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words that he was on intimate terms with some of the leading men of America, such as Jefferson and others, and no doubt in correspondence with them. The late Eliezer Wright is authority for the statement that America is indebted to Dr. Price for the principles and form of its Government, and that a document was sent from London by Dr. Price embracing the principles which he had advocated in the above work, and was adopted with but few modifications at the time when the "Fathers" met to "form a more perfect union."
Many have marvelled at the great resemblance between the form of the American Government and that of the Ancient Britons before Cæsar's time. Since it is difficult to accredit such knowledge to any one of the Revolutionary Fathers, the powerful advocacy of the American cause by Dr. Price, at times imperilling bis personal liberty, and the principles and very words of the Declaration of Independence, together with the essential form of the American Government found in the above work and written and published before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, strongly confirm Eliezer Wright's statement. Mr. Wright was not a man likely to make such a statement without good and sufficient reasons.
I shall now briefly proceed to show that the Government of the Ancient Britons and that of America are alike in all essentials. In both there were a number of independent States, supreme within their own territories, having power over life and death in the administration of the law. By general agreement the States of Ancient Britain formed a central Government, on whose king devolved the care of all foreign affairs, all imports and exports, public roads, seafaring waters, &c.; the proclaiming of war and peace, &c. But he was himself subject to the voice of the people, who could remove him by a unanimous vote. That central Government had an army and navy to enforce its authority, whilst the States had their militia always ready to co-operate in cases of necessity. This central Government could not interfere in the local affairs of any of the States of which it was composed. The laws were made by the two Houses of Assembly or Eisteddvod, one of which Houses was elective and the other hereditary, consisting of the heads of the various clans. The king was bound to consult the Eisteddvod or Assembly, consisting of the two Houses, on all matters of importance, and was to be governed thereby, since "Llais y Wlad"--the voice of the country-was paramount. There was another branch of the Government, co-equal with the other two, namely, the judges, who were to decide whether the laws which were made were in consonance with the usages of Britain. The "Triads" affirm the "Three Pillars of the State" to be, " Teyrnedd-King or President; Rhaith Gwlad-the Houses of Assembly; and Tangneidiaeth-the Judiciary."
It will be seen from the quotations I shall make from Dr. Price's treatise that he recommended America to adopt a modified form of this Ancient British Government, retaining its essential elements. After the Revolution, so highly esteemed were the services rendered by Dr. Price to America in her struggle with Great Britain that the American Congress in 1778, through Franklin, conveyed to him its desire to consider him a fellow citizen, and solicited his aid in regulating its finances, which honour he declined, chiefly on account of his advanced age. "Let every State," says Dr. Price, "with respect to all its internal concerns, be continued independent of all the rest and let a general confederacy be formed by the appointment of a Senate consisting of representatives from all the different States. Let the Senate possess the power of managing all the common concerns of the United States and of judging and deciding between them, as a common arbiter or umpire, in all disputes; having at the same time under its direction the common force of the States to support its decisions. In these circumstances, each separate State would be secure against the interference of foreign power in its private concerns, and, therefore, would possess liberty; and at the same time it would be secure against all oppression and insult from every neighbouring State. Thus might the scattered force and abilities of a whole continent be gathered into one point; all litigations settled as they rose; and nation prevented from any more lifting up a sword against nation. I have observed, that though, in a great State, all the individuals that compose it cannot be admitted to an immediate participation in the powers of legislation and government, yet they may participate in these powers by a delegation of them to a body of representatives. In this case it is evident that the State will be still free or self-governed; and it will be more or less fairly and adequately represented. If the persons to whom the trust of government is committed hold their places for short terms; if they are chosen by the unbiassed voice of a majority of the State, and subject to their instructions, liberty will be enjoyed in its highest degree."
Again: "In order to form the most perfect constitution of government there may be the best reasons for joining to such a body of representatives an hereditary council consisting of men of the first rank in the State, with a supreme executive magistrate at the head of all. This will form useful checks in a Legislature, and contribute to give it vigour, union, and dispatch without infringing liberty. For, as long as that part of a Government which represents the people is a fair representation, and also has a negative on all public measures, together with the sole power of imposing taxes and originating supplies, the essentials of liberty will be preserved. Of such
liberty as I have now described it is impossible that there should be an excess. Government is an institution for the benefit of the people governed, which they have power to model as they please; and to say that they can have too much of this power is to say that there ought to be a power in the State superior to that which gives it being, and from which all jurisdiction in it is derived. A free State, at the same time that it is free itself, makes all its members free by excluding licentiousness, and guarding their persons and property and good name against insult. It is the end of all just government, at the same time that it secures the liberty of the public against foreign injury, to secure the liberty of the individual against private injury. I do not, therefore, think it strictly just to say that it belongs to the nature of government to entrench on private liberty. It might never do this, except as far as the exercise of private liberty encroaches on the liberties of others. That is, it is licentiousness it restrains, and liberty itself only when used to destroy liberty."
Further: "From the nature and principles of civil liberty, as they have been now explained, it is an immediate and necessary inference that no one community can have any power over the property or legislation of another community which is not incorporated with it by a just and adequate representation. Then only it has been shown is a State free, when it is governed by its own will. But a country that is subject to the Legislature of another country in which it has no voice, and over which it has no control, cannot be said to be governed by its own will. Such a country, therefore, is in a state of slavery."
The influence of such sentiments as these on America must have been very great, for it is manifest that they were intended to open the eyes of the Revolutionary Fathers to the fact that nothing less than independence would ever secure to them the boon of true liberty. "The fundamental principle of our Government," says Dr. Price, "is the right of a people to give and grant their own money. It is of no consequence, in this case, whether we enjoy this right in a proper manner or not. Most certainly we do not. It is, however, the principle on which our Government, as a free Government, is founded. The spirit of the Constitution gives it us; and however imperfectly enjoyed, we glory in it as our first and greatest blessing. It was an attempt to encroach upon this right in a trifling instance that produced the civil war in the time of Charles I. Ought not our brethren in America to enjoy this right as well as ourselves? Do the principles of the Constitution give it us, but deny it to them? Or can we, with any decency, pretend that when we give to the King their money, we give our own? What difference does it make, that
in the time of Charles I. the attempt to take away this right was made by one man ; but that in the case of America it is made by a body of men? In a word this is a war undertaken not only against the principles of our own Constitution, but on purpose to destroy similar constitutions in America. It is, therefore, a gross and flagrant violation of the Constitution."
Pretty strong language this, and no wonder the Government of Great Britain became alarmed at the boldness with which Dr. Price defended the American Colonies. From the following passage it is evident that Dr. Price was in correspondence with the leading men of affairs in the American struggle:—
They (the Americans) have always, while at peace with us, disclaimed any such design (the design, to wit, of throwing off their dependence); and they have continued to disclaim it since they have been at war with us. I have reason, indeed, to believe that independency is even at this moment generally dreaded among them as a calamity to which they are in danger of being driven, in order to avoid a greater. The time may come when, if it is not done voluntarily, we may be obliged to do it; and find ourselves under a necessity of granting that to our distresses which we now deny to equity and humanity, and the prayers of America. The colonies are persuaded that they are fighting for liberty. We see them sacrificing to this persuasion every private advantage. If mistaken, and though guilty of irregularities, they should be pardoned by a people whose ancestors have given them so many examples of similar conduct. England should venerate the attachment for liberty amidst all its excesses; and instead of indignation or scorn, it would be most becoming them, in the present instance, to declare their applause, and to say to the colonies :-"We excuse your mistakes. We admire your spirit. It is the spirit that has more than once saved ourselves. We aspire to no domination over you. We understand the rights of men too well to think of taking from you the inestimable privilege of governing yourselves; and instead of employing our power for any such purpose, we offer it to you as a friendly and guardian power, to be a mediator in your quarrels; a protection against your enemies; and an aid to you in establishing a plan of liberty that shall make you great and happy. In return, we ask nothing but your gratitude and your commerce." This would be a language worthy of a brave and enlightened nation. But alas! it often happens in the political world, as it does in religion, that the people who cry out most vehemently for liberty to themselves are the most unwilling to grant it to others.
It will be remembered that Dr. Price had for his advocacy of civil liberty to America incurred the displeasure of the British Government, and, therefore, that he had to be guarded in the expression of his sentiments. But, as will be readily inferred from the extracts I have made, it is very evident he foresaw that the colonies would ultimately throw off their allegiance to the mother country. "This quarrel," he wrote,
may be permitted on purpose to favour them, and in them the rest of mankind; by making way for establishing in an extensive country, possessed of every advantage, a plan of government, and a growing power that shall astonish the world, and under which every subject of human inquiry shall be open to free discussion, and the friends of liberty, in every quarter of the globe, find a safe retreat from civil and spiritual tyranny. I hope, therefore, our brethren in America will forgive their enemies. It is certain that they know not what they are doing."
THE EARLY WELSH SETTLERS IN AMERICA.
Many of the early Welsh settlers in America were the immediate predecessors of several who distinguished themselves during the Revolutionary War. These were, many of them, religious men of high standing, strongly imbued with the principles of civil and religious liberty. They were found among the earliest immigrants to New England and Virginia. William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, who himself claimed to be a descendant of the Ancient Britons who lived in Devon and other counties south and west of Bristol, had a warm and strong partiality for the Welsh, to whom he held forth every encouragement to settle in Pennsylvania. Large settlements of them were formed in the vicinity of Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, and other counties in the State. These flourished, long retained their ancient language, the Cymraeg, and became distinguished for their patriotism during the Revolution. Such names as Morris, Meredith, Lewis, Griffith, Merrick, Williams, &c., have occupied every honourable station in every office and profession in the State and Union. Robert Morris was the great financier of the Revolution; General Cadwallader was known as a military man and special friend of Washington; Oliver Evans, of Philadelphia, was the first to invent and set in motion a steam carriage and steam boat. Of those people who rendered important services during the Revolution, or since, in forming the government of the several States of the Union, their numbers are singularly great and their services and position distinguished.*
It was the spirit of these Ancient British laws-according to Dr. Alexander Jones (Cymry of "76)-exemplified in the peaceful and happy governments of Roger Williams and William Penn, which paved the way for our freedom, and animated the sages and soldiers of the American Revolution. They brought with them a patriotism kindled at the altars of Ancient British freedom, amidst the venerated hills and mountains of Cambria. They brought with them a courage and a faith inspired at the graves of their fathers, who had fallen while fighting through twelve centuries in defence of home and liberty.
Rest, ye brave dead! 'midst the hills of your sires,
The Cymry as a race have claims to share in the annual celebration of Independence Day while the liberty it has secured remains. And they can appropriately dwell upon the character and deeds of those of their race who distinguished themselves during our long and severe struggle. Among the noble band who signed the Declaration of Independence were seventeen men of Cambrian birth or origin. These we shall
Judge Powell's History of the Ancient Britons and their Descendants.