Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση


Observations on the Origin of Power,—on the high

Republican Spirit ;- :-on the manner in which Crom. well overthrew both Church and State with this dread. ful engine ;-on the Republican Enthusiasm of many of the first Protestants ;-on the Articles of Rcligion by which the latter Reformers struck at that Enthu. siasm ;-on Tyranny ;-on Slavery ;-and on the peculiar Liberty of the Subjects of Great Britain. The Author's wishes with respect to a speedy reconciliation with the Colonists :The happy Consequences of such a Reconciliation.


My wishes for your happiness, and my concern for the public peace, prompt me to try all the means in my power, to remove your prejudices, and to stop the ferment raised by your mistakes. Having therefore addressed you as a Man, a Christian, and a Briton, I shall now expostulate with you, as a Protestant, and a friend to Liberty.

The distinguishing character of a Protestant, is to rest his doctrine upon Reason and Scripture. But upon which of these foundations, Sir, do you rest your doctrine of Power ? You insinuate that the power of kings ascends from the people: You blame your opponent for having intimated, that it descends from God; and you recommend a levelling scheme of Equal Representation, founded upon a natural, equal right of shar. ing in the legislative power ; a scheme this, which presupposes, that one man in society has naturally as much right to make and repeal laws, as another. Whence it evidently follows, that subjects have a right to rise than the rule of proportion allows, should they n. have humbly requested the parliament, that, before the were taxed at all, their jealousies might be removed b an act drawn up in such a manner as to set bounds their taxes, in proportion to the bounds which are set their commercial privileges ? And would not our law, givers have granted them so reasonable a request ? But to rise absolutely against all taxation by act of parlia ment, merely because it is taxation by the legislative power of Great Britain ; to destroy the property of our fellow-subjects, by raising riotous mobs against them ; and to take up arms against the Sovereign to defend such proceedings, argues, in my judgment, a temper which you may call patriotism, but looks too much like the sin forbidden in Rom. xiii. 2.-Lastly, If pleading that our superiors may abuse their power over us, were a sufficient reason to shake off the yoke of lawful authority ; all apprentices (though ever so well used) might directly emancipate themselves ; for they might adopt your argument, and say, My master, indeed, rises me well; but “he is under every possible temptation to starve me;" since every meal which he wilž save, in de. nying me proper food, will be a meal saved for himseif or his own children ; and therefore I will cut and carve for myself, or J will acknowledge him as a master no



I shall be less prolix in my answer to the rest of your arguments. You appeal to the Irish, who are taxed by their own Parliament:* But their case is very different from that of the Colonists ; for Ireland was annexed to the dominions of the King of England, not as a colony

a kingdom naturally and originally subjected to England, but as a sister-kingdom ; and, as such, she has enjoyed the supreme power of making her own laws, and (in part) of coining her own money. This was the case with Scotland also; and therefore the Scots were allowed to send a number of representatives to both houses of parliament, when the two kingdoms were

* N. B.-This was written in the latter end of the year 1775, o: in the beginning of the year 1776.

united into one. Not so the Colonies. They never were on a level with England; they never had supreme dominion; they were always the subjects of the King and parliament of England, who granted them the territories they enjoy ; and therefore, for them to demand, in opposition to their charters, rights superior to those of the Britons, who settle abroad under the protection of Great Britain ; and for them to claim the prerogatives of sister-kingdoms, is as great a strelub of lawless liberty, as for chartered corporations in England, or for the Eng. lish settled in Minorca, Jamaica, Gibraltar, Bengal, &c. to claim the prerogatives of supreme governments, and the privileges of the kingdoms which were joined by mutual agreement to the crown of England.

You likewise appeal to the Palatinate of Chester, whose inhabitants pleaded, “ that the English ParliaDent had no right to tax them; that they had a Parliament of their own," &c. But, granting that the parliament of that Palatinate was once as independent on the English parliament as the Palatinate in Germany, can you, without absurdity, infer from thence, that the Colonists are so ? Permit me to make you sensible of the inconclusiveness of your argument, by bringing it to light, thus : “ The Palatinate of Chester was formerly independent on the parliament of England: They could produce grants or charters to demonstrate, that they had 3 parliament of their own, and the prerogative of making their own laws; and therefore the Colonies, which have no such grants and charters ;—the Colonies which have always been subject to the English parliament; the Colonies, whose grants directly or indirectly mention subjection to the English parliament, shall not be subject to the English parliament.” If Mr. W. had advanced such an argument as this, you might have as reasonably complained that he deals in childish quirks,” as you now do without reason ; for common sense dictates, that it is as absurd to conclude, that the peculiar privileges enjoyed by the Palatinate of Chester,


that the peculiar privileges of the House of Comme belong to every corporation in the kingdom.

To this refutation of your arguments, permit me add a remark upon your answer to Mr. W.'s most stri ing plea. You are sensible of the advantage which i has over you, where he appeals to the express terms the charters granted to the Colonists. You know, thi honest men dare not go from their bargain ; and that charter is nothing but a solemn bargain committed 1 writing, whereby the Sovereign makes such and suc grants to such subjects, upon such and such terms And you know, that if the subjects accept the grants they agree to the terms on which these grants are made Mr. W.

says, “ Remember your last charter, that o Pennsylvania, says, in express terms, you are liable to taxation.”-Here, Sir, you seem embarrassed ; and, to get off as well as you can, you tell us that the clause o the charter which Mr. W.appeals to, was never under. stood to mean a power of internal taxation for the pur. pose of raising a revenue ; but merely the laying on o1 such duties, as might be necessary solely for the regulation of trade.” But your mistake was lately demonstrated before the House of Lords, by the testimony of Governor Penn. Lord Denbigh asked him at the bar of the house, If he was well acquainted with the charter of Pennsylvania ? He replied, 66 that he had read the charter, and was well acquainted with the contents." Lord Denbigh asked,

“ If he did not know there was a clause which specifically subjected the Colony to taxation by the British legislature ?" and he answered, “ He was well apprised there was such a clause.” Now, Sir, as you are so evidently mistaken in your account of the charter of Pennsylvania ; you will permit me to think, that you give us as fabulous an account of the charter of Massachusett's Bay, when you say, you are credibly informed, that the exemption from taxes for seven years, which was granted to the Colonists of that province, " had no reference to what we commonly mean by taxes, but to" something, which you call “ quit-rents."-An

odd criticism this, which I should imitate, if I insinuat. ed, that when the apostle charges us to pay custom, he does not mean, that we should pay what we commonly understand by custom ; but only that tenants should pay their rent. From this specimen, it is easy to determine who have most reason to complain of “ mutilated charters," the patriots or the parliament.

Having so long pleaded the cause of my Sovereign and my country, I may be allowed to bestow a few paragraphs upon my friend. You say to him, “ It is fallacious to the last degree, and unworthy of a man of integrity and candour to insinuate, as you are pleased to do, that the people have ceded to the King and parlia. ment the power of disposing, without their consent, of both their lives, liberties, and properties." I shall make no remark, Rev. Sir, on the Christian courtesy of this address. We, who pass for abject slaves, expect such liberal hints from you patriots s and to tell you the trath, we think it an honour to share them with our King, and our legislature. But may not I ask a few questions, which will throw some light upon Mr. W.'s remark? When did all the freeholders, who have estates from fifty to ninety-nine pounds a year, consent to be deprived of the liberty to carry a gun, and to shoot 3 hare on their own land ? When did all the Quakers consent to pay tithes, for the non-payment of which their property is forcibly taken from them accord. ing to act of parliament, to the amount of several thousand pounds a year? When did all the Clergy, who lately petitioned the parliament for the repeal of the thirty-nine Articles, consent that the Act, which orders subscription to these Articles, should continue in force ? When did all the freeholders in Middlesex consent to be additionally taxed, in order to enforce the taxation of the Colonists? When did all our bluster. ing gentlemen consent to be sent to the house of correction, or to pay five shillings, every time they demean themselves, by profane cursing or swearing ? When did all the Dissenters consent to the law, which ob

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »