Disclaiming the most distant thought of indepen-
dence of the mother country, provided they could have the free enjoyment of their rights, the House
that ‘the British constitution hath its foundation in the law of God and nature; that in every free state, the supreme Legislature derives its power from the constitution;’ and ‘is bounded and circumscribed by its fundamental rules.’
That the right to property exists by a law of nature, they asserted, on the one side, against ‘the visionary and impracticable Utopian schemes of levelling and a community of goods;’ on the other, against all Acts of the British Parliament, taxing the Colonists.
‘In the time of James II.,’ they continued, ‘the Crown, and the Ministers
of the Crown, without the intervention of Parliament, demolished Charters and levied taxes in the Colonies at pleasure.
Our case is more deplorable and remediless.
Our ancestors found relief by the interposition of Parliament; but by the intervention of that very power we are taxed, and can appeal from their decision to no power on earth.’
They further set forth the original contract between the King
and the first planters, as the Royal
promise in behalf of the English
nation; their title by the common law and by statute law to all the liberties and privileges of natural born subjects of the realm; and the want of equity in taxing Colonies whose manufactures were prohibited and whose trade was restrained.