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smiles of liberty, profuse of bliss, and firegnant wit fi delight.
To treat such designs as serious, would be to think too contemptuously of Bostonian understandings. The artifice indeed is not new; the blusterer who threatened in vain to destroy his opponent, has sometimes obtained his end, by making it believed that he would hang himself. But terrors and pity are not the only means by which the taxation of the Americans is opposed. There are those who profess to use them only as auxiliaries to reason and justice, who tell us, that to tax the colonies is usurpation and oppression, an invasion of natural and legal rights, and a violation of those principles which support the constitution of English government. This question is of great importance. That the Americans are able to bear taxation is indubitable; that their refusal may be over-ruled is highly probable; but power is no sufficient evidence of truth. Let us examine our own claim, and the objections of the recusants, with caution proportioned to the event of the decision, which must convict one part of robbery, or the other of rebellion. A tax is a payment exacted by authority from part of the community for the benefit of the whole. From whom, and in what proportion such payment shall be required, and to what uses it shall be applied, those only are to judge to whom government is intrusted. In the British dominions taxes are apportioned, levied, and appropriated by the states assembled in parliament. Of every empire all the subordinate communities are liable to taxation, because they all share the benefits of government, and therefore ought all to furnish their proportion of the expense. This the Americans have never openly denied. That it is their duty to pay the costs of their own safety they seem to admit; nor do they refuse their contribution to the exigencies, whatever they may be, of the British empire; but they make this participation of the public burden a duty of very uncertain extent, and imperfect obligation, a duty temporary, occasional, and elective, of which they reserve to themselves the right of settling the degree, the time, and the duration, of judging when it may be required, and when it has been performed. They allow to the supreme power nothing more than the liberty of notifying to them its demandsor its necessities. Of this notification they profess to think for themselves, how far it shall influence their counsels, and of the necessities alleged, how far they shall endeavour to relieve them. They assume the exclusive power of settling not only the mode, but the quantity of this payment. They are ready to co-operate with all the other dominions of the king; but they will co-operate by no means which they do not like, and at no greater charge than they are willing to bear. This claim, wild as it may seem, this claim, which supposes dominion without authority, and subjects without subordination, has found among the libertines of policy many clamorous and hardy vindicators. The laws of nature, the rights of humanity, the faith of charters, the danger of liberty, the encroachments of usurpation, have been thundered in our ears, sometimes by interested faction, and sometimes by honest stupidity. It is said \>\ Font en file, that if twenty philosophers shall resolutely deny that the presence of the sun makes the day, he will not despair but whole nations may adopt the opinion. So many political dogmatists have denied to the mother-country the power of taxing the colonies, and have enforced their denial with so much violence of outcry, that their sect is already very numerous, and the public voice suspends its decision. In moral and political questions the contest between interest and justice has been often tedious and often fierce, but perhaps it never happened before that justice found much opposition with interest on her side. For the satisfaction of this inquiry, it is necessary to consider how a colony is constituted, what are the terms of migration as dictated by nature, or settled by compact, and what social or political rights the man loses, or acquires, that leaves his country to establish himself in a distant plantation?
Of two modes of migration the history of mankind informs us, and so far as I can yet discover, of two only. In countries where life was yet unadjusted, and policy unformed, it sometimes happened that by the dissensions of heads of families, by the ambition of daring adventurers, by some accidental pressure of distress, or by the mere discontent of idleness, one part of the community broke off from the rest, and numbers, greater or smaller, forsook their habitations, put themselves under the command of some favourite of fortune, and with or without the consent of their countrymen or governors, went out to see what better regions they could occupy, and in what place, by conquest or by treaty, they could gain a habitation. Sons of enterprise like these, who committed to their own swords their hopes and their lives, when they left their country, became another nation, with designs, and prospects, and interests, of their own. They looked back no more to their former home; they expected no help from those whom they had left behind; if they conquered, they conquered for themselves; if they were destroyed, they were not by any other power either lamented or revenged. Of this kind seem to have been all the migrations of the early world, whether historical or fabulous, and of this kind were the eruptions of those nations which from the north invaded the Roman empire, and filled Europe with new sovereignties. But when by the gradual admission of wiser laws and gentler manners, society became^more compacted and better regulated, it was found that the power of every people consisted in union, produced by one common interest, and operating in joint efforts and consistent counsels. From this time independence perceptibly wasted away. No part of the nation was permitted to act for itself. All now had the same enemies and the same friends; the government protected individuals, and individuals were required to refer their designs to the prosperity of the government. By this principle it is, that states are formed and consolidated. Every man is taught to consider his own happiness as combined with the public prosperity, and to think himself great and powerful, in proportion to the greatness and power of his governors. Had the western continent been discovered between the fourth and tenth century, when all the northern world was in motion; and had navigation been at that time sufficiently advanced to make so long a passage easily practicable, there is little reason for doubting but the intumescence of nations would have found its vent, like all other expansive violence, where there was least resistance; and that Huns and Vandals, instead of fighting their way to the south of Europe, would have gone by thousands and by myriads under their several chiefs to take possession of regions smil
ing with pleasure and waving with fertility, from which the naked inhabitants were unable to repel them. Every expedition would in those days of laxity have produced a distinct and independent state. The Scandinavian heroes might have divided the country among them, and have spread the feudal subdivision of regality from Hudson's Bay to the Pacific Ocean. _
But Columbus came five or six hundred years too late for the candidates of sovereignty. When he formed his project of discovery, the fluctuations of military turbulence had subsided, and Europe began to regain a settled form, by established government and regular subordination. No man could any longer erect himself into a chieftain, and lead out his fellow-subjects by his own authority to plunderor to war. He that committed any act of hostility by land or sea, without the commission of some acknowledged sovereign, was considered by all mankind as a robber or pirate, names which were now of little credit, and of which therefore no man was ambitious. Columbus in a remoter time would have found his way to some discontented lord, or some younger brother of a petty sovereign, who would have taken fire at his proposal, and have quickly kindled with equal heat a troop of followers; they would have built ships, or have seized them, and have wandered with him at all adventures as far as they could keep hope in their company. But the age being now past of vagrant excursion and fortuitous hostility, he was under the necessity of travelling from court to court, scorned and repulsed as a wild projector, an idle promiser of kingdoms in the clouds: nor has any part of the world yet had reason to rejoice that he found at last reception and employment.