The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 240

their
dates, July 7, and Oct. 3, 1775. _Editor._




_Proposed Vindication and Offer from Congress to Parliament, in
1775[142]._


Forasmuch as the enemies of America, in the parliament of Great
Britain, to render us odious to the nation, and give an ill
impression of us in the minds of other European powers, have
represented us as unjust and ungrateful in the highest degree;
asserting on every occasion, that the colonies were settled at the
expence of Britain; that they were, at the expence of the same,
protected in their infancy; that they now ungratefully and unjustly
refuse to contribute to their own protection, and the common defence
of the nation; that they aim at independence; that they intend an
abolition of the navigation acts; and that they are fraudulent in
their commercial dealings, and purpose to cheat their creditors in
Britain, by avoiding the payment of their just debts:--

[And] as, by frequent repetition, these groundless assertions and
malicious calumnies may, if not contradicted and refuted, obtain
farther credit, and be injurious throughout Europe to the reputation
and interest of the confederate colonies, it seems proper and
necessary to examine them in our own just vindication.

With regard to the first, _that the colonies were_ settled _at
the expence of Britain_, it is a known fact, that none of the
twelve united colonies were settled, or even discovered, at the
expence of England. Henry the VIIth indeed granted a commission to
Sebastian Cabot, a Venetian, and his sons, to sail into the western
seas for the discovery of new countries; but it was to be "_suis_
eorum propriis sumptibus et expensis," at their _own_ costs and
charges[143]. They discovered, but soon slighted and neglected, these
northern territories; which were, after more than a hundred years
dereliction, purchased of the natives, and settled at the charge
and by the labour of private men and bodies of men, our ancestors,
who came over hither for that purpose. But our adversaries have
never been able to produce any record, that ever the _parliament_ or
government of England was at the smallest expence on these accounts:
on the contrary, there exists on the journals of parliament a
solemn declaration in 1642, (only twenty-two years after the first
settlement of the Massachusetts, when, if such expence had ever been
incurred, some of the members must have known and remembered it)
"That these colonies had been planted and established _without any
expence to the state_.[144]" _New-York_ is the only colony in the
founding of which England can pretend to have been at any expence,
and that was only the charge of a small armament

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
Darton, 58, Holborn Hill.
Page 1
with Biographical and Interesting Anecdotes 1 6 Watt's Catechism and Prayers, in 1 vol.
Page 2
We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an abatement.
Page 3
" Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter, for "industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them.
Page 4
The diligent spinner has a large shift; and now I have a sheep and a cow, every body bids me good-morrow.
Page 5
III.
Page 6
Poor Dick farther advises, and says, "Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse, Ere fancy you.
Page 7
" When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a piece; but Poor Dick says, "It is easier to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy all that follow it.
Page 8
Remember, Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.
Page 9
The people heard it, and approved the doctrine, and immediately practised the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon; for the auction opened, and they began to buy extravagantly.