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blish a precedent for taxing the colonies on any future occafion, has been already abundantly proved by the nature of the act, the tenor of its preamble, the fubfequent declaration of the king in answer to the Virginia remonftrance, and the meafures he pursued afterwards for obtaining a revenue for the fupport of government in that colony, not by authority of parliament, but the confent of the general aflembly of the province. And as even this act was deemed an infringement of the rights of the colonies, and as fuch became the fubject of remonftrances to the throne, which were countenanced by the King, no perfon will pretend, that it can authorize the British legislature to prescribe for the right of taxing the colonies.-I am, however, uncertain, whether by thus expofing the title of the colonies to the privileges of diftinct ftates, I am acting for their fervice, or agreeable to their wishes, as they do not, at prefent, difpute the power exerciled by Great Britain, in binding them by political and commercial regulations; it is, however, but juft, that thofe, who, not content with the exercife of this power, ungenerously endeavour, from this conceffion of the colonies, to infer a right of taking away their property at pleasure, fhould know the very flender foundation that fupports even the power from whence this inference is deduced.—If, however, I could believe it poffible to unite Great Britain and the colonies, equally and justly, in a legislative capacity, and overcome those infuperable obftacles which nature has interpofed to this union, I would endeavour to promote it by every honeft expedient, as the fureft method of fecuring their ftability and happiness, instead of citing facts to prove the right of the latter to the privileges of diftinct legislation and government; but as I cannot believe this practicable, and as I well know that it is incompatible with their freedom, and repugnant to the spirit of the British conftitution, to live in fubjection to the laws of an affembly in which they have no reprefentation, I have thought it my duty thus to explain their original state and conftitution.
I fhall not contend with our Author concerning the difference between internal and external taxation, or between taxes for the purpose of a revenue, and thofe for the regulation of trade; as I am convinced, that a power of impofing duties, even for commercial regulations, ought not to be vested in any other person, or affembly of perfons, than those who have a right of taxing for every purpofe; becaufe, under fpecious pretences, it may be perverted to an intolerable grievance; and yet the conduct of this nation towards Ireland and the colonies, fince its departure from the fpirit of its original conftitution, by affuming a power of exercising foreign legislation, bas
afforded caufe to believe the real exiftence of this diftinction; and perhaps duties impofed merely to reftrain commerce, and not to procure a revenue, cannot be deemed taxes with any propriety; at least the apparent difference is fo plaufible, that it can afford no caufe for furprize, if the colonies were deluded by it, and reluctantly fubmitted to the act of the 25th of Charles the Second, though they afterwards univerfally refifled the ftamp-act. But if this be not the cafe, it is ftill a moft unnatural perverfion of reafon and argument in our Author, to infer a right of univerfal taxation over the colonies, by proving the non-entity of this difference, as the juft and obvious inference therefrom would operate against every kind of impofition for any purpose.
Our Author obferves, that the colonies do not," as yet, reject the authority of parliament to bind them in any cafe, fave in the article of taxation," but treats their conceffion in this particular as inconfiftent with their other claims; alledging, that they must be fubject to the authority of parliament in every refpect, or else in none; and perhaps there may be fome juttice in this obfervation, fince in most countries legiflation and taxation have been invariably united in the fame perfon or perfons; and yet the hiftory and conftitution of England afford many precedents to the contrary. A bill of fupply is not fimply a Jaw, but a free gift from the people, by their delegates, the commons of the realm; and the houfe of peers, though an equal part of the fupreme legiflature, and equally authorized to originate all other bills, are in the former excluded from that privilege, nor allowed to make any addition or change whatever therein. The peers are, indeed, allowed fimply to give or refufe their affent to a money bill, becaufe they are precluded from the right of fuffage for members of the houfe of commons, and unreprefented therein, fo that without this privilege, they would neceffarily fuffer a deprivation of one of the most important rights enjoyed by all other freeholders in the realm, that of giving their property by themfelves, or their reprefentatives. And by the 19th of Henry the Seventh, it appears, that the king does not give the royal aflent, but the ro al thanks, to bills of fupply; all which renders it evident, to it, by the English conftitution, the right of taxation is not neceffarily vefted in the fupreme legila ure of the nation, but that all pecuniary grants to the crown are properly acts of the people, giving their fovereign a part of their property, citer perfonally, or by delegation. And agreeable to this is A. Locke's maxim, that "The prince, or ferate, however it ny have power to make laws, for the regulation of property he vista the fubje& one amongft another, yet can never have a power to
take to themselves the whole or any part of the fubjects property, without their own confent; becaufe that would be, in effect, to leave them no property at all." Nor is the practice of the British parliament, in impofing taxes upon the people at all repugnant to this maxim, whatever our Author may have advanced to the contrary; becaufe though bills of fupply are originated by the commons, affented to by the lords, and complimented with the royal thanks, yet this is not done in a legiflative capacity, as the lords and commons do but make a pecuniary donation to the crown, the former in behalf of themfelves, and the latter as the reprefentatives of the people.
This may be eafily denionftrated, by many facts in the political hiftory of England. Thus it appears, that while the houfe of commons anciently granted the crown fupplies from thofe counties, cities, and boroughs which they reprefented, other parts of the realm, which had no reprefentation therein, fuch as the principality of Wales, the counties palatine of Chester, &c. were allowed to tax themfelves, in a mode adapted to the peculiar circumftances of their diftinct fituation and when the commons afterwards affumed the power of granting fupplies for thofe places, the king, deeming the meature repugnant to the principles of the conftitution, fufpended the collection of thofe grants, till an equal reprefentation was allowed them. To this may be added, that the clergy, though bound to obey the general laws of the realm, were anciently allowed to tax themfelves. Ireland, likewife, has invariably yielded obedience to the laws of this kingdom, for regulating its policy and commerce; and yet there is no Irishman, who would not think the British legislature committed a most unjust and oppreffive act in impofing a land tx of one penny per pound on his eftate, though our Author acknowleges that this tax would be as juft as any whatever; and I fatter myself that the colonies have as equitable and rational pretenfions to an exemption from taxation, by an allembly in which they have no delegate, as the people of Ireland, which is in reality a conquered country, brought into fubjection by Henry the Second, jure gladii, and fubmitting on this exprefs condition, "The people and kingdom of Ireland fhail be governed by the fame mild laws, as thofe which govern the people of Englind." It is likewife to be remembered, that when king Charles the Second, difguited with the New-England colonies on account of their former attachment to the commonwealth, brought writs of feire fac as againft their charters, under various pretences, the principal offence, for which judgment was given in charcery against the Maflachuictis-Bay, we, as our Author confefles, that the colony had undertaken to raife money for the fupport and defence of government, for which
there was no particular authority in its charter, although it containe ampl power of 'egiflation, by an act which the colonies were alone authorized to believe, that the right of making laws, and that of impofing taxes are not neceffarily vefted in the fame body; they being, by the British conftitution, diftinct and feparate acts; the former of which is to be exercised by the fupreme legiflature, and the latter by the people, or their delegates only. This, and the preceding inftances, therefore, will fufficiently juftify the colonies from that abfurdity with which our Author charges their conduct, in acknowledging the fupremacy of parliament, and yet denying its right of taxa
The propofal offered for terminating the difpute, is briefly mentioned in the under-cited paffage.
I have already declared, that if it could be thought practicable to unite the colonies to Great Britain in a civil capacity, and on an equal bafis of freedom, I fhould with my countrymen to participate the happinefs of British laws and government: but the dftance, which nature has interpofed, creates infuperable obstacles to this union. The expence and inconvenience which must attend a reprefentation from a country so remote; the intle advantage it could produce to a people, who, from their fituation, could have no opportunity of knowing or directing the conduct of their delegates; the infufficiency and imperfection of laws, made by perfons unacquainted with the ftate of thofe for whom they are made; and the frequent neceffity of prefent and immediate legiflation, joined to the great delay and expence that would neceffarily attend all private bills, are fuch important difficulties, as muft render government, in thefe circumstances, a grievance to them, rather than a benefit. To this let me add, that the executive authority, uncontrained by the legislative power of the colonies, would become oppreffive, and the people of America, deprived of their affemblies, would become victims to the tyranny and rapacity of every haughty, avaricious, or needy governor, difpofed to avail himfelf of the advantages deducible from their distance, and his own connection and intereft with thofe in power. To thefe might be added many other obftacles of a fimilar nature, which are fufficiently known, and abundantly prove the impracticability of an American reprefentation in parliament, without which the colonies cannot be united to Great Britain in a civil capacity, and yet continue to enjoy thofe privileges, which conflitute the happiness of British liberty. From bence, the nesy of a diinst government for the colonies will appear. But as the British legiflature will, perhaps, never conient to emanipite them frem every kind and degree of fubjection to itfelf, I hope my countrymen, to avoid the evils of civil difcord, and
enmity with their parent country, will relinquish fome of those rights which are enjoyed by the fubjects of Great Britain, for the prefervation of those which are of more importance; for the fecurity of their lives, and acquired property; and as they cannot be united to Great Britain in a civil capacity, let them unite to her in a commercial one; and forming with this kingdom, and its other dependencies, one commercial empire, fubmit their trade to the abfolute government of the British parliament, (without defiring a Representation therein,) to be restrained and directed by its laws for the general good.'
The political conftitution of a people is a complicated fyftem, feldom the result of any regular formed plan, but the growth of long experience, of which no reference to past time can afford a compleat idea; and the diftracted measures of the long parliament in the last century, with the uneafinesses caused by the late schemes of American taxation, will fhew the danger of attempting fudden alterations, and violent innovations in go
A few Thoughts upon Pointing, and fome other Helps towards Perfpicuity of Expreffion. By J. B. F. R. S. and F. S. A. 4to. ..Is. Worral, &c. 1768.
HIS is rather a perfuafive to point, than directions for All that I pretend,' fays the Author, is to try if I can convince the Reader that fome fort of punctuation is abfolutely neceffary.' But furely it was unneceffary to attempt such conviction! the neceffity of pointing feems to be univerfally allowed, by the univerfality of the practice. All that is now printed is pointed, the punctuation of what is not intended for the prefs is comparatively of little moment, as it is intended to answer mere private and tranfitory purposes: but there is punctuation enough, even in the letters of one trader to another, to prove an acquiefcence in the utility of the practice. In-, ftruments and proceedings in law, indeed, are without points, and for a very good reason, that the sense might depend wholly upon the words, and not jointly upon words and points; because, in proportion as it should depend upon points, it might be altered without detection: when there are no points, the sense may be determined fo as to require either one punctuation or another, as upon the whole fhall feem moft congruous to truth; but the fenfe could not be determined contrary to a punctuation, without legal proof that the punctuation had been forged, so that the use of points in law inftruments would open a new door to fraud, perplexity, and litigation.
The Author fays, that the general idea of pointing feems to