Front Page Titles (by Subject) draft of report on lord north's motion 2 - The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779)
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draft of report on lord north’s motion 2 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 2.
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draft of report on lord north’s motion2
[July 25, 1775.]
The Congress proceeding to take into their consideration a resolution of the House of Commons of Gr Br referred to them by the several assemblies of New Jersey, Pnnsylva & Virga, which resoln is in these words “that it is the opinion &c” are of Opinion
That the colonies of America possess an the exclusive right privilege of giving & granting their own money; that this involves the right of deliberating whether they will give any sums make any gift, for what purposes they will give them it shall be made, and what shall be it’s the amount of the gift, and that it is a high breach of this privilege for any body of men, extraneous to their constitutions, to prescribe the purposes for which money shall be levied on them, & to take to themselves the authority of judging what shall be a sufficient levy of their conditions circumstances, & and situation, & of determining the sufficiency or insufficiency of any the levy proposed amount of the contribution to be levied.
That as they possess a right of appropriating their gifts, so are they entitled at all times to inquire into its their application; to see that it they be not distributed wasted among the venal & corrupt to sap for the purpose of sapping undermining their the civil rights of the givers, of overbearing them by with military force power by diverting them nor yet applied be diverted to the support of standing armies for the purpose of overbearing these states by military inconsistent with domestic quiet their freedom & subversive of their our quiet. To propose therefore as this resolution does that the monies given by the colonies shall be subject to the disposal of parliament alone, is to propose that they shall surrender give relinquish this right of enquiry; and to put it in the power of others to render their gifts ruinous in proportion as they are liberal.
That this privilege of giving or withholding our monies is an important barrier against in the undue exertion of prerogative, which if left altogether without controul might may be exercised to our great oppression; & that is also & all history shows it how efficacious its intercession for redress of grievances & reestablishment of rights and how improvident would be the surrender of so powerful a mediator.
We are further of opinion
That the proposition contained in this resolution is uncandid unequal unreasonable & insidious: uncandid unequal unreasonable because if we declare we accede to it we declare in absolute terms without reservation we will purchase the favour of parliament not without knowg not at the same time & leave the price of that purchase to be fixed by the sellers alone, at what price they will please to estimate their favour; it is insidious because a colony on refusal of any a proffered sum any individual colonies having bid & bidden again till it they finds the height of parliamentary avidity of the seller unattainable by all its their powers, are then to return into opposition single & unsupported divided from its their sister colonies having in the meantime been taken whom the minister shall will have previously imparted fully detached from the Union by acceptance a grant of easier terms, or deluded into inactivity by keeping up into a definite answer and by delayg of the definitive answer or by an artful procrastination of a definitive answer.
That the suspension of the exercise of their pretended power to tax levy taxes of taxation being expressly made commensurate with the duration continuing of our gifts, in order these must be perpetual to make that so: and experience has invariably proven that to render a governing power perpetually independent it is not the best method of preserving the friendship & good offices of any part of government to render it independent by vesting it with perpetual revenues and whereas no experience has shewn that a gift of perpetual revenues secures a perpetual return of duty or of good kind dispositions. On the contrary the parliament itself with a wisdom we mean worthy to imitation cautiously wisely attentive to this circumstance observation are in the established practice of granting their own money but from year to year only.
We are of the opinion that even fair terms could hardly be accepted by us
Tho’ desirous & determined to consider in the most dispassionate light view every advance towards reconciliation made by the British parlmt. let our brethren of Britain reflect what could have been the sacrifice to men of free spirits had [il legible] even fair terms been proffered by freemen when attended as these were with the most irritating circumstances of insult & defiance with circumstances so insultive circumstances. A proposition to give our money, when accompanied with large fleets & armies. Addressed to our fears rather than to our freedom. Let Britons our brethren of Britain reflect with what patience they would they have received articles of treaty from any power on earth when sent by such messengers plenipotentiaries borne by on the point of the bayonet by the hands of military plenipotentiaries? on the point of a bayonet.
We think that the attempt alike unreasonable & unnecessary & unwarrantable to raise upon us by force or by threats our proportional contributions to the common defense, when all know, and themselves acknowledged we have ever freely & fully given those contributionsed whenever called upon to contribute in the character freemen should be is one among a plain proof, among many others that not the obtaining these but the rendering to their absolute dominion was not the ultimate end of Parliamentary object of parliament.
We are of opinion it is not just yt the colonies should make any be required to oblige themselves stipulate to other contributions while Great Britain possesses a monopoly of their trade. This is of does of itself lay them under a heavy contribution levied on them. To demand therefore another an additional contribution by way in the form of a tax is to demand the double of their equal proportion. We conceive no reason If we are to contribute proportionally equally with the other parts of the empire, let us equally with them enjoy like them equal rights of free commerce with the whole world. But while the restrictions on our trade shut up to us the resources of wealth we cannot bear it is it unjust we should be expected to bear all other burthens equally with those to whom under no restriction have every resource is open?
We conceive that the Brit. parl. has no right to intermeddle with our provisions for the support of civil governmt or administration of justice. That the provisions has been made in such manner as to we have already we have made are such as please ourselves, they answer the substantial purposes governmt & of justice, & other purposes than these should not be answered. We do not mean to burthen that our people shall be burthened with heavy & oppressive taxes to provide sinecures for the drones of creation ministerial partisans the idle or wicked under color of providing for a civil list. But while parliament pursue their unmolested their plan of civil govnt within their own jurisdiction we hope also to pursue ours also without molestation.
We are of opinion the proposition is altogether unsatisfactory, because the parliament it imports only a suspension, not a renunciation of the right to tax us; because too it is does not proposed to repeal the several acts of parl, passed for the purposes of restraining the trade and altering the form of government of the Eastern colonies; extending the boundaries, & changing the government & religion of Quebec; enlarging the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty & vice admiralty; taking from us the rights of trial by jury of the vicinage in cases affecting both life and property; exempting the murderers of colonists from legal trial transporting us into other countries to be tried for criminal offenses; exempting by mock-trial the murderers of colonists from punishment; and for quartering soldiers upon us in times of profound peace. Nor do they renounce the power of suspending our own legislatures & of legislating for us themselves in all cases whatsoever. So far indeed from repealing the injurious acts of parl. before mentioned they pass others at the same time equally injurious On the contrary to show they mean not to dis continue discontinuance of injuries injury at the very time of making this proposition they are passing acts at the very time of making holding out this proposition, for restraining the commerce & fisheries of the province of New England & for interdicting in general the trade of the other colonies with all foreign nations. This proof is proves unequivocally of what we may expect in the future they mean not discontinuance of to relinquish this usurpation the exercise of indiscriminate legislation over us.
Upon the whole
This proposition seems to have been held up to the world to deceive them it into a belief that the colonies are unreasonable there was no matter &c.1but and more particularly to lull into fatal security our well affected fellow subjects on that other side the water into a fatal security till time should be given for the operation of those arms which a British minister pronounced would instantaneously reduce the “cowardly” sons of America to unreserved submission. But when the world reflects how inadequate to justice are the vaunted terms offered, when it attends to the rapid & bold succession of injuries which for the space during a course of 11. years have been aimed at these colonies by a wicked administration, when it reviews the pacific & respectful applications complaints expostulations which during that whole time have been made the sole arms we oppose to their usurpations, them, when it considers observes that our complaints were either not heard at all, or were answered with new & accumulated injuries, when it considers recollects that the minister himself declared from the beginning on an former early occasion he would never cease [blank space in copy]2 till America was at his feet, & that an avowed partisan of ministry has more lately denounced against America the dreadful sentence “Delenda est Carthago,” that this was done in the presence of a British senate & being unreproved by them we must considered be taken to be as approved their own sentiment; when it considers the great armaments by sea & land with which they have invaded us by sea & land, & the circumstances of cruelty with which these have commenced & prosecuted hostilities; when these things we say are laid together & attentively considered, can the world be deceived by the artifices of a ministry into an opinion that we are unreasonable, or can it hesitate to believe with us that nothing but our own exertions can may defeat the ministerial sentence of death or submission.
[2 ]On July 22d Franklin, Jefferson, John Adams, and Lee were named by Congress a committee to report on the “conciliatory resolution” moved by Lord North, and adopted February 20, 1775, by the House of Commons. Jefferson in the Virginia House of Burgesses had already drawn a reply to this, which “having been approved, I was requested by the committee to prepare” the report. It was introduced July 25th, but was not adopted till July 31st. This is Jefferson’s draft of that paper, and varies considerably from the paper as finally adopted.
[1 ]That there is no matter in dispute between us but the single circumstance of the mode of levying taxes, which mode they are so good as to give up to us, of course that the colonies are unreasonable if they are not thereby perfectly satisfied: whereas in truth our adversaries not only still claim a right of demanding ad libitum and of taxing us themselves to the full amount of their demands if we do not fulfil their pleasure, which leaves us without anything we can call property, but what is of more importance & what they keep in this proposal out of sight as if no such point was in contest, they claim a right of altering all our charters and established laws which leaves us without the least security for our lives or liberties. The proposition seems also calculated more particularly &c.—T. J.
[2 ]In the copy as printed in the Journals of Congress (i., 191) the words “that he would never treat with America till he had brought her to his feet” are inserted here.