March 12th. 1776.
Our colonies in North America appear to be now determined to risk and suffer every thing under the persuasion that Great Britain is attempting to rob them of that liberty to which every member of society, and all civil communities, have a natural and unalienable title. The question, therefore, whether this is a right persuasion, is highly interesting and deserves the careful attention of every Englishman who values liberty and wishes to avoid staining himself with the guilt of invading it. But it is impossible to judge properly of this question without just ideas of liberty in general, and of the nature, limits, and principles of civil liberty in particular. The following observations on this subject appear to me of some importance, and I cannot make myself easy without offering them to the public at the present period, big with events of the last consequence to this kingdom. I do this with reluctance and pain urged by strong feelings, but at the same time checked by the consciousness that I am likely to deliver sentiments not favourable to the present measures of that government under which I live and to which I am a constant and zealous well-wisher. Such, however, are my present sentiments and views, that this is a consideration of inferior moment with me, and, as I hope never to go beyond the bounds of decent discussion and expostulation, I flatter myself, that I shall be able to avoid giving any person reason for offence.
The observations with which I shall begin are of a more general and abstract nature; but being necessary to introduce what I have principally in view, I hope they will be patiently read and considered.
Writings of Richard Price