**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Taxation No Tyranny
by [?]

Had the western continent been discovered between the fourth and tenth century, when all the northen world was in motion; and had navigation been, at that time, sufficiently advanced to make so long a passage easily practicable, there is little reason for doubting, but the intumescence of nations would have found its vent, like all other expansive violence, where there was least resistance; and that Huns and Vandals, instead of fighting their way to the south of Europe, would have gone, by thousands and by myriads, under their several chiefs, to take possession of regions smiling with pleasure, and waving with fertility, from which the naked inhabitants were unable to repel them.

Every expedition would, in those days of laxity, have produced a distinct and independent state. The Scandinavian heroes might have divided the country among them, and have spread the feudal subdivision of regality from Hudson’s bay to the Pacifick ocean.

But Columbus came five or six hundred years too late for the candidates of sovereignty. When he formed his project of discovery, the fluctuations of military turbulence had subsided, and Europe began to regain a settled form, by established government and regular subordination. No man could any longer erect himself into a chieftain, and lead out his fellow-subjects, by his own authority, to plunder or to war. He that committed any act of hostility, by land or sea, without the commission of some acknowledged sovereign, was considered, by all mankind, as a robber or pirate, names which were now of little credit, and of which, therefore, no man was ambitious.

Columbus, in a remoter time, would have found his way to some discontented lord, or some younger brother of a petty sovereign, who would have taken fire at his proposal, and have quickly kindled, with equal heat, a troop of followers: they would have built ships, or have seized them, and have wandered with him, at all adventures, as far as they could keep hope in their company. But the age being now past of vagrant excursion and fortuitous hostility, he was under the necessity of travelling from court to court, scorned and repulsed as a wild projector, an idle promiser of kingdoms in the clouds; nor has any part of the world yet had reason to rejoice that he found, at last, reception and employment.

In the same year, in a year hitherto disastrous to mankind, by the Portuguese was discovered the passage of the Indies, and by the Spaniards the coast of America. The nations of Europe were fired with boundless expectations, and the discoverers, pursuing their enterprise, made conquests in both hemispheres of wide extent. But the adventurers were not contented with plunder: though they took gold and silver to themselves, they seized islands and kingdoms in the name of their sovereigns. When a new region was gained, a governour was appointed by that power, which had given the commission to the conqueror; nor have I met with any European, but Stukely, of London, that formed a design of exalting himself in the newly found countries to independent dominion.

To secure a conquest, it was always necessary to plant a colony, and territories, thus occupied and settled, were rightly considered, as mere extensions, or processes of empire; as ramifications which, by the circulation of one publick interest, communicated with the original source of dominion, and which were kept flourishing and spreading by the radical vigour of the mother-country.

The colonies of England differ no otherwise from those of other nations, than as the English constitution differs from theirs. All government is ultimately and essentially absolute, but subordinate societies may have more immunities, or individuals greater liberty, as the operations of government are differently conducted. An Englishman in the common course of life and action feels no restraint. An English colony has very liberal powers of regulating its own manners, and adjusting its own affairs. But an English individual may, by the supreme authority, be deprived of liberty, and a colony divested of its powers, for reasons of which that authority is the only judge.