Rationality Is Not Essays - Free Essays on Rationality Is Not

But you have barely asserted, not proved, this If by the term you mean a contrariety to law, I desire you to produce the law against it. I maintain there is none in being. If you mean that there is no law, the intention of which may authorize such a convention, I deny this also. It has been always a principle of the law, that subjects have a right to state their grievances, and petition the king for redress. This is explicitly acknowledged by the act of the first of William and Mary; and “all prosecutions and commitments for such petitioning” are declared to be illegal. So far, then, the Congress was a body founded in law; for if subjects have such a right, they may undoubtedly elect and depute persons from among themselves to act for them.

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I verily believe, also, that the best way to secure a permanent and happy union between Great Britain and the colonies, is to permit the latter to be as free as they desire. To abridge their liberties, or to exercise any power over them which they are unwilling to submit to, would be a perpetual source of discontent and animosity. A continual jealousy would exist on both sides. This would lead to tyranny on the one hand, and to sedition and rebellion on the other. Impositions, not really grievous in themselves, would be thought so, and the murmurs arising from thence would be considered as the effect of a turbulent, ungovernable spirit. These jarring principles would at length throw all things into disorder, and be productive of an irreparable breach and a total disunion.

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While Canada was under the dominion of France, the French laws and customs were in force there, which are regulated in conformity to the genius and complexion of a despotic constitution, and expose the lives and properties of subjects to continual depredation from the malice and avarice of those in authority. But when it fell under the dominion of Great Britain, these laws, so unfriendly to the happiness of society, gave place, of course, to the milder influence of the English laws, and his Majesty, by proclamation, promised to all those who should settle there a full enjoyment of the rights of British subjects. In violation of this promise, the act before us declares: “That the said proclamation and the commission under the authority whereof the government of the said province is at present administered, be, and the same are, hereby revoked, annulled, and made void, from and after the first day of May, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five.” This abolition of the privileges stipulated by the proclamation was not inflicted as a penalty for any crime by which a forfeiture had been incurred, but merely on pretence of the present form of government having been found by experience to be inapplicable to the state and circumstances of the province.

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You have produced some expressions of the Congress and Assembly of this province, in 1765, which you lay great stress upon. The true meaning of them may be gathered from the following passage, which is taken from the same piece that contains the expressions in question. The Congress speak thus: “It is humbly submitted, whether there be not a material distinction, in reason and sound policy at least, between the necessary exercise of parliamentary jurisdiction in general Acts for the amendment of the common law and the regulation of trade and commerce through the whole empire, and the exercise of that jurisdiction by imposing taxes on the colonies.”

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But what merits still more serious attention is this: there seems to be already a jealousy of our dawning splendor. It is looked upon as portentous of approaching independence. This, we have reason to believe, is one of the principal incitements to the present rigorous and unconstitutional proceedings against us. And though it may have chiefly originated in the calumnies of designing men, yet it does not entirely depend upon adventitious or partial causes, but is also founded in the circumstances of our country and situation. The boundless extent of territory we possess, the wholesome temperament of our climate, the luxuriance and fertility of our soil, the variety of our products, the rapidity of the growth of our population, the industry of our countrymen, and the commodiousness of our ports, naturally lead to a suspicion of independence, and would always have an influence pernicious to us. Jealousy is a predominant passion of human nature, and is a source of the greatest evils. Whenever it takes place between rulers and their subjects, it proves the bane of civil society.

The great inquiry, therefore, is concerning the terms on which these lands were really dispensed.

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Neither is the use you make of the assigned reasons at all just. The consequences, so detrimental to the commercial interests of Great Britain, are not such as would have resulted from the natural operation of the act, had it been submitted to; but from the opposition made by us, and the cessation of imports which had taken place.