Page images

all the gentle arts of peace and humanity, shall establish her mild dominion in this western world, and erect eternal monuments to the memory of those yırtuous patriots and martyrs, who shall have fought and bled and suffered in her cause.

Accept our most grateful acknowledgments for the friendly disposition you have always shewn towards us. We know that you are not without your grievances. . We sympathize with you in your distress, and are pleased to find that the design of subjugating us, has persuaded administration to dispense to Ireland, some vagrant rays of ministerial sunshine. Even the tender mer: cies of government have long been cruel towards you. In the rich pastures of Ireland, many hungry parricides have fed, and grown strong to labour in its destruction. We hope the patient abiding of the meek may not always be forgotten; and God grant that the iniquitous schemes of extirpating liberty from the British empire may be soon defeated. But we should be wanting to ourselves—we should be perfidious to posterity—we should be unworthy that ancestry from which we derive our descent, shopl.d we submit, with folded arms, to military butchery and depredation, to gratify the lordly ambition, or sate the avarice of a British ministry. In defence of our persons and proper: ties, under actual violation, we have taken up arms; when that violence shall be removed, and hostilities cease on the part of the aggressors, they shall cease on our part also.--For the achievement of this happy event, we confide in the good offices of our fellow-subjects beyond the Atlantic. Of their friendly disposition, we do not yet despond; aware, as they must be, that they have nothing more to expect from the same common enemy, than the humble favour of being last devoured.

Adjourned till to-morrow at eight o’clock.

SATURDAY, July 29, 1775.

Met according to adjournment. The Congress resumed the consideration of the report from the committee of the whole, and came to the following resolution: Resolved, That the pay of the commissary-general of musters be forty dollars per month. Deputy commissary-general of stores and provisions, sixty dollars per ditto. Deputy adjutant-general, fifty dollars per do. Deputy muster-master-general, forty dollars per do. Brigade-major, thirty-three dollars per do, Commissary of artillery, thirty dollars per do. Judge advocate, twenty dollars per do. Colonel, fifty dollars per do. Lieutenant-colonel, forty dollars per do. Major, thirty-three dollars and one-third per do. Captain, twenty dollars per do. Lieutenant, thirteen dollars and one-third per do. Ensign, ten dollars per do. Serjeant, eight dollars per do. Corporal, drummer, and fifer, each seven dollars and one-third per do. Private, six dollars and two-thirds per do. Adjutant, eighteen dollars and one-third per do. Quarter-master, eighteen dollars and one-third per do. Chaplain, twenty dollars per do. That the pay of the light-infantry be the same as that in the regiment from 8. o to a private, both inclusive. That in the artillery, the pay of a captain be twenty-six dollars and twothirds per month. Captain-lieutenant, twenty dollars per do. VoI. I. 17

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Lieutenants, first and second, eighteen dollars and one-third per do. Lieutenant fireworker, thirteen dollars and one-third per do. Serjeant, eight dollars and one-third per do. Corporal, seven dollars and a half per month. , Bombardier, seven dollars per do. Matross, six dollars and five-sixths of a dollar per do. That the appointment of provost-martial, waggon-master, and master carpenter, be left to the commander in chief of the army, who is to fix their pay, having regard to the pay they receive in the ministerial army, and the proportion that the pay of the officers in said army bears to the pay of our officers. William Tuder, esq. was elected judge advocate of the army. Resolved, That Mo Hillegas, and George Clymer, esqrs, be joint treasurers of the United Colonies: that the treasurers reside in Philadelphia, and that they shall give bond, with surety, for the faithful performance of their of. fice, in the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, to John Hancock, Henry Middleton, John Dickinson, John Alsop, Thomas Lynch, Richard Henry Lee, and James Wilson, esqrs. and the survivor of them, in trust for the United Colonies. That the provincial assemblies or conventions do each choose a treasurer for their respective colonies, and take sufficient security for the faithful performance of the trust. That each colony provide ways and means to sink its proportion of the bills ordered to be ...] by this Congress, in such manner as may be most effectual and best adapted to the condition, circumstances, and equal mode of levying taxes in such colony. That the proportion or quota of each colony be determined according to the number of inhabitants, of all ages, including negroes and mulattoes in each colony; but, as this cannot, at present, be ascertained, that the quotas of the several colonies be settled for the present, as follows, to undergo a revision and correction, when the list of each colony is obtained.


New-Hampshire, 1240.69% Pennsylvania, 372208; Massachusetts-Bay, 434244 Delaware, 87219% Rhode-Island, 71959; Maryland, 3101743 Connecticut, / 248.189 Virginia, 496278 New-York, 248.139 || North-Carolina, 248.139 New-Jersey, 161290} | South-Carolina, 24,8139 ——3,000,000

That each colony pay its respective quota in four equal annual payments, the first payment to be made on or before the last day of November, which will be in the year of our Lord, 1779; the second, on or before the last day of November, 1780; the third, on or before the last day of November, 1781; and the fourth or last, on or before the last day of November, 1782; and that for this end, the several provincial assemblies, or conventions, provide for laying and levying taxes in their respective provinces or colonies, towards sinking the continental bills: that the said bills be received by the collectors in payment of such taxes, and be by the collectors paid into the hands of the provincial trea; surers, with all such other monies as they may receive in lieu of the continental bills, which other monies the said provincial treasurer shall endeavor to get exchanged for continental bills, and where that cannot be done, shall send to the continental treasurers the deficiency in silver or gold, with the bills making up the quota to be sunk in that year, taking care to cut, by a circular punch, P an inch-diameter, an hole in each bill, and to cross the same, thereby to render them unpassable, though the sum or value is to remain, fairly legible: And the continental treasurers, as fast as they receive the said quotas; shall, with the assistance of a committee of five persons, to be appointed by the Congress, if sitting, or by the assembly or convention of the province of Pennsylvania, examine and count the continental bills, and in the presence of the said committee, burn and destroy them. ... And the silver and gold sent them to make up the deficiencies of quotas, they shall retain in their hands until demanded in redemption of continental bills, that may be brought to them for that purpose, which bills so redeemed, they shall also burn and destroy in presence of the said committee. And the said treasurers, whenever they have silver or gold in their hands for the redemption of continental bills, shall advertise the same, signifying that he is ready to give silver or gold for such bills, to all persons requiring it in exchange. g The provincial treasurers and collectors are to have such allowances for their respective services, as shall be directed by the several assemblies or conventions, to be paid by their respective province or colony, That the continental treasurers be allowed for their service this year, five hundred dollars each. Itesolved, That the pay-master general, commissary general, quarter-master general, and every of their deputies, shall take an oath, truly and faithfully to discharge the duties of their respective stations. *. Ordered, That the continental treasurers do pay to colonel William Thompson, or his order, five thousand dollars, on account, being by advance for the service of a battalion of riflemen under his command. to Resolved, That this Congress will, as soon as the public business permits, adjourn to the fifth of September next. o, Resolved, That the Congress will, on Monday next, consider of the state of trade, after the tenth of next September. Mr. M'Kean, from the committee, reported the form of a bond, to be given by the joint continental treasurers. Ordered, That the said committee do inspect into the sufficiency of the Sureties. Adjourned till Monday at eight o’clock.

MONDAY, July 31, 1775.

Met according to adjournment. .

The Congress took into consideration the report of the committee on the resolve of the house of commons, and the same being debated by paragraphs, was agreed to as follows:

The several assemblies of New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, having referred to the Congress a resolution of the house of Commons of Great-Britain, which resolution is in these words.: t

LUNAs, 20° Die Feb. 1775.

“The house in a committee on the American papers. Motion made, and question proposed :

“That it is the opinion of this committee, that when the general council and assembly, or general court of any of his majesty’s provinces, or colonies in America, shall propose to make provision, according to the condition, circumstance, or situation of such province or colony, for contributing their proportion to the common defence (such proportion to be raised under the authority of the general court, or general assembly of such province or colony, and disposable by parliament) and shall engage to make provision also, for the support of the civil #o and the administration of justice in such province or colony, it will be proper, if such proposal shall be approved by his majesty, and the two houses of parliament, and for so long as such provision shall be made accordingly, to forbear in respect to such province or colony, to lay any duty, tax, or *śsessment, or to impose any farther duty, tax, or assessment, except only such duties as it may be expedient to continue to levy or impose, for the regulation of commerce; the net produce or the duties last mentioned to be carried to the account of such province or colony respectively.”

[ocr errors]

F. Congress took the said resolution into consideration, and are thereupon, OI Opinion, That the colonies of America are entitled to the sole and exclusive privi; lege of giving and granting their own money : that this involves a right of deliberating whether they will make any gift, for what purposes it shall be made, and what shall be its amount; and that it is a high breach of this privilege for any body of men, extraneous to their constitutions, to prescribe the purposes for which money shall be levied on them, to take to themselves the authority of judging of their conditions, circumstances, and situations, and of determining the amount of the contribution to be levied. That as the colonies possess a right of appropriating their gifts, so are they entitled at all times to enquire into their application, to see that they be not wasted among the venal and corrupt for the purpose of undermining the civil rights of the givers, nor yet be diverted to the support of standing armies, inconsistent with their freedom and subversive of their quiet. To propose, therefore, as this resolution does, that the moneys given by the colonies shall be subject to the disposal of parliament alone, is to propose that they shall relinquish this right of inquiry, and put it in the power of others to render their gifts ruinous, in proportion as they are liberal. . That this privilege of giving or of withholding our moneys, is an important barrier against the undue exertion of prerogative, which, if left altogether without controul, may be exercised to our great oppression; and all history, shows how efficacious is its intercessions for redress of grievances and re-establishi. of rights, and how inprovident it would be to part with so powerful a meiator. We are of opinion that the proposition contained in this resolution is unreasonable and insidious : Unreasonable, because, if we declare we accede to it, we declare, without reservation, we will purchase the favour of parliament, not knowing at the same time at what price they will please to estimate their favour; it is insidious, because, individual colonies, having bid and bidden again, till they find the avidity of the seller too great for all their powers to satisfy ; are then to return into opposition, divided from their sister colonies whom the minister will have previously detached by a grant of easier terms, or by an artful procrastination of a definitive answer. o That the suspension of the exercise of their pretended power of taxation being expressly made commensurate with the continuance of our gifts, these must be perpetual to make that so. Whereas no experience has shewn that a gift of perpetual revenue secures a perpetual return of duty or of kind disposition. On the contrary, the parliament itself, wisely attentive to this observation, are in the established practice of granting their supplies from year to ear only. o y Boi. and determined, as we are, to consider, in the most dispassionate view, every seeming advance towards a reconciliation made by the British parliament, let our brethren of Britain reflect, what would have been the saorifice to men of free spirits, had even fair terms been proffered, as these insidious proposals were with circumstances of insult and defiance: A Proposition to give our money, accompanied with large fleets and armies, see. addressed to our fears rather than to our freedom. "With what patience would. Britons have received articles of treaty from any power on earth when borne on the point of the bayonet by military plenipotentiaries? We think the attempt unnecessary to raise upon us by force or by threats, our proportional contributions to the common defence, when all know, and themselves acknowledge, we have fully contributed, whenever called upon to do so in the character of freemen. . . o We are of opinion it is not just that the colonies should be required to oblige themselves to other contributions, while Great-Britain possesses * *

nopoly of their trade. This of itself lays them under heavy contribution. To demand, therefore, additional aids in the form of a tax, is to demand the double of their equal proportion: if we are to contribute equally with the other parts of the empire, let us equally with them ‘. free commerce with the whole world. But while the restrictions on our trade shut to us the resources of wealth, is it just we should bear all other burthens equally with those to whom every resource is open? We conceive that the British parliament has no right to intermeddle with our provisions for the support of civil government, or administration of justice. The provisions we have made, are such as please ourselves, and are agreeable to our own circumstances: they answer the substantial purposes of government and of justice, and other purposes than these should not be answered. We do not mean that our people shall be burthened with oppressive taxes, to provide sinecures for the idle or the wicked, under color of providing for a civil list. While parliament pursue their plan of civil government within their own jurisdiction, we also hope to pursue ours without molestation. We are of opinion the proposition is altogether unsatisfactory, because it, imports only a suspension of the mode, not a renunciation of the pretended right to tax us: because, too, it does not propose to repeal the several acts of parliament passed for the purposes of restraining the trade, and altering the form of government of one of our colonies: extending the boundaries and changing the government of Quebec; enlarging the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty and vice-admiralty; taking from us the rights of trial by a jury of the vicinage, in cases affecting both life and property ; transporting us into other countries to be tried for criminal offences; exempting, by mock-trial, the murderers of colonists from punishment; and quartering soldiers on us in times of profound peace. , Nor do they renounce the power of soning our own legislatures, and for legislating for us themselves in all cases whatsoever. On the contrary, to shew they mean to discontinuance of injury, they pass acts, at the very time of holding out this proposition, for restraining the commerce and fisheries of the provinces of New-England, and for interdicting the trade of other colonies with all foreign nations, and with each other. This proves, unequivocally, they mean not to relinquish the exercise of indiscriminate legislation over us. & Upon the whole, this proposition seems to have been held up to the world, to deceive it into a belief that there was nothing in dispute between us but the mode of levying taxes; and that the parliament having now been so good as to give up this, the colonies are unreasonable if not perfectly satisfied: "Whereas, in truth, our adversaries still claim a right of demanding ad libvtum, and of taxing us themselves to the full amount of their demand, if we do comply with it. This leaves us without any thing we can call property. But, what is of more importance, and what in this proposal they keep out of sight, as if no such point was now, in contest between us, they claim a right to alter our charters and establish laws, and leave us without any security for our lives or liberties. The proposition seems also to have been calculated more particularly to lull into fatal security, our well affected fellow-subjects on the other side the water, till time should be given for the operation of those arms, which a British minister pronounced would instantaneously reduce the “cowardly” Sons of America to unreserved submission. But, when the world reflects how inadequate to justice are these vaunted terms; when it attends to the rapid and bold succession of injuries, which, during the course of eleven years, have been aimed at these colonies; when it reviews the pacific and respectful expostulations, which, during that whole time, were the sole arms we opposed to them; when it observes that our complaints were either not heard at all, or Were answered with new and accumulated injuries; when it recollects that the minister himself, on an early occasion, declared “that he would never treat


« PreviousContinue »