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Q. From the thinness of the back settlements, would not the stamp-act be extremely inconvenient to the in, habitants, if executed ?
A. To be sure it would; as many of the inhabitants could not get stamps when they had occasion for them, without taking long journeys, and spending perhaps three or four pounds, that the crown might get six-pe ce.
Q. Are not the colonies, from their circumstances, very able to pay the stamp duiy?
A. In my opinion, there is not gold and silver enough in the colonies to pay the stamp duty for one year.
Q. Don't you know that the money arising from the Stamps was all to be laid out in America ?
A. I know it is appropriated by the act to the A. merican service; but it will be spent in the conquered colonies, where the soldiers are, not in the colonies that pay it.
Q. Is there not a balance of trade due from the colonies where the troops are posted, that will bring back the money to the old colonies ?
A. I think not. I believe very little would come back. I know of no trade likely to bring it back. I think it would come from the colonies where it was gent directly to England; for I have always observed, that in every colony the more plenty the means of remittance to England, the more goods are sent for, and the more trade with England carried on.
Q. What number of white inhabitants do you think there are in Pennsylvania ?
A. I suppose there may be about 160,000.
A. Perhaps another third; but I cannot speak with certainty
Q. Have any numbers of the Germans seen sevice as soldiers in Europe?
A. Yes, many of them, both in Europe and America.
Q. Are they as much dissatisfied with the stamp duty as the English?
A. Yes, and more ; and with reason, as their stamps are, in many cases, to be double.
Q. How many white men do you suppose there are in North America? A. About 300,000, from sixteen to sixty years of
age. Q. What may be the amount of one years imports into Pennsylvania from Britain ?
A. I have been informed that our merchants compute the imports from Britain to be above 500,0001.
Q. What may be the amount of the produce of your province exported to Britain ?
A. It must be small, as .we produce little that is wanted in Britain. I suppose it cannot exceed 40,000/.
Q. How then do you pay the balance?
A. The balance is paid by our produce carried to the West-Indies, and sold in our own islands, or to the French, Spaniards, Danes and Dutch; by the same carried to other colonies in North-America, as to NewEngland, Nova-Scotia, Newfoundland, Carolina and Georgia; by the same carried to different parts of Europe, as Spain, Portugal and Italy. In all which places we receive either money, bills of exchange, or commodities that suit for remittance to Britain ; which, together with all the profits on the industry of our merchants and mariners, arising in those civcuitous voyages, and the freights made by their ships, centre finally in Britain, to discharge the balance, and pay for British manufactures continually used in the province, or sold to foreigners by our traders.
Q. Have you heard of any difficulties lately laid on the Spanish trade?
A. Yes, I have heard that it has been greatly obstucted by some new regulations, and by the English men of war and cutters stationed all along the coast in America.
Q. Do you think it right that America should be prótected by this country, and pay no part of the expence?
A. That is not the case. The Colonies raised, clothed and paid, during the last war, near 25,000 men, and spent many millions.
Q. Were you not reimbursed by parliament?
À We were only reimbursed what, in your opinion, we had advanced beyond our proportion, or beyond what might reasonably be expected from us; and it was a very small part of what we spent. Pennsylvania, in particular, disbursed about 500,0001. and the reimbursements, in the whole, did not exceed 60,0001.
Q. You have said that you pay heavy taxes in Pennsylvania ; what do they amount to in the pound?
A. The tax on all estates, real and personal, is eighteen pence in the pound, fully rated; and the tax on the profits of trades and professions, with other taxes, do, I suppose, make full half a crown in the pound.
Q. Do you know any thing of the rate of exchange in Pennsylvania, and whether it is fallen lately?
A. It is commonly from 170 to 175. I have heard that it has fallen lately from 175 to 162 and a half, owing, I suppose, to their lessening their orders for goods; and when their debts to this country are paid, I think the exchange will probably be at par.
Q. Do not you think the people of America would subunit to pay the stamp duty, if it was moderated?
A No, never, unless compelled by force of arms.
Q. Are not the taxes in Pennsylvania laid on unequally, in order to burthen the English trade, particularly the tax on professions and business?
A. It is not more burthensome in proportion than the tax on lands. It is intended, and supposed to take an equal proportion of profits.
Q. How is the assembly composed? Of what kinds of people are the members, land holders or traders?
A. It is composed of landholders, merchants and ar; tificers.
Q. Are not the majority landholders? A. I believe they are. Q: Do not they, as much as possible, shift the tax off from the land, to ease that, and lay the burthen heavier on trade? A. I have never understood it so.
I never heard such a thing suggested. And indeed an attempt of that kind could answer no purpose.
The merchant or trader is always skilled in figures, and ready with his pen and ink.
If unequal burthens are laid ou his
trade, he puts an additional price on his goods ; and the consumers, who are chiefly landholders, finally pay the greatest part, if not the whole.
Q. What was the temper of America towards G. Britain before the year 1763 ?
A. The best in the world. They submitted willingly to the government of the crown, and paid, in all their courts, obedience to acts of parliament. Numerous as the people are in the several old provinces, they cost you nothing in forts, citadels, garrisons or armies, to keep them in subjection. They were governed by this country at the expence only of a little pen, ink and paper. They were led by a thread. They had not only a respect, but an affection, for GreatBritain, for its laws, its customs and manners, and even a fondness for its fashions, that greatly increased the commerce. Natives of Britain were always treated with particular regard; to be an Old England-man, was, of i:self, a character of some respect, and gave a kind of rank among us.
R. And what is their temper now?
Q. Did you ever hear the authority of parliament to make laws for America questioned till lately?
A. The authority of parliament was allowed to be valid in all laws, except such as should lay internal taxes. It was never disputed in laying duties to regulate commerce.
Q In what proportion hath population increased it America?
A. I think the inhabitants of all the provinces together, taken at a medium, double in about 25 years. But their demand for British manufactures increases much faster, as the consumption is not merely in proportion to their numbers, but grows with the growing abilities of the same numbers to pay for them. In 1723, the whole importation from Britain to Pennsylvania, was but about 15,000 pounds sterling; it is now near half a million.
Q. In what light did the people of America usc to consider the parliament of Great-Britain?
A. They considered the parliament as the great bulwark and security of their liberties and privileges, and always spoke of it with the utmost respect and veneracion. Arbitrary ministers, they thought, might possibly, at times attempt to oppress them ; but they relied on it, that the parliament, on application, would always give redress They remembered, with gratitude, a strong instance of this, when a bill was brought into parliament, with a clause to make royal instructions laws in the colonies, which the house of commons would not pass, and it was thrown out.
Q. And have they not still the same respect for parJiament.
A No; it is greatly lessened.
A. To a concurrence of causes ; the restraints lateIy laid on their trade, by which the bringing of foreign gold and silver into the colonies was prevented; the prohibition of making paper money among themselves; and then demanding a new and heavy tax by stamps ; taking away, at the same time, trials by juries, and refusing to receive and hear their humble petitions.
Q. Don't you think they would submit to the stamp act, if it was modified, the obnoxious parts taken out, and the duty reduced to some particulars, of small moment?
A. No; they will never submit to it.
Q. What do you think is the reason that the people of America increase faster than in England ?
A. Because they marry younger, and mor generally.
Q. Why so?
A. Because any young couple that are industrious, may easily obtain land of their own, on which they can raise a family
Q Are not the lower rank of people more at their case in America than in England ?
A. T'hey may be so, if they are sober and diligent, as they are better paid for their labour.
Q. What is your opinion of a future tax, imposed on the same principle with that of the stamp act; how would the Americans receive it?
A. Just as they do this. They would not pay it