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tom; a quiddity; a thing that wants, not only a substance, but even a name; for a thing, which is neither abstract right, nor profitable enjoyment.
They tell you, Sir, that your dignity is tied to it. I know not how it happens, but this dignity of yours is a terrible incumbrance to you; for it has of late been ever at war with your interest, your equity, and every idea of your policy. Shew the thing you contend for to be reason; shew it to be common fense; fhew it to be the means of attaining fome useful end; and then I am content to allow it what dignity you please. But what dignity is derived from the perseverance in absurdity is more than I ever could discern. The honourable gentleman has said well-indeed, in most of his general observations I agree with him-he says, that this subject does not stand as it did formerly. Oh, certainly not! every hour you continue on this ill chosen ground, your difficulties thicken on you; and therefore my conclufion is, remove from a bad pofition as quickly as you can. The disgrace, and the necessity of yielding, both of them, grow upon you every hour of your delay.
But will you repeal the act, says the honourable gentleman, at this instant when America is in open resistance to your authority, and that you have just revived your system of taxation ? He thinks he has driven us into a corner. But thus pent up, I
tom; & quiddity; a thing that wants, not only a
They tell you, Sir, that your dignity is tied to it I know not how it happens, but this dignity. of yours is a terrible incumbrance to you; for it his of late been ever at war with your intereft, your equity, and every idea of your policy. Shew the thing you contend for to be reason; thew it to be common fense ; few it to be the means of attaining fome useful end; and then I am content to allow it what dignity you please. But what dignity is derived from the perfeverance in absur
am content to meet him; because I enter the lists fupported by my old authority, his new friends, the ministers themselves. The honourable gentleman remembers, that about five years ago as great disturbances as the present prevailed in America on account of the new taxes. The ministers represented these disturbances as treasonable; and this house thought proper, on that representation, to make a famous address for a revival, and for a new application, of a statute of Henry VIII. We befought the king, in that well-considered address, to enquire into treasons, and to bring the supposed traitors from America to Great Britain for trial. His majesty was pleased graciously to promise a compliance with our request. All the attempts from this side of the house to resist these violences, and to bring about a repeal, were treated with the utmost scorn. An apprehension of the very consequences now stated by the honourable gentleman, was then given as a reason for fhutting the door against all hope of such an alteration. And fo strong was the spirit for supporting the new taxes, that the fesfion concluded with the following remarkable declaration. After stating the vi- ; gorous measures which had been pursued, the
fpeech from the throne proceeds: F You have állured me of your firm support in the pro
secution of them. Nothing, in my opinion, could be more likely to enable the well difpofed among my sub
dity is more than I ever could discern. The honourable gentleman has said well—indeed, in most of his general observations I agree with him-he tays that this fubje&t does not fand as it did formerly. Oh, certainly not! every hour you continue on this ill cholen ground, your difficulties thicken on you; and therefore my conclufion is, remove from a bad position as quickly as you can. The disgrace, and the necessity of yielding, both of them, grow upon you every hour of your de
But will you repeal the act, says the honourable gentleman, at this inftant when America is in open retistance to your authority, and that you have jult revived your fystem of taxation? He thinks he has driven us into a corner. But thus pent up, 1
. .. am
jeds in that part of the world, effe&ually to difcourage and defeat the designs of the factious and seditious, than the hearty concurrence of every branch of the legisature, in maintaining the execution of the laws in every part of my dominions.
After this no man dreamt that a repeal under this ministry could possibly take place. The honourable gentleman knows as well as I, that the idea was utterly exploded by those who sway the house. This specch was made on the ninth day of May, 1769. Five days after this speech, that is, on the 13th of the same month, the publick circular letter, a part' of which I am going to read to you, was written by Lord Hillsborough, secretary of state for the colonies. After reciting the substance of the king's speech, he goes on thus:
“I can take upon me to assure you, notwithstanding “infinuations to thecontrary, frommenwith factious ".and seditious views, that his majesty's prefent ad“ministration have at no time entertained a de“sign to propose to parliament to lay any further “ taxes upon America, for the purpose of RAISING “A REVENUE; and that it is at present their in“ tention to propose, the next fesion of parliament, “ to take off the duties upon glass, paper, and “colours, upon consideration of such duties hav- · “ing been laid contrary to the true principles of " commerce. .
“ There have always been, and still are, the senti“ments of his majesty's present servants ; and by
VR. BURKE'S SPEECH
After this no man dreamt that a repeal under this
“I can take upon me to assure you, notwithstanding
" which their conduct in respect to America has “ been governed. And his majesty relies upon “ your prudence and fidelity for such an explana“tion of his measures, as may tend to remove the s prejudices which have been excited by the misre“presentations of those who are enemies to the s peace and prosperity of Great Britain and her “ colonies ; and to re-establish that mutual confi“ dence and affection, upon which the glory and “ Safety of the British empire depend." '
Here, Sir, is a canonical book of ministerial fcripture; the general epistle to the Americans. What does the gentleman say to it? Here a repeal is promised; promised without condition; and while your authority was actually resisted. I pass by the publick promise of a peer relative to the repeal of taxes by this house. I pass by the use of the king's name in a matter of supply, that facred and reserved right of the Commons. I conceal the ridiculous figure of parliament, hurling įts thunders at the gigantick rebellion of America; and then fiye days after, proftrate at the feet of those assemblies we affected to despise; begging them, by the intervention of our ministerial (ureties, to receive our submiffion; and heartily promising amendment. These might have been serious matters formerly; but we are grown wiser than our fathers. Paffing, therefore, from the constitutional consideration to the mere policy, does not this letter imply, that the idea of taxing America for the purpose of revenue Vol. II, . Bb
"tares upon America, for the purpose of RAISING “A REVENUE; and that it is at present their in"tention to propose, the next lesion of parliament, "to take off the duties upon glass, paper, and " colours, upon conßderation of such duties hav"ing been laid contrary to the true principles of "commerce.
“ These have always been, and füill are, the fenti"ments of his majesty's present fervants, and by
is an abominable project; when the ministry fuppore none but factious men, and with seditious views could charge them with it? does not this letter adopt and fanctify the American distinction of taring for a reveiiue ? does it not formally reject all future taxation on that principle ? does it not ftate the ministerial rejection of such principle of taxation, not as the occasional, but the constant opinion of the king's servants ? does it not say (I care not how consistently), but does it not say, that their conduct with regard to America has been always governed by this policy? It goes a great deal further. These excellent and trusty fervants of the king, juftly fearful left they themselves fhould have lost all credit with the world, bring out the image of their gracious sovereign from the inmost and most sacred shrine, and they påwn him as a security for their promises.—“ His majesty relies on “your prudence and fidelity for such an expla“ nation of his measures.” These sentiments of the minister, and these measures of his majesty, can only relate to the principle and practice of taxing for a revenue; and accordingly Lord Botetourt, ftating it as such, did, with great propriety, and in the exact spirit of his instructions, endeavour to remove the fears of the Virginian assembly, left the sentiments, which it seems (unknown to the world) had always been those of the ministers, and by which their conduct in respect to America had been governed, should by some poffible revolution, fa