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making of hats by our remoter subjects ought to be as much as possible restrained: and forasmuch as the islanders before mentioned, being in possession of wool, beaver, and other furs, have presumptuously conceived they had a right to make some advantage thereof, by manufacturing the same into hats, to the prejudice of our domestic manufacture: we do therefore hereby strictly command and ordain, that no hats or felts whatsoever, dyed or undyed, finished or unfinished, shall be loaden or put into or upon any vessel, cart, carriage, or horse, to be transported or conveyed out of one county in the said island into another county, or to any other place whatsoever, by any person or persons whatsoever, on pain of forfeiting the same, with a penalty of five hundred pounds sterling for every offence. Nor shall any hat-maker in any of the said counties employ more than two apprentices, on penalty of five pounds sterling per month : we intending hereby that such hat-makers, being so restrained, both in the production and sale of their commodity, may find no advantage in continuing their business. But, lest the said islanders should suffer inconveniency by the want of hats, we are farther graciously pleased to permit them to send their beaver furs to Prussia, and we also permit hats made thereof to be exported from Prussia to Britain; the people thus favored to pay all costs and charges of manufacturing, interest, commission to our merchants, insurance and freight going and returning, as in the case of iron.
“ And lastly, being willing farther to favour our said colonies in Britain, we do hereby also ordain and com, mand, that all the thieves, highway and street robbers, housebreakers, forgerers, murderers, s---d---tes, adn
villains of every denomination, who have forfeited their lives to the law in Prussia, but whom we, in our great clemency, do not think fit here to hang, shall be emptied out of our gaols into the said island of Great Britain, for the better peopling of that country.
“ We flatter ourselves, that these our royal regulations and commands will be thought just and reasonable by our much-favoured colonists in England; the said regulations being copied from their statutes of 10 and 11 Will. III. c. 10.---5 Geo. II. c. 22.---23 Geo. II. c. 29.---4 Geo. I. c. 11. and from other equitable laws made by their parliaments, or from instructions given by their princes, or from resolutions of both houses, entered into for the good government of their own colonies in Ireland and America.
« And all persons in the said island are hereby cautioned, not to oppose in any wise the execution of this our edict, or any part thereof, such opposition being high-treason; of which all who are suspected shall be transported in fetters from Britain to Prussia, there to be tried and executed according to the Prussian law.
« Such is our pleasure.
« Given at Potsdam, this twenty-fifth day of the month of August, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-three, and in the thirty-third year of our reign.
" By the king, in his council.
“ RECHTMÆSSIG, Sec.”
Some take this edict to be merely one of the king's jeux ďesprit: others suppose it serious, and that he means a quarrel with England: but all here think the assertion it concludes with, “ that these regulations are copied from acts of the English parliament respecting their colonies,” a very injurious one; it being impossible to believe, that a people distinguished for their love of liberty; a nation so wise, so liberal in its sentiments, so just and equitable towards its neighbours, should, from mean and injudicious views of petty immediate profit, treat its own children in a manner so arbitrary and tyrannical!
Preface by the British Editor [Dr. Franklin] to “ The Votes and
Proceedings of the Freeholders, and other Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, in Town-Meeting assembled according to Law (published by Order of the Town), &c*.”
ALL accounts of the discontent, so general in our colonies, have of late years been industriously sınothered and concealed here, it seeming to suit the views of the
* “ Boston printed: London reprinted, and sold by J. Wilkie, in St. Paul's Church-yard. 1773."--I have given the reader only the preface.
It is said, that this little pieee very much irritated the ministry. It wag their determination, that the Americans should receive teas only from Great Britain, And accordingly the East India company sent out large cargoes under their protection. The colonists every where refused, either entrance, or else permission of sale, except at Boston, where, the force of governinent preventing more moderate measures, certain persons in disguise threw it into the sea.
The preamble of the stamp act produced the tea act; the tea act produced violence; violence, acts of parliainent; acts of parliament, a revolt.
American minister* to have it understood, that by bis great abilities, all faction was subdued, all opposition suppressed, and the whole country quieted. That the true state of affairs there may be known, and the true causes of that discontent well understood, the following piece (not the production of a private writer, but the unanimous act of a large American city) lately printed in New England, is republished here. This nation, and the other nations of Europe, may thereby learn, with more certainty, the grounds of a dissention, that possibly may, sooner or later, have consequences interesting to them all.
The colonies had, from their first settlement, been governed with more ease than perhaps can be equalled by any instance in bistory' of dominions so distant. Their affection and respect for this country, while they were treated with kindness, produced an almost implicit obedience to the instructions of the prince, and even to acts of the British parliament, though the right of binding them by a legislature, in which they were unrepresented, was never clearly undersiood. That respect and affection produced a partiality in favour of every thing that was English; whence their preference of English modes and manufactures; their submission to restraints on the importation of foreign goods, which they had but little desire to use; and the monopoly we so long
--" A little neglect,” says poor Richard, “may breed great mischief: for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; for want of a horse the rider was lost; being overtaken and slain by the enemy; all for want of a little care about a horse-shoe nail. 6. V.
* Lord Hilsborough.—This nobleman, already first lord of trade, was introduced in 1768 into the new-titled office of secretary of state for the com lonies. B. V.
enjoyed enjoyed of their commerce, to the great enriching of our merchants and artificers. The mistaken policy of the stamp act first disturbed this happy situation; but the flame thereby raised was soon extinguished by its repeal, and the old harmony restored, with all its concomitant advantage to our commerce. The subsequent act of another administration, which, not content with an established exclusion of foreign manufactures, began to make our own merchandize dearer to the consumers there by heavy duties, revived it again; and combinations were entered into throughout the continent, to stop trading with Britain till those duties should be repealed. All were accordingly repealed but one---the duty on tea. This was reserved (professedly so) as a standing claim and exercise of the right, assumed by parliament, of laying such duties *. The colonies, on this repeal, retracted their agreement, so far as related to all other goods, except that on which the duty was retained. This was trumpeted here by the minister for the colonies as a triumph; there it was considered only as a decent and equitable measure, showing a willingness to meet the mother-country in every advance towards a reconciliation; and this disposition to a good understanding was so prevalent, that possibly they might soon have relaxed in the article of tea also. But the system of commissioners of customs, officers with
* Mr. Burke tells us (in bis speech in 3774) that this preambulary tax kad lost us at once the benefit of the west and of the east; had thrown open folding-doors to contraband; and wolud be the means of giving the profits of the colony-trade to every nation but ourselves. He adds in the same place, “ It is indeed a tax of sopbistry, a tax of pedantry, a tax of disputation, a tax of war and rebellion, a tax for any thing but benefit te the imposers, or satisfaction to the subject.” B. V...