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tion, covetousness, and cruelty of some of our country men ? And if no vindictive notice has been taken of these barbarous and bloody scenes, has not the nation made them in some degree her own ? And does not that innocent blood, the price of which has been imported with impunity, and now circulates through the kingdom to feed our luxury-does not all that blood, I say, speak louder for vengeance against us, than the blood of Abel did against his murderous brother?— “ The justice of the nation,” says Doctor Price, " has slept over these enormities ; Will the justice of heaven sleep ?”– No: but it still patiently waits for our refor. mation ; nor will it, I hope, wait in vain ; but if it does, the suspended blow will in the end descend with redoubled force, and strike us with aggravated ruin. For God will be avenged on all impenitent nations : He has one rule for them and for individuals ; • Except they repent,' says Christ himself, “ they shall all likewise perish.
Let our devotion be improved by the American controversy, as well as our morals. Instead of “ scoffing at religion,” as Doctor Price says we do, let us honour the piety of the Colonists. So far at least, as their religious professions are consistent, sincere, and scriptural, let them provoke us to a rational concern for the glory of God, and our eternal interests. Were we to contend with our American Colonies for supremacy in virtue and devotion, how noble would be the strife! How worthy of a Protestant kingdom, and a mother-country! And does not political wisdom, as well as brotherly love, require us to do something in order to inveterate prejudices against us and our church? Have we forgotten, that many of the first Colonists crossed the Atlantic for conscience' sake: Seeking in the woods of America, some, a shelter against our once persecuting hierarchy; and others, a refuge from our epidemical profaneness? And does not their offspring look upon us in the same odious light, in which Doctor Price places us? Do they not abhor or despise us, as impious, iinmoral men, “ enervated by luxury;” men, with whom
Pot up their
it is dangerous to be connected, and who “may expect calamities, that shall recover to reflection (perhaps to devotion] libertines and Atheists” themselves ?
And is it only for God's sake, for the sake of our own souls, and for the sake of the Colonists, that we should look to our conduct and Christian profession ? Are there not multitudes of rash religionists in the kingdom, who suppose that all the praying people in England are for the Americans, and who warmly espouse their part, merely because they are told that the Colonists “ fast and pray," while - we forget every thing serious and decent," and because prejudiced teachers confidently ask, with Dr. Price, " Which side is Providence likely to favour?”–Would to God, that all our legislators felt the weight of this objection which can as easily mislead moral and religious people in the present age, as it did in the last ! Would to God, they would exert themselves in such a manner, that all unprejudiced men might see the king and parliament have the better men,” as well as “the better cause!”–Would to God, that by timely reformation, and solemn ad, dresses to the throne of grace, we might convince Doctor Price, and all the Americans, that in submitting to the British legislature, they will not submit to libertinism and atheism, but to a venerable body of virtuous and godly senators, who know that the first care of God's representatives on earth—the principal study of poli. tical gods, should be to promote God's fear, by setting a good example before the people committed to their charge, and by steadily enforcing the observance of the moral law !
I need not tell you, Sir, what effect this would have on our pious American brethren. You feel it in your own breast. The bare idea of such a reformation softens your prejudices. Were it to take place, it would overcome Dr. Price himself. Pious joy would set him upon writing as warmly for the Government, as he had done against it; and in the midst of his deep repentance for the dangerous errors he has published, he would have has done more good than all his sophisms have done mischief. These are some of the reflections which Dr. Price's religious argument has drawn from my pen, and which I doubt not but some of our governors have already made by the help of that wisdom which prompts them to improve our former calamities, and to study what may promote our happiness in Church and State.
I am, &c.,
A Scriptural Plea for the revolted Colonies, with some
Hints concerning a Christian Method of bringing about a lasting Reconciliation between them and the Mother Country.—The King and Parliament hum. bly addressed on the Subject.
CHRISTIANs are, in a special manner, debtors to all mankind. I owe love to all my fellow-subjects, as well as loyalty to the King, and duty to the parliament ; and my love to our American Colonies, as well as my regard for equity, obliges me to say what can reasonably be said on their behalf; that prejudice, on both sides, may give place to Christian forbearance and conciliatory kindness.
I hope, Sir, you are by this time convinced that the American revolt is absolutely unjustifiable; and that the King and parliament have an indubitable right proportionably to tax the Colonists, as well as the English ; although the Colonists are not directly and adequately represented in parliament, any more than multitudes of Britons who live abroad, and millions who reside in Great Britain. And now, Sir, I candidly allow, that although the Colonists cannot without ab. surdity insist on an equal representation, yet they may
humbly request to be particularly represented in the British legislature; and that, although strict justice does not oblige Great Britain to grant them such a request; yet parental wisdom, and brotherly condescension, require her to grant something to the notion, that a direct representation in parliament is inseparably connected with civil liberty. This notion, I confess, is irrational, unscriptural, and unconstitutional. But it is a prevailing notion, and if we look at it in one point of view, it seems to wear the badge of British liberty, and therefore has some claim to the indulgence of Britons.
Permit me to illustrate my meaning by a scriptural simile. Through a strong national prejudice, the Jews, who had embraced Christianity, fancied, that no man could be a true Christian without being circumcised; and they supported their assertion by God's positive command to the father of the faithful-a command this, which Christ had not expressly repealed, and to which he and his disciples had religiously submitted. The apostles saw, that the christianized Jews were under à capital mistake.- Nevertheless, in condescension to human weakness and national prejudice, they allowed them to circumcise their children: And Paul himself, though he detested their error, yielded to them so far as to have his convert Timothy circumcised. I grant that a direct and adequate representation in Parliament is no more essential to British liberty, than circumcision to true Christianity. But, as the Governors of the Christian Church made some concessions to Jewish weakness, might not also the Governors of the British Empire make some to American prejudice; especially considering that it will be as difficult for them peaceably to rule the Americans without such an act of condescension, as it would have been for the Apostles to govern the Jews, without the above-mentioned complaisance ?
Besides, in some cases, constitutional and unconstitu. tional taxation may border so nearly upon each other, that the most judicious politicians will be as much at a painter would be to draw the line between the primitive colours of the rainbow. This bordering of a faint constitutional privilege, upon an unconstitutional, absolute want of privilege, has deceived the Colonists.
As a man, who is passionately fond of flaming crimson, takes a faint red to be no red at all; they have pronounced that to be no representation, which is an indirect representation discernible to all but the prejudiced. In their patriotic fright they have fancied, that the ship of constitutional liberty struck on a rock, because it did not carry so many sails as they imagined it should. You may compare their mistake to that of impatient suspicious passengers, who, when they have all their fortune on board a ship, are apt to think, that she does not move at all, because her motion is not so rapid as they could wish ; and because their anxious fears turn every sail they see, into a privateer in chase of their property. Their error deserves then compassion, as well as blame, and will appear excusable to those who know the im. mense value of liberty.
Our lawgivers, who are peculiarly acquainted with the worth of this jewel, can above all men put a favourable construction upon the panic of a people afraid of being enslaved. Depending, therefore, on their conde. scension, I shall presume to ask, if now, that the government has plainly asserted and powerfully supported the just claims of Great Britain, it might not safely relax a little the reins of authority, and kindly condescend to the fears of the Colonists. And should the Americans shew themselves just in indemnifying our injured mer. chants, penitent in laying down their arms, and loyal in acknowledging the right, that Great Britain has to ex. pect proportionable taxes from them: Might not the king and parliament shew themselves kind, in granting them the privilege of a special representation in the British legislature: Or in passing an act of security, to fix just bounds to the power of parliamentary taxa. tion with respect to the Americans ; – to promise the Colonies, that a proper allowance shall always be made them for the superior commercial privileges of Great