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is solely of a public Nature; and therefore, without farther Preface, I beg Leave to inform you, that I propose to examine your last Performance, entituled, The Speech of EDMUND BURKE, Ésq; March 22, 1775, with as much Freedom, as you do the Writings and Opinions of other Men; but, I hope, with more Decency and good Manners.
In this Speech you lay down certain Premifes respecting the Disputes between the Parent-State and her Colonies: And from them you infer a most extraordinary Conclusion. My Province it shall be to enquire, whether this Conclusion is juftly and regularly made ;—and whether a quite different one ought“ not to have been drawn from such Premises.
My only Difficuléý' is, to ftate your Meaning with Accuracy and Precision :-Not that
you yourself are unable to express your own Thoughts with the utmost Clearness, as well as Energy;' but you are unwilling For you excel in the Art of ambiguous Expressions, that is, in giving one Sense to your Readers, and of reserving another to yourself, if called upon to defend what you have said ;-you excel, I say, in this Art, perhaps the most of any Man living. Sometimes you express more than you mean; and at other Times less; but at all Times, you have one general End in View, viz. To amule with Tropes and Figures, and great swelling
Words, your Audience or your Readers, and not to let them see your Drift and Intention, 'till you have drawn
Net around them. Ar Page 15 (ift Edit.] you obferve c'That « in the Character of the Americans, a Love of « Freedom is the predominating Feature, “ which marks and distinguishes the whole :« And that the Americans become suspicious,
restive, and untractable, whenever they see the « least Attempt to wrest from them by Force, ,
or Shuffle from them by Chicane, what they " think the only Advantage worth living for." Sir, I perfectly agree with
Defcription : And I will add farther, what you chufe to conceal, that the same People were restive and untractable from the Beginning. For as far back, as the 7th and 8th of King William C. 7. §. 9.
appears, that they manifested the plaineft Intention of disowning the Authority of the English Legislature in every Instance, which they thought incompatible with their own Intereft. Nay, it is evident from the Words of the Act, that even at this early Period, they pretended to set up Laws, By-laws, Usage, and Customs in Opposition to English Acts of Parliament.
You add farther at Page 16 “ That this « fierce Spirit of Liberty is stronger in the « English Colonies, probably than in
other « People upon Earth.” I think so too: And I
will give a most striking Proof of it in the Liberty they took with, and in the Contempt they fhewed to the Circular Letter even of their darling Advocate and Patron, Mr. Secretary Pirt, now Lord CHATHAM. - For when he wrote to them to desist from the infamous and traiterous Practices of fupplyầng the Enemy with Provisions and Military Stores during a War, undertaken at their Request, and for their immediate Protection ;- what Effect had this official authoritative Letter on their Conduct and Behaviour ?---None at all. For they not only continued, but increased in the Practice of fupplying the Enemy with every Means of protracting the War ;---greatly to their own Profit, it must be owned ;---but to the lasting Detriment of this Country, whose Lands and Revenues are mortgaged for Ages to come, towards defraying the Expence of this ruinous, consuming War. Nay, such was the fierce Spirit of Liberty prevailing in our English Colonies
this trying Occasion, that the Provincial Governors dared not so much as commence a Profecution against any of the numerous Offenders, And their Friends and Agents here at Home [You know best, whether Mr. Burke was among the Number: Dr. Franklin certainly was)---I fay, their Friends and Agents were so far from being alhamed of such infamous and traiterous Practices, that they openly vindicated
them in our public News-Papers, pouring forth the bitterest Reproaches on Administration for attempting to restrain these Northern Merchants (such was the gentle Phrase) in the Pura suit of their undoubted and unalienable Rights and Liberties. After this, there is certainly no Need of any further Confirmation of your Asfertion; That the fierce Spirit of Liberty is stronger in the English Colonies probably than in any other. People upon Earth.
Now, as fuch is the Fact, you give us at Page 21 a Summary of the several Caufes, which have produced it.
“ From these fix capital Sources;-Of Descent, of Form of Govern“ ment, of Religion in the Northern Provinces, «c of Manners in the Southern, of Education,
of the Remotenefs of Situation from the first « Mover of Government:From all these “ Causes (co-operating together) a fierce Spirit “c of Liberty has grown up."
I. AND first as to Defcent. “ of the Colonies (P. 16.) are the Descen«« dents of Englishmen. England, Sir, [addressing “ yourself to the Speaker) is a Nation which “ still, I hope, respects, and formerly adored, her “ Freedom. The Colonists emigrated from
you, when this part of your Character was “ most predominant. And they took this - Bials and Direction the Moment they parted, & from your Hands. They are therefore not
· The People
“ only devoted to Liberty, but to Liberty aca“cording to English Ideas, and on English Prin
ciples:--- It happened, you know, Sir, that the great
Contests for Freedom in this Country u were from the earliest Times, chiefly upon " the Question of Taxing.--. The Colonies drew. “ from you, as with their Life-Blood, these “ Ideas and Principles. Their Love of Li“berty, as with you, fixed and attached on this Specific Point of Taxing."
Here, Sir, you tell some Truth; you difguise fome; and you conceal more than: you disguise.
Our firft Emigrants to North America were mostly Enthusiasts of a particular Stamp. They were of that Set of Republicans, who believed, or pretended to believe, that Dominion was founaed in Grace. Hence they conceived, that they had the best Right in the World both to tax, and to persecute the Ungodly. And they dict both, as soon as they got Power into their Hands, in the most open and atrocious Manner. The Annals of the Quakers will tell you, that they persecuted Friends even to the Death. And in regard to Taxation, if you will be so hardy as to assert, that they taxed none, but such as were represented in their Provincial Assembly, I will undertake to prove the contrary:--- I will undertake to prove, that they themselves paid no Regard, in a Variety of Instances, to that very