Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

hoped I had put pen to paper, and formed some plan for consideration, and brought it with me. I answered, that I had formed no plan; as the more I thought of the proceedings against the colonies, the more satisfied I was that there did not exist the least disposition in the ministry to an accommodation; that therefore all plans must be useless. He said, I might be mistaken; that whatever was the violence of some, he had reason, good reason, to believe others were differently disposed; and that if I would draw a plan, which we three upon considering should judge reasonable, it might be made use of, and answer some good purpose, since he believed that either himself or David Barclay could get it communicated to some of the most moderate among the ministers, who would consider it with attention; and what appeared reasonable to us, two of us being Englishmen, might appear so to them. As they both urged this with great earnestness, and when I mentioned the impropriety of my doing any thing of the kind at the time we were in daily expectation of hearing from the congress, who undoubtedly would be explicit on the means of restoring a good understanding, they seemed impatient, alleging that it was uncertain when we should receive the result of the congress, and what it would be; that the least delay might be dangerous; that additional punishments for New England were in contemplation, and accidents might widen the breach, and make it irreparable; therefore,

[ocr errors]

something preventive could not be too soon thought of and applied. I was therefore finally prevailed with to promise doing what they desired, and to meet them again on Tuesday evening at the same place, and bring with me something for their consideration.

Accordingly, at the time, I met with them, and produced the following paper.

“ HINTS FOR CONVERSATION upon the Subject of Terms that might probably produce a durable Union between Britain and the Colonies.

1. “ The tea destroyed to be paid for.

2. The tea-duty act to be repealed, and all the duties that have been received upon it to be repaid into the treasuries of the several provinces from which they have been collected.

3. “The acts of navigation to be all re-enacted in the colonies.

4.“ A naval officer appointed by the crown to reside in each colony, to see that those acts are observed.

5. “ All the acts restraining manufactures in the colonies to be repealed.

6. “ All duties arising on the acts for regulating trade with the colonies, to be for the public use of the respective colonies, and paid into their treasuries. The collectors and custom-house officers to be appointed by each governor, and not sent from England.

7. “ In consideration of the Americans maintaining their own peace establishment, and the monopoly Britain is to have of their commerce, no requisition to be made from them in time of peace.

8. No troops to enter and quarter in any colony, but with the consent of its legislature.

9. “ In time of war, on requisition made by the king, with the consent of parliament, every colony shall raise money by the following rules or proportions, viz. If Britain, on account of the war, raises 3s. in the pound to its land tax, then the colonies to add to their last general provincial peace tax a sum equal to one-fourth thereof; and if Britain on the same account pays 4s. in the pound, then the colonies to add to their said last peace tax a sum equal to half thereof, which additional tax is to be granted to his majesty, and to be employed in raising and paying men for land or sea service, furnishing provisions, transports, or for such other purposes as the king shall require and direct. And though no colony may contribute less, each may add as much by voluntary grant as they shall think

proper. 10. “ Castle William to be restored to the province of the Massachusetts Bay, and no fortress built by the crown in any province, but with the consent of its legislature.

11. “ The late Massachusetts and Quebec acts to be repealed, and a free government granted to Canada.

12. “ All judges to be appointed during good behavior, with equally permanent salaries, to be paid out of the province revenues by appointment of the assemblies. Or, if the judges are to be appointed during the pleasure of the crown, let the salaries be during the pleasure of the assemblies, as heretofore.

13.“Governors to be supported by the assemblies of each province.

14. “ If Britain will give up its monoply of the American commerce, then the aid above-mentioned to be given by America in time of peace as well as in time of war.

15. “ The extension of the act of Henry VIII. concerning treasons to the colonies, to be formally disowned by parliament.

16. " The American admiralty-courts reduced to the same powers they have in England, and the acts establishing them to be re-enacted in America.

17.“ All powers of internal legislation in the colonies to be disclaimed by parliament.”

[ocr errors]

In reading this paper a second time I gave my reasons at length for each article.

On the first I observed, that when the injury was done, Britain had a right to reparation, and would certainly have had it on demand, as was the case when injury was done by mobs in the time of the

stamp act; or she might have a right to return an equal injury, if she rather chose to do that; but she could not have a right both to reparation and to return an equal injury, much less had she a right to return the injury ten or twenty fold, as she had done by blocking up the port of Boston. All which extra injury ought in my judgment to be repaired by Britain. That therefore if paying for the tea was agreed to by me, as an article fit to be

proposed, it was merely from a desire of peace, and in compliance with their opinion expressed at our first meeting; that this was a sine qua non; that the dignity of Britain required it, and that if this were agreed to, every thing else would be easy. This reasoning was allowed to be just; but still the article was thought necessary to stand as it did.

On the 2d, That the act should be repealed, as having never answered any good purpose, as having been the cause of the present mischief, and never likely to be executed. That the act being considered as unconstitutional by the Americans, and what the parliament had no right to make, they must consider all the money extorted by it as so much wrongfully taken, and of which therefore restitution ought to be made; and the rather, as it would furnish a fund out of which the payment for the tea destroyed might best be defrayed. The gentlemen were of opinion, that the first part of this article, viz. the repeal, might be obtained, but not

« AnteriorContinuar »