any serious hopes at least of its ever being 
adopted. If it was adopted, however, Great 
Britain would not only be immediately freed 
from the whole annual expense of the peace 
establishment of the colonies, but might settle 
with them such a treaty of commerce as 
would effectually secure to her a free trade, 
more advantageous to the great body of the 
people, though less so to the merchants, than 
the monopoly which she at present enjoys
By thus parting good friends, the natural affection 
of the colonies to the mother country, 
which, perhaps our late dissensions have well 
nigh extinguished, would quickly revive. It 
might dispose them not only to respect, for 
whole centuries together, that treaty of commerce 
which they had concluded with us at 
parting, but to favour us in war as in 
trade, and instead of turbulent and factious 
subjects, to become our most faithful, affectionate
and generous allies; and the same 
sort of parental affection on the one side, and 
filial respect on the other, might revive between 
Great Britain and her colonies, which 
used to subsist between those of ancient Greece 
and the mother city from which they descended
In order to render any province advantageous 
to the empire to which it belongs, it ought 
to afford, in time of peace, a revenue to the 
public, sufficient not only for defraying the 
whole expense of its own peace establishment
but for contributing its proportion to the support 
of the general government of the empire
Every province necessarily contributes, more 
or less, to increase the expense of that general 
government. If any particular province
therefore, does not contribute its share towards 
defraying this expense, an unequal 
burden must be thrown upon some other part 
of the empire. The extraordinary revenue
too, which every province affords to the public 
in time of war, ought, from parity of reason
to bear the same proportion to the extraordinary 
revenue of the whole empire
which its ordinary revenue does in time of 
peace. That neither the ordinary nor extraordinary 
revenue which Great Britain derives 
from her colonies, bears this proportion 
to the whole revenue of the British empire
will readily be allowed. The monopoly, it 
has been supposed, indeed, by increasing the 
private revenue of the people of Great Britain
and thereby enabling them to pay greater 
taxes, compensates the deficiency of the 
public revenue of the colonies. But this monopoly
I have endeavoured to show, though 
a very grievous tax upon the colonies, and 
though it may increase the revenue of a particular 
order of men in Great Britain, diminishes
instead of increasing, that of the great 
body of the people, and consequently diminishes, 
instead of increasing, the ability of 
the great body of the people to pay taxes
The men, too, whose revenue the monopoly 
increases, constitute a particular order, which 
it is both absolutely impossible to tax beyond 
the proportion of other orders, and extremely 
impolitic even to attempt to tax beyond that 
proportion, as I shall endeavour to show in 
the following book. No particular resource
therefore, can be drawn from this particular 
The colonies may be taxed either by their 
own assemblies, or by the parliament of Great 
That the colony assemblies can never be so 
managed as to levy upon their constituents
public revenue, sufficient, not only to maintain 
at all times their own civil and military 
establishment, but to pay their proper proportion 
of the expense of the general government 
of the British empire, seems not very 
probable. It was a long time before even 
the parliament of England, though placed 
immediately under the eye of the sovereign
could be brought under such a system of 
management, or could be rendered sufficiently 
liberal in their grants for supporting the 
civil and military establishments even of their 
own country. It was only by distributing 
among the particular members of parliament 
a great part either of the offices, or of the 
disposal of the offices arising from this civil 
and military establishment, that such a system 
of management could be established, even 
with regard to the parliament of England. 
But the distance of the colony assemblies 
from the eye of the sovereign, their number, 
their dispersed situation, and their various 
constitutions, would render it very difficult 
to manage them in the same manner, even 
though the sovereign had the same means of 
doing it; and those means are wanting. It 
would be absolutely impossible to distribute 
among all the leading members of all the colony 
assemblies such a share, either of the 
offices, or of the disposal of the offices, arising 
from the general government of the British 
empire, as to dispose them to give up 
their popularity at home, and to tax their 
constituents for the support of that general 
government, of which almost the whole emoluments 
were to be divided among people who 
were strangers to them. The unavoidable 
ignorance of administration, besides, concerning 
the relative importance of the different 
members of those different assemblies
the offences which must frequently be given, 
the blunders which must constantly be committed
in attempting to manage them in 
this manner, seems to render such a system 
of management altogether impracticable with 
regard to them. 
The colony assemblies, besides, cannot be 
supposed the proper judges of what is necessary 
for the defence and support of the whole 
empire. The care of that defence and support 
is not entrusted to them. It is not their 
business, and they have no regular means of 
information concerning it. The assembly of