Front Page Titles (by Subject) FIFTH SCHEME. - Four Tracts on Political and Commercial Subjects
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FIFTH SCHEME. - 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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To propose to separate entirely from the North-American Colonies, by declaring them to be a free and independent People, over whom we lay no Claim; and then by offering to guarrantee this Freedom and Independence against all foreign Invaders whatever.
And, in fact, what is all this but the natural and even the necessary Corollary to be deduced from each of the former Reasons and Observations? For if we neither can govern the Americans, nor be governed by them; if we can neither unite with them, nor ought to subdue them; what remains, but to part with them on as friendly Terms as we can? And if any Man should think that he can reason better from the above Premises, let him try.
But as the Idea of Separation, and the giving up the Colonies for ever, will shock many weak People, who think, that there is neither Happiness nor Security but in an over-grown unweildy Empire, I will for their Sakes enter into a Discussion of the supposed Disadvantages attending such a Disjunction; and then will set forth the manifold Advantages.
The first and capital supposed Disadvantage is, That, if we separate from the Colonies, we shall lose their Trade. But why so? And how does this appear? The Colonies, we know by Experience, will trade with any People, even with their bitterest Enemies, during the hottest of a War, and a War undertaken at their own earnest Request, and for their own Sakes;—the Colonies, I say, will trade even with them, provided they shall find it their Interest so to do. Why then should any Man suppose, that the same Self-Interest will not induce them to trade with us?—With us, I say, who are to commit no Hostilities against them, but on the contrary, are still to remain, if they please, their Guardians and Protectors?
Granting, therefore, that North-America was to become independent of us, and we of them, the Question now before us will turn on this single Point,—Can the Colonists, in a general Way, trade with any other European State to greater Advantage than they can with Great-Britain? If they can, they certainly will; but if they cannot, we shall still retain their Custom, notwithstanding we have parted with every Claim of Authority and Jurisdiction over them. Now, the native Commodities and Merchandize of North-America, which are the most saleable at an European Market, are chiefly Lumber, Ships, Iron, Train-Oil, Flax-Seed, Skins, Furs, Pitch, Tar, Turpentine, Pearl-Ashes, Indigo, Tobacco, and Rice. And I do aver, that, excepting Rice and Tobacco, there is hardly one of these Articles, for which an American could get so good a Price any where else, as he can in Great-Britain and Ireland. Nay, I ought to have excepted only Rice; for as to Tobacco, tho’ great Quantities of it are re-exported into France, yet it is well known, that the French might raise it at Home, if they were permitted, much cheaper than they can import it from our Colonies. The Fact is this,—The Farm of Tobacco is one of the five great Farms, which make up the chief Part of the Royal Revenue; and therefore the Farmers General, for Bye-Ends of their own, have hitherto had Interest enough with the Court to prohibit the Cultivation of it in *Old France, under the severest Penalties. But nevertheless the real French Patriots, and particularly the Marquis de Mirabeau, have fully demonstrated, that it is the Interest of the French Government to encourage the Cultivation of it; and have pointed out a sure and easy Method for collecting the Duties;—which was the sole Pretence of the Farmers General for soliciting a Prohibition. So that it is apprehended, that the French Government will at last open their Eyes in this Respect, and allow the Cultivation of it. Tobacco therefore being likely to be soon out of the Question, the only remaining Article is Rice: And this, it must be acknowledged, would bear a better Price at the Hamburgh or Dutch Markets than it generally doth in England. But as this is only one Article, out of many, it should be further considered, that even the Ships which import Rice into England, generally bring such other Produce as would not be saleable to Advantage in other Parts of Europe: So that there is no great Cause to fear, that we should considerably lose the Trade even of this Article, were the Colonies to be dismembered from us. Not to mention that all the Coasts of the Mediterranean and the South of Europe are already supplied with Rice from the Colonies, in the same Manner as if there had been an actual Separation;—no Rice-Ship bound to any Place South of Cape-Finistere being at all obliged to touch at any Port of Great-Britain. So much, therefore, as to the staple Exports of the Colonies.
Let us now consider their Imports. And here one Thing is very clear and certain, That whatever Goods, Merchandize, or Manufactures, the Merchants of Great-Britain can sell to the rest of Europe, they might sell the same to the Colonies, if wanted: Because it is evident, that the Colonies could not purchase such Goods at a cheaper Rate at any other European Market. Now, let any one cast his Eye over the Bills of Exports from London, Bristol, Liverpool, Hull,Glasgow, &c. &c. and then he will soon discover that excepting Gold and Silver Lace, Wines, and Brandies, some Sorts of Silk and Linens, and perhaps a little Paper and Gun-powder; I say, excepting these few Articles, Great-Britain is become a Kind of a* general Mart for most other Commodities: And indeed were it not so, how is it conceiveable, that so little a Spot as this Island could have made such a Figure either in Peace or War, as it hath lately done? How is it possible, that after having contracted a Debt of nearly One Hundred and Forty Millions, we should nevertheless be able to make more rapid Progresses in all Sorts of Improvements, useful and ornamental, public and private, agricolic and commercial, than any other Nation ever did?—Fact it is, that these Improvements have been made of late Years, and are daily making: And Facts are stubborn Things.
But, says the Objector, you allow, that Gold and Silver Lace,—that Wines and Brandies,—some Sorts of Silks,—some Sorts of Paper, Gunpowder, and perhaps other Articles, can be purchased at certain European Markets on cheaper Terms than they can in England: And therefore it follows, that we should certainly lose these Branches of Commerce by a Separation, even supposing that we could retain the rest. Indeed even this doth not follow; because we have lost them already, as far as it was the Interest of the Colonies, that we should lose them. And if any Man can doubt of this, let him but consider, that the Lumber, and Provision-Vessels, which are continually running down from Boston, Rhode-Island, New-York, Philadelphia, Charles-Town, &c. &c. to Martinico, and the other French Islands, bring Home in return not only Sugars and Molasses, but also French Wines, Silks, Gold and Silver Lace, and in short every other Article, in which they can find a profitable Account: Moreover those Ships, which fail to Eustatia and Curacoa, trade with the Dutch, and consequently with all the North of Europe, on the same Principle. And as the Ships which steer South of Cape-Finistere; what do they do?—Doubtless, they purchase whatever Commodities they find it their Interest to purchase, and carry them Home to North-America. Indeed what should hinder them from acting agreeably to their own Ideas of Advantage in these Respects? The Custom-house Officers, perhaps, you may say, will hinder them. But alas! the Custom-house Officers of North-America, if they were ten Times more numerous, and ten Times more uncorrupt than they are, could not possibly guard a tenth Part of the Coast. In short these Things are so very notorious that they cannot be disputed; and therefore were the whole Trade of North-America to be divided into two Branches, viz. the Voluntary, resulting from a free Choice of of the Americans themselves pursuing their own Interest, and the Involuntary, in Consequence of compulsory Acts of the British Parliament;—this latter would appear so very small and inconsiderable, as hardly to deserve a Name in an Estimate of national Commerce.
The 2d Objection against giving up the Colonies is, that such a Measure would greatly decrease our Shipping and Navigation, and consequently diminish the Breed of Sailors. But this Objection has been fully obviated already: For if we shall not lose our Trade, at least in any important Degree, even with the Northern Colonies (and most probably we shall encrease it with other Countries) then it follows, that neither the Quantity of Shipping, nor the Breed of Sailors, can suffer any considerable Diminution: So that this Supposition is merely a Panic, and has no Foundation. Not to mention, that in Proportion as the Americans shall be obliged to exert themselves to defend their own Coasts, in Case of a War; in the same Proportion shall Great-Britain be exonerated from that Burden, and shall have more Ships and Men at command, to protect her own Channel Trade, and for other Services.
The 3d Objection is, That if we were to give up these Colonies, the French would take immediate Possession of them. Now this Objection is entirely built on the following very wild, very extravagant, and absurd Suppositions.
1st, It supposes, that the Colonists themselves, who cannot brook our Government, would like a French one much better. Great-Britain, it seems, doth not grant them Liberty enough; and therefore they have Recourse to France to obtain more:—That is, in plain English, our mild and limited Government, where Prerogative is ascertained by Law, where every Man is at Liberty to seek for Redress, and where popular Clamours too often carry every Thing before them,—is nevertheless too severe, too oppressive, and too tyrannical for the Spirits and Genius of Americans to bear; and therefore they will apply to an arbitrary, despotic Government, where the People have no Share in the Legislature, where there is no Liberty of the Press, and where General Warrants and Lettres des cachets are irresistible,—in order to enjoy greater Freedoms than they have at present, and to be rescued from the intolerable Yoke, under which they now groan. What monstrous Absurdities are these! But even this is not all: For these Americans are represented by this Supposition, as not only preferring a French Government to a British, but even to a Government of their own modelling and chusing! For after they are set free from any Submission to their Mother-Country; after they are told, that for the future they must endeavour to please themselves, seeing we cannot please them; then, instead of attempting to frame any popular Governments for redressing those Evils, of which they now so bitterly complain,—they are represented as throwing themselves at once into the Arms of France;—the Republican Spirit is to subside; the Doctrine of passive Obedience and Nonresistance is to succeed; and, instead of setting up for Freedom and Independence, they are to glory for having the Honour of being numbered among the Slaves of the Grand Monarch!
But 2dly, this Matter may be further considered in another Point of View: For if it should be said, that the Americans might still retain their Republican Spirit, tho’ they submitted to a French Government, because the French, through Policy, would permit them so to do; then it remains to be considered, whether any arbitrary Government can dispense with such Liberties as a republican Spirit will require. An absolute Freedom of the Press! No Controul on the Liberty either of Speaking or Writing on Matters of State! Newspapers and Pamphlets filled with the bitterest Invectives against the Measures of Government! Associations formed in every Quarter to cry down Ministerial Hirelings, and their Dependents! The Votes and Resolutions of the Provincial Assemblies to assert their own Authority and Independence! No landing of Troops from Old France to quell Insurrections! No raising of new Levies in America! No quartering of Troops! No building of Forts, or erecting of Garrisons! And, to sum up all, no raising of Money without the express Consent and Approbation of the Provincial American Parliaments first obtained for each of these Purposes!—Now I ask any reasonable Man whether these Things are compatible with any Idea of an arbitrary, despotic Government?—Nay more, whether the French King himself, or his Ministers, would wish to have such Notions as these instilled into the Subjects of Old France? Yet instilled they must be, while a Communication is kept open between the two Countries; while Corespondences are carried on; Letters, Pamphlets and Newspapers, pass and repass; and in short, while the Americans are permitted to come into France, and Frenchmen into America. So much therefore as to this Class of Objections. Indeed I might have insisted further, that Great-Britain alone could at any Time prevent such an Acquisition to be made by France, as is here supposed, if she should think it necessary to interfere, and if such an Acquisition of Territory would really and truly be an Addition of Strength in the political Balance and Scale of Power* . But surely I have said enough; and therefore let us now hasten briefly to point out
[* ]Great Quantities of Tobacco are permitted to be raised in French-Flanders, Alsace, and all the Païs conquises, i. e. the newly conquered Provinces; because the Inhabitants of these Countries are indulged in many Liberties, which are denied to the Provinces of Old France. But the Farmers General keep a strict Watch, that none of this Tobacco shall be permitted to be brought into Old France, except by themselves or their Agents. And the Penalty against Smuggling in this Case is very cruel and severe.
[* ]I am credibly informed, that it appears by Extracts from the Custom-house Books, that more English Goods are sent up the two Rivers of Germany, the Weser and the Elbe, than up any two Rivers in North-America. Yet the North-Americans and their Partisans are continually upbraiding us, as if we enjoyed no Trade, worth mentioning, except that with the Colonies.
[* ]The Phænomenon of that prodigious Increase of Trade, which this Country has experienced since the happy Revolution, is what few People can explain; and therefore they cut the Matter short, by ascribing it all to the Growth of our Colonies: But the true Principles and real Causes of that amazing Increase, are the following: