Page images

would have had a right to refift such oppreffion.

But the colonists do not plead oppreffive immoderate taxation; and indeed they have no reason: they abfolutely deay the right itself, and reject with difdain the moderate and self-denying propofitions of the Houfe of Commons, on the 20th of February laft [xxxvii. 122.], allowing them, in confideration of their contributing a certain proportion to the common defence, to tax themfelves. Thefe propofitions the Americans will not accept: they deny the fupremacy of G. Britain, even thus qualified, and openly avow their long-projected scheme of independence. If once independent, America is the rival and enemy of Britain. The United Colonies of North America, for fo they call themselves, from their fituation, in a great meafure command the Weft-India iflands. In procefs of time they may fubdue both the ilands and the continent. Is not this (fay fome idle fpeculatifts) a pleafing idea? Would it not be a glorious fpectacle, to behold a new empire, founded upon the principles of liberty, rear its head above the languid and exhaufted governments of Europe? To me the idea is not pleafing; the fpectacle, were I to live and fee it, would be horrid. I love my native country, and admire the British conftitution. Never was there a form of government more favourable to the welfare of the human race. Never did Greece or Rome-but I forget myself. Argument is impertinent here. Men do not reafon in their Country's caufe: they feel, I hope they feel, for the intereft, for the glory of Britain, and abbor the thought of facrificing her greatness to that of any people upon earth.

Yet you tell me, that there are men of worth and virtue, who contend, that we ought in juftice to yield to America, and allow her claim of independence, (for if the British ftatutes do not bind that country, America is an independcat ftate). These gentlemen, you say, defend their opinion by arguments drawn from the natural rights and original equality of mankind: Undefined and undefinable terms, not applicable to human affairs, and ridiculous even in fcho. laftic argument. I dare fay, that the number of fuch fincere and metaphyfical patriots is but fmall. To be a patriot in the abftract, a patriot of the iverfe, to be the friend of America

against Britain, is a fort of enthusiasm that I can neither feel nor comprehend. The conception is too fublime for me; my narrow foul cannot extend itself fo far, nor can any argument convince me, that I ought with pleasure to behold America rise upon the ruins of Britain. I will avow to you my moft fecret thoughts; aye, and to the world: It has long been my opinion, that we fhould reftrain the growing power, and effectually fecure the obedience of America: if that is not the object of the prefent war, we fight for nothing. Britain, like the pelican, has fed her young with her blood; grown ftrong, they rife up to prey upon her vitals. Every principle of reafon, juftice, and policy, require, that the fhould exert her force, and eftablish her juft fupremacy.

What do the favourers of American rebellion expect, or hope, or with, as the end and conclufion of the prefent contest? If we do not fubdue America, will fhe not prove a moft pernicious enemy? Is not the intereft of the one country henceforth diametrically oppofite to that of the other? Whatever America gains, independence, commerce, dominion, glory, fo much does Britain lofe: as the Americans rife, whilft independent and hoftile, we fink in the fcale of nations. Oppofite interefts, and jealoufy of growing empire, have ever been deemed fufficient caufe of war. All political writers have laid down the law of nations thus; and every nation, from the begin ning of the world, have acted upon this principle. Without confidering our ancient fupremacy, (I might use a stronger word, and fay, our creation of the colonies), our long and expenfive protection of them, their conftant obedience and fubjection; confider only their and our relative fituations. The Americans are at this moment making war upon Britain; they are taking our hips, killing our foldiers, invading and conquering our provinces. Shall we fay to them, "Well done, ye good and faithful fubjects of the British empire; fince you have rebelled against us, we fubmit to you?” This is what the Americans demand; they declare in their treaty of confederation and perpetual union [xxxvii. 666.], that they will not be reconciled to Britain, till the acts reftraining their commerce are repealed, till reparation is made for fhutting up the port of Bofton, for burning Charlestown, for the

the expence of this unjust war, and till all the British troops are recalled from America. This is the language of ma'fters, the ftyle of conquerors to the conquered. Yet I am told, that there are foldiers who fay, that the Americans are in the right, and that they will not draw their fwords in an unjuft quarrel [xxxvii. 347. 454. 715.]. What fort of citizen is he, whofe private judgement arraigns and condemns his country! What fort of foldier is he, who deferts his country's caufe? Is it not sufficient for a foldier, for an Englishman, that he fights for England? That was the caufe for which I fought in two great wars: I did not examine the grounds of the quarrel between England and Spain in 1741, nor the more recent caufe of hoftility in 1756, when we engaged in that bloody and expenfive war with France for the protection of America. With a good confcience, with all my heart and foul, I fought the quarrel of my country; and now, if I had health and ftrength, I fhould with as clear a fpirit fight against America in the fame good caufe.

times, which quelled the hearts of me made kings furrender their crowns, ar foldiers lay down their arms?

O, Charles! I am afflicted with the daily accounts of our loffes and defeats: the victories and triumphs of the Americans torment me more than my difeafe. Some of my brave companions have fallen in thofe wretched battles. Have we no provident statesmen? no skilful gene. rals? What efforts did Britain make during the last glorious war, when the contended with France for the frontier of America! How feeble are her efforts now, when the contends for America, for her commerce, and, dearer ftill, for her glory! Is Britain exhaufted of men and money? Is the fpirit of her people fled? Can they bear to be vanquished by the Americans? Would they fhrink from an interprifing minifter, jealous of national honour, and vehement to urge the war! Why did your minifters at firft lofe their time, (the precious moments that are paft), in making ineffectual laws for ineffectual against armed 'men are laws not fupported by arms. Why did they not fend two years ago an armament equal to the object? A fmall army, much smaller than is now neceffary, would then perhaps have prevented bloodshed, would certainly have ended the war with honour. Did your minifters imagine, that acts of parliament were like the Pope's bulls in former

Whilft our minifters were framin laws, and paffing acts of parliament, th minifters of the congrefs were levyin men, and training foldiers; and whe our general, trusting, it would feem, lawful authority, fent a fmall body men, like conftables, to feize the arm of the rebels; the Americans attack ed your troops, drove them along fo twenty miles, and fcalped the unfor tunate victims of civil and military foll [xxxvii. 300.]. The poor brave foldier did not deferve that miferable fate. don't blame my fellow-foldiers for the vents of this fhameful campaign; I blam the General, who facrificed the brav foldiers, and gallant officers. From a Father's Inftructions to his Childre A generous return for an injury. the great Condé commande the Spanish army, and laid fiege t one of the French towns in Flanders, foldier being ill-treated by a general off cer, and ftruck feveral times with a car for fome difrefpectful words he had l fall, anfwered very coolly, that he fhou foon make him repent of it. Fifteen day afterwards, the fame general officer o dered the colonel of the trenches to fir a bold and intrepid fellow, to execute a important enterprife, for which he pr mifed a reward of a hundred piftoles. T foldier we are speaking of, who paffed f the braveft in the regiment, offered h fervice; and going with thirty of h comrades, which he had the liberty make choice of, he discharged a very h zardous commission, with incredible coi rage and good fortune. Upon his retur the general officer highly commend him, and gave him the hundred piftol which he had promifed. The foldier pr fently diftributed them amongst his con rades, faying, he did not ferve for pay and demanded only, that if his late acti feemed to deferve any recompence, the would make him an officer. And now Sir, adds he to the general officer, wh did not know him, I am the foldier abufed fo much fifteen days ago, and then told you I would make you repe of it. The general officer, in great miration, and melting into tears, thre his arms around his neck, begged pardon, and gave him a commiflion very day.



PARLIAMENT. [xxxvii. 672, 3.] HE Lord Chancellor prefented to 20. the feffion, an addrefs, petition, and memorial, from Nova Scotia; the proceed ings on which in the Houfe of Commons have been already inferted [xxxvii. 668.] -We here infert the addrefs, &c. viz.

To the KING'S Moft Excellent Majefty, the LORDS SPIRITUAL and TEMPO RAL, and the COMMONS, of GREAT BRITAIN, in Parliament affembled, The Addrefs, Petition, and Memorial, of the Reprefentatives of the Freeholders of the Province of Nova-Scotia, in General Affembly. Your loyal and ever dutiful House of Affembly of the Province of NovaScotia, moft humbly beg leave to addrefs our gracious Sovereign, and both Houfes of Parliament, at this dreadful and alarming crifis, when civil discord, and its melancholy confequences, are impending over all British America.

Actuated by the warmest ties of duty and affection to the perfon and family of our most gracious Sovereign, animated with the firmeft attachment to the mother-country, zealous to fupport her power and confequence over all the Britih dominions, and dreading a separation from her government and protection as the greatest political evil which can befal us or our pofterity,

Influenced by the principles of humanity, and the juft rights of mankind, in civil fociety, we tremble at the gloomy profpect before us; we feel for our gracious King; we feel for our mothercountry, of which many of us are natives; we feel for the British-American race, once the moft loyal, virtuous, and happy, of mankind: Animated with fach principles; may we not approach the fupreme legiflature of the British empire, and, as dutiful children of just and indulgent parents, may we not most humbly folicit for fuch regulations as we conceive most likely to preferve the inhabitants of this province in duty and alle giance to our King, in rendering permanent their connection with, and dependence on, the fupreme legislature of Great Britain, and preferving inviolably to us, and our pofterity, the juft rights of men' in civil faciety.

We are fully fenfible that we have no right to pray for redrefs of grievances, to VOL. XXXVIII.

[blocks in formation]

From these confiderations we humbly offer it as our opinion, that the fittest tax for this purpose, would be a duty of fo much per cent. upon all commodities imported into this province, not being the produce of the British dominions in Europe and America, (except the article of Bay falt). This tax will include almoft all the luxuries made ufe of, and will in creafe in an equal ratio with the affluence of the inhabitants; and if the rates of the feveral articles are fixed every ten years, for the future and fubfequent ten years, it will not be liable to depreciate in value by the increase of the metals of gold and filver,



We therefore Humbly pray, that the fupreme legislature of the British empire will please to accept of a tax as above pointed out and fo confcious are we of your juftice and humanity, that we requeft to know what proportion would be pleafing or agreeable to you; reminding you to confider, that this province, having no manufactories or lucrative com merce, muft ever have a scarcity of fpecie.

We also humbly pray, that when the exigencies of the ftate may require any further fupplies from this province, that then fuch requifitions may be made in the ufual manner formerly practifed, whereby we may have an opportunity of fhewing our duty and attachment to our Sovereign, and our fenfe of the caufe for which the requifition is made; by which means, and that only, our gracious Sovereign can be acquainted with the true fenfe of the people in these his distant dominions.

We alfo humbly pray, that you will permit us, and inftruct your Governor to confent to an act, to difqualify and deprive every member of the community from the rights and privileges of a fubject in civil profecutions, who fhall be detected in any illicit trade or fraudulent dealing, together with their aiders, abettors, or concealers, in this or any other branch of the revenue.

preme court, for the time being, to determine and affix the rate of the taxed articles, every ten years, for every subfequent ten years.

This will render unneceffary a multitude of officers employed to detect illicit trade, and prevent that difguft and evil fpirit which has been created by their infolence, and will prevent that corruption of manners, and that contempt of the crime of perjury, which is now become fo open and flagrant. We humbly requeft, that you will appoint good and fufficient falaries to the officers of the cuftoms, and abfolutely forbid them to take any fee, in any cafe whatfoever; as we have found, that the detail of revenueduty, in all its departments, has been clogged with unneceffary forms and trifling regulations, to increase the fees and perquifites of the officers; and are alfo humbly of opinion, that if thofe officers were under the controul of the Governor, the Council, and Judges of the fupreme court of this province, it would be more for the advantage of his Majefty's fervice, and the good of the revenue. We alfo humbly requeft, that if the mode of taxation be pleafing to you, that you will permit and order the legiflative council, and the judges of the fu

Your ever dutiful, loyal, and affectionate Houfe of Affembly would not, in thefe unhappy times, presume to mention their own grievances, or request any particular privileges, left you should fuppofe they were meant conditional of their juft duty and allegiance this day acknowledged; but, as the humble friends of ourking and mother-country, may we not respectfully point out those measures which may best tend to preserve the inhabitants of this province in loyalty and allegiance? And although we are not at this time in such circumftances as to raise a revenue for the fupport of the interior civil government of this province, agreeable to the prefent plan established by his Majefty, and which feems abfolutely necessary for the dignity of government, in a country whofe particular fituation and advanta ges are fuch, as may probably induce government to order it to be the head quarters of the British land and fea forces in America; and although we may be unable wholly to fupport fo large yet neceffary civil lift: yet we are willing to fet apart a fund for that purpose, which will neceffarily increase with the opulence and number of the inhabitants, and will in time relieve our parent-state from the heavy burden of our support. Our po verty as a province, will not prevent British King and Parliament from hearing, and juftly relieving us; when, as humble and dutiful fubjects, and being well acquainted with this country and its inhabitants, we' only beg leave to inform our gracious King and Parliament with the measures which we conceive would beft tend to the peace and happi nefs of this country.

We therefore moft humbly prefume to offer as our opinion, that no native this province may ever be appointed Governor or Lieutenant-Governor in thi province. The ambition of affluent indi viduals in the provinces to acquire go vernments, have led to faction and par ties, fubverfive of the peace and happi nefs of the people, the good of the province, and the honour of government Probably the prefent difputes in Ameri ca may have been promoted by this caufe

We are humbly of opinion, that the members of the legislative council fhould be appointed for life; and that no perfor fhould

[blocks in formation]

We humbly pray, that the judges of the fupreme court of this province, may have their commiffions during good behaviour, in the fame manner as in England.

We humbly pray, that after the deceafe of the prefent judges, that all future judges may be appointed in England, and may not be natives of this province. We can trace the present unhappy diforders in America to the want of a regulation of this kind.

We humbly request your Majefty will graciously permit the legislature of this province to ascertain the number and boundaries of the several counties in this province.

the peace. Legal authority, unless aided by the good opinion of the people, can have but little effect: probably the reafon why the most refpectable perfons decline the office, is because they are liable to be difmiffed unheard: the want of power in the magiftrates to execute or enforce the laws, has been a general complaint in America.

Moft gracious King, grant and permit us a fheriff in each and every county, and deliver us from a provoft-marshal, prefiding over this whole province; whofe influence, owing to the nature of his office, and the number of his deputies, must be exceffive, and whofe power in elections is abfolute. If we are not relieved in this particular, we can have no pretenfions even to the name of freemen. We humbly pray, that your Majefty will graciously permit and order, that a recorder of deeds and conveyances be appointed in each and every county, and not a deputy to a principal refiding elsewhere.. Our gracious King cannot be infenfible of the great neceffity there is, that the moft refpectable perfons in the community be appointed to the commiflions of

We humbly pray, that the Governor, Council, and Judges of the fupreme court, may conftitute a court of vice admiralty throughout the province, to determine all caufes cognifable in fuch courts, agreeable to law and equity, and to receive no fees therefor.

We humbly pray, that any two or more of the judges of the fupreme court, and a jury ballotted for and ftruck by the parties, fhall conftitute a court of equity in all civil cafes throughout this province, fubject only to appeals to his Majesty in council, where the property contested may amount to sool. Sterling or upwards.

We humbly pray to be delivered from the oppreffion of practitioners in the law; and pray, that in all civil actions their fees, charges, and perquifites, may be limited to five per cent. on all fums declared for or defended. It is not the defire of our good King to have his quiet and inoffenfive subjects in this quarter of the globe given up to be perfecuted by a few rapacious men.

Moft benign King, your Majefty was gracioufly pleafed to grant tracts of land in this province, upon various conditions of fettlement and payment of quit-rents. Many of the conditions of fettlement were impracticable, and others fo expenfive that the granters were not able fully to effect them. We humbly pray to be exonerated from those severe conditions; and that you will graciouQy limit the power of the court of efcheats, to defaults in the payment of the quit-rent only.

This Houfe is forry to obferve, that a moft cruel ufe has been made of this power of efcheating land, even to the depriving of two old officers of the gratuity given them by your Majefty, for near forty years of military service, and that to gratify two domeftics of that governor who ordered the efcheatment; and at this time a tract of land is advertifed to be efcheated, on which the propietors have laid out near 4000 !.

Finally, We moft humbly request, that the affembly of this province may B 2


« PreviousContinue »