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Added to these, the Americans remembered the act authorising the most cruel insult that perhaps was ever offered by one people to another, that of emptying our gaols into their settlements; Scotland too having within these two years obtained the privilege it had not before, of sending its rogues and villains also to the plantations—I say, reflecting on these things, they said one to another, (their newspapers are full of such discourses,) "These people are not content with making a monopoly of us, (forbidding us to trade with any other country of Europe, and compelling us to buy every thing of them, though in many articles we could furnish ourselves ten, twenty, and even to fifty per cent, cheaper elsewhere; but now they have as good as declared they have a right to tax us ad libitum internally and externally; and that our constitutions and liberties shall all be taken away, if we do not submit to that claim."
pany then trading to Carolina; for several ships going from England thither, and purchasing rice for Portugal, prevented the aforesaid captain of a loading. Upon his coming home, he possessed one Mr. Lowndes, a member of parliament, (who was frequently employed to prepare bills) with an opinion, that carrying rice directly to Portugal was a prejudice to the trade of England, and privately got a clause into an act to make it an enumerated commodity; by which means he secured a freight to himself. But the consequence proved a vast loss to the nation.'
"I find that this clause, 'privately got into an act, for the benefit of Captain Cole, to the vast loss of the nation/ is foisted into the 3d Anne, chapter 5th, intitled, 'An act for granting to her majesty a further subsidy on wines and merchandises imported;' with which it has no more connexion, than with 34th Edward I. 34th and 35th of Henry VIII. or the 25th Charles II. which provide that no person shall be taxed but by himself or his representatives."
VOL. I. 2 R
"They are not content with the high prices at which they sell us their goods, but have now begun to enhance those prices by new duties; and by the expensive apparatus of a new set of officers, appear to extend an augmentation and multiplication of those burthens that shall still be more grievous to us. Our people have been foolishly fond of their superfluous modes and manufactures, to the impoverishing our own country, carrying off all our cash, and loading us with debt; they will not suffer us to restrain the luxury of our inhabitants, as they do that of their own, by laws; they can make laws to discourage or prohibit the importation of French superfluities;, but though those of England are as ruinous to us as the French ones are to them, if we make a law of that kind, they immediately repeal it. Thus they get all our money from us by trade; and every profit we can any where make by our fisheries, our produce, or our commerce, centers finally with them ;—but this does not signify. It is time, then, to take care of ourselves by the best means in our power. Let us unite in solemn resolution and engagements with and to each other, that we will give these new officers as little trouble as pos
sible, by not consuming the British manufactures on which they are to levy the duties. Let us agree to consume no more of their expensive gewgaws. Let us live frugally, and let us industriously manufacture what we can for ourselves; thus we shall be able honorably to discharge the debts we already owe them; and after that, we may be able to keep some money in our country, not only for the uses of our internal commerce, but for the service of our gracious sovereign, whenever he shall have occasion for it, and think proper to require it of us in the old constitutional manner. For notwithstanding the reproaches thrown out against us in their public papers and pamphlets, notwithstanding we have been reviled in their senate as rebels and traitors, we are truly a loyal people. Scotland has had its rebellions, and England its plots against the present royal family; but America is untainted with those crimes; there is in it scarce a man, there is not a single native of our country, who is not firmly attached to his king by principle and by affection. But a new kind of loyalty seems to be required of us, a loyalty to parliament; a loyalty that is to extend, it is said, to a surrender of all our properties, whenever a house of commons, in which there is not a single member of our choosing, shall think fit to grant them away without our consent; and to a patient suffering the loss of our privileges as Englishmen, if we cannot submit to make such surrender. We were separated too far from Britain by the ocean, but we were united to it by respect and love; so that we could at any time freely have spent our lives and little fortunes in its cause; but this unhappy new system of politics tends to dissolve those bands of union, and to sever us for ever."
These are the wild ravings of the, at present, half-distracted Americans. To be sure, no reasonable man in England can approve of such sentiments, and, as I said before, 1 do not pretend to support or justify them; but I sincerely wish, for the sake of the manufactures and commerce of Great Britain, and for the sake of the strength which a firm union with our growing colonies would give us; that these people had never been thus needlessly driven out of their senses. I am yours, &c. F. * S.
QUERIES FROM MR. STRAHAN,' AND DR. FRANKLin's ANSWER.
[Referred to Part III. of Memoirs of the Ltfei]
To Dr. Franklin.
Dear Sir, Nov. 21,1769.
In the many conversations we have had together about our present disputes with North
1 Mr. Strahan was printer to the King, and representative in parliament for Malmesbury in Wiltshire. An intimacy of long stauding had subsisted between him and Dr. Franklin.
America, we perfectly agreed in wishing they may be brought to a speedy and happy conclusion. How this is to be done is not so easily ascertained.
Two objects, I humbly apprehend, his Majesty's servants have now in contemplation. 1st. To relieve the colonies from the taxes complained of, which they certainly had no hand in imposing. 2dly. To preserve the honor, the dignity, and the supremacy of the British legislature over all his Majesty's dominions.
As I know your singular knowledge of the subject in question, and am as fully convinced of your cordial attachment to his Majesty, and your sincere desire to promote the happiness equally of all his 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 very quickly be agitated. And I do it with the 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.
1st. Will not a repeal of all the duties (that on tea excepted, which was before paid here on exportation, and of course no new imposition) fully satisfy the colonists ?1 If you answer in the negative,
* In the year 1767, for the express purpose of raising a re