of “divers Acts made for the Encouragement of the Navigation of this Kingdom, and for the better securing and regulating the Plantation Trade, it is remarked, that notwithstanding such Laws, great Abuses are daily committed to the Prejudice of the English Navigation, and the Loss of great Part of the Plantation Trade to this Kingdom, by the Artifice and Cunning of ill disposed Persons.” Then, having prescribed such Remedies as these great Evils seemed to require, the Act goes on at §. 7. to ordain, “That all the Penalties and Forfeitures beforementioned, not in this Act particularly disposed of, shall be one third Part to the Use of his Majesty, his Heirs, and Successors, and one third Part to the Governor of the Colony or Plantation where the Offence shall be committed, and the other third Part to such Person or Persons as shall sue for the same, to be recovered in any of his Majesty’s Courts at Westminster, or in the Kingdom of Ireland, or in the Courts of Admiralty held in his Majesty’s Plantations respectively, where such Offence shall be committed, at the Pleasure of the Officer or Informer, or in any other Plantation belonging to any Subject of England, wherein no Essoin, Protection, or Wager of Law shall be allowed; and that where any Question shall arise concerning the Importation or Exportation of any Goods into or out of the said Plantations, in such Case the Proof shall lie upon the Owner or Claimer; and the Claimer shall be reputed to be the Importer or Owner thereof.”
Now here it is obvious to every Reader, that the Suspicions which the Parliament had formerly conceived of the Partiality of American Courts, and American Juries in Trials at Law with the Mother-Country, were so far from being abated by Length of Time, that they were grown higher than ever; because it appears by this very Act, that the Power of the Officer or Informer was greatly enlarged, having the Option now granted him of three different Countries for prosecuting the Offence; whereas in the former of Charles II. made 16 Years before, he had only two. Moreover it was this Time further ordained, that the Onus probandi should rest on the Defendant, and also that no * Essoin, Protection, or † Wager of Law should be allowed him.
But above all, and in order to prevent, if possible every Sort of Chicane for the future, and to frustrate all Attempts of the Colonies, either to throw off or evade the Power and Jurisdiction of the Mother Country,—It was at § 9. “further enacted and declared by the Authority aforesaid, that all Laws, Bye-Laws, Usages, or Customs, at this Time, or which hereafter shall be in Practice, or endeavoured, or pretended to be in Force or Practice, in any of the said Plantations, which are in any wise repugnant to the before-mentioned Laws, or any of them, so far as they do relate to the said Plantations, or any of them, or which are any ways repugnant to this present Act, or to any otherLaw hereafter to be made in this Kingdom, so far as such Law shall relate to, and mention the said Plantations, are illegal, null, and void to allIntents and Purposes whatsoever.”
Words could hardly be devised to express the Sentiments of the English Legislature, more fully and strongly, than these have done: And if ever a Body of uninspired Men were endowed with a Spirit of Divination, or of foreseeing, and also of providing against untoward future Events, as far as human Prudence could extend, the King, Lords, and Commons of the Æra 1696, were the very Men. For they evidently foresaw, that a Time was approaching, when the Provincial Assemblies would dispute the Right of American Sovereignty with the great and general Council of the British Empire: And therefore they took effectual Care that, whenever the Time came, no Law, no Precedent, nor Prescription should be wanting, whereby the Mother Country might assert her constitutional and inherent Right over the Colonies.
But notwithstanding these wise Precautions, some of the Colonies found Ways and Means to evade the Force and Meaning even of this express Law; at least for a Time, and ’till the Legislature could be sufficiently apprized of the Injury designed. The Colonists, who practised these disingenuous Arts with most Success, were those who were endowed with chartered Governments, and who, in Consequence of the extraordinary Favours thereby indulged them, could nominate or elect their own Council, and (if my Memory doth not fail me) their own Governors likewise;—at least, who could grant such Salaries to their Governors, and with such Limitations, as would render them too dependent on the Will and Pleasure of their Pay-Masters. Hence therefore it came to pass, that in the Colonies of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, the Massachuset’s Bay, and New Hampshire; the Governors of these Provinces suffered themselves to be persuaded to give their Sanction to certain Votes and Resolutions of their Assemblies and Councils; whereby Laws were enacted first to issue out Bills of Credit to a certain Amount, and then to make a Tender of those Bills to be considered as an adequate Discharge of Debts, and a legal Release from Payment. A most compendious Method this for getting out of Debt! And were the like Artifice to be authorized every where, I think it is very evident, that none but the most stupid Ideot would be incapable of discharging his Debts, Bonds, or Obligations; and that too without advancing any Money.
However, as soon as the British Legislature came to be fully apprized of this Scheme of Iniquity, they passed a Law, “to regulate and restrain Paper Bills of Credit in his Majesty’s Colonies or Plantations, of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, the Massachuset’s Bay, and New Hampshire, in America; and to prevent the same being legalTenders in Payments of Money.”—This is the very Title of the Statute; but for further Particulars, and for the different Regulations therein contained, consult the Act itself, 24th of George II. Cap. 53, Anno 1751.
Now will any Man after this dare to say, that the Stamp-Act was the first Cause of Dissention between the Mother Country and her Colonies? Will any Man still persist in maintaining so gross a Paradox, that ’till that fatal Period, the Colonies shewed no Reluctance to submit to the commercial Regulations, no Disposition to contest the Authority, and no Desire to Question the Right of the Mother Country? The Man who can maintain these Paradoxes, is incapable of Conviction, and therefore is not to be reasoned with any longer. “But the Stamp-Act made bad to become worse:—The Stamp-Act irritated and inflamed, and greatly encreased all those ill Humours, which were but too predominant before.” Granted; and I will further add, that any other Act, or any other Measure, of the British Government, as well as the Stamp-Act, if it were to compel the Colonists to contribute a single Shilling towards the general Expence of the British Empire, would have had the same Effect. For, be it ever remembered, that the Colonists did not so much object to the Mode of this Taxation, as to the Right itself of levying Taxes. Nay, their Friends and Agents here in England were known to have frequently declared, That if any Tax were to be crammed down their Throats without their Consent, and by an Authority which they disallowed, they had rather pay this Stamp-Duty than any other.
But indeed, and properly speaking, it was not the Stamp-Act which increased or heightened these ill Humours in the Colonists; it was rather the Reduction of Canada, which called forth those Dispositions into Action which had long been generating before; and which were ready to burst forth at the first Opportunity that should offer. For an undoubted Fact it is, that from the Moment in which Canada came into the Possession of the English, an End was put to the Sovereignty of the Mother-Country over her Colonies. They had then nothing to fear from a foreign Enemy; and as to their own domestic Friends and Relations, they had for so many Years preceding been accustomed to trespass upon their Forbearance and Indulgence, even when they most wanted their Protection, that it was no Wonder they should openly renounce an Authority which they never thoroughly approved of, and which now they found to be no longer necessary for their own Defence.
But here some may be apt to ask, “Had the Colonies no Provocation on their Part? And was all the Fault on one Side, and none on the other?” Probably not:—Probably there were Faults on both Sides. But what doth this serve to prove? If to exculpate the Colonies in regard to their present refractory Behaviour, it is needless. For I am far from charging our Colonies in particular with being Sinners above others; because I believe (and if I am wrong, let the History of all Colonies, whether antient or modern, from the Days of Thucydides down to the present Time, confute me if it can) I say, ’till that is done I believe, that it is the Nature of them all to aspire after Independence, and to set up for themselves as soon as ever they find that they are able to subsist, without being beholden to the Mother-Country. And if our Americans have expressed themselves sooner on this Head than others have done, or in a more direct and daring Manner, this ought not to be imputed to any greater Malignity, or Ingratitude in them, than in others, but to that free Constitution, which is the Prerogative and Boast of us all. We ourselves derive our Origin from those very Saxons, who inhabited the lower Parts of Germany; and yet I think it is sufficiently evident, that we are not over complaisant to the Descendants of these lower Saxons, i. e. to the Offspring of our own Progenitors; nor can we with any Colour of Reason, pretend to complain that even the Bostonians have treated us more indignantly than we have treated the Hanoverians. What then would have been the Case, if the little insignificant Electorate of Hanover had presumed to retain a Claim of Sovereignty over such a Country as Great-Britain, the Pride and Mistress of the Ocean? And yet, I believe, that in Point of Extent or Territory, the present Electoral Dominions, insignificant as they are sometimes represented, are more than a Moiety of England, exclusive of Scotland and Wales: Whereas the whole Island of Great-Britain, is scarcely a twentieth Part of those vast Regions which go under the Denomination of North-America.
Besides, if the American Colonies belonging to France or Spain, have not yet set up for Independence, or thrown off the Masque so much as the English Colonies have done—what is this superior Reserve to be impured to? Not to any greater filial Tenderness in them for their respective antient Parents than in others;—not to Motives of any national Gratitude, or of national Honour;—but because the Constitution of each of those parent States is much more arbitrary and despotic than the Constitution of Great Britain; and therefore their respective Offsprings are * awed by the Dread of Punishments from breaking forth into those Outrages which ours dare do with Impunity. Nay more, the very Colonies of France and Spain, though they have not yet thrown off their Allegiance, are nevertheless as forward as any in disobeying the Laws of their Mother Countries, wherever they find an Interest in so doing. For the Truth of this Fact, I appeal to that prodigious clandestine Trade which they are continually carrying on with us, and with our Colonies, contrary to the express Prohibitions of France and Spain: And I appeal also to those very free Ports which the British Legislature itself hath lately opened for accommodating these smuggling Colonists to trade with the Subjects of Great-Britain, in Disobedience to the Injunction of their Mother-Countries.
Enough surely has been said on this Subject; and the Upshot of the whole Matter is plainly this,—That even the arbitrary and despotic Governments of France and Spain (arbitrary I say, both in Temporals and in Spirituals) maintain their Authority over their American Colonies but very imperfectly; in as much as they cannot restrain them from breaking through those Rules and Regulations of exclusive Trade; for the Sake of which all Colonies seemed to have been originally founded. What then shall we say in Regard to such Colonies as are the Offspring of a free Constitution? And after what Manner, or according to what Rule, are our own in particular to be governed, without using any Force or Compulsion, or pursuing any Measure repugnant to their own Ideas of civil or religious Liberty? In short, and to sum up all, in one Word, How shall we be able to render these Colonies more subservient to the Interests, and more obedient to the Laws and Government of the Mother Country, than they voluntarily chuse to be? After having pondered and revolved the Affair over and over, I confess, there seems to me to be but the five following Proposals, which can possibly be made, viz.
1st, To suffer Things to go on for a While, as they have lately done, in Hopes that some favourable Opportunity may offer for recovering the Jurisdiction of the British Legislature over her Colonies, and for maintaining the Authority of the Mother-Country.—Or if these temporising Measures should be found to strengthen and confirm the Evil, instead of removing it;—then,
2dly, To attempt to persuade the Colonies to send over a certain Number of Deputies, or Representatives, to sit and vote in the British Parliament; in order to incorporate America and Great-Britain into one common Empire.—Or if this Proposal should be found impracticable, whether on Account of the Difficulties attending it on this Side of the Atlantic, or because that the Americans themselves would not concur in such a Measure;—then,
3dly, To declare open War against them as Rebels and Revolters; and after having made a perfect Conquest of the Country, then to govern it by military Force and despotic Sway.—Or if this Scheme should be judged (as it ought to be) the most destructive, and the least eligible of any;—then,
4thly, To propose to consent that America should become the general Seat of Empire; and that Great-Britain and Ireland should be governed by Vice-Roys sent over from the Court Residencies, either at Philadelphia or New York, or at some other American imperial City.—Or if this Plan of Accommodation should be ill-digested by home born Englishmen, who, I will venture to affirm, would never submit to such an Indignity;—then,
5thly, To propose to separate entirely from the Colonies, by declaring them to be a free and independent People, over whom we lay no Claim; and then by offering to guarantee this Freedom and Independence against all foreign Invaders whomsoever.
Now these being all the Plans which, in the Nature of Things, seem capable of being proposed, let us examine each of them in their Order.
[* ]T. Liv. lib. 1. Romanos homines, victores omnium circa populorum, opifices ac lapicidas pro bellatoribus factos. Thus reasoned the People of Rome, as soon as ever they began to be famous in the Character of Bellatores and Victores. And, as this Vanity is natural to Mankind, have not the Friends of Commerce too much Cause to fear that our Opifices and Lapicidas, now turned into Victores omnium circa Populorum, will reason after the same Manner? And yet the Romans were not so mad as to fight for Trade; they fought only for Conquest and Dominion, which may be acquired by fighting: But to fight for the Sake of procuring Trade, is a Species of Madness reserved only for Britons!
[* ]Indeed this Instinct, like all other Instincts and Passions, ought to be put under proper Regulations, otherwise it may do more Hurt than Good. But this Necessity of due Regulation is no more an Objection against the good Tendency of the Instinct itself, than the Rules of Temperance and Sobriety are Objections against Eating and Drinking in a moderate and reasonable Degree. The Instinct itself is certainly good; but may be misapplied:—And what may not? The political Regulations it should be under, will be mentioned elsewhere.
[* ]The Wealth of this Nation—that amazing Wealth, which has been so profusely squandered away in the two last general and devouring Wars, is principally owing to the wise Regulations of that able Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. Justice to his Character, and Gratitude to his Memory, demand this Tribute of Acknowledgement to be paid him when dead, which was shamefully denied him while alive. Sed opinionum commenta delet dies! And the Time is now come when his very Adversaries frankly confess, That his Plan of Commerce was manly and rational; that his Endeavours to prevent an infatuated People from quarrelling with their best Customers, were truly patriotical; and that his very Crimes were more owing to the Extremities to which he was driven by his implacable Enemies, than to any Malignity of his own. When he came into Administration, he found the English Book of Rates almost as bad as any in Europe; but he left it the very best. And were you to compare what he did for promoting general Trade, (and much more he would have done, had it not been for the Madness of some, and the Wickedness of others) were you but to compare what he actually did, with what has been done either before or since, in this, or any other Country, not forgetting the Sully’s, and Colberts, and the Fleurys of France, you would find that he shone as much above all other Ministers, as England hath exceeded the rest of the World in her late enormous Expences.
[* ]As a Confirmation of the above, it may be observed, that this very Country of Great-Britain is become much more capable of Defence against a foreign Invasion, than it used to be; and that the numberless Enclosures, new Canals, and artificial Navigations, which are now forming almost every Day, render it a Kind of Fortress from one End to the other. For while a few Regiments were posted in Villages, or behind Hedges, or to line the Banks of Rivers and Canals; and while a few Light Horse were employed in harassing both the Front and Rear of the Enemy, in falling on his Convoys, destroying his Magazines, and keeping him in a perpetual Alarm;—his progress would be so retarded, and his Forces so weakened, at the same Time, that our own would be encreasing in Strength and Numbers, as would oblige him to retire without Danger to us, but with great shame and Loss to himself. Had Harold used the same Precaution against the Duke of Normandy, instead of coming to a decisive Engagement with him on his landing, the latter must have returned ingloriously, perhaps with not a fourth Part of his Troops;—if indeed he could have returned at all, after he had penetrated a great Way into the Country far from the Resources of his Shipping, Provisions, and Supplies. An Invasion of this Country is certainly a possible Thing, notwithstanding all our Fleets, and all the Vigilance of their Commanders. But the Invader would not have the least Chance of conquering the Country, unless the headstrong Impatience of the English to come to Blows, should give him an Opportunity of bringing the Affair to one decisive Battle.
[* ]All the Speeches and all the Pamphlets poured forth against Standing Armies during the Administration of Sir Robert Walpole, were levelled at a Number of Troops so small that their highest Complement did not exceed 20,000 Men. Yet these were represented as very formidable to the Constitution by their Numbers; and more formidable still by that vast Accession of Power, which accrued to the Crown from the Disposal of such a Multitude of Places.—How are the Times altered since!
[* ]Our former Princes claimed a Right, and frequently exercised the Power of levying Taxes, without the Consent of Parliament. But upon settling the Colonies, this supposed Right, which cost Charles I. his Crown, and his Life, was not insisted on in any of the Charters, and was expressly given up in that which was granted to Lord Baltimore for Maryland. Now this Clause, which is nothing more than the Renunciation of obsolete Prerogative, is quoted in our Newspapers, as if it was a Renunciation of the Rights of Parliament to raise Taxes. Whereas the King in that Charter stipulated only for himself, his Heirs, and Successors, not to raise Taxes by Virtue of the Prerogative Royal; which certainly he might do, and which was very proper to be done for the Encouragement and Security of a new Colony. But he could not stipulate for the Parliament; and indeed he did not attempt to do it.
[* ]Those who have not the Statutes at large, may see the Things here referred to, and many others of the like Sort, in Crouche’s or Saxby’s Book of Rates.
[* ]Ever since the Discovery of America, it has been the System of every European Power, which had Colonies in that Part of the World, to confine (as far as Laws can confine) the Trade of the Colonies to the Mother Country, and to exclude all others, under the Penalty of Confiscation, &c. from partaking in it. Thus, the Trade of the Spanish Colonies is confined by Law to Old Spain,—the Trade of the Brazils to Portugal,—the Trade of Martinico and the other French Colonies to Old France,—and the Trade of Curacoa and Surinam to Holland. But in one Instance the Hollanders make an Exception (perhaps a wise one) viz. in the Case of Eustatia, which is open to all the World. Now, that the English thought themselves entitled to the same Right over their Colonies, which other Nations claim over theirs, and that they exercised the same Right by making what Regulations they pleased, may be seen by the following Acts of Parliament, viz. 12 of Car. II Chap. 18.—15 of Car. II. Ch. 7.—22 and 23 of C. II. Ch. 26—25 of C. II. Ch. 7.—7 and 8 of Will. III. Ch. 22.—10 and 11 of W. III. Ch. 21.—3 and 4 of Ann. Ch. 5 and 10.—8 of Ann. Ch. 13.—12 of Ann. Ch. 9.—1 of G. I. Ch. 26.—3 of G. I. Ch. 21.—8 of G. I. Ch. 15 and 18.—11 of G. I. Ch. 29.—12 of G. I. Ch. 5.—2 of G. II. Ch. 28 and 35.—3 of G. II. Ch. 28.—4 of G. II. Ch. 15—5 of G. II. Ch. 7. and 9.—6 of G. II. Ch. 13.—8 of G. II. Ch. 18.—11. of G. II. Ch. 29.—12 of G. II. Ch. 30.—13 of G. II. Ch. 4 and 7.—15 and 16 of G. II. Ch. 23.—with many others of a later Date. I might also mention the Laws made in the Reign of his present Majesty; but as these Laws are now the Point of Controversy, I forbear.
[* ]The Event has severely proved this Conjecture to be but too justly founded.
[* ]An Essoin signifies, in Law, a Pretence or Excuse.
[† ]A Wager at Law, is a Power granted to the Defendant to swear, together with other Compurgators, that he owes nothing to the Plaintiff in the Manner set forth.—It is easy to see what use would have been made of such a Power, had it been allowed.
[* ]But notwithstanding this Awe, it is now pretty generally known, that the French Colonists of Hispaniola endeavoured lately to shake off the Government of Old France, and applied to the British Court for that Purpose.