Page images
PDF
EPUB

are not allowed to vote so long as we are minors; and must also all our blooming young men, from seventeen years of age to twenty-one, be considered as "most abject slaves ?" You may say, indeed, that they” are represented by their parents or guardians: But what, if these guardians or parents have no vote themselves? Besides, if minors can be thus represented, why should not our Colonies be represented in the same manner by the Mother-Country, which has so tenderly nursed, and 50 carefully protected them from their infancy?—To return: If the wives of freeholders are supposed to vote by their husbands, what must we say of those who have buried their husbands? Have all widows buried their liberty with the partners of their beds? A freeholder has seven children; he leaves his freehold to his eldest son; and because he cannot leave a freehold to all, will you reproach him as the father of six abject slaves ?— Another freeholder, to pay his debts, is obliged to sell his freehold, and of consequence his right of taxing himself. Does he sell his liberty with his freehold, and "involve himself in absolute slavery?"-The general election comes on: A young gentleman wants a few months of the age, which the law requires in a voter; and of consequence he cannot yet choose his own representative; must he continue a slave till the next election? A knight, disapproved by most voters in the county, offers to represent them; they try in vain to get some other gentlemen to oppose him; and the candidate whom they tacitly object to, sits in the house chiefly for want of a competitor. Is their liberty at all affected by this kind of involuntary representation, which draws after it a kind of involuntary taxation ?-At the next election, perhaps, the opposition runs high between several candidates; one has (I suppose) two thousand votes ; another, one thousand nine hundred; and a third, one thousand seven hundred. The first is elected: Two thousand freeholders are taxed by a representative of their own choosing, and three thousand six hundred voters go home disappointed of their choice, and having the mortification of being taxed by a man whom the

ing, I say, that such an absurd fear will never hu you into groundless discontent, and unguarded public tions; entreating you to take no step which may cou tenance King Mob, his merciless minister, Rapine, a his riotous parliament summoned from the "most de picable hovels;"-requesting you to exalt our Divi Lawgiver, who sums up his law of liberty in the precious statutes, Render to Cæsar the things whic are Cæsar's, and to God the things which are God's:A new commandment I give unto you, that you lo one another, as I have loved you ;'-wishing you, Si all scriptural success in the gospel, which says, 'Sul mit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord sake; whether it be to the king, as supreme; or uut governors, as unto them that are sent by him for th punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of ther that do well:' Ardently praying, that when the governors generals, and forces going to America, shall land ther our disobedient fellow-subjects, may be found doing well that is, penitently submitting themselves to their Sove reign, that the threatened punishment may be turned into deserved praise ;-and begging you would take in good part the freedom of this well-meant expostulation I declare that I am as much in love with liberty, as with loyalty; and that I write an heart-felt truth, when 1 subscribe myself,

Reverend Sir,

Your affectionate fellow-labourer in the gospel,

a republican by birth and education, and a subject, of Great Britain by love of liberty and free choice, JOHN FLETCHER.

MADELEY,

November 15, 1775.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

LETTER II.

The Doctrine of Americanus is highly unconstitutional, and draws after it a long train of absurd consequences.

REVEREND SIR,

I HOPE I have proved in my first letter, that Mr. Wesley's doctrine of government is Rational, Scriptural, and Constitutioual; and that a right of taxing subjects, with or without their consent, is an inseparable appendage of supreme government. I shall now attempt to prove, that your doctrine of liberty, and taxation only with our own consent, is absurd and unconstitutional; and that, whilst you try to break the lawful yoke of civil government laid on the Colonists, you doctrinally bind the greatest part of the English with chains of the most abject slavery, and fix a ridiculous charge of robbery on the king and parliament, for taxing some millions of Britons who are no more represented in parliament, than the foreigners who sojourn in England, or the English who live abroad.

Permit me to state the question more particularly than I have done in my former letter. Mr. Wesley thinks, that the Colonists are mistaken, when they consider themselves as put on a level with slaves, because they are taxed by a parliament in which they have no representatives of their own choosing: I say, of their own choosing, because I apprehend that, as all the freeholders and voting burgesses in Great Britain virtually represent the commonalty of all the British empire,+

Mr. Fletcher added in a parenthesis here "except Ireland, which being a kingdom by itself, and no English Colony, coins its own moey, and has its peculiar parliament." As Ireland is now incorporated with Great Britain in one Empire, and sends representatives to the

British

parliament, that clause is here omitted.

and as such Freeholders, &c., virtually represent all th commonalty, whether it be made up of voters or no voters, of poor men or men of property, of men home, at sea, or on the Continent; so the house of con mons virtually represents all the freeholders and votin burgesses in Great Britain; whether they voted or no at the last election, or whether they voted for or again the sitting members.

With an eye to this virtual representation, which draw after it a passive submission to taxation, Mr. W. ask: "Am I and two millions of Englishmen," who hav no right to vote for representatives in parliament "made slaves, because we are taxed without our ow consent?" You reply: "Yes, Sir, if you are taxe without your own consent, you are a slave." You con sider such taxation as "the very quintessence of sla very;" you declare, that if the Americans submit to it "their condition differs not from that of the most abjec slaves in the universe:" and you insinuate that who ever attempts to tax them otherwise than by their direc representatives, "attempts an injury; whoever does it commits a robbery; he throws down the distinction between liberty and slavery. Taxation and representation [you mean direct representation] are co-eval with, and essential to this constitution." But when you pub. lish such assertions, which justify the armed Colonists, and represent the majority in parliament as a gang of robbers, does not an enthusiastic warmth for lawless liberty carry you beyond the bounds of calm reflection? And are you aware of the stab which you give the Constitution; and of the insult which you offer, not only to your superiors, but also to millions of your worthy countrymen, whom you absurdly stigmatise as some of the "most abject slaves in the universe ?"

Probably not one in five of our husbandmen, sailors, soldiers, mechanics, day-labourers, and hired servants, are freeholders, or voting burgesses. And must four out of five, in these numerous classes of free-born Englishmen, wear the badge of the most abject slavery, in compliance with your chimerical notions of liberty? We

11that

- non.

en at

com.

not

are not allowed to vote so long as we are minors; and must also all our blooming young men, from seventeen years of age to twenty-one, be considered as 66 most abject slaves?" You may say, indeed, that they are ting represented by their parents or guardians: But what, if these guardians or parents have no vote themselves? Besides, if minors can be thus represented, why should not our Colonies be represented in the same manner by the Mother-Country, which has so tenderly nursed, and so carefully protected them from their infancy?—To

inst

WS

ks,

ave

nt,

WD

ed

on.

la.

it,

ect

20.

ect

it,

Lon

ta

th,

b

of

ess

a?

1.

to

[ocr errors]

retum: If the wives of freeholders are supposed to vote by their husbands, what must we say of those who have buried their husbands? Have all widows buried their liberty with the partners of their beds? A freeholder has seven children; he leaves his freehold to his eldest son; and because he cannot leave a freehold to all, will you reproach him as the father of six abject slaves ?— Another freeholder, to pay his debts, is obliged to sell his freehold, and of consequence his right of taxing himself. Does he sell his liberty with his freehold, and "involve himself in absolute slavery ?" The general election comes on: A young gentleman wants a few months of the age, which the law requires in a voter; and of consequence he cannot yet choose his own representative; must he continue a slave till the next election? Aknight, disapproved by most voters in the county,

offers to

represent them; they try in vain to get some

her gentlemen to oppose him; and the candidate whom tacitly object to, sits in the house chiefly for want a competitor. Is their liberty at all affected by this

by it a kind of involuntary taxation ?-At the next eleckind of involuntary representation, which draws after _offion, perhaps, the opposition runs high between several candidates; one has (I suppose) two thousand votes ;

rs,

ts,

out

sh.

om.

We

another,

one thousand nine hundred; and a third, one thousand seven hundred. The first is elected: Two are taxed by a representative of choosing, and three thousand six hundred

thousand freeholders

their own

Toters go home disappointed of their choice, and having the mortification of being taxed by a man whom they

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »