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not, has both a right, and a power to dispose, not only of our money, but also of our liberties and lives ; so far as that disposal may answer ends agreeable to the law of God, beneficial to the peace of society, and conducive to the general good ? If this political doctrine be ex. plained, you will, I am persuaded, assent to it, as an indubitable truth.
Could the Sovereign rule and protect us, if he had not this right and this power? I injure your property, or, what is worse, your reputation. You sue me for dam. ages; but, how can the Sovereign act the part of protector of your property and good name, if he cannot command my property, and take from me by force what I unjustly detain from you, and what may make you satisfaction for the injury done to your character ? And suppose you had wronged me, how could the Sovereign protect me, if he could not dispose of your property without your consent?
This is exactly the case with respect to Liberty. If Fou stop me on the road, and unjustly deprive me of the liberty of going about my business ; can the Sove. reign protect me, unless he has a right of depriving you of your lawless liberty, that I may quietly enjoy my lawful liberty? And does not equity demand, that if I am the petty tyrant, who pretend to the liberty of tarfeathering you, the Sovereign should have the same power of protecting you, by binding me to my good behaviour, or by ordering me to the stocks or to jail ?
This power extends to Life, as well as liberty. I deand your money or your life. How can the Sovereign secure you more effectually than by taking my life, for having attempted to take yours ? By the rule of reci. procation, if you endeavour to take away my life, I cannot be protected ; and if you murder me, my blood cannot be properly avenged ; unless the Sovereign has power to put you to death. Hence it is, that prosecutions for capital offences are carried on in the name of the King, who is the head of the legislative power, and who, as he insists (in his capacity of lawgiver and pro
punishments, has also the royal prerogative of pardon ing criminals condemned to die.
Come we now to taxes. If the Sovereign rules and protects his subjects; and if it is his office to avert the dangers which threatened them, and to see that justice be done to the oppressed; he has his noble, I had almosi said, his divine, business ; and he has a right to live by. his business ;-- yea, to live in a manner which may an. swer to the importance and dignity of his business., Hence it follows, that he is not only as much entitled to a royal sustenance from his subjects, as a schoolmaster is entitled to a schoolmaster's maintenance froin his scholars ; or a minister to a pastoral supply from his flock; but that his right is so much the more conspi. cuous, as his rank is higher than theirs. Now, this royal sustenance chiefly arises from custom and taxes., Hence it is evident, that to deny proper taxes to the Sovereign who protects and defends us, is, at least, as gross an act of injustice, as to reap the benefit of a lawyer's study, a physician's attendance, a nurse's care, and a master's instructions ; and then to cheat them of the emolument which such study, attendance, care, and instructions reasonably entitle them to. This is not all :
In a vast empire, where the Sovereign uses thousands of officers to keep the peace and administer justice, there is absolute need of a great revenue for the maintenance of those officers; and the collecting of this revenue is the employment of thousands more. If the state is in danger from external or internal foes; a sufficient force in constant readiness is absolutely necessary to suppress seditions, quell rebellions, obtain restitutions, prevent invasions, and hinder encroachments. Hence, the need of a navy, an army, a militia. Hence, the need of sea-ports, docks, fortifications, garrisons, convoys, fleets of observation, ministers at foreign courts, arms, artillery, ammunition, magazines, and warlike stores without end ;--hence, in short, prodigious expences. Now, as all these expences are incurred for the protection and dignity of the whole empire, do not reason and
conscience dictate?,-(1.) That all those who share in the protection and dignity of the empire, should contribute in due proportion towards defraying the national expence :—(2.) That, of consequence, the supreme power has an indubitable right of laying moderate taxes uponi the subjects, for any end beneficial to the whole empire : -(3.) That subjects have absolutely no right to complain of taxation, unless they are taxed exorbitantly, or with. out due proportion :-(4.) That if Colonies of subjects settled by a grant from the Sovereign, within the limits of the empire, have been spared in their state of infancy, either to encourage their growth, or because the revenue, which might have arisen from taxing them at first, would hardly have defrayed the expence of raising taxes ; it by no means follows, that, when such Colonies have gathered strength, and are as well able to bear a share in the national burden as the mother country, they should still be excused:_And lastly, that to say, “ You shall not tax me without my consent,” is as improper a speech from a subject to his Sovereign, as to say, “ You shall not protect the empire without my consent; if I steal, you shall not send me to jail without my consent; if I raise 3 rebellion, you shall not hang me, unless I give you leave ; you shall not dispose of my property without my permission ; although (by the bye) I will dispose of the property of my fellow-subjects, not only without their permission, but also in full opposition
your authority ;--an absurd, unjust disposition this, which too many of the Bostonian patriots evidenced when they imperiously disposed of the cargo of our ships, forcibly threw the goods of our merchants into the sea, to the amount of many thousand pounds, and set all America in a flame, as soon as the Sovereign in. sisted that the port of Boston should be shut up, till the perpetrators of this daring act were delivered to justice, of, at least, till satisfaction was made to his oppressed subjects, whose ships have been boarded in a piratical manner, and whose property has been feloniously destroyed, when they quietly traded under the
cers, the reasonable taxes which are laid upon you for in so doing you only give him his due.
You on him obedience and taxes, as your supreme Goverde and Protector. Hence it appears, that Mr. Wesley onl unfolds our Lord's doctrine, when he says,
66 The re ception of any law draws after it, by a chain whic cannot be broken, the necessity of admitting taxation. The primary right of taxation is inseparable from th supreme power, and if our respective parishes at home and our Colonies abroad, have a right to cess themselves with respect to their private expences; it is only a dele. gated subordinate right, which by no means exempt: them from the taxes laid upon them to defray the gene ral expence of the Government. And therefore, tu pretend that parish-rates, and Colony-rates, ought to supersede taxation by the Sovereign in a body political is as absurd as to affirm, that the pulses in the humar body ought to supersede the vital motion, or capital beating of the heart.
Having expostulated with you, as with a conscientious man, and a minister of the gospel, permit me, Sir, to address you thirdly, as a consistent writer. You give us to understand, that the act of parliament, by which the Colonists are taxed, is an unconstitutional act ; because the Colonists, as inheriting the privileges of Britons, cannot be constitutionally taxed by a par. liament, to which they are not allowed to send representatives. But do you not in your very letter to Mr. W. overthrow this grand plea ? Do you not grant the very truth, on which he rests his doctrine of the consti. tutional reasonableness of the taxation you represent as tyrannical ? Undoubtedly, you do: For considering that many large towns, as Birmingham, &c., send no representative to parliament, when the hill called Old Sarum sends two; aud that myriads of men, who have their fortune in ready money, in goods, in trade, or in the stocks, have no right to vote for parliament-men, because they have no freehold ; when a poor man, who has a mortgaged freehold on which he starves, has a right to choose his representative; considering this, I
say, you tell Mr. W., " In England - the people are by no means equally represented.”
We thank you, Sir, for this concession, which (by the bye) you could not help making. You grant then that the Constitution allows of unequal representation ; since it allows that some towns, and some men, shall send repre. sentatives to parliament, when other towns and other men are not permitted to send any. And in granting this, you indirectly grant, that Boston may be constitutionally taxed without a peculiar representative, as well as Birmingham; and thất the rich merchants of Boston may be as legally taxed, as the rich merchants of Birmingham, who are not entitled to a vote.
Now, Sir, if the Constitution allows of unequal representation ; and if the taxation of myriads of men, who send no represen. tatives to the House of Commons, is constitutional ; I ask
, in the name of consistency, why do you represent such taxation as unconstitutional with respect to the You reply : “ This is an acknowledged defect of the Constitution.”—So, Sir, your zeal for the Constitution throws off the mask, and you impeach the Constitution ! Might you not have said at once, The parliament may indeed constitutionally tax the Colonists; for it taxes millions of Britons who have no vote for parliamentmen; but the Constitution is defective ; and we patri. ots
, we friends of the Constitution, will avowedly find fault with the Constitution, till we can find an opportu, sity of casting it into a new mould ? And what this could is, which, I fear, rash patriots are getting ready s fast as they can, and into which they hope to cast the infamed minds of the populace, you, Sir, help us to
“ It is glaringly evident,” (to such good friends of the Constitution as you are,)“ It is glaringly evident, that there is not a man in England, who is able to boil a pot, in ever so despicable an hovel,
may, if he pleases, have a voice in the disposal of property :” That is, in laying on or taking off lates
, or (which comes to the same) in making and
guess, where you say,