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Chester followed, that the style of the preamble is nearly the same with that of the Chester act; and without affecting the abstract extent of the authority of parliament, it recognizes the equity of
Now if the doctrines of policy contained in these preambles, and the force of these examples in the acts of parliament, avail any thing, what can be said against applying them with regard to America? Are not the people of America as much Englishmen as the Welch? The preamble of the act of Henry VIII. says, the Welch speak a language no way resembling that of his majesty's English subjects. Are the Americans not so numerous? If we may trust the learned and accurate judge Barrington's account of North Wales, and take that as a
"To the king, our sovereign lord, in most humble wise shewn unto your excellent majesty, the inhabitants of your grace's county palatine of Ches ter, that where the said county palatine of Chester is and hath been always hitherto exemp!, excluded not suffering any considerable district in which the and separated out and from your high court of British subjects may act as a body, to be taxed parliament, to have any knights or burgesses with- without their own voice in the grant. in the said court; by reason whereof the said inhabita ts have hitherto sustained manifold disherisons, losses and damages, as well in their lands, goods, and bodies, as in the good, civil, and politic govern ance and maintenance of the commonwealth of their said county. (2.) And forasmuch as the said inha bitants have always hitherto been bound by the acts and statutes made and ordained by your said highness, and your most noble progenitors, by au thority of the said court, as far forth as other counties, cities, and boroughs have been, that have had their knights and burgesses within your said court standard to measure the rest, there is no comof parliament, and yet have had neither knight parison. The people cannot amount to above nor burgesses there for the said county palatine; 200,000; not a tenth part of the number in the the said inhabitants, for lack thereof, have been colonies. Is America in rebellion? Wales was oftentimes touched, and grieved with acts and hardly free from it. Have you attempted to govern statutes made within the said court, as well America by penal statutes? You made fifteen for derogatory unto the most ancient jurisdictions, li- Wales. But your legislative authority is perfect berties, and privileges of your said county palatine, with regard to America; was it less perfect in as prejudicial unto the commonwealth, quietness, Wales, Chester, and Durham? But America is rest, and peace of your grace's most bounden sub- virtually represented. What! Does the electric jects inhabiting within the same." force of virtual representation more easily pass over the Atlantic, than pervade Wales, which lies in your neighborhood; or than Chester and Durham surrounded by abundance of representation that is actual and palpable? But, sir, your ancestors thought this sort of virtual representation, however ample, to be totally insufficient for the freedom of the inhabitants of territories that are so near, and comparatively so inconsiderable. How then can I think it sufficient for those which are infinitely greater, and infinitely more remote.
What did parliament with this audacious ad. dress? Reject it as a libel? Treat it as an affront to government? Spurn it as a derogation from the rights of legislature? Did they toss it over the table? Did they burn it by the hands of the common hangman? They took the petition of griev ance, all rugged as it was, without softening, or temperament, unpurged of the original bitterness and indignation of complaint; they made it the very preamble to their act of redress; and consecrated its principle to all ages on the sanctuary of legislation.
You will now, sir, perhaps, imagine that I am on the point of proposing to you a scheme for a
with the success of my two former. Chester, civilized as well as Wales, has demonstrated that
Here is my third example. It was attended representation of the colonies in parliament. Perhaps I might be inclined to entertain some such thought; but a great flood stops me in my course. barriers of the creation. The thing in that mode, Opposuit natura-I cannot remove the eternal
freedom and not servitude, is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy for superstition.
I do not know to be possible. As I meddle with no theory, I do not absolutely assert the impractica bility of such a representation. But I do not see my way to it; and those who have been more confident, have not been more successful. However, the arm of public benevolence is not shorten ed, and there are often several means to the same
Sir, this pattern of Chester was followed in the reign of Charles II. with regard to the county palatine of Durham, which is my fourth example. This county had long lain out of the pale of free legislation. So scrupulously was the example of
end. What nature has disjoined in one way, wis-, tion. The first is a resolution-"That the colonies dom may unite in another. When we cannot give and plantations of Great Britain in North America, the benefit as we would wish, let us not refuse it consisting of fourteen separate governments, and altogether. If we cannot give the principal, let containing two millions and upwards of free inha us find a substitute. But how? Where? What bitants, have not had the liberty and privilege of. substitute? electing and sending any knights and burgesses, or others, to represent them in the high court of parliament."- This is a plain matter of fact, description) it is laid down in the language of the necessary to be laid down, and (excepting the constitution; it is taken nearly verbatim from acts of parliament.
The second is like unto the first-"That the said
Fortunately I am not obliged, for the ways and means of this substitute, to fax my own unproduc tive invention. I am not even obliged to go to the rich treasury of the fertile framers of imaginary commonwealths; not to the republic of Plato, not to the Utopia of Moore, not to the oceans of Harrington. It is before me.-It is at my feet, and the rude swain treads daily on it with his colonies and plantations have been liable to, and clouted shoon. I only wish you to recognize, for bounden by, several subsidies, payments, rates, and the theory, the ancient constitutional policy of this taxes, given and granted by parliament, though the kingdom with regard to representation, as, that said colonies and plantations have not their krights policy has been declared in acts of parliament; and and burgesses, in the said high court of parliament, as to the practice, to return to that mode which of their own election, to represent the condition of an uniform experience has marked out to you as their country; by lack whereof they have been best; and in which you walked with security, adoftentimes touched and grieved by subsidies given, vantage, and honor, until the year 1763. granted, and assented to, in the said court, in a man ner prejudicial to the commonwealth, quietness, rest, and peace, of the subjects inhabiting within
My resolutions, therefore, mean to establish the equity and justice of a taxation of America by the same." grant and not by imposition. To mark the legal competency of the colony assemblies for the sup-strong, or too weak? Does it arrogate too much Is this description too hot, or too cold, too port of their government in peace, and for public to the supreme legislature? Does it lean too much aids in time of war. To acknowledge that this legal competency has had a dutiful and beneficial to the claims of the people? If it runs into any of these errors, the fault is not mine. exercise; and that experience has shewn the beneIt is the fit of their grants, and the futility of parliamentary Non meus hic sermo, sed qua præcepit, ofella, language of your own ancient acts of parliament. taxation as a method of supply. rusticus, abnormis sapiens; it is the general pre
These solid truths compose six fundamental produce of the ancient, rustic, manly, home-bred sense positions. There are three more resolutions of this country.-I did not dare to rub off a particle corollary to these. If you admit the first set you of the venerable rust that rather adorns and precan hardly reject the others. But if you admit serves than destroys the metal. It would be a the first, I shall be far from solicitous whether you profanation to touch with a tool the stones which accept or refuse the last. I think these six massive construct the sacred altar of peace. I would not pillars will be of strength sufficient to support the violate, with modern polish, the ingenious and notemple of British concord. I have no more doubt ble roughness of these truly constitutional mathan I entertain of my existence, that if you ad. terials. Above all things, I was resolved not to mitted these, you would command an immediate be guilty of tampering, the odious vice of restless peace; and with but tolerable future management, and unstable minds. I put my foot in the tracts of our forefathers, where I can neither wander nor stumble. Determining to fix articles of peace, I was resolved not to be wise beyond what was written; I was resolved to use nothing else than the form of sound words; to let others abound in their own sense, and carefully to abstain from all expressions of my own. What the law has said, I say. In all things else I am silent. I have no organ but for her words. This if it be not ingenious, !
a lasting obedience in America. I am not arrogant in this confident assurance. The propositions are all mere matters of fact; and if they are such facts as draw irresistible conclusions even in the stating, that is the power of truth, and not any management of mine.
Sir, I shall open the whole plan to you together, with such observations on the motions as may tend to illustrate them where they may want explang- am sure is safe.
There are, indeed, words expressive of grie [colo ies hath within itself a body chosen in part, vance in this second resolution, which those who or in the whole, by the freemen, freeholders, or are resolved always to be in the right, will deny other free inhabitants thereof, commonly called to contain matter of fact, as applied to the present the general assembly, or general court, with pow case; although parliament thought them true withers legally to raise, levy, and assess, according to regard to the counties of Chester and Durham.-the several usage of such colonies, duties and They will deny that the Americans were ever taxes towards defraying all sorts of public service" "touched and grieved" with the taxes. If they consider nothing in taxes but their weight as pecuniary impositions, there might be some pre tence for this denial. But men may be sorely touched and deeply grieved in their privileges as well as in their purses. Men may lose little in property by the act which takes away all their freedom. When a man is robbed of a trifle on the highway, it is not the twopence lost that con stitutes the capital outrage. This is not confined look to what is done, not only in the colonies, but to privileges; even ancient indulgences withdrawn, in Ireland, in one uniform unbroken tenor every without offence on the part of those who enjoyed session. Sir, I am surprised that this doctrine such favers, operate as grievances. But were the should come from some of the law servants of the Americans then not touched and grieved by the crown. I say, that if the crown could be responsitaxes, in some measure, merely asked? If so, why ble, his majesty—but certainly the ministers were they almost all either wholly repealed or ex-are, even these law officers themselves, through ccedingly reduced? Were they not touched and whose hands the acts pass biennially in Ireland or grieved even by the regulating duties of the sixth annually in the colonies, in an habitual course of of George the II? Else why were the duties first committing impeachable offences. What habitual reduced to one third in 1764, and afterwards to a offenders have been all presidents of the council, third of that third in the year 1766? were they not all secretaries of state, all first lords of trade, all touched and grieved by the stamp act? I shall say attornies, and all solicitors general! However, they they were until that tax is revived Were they are safe, as no one impeaches them, and there is not touched and grieved by the duties of 1767, no ground of charge against them, except in their which were likewise repealed, and which lord own unfounded theories.
This competence in the colony assemblies is certain. It is proved by the whole tenor of their acts of supply in all the assemblies, in which the constant style of granting is, “An aid to his majesty," and acts, granting to the crown, has regularly, for near a century, passed the public offices without dis. pute. Those who have been pleased paradoxically to deny this right, holding that none but the British parliament can grant to the crown, are wished to
Hillsborough tells you (for the ministry) were laid contrary to the true principle of commerce? Is not the assurance given by that noble person to the colonies of a resolution to lay no more taxes on them, an admission that taxes would touch and grieve them? Is not the resolution of the noble lord in the blue riband, now standing on your journals, the strongest of all proofs that parlia mentary subsidies really touched and grieved them? Else why all these changes, modifications, repeals, assurances and resolutions?
The fifth resolution is also a resolution of fact, "that the said general assemblies, general courts, or other bodies legally qualified as aforesaid, have at sundry times freely granted several large subsidies and public aids for his majesty's service according to their abilities, when required thereto by letter from one of his majesty's principal secretaries of state; and that their right to grant the same, and their cheerfulness and sufficiency in the said grants, have been at sundry times acknowledged by parlisment." To say nothing of their great expenses in the Indian wars; and not to take their exertion in foreign ones, so high as the supplies in the year 1695; not to go back to their public contributions
The next proposition is, "That, from the distance of the said colonies, and from other circumstances, no method has hitherto been devised for procuring a representation in parliament for the said in the year 1710; I shall begin to travel only where colonies." This is an assertion of a fact. I go no the journals give me light; resolved to deal in farther on the paper, though in my private judg-nothing but fact, authenticated by parliamentary ment, an useful representation is impossible, I am record, and to build myself wholly on that solid sure it is not desired by them, nor ought it perhaps basis.
by us; but I abstain from opinions.
On the fourth of April, 1748, & committee of this The fourth resolution is, "that each of the said house came to the following resolution:
"RESOLVED, That it is the opinion of this com- your own, and you cannot refuse in the gross, what mittee, that it is just and reasonable that the several you have so often acknowledged in detail The provinces and colonies of Massachusetts Bay, New admission of this, which will be so honorable to Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode-Island, be them and to you, will, indeed, be mortal to all the reimbursed the expepses they have been at in tak. miserable stories, by which the passions of the ing and securing to the crown of Great Britain, misguided people have been engaged in an un. the island of Cape Breton, and its dependencies." happy system. The people heard, indeed, from the beginning of these disputes, one thing continually dinned in their ears, that reason and jus tice demanded that the Americans, who paid no taxes, should be compelled to contribute. How did that fact of their paying nothing stand when the taxing system began? When Mr. Grenville began to form his system of American revenue, he stated, in this house, that the colonies were then in debt two millions six hundred thousand pounds sterling money, and was of opinion they would discharge the debt in four years. On this state, those untaxed people were actually subject to the Payment of taxes to the amount of six hundred and fif y thousand a year. In fact, however, Mr. Grenville was mistaken. The funds given for sinking the debt did not prove quite so ample as both the colonies and he expected. The calcula tion was too sanguine. The reduction was not completed till some years after, and at different times in different colonies. However, the taxes after the war continued too great to bear any addition with prudence or propriety; and when the burthens imposed in consequence of former requisitions were discharged, our tone became too high to resort again to requisition. No colony, since that time, ever has had any requisition whatsoever made to it.
These expenses were immense for such colonies. They were above £200,000 sterling; money first raised and advanced on their public credit.
On the twenty-eighth of January, 1756, a message from the king came to us to this effect-"His majesty, being sensible of the zeal and vigor with which his subjects of certain colonies in North
America have exerted themselves in defence of his majesty's just rights and possessions, recommends it to this house to take the same into their consideration, and to enable his majesty to give them such assistance as may be a proper reward and encouragement."
On the third of February, 1756, the house came to a suitable resolution, expressed in words nearly the same as those of the message; but with the farther addition, that the money they voted was as an encouragement to the colonies to exert themselves with vigor. It will not be necessary to go through all the testimonies which your own records have given to the truth of my resolutions. I will only refer you to the places in the journals: Vol. XXVII-16th and 19th of May, 1757. Vol. XXVIII. -June 1st, 1758, April 26th and 30th, 1759.
March 26th and 31st, and April
Sir, here is the repeated acknowledgement of parliament that the colonies not only gave, but gave to satiety. This nation has formerly acknowledged two things; first, that the colonies had gone beyond their abilities, parliament having thought it necessary to reimburse them; secondly, that they had acted legally and laudably in their grants of money, and their maintenance of troops, since the compensation is expressly given as a reward and encouragement. Reward is not bestowed for acts that are unlawful, and encouragement is not held out to things that deserve reprehension. My resolution, therefore, does nothing more than collect into one proposition what is scattered ner of granting the said supplies and aids, by the through your journals. I give you nothing but said general assemblies, hath been more agreeable
We see the sense of the crown, and the sense of parliament, on the productive nature of a revenue by grant. Now search the same journals for the produce of the revenue by imposition. Where is it? Let us know the volume and the page? What is the net produce? To what service is it applied? How have you appropriated its surplus? What, can none of the many skilful index makers, that let them and that rest together. But are the we are now employing, find any trace of it? Well, journals, which say nothing of the revenue, as it. It is the melancholy burthen and blot of every silent on the discontent? O no! A child may find
I think then I am, from those journals, justified in the sixth and last resolution, which is "That it hath been found, by experience, that the inan
January 9th and 20th, 1761.
Vol. XXIX.Jan. 22d, and 26th, 1762; March 14th and 17th, 1763.
to the said co ones, and more beneficial and con New England. And it may be proper to repeal an ducive to the public service, than the mode of act made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his giving and granting aids in parliament, to be raised present majesty, entitled, an act for the better and paid in the same colonies. This makes the regulating the government of the province of the whole of the fundamental part of the plan. The Massachusetts Bay, in New England.-And also conclusion is irresistible. that it may be proper to explain and amend an act, You cannot say that you were driven by any necessity to an exercise of the made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of king utmost rights of legislature. You cannot assert Henry the eighth, entitled, an act for the trial of that you took on yourselves the task of imposing treasons committed out of the king's dominions.” colony taxes, from the want of another legal body, that is competent to the purpose of supplying the exigencies of the state, without wounding the prejudices of the people. Neither is it true that the body so qualified, and having that competence, had neglected the duty.
I wish, sir, to repeal the Boston port bill, be. cause (independently of the dangerous precedent of suspending the rights of the subjects during the king's pleasure) it was passed, as 1 apprehend, with less regularity, and on more partial principles than it ought. The corporation of Boston was not heard, before it was condemned. Other towns full as guilty as she was, have not had their
The question now, on all this accumulated mat. ter, is, whether you will choose to abide by a profitable experience, or a mischievous theory; whe-ports blocked up. Even the restraining bill of the ther you choose to build on imagination or fact; present session does not go to the length of the whether you prefer enjoyment or hope; satisfaction Boston port act. The same ideas of prudence, which induced you not to extend equal punishin your subjects, or discontent. ment to equal guilt, even when you were punishing, induce me, who mean not to chastise, but to reconcile, to be satisfied with the punishment already partially inflicted.
If these propositions are accepted, every thing which has been made to enforce a contrary system, must, I take it for granted, fall along with it. On that ground, I have drawn the following resolution, which, when it comes to be moved, will naturally be divided in a proper manner: "That it may be proper to repeal an act, made in the seventh year of the reign of his present majesty, entitled, an act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America; for allowing a drawback of the duties of customs upon the exportation from this kingdom of coffee and cocoa nuts, of the produce of the said colonies and plantations; for discontinuing the drawbacks payable on China earthen-ware exported to America, and for more effectually preventing the clandestine running of goods in the said colonies and plantations. And that it may be proper to repeal an act made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present majesty, entitled, an act to discontinue, in such manner, and for such time, as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandize, at the town and within the harbor of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America. And that it may be proper to repeal an act made The act for bringing persons, accused of comin the fourteenth year of the reign of his present mitting murder, under the orders of government, majesty, entitled, an act for the impartial ad- to England for trial, is but temporary. That act ministration of justice, in the cases of persons has calculated the probable duration of our quarrel questioned for any acts done by them, in the execu- with the colonies, and is accomodated to that suption of the law, or for the suppression of riots and posed duration. I would hasten the happy motumults in the province of Massachusetts-Bay, in ment of reconciliation; and therefore must, on my
Ideas of prudence, and accommodation to circumstances, prevent you from taking away the charters of Connecticut and Rhode Island, as you have taken away that of Massachusetts colony, though the crown has far less power in the above two former provinces than it enjoyed in the latter: and though the abuses have been full as great, and as flagrant, in the exempted as in the punished. The same reasons of prudence and accommodation have weight with me in restoring the charter of the Massachusetts Bay. Besides, sir, the act which changes the charter of the Massachusetts-Bay is in many particulars so exceptionable, that if I did not wish absolutely to repeal, I would by all means desire to alter it, as several of its provisions tend to the subversion of all public and private justice. Such, among others, is the power in the governor to change the sheriff at his pleasure, and to make a new returning officer for every special cause. It is shameful to behold such a regulation standing among English laws.