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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
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1359. COLONIES (The American), Resistance to Unjust Taxation.—
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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1359. COLONIES (The American), Resistance to Unjust Taxation.—

When Parliament
proposed to consider us as objects of
taxation, all the States took the alarm. Yet
so little had we attended to this subject, that
our advocates did not know at first on what
ground to take their stand. Mr. Dickinson,
a lawyer of more ingenuity than sound judgment,
and still more timid than ingenious,
not daring to question the authority to regulate
commerce so as best to answer their own
purpose, to which we had long submitted,
admitted that authority in its utmost extent.
He acknowledged * * * that they could
levy duties, internal or external, payable in
Great Britain or in the States. He only required
that these duties should be bonâ fide for the regulation of commerce, and not to
raise a solid revenue. He admitted, therefore,
that they might control our commerce,
but not tax us. This mysterious system took
for a moment in America as well as in Europe.
But sounder heads saw in the first
moment that he who could put down the
loom, could stop the spinning wheel, and he
who could stop the spinning wheel could tie
the hands which turned it. They saw that
this flimsy fabric could not be supported.
Who were to be the judges whether duties
were imposed with a view to burden and suppress


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a branch of manufacture or to raise a revenue? If either party, exclusively of the
other, it was plain where that would end.
If both parties, it was plain where that
would end also. They saw, therefore, no
sure clew to lead them out of their difficulties
but reason and right. They dared to follow
them, assured that they alone could lead them
to defensible ground. The first elements of
our reason showed that the members of Parliament
could have no power which the
people of the several counties had not; that
these had naturally a power over their own
farms, and collectively over all England.
But if they had any power over counties out
of England, it must be founded on compact
or force. No compact could be shown, and
neither party chose to bottom their pretensions
on force. It was objected that this
annihilated the Navigation Act. True, it
does. The Navigation Act therefore, becomes
a proper subject of treaty between
the two nations. Or, if Great Britain does
not choose to have its basis questioned, let
us go on as we have done. Let no new
shackles be imposed, and we will continue to
submit to the old. We will consider the
restrictions on our commerce now actually
existing as compensations yielded by us for
the protection and privileges we actually enjoy,
only trusting that if Great Britain on a
revisal of these restrictions, is sensible that
some of them are useless to her and oppressive
to us, she will repeal them. But on this
she shall be free. Place us in the condition
we were when the King came to the throne,
let us rest so, and we will be satisfied. This
was the ground on which all the States very
soon found themselves rallied, and that there
was no other which could be defended.—
Notes on M. Soulés's Book. Washington ed. ix, 295. Ford ed., iv, 302.
(P. 1786)

See Taxation.