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it is dangerous to be connected, and who “ may expect calamities, that shall recover to reflection (perhaps to devotion) libertines and Atheists” themselves ?
And is it only for God's sake, for the sake of our own souls, and for the sake of the Colonists, that we should look to our conduct and Christian profession ? Are chere not multitudes of rash religionists in the kingdom, who suppose that all the praying people in England are for the Americans, and who warmly espouse their part, merely because they are told that the Colonists “ fast and pray,” while “ we forget every thing serious and decent,” and because prejudiced teachers confidently ask, with Dr. Price, “ Which side is Providence likely to favour?”–Would to God, that all our legis. lators felt the weight of this objection which can as easily mislead moral and religious people in the present age, as it did in the last ! Would to God, they would exert themselves in such a manner, that all unprejudiced men might see the king and parliament have “ the better men,” as well as “the better cause !” — Would to God, that by timely reformation, and solemn ad, dresses to the throne of grace, we might convince Doctor Price, and all the Americans, that in submitting to the British legislature, they will not submit to libertinism and atheism, but to a venerable body of virtuous and godly senators, who know that the first care of God's representatives on earth—the principal study of political gods, should be to promote God's fear, by setting a good example before the people committed to their charge, and by steadily enforcing the observance of the moral law !
I need not tell you, Sir, what effect this would have on our pious American brethren. You feel it in your own breast. The bare idea of such a reformation softens your prejudices. Were it to take place, it would overcome Dr. Price himself. Pious joy would set him upon writing as warmly for the Government, as he had done against it; and in the midst of his deep repentance for the dangerous errors he has published, he would have the consolation to think, that one of his observations
has done more good than all his sophisms have done mischief. These are some of the reflections which Dr. Price's religious argument has drawn from my pen, and which I doubt not but some of our governors
have already made by the help of that wisdom which prompts them to improve our former calamities, and to study what may promote our happiness in Church and State.
I am, &c.,
A Scriptural Plea for the revolted Colonies, with some se
Hints concerning a Christian Method of bringing about a lasting Reconciliation between them and thi se Mother Country. The King and Parliament hum: bly addressed on the Subject.
CHRISTIANs are, in a special manner, debtors to al mankind. I owe love to all my fellow-subjects, as wel as loyalty to the King, and duty to the parliament ; an my love to our American Colonies, as well as my regar.se for equity, obliges me to say what can reasonably beaded said on their behalf; that prejudice, on both sides, maalis give place to Christian forbearance and conciliatorazi:y. kindness.
I hope, Sir, you are by this time convinced that also the American revolt is absolutely unjustifiable; aneto Al that the King and parliament have an indubitable rigt: Fill b proportionably to tax the Colonists, as well as trans w English ; although the Colonists are not directly an have be adequately represented in parliament, any more tha se abor multitudes of Britons who live abroad, and milliores
, in who reside in Great Britain. And now, Sir, I candidaation allow, that although the Colonists cannot without almost ; surdity insist on an equal representation, yet they ma taw th
humbly request to be particularly represented in the British legislature; and that, although strict justice does not oblige Great Britain to grant them such a request; yet parental wisdom, and brotherly conde. scension, require her to grant something to the notion, that a direct representation in parliament is inseparably connected with civil liberty. This notion, I confess, is irrational, unscriptural, and unconstitutional. But it is a prevailing notion, and if we look at it in one point of view, it seems to wear the badge of British liberty, and therefore has some claim to the indulgence of Britons.
Permit me to illustrate my meaning by a scriptural simile. Through a strong national prejudice, the Jews, who had embraced Christianity, fancied, that no man zuld be a true Christian without being circumcised; od they supported their assertion by God's positive ommand to the father of the faithful-a command tis, which Christ had not expressly repealed, and to soich he and his disciples had religiously submitted. The apostles saw, that the christianized Jews were under
capital mistake. —Nevertheless, in condescension to uman weakness and national prejudice, they allowed bem to circumcise their children: And Paul himself, sough he detested their error, yielded to them so far as have his convert Timothy circumcised. I grant that direct and adequate representation in Parliament is no are essential to British liberty, than circumcision to me Christianity. But, as the Governors of the Chrisra Church made some concessions to Jewish weakness, right not also the Governors of the
ish Empire ake some to American prejudice; especially considerk that it will be as difficult for them peaceably to rule
e Americans without such an act of condescension, as would have been for the Apostles to govern the Jews, thout the above-mentioned complaisance ?
Besides, in some cases, constitutional and unconstituJonal taxation may border so nearly upon each other, fat the most judicious politicians will be as much at a 4 to draw the line betweeh them, as the most skilful
that and right
painter would be to draw the line between the primitive colours of the rainbow. This bordering of a faint con. stitutional privilege, upon an unconstitutional, absolute want of privilege, has deceived the Colonists. As a man, who is passionately fond of flaming crimson, takes a faint red to be no red at all ; they have pronounced that to be no representation, which is an indirect representation discernible to all but the prejudiced. In their patriotic fright they have fancied, that the ship of constitutional liberty struck on a rock, because it did not carry so many sails as they imagined it should. You may compare their mistake to that of impatient suspi. cious passengers, who, when they have all their fortune on board a ship, are apt to think, that she does not move at all, because her motion is not so rapid as they could wish ; and because their anxious fears turn every sail they see, into a privateer in chase of their property. Their error deserves then compassion, as well as blame, and will appear excusable to those who know the im. mense value of liberty.
Our lawgivers, who are peculiarly acquainted with the worth of this jewel, can above all men put a favour. able construction upon the panic of a people afraid of being enslaved. Depending, therefore, on their conde. scension, I shall presume to ask, if now, that the govern. ment has plainly asserted and powerfully supported the just claims of Great Britain, it might not safely relax a little the reins of authority, and kindly condescend to the fears of the Colonists. And should the Americans shew themselves just in indemnifying our injured mer. chants, penitent in laying down their arms, and loyal in acknowledging the right, that Great Britain has to ex. pect proportionable taxes from them: Might not the king and parliament shew themselves kind, in granting them the privilege of a special representation in the British legislature: Or in passing an act of security, to fix just bounds to the power of parliamentary taxa. tion with respect to the Americans;- to promise the Colonies, that a proper allowance shall always be made them for the superior commercial privileges of Great
Britain ;-to ascertain, in an equitable manner, the quantum of that allowance ;—and to remove their dread of being disproportionably taxed by the most solemn assurances, that their taxes shall always rise or fall in exact proportion to our own, according to the plan laid down in p. 121, 122 ?
I would not carry matters so far as to say, with the poet, Summum jus summa injuria ;S but might I not observe, that parental love, brotherly kindness, and Bri. tish equity require that some condescension be shewn to the Colonists? Should not British legislators shew themselves gods, by imitating the God of gods,
Who conquers all, beneath, above,
Whilst the Atlantic foams under the weight of the transports, which carry the troops sent over to subdue the revolted provinces, might not love suspend the destructive stroke and conquer them without farther effusion of blood ? Is their hardness absolutely desperate ? Whilst the sight of a force so superior to that which quelled them at Bunker's Hill, works upon their prudence ; and whilst scriptural expostulations enlighten their consciences ; might not some gracious and timely concessions work upon their gratitude, excite their admi. zation, and regain their confidence ? O that you, Sir, and I could imitate those courageous women, who, when the Romans their husbands, and the Sabines their brothers, were going to engage, rushed between the two armies, and so wrought upon them by tender expostulations, that the fierce antagonists, intead of plunging their swords into each other's breasts, fell upon each other's necks, and turned the field of battle into a field of reconciliation! If a Heathen country saw the delightful scene, might not a Christian land behold it also ?
- The pleasing thought transports my mind :-My imagination, warmed by the fond hope, carries me beyond myself : Methinks I rush between the parliament