Josiah Tucker

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Josiah Tucker (also Josias) (December 1713 – 4 November 1799), also known as Dean Tucker, was a Welsh churchman, known as an economist and political writer. He was concerned in his works with free trade, Jewish emancipation and American independence. He became Dean of Gloucester.


  • As to the Bill itself, it only empowers rich Foreigners to purchase Lands, and to carry on a free and extensive Commerce, by importing all Sorts of Merchandise and Raw Materials, allowed by Law to be imported, for the Employment of our own People, and then Exporting the Surplus of the Produce, Labour, and Manufactures of our own Country, upon cheaper and better Terms than is done at present.
  • Why truly; if we will grant the Colonies all that they shall require, and stipulate for nothing in Return; then they will be at Peace with us. I believe it; and on these simple Principles of simple Peace-making I will engage to terminate every Difference throughout the World.
    • A Letter to Edmund Burke, esq., member of Parliament for the city of Bristol, and agent for the colony of New York, &c., in answer to his printed speech, said to be spoken in the House of Commons on the twenty-second of March, 1775 (1775), pp. 44–45
  • I am not for having Recourse to Military Operations. For granting, that we shall be victorious, still it is proper to enquire, before we begin, How we are to be benefitted by our Victories? And what Fruits are to result from making you a conquered People?—Not an Increase of Trade; that is impossible: For a Shop-keeper will never get the more Custom by beating his Customers: And what is true of a Shop-keeper, is true of a Shop-keeping Nation.
    • Four tracts, On Political and Commercial Subjects (1776), p. 140
  • I say, I am glad, that America has declared herself independent of us, though for Reasons very opposite to theirs. America, I have proved beyond the Possibility of a Confutation, ever was a Millstone hanging about the Neck of this Country, to weigh it down: And as we ourselves had not the Wisdom to cut the Rope, and to let the Burthen fall off, the Americans have kindly done it for us.
    • Four Letters on Important National Subjects, Addressed to the Right Honourable the Earl of Shelburne, His Majesty's First Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (1783), pp. 7–8
  • In short, if Experience shall be allowed to decide this Question, it will almost universally tell us, that when a Multitude are invested with the Power of governing, they prove the very worst of Governors. They are rash and precipitate, giddy and inconstant, and ever the Dupes of designing Men, who lead them to commit the most atrocious Crimes, in order to make them subservient to their own Purposes. Besides a democratic Government is despotic in its very Nature; because it supposes itself to be the only Fountain of Power, from which there can be no Appeal. Hence, therefore, it comes to pass, that this many headed Monster, an absolute Democracy, has all the Vices and Imperfections of its Brother-Tyrant, an absolute Monarchy, without any of the shining Qualities of the latter to hide its Deformity.
    • Four Letters on Important National Subjects, Addressed to the Right Honourable the Earl of Shelburne, His Majesty's First Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (1783), p. 98
  • Mr. Locke is also now the Idol of the Levellers of England. ... In the 2d. Part of his Treatise on Government, he supplies them with such Materials, as put it in their Power (were his Scheme to take Effect) to call for thousands and thousands of Alterations in the Forms and Modes, Management and Administration of every Government upon Earth, and to unsettle every Thing. In short, his Principles or Portions [whatever were his Intentions] give them a perpetual Right to shift and change, to vary and alter, without End; That is, without coming to any solid Establishment, Permanence, or Duration. Add to all this, that as the rising Generation are not bound, (according to Mr. Locke's System) to acknowledge the Validity of the Acts of their Fathers, Grandfathers, &c. they must of course have a new Set of unalienable Rights of their own; for they are perfectly their own Masters, absolutely free, and independent of that very Government, under which they were born. In Consequence of this, they also have a Right to demand as many new Arrangements and Alterations, as they please, agreably to their own Taste and Humour: And if they are not gratified therein, have a Right to stir up new Commotions, and to bring about another and another Revolution, &c. What could the most enthusiastic Republican wish for more?
    • Four Letters on Important National Subjects, Addressed to the Right Honourable the Earl of Shelburne, His Majesty's First Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (1783), pp 110–112
  • I have often proved in several of my Writings both Commercial and Theological:- We[England], I say, the boasted Patrons of Liberty, and the professed Advocates for the natural Rights of Mankind, engage deeper in this murderous inhuman Traffic[slavery] than any nation whatever:- And to shew our Confidence, we glory in it!
    • A Series of Answers to Certain Popular Objections Against Separating from the Rebellious Colonies, and Discarding Them Entirely [1]

Quotes about Tucker[edit]

  • The conservative demands less of his "principles" and puts less into them; they will resemble less a comprehensive theory of government than a pragmatic justification of existing arrangements. Indeed, they may turn out on inspection to contain little more than the pragmatic statement that arrangements must be continued if they exist and must be made if they do not exist, and that somebody must attend to continuing or constructing them. There is certainly little more to the conservatism of that admirable eighteenth-century curmudgeon Josiah Tucker.
    • J. G. A. Pocock, 'Time, Institutions and Action: An Essay on Traditions and Their Understanding', in Preston King and B. C. Parekh (eds.), Politics and Experience: Essays Presented to Professor Michael Oakeshott on the Occasion of His Retirement (1968), p. 234

External links[edit]

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