Friday, June 24, 2011


By Benjamin Franklin, 1754

"That the people always bear the burden best, when they have, or think they have, some share in the direction.

"That when public measures are generally distasteful to the people, the wheels of government must move more heavily.

"That excluding the people of America from all share in the choice of a grand council for their own defence, and taxing them in Parliament, where they have no representative, would probably give extreme dissatisfaction.

"That there was no reason to doubt the willingness of the Colonists to contribute for their own defence.  That the people themselves, whose all was at stake, could better judge of the force necessary for their defence, and of the means for raising money for the purpose, than a British Parliament at so great distance.

"That natives of America, would be as likely to consult wisely and faithfully for the safety of their native country, as the Governors sent from Britain, whose object is generally to make fortunes, and then return home, and who might therefore be expected to carry on the war agninst France, rather in a way, by which themselves were likely to be gainers, than for the greatest advantage of the cause.

"That compelling the Colonies to pay money for their own defence, without their consent, would shew a suspicion of their loyalty, or of their regard for their country, or of their common sense, and would be treating them as conquered enemies, and not as free Britains, who hold it for their undoubted right not to be taxed by their own consent, given through their representatives.

"That parliamentary taxes, once laid on, are often continued, after the necessity for laying them on, ceases; but that if the Colonists were trusted to tax themselves, they would remove the burden from the people, as soon as it should become unnecessary for them to bear it any longer.

"That if Parliament is to tax the Colonies, their assemblies of representatives may be dismissed as useless.

"That taxing the Colonies in Parliament for their own defence against the French, is not more just, than it would be to oblige the cinque ports, and other parts of Britain, to maintain a force against France, and to tax them for this purpose, without allowing them representatives in Parliament.

"That the Colonists have always been indirectly taxed by the mother country (besides paying the taxes necessarily laid on by their own assemblies) inasmuch as they are obliged to purchase the manufactures of Britain, charged with innumerable heavy taxes; some of which manufactures they could make, and others could purchase cheaper at other markets.

"That the Colonists are besides taxed by the mother country, by being obliged to carry great part of their produce to Britain, and accept a lower price, than they might have at other markets.  The difference is a tax paid to Britain.

"That the whole wealth of the Colonists centres at last in the mother country, which enables her to pay her taxes.

"That the Colonies have, at the hazard of their lives and fortunes, extended the dominions, and increased the commerce and riches of the mother country.  That therefore, the Colonists do not deserve to be deprived of the native right of Britons, the right of being taxed only by representatives chosen by themselves.

"That an adequate representation in parliament would probably be acceptable to the Colonists, and would best raise the views and interests of the whole empire."

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