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Nicholas Brown & Co. to Hopkins, Esek; December 30, 1764
Copy of a letter sent by the Brown brothers to Esek Hopkins, dated December 30, 1764, offering news of other local ship captains, as well as a few observations about the political protests unleashed in the colonies by the British Parliament's decision to begin collecting a duty on imported sugar -- protests that would issue, twelve years later, in American independence. Enclosed "for your Amusement" was a copy of a pamphlet, "The Rights of the Colonies Examined," written by the captain's older brother, Stephen Hopkins, colonial governor of Rhode Island and a leading spokesman for the colonial cause. Published at the very moment that the Sally arrived on the African coast, this influential pamphlet not only denied Parliament's right to assess "internal" taxes on the colonies but also insisted that to compel people to pay taxes that had not been levied by their own representatives was to reduce them "to the miserable condition of slaves." It is unclear whether Hopkins ever received the letter, which was presumably forwarded to Africa on some other outbound ship.