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The seat of the empire would then naturally remove itself to that part of the empire which contributed most to the general defence and support of the whole." 1
In these tranquil words of assured science the great author carries the seat of government across the Atlantic.
Did Adam Smith in this remarkable passage do more than follow a hint from our own prophet? The prophecy of the great economist first appeared in 1776. In the course of 1774, and down to April 19, 1775, John Adams published in the “ Boston Gazette” a series of weekly articles, under the signature of “Novanglus,” which were abridged in Almon's "Remembrancer" for 1775, with the following title: "History of the Dispute with America, from its Origin in 1754 to the Present Time.” Although this abridged edition stops before the prophetic passage, it is not impossible that the whole series was known to Adam Smith. After speculating, as the latter did afterwards, on the extension of the British Constitution and Parliamentary representation to the outlying British dominions, our prophet says:
“If in twenty years more America should have six millions of inhabitants, as there is a boundless territory to fill up, she must have five hundred representatives. Upon these principles, if in forty years she should have twelve millions, a thousand; and if the inhabitants of the three kingdoms remain as they are, being already full of inhabitants, what will become of your supreme legislative? It will be translated, crown and all, to America. This is a sublime system for America. It will flatter those ideas of independ
1 Wealth of Nations, (London, 1789,) Book IV. Ch. VII. Part 3, Vol. II.
ency which the Tories impute to them, if they have any such, more than any other plan of independency that I have ever heard projected." I
Thus plainly was John Adams precursor of Adam Smith.
In 1784 these papers were reprinted from the “Remembrancer," by Stockdale, in London, bearing the same title, substantially, as before, “History of the Dispute with America, from its Origin in 1754,” with the addition, "Written in the Year 1774, by John Adams, Esq.” The “Monthly Review,” in a notice of the publication, after speaking of "the inauspicious system of American taxation,” says, “ Mr. Adams foretold the consequence of obstinately adhering to it, and the event hath too well verified his predictions. They were, however, predictions which required no inspiration.” 2 So that his wise second-sight was recognized in England much beyond the prevision of Adam Smith.
The idea of transferring the seat of government to America was often attributed to Franklin by Dean Tucker. The former, in a letter, as early as 25th November, 1767, reports the Dean as saying, “That is his constant plan.” 3 In one of his tracts, the Dean attributes it not only to Franklin, but also to our people. With strange exaggeration he says: “ It has been the unanimous opinion of the North Americans for these fifty years past, that the seat of empire ought to be transferred from the lesser to the greater country,
that is, from England to America, or, as Dr. Franklin elegantly phrased it, from the cock-boat to the man
i Novanglus, No. VII.: Works of John Adams, Vol. IV. pp. 101, 102. 2 Monthly Review, June, 1784, Vol. LXX. p. 478.
3 Letter to William Franklin, November 25, 1767 : Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. VII. p. 367.
It is impossible to say how much of this was from the excited brain of the Dean.
RICHARD PRICE, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1784.
A TRUE and solid ally of our country at a critical period was Dr. Price, dissenting clergyman, metaphysician, political writer, and mathematician, who was born in Wales, 23d February, 1723, and died in London, 19th April, 1791.
His earliest labors were "A Review of the Principal Questions and Difficulties in Morals," by which he was recognized as a metaphysician, and “Observations on Reversionary Payments,” by which he was recognized as an authority on a large class of financial questions. At the same time his sermons were regarded as excellent. Amidst these various labors he was moved to enlist as a pamphleteer in defence of the American Colonies. This service, prompted by a generous devotion to just principles, awakened grateful sentiments on both sides of the ocean.
The Aldermen and Common Council of London marked their sympathy by voting him the freedom of the city in a gold box of fifty pounds value. The American Congress sent him a different testimonial, officially communicated to him, being a solemn resolution declaring “the desire of Congress to consider him a citizen of the United States, and to receive his assistance in regulating their finances." 2
1 A Series of Answers to certain Popular Objections against separating from the Rebellious Colonies and discarding them entirely, (Glocester, 1776,) pp. 58, 59. See also Cui Bono ? (London, 1782,) p. 87.
2 Secret Journals of Congress, October 6, 1778, Vol. II. p. 101. The Commissioners to Dr. Price, December 7, 1778: Works of John Adams, Vol. VII. p. 71.
under date of 18th January, 1779, while declining the invitation, he offered assurances that Dr. Price feels the warmest gratitude for the notice taken of him, and that he looks to the American States as `now the hope and likely soon to become the refuge of mankind.” 1 Franklin and Adams contracted with him relations of friendship The former, under date of 6th February, 1780, wrote him: “Your writings, after all the abuse you and they have met with, begin to make serious impressions on those who at first rejected the counsels you gave";2 and 24th October, 1788, he wrote to another : “ Remember me affectionately to good Dr. Price.”' 3
The latter, in correspondence many years afterwards, recorded the intimacy he enjoyed with Dr. Price, “at his own house, at my house, and at the houses and tables of many friends.” 4
The first of his American tracts was in 1776, being “Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty, the Principles of Government, and the Justice and Policy of the War with America.” The sale of sixty thousand copies in a few months shows the extensive acceptance of the work. The general principles so clearly exhibited are invoked for America. Occasionally the philosopher becomes prophet, as when he predicts the growth of population :
“ They are now but little short of half our number. To this number they have grown, from a small body of original settlers, by a very rapid increase. The probability is that they will go on to increase, and that in fifty or sixty
1 Franklin's Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. VIII. p. 355, note.
years they will be double our number, and form a mighty empire, consisting of a variety of States, all equal or superior to ourselves in all the arts and accomplishments which give dignity and happiness to human life.” 1
Nothing less than “a vast continent" seems to hiin the sphere of this remarkable development, and he revolts at the idea of this being held “at the discretion of a handful of people on the other side of the Atlantic.”? In the measures which brought on the war he saw "the hand of Providence working to bring about some great ends.” 3 And the vast continent was to be dedicated to Liberty. The excellent man saw even the end of Slavery. Speaking of “the negroes of the Southern Colonies,” he said that they “probably will now either soon become extinct or have their condition changed into that of freemen." 4 Years and battle intervened before this precious result.
This production was followed in 1777 by "Additional Observations on the Nature and Value of Civil Liberty, and the War with America," — to which was added "Observations on Public Loans, the National Debt, and the Debts and Resources of France.” In all this variety of topics, his concern for America breaks forth in the inquiry, “ Must not humanity shudder at such a war?”5 And he sees untold loss to England, which, with the Colonies, “ might be the greatest and happiest nation that ever existed”; but without them “we are no more a people; .... our existence depends on keeping them.” This patriotic gloom is checked by another vision :
1 Observations on Civil Liberty, (London, 1776,) pp. 43, 44.
4 Ibid., p. 70, note.