Front Page Titles (by Subject) : Britannus Americanus: Britannus Americanus - American Political Writing During the Founding Era: 1760-1805, vol. 1
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: Britannus Americanus: Britannus Americanus - Charles S. Hyneman, American Political Writing During the Founding Era: 1760-1805, vol. 1 
American Political Writing During the Founding Era: 1760-1805, ed. Charles S. Hyneman and Donald Lutz (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1983). 2 vols. Volume 1.
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Published only a week after that by Richard Bland in Virginia, this brief essay captures almost all of the same essential points in a position that was to become full-blown ten years later and enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as part of the justification for breaking with England. The anonymous author who wrote this for the March 17, 1766 issue of the Boston Gazette deserves to be counted among the founders of our country even though he is here responding directly only to the Stamp Act.
When the first settlers of this country had transplanted themselves here, they were to be considered, either as in the state of nature, or else as subjects of that kingdom from whence they had migrated: If they were in the state of nature, they were then entitled to all the rights of nature; no power on earth having any just authority, to molest them in the enjoyment of the least of these rights, unless they either had or should forfeit them by an invasion of the rights of other: If the Crown and people of England had at that time, no right, property or claim to that part of the earth, which they had fix’d upon to settle and inhabit, it follows, that in the suppos’d state of nature, neither the crown nor people of England had any lawful and equitable authority or controul over them more than the inhabitants of the moon: they had a right to erect a government upon what form they thought best; or to connect themselves, for the sake of their own advantage and security, either with the natives, or any other people upon the globe, who were willing to be connected with them: It is a fact, that they chose to erect a government of their own, much under the same form, as that was, which they had formerly been under in Europe; and chose the King of England for their King, whose subjects they had been in their state of society before their emigration.—Thus upon the foregoing supposition, the King of Old England became connected with the settlers of New England, and their King: But the people of England could have no more political connection with them or power of jurisdiction over them, than they now have with or over the people of Hanover, who are also subjects of the same King: And if they have since obtain’d no power of jurisdiction, by virtue of any treaty, compact agreement or consent, in which alone, all legal jurisdiction has its establishment, the people here still remain under the most sacred tie, the subject of the King of Great-Britain; but utterly unaccountable to, and uncontroulable by the people of Great-Britain, or any body of them whatever; their compact being with the King only, to him alone they submitted, to be govern’d by him, agreable to the terms of that compact, contain’d in their charter.
But on the other supposition, if after their arrival here they remained, as undoubtedly they did, the subjects of the Kingdom of England, they then remain’d without the necessity of charter declarations to confirm it justly entitled to all and every the rights, liberties, privileges and immunities of such; for to talk of English subjects who are free, and of other English subjects, not so free, provided they have not legally forfeited any part of their freedom, appears to be absurd.—Of all the rights of Englishmen, those of consenting to their own laws, and being tried by juries, are the most material and important: Upon the present supposition, the parliament of England has no more lawful power to make an act which shall deprive the people of New England of those rights, than they have to make an act to deprive the people of Old England of the same rights: If these are the indefeasible rights of the one, so they must be of the other; they being fellow subjects, and standing upon equal footing: The people of Old England would think it very unjust, to have an act of parliament made, which should deprive them of the unalienable rights of the constitution; just so would the people of New England think, and for the same reason; and human nature being the same and both being animated with the same love of freedom and equally attached to the same happy constitution, such a law in either case would probably produce the same effects: it is hoped the people of England will never think it necessary for them to make such laws for the Colonies, for it might prove a fatal necessity: It might at least be detrimental to Great Britain in proportion as the Colonies are important to her: Would not such laws, in a moral view, cut the thread of political connection and obligation? Does not allegiance infer protection? Has not the latter the strongest claim? Would men ever have had the idea of allegiance to an earthly Prince, had they not first found it necessary to form a government on earth, under God, to protect their natural rights? Is not therefore the Subject’s allegiance first due to the constitution of government, which secures the natural rights of the governed; and as a necessary means thereof circumscribes and limits the power of those, whom they have or shall constitute to be their legislators and governors, whether Kings, or Parliaments, or both?
To ascertain the rights of the New-England subjects, the King early gave them a Charter, in which it was declared, what those rights were; and to show his royal mind, that by their attempting at their own cost and pains, to settle a new world, they could by no means be thought to have forfeited their rights as Englishmen: He expressly declares them and their posterity entitled to all those rights, as fully as if they had remained in England. Indeed, if they could possibly have been suppos’d to have lost their rights, by means of their emigration, being yet innocent people, and subject to no other power on earth, they must have been reduced to a state of nature and independence; for to talk of English subjects without any of the rights of the constitution, is a solicism.
It was not possible for them to enjoy these Rights without erecting a legislative and other powers of government among themselves: For it was not possible for them at such a distance, to have that weight and importance in the legislative power in England, which every individual there has a right to by the constitution, and by act of parliament is declared actually to have: The granting them show the power of government was not mere favor, but that which was right, fit, equitable; for without it they must have been depriv’d of that right, which others enjoy’d who were no more than their equals; and which were some of them the essential rights of nature, as well as the constitution, and therefore inseparable from them either as men or subjects.—By virtue of these powers of government they now stand (as in all respects they ought in justice) upon a footing with their fellow subjects in England. Their laws are now made, with the consent of representatives of their own free election; which laws like those made by the two houses of the British parliament, are laid before the Sovereign, who has the same power of rejection, upon both: Would it not then be just as equitable, and just as consistent with the British constitution, which extends to all his Majesty’s British subjects throughout his dominions, for the representatives of the people of New-England, or any other colony, to make a law to tax their fellow subjects in England, as for their representatives to make a law to tax their fellow subjects in the colonies?