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4D. What do you think a sufficient military force to protect the distribution of the stamps in every part of America ?
A. A very great force; I can't say what, if the disposition of America is for a general resistance.
Q. What is the number of men in America able to bear arms, or of disciplined militia ? A. There are,
I suppose, at least[Question objected to. He withdrew. Called in again.]
Q. Is the American stamp-act an equal tax on that country?
A. I think not.
A. The greatest part of the money must arise from law suits for the recovery of debts, and be paid by the Iqwer sort of people, who were too poor easily to pay their debts. It is therefore a heavy tax on the poor, and a tax upon them for being poor.
Q. But will not this increase of expence be a means of lessening the number of law suits ?
A. I think not; for as the costs all fall upon the debt. or, and are to be paid by him, they would be no discouragement to the creditor to bring his action.
Q. Would it not have the effect of excessive usury? A. Yes, as an oppression of the debtor.
Q. How many ships are there laden annually in North-America with flax-seed for Ireland ?
1. I cannot speak to the number of ships, but I know that in 1752, 10,000 bogsheads of fax-seed, each containing 7 bushels, were exported from Philadelphia to Ireland. I suppose the quantity is greatly increased since that time; and it is understood that the exportation from New York is equal to that from Philadelphia.
Q. What becomes of the flax that grows with that flax-seed?
A. They manufacture some into coarse, and some in-. to a middling kind of linen.
Q. Are there any slitting mills in America ?
A. I think there are, but I believe only one at present employed. I suppose they will all be set to work: if the interruption of the trade continues.
Q. Are there any fulling mills there?
Q. Did you never hear that a great quantity of stockings were contracted for the army during the war, and manufactured in Philadelphia ?
A. I have heard so.
Q. If the stamp act should be repealed, would not the Americans think they could oblige the parliament to repeal every external law now in force?
A. It is hard to answer questions of what people at such a distance will think.
Q. But what do you imagine they will think were the motives of repealing the act?
A. I suppose they will think that it was repealed from a conviction of its inexpediency; and they will rely upon it, that while the same inexpediency subsists, you will never attempt to make such another.
Q. What do you mean by its inexpediency?
A. I mean its inexpediency on several accounts; the power and inability of those who were to pay the tax; the general discontent it has occasioned: and the impracticability of enforcing it.
Q. If the act should be repealed, and the legislature should shew its resentment to the opposers of the stampact, would the colonies acquiesce in the authority of the legislature? What is your opinion they would do?
A. I don't doubt at all, that if the legislature repeal - the stamp-act, the colonies will acquiesce in the authority.
Q. But if the legislature should think fit to ascera tain its right to lay taxes, by any act laying a small tax, contrary to their opinion, would they submit to pay the tax ?
A. The proceedings of the people in America have been considered too much together. The proceedings of the assemblies have been very different from those of the mobs, and should be distinguished, as having no connection with each other. The assemblies have only peaceably resolved what they take to be their rights; they have taken no measures for opposition by force, they have not built a fort, raised a man, or provided grain of ammunition, in order to such opposition.
The ringleaders of riots they think ought to be punished; they would punish them themselves, if they could. Every sober sensible man would wish to see rioters punished, as otherwise peaceable people have no security of person or estate. But as to an internal tax, how small soever, laid by the legislature, here on the people there, while they have no representatives in this legislature, I think it will never be submitted to They will oppose it to the last. They do not consider it as at alt necessary for you to raise money on them by your taxes, because they are, and always have been, ready to raise money by taxes among themselves, and to grant large sums, equal to their abilities, upon requisition from the Ciown-They have not only granted equal to their abilities, but, during all the last war, they granted far beyond their abilities, and beyond their proportion with this country, you yourselves being judges, to the amount of many hundred thousand pounds, and this they did freely and readily, only on a sort of promise from the secretary of state, that it should be recommended to parliament to make them compensation. It was accordingly recommended to parliament, in the most honourable manner, for them. America has been greatly misrepresented and abused here, in papers, and pamphlets, and speeches, as ungrateful, and unreasonable, and unjust, in having put this nation to immense expence for their defence, and refusing to bear any part of that expence. The colonies raised, paid and clothed, near 25,000 men during the last war, a number equal to those sent from Britain, and far beyond their proportion; they went deeply into debt in doing this, and all their taxed estates are mortga
ged, for many years to come, for discharging that debt. Government here was at that time very sensible of this. The colonies were recommended to parliament. Every year the King sent down to the house a written message to this purpose, That his Majesty being highly sensible of the zeal and yigour with which his faithful subjects in North-America had exerted them. selves in defence of his Majesty's just rights and posSessions, recommended it to the house to take the same into consideration, and enable him to give them a pro
per compensation. You will find those messages on your own journals every year of the war to the very last, and you did accordingly give 200,000 pounds annually to the Crown to be distributed in such compensation to the colonies. This is the strongest of all proofs, that the colonies, far from being unwilling to bear a share of the burthen, did exceed their propottion; for if they had done less, or had only equalled their proportion, there would have been no room or reason for compensation.-Indeed the sums reimbursed them, were by no means adequate to the expence they incurred beyond their proportion ; but they never murmured at that; they esteemed their Sovereign's approbation of their zeal and fidelity, and the approbation of this house, far beyond any other kind of compensation ; therefore there was no occasion for this act, to force money from a willing people; they had not refused giving money for the purposes of the act; no requisition had been made; they were always willing and ready to do what could reasonably be expected from them, and in this light they wish to be considered.
Q. But suppose Great-Britain should be engaged in a war in Europe, would North America contribute to the support of it?
A. I do think they would, as far as their circumstances would permit. They consider themselves as a part of the British empire, and as having one common interest with it; they may be looked on here as foreigners, but they do not consider themselves as such. They are zealous for the honour and prosperity of this nation, and, while they are well used, will always be ready to support it, as far as their little power goes.In 1739 they were called upon to assist in the expedition against Carthagena, and they sent 3000 men to join your army. It is true Carthagena is in America, but as remote from the northern colonies, as if it had been in Europe. They make no distinction of wars, as to their duty of assisting in them. I know the last war is commonly spoke of here as entered into for the
defence, or for the sake of the people of America. I think it is quite misunderstood. It began about the limits between Canada and Nova Scotia, about territories to which the Crown indeed laid claim, but were not claimed by any British colony ; none of the lands had been granted to any colonist; we had therefore, no particular concern or interest in that dispute. As to the Ohio, the contest there began about your right of trading in the Indian country, a right you had by the treaty of Utrecht, which the French infringed ; they seized the traders and their goods, which were your manufactures; they took a fort which a company of your merchants, and their factors and correspondents, had erected there, to secure that trade. Braddock was sent with an army to re-take that fort (which was looked on here as another incroachment on the king's territory) and to protect your trade. It was not till after his defeat that the colonies were at: tacked. They were before in perfect peace with both French and Indians; the troops were not therefore sent for their defence. The trade with the Indians though carried on in America, is not an American interest. The people of America are chiefly farmers and planters; scarce any thing that they raise or produce is an article of commerce with the Indians. The Indian trade is a British interest; it is carried on with British manufactures, for the profit of British merchants and manufacturers; therefore the war, as it commenced for the defence of territories of the Crown, the property of no American, and for the defence of a trade purely British, was really a British war-and yet the people of America made no scruple of contributing their utmost towards carrying it on, and bringing it to a happy conclusion.
Q. Do you think then that the taking possession of the king's territorial rights, and strengthening the fron. tiers, is not an American interest? A. Not particularly but, conjointly a British and an