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assented to, in the said court, in a manner prejudicial to the commonwealth, quietness, rest, and peace of the subjects inhabiting within the same.'
Is this description too hot, or too cold, too strong, or too weak? Does it arrogate too much to the supreme legislature? Does it lean too much to the claims of the people ? If it runs
any of these errors, the fault is not mine. It is the language of your own ancient acts of parliament.“ Non meus hic sermo, sed quæ præcepit Ofellus, rusticus, abnormis sapiens.” It is the genuine produce of the ancient, rustic, mauly, home-bred sense of this country.- I did not dare to rub off a particle of the venerable rust that rather adorns and preserves, than destroys the metal. It would be a profanation to touch with a tool the stones which construct the sacred altar of peace. I would not violate with modern polish the ingenuous and noble roughness of these truly constitutional materials. Above all things, I was resolved not to be guilty of tampering, the odious vice of restless and unstable minds. I put my foot in the tracks of our forefathers; where I can neither wapder 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. Iu all things else I am silent. I have no organ but for her words. This, if it be not ingenious, I am sure is safe.
There are indeed words expressive of grievance in this second resolution, which those who are resolved always to be in the right, will deny to contain matter of fact, as applied to the present case ; although parliament thought them true, with regard to the counties of Chester and Durham. They will deny that the Americans were ever “ touched and grieved" with the taxes. If they consider nothing in taxes
but their weight as pecuniary impositions, there might be some pretence 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 high-way, it is not the two-pence lost that constitutes the capital outrage. This is not confined to privileges. Even ancient indulgences withdrawn, without offence on the part of those who enjoyed such favours, operate as grievances. But were the Americans then not touched and grieved by the taxes, in some measure, merely as taxes ? If so, why were they almost all, either wholly repealed or exceedingly reduced? Were they not touched and grieved, even by the regulating duties of the Sixth of George the Second ? Else why were the duties first reduced to one-third in 1764, and afterwards to a third of that third in the year 1766 ? Were they not touched and grieved by the stamp-act? I shall say they were, until that tax is revived. Were they not touched and grieved by the duties of 1767, which were likewise repealed, and which, Lord 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 ribband, now standing on your Journals, the strongest of all proofs that parliamentary subsidies really touched and grieved them? Else why all these changes, modifications, repeals, assurances, and resolutions ?
The next proposition is_“That, fron the distance of the said colonies, and from other circumstances, no method hath hitherto been devised for procuring a representation in parliament for the said colonies.” This is an assertion of a faet. Igo no further on the paper ; though in my private judg
ment an useful representation is impossible; I am sure it is' not desired by them ; nor ought it perhaps by us; but I abstain from opinions.
The fourth resolution is—« That each of the said colonies hath within itself a body, chosen in part, or in the whole, by the freemen, freeholders, or other free inhabitants thereof, commonly called the General Assembly, or general court, with powers legally to raise, levy, and assess, according to the several usage of such colonies, duties and taxes towards defraying all sorts of public services.”
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 have regularly for near a century passed the public offices without dispute. 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 look to what is done, not only in the colonies, but in Ireland, in one uniform unbroken tenor every session. Sir, I am surprised, that this doctrine should come from some of the law servants of the crown. I say, that if the crown could be responsible, his majesty—but certainly the ministers, and even these law officers themselves, through whose hands the acts pass biennially in Ireland, or annually in the colonies, are in habitual course of committing impeachable offences. What habitual offenders have been all presidents of the council, all secretaries of state, all first lords of trade, all attornies, and all solicitors general! However, they are safe ; as no one impeaches them; and there is no ground of charge against them, except in their own unfounded theories.
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 parliament." To say nothing of their great expences 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 in the year 1710; I shall begin to travel only where the Journals give me light; resolving to deal in nothing but fact, authenticated by parliamentary record; and to build myself wholly on that solid basis.
On the 4th of April, 1748, a committee of this House came to the following resolution :
Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that it is just and reasonable that the several provinces and colonies of Massachuset's Bay, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, be reimbursed the expences they have been at in taking and securing to the crown of Great Britain the Island of Cape Breton and its dependencies.”
These expences were immense for such colonies. They were above 200,0001. sterling ; money first raised and advanced on their public credit.
On the 28th of January, 1756, a message from the king came to us, to this effect—" His majesty, being sensible of the zeal and vigour with which his faithful 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 3d of February, 1756, the House came to a suitable resolution, expressed in words nearly the same as those
of the message: but with the further addition, that the money then voted was as an encouragement to the colonies to exert themselves with vigour. 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 May, 1757. Vol. xxviii.—June 1st. 1758; April 26th and 30th, 1759; March 26th and 31st, and April 28th, 1760; Jan. 9th and 20, 1761. Vol. xxix.-Jan. 22nd and 26th, 1762; March 14th and 17th, 1763.
Sir, here is the repeated acknowledgment 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 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 through your Journals. I give you nothing but your own; and you cannot refuse in the gross what you have so often acknowledged in detail. The admission of this, which will be so honourable to them and to you, will, indeed, be mortal to all the miserable stories by which the passions of the misguided people have been engaged in an unhappy system. The people heard, indeed, from the beginning of these disputes, one thing continually dioned in their ears, that reason and justice 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 bis system of American revenue, he stated in this