Q. What is your Name, and Place of abode?
A. Franklin, of
Q. Do the Americans pay and considerable taxes
among themselves ?
A. Certainly many, and very heavy taxes.
Q. What are the present taxes in
Pennsylvania, laid by the
laws of the Colony ?
A. There are taxes on all estates real and personal, a poll-
tax, a tax on all offices, prosessions, trades and businesses,
cording to their profits ; an excise upon all wine, rum and
other spirits ; and a duty of ten pounds per head on all negroes
imported, with some other duties.
Q. For what purposes are those taxes laid ?
A. For the support of the civil and military establishments of
the country, and to discharge the heavy debt contracted in the
Q. How long are those taxes to continue.
A. Those for discharging the debt are to continue till 1772,
and longer, if the debt should not then be all discharged. The
others must always continue.
Q. Was it not expected that the debt would have been soo-
ner discharged ?
A. It was, when the peace was made with
But a fresh war breaking out with the Indians, a fresh load of
debt was incurred, and the taxes, of course, continued loonger
by a new law.
Q. Are not all the people very able to pay those taxes ?
A. No. the Frontier counties, all along the continent, ha-
ving been frequently ravished by the enemy, and greatly
poverished, are albe to pay very little tax. And therefore, in
consideration of their distresses, our late tax laws do expresly
favour those countries, excusing the sufferers ; and I suppose
the same is done in other governments.
Q. Are you not concerned in the management of the Post-
A. Yes, I am Deputy Post-Master General of
Q. Don't you think the distribution of stamps, by post, to all
the inhabitants, very practicable, if there was no opposition ?
A. The posts only go along the sea coasts ; they do not, ex-
cept in a few instances, go back in to the country ; and if they
did, sending for stamps by post would occasion an expence of
postage, amounting in many cases to much more than that
of the stamps themselves.
Q. Are you acquanted with
A. I was never there.
Q. Do you know whether there are any post roads on that Island ?
A. I have heard that there are no roads at all ; but that the
munication between on settlement and another is by sea only.
Q. Can you disperse the stamps by post in
A. There is only a post between
inhabitants live so scattered & remote from each other, in that
vast country, that posts cannot be supported among them, and
therefore they cannot get stamps per post. The English Co-
lonies too, along the frontiers, are very thinly settled.
Q. From the thinness of the back settlements,would not the stamp
act be extreamly inconvenient to the inhabitants,
if executed ?
A. To be sure it would ; as many of the inhabitants could
not get stamps when they occasion for them, without tak-
ing long journies, and spending perhaps Three or FourPounds,
that the crown might get Six pence.
Q. Are not the Colonies, from their circumstances, very a-
ble to pay the stamp-duty ?
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
I know it is appropriated by the act to the American Ser-
vice ; 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 ballance 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 spent directly to
for I have always observed, that in every Colony, the more
plenty the means of the 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
A. I suppose there may be about 160,000.
Q. What number of them are Quakers ?
A. Perhaps a third.
Q. What number of Germans ?
A. Perhaps another third ; but I cannot speak with certainty.
Q. Have any number of the Germans seen service, as sol-
A. Yes,--many of them both in
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
A. About 300,000 from sixteen to sixty years of age.
Q. Whate may be the amount of one year's imports into
I have been informed that our merchants compute the
Britain to be above 500,000 Pounds.
Q. What may be the amount of the produce of your pro-
vince exported to
A. It must be small, as we produce little that is wanted in
Britain. I suppose in cannot exceed 40,000 Pounds.
Q. How then do you pay the ballance ?
A. The ballance is paid by our produce carried to the
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
Georgia ; by the same carried to different
Italy : In all which
places we recive either money, bills of exhcange, or commo-
dities that suit for remittance to Britain ; which,
all the profits on the industry of our merchants and marines,
arising in those cirucuitous voyages, and the freights made by
their ships, center finally in
Britain, to discharge the ballance,
and pay for British manufactures continually used in the pro-
vince, or sold to foreigners by our traders.
Q. Have your heard of any difficulties lately laid on the
nish trade ?
A. Yes, I have heard that it has been greatly obstructed by
some new regulations, and by the English men of war and
cutters stationed all along the coast of
Q. Do you think it right
America should be protected by
this country, and pay no part of the expence.
A. That is not the case. The colonies raised, cloathed
and paid, during the last war, near 25,000 men, and spent
Q. Were you not reimbursed by parliament ?
A. We were reimbursed what, in your opinion, we had
advanced beyond our proportion, or beyond what might be
resonably expected from us ; and it was a very small part of
what we spent.
Pennsylvania, in particular, disbursed about
500,000 pounds, and the reimbursements, in the whole, did
not exceed 60,000 pounds.
Q. You have said that you pay heavy taxes in
nia ; 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 prosessions, with other taxes, do, I suppose, make
it full hald a crown in the pound.
Q. Do you know any thing of the rate of exhcange in
sylvania, and whether it has fallen lately ?
A. It is commonly from 170 to 175. I have heard that it
has fallen lately from 175 to 162 and an half, owing, I sup-
pose, to their lessening their orders fro goods ; and when their
debts to this country are paid, I think the exchange will pro-
bably be at par.
Q. Do not you think the people of
America would submit
to pay the stamp dute, 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
sessions and business ?
A. It is not more burthensome in proportion than the tax
on lands. It is intended, and supposed to take an equal pro-
portion of profits.
Q. How is the assembly composed ? Of what kinds of peo-
ple are members, landholders or traders ?
A. It is composed of landholders, merchantes and artificers.
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 have never heard such a
thing suggested : and indeed an attempt of that kind could
swer no purpose. The merchant or trader is always skilled in
figures, and ready with his pen and ink. If unequal burthens
are laid on his trade, he puts and additional price on his goods ;
and the consumers, who are chiefly landholders, finally pay
the greatest part, if no the whole.
Q. What is the temper of
before the year of 1763 ?
A. The best in the world, they have submitted willingly to
the government of the Crown, and paid, in all their courts,
obedience to acts of parliament. Numberous 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
Great Britain, for its
laws, its customs and manners, and even a findness for its
fashions, that greatly increased the commerce. Natives of
tain were always treated with particular regard ; to be an Old
England-man, was, of itself, a character of some respect, and
gave a kind of rank among us.
Q. And what is their temper now ?
A. O, very much altered.
Q. Did you ever hear the authority of parliament to make
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 the population increased in
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 increased much faster, as the comsumption
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
but about 15,000 l. sterling ; it is now near hald a million.
Q. In what light did the people of
America use to consider
the parliament of
Great Britain ?
A. They considered the parliament as the great bulwark &
security of their liberties and privileges, and always spoke of it
with the utmost repsect and veneration : 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 parlia-
ment with the 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 parliament ?
A. No ; it is greatly lessened.
Q. To what cause is that owing ?
A. To a concurrence of causes ; the restraints lately 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 & 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 duties
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
rica increase faster than in
A. Because they marry younger, and more 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 if people more at their ease in
America than in
A. They may be so if they are sober and diligent, as they
are better paid for their labor.
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.
Q. Have you not heard of the resolutions of this house, and
of the house of lords, asseting the right of parliament relating
America, including a power to tax people there ?
A. Yes, I have heard of such resolutions.
Q. What will be the opinion of the Americans on those
A. They will think them unconstitutional, and unjust.
Q. Was it an opinion in
America before 1763, that the
parliament had no right to lay taxes and duties there ?
A. I never heard any objection to the right of laying duties
to regulate commerce ; but a right to lay internal taxes was
never supposed to be in parliament, as we are not represented
Q. On what do you found your opinion, that the people in
America made any such distinction ?
A. I know that whenever the subject has occurred in con-
versation where i have been present, it has appeared to be the
opinion of every one, that we could not be taxed in a parlia-
ment where we were not represented. But the payment of
duties laid by act of parliament, as regulations of commerce
was never disputed.
Q. But can you name any act of assembly, or puclick act
of any of your governments, that made such distinction ?
A. I do not know that there was any ; I think there was
never an occasion to make any suck act, till now that you
have attempted to tax us ; that has occasioned resolutions of
assembly, delcaring the distinction, in which I think every
assembly on the continent, and every memeber in every assem-
bly, have been unanimous.
Q. What then could occasion conversations on that subject
before that time.
A. There was in 1754 a proposition made (I think it came
from hence) that is case of a war, which was then apprehend-
ed, the governors of the colonies should meet, and order the
levying of troops, building of forts, and taking every other
necessary measure for the general defence ; and should draw
on the treasury here for the sums expended, which were after-
wards to be raised in the colonies by a general tax, to be laid
on them by act of parliament. This occaisioned a good deal
of conversatioin on the subject, and the general opinion was,
that the parliament neither would nor could lay any tax on us,
till we were duly represented in parliament, bacause it was not
just, nor agreeable to the nature of an English constitution.
Q. Don't you know there was a time in
it was under consideration to make an application to parliament
to lay taxes on that colony, upon a deficiency arising from the
assembly's refusing or neglecting to raise the necessary supplies
for the support of the civil government ?
A. I never heard of it.
Q. There was such an application under consideration in
New-York ; and do you apprehend they could
right of parliament to lay a tax in
America was only local, and
confined to the case of a deficiency in a particular colony, by
a refusal of its assembly to raise the necassary supplies ?
A. They could not suppose such a case, as that the assembly
would not raise the necessary supplies to support its own
vernment. An assembly that would refuse it must want com-
mon sense, which cannot be supposed. I think
there was ne-
ver any such case at
New-York, and that it must be a
presentation, or the fact must be misunderstood. I know there
have been some attempts, by ministerial instructions from
hence, to oblige the assemblies to settle permanent salaries on
governors, which they wisely refused to do ; but I believe no
New-York, or any other colony, ever refused
to support government by proper allowance, from time to
time, to public officers.
Q. But in case a governor, acting by instruction, should call
on an assembly to raise the necessary supplies, and the assembly
should refuse to do it, do you not think it would then be for
the good of the people of the colony, as well as necessary to
government, that the parliament should tax them ?
A. I do not think it owuld be necessary. If an assembly
could possibly be so absurd as to refuse raising the supplies
quisite for the maintenance of government among them, they
could not long remain in such a situation ; the disorders and
confusion occaisioned by it must soon bring them to reason.
Q. If it should not, ought not the right to be in
tain of applying a remedy ?
A. The right only to be used in such a case, I should have no
objection to, supposing it to be used meerely for the good of the
people of the Colony.
Q. But who is to judge of that,
Britain or the Colony ?
A. Thsoe that feel can best judge.
Q. You say the Colonies have always submitted to external
taxes, and object to the right of parliament only in laying
ternal taxes ; now can you shew that there is any kind of
rence between the two taxes to the Colony on which they
may be laid ?
A. I think the difference is very great. An external tax is a
duty laid on commodities imported ; that duty is added to the
first cost, and other charges on the commodity, and when it is
offered to sale, makes a part of the price. If the people do not
like it at that price, they refuse it ; they are not obliged to pay it.
But an internal tax is forced from the people without their con-
sent, if not laid by their own representatives. The stamp-act
says, we shall have no commerce, make no exchange of proper-
ty with each other, neither purchase nor grant, nor recover
debts ; we shall neither marry, nor amke our wills, unless we
pay such & such sums ; and thuse it is intended to extort our money
from us, or ruin us by the consequences of refusing to pay it.
Q. But supposing the external tax or duty to be laid on the
necessaries of life imported into your Colony, will not that be
the same thing in its effects as an internal tax ?
A. I know not a single article imported into the northern Colo-
nies, but what they can either do without, or make themselves.
Q. Don't you think cloth from
England absolutely necessary
to them ?
A. No, by no means absolutely necessary ; with industry and
good management, they may very well supply themselves with
all they want.
Q. Will it not take a long time to establish that manufacture
among them ? and must they not in the mean while suffer greatly ?
A. I think not. They have made a surprising progress already.
And I am of opinion, that before their old cloths are worn out,
they will have new ones of their own making.
Q. Can they possibly find wool enough in
A. They have taken steps to increase the wool. They en-
tered into general combinations to eat no more lamb, and very
few lambs were killed last year. This course persisted in, will
soon make a prodigious difference in the quantity of wool.
And the establishing of great manufactories, like those in the
clothing towns here,is not necassary, as it is where the business
is to be carried on for the purposes of trade. The people will
all spin, and work for themselves, in their own houses.
Q. Can there be wool and manufacture enough in one or
two years ?
A. In three years, I think they may.
Q. Does not the severity of the winters in the Northern
Colonies, occasion the wool to be of bad quality ?
A. No ; the wool is very fine and good.
Q. In the more Southern Colonies, as in
Virginia : do'nt
you know that the wool is coarse, and only a kind of hair.
A. I don't know it. I never heard it. Yet I have been some-
times in Virginia. I cannot say I ever took particular notice of
the wool there, but I believe it is good, though I cannot speak
positive of it ; but Virginia, and the colonies south of it, have
less occasioin for wool ; their winters are short and not very
vere, and they can very well clothe themselves with linnen and
cotton of their own raising for the rest of the year.
Q. Are no the people, in the more Northern Colonies, ob-
liged to fodder their sheep all the winter ?
A. In some of the most Northern Colonies they may be ob-
liged to do it some part of the winter.
Q. Considering the resolutions of parliament, as to the right,
do you think, if the stamp-act is repealed, that the North-
Americans will be satisfied ?
A. I believe they will.
Q. Why do you think so ?
A. I think the resolutions of right will give them very little
concern, if they are never attempted to be carried into practice.
The Colonies will probably consider themselves in the same
situation, in that repsect, with
Ireland ; they know you claim
the same right with regard to
Ireland, but you never exercise it.
And they may believe you never will exercise it in the Colo-
nies, any more than in
Ireland, unless on some very extraor-
Q. But who are to be judges of that extraordinary occasion ?
Is it not the parliament.
A. Though the parliament may judge of the occasion, the
people, will think it can never exercise such a right, till
sentatives from the Colonies are admitted into parliament,
whenever the occasion arises, representatives will be ordered.
Q. Did you never hear that
Maryland, during the last war,
had refused to furnish a quota towards the common defence ?
Maryland has been misrepresented in that matter.
land, to my knowledge, never refused to contribute, or grant
aids to the Crown. The assemblies every year, during the war,
voted considerable sums, and formed bills to raise them. The
Bills were according to the constitution of that province, sent
up to the council, or upper house, for concurrence, that they
might be presented to the governor, in order to be enacted into
laws. Unhappy disputes between the two houses, arising from
the defects of that constitution principally, rendered all the
bills but one or two abortive, The proprietary's council re-
jected them. It is true
Maryland did not continue its propor-
tion, but it was, in my opinion, the fault of the government,
not of the people.
Q. Was it not talked of in the other provinces as a proper
measure to apply to parliament to compel them ?
A. I have heard such discourse ; but as it was well known,that
the people were not to blame, now such application was ever
made, nor any step taken towards it.
Q. Was it not proposed at a public meeting ?
A. Not that I know of.
Q. Do you remember the abolishing of the paper currency
New-England, by act of assembly ?
A. I do remember its being abolished, in the Massachusetts Bay.
Q. Was not Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson principally
concerned in that transaction ?
A. I have heard so.
Q. Was it not at that time a very unpopular law ?
A. I believe it might, though I can say little about it, as I
lived at a distance from the province.
Was not the scarcity of gold and silver an argument used
against abolishing the paper ?
A. I suppose it was.
Q. What is the present opinion there of that law ? Is it as
unpopular as it was at first ?
A. Think it is not.
Q. Have not instructions from hence been sometimes sent
over to governors, highly oppressive and unpolitical ?
Q.Have not some governors dispensed with them for that reason ?
A. Yes ; I have heard so.
Q. Did the Americans ever dispute the controling [controlling] power of
parliament to regulate the commerce ?
Q. Can any thing less than a military force carry the stamp
act into execution ?
A. I do not see how a military force can be applied to that
Q. Why may it not ?
A. Suppose a military force sent into
America, they will
find nobody in arms ; what are they then to do ? They cannot
force a man to take stamps who chooses to do without them.
They will not find a rebellion ; they may indeed make one.
Q. If the act is not repealed, what do you think will be the
A. A total loss of the respect and affection the people of
America bear to this country, and of all the commerce that
on that respect and affection.
Q. How can the commerce be affected ?
A. You will find, that if the act is not repealed, they will
take very little of your manufactures in a short time.
Q. Is it in their power to do without them ?
A. I think they may very well do without them ?
Q. Is it their interest not to take them ?
A. The goods they take from
Britain are either necessaries,
mere conveniencies, or superfluities. The first, as cloth, &c.
with a little industry, they can make at home ; the second they
can do without, till they are able to provide them among
themselves ; and the last, which are much the greatest part,
they will strike off immediately. they are mere articles of
fashion, purchased and consumed, because the fashion in a re-
spected country, but will now be detested and rejected. The
people have already struck off, by general agreement, the use
of all goods fashionable in mournings, and many thousand
pounds worth are sent back as unsaleable.
Q. Is it in their interest to make cloth at home ?
A. I think they may at present get it cheaper from
I mean of the same fineness and neatness of
workmanship ; but
when one considers other circumstances, the restraints on their
trade, and the difficulty of making remittances, it is their
terest to make every thing.
Q. Suppose an act of internal regulations, connected with a
tax, how would they receive it ?
A. I think it would be objected to.
Q. Then no regulation with a tax would be submitted to ?
A. Their opinion is, that when aids to the Crown are want-
ed, they are to be asked of the several affemblies, according to
the old established usage, who will, as they always have done,
grant them freely. and that their money ought not to be
given away without their consent, by persons at a distance,
acquainted with their circumstances & abilities. The
ing aids to the Crown, is the only means they have of
mending themselves to their sovereign, and they think it
tremely hard and unjust, that abody of men, in which they
have no prepresentative should make a merit of itself of giving
and granting what is not its own, but theirs, and deprice them
of a right they esteem of the utmost value and importance, as
it is the security of all their other rights.
Q. But is not the post office, which they have long receiv-
ed, a tax as well as a regulation ?
A. No ; the money paid for the postage of a letter is not of
the nature of a tax ; it is merely a quantum meruit for a service
done; no person is compellable to pay the money, if he does
not chose to receive the service. A man may still, as before
the act, send his letter by a servant, a special messenger, or a
friend, if he thinks it cheaper and safer.
Q. But do they not consider the regualtions of the post-of-
fice, by the act of last year, as a tax ?
A. by the regulations of last year the rate of postage was
nerallly abated near thirty per cent. through all
America ; they
certainly cannot consider such abatement as a tax.
Q. If an excise was laid by parliament, which they might
likewise avoid by paying, by not consuming the article excised,
would they then not object to it ?
A. They would certainly object to it, as an excise unconnec-
ted with any service done, and is merely and aid which they
think ought to be asked of them, and granted by them, if they
are to pay it, and can be granted for them by no others what-
soever, whom they have not impowered for that purpose.
Q. You say they do not object to the right of parliament in
laying duties on goods to be paid on their importation ; now,
is there any kind of difference between a duty on the importa-
tion of goods, and an excise on their consumption.
A. Yes ; a very material one ; an excise, for the reasons I have
just mentioned, they think you can have no right ot lay within
their country. But the sea is yours ; you maintain, by your
fleets, the safety of navigation in it ; and keep it clear of pirates ;
you may have therefore a natural and equitable right to some
toll or duty on merchandizes carried throughout that part of
your dominions, towards defraying the expence you are at in
ships to maintain the safety of that carriage.
Q. Does this reasoning hold in the case of a duty laid on the
produce of their lands exported ? and would they not then
object to such a duty ?
A. If it tended to make the produce so much dearer abroad
as to lessen the deman for it, to be sure they would object to
such a duty ; not to your right of laying, but they would com-
plain of it as a burthen, and petition you to lighten it.
Q. Is not the duty paid on the tobacco exported a duty of
that kind ?
A. That, I think, is only on tobacco carried coastwise from
one Colony to another, and appropriated as a fund for support-
ing the college at
Q. Have not the assembles in the
West-Indies the same na-
tural rights with those in
Q. And is there not a tax laid on their sugars exported?
A. I am not much acquainted with the
West-Indies, but the
duty of four and a half per cent. on sugars exported, was, I
believe, granted by their own assemblies.
Q. How much is the poll-tax in your province laid on un-
married men ?
It is, I think, Fifteen Shillings, to be paid by every sin-
gle freeman, upwards of twenty-one years old.
Q. What is the annual amount of all the taxes in Pennsylvania
A. I suppose about 20,000 Pounds sterling.
Q. Supporting the stamp act continued, and enforced, do you
imagine that ill humour will induce the Americans to give as
much for worse manufactures of their own, and use them, pre-
ferable to better of ours ?
A. Yes I think so. People will pay as freely to gratify one
passion as another, their resentment as their pride.
Q. Would the people at
Boston discontinue their trade ?
A. The merchants are a very small number, compared with
the body of people, and must discontinue their trade, if no-
body will buy their goods.
Q. What are the body of people in the Colonies ?
A. They are farmers, husbandmen or planters.
Q. Would they suffer the produce of their lands to rot ?
A. No ; but they would not raise so much, they would
manufacture more, and plough less.
Q. Would they live without the administration of justice
in civil matters, and suffer all the inconveniencies of such a
situation for any considerable time, rather than take the stamps,
supposing the stamps were protected by a sufficient force, where
everyone might have them ?
A. I think the supposition impracticable, that the stamps
should be protected as that every one might have them. The act
requires sub-distributiors to be appointed in every country
town, district, and village, and they would be necassary. But
the principal distributors, who were to have had a considerable
profit on the whole, have not thought it worth while to conti-
nue in the office, and I think it impossible to find sub-distribut-
tors fit to be trusted, who, for the trifling profit that must come
to their share, would incur the odium, & run the hazard that
would attend it; and if they could be found, I think it
ble to protect the stamps in so many distant and remote places.
Q. But in places where they could be protected, would not
the people use them rather than remain in such a situation, un-
able to any right, or recover, by law, any debt ?
A. It is hard to say. what they would do. I can only judge
what other people will think, and how they will act, by what
I feel within myself. I have a great many debts due to me in
America, and I had rather they should remain unrecoverable
any law, than submit to the stamp-act. They will be debts of
honour. It is my opinion the people will either continue in
that situation, or find some way to extricate themselves, perhaps
by generally agreeing to proceed in the courts without stamps.
Q. What do you think a sufficient military force to protect
the distribution of the stamps in every part of
A. A very great force : I can't say what, if the disposition of
America is for a general resitance.
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.
Q. Why so ?
A. The greatest part of the money must arise from law suits
for the recovery of debts, and be paid by the lower sort of
people, who were too poor easily to pay their debts. It is
fore a heavy tax on the poor, & a tax upon them for being poor.
Q. But will not this increase of expence be a means of les-
sening the number of law suits.
A. I think not ; for as the costs all fall upon the debtor,
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
America with flax-seed for
A. I cannot speak to the number of ships, but I know that
in 1752, 10,000 hogsheads of flax-seed, each containing 7
bushels, were exported from
Ireland. I suppose
the quantity is greatly increased since that time ; and it is
derstood that the exportation from
New-York is equal to that
Q. What becomes of the flax that grows with that flaxseed ?
A. They manufacture some into coarse, and some into a
middling kind of linen.
Q. Are there any slitting mills in
A. I think there are, but I believe only one at present em-
ployed. I suppose they will as be set to work, if the
ruption of the trade continues.
Q. Are there any fulling mills there ?
A. A great many.
Q. Did you never hear that great quantity of stockings
mere contracted for the army during the war, and manu-
A. I have heard so.
Q. If the stamp-act should be repealed, would not the Ame-
ricans think they could oblige parliament to repeal every
external tax 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 mo-
tives of repealing the act ?
Q. I suppose they will think it was repealed from a
conviction of its inexpediency ; and they will rely upon it,
that while the same inexpediency subsists, you will never at-
tempt to make such another.
Q. What do you mean by inexpediency ?
A. I mean its inexpediency on several accounts ; the poverty
& inability of those who were to pay the tax ; the general
content it has occasioned,& the impracticability of enforcing it.
Q. If the act should be repealed, and the legislature should
shew its resentment to the opposers of the stamp-act, would
the Colonies acquiesce in the authority of the legistlature ?
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 inthe authority.
Q. But if the legislature should think fit to ascertain its
right to lay taxes, bu an 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 assem-
blies bace been very different from those of the mods, & 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 a
grain of ammunition, in order to such opposition.---The ring-
leaders 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 any inter-
nal tax, how small forever, laid by the legislature here on the
people there, while they have no representatives in this
ture, I think it will never be submitted to.---They will oppose it
to the last.---They do not consider it as at all necessary for you
to raise money on them by your taxes, because they are,& always
have been, ready to raise money by taxes among themselves,
and to grant large sums, equal to their abilities, upon requisi-
tion from the Crown.---They have not only granted equal to
their abilities, but, during all the last war, they have 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 parlia-
ment, in the most honourable manner, for them.
has been greatly misrepresented and abused here, in papers, and
pamphlets, and speeches, as ungreatful, 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 clotherd, near 25000 men during the
last war, a number equal to those sent from
Britain, and far
beyond their proportion ; they went deeply in debt in doing this,
and all their taxes and estates are mortgages, for many years
to come, for discharging that debt. Government here was at
that time sensible of this. The Colonies were recom-
mended 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 vigour with which his
North-America had exerted themselves,
defence of his Majesty's just rights and
ed it to the house to take the same into consideration, and
ble him to give them a proper compensatio. 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 bur-
then, did exceed their proportion,for if they had done less, or
had only equalled their proportion, there would have been no
room or reason for sompensation.--Indeed the sums reimburs-
ed them, were by no means adequate to the expence they
ed beyond their proportion ; but they never murmured at that ;
they esteemed their Sovereign's approbation of their zeal and
fidelity, 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 re-
fused 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
North-America contribute to the support of
A. I do think they would, as far as their circumstances would
permit. They consider themselves as a part of the British em-
pire, & as having one common interest with it ; they may be
looked on here as foreigners, by they do not consider them-
selves as such. They are zealous for the honour & 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
thagena, 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 distinc-
tion 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 de-
fence, or for the sake of the people of
America. I think it is
quite misunderstood. It began about the limits of
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 the right of trading in the
Indian country, a right you had by the treaty of
the French infringed ; they seized the traders and their goods,
which were your manufacture; they took a fort which a com-
pany of your merchants, and their factors and correspondents
had erected there, to secure that trade. Braddock was
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 attacked. 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, tho'
carried on in
America, is not an American interest. The people
are chiefly farmers and planters ; scarce any thing they raise or
produce is an artivle of commerce with the Indians. the In-
dian trade is a British interest ; it is carried on with British
manufactures, for the profit of British merchants and manu-
facturers ; therfore 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 con-
tributing 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 frontiers, is not an
American interest ?
A. Not perticularly, but conjointly a British and an Ame-
Q. You will not deny that the preceeding war, the war with
Spain, was entered into for the sake of
America ? Was it not
occasioned by captures made in American seas ?
A. Yes ; captures of ships carrying on the British trade
with British manufactures.
Q. Was not the late war with the Indians, since the peace
with France, a war for
America only ?
A. Yes ; it was rather a consequence for
America that the for-
mer, but it was rather a consequence or remains of the former
war, the Indians not having been thoroughly pacified, and the
Americans bore by much the greatest share of the expence. It
was put an end to by the army under General Bouquet ;
were not above 300 regular in that army, and above 1000
Q. Is it not necessary to send troops to
America, to defend
Americans against the Indians ?
A. No, by no means l it never was necessary. they de-
fended themselves when they were but a handful, and the
dians much more numerous. They
continually gained ground,
and have driven the Indians over the mountains, with any
troops sent to their assistance from this country. And can it
be thought necesaary now to send troops for their defence from
those diminishing Indian tribes, when the Colonies are become
so populous, and so strong ? There is not the least occasion for
it ; they are very able to defend themselves.
Q. Do you say there were no more than 300 regular troops
employed in the late Indian war ?
A. Not on the Ohio, or the frontiers of
was the chief part of the war that affected theColonies. There
were garrisons at
Fort Detroit, and those remote posts
kept for the sake of your trade ; I did not reckon them, but I
believe that on the whole the number of Americans, or pro-
vincial troops, employed in the late war, was greater than that of
the regulars. I am not certain, but I think so.
Q. Do you think the assemblies have a right to levy money
on the subject there, to grant to the crown ?
A. I certainly think so ; they have always done it.
Q. Are they acquainted with the declaration of rights ? and
do they know that, by that statute, money is not to be raised
on the subject but by consent of parliament ?
A. They are well acquainted with it.
Q. How then can they think they have a right to levy mo-
ney for the Crown, or for any other than local purposes ?
A. They understand that clause to relate to subjects only
within the realm ; that no money can be leveied on them for
the Crown, but by consent of parliament. The Colonies are
not supposed to be within the realm ; they have assemblies of
their own, which are their parliaments, and they are in that
respect in the same situation with
Ireland. When money is to
be raised for the Crown upon the Subject in
Ireland, or in the
Colonies, the consent is given in the parliament of
in the Assemblies of the Colonies. They think the parliament
Great-Britain cannot properly give than
consent till it has
America ; for the petition of right expressly
says, it is to be by common consent in parliament, and the
America have no representatives in parliament, to
make a part of that common consent.
Q. If the stamp-act should be repealed, and an act should
pass, ordering the assemblies to indemnify the sufferers by the
riots, would they obey it ?
A. That is a question I cannot answer.
Q. Suppose the King should require the Colonies to grant a
revenue, and the parliament shoud be against their doing it,
think they can grant a revenue to the King, with-
out the consent of the parliament of
A. That is a deep question.----As to my own opinion, I
should think myself at liberty to do it, and should do it, if I
like the occasion.
Q. When money has been raised in the Colonies upon re-
quisitions, has it not been granted to the King ?
A. Yes, always ; but the requisitions have generally been
for some service expressed, as to raise, cloath, and pay troops,
and not for money only.
Q. If the act should pass, requiring the American assemblies
to make compensation to the suffereres, and they should disobey
it, and then the parliament should by another act, lay an in-
ternal tax, would they then obey it ?
A. The people will pay no internal tax ; and I think an act
to oblige the assemblies to make compensation it unnecessary,
for I am of opinion, that as soon as the present heats are abated
they will take the matter into consideration, and if it is right
to be done, they will do it of themselves.
Q. Do not letter often come into the post-office in
directed to some inland town were no post goes ?
Q. Can any private person take up those letters, and carry
them as directed ?
A. Yes ; any friend of the person may do it paying the postage that has
Q. But must he not pay an additional postage for the distance
to such inland town ?
Q. Can the post-master answer delivering the letter, without
being paid such additional postage ?
A. Certainly he can demand nothing, where he does no service.
Q. Suppose a person,being far from home, finds a letter in a
post-office directed to him, and he lives in a place to which the
post general goes, and the letter is directed to that place, will
the post-master deliver him the letter, without his paying the
postage receivable at the place to which the letter is directed ?
A. Yes, the office cannot demand postage for a letter that
it does not carry, or farther than it does carry it.
Q. Are not ferrymen in
America obliged, by act of parlia-
ment, to carry of the posts without pay ?
Q. Is not this a tax on the ferrymen ?
A. they do not consider it as such, as they have an advan-
tage from persons trevelling with the post.
Q. If the stamp-act should be repealed, and the Crown should
make a requisition to the Colonies for a sum of money, would
they grant it ?
A. I believe they would.
Q. Why do you think so ?
A. I can speak for the Colony I live in ; I had it in
tion from the assembly to assure the ministry, that as they
ways had done, so they should always think it their duty to
grant such aids to the Crown as were suitable to their circum-
stance and abilities, whenever called upon for that purpose,
in the usual constitututional manner ; and I had the honor of
communicating this instruction to that honorable gentleman
Q,. Would thye do this for a British concern ; as suppose a
war in some part of
Europe, that did not affect them ?
A. Yes, for anything that concerned the general interest.
they consider themselves as a part of the whole.
Q. What is the usual constitutional manner of calling on
the Colonies for aids?
A. A letter from the secretary of state.
Q. Is this all you mean, a letter from the secretary fo state ?
A. I mean the usual way of requisistion, in a circular letter
from the secretary of state, by his
Majesty's command, reciting
the occasion, & recommending it to the Colonies to grant such
aids as become their loyalty, and were suitable to their abilities.
Q. Did the secretary of state ever write for money for theCrown ?
A. The requisitions have been raise, clother and pay men,
which cannot be done without money.
Q. Would they grant money alone, if called on ?
A. In my opinion they would, money as well as men, when
they have money, or can make it.
Q.If the parliament should repeal the stamp-act, will the
Pennsylvania rescind their resolutions ?
A, I think not.
Q. Before there was any thought of the stamp-act, did they
wish for a representation in parliament ?
Q. Don't you know that there is, in the
an express reservation of the right of parliament to lay taxes there?
A. I know there is a clause in the charter, by which the King
grants that he will levy no taxes on the inhabitants,unless it be
with the consent of the assembly, or by act of parliament.
Q. How then could the assembly of
that laying a tax on them by the stamp-act was an infringement of
their rights ?
A. They understand it thus ; by the same charter, and other-
wise, they are intitles to all the privileges and liberties of
lishmen ; they find in the great charters, and the petition and
declaration of rights, that one of the privileges of English
jects is, that they are not to be taxed by their common
sent; they have therefore relied
upon it, from the first settlement
of the province, that the parliament never would, nor could, by
colour of that clause in the charter, assume a right of taxing
them, till it had qualified itself to exercise such right, by
mitting representatives from the people to be taxed, who ought
to make a part of that common consent.
Q. Are there any words in the Charter that justify that
A. the common rights of Englishmen, as delcared by Mag-
na Charta, and the petition of right, all justify it.
Q. Does the distinction between internal and enternal 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 arguements 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 possi-
bly 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 Coloneis.
By the taxes they mean internal taxes ; by duties they mean cus-
toms ; these are their ideas of language.
Q. Have you not seen the resolutions of the
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 parlia-
ment can hold neither ?
A. I suppose that by the work imposition, they do not intend
to express duties to be laid on goods imported, as regulations
Q. What can the Colonies mean then by impositions 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 there are not properly taxes.
Q. Is not the post-office rate an internal tax laid by act of
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 jusges of what fa-
vours 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 the
nufacture 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
Virginia went generally into family manufactures.
terwards, when tobacco bore a better price, they returned to the
use of British manufactures. So fulling mills were very much
used in the last war in
Pennsylvania, because bills were then plen-
ty, and remittance could easily be made to
Britain for English cloth
and other goods.
Q. If the stamp act should be repealed, would it induce the
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 no power on earth that can force them to erase them ?
A. No power, how great foever, can force men to change their
Q. Do they consider the post-office as a tax, or as regulation ?
A. Not as a tax, but as a regulation and conveniency ; every
sembly encouraged it, and supported it in its infancy, by grants of
money, which they would not otherwise have done ; and the peo-
ple have always paid the postage.
Q. When did you receive the instructions you mentioned ?
A. I brought them with me, when I came to
15 months since.
Q. When did you communicate that instruction to the minister ?
A. Soon after my arrival, while the stamping of
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. Is tobacco to be sure.
Q. What used to be the pride of the Americans ?
A. To indulge in the fashions and manufactures of
Q. What is now their pride ?
A. To wear their old cloaths over again, till they can make new