London: Printed for B. White, 1770. ,41pp. Half title. Antique-style three-quarter calf and marbled boards, spine gilt, raised bands, gilt leather label. Mild toning to half title, small holes to lower corner of pp.35-, not affecting text. Very good. Item #WRCAM54994
Sole edition of this scarce argument in favor of admitting representatives from the American colonies into the House of Commons. Maseres, a lawyer, had been Attorney General of Quebec from 1766 to 1769, and as such was a staunch defender of the rights of Canadians as British subjects. Maseres felt that the colonists, as British subjects, were obligated to obey the laws of Parliament. However, he writes that for the Americans "the total want of Representatives in the great Council of the nation, to support their interests and give an assent on their behalf to laws and taxes by which they are bound and affected, is a misfortune which every friend to liberty and equal government must be sorry to see them labour under." Maseres proposes a system by which some eighty representatives would be admitted to Parliament from the American colonies and the West Indies, "and their title might be that of Commissioners of the Colonies of America." He describes how they would be elected and their duties, and hopes that through such a plan "the present disputes with America may be equitably terminated, to the lasting and solid advantage of both parties, or perhaps I ought rather to say, to the prevention of the utter ruin of them both." A copy of this work in the Lande Collection at McGill University has a note in Maseres's hand noting that "the plan proposed in this pamphlet was met with approbation by Dr. Benjamin Franklin, and likewise that of Mr. George Grenville" (as noted in Adams). A vision of a path not chosen, and one that likely would have altered the course of eighteenth-century history. A quite scarce work. AMERICAN CONTROVERSY 70-20. HOWES M365, "aa." SABIN 45414.