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had, in exercising the same powers, for centuries before ; which power they also actually claimed, and exercised at that very time.
If, therefore, the first principles of their claims, were founded in error, all subsequent claims, arising therefrom, must be supported by error. The aborigines of all the countries which were explored at the age when America was discovered, possessed the soil by the right of occupancy, or possession, and this possession had been immemorial, or time out of mind ; which had also confirmed their title by the rights of prescription, according to the common law of civilized nations; therefore Great-Britain could not claim the right of soil to the American colonies, either by the laws of nature, or the common law of nations, and she never pretended to claim by the right of statute, for she had no right on which she could found a statute. But the kings of England authorised these foreign discoveries, with the right of occupancy ; did they become joint partners, by furnishing any part of the capital to support the expence of these adventures, or to promote these settlements; and is this the basis of their claims? Here again they are Jame: not one sentence on historical record, can shew, that the crown of England ever advanced one cent, to promote either the adventures, or the settlements. The question now forces itself upon us, wherein then consisted her claims to the American colonies ? The only answer that can be given in her favour is, that they were settled by the lawful subjects of the crown of England. But can her claims over, or upon the lives, and properties of those subjects of her crown, be just, which the cruel, oppressive, and tyrannical laws of her government had driven from their dear native land, into exile ; and can these cruel and op
; pressive laws be binding upon the exile in a foreign land ? This Great-Britain did not claim, when the exiles were in Germany, France, Switzerland, and Holland ; then why should she claim this of the exiles in the wilds of America ?
The only answer that can be given by Britain to this question is, that this was mutually understood, and acknowledged by the parties. This is true, so far as their mutual interest extended, and a mutual disposition to do good to each other, and no further; when this ceased, the bond of mutual interest ceased, and both parties were at liberty to dissolve the connection, and cultivate other civil and commercial intercourse. If the question should arise, what right had the exiles to the soil of America? my answer is at hand; they purchased it of the natives, who were the only rightful owners; they cleared, cultivated, and defended it by their own exertions, with the blessing of God, and were accountable to none but God for their hard earned. possessions.*
But another question arises, on the part of Great-Britain, did she not send out her fleets, and armies to protect. the colonies against the French, and actually drive them from their borders, by the conquest of Canada? My answer is at hand. Did not New-England subdue the strong fortress of Louisburg, the key at that time of French America, and at her own expence, and did not Great-Britain, by remunerating this expence, actually restore this fortress to the French, at the treaty of Utrecht? And when she assisted in the conquest of Canada, was not this a triumph. over her natural enemy, at the expence of the blood, and treasure of the colonies? And did not Great-Britain hold Canada as a reward for her services? Where then is the force of this argument? To close this tragic farce, GreatBritain claimed, that she had the power to enforce her demands, and she then drew the sword, to compel the exiles to yield to her measures; the colonies set her power at defiance, and proclaimed their national independence; and thus they were at issue.
* The tribe of Patuxet had become extinct, by the providence of God, and therefore their claim to the right of soil had become extinct, and the Plymouth Colony had good right to the soil, as being the next occupants, and this by the consent of Squanto, the only survivor of that tribe, and who resided among them.
In the first volume of this work, I have endeavoured to exhibit a full view, of those oppressions in England, that drove out the pilgrims from the land of their fathers, into voluntary exile, to plant a pure system, of civil and religious liberty, in the wilds of America. I have also given a general sketch of the intrigues, and oppressions, which were used from time to time, not only to interrupt, but to overthrow this system, of civil and religious rights, by vexatious grants, false, corrupt, and despotic governors, &c. I have developed the same system of despotic measures, throughout the details of the second volume, and my task is now to shew how Great-Britain pursued her plan of usurpation, and despotic sway, until she forced the colonies into a war, and then was compelled to yield to them, from necessity, (to restore that peace which she had broken,) all those just, and independent rights, which they would have been content to have enjoyed, for many years, in connection with the mother country.. I do not mean to be understood here to say, that the colonies would never have claimed the rights of an independent government, if GreatBritain had not forced them into a war. The time would *undoubtedly have arrived, when united America, would have claimed her rank amongst the free, and enlightened nations of the carth; but that time would not have arrived before the fruit should have become fully ripe, and then it would have fallen off without any concussion, or violence. That sage in the councils of England, the old Earl of Chatham, gave seasonable warning to his nation, upon this momentous subject; but what is the wisdom of man, when it militates against the purposes of God? He who had planted this church in the wilderness, had now opened the way for that high, that dignified rank, it had become necessary for her to enjoy, that she might carry into effect the great designs, for which she had been nourished for so long a time in the wilderness, and unfold to the world, the blessings of that everlasting gospel of peace, which had been the palladium of all her privileges, and enjoyments; that the same blessings might be imparted, through the same medium, to the nations who knew not God, nor have even heard of the gospel of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. :
Although the futility of the claims of the crown of England, to the right of soil, or the right of jurisdiction, in, and over the colonies, or settlements in America, is clearly shewn; yet the question may recur to some, why then did the colonies acknowledge this right of jurisdiction, by taking out letters patent, or charters from the crown of England ? The answer is at hand: they, at that age, did not actually know any better; but as they had been born and educated in slavery, they were willing, or rather presumed they were in duty' bound, to continue in civil slavery; their only object was religious freedom, or the rights of conscience ; but when once they had become acquainted with that national freedom, they had found in the natives of America, their minds expanded, and they began to realise that they themselves were free; and they planted their civil, and religious institutions, upon the basis òf this freedom, this rational, this natural liberty. Another cause which induced the pilgrims, as well as the first colonists of America at large, so settle under these letters patent, or charters, was that they might guarantee, and protect their rights of possession, against the encroachments of others; but when they found that the crown of England vexed them with a succession of oppressive, and tyrannical governors, who sought by every possible art, to undermine, and destro; their liberties; and that resistance to these was followed by the direct attack upon their liberties, by the attempt to remove their charters, and establish the usurpation of the Duke of York, as well to subvert their religious, as their civil liberties, their eyes were opened to a true sense
of their situation, and they sought all possible means to subdue the French, in Novascotia, and in Canada; that they might be free from Indian wars, as well as such a powerful rival state, and thus prepare the way for the
" quiet enjoyment of their civil, and religious rights. To effect this, the colonies co-operated with the mother country, in the Spanish war, and actually sent a strong military force to the West-Indies, to assist in the reduction of Carthagena, and the Island of Cuba. Great Britain, in her turn, sent her fleets and armies to co-operate with the colonies, in reducing Novascotia and Canada; but it will be recollected, that at the time the Congress of governors met at Albany, to concert measures for the reduction of Canada, in the year 1754, it was proposed that à grand colonial council should be formed, consisting of a delegation, chosen from all the provincial assemblies, with a governor, or head, appointed by the crown; which council, should be vested with full powers, to manage the war, raise money,
&c. Under such a government, the colonies were confident they were able to take Canada, as the eastern colonies had done Louisburg, several years before, without the aid of Great Britain ; but the crown rejected this plan, as being dangerous to their authority, and proposed that Great-Britain should furnish troops, and money, for the enterprise, and reserve the right to tax the colonies after the war, to remunerate her
this the colonies rejected, as dangerous to liberty. Such men as Dr. Franklin, and others, saw through this thin veil, and sounded the alarm ; that the right of Britain being once admitted to tax the colonies, their liberties were gone, and they, slaves forever. These two points being rejected, the parties entered with spirit into the war, and formed a joint, and mutual co-operation. Canada was taken, the French were driven from America, and the colonies were frced from this troublesome neighbour, as we have before