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TO MR. DUBOURG.
Concerning the Dissentions between England and America.
London, October 2, 1770. I SEE with pleasure that we think pretty much alike on the subjects of English America. We of the colonies have never insisted, that we ought to be exempt from contributing to the common expences necessary to support the prosperity of the empire. We only assert, that having parliaments of our own, and not having representatives in that of Great Britain, our parliaments are the only judges of what we can and what we ought to contribute in this case; and that the English parliament has no right to take our money without our consent. In fact, the British empire is not a single state; it comprehends many; and though the parliament of Great Britain has arrogated to itself the power of taxing the colonies, it has no more right to do so, than it has to tax Hanover. We have the same king, but not the same legislatures.
The dispute between the two countries has already cost England many millions sterling, which it has lost in its commerce, and America has in this respect been a proportionable gainer. This commerce consisted principally of superfluities; objects of luxury and fashion, which we can well do without; and the resolution we have formed, of importing no more till our grievances are redressed, has enabled many of our infant manufactures to take root; and it will not be easy to make our people abandon them in future, even should a connection more cordial than ever succeed the present troubles. I have indeed no doubt, that the parliament of England will finally abandon its present pretensions, and leave us to the peaceable enjoyment of our rights and privileges.
* Re-translated from the French edition of Dr. Franklin's works. Editor. 3
A Prussian Edict, assuming Claims over Britain.
Dantzick, Sept. 5, 1773.* We have long wondered here at the supineness of the English nation, under the Prussian impositions upon its trade entering our port. We did not, till lately, know the claims, ancient and modern, that hang over that nation, and therefore could not suspect, that it might submit to those impositions from a sense of duty, or from principles of equity. The following edict, just made public, may, if serious, throw some light upon this matter:
“ FREDERICK, by the grace of God, king of Prussia, &c. &c. &c. to all present and to come,t health. The peace now enjoyed throughout our dominions, having afforded us leisure to apply ourselves to the regulation of commerce, the improvement of our finances, and at the same time the easing our domestic
* This intelligence extraordinary, I believe, first appeared in the Public Advertiser. I have reprinted it from a copy which I found in the Gentleman's Magazinc. B. V. A tous presens et à venir, ORIGINAL,
subject, subjects in their taxes: for these causes, and other good considerations us thereunto moving, we hereby make known, that, after having deliberated these affairs in our council, present our dear brothers, and other great officers of the state, members of the same; we, of our certain knowledge, full power, and authority royal, have made and issued this present edict, viz.
“ Whereas it is well known to all the world, that the first German settlements made in the island of Britain, were by colonies of people, subjects to our renowned ducal ancestors, and drawn from their dominions, under the conduct of Hengist, Horsa, Hella, Uffa, Cerdicus, Ida, and others; and that the said colonies have flourished under the protection of our august house, for ages past, have never been emancipated therefrom, and yet have hitherto yielded little profit to the same: and whereas we ourself have in the last war fought for and defended the said colonies, against the power of France, and thereby enabled them to make conquests from the said power in America, for which we have not yet received adequate compensation : and whereas it is just and expedient that a revenue should be raised from the said colonies in Britain towards our indemnification ; and that those who are descendants of our ancient subjects, and thence still owe us due obedience, should contribute to the replenishing of our royal coffers : (as they must have done, had their ancestors remained in the territories now to us appertaining) we do therefore hereby ordain and command, that, from and after the date of these presents, there shall be levied and paid to our officers of the customs, on all goods, wares, and merchandizes, and on all grain and other produce of the earth, exported from the said island of Britain, and
on all goods of whatever kind imported into the same, a duty of four and a half per cent ad valorem, for the use of us and our successors.--And that the said duty may more effectually be collected, we do hereby ordain, that all ships or vessels bound from Great Britain to any other part of the world, or from any other part of the world to Great Britain, shall in their respective voyages touch at our port of Koningsberg, there to be unladen, searched, and charged with the said duties.
“ And whereas there hath been from time to time discovered in the said island of Great Britain, by our colonists there, many mines or beds of iron-stone; and sundry subjects of our ancient dominion, skilful in converting the said stone into metal, have in time past transported themselves thither, carrying with them and communicating that art; and the inhabitants of the said island, presuming that they had a natural right to make the best use they could of the natural productions of their country, for their own benefit, have not only built furnaces for smelting the said stone into iron, but have erected plating-forges, slitting-mills, and steelfurnaces, for the more convenient manufacturing of the same, thereby endangering a diminution of the said manufacture in our ancient dominion ; we do therefore hereby farther ordain, that, from and after the date hereof, no mill or other engine for slitting or rolling of iron, or any plating-forge to work with a tilt-hammer, or any furnace for making steel, shall be erected or continued in the said island of Great Britain : and the lord lieutenant of every county in the said island is hereby commanded, on information of any such erection within his county, to order, and by force to cause the same to be abated and destroyed, as he shall answer
the neglect thereof to us at his peril. But we are nevertheless graciously pleased to permit the inhabitants of the said island to transport their iron into Prussia, there to be manufactured, and to them returned, they paying our Prussian subjects for the workmanship, with all the costs of commission, freight, and risk, coming and returning; any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
“ We do not, however, think fit to extend this our indulgence to the article of wool; but meaning to encourage not only the manufacturing of woollen cloth, but also the raising of wool in our ancient dominions, and to prevent both, as much as may be, in our said island, we do hereby absolutely forbid the transportation of wool from thence even to the mother-country, Prussia; and that those islanders may be farther and more effectually restrained in making any advantage of their own wool, in the way of manufacture, we come mand, that none shall be carried out of one country into another; nor shall any worsted, bay, or woollenyarn, cloth, says, bays, kerseys, serges, frizes, druggets, cloth-serges, shalloons, or any other drapery stuffs or woollen manufactures whatsoever, made up or mixed with wool in any of the said counties, be carried into any other county, or be water-borne even across the smallest river or creek, on penalty of forfeiture of the same, together with the boats, carriages, horses, &c. that shall be employed in removing them. Nevertheless, our loving subjects there are hereby permitted (if they think proper) to use all their wool as manure, for the improvement of their lands.
“ And whereas the art and mystery of making hats hath arrived at great perfection in Prussia, and the