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TO WILLIAM TUDOR. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 10.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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TO WILLIAM TUDOR.
Quincy, 21 August, 1818.
Mr. Otis quoted another author, “The Political and Commercial Works of Charles Davenant, LL. D.” vol. ii. Discourse 3. “On the Plantation Trade.” I cannot transcribe seventy-six pages, but wish that Americans of all classes would read them. They are in the same strain with Downing, Child, Gee, Ashley, Charles II., James II., William and Mary, William III., Anne, George II., and George III.; all conspiring to make the people of North America hewers of wood and drawers of water to plantation governors, custom-house officers, judges of admiralty, common informers, West India planters, naval commanders, in the first place; and, after all these worthy people should be amply supported, nourished, encouraged, and pampered, if any thing more could be squeezed from the hard earnings of the farmers, the merchants, the tradesmen, and laborers in America, it was to be drawn into the exchequer in England, to aggrandize the British navy.
Mr. Otis proceeded to another species of statutes, relative to our internal policy, even our domestic manufactures and fireside comforts; I might say, our homespun blankets and woollen sheets, so necessary to cover some, if not all of us, in our slumbers in the long nights of our frozen winters. I shall refer to these statutes as they occur, without any regard to order, and shall not pretend to transcribe any of them.1
I cannot search for any more of these mincing laws. Mr. Otis alternately laughed and raged against them all. He said one member of Parliament had said, that a hobnail should not be manufactured in America; and another had moved that Americans should be compelled by act of Parliament to send their horses to England to be shod. He believed, however, that this last was a man of sense, and meant, by this admirable irony, to cast a ridicule on the whole selfish, partial, arbitrary, and contracted system of parliamentary regulations in America.
Another statute there is, and was quoted by Mr. Otis, by which wool was prohibited to be water-borne in America; in consequence of which a fleece of wool could not be conveyed in a canoe across a river or brook, without seizure and forfeiture. But I am wearied to death by digging in this mud; with searching among this trash, chaff, rubbish of acts of Parliament; of that Parliament which declared it had a right to legislate for us, as sovereign, absolute, and supreme, in all cases whatsoever. But I deny that they ever had any right to legislate for us in any case whatsoever. And on this point we are and were at issue before God and the world. These righteous judges have decided the question; and it is melancholy that any Americans should still doubt the equity and wisdom of the decision.
Such were the bowels of compassion, such the tender mercies of our pious, virtuous, our moral and religious mother country towards her most dutiful and affectionate children! Such they are still, and such they will be till the United States shall compel that country to respect this. To this end, poor and destitute as I am, I would cheerfully contribute double my proportion of the expense of building and equipping thirty ships of the line, before the year 1820.
Mr. Otis asserted all these acts to be null and void by the law of nature, by the English constitution, and by the American charters, because America was not represented in Parliament. He entered into the history of the charters. James I. and Charles I. could not be supposed to have ever intended that Parliament, more hated by them both than the Pope or the French King, should share with them in the government of colonies and corporations which they had instituted by their royal prerogatives. “Tom, Dick, and Harry were not to censure them and their council.” Pym, Hampden, Sir Harry Vane, and Oliver Cromwell did not surely wish to subject a country, which they sought as an asylum, to the arbitrary jurisdiction of a country from which they wished to fly. Charles II. had learned by dismal, doleful experience, that Parliaments were not to be wholly despised. He, therefore, endeavored to associate Parliament with himself in his navigation act, and many others of his despotic projects, even in that of destroying, by his unlimited licentiousness and debauchery, the moral character of the nation. Charles II. courted Parliament as a mistress; his successors embraced her as a wife, at least for the purpose of enslaving America.
Mr. Otis roundly asserted this whole system of parliamentary regulations, and every act of Parliament before quoted, to be illegal, unconstitutional, tyrannical, null, and void. Nevertheless, with all my admiration of Mr. Otis, and enthusiasm for his character, I must acknowledge he was not always consistent in drawing or admitting the necessary consequences from his principles, one of which comprehended them all. to wit, that Parliament had no authority over America in any case whatsoever.
But at present we must confine ourselves to his principles and authorities in opposition to the acts of trade and writs of assistance. These principles I perfectly remember. The authorities in detail I could not be supposed to retain; though with recollecting the names, Vattel, Coke, and Holt, I might have found them again by a diligent search. But Mr. Otis himself has saved that trouble, by a publication of his own, which must be the subject of another letter.1
[1 ] “Furs of the plantations to be brought to Great Britain. 8 Geo. I. c. 15, ss. 24.”
“Hats not to be exported from one plantation to another. 5 Geo. II. c. 22.”
“Hatters not to have more than two apprentices. 5 Geo. II. c. 22, ss. 7.”
“Slitting mills, steel furnaces, &c., not to be erected in the plantations. 23 Geo. II. c. 29, ss. 9.”
“No wool, or woollen manufacture of the plantations shall be exported. 10 & 11 Wm. III. c. 10, ss. 19.”
“Exporting wool, contrary to the regulations, forfeiture of the ship, &c. 12 Geo. II. c. 21, ss. 11.”
[1 ] The next letter contains nearly the whole of Mr. Otis’s memorial, drawn up and sent to Jasper Mauduit by the House of Representatives, in June, 1764, the substance of which has been given by the younger Tudor in his Life of Otis, pp. 166-169. It is omitted here for want of space.