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"A Circulatory Letter, directed to the Speakers of the respective Houses of Representatives and Burgesses on this Continent ... February 11, 1768"

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A circulatory Letter, directed to the Speakers of the
respective Houses of Representatives and Burgesses on
this Continent ; a Copy of which was also sent to
Dennis DeBerdt, Esq; their Agent, by Order of the
House, that he might make use of it, if necessary, to
prevent any Misrepresentations of it in England.

Province of the Massachusetts-Bay, February 11. 1768.

SIR,

THE House of Representatives of this Province have taken into
their serious consideration the great difficulties that must
accrue to themselves and their constituents by the operation of several
acts of Parliament imposing duties and taxes on the American
colonies.

As it is a subject in which every colony is deeply interested, they
have no reason to doubt but your House is duly impressed with its
importance, and that such consitutional measures will become into
as are proper. It seems to be necessary, that all possible care should

be taken, that the representations of the several assemblies, upon so
delicate a point, should harmonize with each other : The House,
therefore hope that this letter will be candidly considered in no other
light than as expressing a disposition freely to communicate their
mind to a sister colony, upon a common concern, in the same
manner as they would be glad to receive the sentiments of your or
any other House of Assembly on the continent.

The House have humbly represented to the Ministry their own
sentiments : That his Majesty's high Court of Parliament is the su-
preme legislative power over the whole empire: That in all free
States the constitution is fixed ; and as the supreme legislative derives
its power and authority from the constitution, it cannot overleap
the bounds of it, without destroying its own foundation: That the
constitution ascertains and limits both sovereignty and allegiance,
and therefore his Majesty's American subjects, who acknowledge
themselves bound by the ties of allegiance, have an equitable claim,
to the full enjoyment of the fundamental rules of the British con-
stitution: That it is an essential unalterable right in nature, ingrafted
into the British constitution, as a fundamental law, and ever held
sacred and irrevokable by the subjects within the realm, that what
a man hath honestly acquired is absolutely his own, which he may
freely give, but cannot be taken from him without his consent :
That the American subjects may therefore, exclusive of any consi-
deration of charter rights, with a decent firmness, adapted to the
character of free men and subjects, assert this natural, constitutional
right.

It is, moreover, their humble opinion, which they express with
the greatest deference to the wisdom of the Parliament, that the Acts
made there, imposing Duties on the people of this province, with the
sole and express purpose of raising a revenue, are infringements of
their natural and constitutional rights, because, as they are not re-
presented in the British Parliament, his Majesty's Commons in
Britain, by those Acts, grant their property without their consent.

This House further are of opinion, that their constituents, con-
sidering their local circumstances, cannot by any possibility be re-
presented in the Parliament ; and that it will forever be impracti-
cable, that they should be equally represented there ; and conse-
quently not at all ; being sperated by an ocean of a thousand
leagues: That his Majesty's royal predecessors, for this reason, were
graciously pleased to form a subordinate legislative here, that their
subjects might enjoy the unalienable right of a representation ; Also,
that considering the utter impracticability of their ever being fully
and equally represented in Parliament, and the great expence that
must unavoidably attend even a partial representation there, this
House think that a taxation of their constituents, even without their
consent, grievous as it is, would be preferable to any representa-
tion that could be admitted for them there.

Upon these principles, and also considering, that were right
in the Parliament ever so clear, yet, for obvious reasons, it would
be beyond the rules of equity, that their constituents should be
taxed, on the manufactures of Great-Britain here, in addition to
the duties they pay for them in England, and other advantages
arising to Great-Britain from the acts of trade, this House have
preferred a humble, dutiful and loyal petition to our most gracious
Sovereign, and made such representations to his Majesty's Ministers,
as they apprehended would tend to obtain redress.

They have also submitted to consideration, whether any people
can be said to enjoy any degree of freedom, if the Crown, in addi-
tion to its undoubted authority of constituting a Governor, should
appoint him such a stipend as it shall judge proper, without the con-
sent of the people and at their expence: And whether, while the
Judges of the land and other civil officers hold not their commissions
during good behavior, their having salaries appointed for them by
the Crown, independent of the people, hath not a tendency to sub-
vert the principles of equity, and endanger the happiness and secu-
rity of the subject.

In addition to these measures, the House have wrote a letter to
their agent, Mr. DeBerdt, the sentiments of which he is directed to
lay before the Ministry ; wherein they take notice of the hardship
of the Act for preventing mutiny and desertion ; which requires the
Governor and Council to provide enumerated articles for the King's
marching troops, and the people to pay the expence: And also the
commission of the Gentlemen appointed Commissioners of theCustoms
to reside in America, which authorizes them to make as many ap-
pointments as they think fit, and to pay the appointees what sums
they please, for whose mal-conduct they are not accountable : from
whence it may happen, that officers of the Crown may be multiplied
to such a degree, as to become dangerous to the Liberty of the
people, by virture of a commission which doth not appear to this
House to derive any such advantages to trade as many have been
led to expect.

These are the sentiments and proceedings of this House: And as
they have too much reason to believe that the enemies of the Co-
lonies have represented them to his Majesty's Ministers and the par-
liament as factious, disloyal, and having a disposition to make them-
selves independent of the Mother Country, they have taken occa-
sion, in the most humble terms, to assure his Majesty and his Mini-
sters, that with regard to the people of this Province, and, as they
doubt not, of all the Colonies, that the charge is unjust.

The House is fully satisfied, that your Assembly is too generous
and enlarged in sentiment to believe that this letter proceeds from
an ambition of taking the lead, or dictating to the other Assemblies:
They freely submit their opinion to the judgement of others ; and
shall take it kind in your House, to point out to them any thing
further that may be thought necessary.

This House cannot conclude, without expressing their firm con-
fidence in the King, our common head and father, that the united
and dutiful supplications of his distressed American subjects will
meet with his royal and favorable acceptance.

Signed by the Speaker.