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Have no more any part in this detestable business. Instantly leave it to those unfeeling wretches, who
Laugh at human nature and compassion ! Be you a man, not a wolf, a devourer of the human species ! Be merciful, that you may
mercy! 5. And this equally concerns every gentleman that has an estate in our American plantations; yea, all slave holders, of whatever rank and degree; seeing men buyers are exactly on a level with men stealers. Indeed you say, “ I pay honestly for my goods; and I am not concerned to know how they are come by.” Nay, but you are ; you are deeply concerned to know they are honestly come by. Otherwise you are a partaker with a thief. and are not a jot honester than him." But you know they are not honestly come by; you know they are procured by means nothing near so innocent as picking of pockets, house breaking, or robbery upon the highway. You know they are procured by a deliberate series of more complicated villany (of fraud, robbery, and murder) than was ever practised either by Mohammedans or Pagans; in particular, by murders, of all kinds ; by the blood of the innocent poured upon the ground like water. Now, it is your money that pays the merchant, and through him the captain and the African butchers. You therefore are guilty, yea, principally guilty, of all these frauds, robberies, and murders. You are the spring that puts all the rest in motion; they would not stir a step without you; therefore, the blood of all these wretches who die before their time, whether in their country or elsewhere, lies upon your head." The blood of thy brother” (for, whether thou wilt believe it or no, such he is in the sight of Him that made him) “crieth against thee from the earth,” from the ship, and from the waters. 0, whatever it costs, put a stop to its cry before it be too late : instantly, at any price, were it the half of your goods, deliver thyself from blood guiltiness! Thy hands, thy bed, thy furniture, thy house, thy lands, are at present stained with blood. Surely it is enough ; accumulate no more guilt; spill no more the blood of the innocent! Do not hire another to shed blood; do not pay him for doing it! Whether you are a Christian or no, show yourself a man! Be not more savage than a lion or a bear!
6. Perhaps you will say, "I do not buy any negroes; I only us those left me by my father.” So far is well; but is it enough to satisfy your own conscience? Had your father, have you, has any man living, a right to use another as a slave? It cannot be, even setting Revelation aside. It cannot be, that either war, or contract, can give any man such a property in another as he has in his sheep and oxen. Much less is it possible that any child of man should ever be born a slave. Liberty is the right of every human creature, as soon as he breathes the vital air; and no human law can deprive him of that right which he derives from the law of nature.
If, therefore, you have any regard to justice, (to say nothing of mercy, aor the revealed law of God,) render unto all their due.
Give liberty to whom liberty is due, that is, to every child of man, to every partaker of human nature. Let none serve you but by his own act and deed, by his own voluntary choice. Away with all whips, all chains, all com
pulsion! Be gentle toward all men; and see that you invariably do unto every one as you would he should do unto you. i 7. O thou God of love, thou who art loving to every man, and whose mercy is over all thy works; thou who art the Father of the spirits of all flesh, and who art rich in mercy unto all; thou who hast mingled of one blood all the nations upon earth; have compassion upon these outcasts of men, who are trodden down as dung upon the earth! Arise, and help these that have no helper, whose blood is spilt upon the ground like water! Are not these also the work of thine own hands, the purchase of thy Son's blood ? Stir them up to cry unto thee in the land of their captivity; and let their complaint come up before thee; let it enter into thy ears! Make even those that lead them away captive to pity them, and turn their captivity as the rivers in the south. O burst thou all their chains in sunder; more especially the chains of their sins ! Thou Saviour of all, make them free, that they may be free indeed!
The servile progeny of Ham
Seize as the purchase of thy blood !
From idols to the living God
A CALM ADDRESS
TO OUR AMERICAN COLONIES.
Ne, pueri, ne tanta animis assuescite bella,
Neu patriæ validas in viscera vertite vires.–VIRGIL. (Nay, O sons, familiarize not to your minds such wars, nor turn your country's
valiant strength upon her own bowels.]
(PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1775.)
TO THE READER.
I was of a different judgment on this head, till I read a tract, entitled, u Taxation no Tyranny. But as soon as I received more light myself, I judged it my duty to impart it to others. I therefore extracted the chief arguments from that treatise, and added an application to those whom it most concerns. I was well aware of the treatment this would bring upon myself; but let it be, so I may in any degree serve my king and country.
A late tract, wrote in answer to this, is wrote in just such a spirit as I expected. It is strewed over with such flowers as these : “ Contemptible sophistry! Fallacious to the last degree! Childish quirks! Pitiful sophisms!" with strong assertions, repeated over and over, and with florid quotations. But all the arguments which are produced therein, may be contained in a nut shell.
The writer* asserts twenty times, “He that is taxed without his own consent, that is, without being represented, is a slave." I answer, No; I have
*Or writers. For I am informed by a correspondent in Bristol, that this letter was wrote by two Anabaptist ministers, assisted by a gentleman and a tradesman of the Church of England.
no representative in parliament; but I am taxed; yet I am no slave. Yea, nine in ten throughout England have no representative, no vote ; yet they are no slaves ; they enjoy both civil and religious liberty to the utmost extent.
He replies, “ But they may have votes if they will; they may purchase freeholds." What! Can every man in England purchase a freehold? No, not one in a hundred. But, be that as it may, they have no vote now; yet they are no slaves, they are the treest men in the whole world.
• Who then is a slave ?” Look into America, and you may easily see. See that negro, fainting under the load, bleeding under the lash! He is a slave. And is there “ no difference" between him and his master ? Yes; the one is screaming, “ Murder! Slavery!" the other silently bleeds and dies !
“But wherein then consists the difference between liberty and slavery ?" Herein: You and I, and the English in general, go where we will, and enjoy the fruit of our labours: this is liberty. The negro does not : this is slavery.
Is not then all this outcry about liberty and slavery mere rant, and playing upon words?
This is a specimen of this writer's arguments. Let us just touch upon his quotations :
“ All the inhabitants of England,” says the fanciful Montesquieu, as one terms him,“ have a right of voting at the election of a representative, except such as are so mean, as to be deemed to have no will of their own !” Nay, if all have a right to vote that have a will of their own, certainly this right belongs to every man, woman, and child in England.
One quotation more : "Judge Blackstone says, . In a free state, every man who is supposed to be a free agent ought to be in some measure his own governor.' Therefore, one branch, at least, of the legislative power should reside in the whole body of the people.” But who are the whole body of the people? According to him, every free agent. Then the argument proves too much. For are not women free agents? Yea, and poor as well as rich men. According to this argument, there is no free state under the sun.
The book which this writer says I so strongly recommend, I never yet saw with my eyes. And the words which he says I spoke, never came out of my lips. But I really believe, he was told so.
I now speak according to the light I have. But if any one will give me more light, I will be thankful
BRETHREN AND Countrymen,-1. The grand question which is now debated, (and with warmth enough on both sides,) is this, Has the English parliament a right to tax the American colonies ?
In order to determine this, let us consider the nature of our colonies. An English colony is, a number of persons to whom the king grants a charter, permitting them to settle in some far country as a corporation, enjoying such powers as the charter grants, to be administered in such a manner as the charter prescribes. As a corporation they make laws for themselves; but as a corporation subsisting by a grant from higher authority, to the control of that authority they still continue subject.
Considering this, nothing can be more plain, than that the supreme power in England has a legal right of laying any tax upon them for any end beneficial to the whole empire.
2. But you object, “ It is the privilege of a freeman and an Englishman to be taxed only by his own consent. And this consent is given for every man by his representatives in parliament. But we have no representatives in parliament. Therefore we ought not to be taxed thereby."
I answer, This argument proves too much. If the parliament cannot tax you because you have no representation therein, for the same reason it can make no laws to bind you. If a-freeman cannot be taxed without his own consent, neither can he be punished without it; for whatever holds with regard to taxation, holds with regard to all other laws. Therefore he who denies the English parliament the power of taxation, denies it the right of making any laws at all. But this power over the colonies you have never disputed; you have always admitted statutes for the punishment of offences, and for the preventing or redressing of inconveniences; and the reception of any law draws after it, by a chain which cannot be broken, the necessity of admitting taxation.
3. But I object to the very foundation of your plea: That “every freeman is governed by laws to which he has consented:” as confidently as it has been asserted, it is absolutely false. In wide-extended dominions, a very small part of the people are concerned in making laws. This, as all public business, must be done by delegation; the delegates are chosen by a select number. And those that are not electors, who are far the greater part, stand by, idle and helpless spectators.
The case of electors is little better. When they are near equally divided, in the choice of their delegates to represent them in the parliament or national assembly, almost half of them must be governed, not only without, but even against, their own consent.
And how has any man consented to those laws which were made before he was born Our consent to these, nay, and to the laws now made even in England, is purely passive. And in every place, as all men are born the subjects of some state or other, so they are born, passively, as it were, consenting to the laws of that state. Any other than this kind of consent, the condition of civil life does not allow.
4. But you say, you “are entitled to life, liberty, and property by nature ; and that you have never ceded to any sovereign power the right to dispose of these without your consent.”
While you speak as the naked sons of nature, this is certainly true. But you presently declare, “ Our ancestors, at the time they settled these colonies, were entitled to all the rights of natural-born subjects within the realm of England.” This likewise is true ; but when this is granted, the boast of original rights is at an end. You are no longer in a state of nature, but sink down into colonists, governed by a charter. If your ancestors were subjects, they acknowledged a sovereign ; if they had a right to English privileges, they were accountable to English laws, and had ceded to the king and parliament the power of disposing, without their consent, of both their lives, liberties, and properties. And did the parliament cede to them a dispensation from the obedience which they owe as natural subjects ? or any degree of independence, not enjoyed by other Englishmen?
5. “ They did not” indeed, as you observe, “by emigration forfeit any of those privileges; but they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to all such as their circumstances enable them to enjoy."
That they who form a colony by a lawsul charter, forfeit no privilege thereby, is certain. But what they do not forfeit by any judicial sentence, they may lose by natural effects. When a man voluntarily comes into America, he may lose what he had when in Europe. Perhaps he had a right to vote for a knight or burgess; by crossing the sea he did not forfeit this right. But it is plain, he has made the exercise of it no longer possible. He has reduced himself from a voter to one of the innumerable multitude that have no votes.
6. But you say, “ As the colonies are not represented in the British parlia. ment, they are entitled to a free power of legislation. For they inherit all the right which their ancestors had of enjoying all the privileges of Eng. lishmen."
They do inherit all the privileges which their ancestors had; but they can inherit no more. Their ancestors left a country where the representatives of the people were elected by men particularly qualified, and where those who wanted that qualification were bound by the decisions of men whom they had not deputed. You are the descendants of men who either had no votes, or resigned them by emigration. You have therefore exactly what your ancestors left you ; not a vote in making laws, nor in choosing legislators; but the happiness of being protected by laws, and the duty of obeying them.
What your ancestors did not bring with them, neither they nor their descendants have acquired. They have not, by abandoning their right in one legislature, acquired a right to constitute another; any more than the multitudes in England who have no vote, have a right to erect a parliament for themselves.
7. However, the “colonies have a right to all the privileges granted them by royal charters, or secured to them by provincial laws."
The first clause is allowed : They have certainly a right to all the privileges granted them by royal charters ; provided those privileges be consistent with the British constitution. But as to the second there is a doubt: provincial laws may grant privileges to individuals of the province; but surely no province can confor provincial privileges on itself! They have a right to all which the king has given them; but not to all which they have given themselves.
A corporation can no more assume to itself privileges which it had not before, than a man can, by his own act and deed, assume titles or dignities. The legislature of a colony may be compared to the vestry of a large parish, which may lay a cess on its inhabitants, but still regulated by the law, and which, whatever be its internal expenses, is still liable to taxes laid by superior authority.
8. But whereas I formerly allowed, “ If there is, in the charter of any colony, a clause exempting them from taxes for ever, then they have a right to be so exempted;" I allowed too much. For to say, that the king can grant an exemption from the power of parliament, is saying in other words, that one branch of the legislature can grant away the power of the others. This is so far from being true, that if there is, in the charter of any colony, a clause exempting them from taxes for ever, yet, unless it were confirmed by an act of the whole legislature, that clause is void in itself. The king (to use the phrase of the law) was “ deceived in his grant,” as having given that which he had no right to bestow.
Of all these charters, then, it may be said, either they do contain such a clause, or they do not. If they do not, the plea of charter-exemption drops. If they do, although the charter itself stands good, yet that clause of it is null and void, as being contrary to the principles of the British constitution.
9. Give me leave to add a few words on this head : The following