|The Testimony of Benjamin Franklin in the British Parliament 1766||
HistoryWiz Primary Source
|Q. What is your name, and home?
A. Franklin, of Philadelphia.
Q. Do the Americans pay any considerable taxes to their own colonies?
A. Certainly many, and very heavy taxes.
Q. What are the present taxes in Pennsylvania, laid by the laws of the
A. There are taxes on all estates, real and personal; a poll tax; a tax on
Q. What purposes are those taxes?
A. For the support of the civil and military establishments of the country,
Q. Are all the people able to pay those taxes?
A. No. The frontier counties, all along the Appalachians, have been often
Q. Are the colonies, able to pay the stamp duty (tax)?
A. In my opinion there is not enough gold and silver in the colonies to
Q. Do you think it is right that America should be protected by this country
A. That is not the case. The colonies raised, clothed, and paid nearly 25,000 soldiers, and spent many millions during the last war.
Q. Were you not reimbursed (paid back) by Parliament?
A. We in Pennsylvania gave out about 500,000 pounds, and the reimbursed less than 60,000 pounds. . . .
Q. Do you think the people of America would submit to pay the stamp
A. No, never, unless compelled by force of arms (soldiers with guns). . . .
Q. What was the temper (feelings) of America towards Great Britain before the
A. The best in the world. They obeyed the government of
Q. What is your opinion of a future tax, like the Stamp Act? How would the Americans receive it?
A. They would not pay it.
Q. What is the opinion of the Americans on Parliaments right to tax and rule?
A. They will think it is unconstitutional and unjust.
Q. Can anything less than a military force the Stamp Act into
A. I do not see how a military force can be applied for that purpose.
Q. Why may it not?
A. Suppose a military force sent into America; they will find nobody in
Q. If the act is not repealed, what do you think will be the
A. A total loss of the respect and love by the people of America to
Q. If the Stamp Act should be repealed, would the assemblies
A. No, never.
Q. Is there a power on earth that can force the Americans to accept Parliaments power again?
A. No power, how great so ever, can force men to change their
Q. What used to be the pride of the Americans?
A. To purchase the fashions (clothes) and manufactures (products) of Great Britain.
Q. What is now their pride?
A. To wear their old clothes over again, untill they can make new ones.
Source: The Parliamentary History of England (London: