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conscience dictate ?,-(1.) That all those who share in the protection and dignity of the empire, should contribute in due proportion towards defraying the national expence :-(2.) That, of consequence, the supreme power has an indubitable right of laying moderate taxes upon the subjects, for any end beneficial to the whole empire : -(3.) That subjects have absolutely no right to complain of taxation, unless they are taxed exorbitantly, or without due proportion :-(4.) That if Colonies of subjects settled by a grant from the Sovereign, within the limits of the empire, have been spared in their state of infancy, either to encourage their growth, or because the revenue, which might have arisen from taxing them at first, would hardly have defrayed the expence of raising taxes ; it by no means follows, that, when such Colonies have gathered strength, and are as well able to bear a share in the national burden as the mother country, they should still be excused :_And lastly, that to say, “ You shall not tax me without my consent,” is as improper a speech from a subject to his Sovereign, as to say, “ You shall not protect the empire without my consent; if I steal, you shall not send me to jail without my consent; if I raise a rebellion, you shall not hang me, unless I give you leave ; you shall not dispose of my property without my permission ; although (by the bye) I will dispose of the property of my fellow-subjects, not only without their permission, but also in full opposition to your authority ; -an absurd, unjust disposition this, which too many of the Bostonian patriots evidenced when they imperiously disposed of the cargo of our ships, forcibly threw the goods of our merchants into the to the amount of many thousand pounds, and set all America in a flame, as soon as the Sovereign in. sisted that the port of Boston should be shut up, till the perpetrators of this daring act were delivered to justice, or, at least, till satisfaction was made to his oppressed subjects, whose ships have been boarded in a piratical manner, and whose property has been feloniously destroyed, when they quietly traded under the
write upon the question which is now warmly agitated in England,—so dreadfull: debated in America. Many of the Colonist are as pious as they are brave; and whils their undaunted fortitude makes them scorr to bow under an hostile arm, which shoots the deadly lightning of war ; their humble piety may dispose them (or some of them) to regard a friendly hand, which holds out an Olive Branch, a Bible, and the Articles of Religion drawn by their favourite Reformer. Had more care been taken to inform their judgment, and to work upon their consciences, by addressing them, not only as subjects, but as free men, brethren, and Protestants, it is probable that numbers of them would never have so strongly embraced the unscriptural principles, which now influence their conduct.
Should it be said, that it is too late now, to use spiritual weapons with the Colonists : I reply, that this objection bears too hard upon their candour; it can never be too late to hold out plain scripture, and solid arguments, to judicious Protestants. It is only to Papists strongly prejudiced, or to those who relapse into Popish obstinacy, that the light of God's word, and of sound reason, can come too late. Besides, the mistakes which have armed the provincials against Great Britain begin to work in the breasts of many good men among us; witness the principles of Americanus. Now, therefore, is the time to keep these well-meaning men from going to the same extremes, to which the Colonists are gone: Now is the time to prevent others, whose judgment is yet ccol and sober, from drinking in errors, by which such numbers are intoxicated.
The Doctrine of Taxation, maintained by the Author of the Calm Address, is rational, scriptural, and constitutional.
THANKFUL for the religious and civil liberty which I enjoy as a subject of Great Britain ;—persuaded, that many warm, well-meaning men mistake an unreasonable opposition to the King, and the Minister, for true patriotism ;_sensible of the sad consequences of national misunderstandings ;-ardently wishing that all things may be so ordered and settled upon the best and surest foundation, (which, if I mistake not, are Reason, Scripture, and our excellent Constitution,) that peace and harmony may, for all generations, be established be. tween Great Britain and her flourishing Colonies ;-and desirous to inspire you, Sir, and my dissatisfied, dissenting brethren, with the same loyal sentiments, I take the pen to expostulate with you about the system of politics, which you recommend to the public in your “ Letter to the Rev. Mr Wesley, occasioned by his Calm Address to the American Colonies."
It is at this time peculiarly needful to throw light you; for if you are in the right, the Sovereign is : Tyrant; taxing the Colonists is robbery; and enforcing such taxation by the sword is murder.- We cannot hold up the hands of our soldiers by prayer, without committing sin : Nor can they fight with Christian courage, which is inseparable from a good conscience, if they suspect that they are sent to rob good men of their properties, liberties, and lives.
Mr. Wesley asserts, “ That the supreme power in England has a legal right of laying any tax [I would say any proportionable tax] upon the American Colonies, for any end beneficial to the whole empire,—with or without their consent.”—And you reply,
66 If the Americans are indeed subject to such a power as this, their condition differs not from that of the most abject slaves in the universe."
Sir, I venture to assert, that you are mistaken, and that Mr. Wesley's proposition is rational, scriptural, and constitutional. And, promising you to shew in another letter the absurdity of your proposition, I enter upon the proof of my assertion, by an appeal to Reason, Scripture, and your own letter. In following this method, I shall address you as a Man, a Divine, and a Controvertist. First, as a Man:
Does not your mistake spring from your inattention to the nature of Civil Government? You represent the power which the King and Parliament claim of disposing of some of the money of the Colonists without their con. sent, as an encroachment upon British liberty :--as an unjust tyrannical pretension ;--nay, as a species of " robbery.” But did you never consider, Sir, that in the nature of things, our Sovereign in England, (I mean by this word, the King and his Parliament, first jointly making laws not contrary to the laws of God, whose supreme dominion must always be submitted to by all created lawgivers ; and secondly, executing the laws which they have made, by imparting to magistrates and other officers of justice, a sufficient power to put them in force;)—did you never consider, 1 say, that our Sovereign, whether we have a vote for parliament-men or
not, has both a right, and a power to dispose, not only of our money, but also of our liberties and lives; so far as that disposal may answer ends agreeable to the law of God, beneficial to the peace of society, and conducive to the general good? If this political doctrine be ex. plained, you will, I am persuaded, assent to it, as an indubitable truth.
Could the Sovereign rule and protect us, if he had not this right and this power? I injure your property, or, what is worse, your reputation. You sue me for dam. ages; but, how can the Sovereign act the part of protector of your property and good name, if he cannot command my property, and take from me by force what I unjustly detain from you, and what may make you satisfaction for the injury done to your character ? And suppose you had wronged me, how could the Sovereign protect me, if he could not dispose of your property without your consent ?
This is exactly the case with respect to Liberty. If you stop me on the road, and unjustly deprive me of the liberty of going about my business ; can the Sove. reign protect me, unless he has a right of depriving you of your lawless liberty, that I may quietly enjoy my lawful liberty ? And does not equity demand, that if I am the petty tyrant, who pretend to the liberty of tarfeathering you, the Sovereign should have the same power of protecting you, by binding me to my good behaviour, or by ordering me to the stocks or to jail ?
This power extends to Life, as well as liberty. I desand your money or your life. How can the Sovereign secure you more effectually than by taking my life, for having attempted to take yours? By the rule of reci. procation, if you endeavour to take away my life, I cannot be protected ; and if you murder me, my blood cannot be properly avenged ; unless the Sovereign has power to put you to death. Hence it is, that prosecutions for capital offences are carried on in the name of the King, who is the head of the legislative power, and who, as he insists (in his capacity of lawgiver and pro