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PART II. THE SEPARATION OF THE

COLONIES FROM ENGLAND

PART II. THE SEPARATION OF
THE COLONIES FROM ENGLAND

CHAPTER IV

BRITISH RULE IN AMERICA

THE AUTHORITY OF PARLIAMENT IN THE COLONIES

colonies

No other Englishman was better qualified to speak on 30. The American affairs than Thomas Pownall, royal governor of rights of the the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1757 to 1760. Pow- [91] nall was one of the small group of statesmen who realized the nascent crisis in the colonies and advocated consulting the sentiments of the colonists themselves in determining the relation of America to the home government. In 1764, Pownall dedicated to George Grenville, the author of the Stamp Act, a long treatise on "The Administration of the Colonies," prompted, as he says in the preface, by a spirit of suspicion and alarm arising, a temper of illblood infusing itself into the minds of men." Twenty years later, when the independence of America was acknowledged by George III, Pownall wrote: "The publication of this treatise ruined me with those who had the real power of Government in their hands. I was not ignorant that it would have such effect. I sacrificed to what I thought truth and right, and I thank God that I have never yet once, to this hour, repented that I made that sacrifice. Perhaps they have more than once repented that they did not follow this advice." 1

1 Thomas Pownall, Three Memorials, 1784, General Preface, p. ix.

This American question, in which liberty and the rights of property are so deeply engaged, must now come forward . . . I therefore address to your most serious consideration that state of this business which the following book contains . . . I speak my own sentiments. I address them to your serious consideration, as I do to every man of business in the nation, with an hope that from conviction of the justice, policy, and necessity of the measure, they may become the general sentiments of the government, and of the people of Great Britain. . . . I am no Partizan. I do not palliate the errors of Great Britain. I do not flatter the passions of America. . . . I have stated the fact, and the right, in hopes to point out what is the true and constitutional relation between Great Britain and the American Colonies, what is the precise ground on which this dangerous question ought to be settled: How far they are to be governed by the vigor of external principles, by the supreme superintending power of the mother country: How far by the vigor of the internal principle of their own peculiar body politic: And what ought to be the mode of administration by which they are to be governed in their legislative, executive, judicial, and commercial departments, in the conduct of their money and revenues, in their power of making peace or war

It has been often suggested that care should be taken in the administration of the plantations; lest in some future time these colonies should become independent of the mother country. But perhaps it may be proper on this occasion, nay, it is justice to say it, that if by becoming independent, is meant a revolt, nothing is further from their nature, their interest, their thoughts. . . . Their spirit abhors the sense of such; their attachment to the protestant succession in the house of Hanover will ever stand unshaken; and nothing can eradicate from their hearts their natural, almost mechanical affection to Great Britain, which they conceive under no other sense, nor call by any other name, than that of home. Besides, the merchants are, and ever must be, in great measure allied with those of Great Britain; their very support consists in this alliance, and nothing but false policy here can break it. . . . Yet again, on the other hand,

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