An authentic account of a Bill ordered to be brought in the House of Commons, to repeal so much of an Act of the 7th of his present Majesty, as imposes a Duty on Paper, Glass and Painters Colours imported into the British Colonies in America, occasions this address to you.
It is with the deepest Grief, we observe the Oppressions of America so little regarded, as, that Duties on a few Articles, more ruinous in their Precedent, than fatal in their present operations, should become the serious Objects of parliamentary attention, while the grand Evils, which affect the Life and Soul of American Happiness, are totally disregarded.
When the Resolutions were formed (surrounded with difficulties as we were) on the only Plan we had left for the Recovery of our antient Liberties (and which, we are convinced, will ultimately have their desired effect, if we have but Virtue enough to resist the allurements of present Gain, in Favour of the inestimable Blessings of our envied Constitution) for want of a Communication with each other, the Colonies adopted Plans various in Extent of matter and Limitations of time: This Province, as it was among the last, so it has been the most comprehensive; and well considering, that Liberty in Retail is but another Term for Slavery, they have included every Object which tends to sap the Foundation of their Freedom.
While the Board of Commissioners are permitted to riot with such an Extent of unrelenting Power; while our Property is subject to be dragged from Colony to Colony under the Controul of an oppressive Admiralty; we are not free. And while these Acts continue in Force, we are chained down by our Resolutions: Such is our present Situation, in which we glory. The day of Trial is but approaching; Unanimity is absolutely necessary; and we are positive, nothing but an Exertion of the purest Virtue, in the Prosecution of one generally adopted Plan, can possibly revive our expiring Constitution.
Should any of our Sister-Colonies take Advantage of the Repeal of these trifling Duties, we think it had been infinitely better, to
The People of this Province have bound themselves, in the general Cause of American Liberty, by extending their Resolutions, until the Whole of their complaints is removed. It would be a capital Crime in us, to suspect the public Virtue of our Countrymen; nor can we ever suppose, in the most distant manner, this province will fall a Sacrifice to the purity of her Intentions. The Security of our inherent injured Rights, was the Foundation of our Agreements: Until that Security is amply obtained, nothing can be said to be done.
The principal Arguments in the House of Commons, were founded on the Division of the Colonies; the Impracticabilty of manufacturing; and the Impossibility of continuing firm in our Non-Importation. Let us convince them of our Unanimity, and the Falsity of those dishonourable Reports, which declare any Breach of consequence in our sacred Engagements, and we may be certain of success.—That Individuals will be found in every Colony, who (dead to all the warm Emotions of the Heart) even when Liberty is at Stake, will sacrifice the only Blessings which make Life Comfortable, to the dirty Consideration of present Emolument, is nothing extraordinary. Worthless men are the Produce of every Climate; they serve only as a Foil to set off the Cause; and unless we become Traitors to our own Liberties, we have little to fear.
Our Countrymen in Great Britain are equally engaged in the Defence of the Constitution. Surrounded on all sides with the minions of Government, the best men in the nation have pledged themselves for its Defence. These Patriots are equally the objects of our Admiration and Imitation: And as our Blood and our Rights flow equally from the same source, we should scandalize the rough unremitting Virtue of our Ancestors, did we not follow their Example.
Let us suppose the worst that can befall us;—that the Iron Hand of Power will at last prevail, and trample upon every Right of American Liberty; yet we think it an indispensable Duty, which we owe to our Country and Descendants, inflexibly to persevere to the last, and let Posterity record, Force obtained a triumph over Public