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mote the happiness equally of all subjects, I beg you would in your own clear, brief, and explicit manner, send me an answer to the following questions : I make this request now, because this matter is of the utmost importance, and must now very quickly be agitated. And I do it with more freedom, as you know me and my motives too well, to entertain the most remote suspicion that I will make an improper use of any information you shall hereby convey to me.
ist. Will not a repeal of all the duties (that on tea ex. cepted) which was paid before here on exportation, and, of course, no new imposition, fully satisfy the colonists ? If you answer in the negative,
2d. Your reasons for that opinion ?
3d. Do you think the only effectual way of composing the present differences, is to put the Ainericans precisely in the situation they were in before the passing of the late stamp act? If that is your opinion,
4th. Your reasons for that opinion ?
5th. If this last method is deemed by the legislature, and his majesty's ministers, to be repugnant to their duty, as guardians of the just rights of the crown and of their fellowsubjects ; can you suggest any other way of terminating these disputes, consistent with the ideas of justice and propriety conceived by the king's subjects on both sides of the Atlantic ?
6th. And if this method was actually followed, do you not think it would actually encourage the violent and factious part of the colonists to aim at still farther concessions from the mother country ?
7th. If they are relieved in part only, what do you, as a reasonable and dispassionate man, and equal friend to both sides, imagine will be the probable consequences ?
The answer to these questions, I humbly conceive, will include all the information I want; and I beg you will fayour me with them as soon as may be. Every well-wisher to the peace and prosperity of the British empire, and every friend to our truly happy constitution, must be desirous of seeing even the most trivial causes of dissension among our fellow-subjects removed. Our domestic squabbles, in my mind, are nothing to what I ain speaking of. This you know much better than I do, and therefore I need add nothing fur. ther to recommend this subject to your serious consideration. I am, with the most cordial esteem and attachment, dear sir, your faithful and affectionate humble servant,
ANSWER TO THE PRECEDING QUERIBS.
Craven Street, Nov. 29th, 1769. Dear Sir,-Being just returned to town from a little ex. cursion, I find yours of the 21st, containing a number of queries, that would require a pamphlet to answer them fully. You, however, desire only brief answers, which I shall endeavour to give.
Previous to your queries, you tell me that you apprehend his majesty's servants have now in contemplation, 1st. To relieve the colonists from the taxes complained of; to preserve the honour, the dignity, and the supremacy of the British legislature over all his majesty's dominions.-I hope your information is good ; and that what you suppose to be in contemplation, will be carried into execution, by repealing all the laws that have been made for raising a revenue in America, by authority of parliament, without the consent of the people there. The honour and dignity of the British legislature will not be hurt by such an act of justice and wisdom. The wisest counsels are liable to be misled, especially in matters remote from their inspection. It is the persisting in an error, not the correcting it, that lessens the honour of any man, or body of men. The supremacy of that legislature, I believe, will be best preserved by making a very sparing use of it; never but for the evident good of the colonies themselves, or of the whole British empire ; never for the partial advantage of Britain to their prejudice. By such prudent conduct, I imagine, that supremacy may be gradually strengthened, and in time fully established; but otherwise, I apprehend, it will be disputed, and lost in the dispute. At present the colonies consent and submit to it, for the regulations of a general comunerce; hut submission to acts of parliament was no part of their original constitution. Our former kings governed their colonies, as they governed their dominions in France, without the participation of British parliaments. The parliament of England never presumed to interfere in that prerogative, till the time of the great rebellion, when they usurped the government of all the king's other dominions, Ireland, Scotland, &c. The colonies that held for the king, they conquered by force of arms, and governed afterwards as conquered countries : but New England, having not opposed the parliament, was considered and treated as a sistera kingdoin, in amity with England, (as appears by the journals, March 10, 1642).
Ist. Will not a repeal of all the duties (that on tea excépted, which was before paid here on exportation, and of course no new imposition), fully satisfy the colonists?
Answer. I think not.
Answer. Because it is not the sum paid in that duty on tea, that is complained of as a burden, but the principle of the act, expressed in the preamble, viz. T'hat those duties were laid for the better support of government, and thc administration of justice in the colonies. This the colonists think unnecessary, unjust, and dangerous to their important rights. Unnecessary, because in all the colonies (two or three new ones excepted) government and the administration of justice were, and always had been, well supported without any charge to Britain : unjust, as it had made such colonies liable to pay such charge for others, in which they had no concern or interest: dangerous, as such mode of raising money for those purposes tended to render their assemblies useless ; for if a revenue could be raised in the colonies for all the purposes of government by act of parlia. ment, without grants from the people there, governors, who do not generally love assemblies, would never call them; they would be laid aside: and when nothing should depend on the people's good will to government, their rights would be trampled on ; they would be treated with contempt. Another reason, why I think they would not be satisfied with such a partial repeal, is that their agreements, not to repeal till the repeal takes place, include the whole ; which shews, that they object to the whole ; and those agreements will continue binding on them, if the whole is not repealed. !
3d. Do you think the only effectual way of composing the present differences, is to put the Americans precisely in the situation they were in before the passing of the late Stamp Act?
A. I think so.
A. Other methods have been tried. They have been refused or rebuked in angry letters. Their petitions have been refused or rejected by parliament. They have been threatened with the punishments of treason by resolves of both houses. Their assemblies have been dissolved, and troops have been sent among them : but all these ways have only exasperated their minds, and widened the breach. Their agreements to use no more British manufactures have been strengthened ; and these measures, instead of composing differences, and promoting a good correspondence, have al
most annihilated your commerce with those countries, and greatly endanger the national peace and general welfare.
5th. If this last method is deemed by the legislature, and his majesty's ministers, to be repugnant to their duty as guardians of the just rights of the crown, and of their fellow, subjects, can you suggest any other way of terminating these disputes, consistent with the ideas of justice and propriety conceived by the king's subjects on both sides of the Atlantic ?
A. I do not see how that method can be deemed repugnant to the rights of the crown. If the Americans are put into their former situation, it must be by an act of parliament ; in the passing of which by the king, the rights of the crown are exercised, not infringed. It is indifferent to the crown, whether the aids received from America are granted by parHiament here, or by the assemblies there, provided the quantum be the same ; and it is my opinion, that more will be generally granted there voluntarily, than can ever be exacted or collected from thence by authority of parliament. As to the rights of fellow-subjects, (I suppose you mean the people of Britain) I cannot conceive how those will be infringed by that method. They will still enjoy the right of granting their own money, and may still, if it pleases them, keep up their claim of granting ours; a right they can never exercise properly, for want of a sufficient knowledge of us, our circumstances and abilities (to say nothing of the little likelihood there is we should ever submit to it) therefore a right that can be of no use to them; and we shall continue to ens joy in fact the right of granting our money, with the opinion now universally prevailing among us, that we are free subjects to the king, and that fellow-subjects of one part of his dominions are not sovereigns over fellow-subjects in any other part. If the subjects on the different sides of the Atlantic have different and opposite ideas of “justice and propriety," no one “method” can possibly be consistent with both. The best will be, to let each enjoy their own opinions, without disturbing them, when they do not interfere with the common good.
6th. And if this method were actually allowed, do you not think it would encourage the violent and factious part of the colonists, to aim at still further concessions from the mother-country ?
A. I do not think it would. There may be a few among them that deserve the name of factious and violent, as there are in all countries ; but these would have little influence, if the great majority of sober reasonable people were satisfied.
If any colony should happen to think, that some of your regulations of trade are inconvenient to the general interest of the empire, or prejudicial to them without being beneficial to you, they will state these matters to parliament in petitions as heretofore ; but will, I believe, take no violent steps to obtain what they may hope for in time from the wisdom of government here. I know of nothing else they can have in view: the notion that prevails here, of their being desirous to set up a kingdom or commonwealth of their own, is to my certain knowledge entirely groundless. I therefore think, that on a total repeal of all duties, laid expressly for the purpose of raising a revenue on the people of America without their consent, the present uneasiness would subside; the agreements not to import would be dissolved, and the cornmerce flourish as heretofore : and I am confirmed in this sentiment by all the letters I have received from America, and by the opinions of all the sensible people who have lately come from thence, crown-officers excepted. I know, indeed, that the people at Boston are grievously offended by the quartering of troops among them, as they think, contrary to law, and are very angry with the board of commissioners, who have calumniated them to government; but as I suppose the withdrawing of these troops may be a consequence of reconciliating measures taking place; and that the commission also will be either dissolved, if found useless, or filled with more temperate and prudent men, if still deemed useful and necessary; I do not imagine these particulars would prevent a return of the harmony so much to be wished.
7th. If they are relieved in part only, what do you, as a reasonable and dispassionate man, and an equal friend to both sides, imagine will be the probable consequence ?
A. I imagine, that repealing the offensive duties in part will answer no end to this country; the commerce will remain obstructed, and the Americans will go on with their schemes of frugality, industry, and manufactures, to their own great advantage. How much that may tend to the prejudice of Britain, I cannot say ; but perhaps not so much as some apprehend, since she may in timne find new markets. But I think, if the union of the two countries continues to subsist, it will not hurt the general interest ; for whatever wealth Britain loses by the failing of its trade with the colonies, America will gain; and the crown will receive equal aids from its subjects upon the whole, if not greater.
And now I have answered your questions, as to what may be, in my opinion, the consequences of this or that supposed measure, I will go a little farther, and tell you, what I fear