by the rules of civil and feudal law. To be
too fond of studying them is a ridiculous infatuation. The British colonists do not hold their liberties or July. their lands by so slippery a tenure as the will of the prince. Colonists are men; the common children of the same Creator with their brethren of Great Britain. The colonists are men; the colonists are therefore free born; for, by the law of nature, all men are free born, white or black. No good reason can be given for enslaving those of any color. Is it right to enslave a man because his color is black, or his hair short, and curled like wool, instead of Christian hair? Can any logical inference in favor of slavery be drawn from a flat nose or a long or a short face? The riches of the West Indies, or the luxury of the metropolis, should not have weight to break the balance of truth and justice. Liberty is the gift of God, and cannot be annihilated. Nor do the political and civil rights of the British colonists rest on a charter from the Crown. Old Magna Charta was not the beginning of all things; nor did it rise on the borders of chaos out of the unformed mass. A time may come when parliament shall declare every American charter void; but the natural, inherent, and inseparable rights of the colonists as men and as citizens, would remain, and whatever became of charters, can never be abolished till the general conflagration. There is no foundation for distinction between external and internal taxes: if parliament may tax our trade, they may lay stamps, land taxes, tithes, and so indefinitely; there are no bounds. But such an imposition of taxes, whether on trade, or on land, on houses,
chap. X.} 1764. July.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.