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Q. Does the distinction between internal and external taxes exist in the words of the charter?
A. No, I believe not.
Q. Then may they not, by the same interpretation, object to the parliament's right of external taxation?
A. They never have hitherto. Many arguments have been lately used here to shew them that there is no difference, and that if you have no right to tax them internally, you have none to tax them externally, or make any other law to bind them. At present they do not reason so, but in time they may possibly be convinced by these arguments
Q. Do not the resolutions of the Pennsylvania assembly say all taxes?
A. If they do, they mean only internal taxes; the same words have not always the same meaning here and in the colonies. By taxes they mean internal taxes; by duties they mean customs; these are their ideas of the language.
Q. Have you not seen the resolutions of the Massachusetts Bay assembly?
A. I have.
Q Do they not say, that neither external nor internal taxes can be laid on them by parliament ?
A. I don't know that they do; I believe not.
Q. If the same colony should say neither tax nor imposition could be laid, does not that province hold the power of parliament can hold neither?
A. I suppose that by the word imposition, they do not intend to express duties to be laid on goods imported, as regulations of commerce.
Q. What can the colonics mean then by imposition as distinct from taxes?
A. They may mean many things, as impressing of men, or of carriages, quartering troops on private houses, and the like; there may be great impositions, that are not properly taxes.
Q. Is not the post-office rate an internal tax laid by act of parliament?
A. I have answered that.
Q. Are all parts of the colonies equally able to pay taxes?
A. No, certainly; the frontier parts, which have been ravaged by the enemy, are greatly disabled by that means, and therefore, in such cases, are usually favoured in our tax laws.
Q. Can we at this distance, be competent judges of what favours are necessary?
A. The parliament have supposed it, by claiming a right to make tax laws for America; I think it impossible.
Q. Would the repeal of the stamp-act be any discouragement of your manufactures? Will the people that have begun to manufacture decline it?
A. Yes, I think they will; especially if, at the same time, the trade is opened again, so that remittances can be easily made. I have known several instances that make it probable. In the war before last, tobacco being low, and making little remittance, the people of Virginia went generally into family manufactures. Afterwards, when tobacco bore a better price, they returned to the use of British manufactures. So fulling mills were very much diffused in the last war in Pennsylvania, because bills were then plenty, and remittances could easily be made to Britain for English cloth and other goods.
Q. If the stamp-act should be repealed, would it induce the assemblies of America to acknowledge the rights of parliament to tax them, and would they erase their resolutions?
A.. No, never.
Q. Is there no means of obliging them to erase those resolutions?
A. None that I know of; they will never do it unless compelled by force of arms.
Q. Is there a power on earth that can force them to erase them?
A. No power, how great soever, can force men to change their opinions.
Q. Do they consider the post office as a tax, or as a regulation?
A. Not as a tax, but as a regulation and conveniency; every assembly encouraged it, and supported it in its infancy, by grants of money, which they would not otherwise have done; and the people have always paid the postage.
Q. When did you receive the instructions you mentioned?
A. I brought them with me, when I came to England, about 15 months since.
Q. When did you communicate that instruction to the minister?
A. Soon after my arrival, while the stamping of America was under consideration, and before the bill was brought in.
Q. Would it be most for the interest of Great-Britain, to employ the hands of Virginia in tobacco, or in manufactures ?
A. In tobacco to be sure.
Q. What used to be the pride of the Americans? A. To indulge in the fashions and manufactures of Great-Britain.
Q. What is now their pride?
A. To wear their old clothes over again, till they can make new ones.
Rev. William Ayers
Christian G. Smith
David Lyndall Enoch Fraley Nicholas Miller John C. Juner Adam Dotterer George Seddinger Jacob Brown Samuel Dubois William Williams David Thompson David Davis
Gideon V. M. Stivers