In the early 1760s, when Parliament began to legislate new taxes, colonists questions whether the British government had the right to do so, and some raised questions as to whether there was a distinction to be made over internal and external taxes. 1764, Connecticut Governor Thomas Fitch addressed the debate over taxation in a 39-page pamphlet. In this excerpt, Fitch draws attention to the negative impact of taxation on the economic health and vitality of both Mother Country and colonies.
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“….5thly. Another Reason offered as an Objection against charging Stamp Duties, &c. in the Colonies, may be drawn from the Consequence of such a Measure, as it is most probable, if not certain, it will, in the Even, prove prejudicial to Great Britain itself. The Colonies and Plantations in America are, indeed, of great Importance to their Mother Country and an Interest worthy of her most tender Regard: The more they prosper and increase in Number, Riches and Commerce, the greater will be the Advantage not only to them but also to the Nation at Home. In the Colonies there is a Vent for and a Consumption of almost all Sorts of British Manufactures, and of many and various Kinds of Goods of the Produce of other Countries, first imported into Britain and from thence brought into the Plantations, whereby the Revenue of the Crown and Wealth of the Nation are much encreased, at the Expence of the Colonies; for these Goods the Colonies make Remittances with what Monies they are able to collect, in a Variety of their own Produce, and by circular Trade; and ta-”
“king the whole Trade together, it amounts to a very great Sum, the Profit of which in general center in Great Britain. If the Plantations are encouraged and prosper, this will be an increasing Interest and become more and more of Importance; but if Measures should be taken, which, in Regard to them, would have a natural Tendency to abate their Vigour, Spirit and Industry, or to turn them into some other Channel to supply the Necessaries of Life, what can be expected but a Decrease of the Colonies Wealth and Prosperity, and consequently a Decay of an important national Interest. And as, on the one Hand, depriving the Colonies of Part of their Powers and Privileges and rendering the Tenures of them and of their Liberties and Properties precarious, as by charging Stamp Duties or other internal Taxes upon them by Act of Parliament, &c. will naturally produce that unhappy Effect of causing the Colonies to languish and decrease; so, on the other Hand, upholding and continuing the Freedom of their Governments, maintaining their Authority, their Laws, securing their Properties, considering and treating their Privileges and Immunities as Matters too sacred to be violated, will naturally tend to invigorate, enliven and encourage the People, and keep up in them a Spirit of Industry in all Kinds of Dealing and Business, and of Emulation in the Service of their Mother Country, whereby they will become more able and zealous to promote the national Interest. This will doubtless be found almost universally to be the Case of a People where they enjoy Liberty, and their Lives, Properties and Privileges are secure….”