Colonial Hall -- Biographies of America's Founding Fathers

-Signers of the Declaration
-Signers of the A. O. C.
-Signers of the U. S. Constitution
-Wives of the Signers
-Other Founders

Follow colonialhall on Twitter

The Life of Gouverneur Morris

< Prev      Page 26      Next >

be called its political necessity.  And what does this political necessity require in the present instance? Not that Britain should lay imposts upon us for the support of government, nor for its defence.  Not that she should regulate our internal police.  These things affect us only.  She can have no right to interfere.  To these things we ourselves are competent.  But can it be said, that we are competent to the regulating of trade? The position is absurd, for this affects every part of the British Empire, every part of the habitable earth.  If Great Britain, if Ireland, if America, if all of them, are to make laws of trade, there must be a collision of these different authorities, and then who is to decide the vis major? To recur to this, if possible to be avoided, is the greatest of all great absurdities.

‘Political necessity therefore requires, that this power should be placed in the hands of one part of the empire.  Is it a question which part?  Let me answer by asking another.  Pray which part of the empire protects trade ? Which part of the empire receives almost immense sums to guard the rest?  And what danger is in the trust?  Some men object, that England will draw all the profits of our trade into her coffers.  All that she can, undoubtedly.  But unless a reasonable compensation for his trouble be left to the merchant here, she destroys the trade, and then she will receive no profit from it.

‘If I remember, in one of those kind letters with which you have honored me, you desire my thoughts on matters as they rise.  How much pleasure I take in complying with your requests let my present letter convince you.  If I am faulty in telling things, which you know better than I do, you must excuse this fault, and a thousand others for which I can make no apology.  I am, Sir, &c.


In another paper written about the same time, he undertakes to state on what terms he supposes a reconciliation be-

< Prev      Page 26      Next >

From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 26. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to


Designed and Edited by John Vinci
Last modified August 20, 2006