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ing this unbounded power in a set of men at so great a distance, so little acquainted with our circumstances, and not immediately affected with ye taxes laid upon us, what security remains for our property.? what fence against arbitrary enactions? ...
As the English Constitution seems hastening to its final period of dissolution, and the symptoms of a general decay are but too visible, I advise you to sell your estate in England, and to purchase lands in this province where liberty will maintain her empire, till a dissoluteness of morals, luxury and venality shall have prepared the degenerate sons of some future age, to prefer their own mean lucre, ye bribes, and the smiles of corruption and arbitrary ministers, to patriotism, to glory, and to ye publick weal.
Our political quarrels are now forgot or lay dormant while ye dread of the Stamp Act continues, and the common danger outweighs private concerns. You are too well acquainted with ye English constitution and ye Interests of America not to see what a fatal blow both have received from that and other late in judicious and arbitrary Acts: I shall not therefore make any comment upon those measures: their dangerous tendency is obvious and the consequences too dreadful of submitting to a Parliamentary taxation. I will not presume to fix bounds and to circumscribe the power of Parliament; but cer
set of .
d the si
, la nd, and a
tainly bounds must be fixed and there are certain known fundamental laws essential to and interwoven with ye English constitution which even a Parliament itself cannot abrogate; such I take to be that allowed maxim of the constitution that invaluable privilege from birth of Englishmen of being taxed with their own consent; the definition of freedom is the being governed by laws to which we have given our consent, as the definition of slavery is the very reverse.
The clamour of the People out of doors pro
ceeds from their ignorance, prejudice and passe pression: it is very difficult to get the better of these age, 10 by reasoning: we have a much more persuasive and the and shorter argument and better fitted to their =ters, to f] capacities than reasons drawn from ye principles
of government and from our own in particular, Stamp Ay understandings which may indeed greatly con- forgot of an argument rather levelled at their pockets than Outweigti tribute by emptying of those to open these: We
have nothing to do but hold our tongues, be erests of frugal, industrious, and cloath ourselves; our both hart linen and woolen drapers, who affect to be our i judicious sovereigns, will cool, when ye fumes occasioned Eore make by too much eating and drinking, have had time heir danger to disappear.
Thomas Meagher Field, Unpublished Letters of Charles Carroll of Carrollton (N. Y., 1902), 90-110
cunds and ent; but
CHAPTER V - EXTENSION OF COLO
NIAL FREEDOM (1766-1773)
During the seven years preceding the Revolution, the patriotic utterances of the time were nearly all connected with the advancing quarrel with Great Britain, which took the form of a dispute over taxation, but really was based upon the conviction of the colonists that they could govern themselves easily and profitably, with a minimum amount of attention from the home government. The period was a school for patriotic writers: Dickinson, Quincy, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Octavius Pickering, Joseph Warren, Thomas Paine, and others, are represented in this chapter. Almost without exception they preached loyalty to the Crown in the expectation that the Crown would avoid giving too much attention to its distant colonies. Such political organizations as the Sons of Liberty and Committees of Correspondence helped to spread the doctrine of patriotism. Such occurrences as the so-called Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party gave point and occasion for eloquent appeals to the patriotic spirit.
1. The Temper of America Toward Great Britain (1766)
) By DEPUTY POSTMASTER GENERAL BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE
Among Franklin's dignities was the profitable office of Deputy Postmaster General of the North American colonies. This famous examination was apparently arranged beforehand.
Q. What is your name, and place of abode? A. Franklin, of Philadelphia.
Q. Do the Americans pay any considerable taxes among themselves ?
A. Certainly many, and very heavy taxes. ...
Q. Are not the colonies, from their circumstances, very able to pay the stamp duty ?
A. In my opinion there is not gold and silver enough in the colonies to pay the stamp duty for one year.
Q. Don't you know that the money arising from the stamps was all to be laid out in America ?
A. I know it is appropriated by the act to the American service; but it will be spent in the conquered colonies, where the soldiers are; not in the colonies that pay
it. ... Q. What number of white inhabitants do you think there are in Pennsylvania ?
A. I suppose there may be about 160,000.
A. Perhaps another third; but I cannot speak with certainty.
Q. Have any number of the Germans seen service, as soldiers, in Europe?
A. Yes, many of them, both in Europe and America.
Q. Are they as much dissatisfied with the stamp duty as the English?
A. Yes, and more; and with reason, as their stamps are, in many cases, to be double. .
Q. What was the temper of America towards Great Britain before the year 1763?
A. The best in the world. They submitted willingly to the government of the crown, and paid, in their courts, obedience to the acts of Parliament. Numerous as the people are in the several old provinces, they cost you nothing in forts, citadels, garrisons, or armies, to keep them in subjection. They were governed by this country at the expense only of a little pen, ink, and paper; they were led by a thread. They had not