« ПредишнаНапред »
all was rage
legislator of America! In the last Parliament, all was anger
Si'ne cla’de victoria, was the cry! The Americans were abused, misrepresented, and traduced, in the most atrocious manner, in order to give a color to, and urge on the most precipitate, unjust, cruel, and vindictive measures that ever disgraced a nation. But how have this respectable people behaved under all their grievances? With unexampled patience, with unparalleled wisdom!
I know, sir, that no one will avow that he advised, or that he was the author of these measures; every one shrinks from the charge. But somebody has advised his majesty to these measures; ani if his majesty continues to hear such evil counselors, his majesty will be undone. He may, indeed, wear his crown, but, the American jewel out of it, it will not be worth the wearing. What more shall I say? I must not say the king is betrayed ; but this I will say, the kingdom is ruined !
Repeal, therefore, my lords! But bare repeal will not be enough. It will not satisfy this enlightened and spirited people. What! repeal a bit of paper! repeal a piece of parchment! That alone will not do, my lords. You must go through the work; you must declare you have no right to tax. Then they may trust you. Then they will have some confidence in you. You must repeal their fears and resentments, and then you may hope for their love and gratitude.
There is no time to be lost. Every moment is big with dangers. While I am speaking, the decisive blow may be struck, and millions involved in the consequence. The very first drop of blood will make a wound which years, perhaps ages, may not heal. It will be an immědicab’i-le vulnus ; a rancorous, malignant, corroding, incurable wound !
Sir, I would not encourage America to proceed beyond the true line. I reprobate all acts of violence. But when her inherent constitutional rights are invaded, then I own myself an American; and, feeling myself such, shall, to the verge of my life, vindicate those rights against all men who strive to trample on or oppose them!
LORD CHATHAM (1775).
V. -- AGAINST TAXING AMERICA.
You have an act of Parliament stating that it is expedient to raise a revenue in America. Sir, leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax herself. Be content to bind the Americans by laws of trade ; you have always done that. Let
ON THE AMERICAN WAR.
this be your reason now for binding their trade. Do not burthen them by taxes; you were not used to do so from the beginning. Let this be your reason for not taxing. These are the arguments of states and kingdoms. Leave the rest to the schools; for there only they may be discussed with safety.
But if, intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and poison the very source of government, by urging subtle deductions, and consequences odious to those who govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sovereignty, you will teach them by these means to call that sovereignty itself in question. When you drive him hard, the boar will surely turn upon the hunters. If that sovereignty and their freedom can not be reconciled, which will they take? They will cast your sovereignty in your face. No body will be argued into slavery.
Sir, let the gentlemen on the other side call forth all their ability; let the best of them get up, and tell me, what one character of liberty the Americans have, and what one brand of slavery they are free from, if they are bound in their property and industry by all the restraints you can imagine on commerce, and at the same time are made pack-horses of every tax you choose to impose, without the least share in granting them. When they bear the burdens of unlimited monopoly, will you bring them to bear the burdens of unlimited revenue too? The Englishman in America will feel that this is slavery; that it is legal slavery, will be no compensation either to his feelings or his understanding!
VI. - ON THE AMERICAN WAR, DEC. 11th, 1777. MY LORDS, I contend that we have not procured, nor can we procure, any force sufficient to subdue America ; it is monstrous to think of ́it. Ministers have been in error; experience has proved it; and, what is worse, in that error they persist. They told you in the beginning that fifteen thousand men would traverse America, with scarcely the appearance of interruption. Two campaigns have passed since they gave us this assurance; treble that number has been employed; and one of your armies, which composed two thirds of the force by which America was to be subdued, has been totally destroyed, and is now led captive through those provinces you call rebellious.
Those men whom you called cowards, poltroons, runaways, and knaves, are become victorious over your veteran troops; and, in the midst of victory and the flush of conquest, have set ministers an example of moderation and magnanimity,
My lords, no time should be lost which may promise to improve this disposition in America, unless, by an obstinacy founded in madness, we wish to stifle those embers of affection which, after all our savage treatment, do not seem as yet to be entirely extinguished. While, on one side, we must lament the unhappy fate of that spirited officer Mr. Burgoyne, and the gallant troops under his command, who were sacrificed to the wanton temerity and ignorance of ministers, we are as strongly impelled, on the other, to admire and applaud the generous and magnanimous conduct, — the noble friendship, brotherly affection, and humanity, of the victors, who, condescending to impute the horrid orders of massacre and devastation to their true authors, supposed that, as soldiers and Englishmen, those cruel excesses could not have originated with the general, nor were consonant to the brave and humane spirit of a British soldier, if not compelled to it as an act of duty. They traced the first cause of those diabolical orders to their source; and, by that wise and generous interpretation, granted their professed destroyers terms of capitulation, which they could be only entitled to as the makers of fair and honorable war.
My lords, I should not have presumed to trouble you, if the tremendous state of this nation did not, in my opinion, make it necessary. Whether or not the day of retribution is at hand, when the vengeance of a much-injured and afflicted people will fall heavily on the authors of their ruin, I am strongly inclined to believe, that before the day to which the proposed adjournment shall arrive, the noble earl who moved it will have just cause to repent of his motion.
VII. RIGHT OF AMERICAN TAXATION. The colonies complain that they have not the characteristic mark and seal of British freedom. They complain that they are taxed in a Parliament in which they are not represented. Sir, I am resolved this day to have nothing to do with the question of the right of taxation. I do not examine whether the giving away a man's money be a power excepted and reserved out of the general trust of government; or whether, on the contrary, a right of taxation is necessarily involved in the general principle of legislation, and inseparable from the ordinary supreme power. These are deep questions, where great names militate against each other; where reason is perplexed, and an appeal to authorities only thickens the confusion. For high and reverend authorities lift up their heads on both sides ; and there is no sure footing
ENGLISH LIBERTY IN AMERICA.
in the middle. This point is the “great Serbonian bog, betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, where armies whole have sunk.” I do not intend to be overwhelmed in that bog, though in such respectable company.
The question with me is, not whether you have a right to render your people miserable, but whether it is not your interest to make them happy. It is not what a lawyer tells me
may do, but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me I ought to do. Is a politic act the worse for being a generous one ? Is no concession proper, but that which is made from your want of right to keep what you grant ? Or does it lessen the grace or dignity of relaxing in the exercise of an odious claim, because you have your evidence-room full of titles, and your magazines stuffed with arms to enforce them? What signify all those titles, and all those arms ? Of what avail are they, when the reason of the thing tells me that the assertion of my title is the loss of my suit, and that I could do nothing but wound myself by the use
my own weapons ?
I am not determining a point of law; I am restoring tranquillity. And the general character and situation of a people must determine what sort of government is fitted for them. That point nothing else can or ought to determine. My idea, therefore, without considering whether we yield as matter of right, or grant as matter of favor, is to admit the people of our American colonies into an interest in the constitution ; and, by recording that admission in the journals of Parliament, to give them as strong an assurance as the nature of the thing will admit, that we mean for ever to adhere to that solemn declaration of systematic indulgence.
VIII. - ENGLISH LIBERTY IN AMERICA. AMERICA, gentlemen say, is a noble object; it is an object well worth fighting for. Certainly it is, if fighting a people be the best way of gaining them. But, sir, in the character of the Americans a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole; and, as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your colonies, become suspicious, restive, and untractable, whenever they see the least attempt to wrest from them by force, or shuffle from them by chicane, what they think the only advantage worth living for. This fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English colonists, probably, than in any other people of the earth ; and this from a great variety of powerful
First, the people of the colonies are descendants or Fagnehmen. England, sir, is a nation which still, I hope, respects, aná formerly adored her freedom. The colonists emigrated n:om you when this part of your character was most predominant; and they took this bias and direction the moment they parted from your hands. They are, therefore, not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English ideas, and on English principles. Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found. Liberty inheres in some sensible object; and you know, sir, that the great contests for freedom in this country were, from the carliest times, chiefly upon the question of taxing ; maintaining that the people must in effect possess the power of granting their own money, or no shadow of liberty could subsist.
The American colonists draw from you, as with their lifeblood, these ideas and principles. Their love of liberty, as with you, fixed on this specific point of taxing. Liberty might be safe, or might be endangered, in twenty other particulars, without their being much pleased or alarmed. Here they felt its pulse ; and as they found that beat, they thought themselves sick or sound. The temper and character which prevail in our colonies are,
I am afraid, unalterable by any human art. We can not, I fear, falsify the pedigree of this fierce people, and persuade them that they are not sprung from a nation in whose veins the blood of freedom circulates. The language in which they would hear you tell them this tale would detect the imposition ; your speech would betray you. An Englishman is the unfittest person on earth to argue another Englishman into slavery.
IX. – THE LABORING POOR. The gentleman has spoken of “the laboring poor.” Sir, the laboring people are poor only because they are numerous. Nurbers, in their nature, imply poverty. In a fair distribution among a vast multitude, none can have much. That class called the rich is so extremely small, that if all their throats were cut, and a distribution made of all that they consume in a year, it would not give a bit of bread and cheese for one night's supper to those who labor.
The vigorous and laborious class have lately got from the bon ton of the humanity of this day this name of the « laboring poor.” We have heard many plans for the relief of the “ laboring poor.” This puling jargon is not as innocent as it is foolish. In meddling