The political tracts and speeches: of Edmund Burke, Esq. Member of Parliament for the city of Bristol.
Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797.
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〈…〉 Bookseller & Stationer 〈…〉 Street 〈…〉 of Street Dublin

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  • I. Observations on a late State of the Nation, Page 1
  • II. Thoughts on the Cause of the present Discon|tents, Page 159
  • III. Speech on American Taxation, April 19, 1774, Page 261
  • IV. Speech at his Arrival at Bristol, and at the Conclusion of the Poll, Page 337
  • V. Speech to the Electors of Bristol, Page 345
  • VI. Speech on moving his Resolutions for a Conciliation with the Colonies, March 22, 1775, Page 358
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" O Tite, si quid ego adjuvero curamve levasso,
" Quae nunc te coquit, et versat sub pectore fixa,
" Ecquid erit pretii?"

ENN. ap. CIC.
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The References to THE STATE OF THE NATION, throughout these OBSERVATIONS, are made to the Quarto Edition of that Work.

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PARTY divisions, whether on the whole operat|ing for good or evil, are things inseparable from free government. This is a truth which, I believe, admits little dispute, having been established by the uniform experience of all ages. The part a good citizen ought to take in these divisions, has been a matter of much deeper controversy. But God for|bid, that any controversy relating to our essential morals should admit of no decision. It appears to me, that this question, like most of the others which regard our duties in life, is to be determined by our station in it. Private men may be wholly neu|tral, and entirely innocent: but they who are le|gally invested with public trust, or stand on the high ground of rank and dignity, which is trust implied, can hardly in any case remain indifferent, without the certainty of sinking into insignificance; and thereby in effect deserting that post in which, with the fullest authority, and for the wisest pur|poses, the laws and institutions of their country have fixed them. However, if it be the office of those who are thus circumstanced, to take a decid|ed Page  2 part, it is no less their duty that it should be a sober one. It ought to be circumscribed by the same laws of decorum, and balanced by the same temper, which bound and regulate all the virtues. In a word, we ought to act in party with all the moderation which does not absolutely enervate that vigour, and quench that fervency of spirit, without which the best wishes for the public good must evaporate in empty speculation.

IT is probably from some such motives that the friends of a very respectable party in this kingdom have been hitherto silent. For these two years past, from one and the same quarter of politics, a conti|nual fire has been kept upon them; sometimes from the unwieldy column of quartos and octavos; some|times from the light squadrons of occasional pam|phlets and flying sheets. Every month has brought on its periodical calumny. The abuse has taken every shape which the ability of the writers could give it; plain invective, clumsy raillery, misrepre|sented anecdote.a No method of vilifying the mea|sures, the abilities, the intentions, or the persons which compose that body, has been omitted.

ON their part nothing was opposed but patience and character. It was a matter of the most serious and indignant affliction to persons, who thought themselves in conscience bound to oppose a ministry, dangerous from its very constitution, as well as its measures, to find themselves, whenever they faced their adversaries, continually attacked on the rear by a set of men, who pretended to be actuated by motives similar to theirs. They saw that the plan long pursued, with but too fatal a success, was to break the strength of this kingdom; by frittering down the bodies which compose it; by fomenting Page  3 bitter and sanguinary animosities, and by dissolving every tie of social affection and public trust. These virtuous men, such I am warranted by public opinion to call them, were resolved rather to endure every thing, than co-operate in that design. A diversity of opinion upon almost every principle of politics had indeed drawn a strong line of separation between them and some others. However, they were desirous not to extend the misfortune by unnecessary bitter|ness; they wished to prevent a difference of opinion on the commonwealth from festering into rancorous and incurable hostility. Accordingly they endea|voured that all past controversies should be for|gotten; and that enough for the day should be the evil thereof. There is however a limit at which for|bearance ceases to be a virtue. Men may tolerate injuries, whilst they are only personal to themselves. But it is not the first of virtues to bear with modera|tion the indignities that are offered to our country. A piece has at length appeared, from the quarter of all the former attacks, which upon every public consideration demands an answer. Whilst persons more equal to this business may be engaged in affairs of greater moment, I hope I shall be excused, if, in a few hours of a time not very important, and from such materials as I have by me (more than enough however for this purpose), I undertake to set the facts and arguments of this wonderful performance in a proper light. I will endeavour to state what this piece is; the purpose for which I take it to have been written; and the effects (supposing it should have any effect at all) it must necessarily produce.

THIS piece is called, The present State of the Na|tion. It may be considered as a sort of digest of the avowed maxims of a certain political school, the effects of whose doctrines and practices this country will feel long and severely. It is made up of a far|rago of almost every topic which has been agitated Page  4 in parliamentary debate, or private conversation, on national affairs, for these seven last years. The oldest controversies are hawled out of the dust with which time and neglect had covered them. Arguments ten times repeated, a thousand times answered before, are here repeated again. Public accounts formerly printed and re-printed revolve once more, and find their old station in this sober meridian. All the com|mon-place lamentations upon the decay of trade, the encrease of taxes, and the high price of labour and provisions, are here retailed again and again in the same tone with which they have drawled through columns of Gazetteers and Advertisers for a century together. Paradoxes which affront common sense, and uninteresting barren truths which generate no conclusion, are thrown in to augment unwieldy bulk, without adding any thing to weight. Because two accusations are better than one, contradictions are set staring one another in the face, without even an attempt to reconcile them. And to give the whole a sort of portentous air of labour and infor|mation, the table of the house of commons is swept into this grand reservoir of politics.

AS to the composition, it bears a striking and whimsical resemblance to a funeral sermon, not only in the pathetic prayer with which it concludes, but in the style and tenor of the whole performance. It is piteously doleful, nodding every now and then towards dulness; well stored with pious frauds, and, like most discourses of the sort, much better calcu|lated for the private advantage of the preacher than the edification of the hearers.

THE author has indeed so involved his subject, that it is frequently far from being easy to com|prehend his meaning. It is happy for the public that it is never difficult to fathom his design. The apparent intention of this author is to draw the most aggravated, hideous, and deformed picture of the Page  5 state of this country, which his querulous eloquence, aided by the arbitrary dominion he assumes over fact, is capable of exhibiting. Had he attributed our mis|fortunes to their true cause, the injudicious tamper|ing of bold, improvident, and visionary ministers at one period, or to their supine negligence and traiter|ous dissensions at another, the complaint had been just, and might have been useful. But far the greater and much the worst part of the state which he ex|hibits is owing, according to his representation, not to accidental and extrinsic mischiefs attendant on the nation, but to its radical weakness and constitu|tional distempers. All this however is not without purpose. The author is in hopes that, when we are fallen into a fanatical terror for the national salvation, we shall then be ready to throw ourselves, in a sort of precipitate trust, some strange disposition of the mind jumbled up of presumption and despair, into the hands of the most pretending and forward un|dertaker. One such undertaker at least he has in readiness for our service. But let me assure this ge|nerous person, that, however he may succeed in exciting our fears for the public danger, he will find it hard indeed to engage us to place any con|fidence in the system he proposes for our security.

HIS undertaking is great. The purpose of this pamphlet, and at which it aims directly or obliquely in every page, is to persuade the public of three or four of the most difficult points in the world, that all the advantages of the late war were on the part of the Bourbon alliance; that the peace of Paris perfectly consulted the dignity and interest of this country; and that the American stamp-act was a master-piece of policy and finance; that the only good minister this nation has enjoyed since his ma|jesty's accession, is the earl of Bute; and the only good managers of revenue we have seen are lord Despenser and Mr. George Grenville; and under the Page  6 description of men of virtue and ability, he holds them out to us as the only persons fit to put our affairs in order. Let not the reader mistake me: he does not actually name these persons; but, having highly applauded their conduct in all its parts, and heavily censured every other set of men in the king|dom, he then recommends us to his men of virtue and ability.

SUCH is the author's scheme. Whether it will answer his purpose, I know not. But surely that purpose ought to be a wonderfully good one, to warrant the methods he has taken to compass it. If the facts and reasonings in this piece are admitted, it is all over with us. The continuance of our tran|quillity depends upon the compassion of our rivals. Unable to secure to ourselves the advantages of peace, we are at the same time utterly unfit for war. It is impossible, if this state of things be credited abroad, that we can have any alliance; all nations will fly from so dangerous a connexion, lest, instead of being partakers of our strength, they should only become sharers in our ruin. If it is believed at home, all that firmness of mind, and dignified na|tional courage, which used to be the great support of this isle against the powers of the world, must melt away, and fail within us.

IN such a state of things can it be amiss, if I aim at holding out some comfort to the nation; another sort of comfort indeed, than that which this writer provides for it; a comfort, not from its physician, but from its constitution; if I attempt to shew that all the arguments upon which he founds the decay of that constitution, and the necessity of that phy|sician, are vain and frivolous? I will follow the au|thor closely in his own long career, through the war, the peace, the finances, our trade, and our foreign politics: not for the sake of the particular measures which he discusses; that can be of no use; they are Page  7 all decided; their good is all enjoyed, or their evil incurred: but for the sake of the principles of war, peace, trade, and finances. These principles are of infinite moment. They must come again and again under consideration; and it imports the public, of all things, that those of its minister be enlarged, and just, and well confirmed, upon all these subjects. What notions this author entertains, we shall see presently; notions in my opinion very irrational, and extremely dangerous; and which, if they should crawl from pamphlets into counsels, and be realiz|ed from private speculation into national measures, cannot fail of hastening and compleating our ruin.

THIS author, after having paid his compliment to the shewy appearances of the late war in our fa|vour, is in the utmost haste to tell you that these appearances were fallacious, that they were no more than an imposition.—I fear I must trouble the reader with a pretty long quotation, in order to set before him the more clearly this author's peculiar way of conceiving and reasoning:

"HAPPILY (the K.) was then advised by ministers, who did not suffer themselves to be dazzled by the glare of brilliant appearances; but, knowing them to be fallacious, they wisely resolved to profit of their splendor before our enemies should also discover the imposition.—The increase in the ex|ports was found to have been occasioned chiefly by the demands of our own fleets and armies, and, instead of bringing wealth to the nation, were to be paid for by oppressive taxes upon the people of England. While the British seamen were consuming on board our men of war and privateers, foreign ships and foreign seamen were employed in the transportation of our merchandize, and the car|rying trade, so great a source of wealth and ma|rine, was entirely engrossed by the neutral nations. The number of British ships annually arriving in Page  8 our ports was reduced 1756 sail, containing 92,559 tons, on a medium of the six years war, compared with the six years of peace preceding it.—The conquest of the Havannah had, indeed, stopped the remittance of specie from Mexico to Spain; but it had not enabled England to seize it: on the contrary, our merchants suffered by the detention of the galleons, as their correspondents in Spain were disabled from paying them for their goods sent to America. The loss of the trade to Old Spain was a farther bar to an influx of specie; and the attempt upon Portugal had not only deprived us of an import of bullion from thence, but the payment of our troops employed in its defence was a fresh drain opened for the diminution of our circulating specie.—The high premiums given for new loans had sunk the price of the old stock near a third of its original value, so that the purchasers had an obligation from the state to repay them with an addition of 33 per cent. to their capital. Every new loan required new taxes to be imposed; new taxes must add to the price of our manufactures, and lessen their consumption among foreigners. The decay of our trade must necessarily occasion a de|crease of the public revenue; and a deficiency of our funds must either be made up by fresh taxes, which would only add to the calamity, or our na|tional credit must be destroyed, by shewing the public creditors the inability of the nation to re|pay them their principal money.—Bounties had already been given for recruits which exceeded the year's wages of the plowman and reaper; and as these were exhausted, and husbandry stood still for want of hands, the manufacturers were next to be tempted to quit the anvil and the loom by higher offers.—France, bankrupt France, had no such cala|mities impending over her; her distresses were great, but they were immediate and temporary; her want of credit preserved her from a great increase of debt, andPage  9the loss of her ultramarine dominions lessened her expen|ces. Her colonies had, indeed, put themselves into the hands of the English; but the property of her subjects had been preserved by capitulations, and a way opened for making her those remittances; which the war had before suspended, with as much security as in time of peace.—Her armies in Germany had been hitherto prevented from seizing upon Hanover; but they continued to encamp on the same ground on which the first battle was fought; and, as it must ever happen from the policy of that government, the last troops she sent into the field were always found to be the best, and her frequent losses only served to fill her regiments with better soldiers. The conquest of Hanover became therefore every campaign more pro|bable. It is to be noted, that the French troops received subsistance only, for the last three years of the war; and that, although large arrears were due to them at its conclusion, the charge was the less during its continuance."b

IF any one be willing to see to how much greater lengths the author carries these ideas, he will recur to the book. This is sufficient for a specimen of his manner of thinking. I believe one reflection uniformly obtrudes itself upon every reader of these paragraphs. For what purpose in any cause shall we hereafter contend with France? can we ever flatter ourselves that we shall wage a more success|ful war? if, on our part, in a war the most pros|perous we ever carried on, by sea and by land, and in every part of the globe, attended with the un|paralleled circumstance of an immense increase of trade and augmentation of revenue; if a continued series of disappointments, disgraces, and defeats, fol|lowed by public bankruptcy, on the part of France; if all these still leave her a gainer on the whole balance, will it not be downright phrenzy in us ever Page  10 to look her in the face again, or to contend with her any, even the most essential points, since vic|tory and defeat, though by different ways, equally conduct us to our run? Subjection to France with|out a struggle will indeed be less for our honour, but on every principle of our author it must be more for our advantage. According to his repre|sentation of things, the question is only concerning the most easy fall. France had not discovered, our statesman tells us, at the end of that war, the triumphs of defeat, and the resources which are derived from bankruptcy. For my poor part, I do not wonder at their blindness. But the English ministers saw further. Our author has at length let foreigners also into the secret, and made them altogether as wise as ourselves. It is their own fault if (vulgato imperii arcano) they are imposed upon any longer. They now are apprized of the senti|ments which the great candidate for the govern|ment of this great empire entertains; and they will act accordingly. They are taught our weakness and their own advantages.

HE tells the world,c that if France carries on the war against us in Germany, every loss she sus|tains contributes to the atchievement of her con|quest. If her armies are three years unpaid, she is the less exhausted by expence. If her credit is de|stroyed, she is the less oppressed with debt. If her troops are cut to pieces, they will by her policy (and a wonderful policy it is) be improved, and will be supplied with much better men. If the war is carried on in the colonies, he tells them that the loss of her ultramarine dominions lessens her ex|pences,d and ensures her remittances:

Per damna, per caedes, ab ipso
Ducit opes animumque ferro.
if so, what is it we can do to hurt her?—It will Page  11 be all an imposition, all fallacious. Why the result must be—Occidit, occidit spes omnis & fortuna nostri nominis.

THE only way which the author's principles leave for our escape, is to reverse our condition into that of France, and to take her losing cards into our hands. But, though his principles drive him to it, his politics will not suffer him to walk on this ground. Talking at our ease and of other countries, we may bear to be diverted with such speculations; but in England we shall never be taught to look upon the annihilation of our trade, the ruin of our credit, the defeat of our armies, and the loss of our ultramarine dominions, (whatever the author may think of them,) to be the high road to prosperity and greatness.

THE reader does not, I hope, imagine that I mean seriously to set about the refutation of these uninge|nious paradoxes and reveries without imagination. I state them only that we may discern a little in the questions of war and peace, the most weighty of all questions, what is the wisdom of those men who are held out to us as the only hope of an ex|piring nation. The present ministry is indeed of a strange character: at once indolent and distract|ed. But if a ministerial system should be formed, actuated by such maxims as are avowed in this piece, the vices of the present ministry would be|come their virtues; their indolence would be the greatest of all public benefits, and a distraction that entirely defeated every one of their schemes would be our only security from destruction.

TO have stated these reasonings is enough, I presume, to do their business. But they are ac|companied with facts and records, which may seem of a little more weight. I trust however that the facts of this author will be as far from Page  12 bearing the touchstone, as his arguments. On a little inquiry, they will be found as great an im|position as the successes they are meant to depre|ciate; for they are all either false or fallaciously applied; or not in the least to the purpose for which they are produced.

FIRST the author, in order to support his fa|vourite paradox, that our possession of the French colonies was of no detriment to France, has thought proper to inform us that

"they put themselves into the hands of the English."e
He uses the same assertion, in nearly the same words, in another place;
"her colonies had put themselves into our hands."f
Now, in justice not only to fact and common sense, but to the incomparable valour and perseverance of our military and naval forces thus unhandsomely traduced, I must tell this author, that the French colonies did not
"put themselves into the hands of the English."
They were compelled to sub|mit; they were subdued by dint of English valour. Will the five years war carried on in Canada, in which fell one of the principal hopes of this na|tion, and all the battles lost and gained during that anxious period, convince this author of his mistake? Let him inquire of Sir Jeffery Amherst, under whose conduct that war was carried on; of Sir Charles Saunders, whose steadiness and presence of mind saved our fleet, and were so eminently serviceable in the whole course of the siege of Quebec; of general Monckton, who was shot through the body there, whether France
"put her colonies into the hands of the English."

THOUGH he has made no exception, yet I would be liberal to him; perhaps he means to confine himself to her colonies in the West Indies. But surely it will fare as ill with him there as in North America, whilst we remember that in our first Page  13 attempt at Martinico we were actually defeated; that it was three months before we reduced Gua|daloupe; and that the conquest of the Havannah was atchieved by the highest conduct, aided by circumstances of the greatest good-fortune. He knows the expence both of men and treasure at which we bought that place. However, if it had so pleased the peace-makers, it was no dear pur|chase; for it was decisive of the fortune of the war and the terms of the treaty: the duke of Nivernois thought so; France, England, Europe, considered it in that light; all the world, except the then friends of the then ministry, who wept for our victories, and were in haste to get rid of the burthen of our conquests. This author knows that France did not put those colonies into the hands of England; but he well knows who did put the most valuable of them into the hands of France.

IN the next place,g our author is pleased to consi|der the conquest of those colonies in no other light than as a convenience for the remittances to France, which he asserts that the war had before suspended, but for which a way was opened (by our conquest) as secure as in time of peace. I charitably hope he knows nothing of the subject. I referred him lately to our commanders for the resistance of the French colonies; I now wish he would apply to our custom-house entries, and our merchants, for the advantages which we derived from them.

Page  14IN 1761, there was no entry of goods from any of the conquered places but Guadaloupe; in that year, it stood thus:

Imports from Guadaloupe, value, 482.179
In 1762, when we had not yet de|livered up our conquests, the ac|count was,    
Guadaloupe,   513.244
Martinico,   288.425
Total imports in 1762, value, £. 801.669
In 1763, after we had delivered up the sovereignty of these islands, but kept open a communication with them, the imports were,   £.
Guadaloupe,   412.303
Martinico,   344.161
Havannah,   249.386
Total imports in 1763, value, £. 1.005.850
Besides, I find in the account of bullion imported and brought to the bank, that, during that period in which the intercourse with the Havannah was open, we received at that one shop, in treasure, from that one place, £. 559.810; in the year 1763, £. 389.450; so that the import from these places in that year amounted to £. 1.395.300.

ON this state the reader will observe, that I take the imports from, and not the exports to, these con|quests, as the measure of the advantages which we derived from them. I do so for reasons which will be somewhat worthy the attention of such readers as are Page  15 fond of this species of inquiry. I say therefore I choose the import article, as the best, and indeed the only standard we can have, of the value of the West India trade. Our export entry does not comprehend the greatest trade we carry on with any of the West India islands, the sale of negroes: nor does it give any idea of two other advantages we draw from them; the remittances for money spent here, and the payment of part of the balance of the North Ame|rican trade. It is therefore quite ridiculous, to strike a balance merely on the face of an excess of imports and exports, in that commerce; though, in most fo|reign branches, it is, on the whole, the best method. If she should take that standard, it would appear, that the balance with our own islands is, annually, several hundred thousand pounds against this coun|tryh. Such is its aspect on the custom-house en|tries; but we know the direct contrary to be the fact. We know that the West Indians are always indebted to our merchants, and that the value of every shilling of West India produce is English pro|perty. So that our import from them, and not our export, ought always to be considered as their true value; and this corrective ought to be applied to all general balances of our trade, which are formed on the ordinary principles.

IF possible, this was more emphatically true of the French West India islands, whilst they continued in our hands. That none, or only a very contemptible Page  16 part, of the value of this produce, could be remitted to France, the author will see, perhaps with unwill|ingness, but with the clearest conviction, if he con|siders, that in the year 1763, after we had ceased to export to the isles of Guadaloupe and Martinico, and to the Havannah, and after the colonies were free to send all their produce to Old France and Spain, if they had any remittance to make; he will see, that we imported from those places, in that year, to the amount of £. 1.395.300. So far was the whole an|nual produce of these islands from being adequate to the payments of their annual call upon us, that this mighty additional importation was necessary, though not quite sufficient, to discharge the debts contracted in the few years we held them. The property, therefore, of their whole produce, was ours; not only during the war, but even for more than a year after the peace. The author, I hope, will not again venture upon so rash and discouraging a proposition, concerning the nature and effect of those conquests, as to call them a convenience to the remittances of France; he sees by this account, that what he asserts is not only without foundation, but even impossible to be true.

AS to our trade at that time, he labours with all his might to represent it as absolutely ruined, or on the very edge of ruin. Indeed, as usual with him, he is often as equivocal in his expression, as he is clear in his design. Sometimes he more than insinuates a decay of our commerce in that war; sometimes he admits an encrease of exports; but it is in order to depreciate the advantages we might appear to derive from that encrease, whenever it should come to be proved against him. He tells you,i

"that it was chiefly occasioned by the de|mands of our own fleets and armies, and, in|stead of bringing wealth to the nation, were to Page  17 be paid for by oppressive taxes upon the people of England."
Never was any thing more des|titute of foundation. It might be proved with the greatest ease, from the nature and quality of the goods exported, as well as from the situation of the places to which our merchandise was sent, and which the war could no wise effect, that the sup|ply of our fleets and armies could not have been the cause of this wonderful encrease of trade; its cause was evident to the whole world; the ruin of the trade of France, and our possession of her colonies. What wonderful effects this cause produced, the reader will see belowk; and he will form on that account some judgment of the author's candour or information.

Page  18ADMIT however that a great part of our ex|port, though nothing is more remote from fact, was owing to the supply of our fleets and armies; was it not something?—was it not peculiarly for|tunate for a nation, that she was able from her own bosom to contribute largely to the supply of her armies militating in so many distant countries? The author allows that France did not enjoy the same advantages. But it is remarkable through|out his whole book, that those circumstances which have ever been considered as great benefits, and decisive proofs of national superiority, are, when in our hands, taken either in diminution of some other apparent advantage, or even sometimes as po|sitive misfortunes. The optics of that politician must be of a strange conformation, who beholds every thing in this distorted shape.

SO far as to our trade. With regard to our na|vigation, he is still more uneasy at our situation, and still more fallacious in his state of it. In his text, he affirms it

"to have been entirely engross|ed by the neutral nations."l
This he asserts roundly and boldly, and without the least concern; although it cost no more than a single glance of the eye upon his own margin to see the full refu|tation of this assertion. His own account proves against him, that in the year 1761 the British ship|ping amounted to 527.557 tons—the foreign to no more than 180.102. The medium of his six years British, 2.449.555 tons—foreign only, 905.690. Page  19 This state (his own) demonstrates that the neutral nations did not entirely engross our navigation.

I AM willing from a strain of candour to admit that this author speaks at random; that he is only slovenly and inaccurate, and not fallacious. In mat|ters of account, however, this want of care is not excusable: and the difference between neutral na|tions entirely engrossing our navigation, and being only subsidiary to a vastly augmented trade, makes a most material difference to his argument. From that principle of fairness, though the author speaks otherwise, I am willing to suppose he means no more than that our navigation had so declined as to alarm us with the probable loss of this valuable object. I shall however shew, that his whole proposition, what|ever modifications he may please to give it, is with|out foundation; that our navigation was not de|creased; that, on the contrary, it was greatly en|creased in the war; that it was encreased by the war; and that it was probable the same cause would continue to augment it to a still greater height; to what an height it is hard to say, had our success con|tinued.

BUT first I must observe, I am much less solicit|ous whether his fact be true or no, than whether his principle is well established. Cases are dead things, principles are living and productive. I then affirm that, if in time of war our trade had the good fortune to encrease, and at the same time a large, nay the largest, proportion of carriage had been en|grossed by neutral nations, it ought not in itself to have been considered as a circumstance of distress. War is a time of inconvenience to trade; in gene|ral it must be straitened, and must find its way as it can. It is often happy for nations that they are able to call in neutral navigation. They all aim at it. France endeavoured at it, but could not com|pass Page  20 it. Will this author say, that, in a war with Spain, such an assistance would not be of absolute necessity? that it would not be the most gross of all follies to refuse it?

IN the next place, his method of stating a medi|um of six years of war, and six years of peace, to decide this question, is altogether unfair. To say, in derogation of the advantages of a war, that na|vigation is not equal to what it was in time of peace, is what hitherto has never been heard of. No war ever bore that test but the war which he so bitterly laments. One may lay it down as a maxim, that an average estimate of an object in a steady course of rising or of falling, must in its nature be an unfair one; more particularly if the cause of the rise or fall be visible, and its conti|nuance in any degree probable. Average estimates are never just but when the object fluctuates, and no reason can be assigned why it should not con|tinue still to fluctuate. The author chuses to al|low nothing at all for this: he has taken an ave|rage of six years of the war. He knew, for every body knows, that the first three years were on the whole rather unsuccessful; and that, in conse|quence of this ill success, trade sunk, and naviga|tion declined with it; but that grand delusion of the three last years turned the scale in our favour. At the beginning of that war (as in the commence|ment of every war), traders were struck with a sort of panic. Many went out of the freighting bu|siness. But by degrees, as the war continued, the terror wore off; the danger came to be better ap|preciated, and better provided against; our trade was carried on in large fleets, under regular con|voys, and with great safety. The freighting bu|siness revived. The ships were fewer, but much larger; and though the number decreased, the ton|nage was vastly augmented; in so much that in 1761 Page  21 the British shipping had risen by the author's own account 527.557 tons.—In the last year he has giv|en us of the peace it amountd to no more than 494.772; that is, in the last year of the war it was 32.785 tons more than in the correspondent year of his peace average. No year of the peace exceeded it except one, and that but little.

THE fair account of the matter is this. Our trade had, as we have just seen, encreased to so as|tonishing a degree in 1761, as to employ British and foreign ships to the amount of 707.659 tons, which is 149.500 more than we employed in the last year of the peace.—Thus our trade encreased more than a fifth; our British navigation had en|creased likewise with this astonishing encrease of trade, but was not able to keep pace with it; and we added about 120.000 ton of foreign shipping to the 60.000, which had been employed in the last year of the peace. Whatever happened to our ship|ping in the former years of the war, this would be no true state of the case at the time of the treaty. If we had lost something in the beginning, we had then recovered, and more than recovered, all our losses. Such is the ground of the doleful complaints of the author, that the carrying trade was wholly en|grossed by the neutral nations.

I HAVE done fairly, and even very moderately, in taking this year, and not his average, as the standard of what might be expected in future, had the war continued. The author will be compelled to allow it, unless he undertakes to shew; first, that the possession of Canada, Martinico, Guada|loupe, Granada, the Havannah, the Philippines, the whole African trade, the whole East India trade, and the whole Newfoundland fishery, had no cer|tain inevitable tendency to encrease the British shipping; unless, in the second place, he can prove Page  22 that those trades were, or might, by law or indul|gence, be carried on in foreign vessels; and un|less, thirdly, he can demonstrate that the premi|um of insurance on British ships was rising as the war continued. He can prove not one of these points. I will shew him a fact more, that is mor|tal to his assertions. It is the state of our ship|ping in 1762. The author had his reasons for stopping short at the preceding year. It would have appeared, had he proceeded farther, that our tonnage was in a course of uniform augmentati|on, owing to the freight derived from our foreign conquests, and to the perfect security of our na|vigation from our clear and decided superiority at sea. This, I say, would have appeared from the state of the two years:

1761. British, 527.557 tons.
1762. Do, 559.537 tons.
1761. Foreign, 180.102 tons.
1762. Do, 129.502 tons.
The two last years of the peace were in no de|gree equal to these. Much of the navigation of 1763 was also owing to the war; this is mani|fest from the large part of it employed in the car|riage from the ceded islands, with which the com|munication still continued open. No such cir|cumstances of glory and advantage ever attended upon a war. Too happy will be our lot, if we should again be forced into a war, to behold any thing that shall resemble them; and if we were not then the better for them, it is not in the or|dinary course of God's providence to mend our condition.

IN vain does the author declaim on the high premiums given for the loans during the war. His Page  23 long note swelled with calculations on that subject (even supposing the most inaccurate of all calcula|tions to be just) would be entirely thrown away, did it not serve to raise a wonderful opinion of his financial skill in those who are not less surprized than edified, when, with a solemn face and mysteri|ous air, they are told that two and two make four. For what else do we learn from this note? that the more expence is incurred by a nation, the more money will be required to defray it; that, in proportion to the continuance of that expence, will be the continuance of borrowing; that the encrease of borrowing and the encrease of debt will go hand in hand; and lastly, that the more money you want, the harder it will be to get it; and that the scarcity of the commodity will en|hance the price. Who ever doubted the truth, or the insignificance, of these propositions? what do they prove? that war is expensive, and peace desirable. They contain nothing more than a com|mon-place against war; the easiest of all topics. To bring them home to his purpose, he ought to have shewn, that our enemies had money upon better terms; which he has not shewn, neither can he. I shall speak more fully to this point in another place. He ought to have shewn, that the money they raised, upon whatever terms, had procured them a more lucrative return. He knows that our expenditure purchased commerce and con|quest; theirs acquired nothing but defeat and bank|ruptcy.

THUS the author has laid down his ideas on the subject of war. Next follow those he entertains on that of peace. The treaty of Paris upon the whole has his approbation. Indeed, if his account of the war be just, he might have spared himself all further trouble. The rest is drawn on as an Page  24 inevitable conclusion.m If the house of Bourbon had the advantage, she must give the law; and the peace, though it were much worse than it is, had still been a good one. But, as the world is yet deluded on the state of that war, other arguments are necessary; and the author has in my opinion very ill supplied them. He tells of many things we have got, and of which he has made out a kind of bill. This matter may be brought within a very narrow compass, if we come to consider the requisites of a good peace under some plain dis|tinct heads. I apprehend they may be reduced to these: 1. stability; 2. indemnification; 3. alliance.

As to the first, the author more than obscurely hints in several places, that he thinks the peace not likely to last. However, he does furnish a se|curity; a security, in any light, I fear, but in|sufficient; on his hypothesis,n surely a very odd one.

"By stipulating for the entire possession of the continent, (says he) the restored French islands are become in some measure dependent on the British empire; and the good faith of France in observing the treaty is guaranteed by the value at which she estimates their possession."
This author soon grows weary of his principles. They seldom last him for two pages together. When the advantages of the war were to be depre|ciated, then the loss of the ultramarine colonies lightened the expences of France, facilitated her remittances, and therefore her colonists put them into our hands. According to this author's system, the actual possession of those colonies ought to give us little or no advantage in the negociation for peace; and yet the chance of possessing them on a future occasion gives a perfect security for the pre|servation of that peace. The o conquest of the Page  25 Havannah, if it did not serve Spain, rather dis|tressed England, says our author.p But the mo|lestation which her galleons may suffer from our station in Pensacola gives us advantages, for which we were not allowed to credit the nation for the Havannah itself; a place surely full as well situat|ed for every external purpose as Pensacola, and of more internal benefit than ten thousand Pensacolas.

THE authorq sets very little by conquests; I suppose it is because he makes them so very lightly. On this subject he speaks with the greatest certainty imaginable. We have, according to him, nothing to do, but to go and take possession, whenever we think proper, of the French and Spanish settle|ments. It were better that he had examined a little what advantage the peace gave us towards the invasion of these colonies, which we did not possess before the peace. It would not have been amiss if he had consulted the public experience, and our commanders, concerning the absolute cer|tainty of those conquests on which he is pleased to found our security. And if, after all, he should have discovered them to be so very sure, and so very easy, he might, at least, to preserve consis|tency, have looked a few pages back, and (no unpleasing thing to him) listened to himself, where he says,r

"that the most successful enterprize could not compensate to the nation for the waste of its people, by carrying on war in unhealthy climates."
A position which he repeats again, p. 9. So that, according to himself, his security is not worth the suit; according to fact, he has only a chance, God knows what a chance, of get|ting Page  26 at it; and therefore, according to reason, the giving up the most valuable of all possessions, in hopes to conquer them back, under any advan|tage of situation, is the most ridiculous security that ever was imagined for the peace of a nation. It is true, his friends did not give up Canada; they could not give up every thing; let us make the most of it. We have Canada, we know its value. We have not the French any longer to fight in North America; and, from this circum|stance, we derive considerable advantages. But here let me rest a little. The author touches upon a string, which sounds under his fingers but a tre|mulous and melancholy note. North America was once indeed a great strength to this nation, in opportunity of ports, in ships, in provisions, in men. We found her a sound, an active, a vigorous member of the empire. I hope, by wise management, she will again become so. But one of our capital present misfortunes is, her discontent and disobedience. To which of the author's fa|vourites this discontent is owing, we all know but too sufficiently. It would be a dismal event, if this foundation of his security, and indeed of all our public strength, should, in reality, become our weakness; and if all the powers of this empire, which ought to fall with a compacted weight upon the head of our enemies, should be dissipated and distracted by a jealous vigilance, or by hostile at|tempts upon one another. Ten Canadas cannot restore that security for the peace, and for every thing valuable to this country, which we have lost along with the affection and the obedience of our colonies. He is the wise minister, he is the true friend to Britain, who shall be able to restore it.

TO return to the security for the peace. The author tells us, that the original great purposes Page  27 of the war were more than accomplished by the treaty. Surely he has experience and reading enough to know that, in the course of a war, events may happen, that render its original very far from being its principal purpose. This original may dwindle by circumstances, so as to become not a purpose of the second or even the third magnitude. I trust this is so obvious, that it will not be necessary to put cases for its illustration. In that war, as soon as Spain entered into the quarrel, the security of North America was no longer the sole nor the foremost object. The family compact had been I know not how long before in agitation. But then it was that we saw produced into day|light and action the most odious and most formi|dable of all the conspiracies against the liberties of Europe, that ever has been framed. The war with Spain was the first fruits of that league; and a se|curity against that league ought to have been the fundamental point of a pacification with the powers who compose it. We had materials in our hands to have constructed that security in such a manner as never to be shaken. But how did the virtuous and able men of our author labour for this great end? they took no one step towards it. On the contrary they countenanced, and indeed, as far as it depended on them, recognized it in all its parts; for our plenipotentiary treated with those who acted for the two crowns, as if they had been different ministers of the same monarch. The Spanish mi|nister received his instructions, not from Madrid; but from Versailles.

THIS was not hid from our ministers at home, and the discovery ought to have alarmed them, if the good of their country had been the object of their anxiety. They could not but have seen that the whole Spanish monarchy was melted down into Page  28 the cabinet of Versailles. But they thought this circumstance an advantage; as it enabled them to go through with their work the more expeditiously. Expedition was every thing to them; because France might happen during a protracted nego|tiation to discover the great imposition of our vic|tories.

IN the same spirit they negotiated the terms of the peace. If it were thought advisable not to take any positive security from Spain, the most obvious principles of policy dictated that the burthen of the cessions ought to fall upon France; and that every thing which was of grace and favour should be given to Spain. Spain could not, on her part, have executed a capital article in the family com|pact, which obliged her to compensate the losses of France. At least she could not do it in America; for she was expressly precluded by the treaty of Utrecht from ceding any territory or giving any advantage in trade to that power. What did our ministers? they took from Spain the territory of Florida, an object of no value except to shew our dispositions to be quite equal at least towards both powers; and they enabled France to compensate Spain by the gift of Louisiana; loading us with all the harshness, leaving the act of kindness with France, and opening thereby a door to the fulfill|ing of this the most consolidating article of the fa|mily compact. Accordingly that dangerous league, thus abetted and authorized by the English minis|try without an attempt to invalidate it in any way, or in any of its parts, exists to this hour; and has grown stronger and stronger, every hour of its existence.

AS to the second component of a good peace, compensation, I have but little trouble; the author has said nothing upon that head. He has nothing Page  29 to say. After a war of such expence, this ought to have been a capital consideration. But on what he has been so prudently silent, I think it is right to speak plainly. All our new acquisitions toge|ther, at this time, scarce afford matter of revenue either at home or abroad, sufficient to defray the expence of their establishments; not one shilling towards the reduction of our debt. Guadaloupe or Martinico alone would have given us material aid; much in the way of duties, much in the way of trade and navigation. A good ministry would have considered how a renewal of the Assiento might have been obtained. We had as much right to ask it at the treaty of Paris as at the treaty of Utrecht. We had incomparably more in our hands to purchase it. Floods of treasure would have poured into this kingdom from such a source; and, under proper management, no small part of it would have taken a public direction, and have fructified an exhausted exchequer.

IF this gentleman's hero of finance, instead of flying from a treaty, which, though he now de|fends, he could not approve, and would not op|pose; if he, instead of shifting into an office, which removed him from the manufacture of the treaty, had, by his credit with the then great director, acquired for us these, or any of these objects, the possession of Guadaloupe or Marti|nique, or the renewal of the Assiento, he might have held his head high in his country; because he would have performed real service; ten thou|sand times more real service, than all the oecono|my of which this writer is perpetually talking, or all the little tricks of finance which the ex|pertest juggler of the treasury can practise, could amount to in a thousand years. But the occasion is lost; the time is gone, perhaps, for ever.

Page  30AS to the third requisite, alliance, there too the author is silent. What strength of that kind did they acquire? they got no one new ally; they stript the enemy of not a single old one. They disgusted (how justly, or unjustly, matters not) every ally we had; and from that time to this, we stand friendless in Europe. But of this naked condition of their country, I know some people are not ashamed. They have their system of poli|tics; our ancestors grew great by another. In this manner these virtuous men concluded the peace; and their practice is only consonant to their theory.

MANY things more might be observed on this curious head of our author's speculations. But, taking leave of what the writer says in his serious part, if he be serious in any part, I shall only just point out a piece of his pleasantry. No man, I believe, ever denied that the time for making peace is that in which the best terms may be ob|tained. But what that time is, together with the use that has been made of it, we are to judge by seeing whether terms adequate to our advantages, and to our necessities, have been actually obtain|ed.—Here is the pinch of the question, and to which the author ought to have set his shoulders in earnest. Instead of doing this, he slips out of the harness by a jest; and sneeringly tells us, that, to determine this point, we must know the secrets of the French and Spanish cabinets,s and that parlia|ment Page  31 was pleased to approve the treaty of peace without calling for the correspondence concerning it. How just this sarcasm on that parliament may be, I say not; but how becoming in the author, I leave it to his friends to determine.

HAVING thus gone through the questions of war and peace, the author proceeds to state our debt, and the interest which it carried, at the time of the treaty, with the unfairness and inaccuracy, how|ever, which distinguish all his assertions, and all his calculations. To detect every fallacy, and rectify every mistake, would be endless. It will be enough to point out a few of them, in order to shew how unsafe it is to place any thing like an implicit trust in such a writer.

THE interest of debt contracted during the war is stated by the author at £. 2.614.892. The par|ticulars appear in pages 14 and 15. Among them is stated the unfunded debt, £. 9.975.017, suppos|ed to carry interest on a medium at 3 per cent. which amounts to £. 299.250. We are referred to the Considerations on the Trade and Finances of the Kingdom, p. 22, for the particulars of that unfund|ed debt. Turn to the work, and to the place re|ferred to by the author himself, if you have a mind to see a clear detection of a capital fallacy of this article in his account. You will there see that this unfunded debt consists of the nine following articles; the remaining subsidy to the duke of Brunswick; the remaining dedommagement to the landgrave of Hesse; the German demands; the army and ordnance extraordinaries; the deficien|cies of grants and funds; Mr. Touchet's claim; the debts due to Nova Scotia and Barbadoes; exche|quer bills; and navy debt. The extreme fallacy of this state cannot escape any reader who will be at the pains to compare the interest money, with Page  32 which he affirms us to have been loaded, in his State of the Nation, with the items of the principal debt to which he refers in his Considerations. The reader must observe, that of this long list of nine articles, only two, the exchequer bills, and part of the navy debt, carried any interest at all. The first amounted to £. 1.800.000; and this undoubt|edly carried interest. The whole navy debt indeed amounted to £. 4.576.915; but of this only a part carried interest. The author of the Considerations, &c. labours to prove this very point in p. 18; and Mr. G. has always defended himself upon the same ground, for the insufficient provision he made for the discharge of that debt. The reader may see their own authority for it.t

MR. G. did in fact provide no more than £. 2.150.000 for the discharge of these bills in two years. It is much to be wished that these gentle|men Page  33 would lay their heads together, that they would consider well this matter, and agree upon something. For when the scanty provision made for the unfunded debt is to be vindicated, then we are told it is a very small part of that debt which carries interest. But when the public is to be re|presented in a miserable condition, and the conse|quences of the late war to be laid before us in dreadful colours, then we are to be told that the unfunded debt is within a trifle of ten millions, and so large a portion of it carries interest that we must not compute less than 3 per cent. upon the whole.

IN the year 1764, parliament voted £. 650.000 towards the discharge of the navy debt. This sum could not be applied solely to the discharge of bills carrying interest; because part of the debt due on seamens wages must have been paid, and some bills carried no interest at all. Notwithstanding this, we find by an account in the journals of the H. of C. in the following session, that the navy debt carrying interest was on the 31st of December 1764 no more than £. 1.687,442. I am sure there|fore that I admit too much when I admit the navy debt carrying interest, after the creation of the navy annuities in the year 1763, to have been £. 2.200,000. Add the exchequer bills; and the whole unfunded debt carrying interest will be four millions instead of ten; and the annual interest paid for it at 4 per cent. will be £. 160.000 instead of £. 299.250. An error of no small magnitude, and which could not have been owing to inad|vertency.

THE misrepresentation of the encrease of the peace establishment is still more extraordinary than that of the interest on the unfunded debt. The encrease is great undoubtedly. However, the au|thor finds no fault with it, and urges it only as a Page  34 matter of argument to support the strange chime|rical proposals he is to make us in the close of his work for the encrease of revenue. The greater he made that establishment, the stronger he ex|pected to stand in argument: but, whatever he ex|pected or proposed, he should have stated the mat|ter fairly. He tells us that this establishment is near £. 1.500.000 more than it was in 1752, 1753, and other years of peace. This he has done in his usual manner, by assertion, without troubling him|self either with proof or probability. For he has not given us any state of the peace establishment in the years 1753 and 1754, the time which he means to compare with the present. As I am obliged to force him to that precision, from which he always flies as from his most dangerous enemy, I have been at the trouble to search the journals in the period between the two last wars: and I find that the peace establishment, consisting of the navy, the ordnance, and the several incidental expences, amounted to £. 2.346.594. Now is this writer wild enough to imagine, that the peace establishment of 1764 and the subsequent years, made up from the same articles, is £. 3.800.000, and upwards? His assertion however goes to this. But I must take the liberty of correcting him in this gross mistake, and from an authority he cannot refuse, from his favourite work, and standing authority, the Consi|derations. We find there, p. 43,u the peace establishment Page  35 of 1764 and 1765 stated at £. 3.609.700. This is near two hundred thousand pounds less than that given in the State of the Nation. But even from this, in order to render the articles which compose the peace establishment in the two periods correspondent (for otherwise they cannot be com|pared), we must deduct first, his articles of the deficiency of land and malt, which amount to £. 300.000. They certainly are no part of the establishment; nor are they included in that sum, which I have stated above for the establishment in the time of the former peace. If they were proper to be stated at all, they ought to be stated in both accounts. We must also deduct the deficiencies of funds, £. 202.400. These deficiencies are the dif|ference between the interest charged on the public for monies borrowed, and the produce of the taxes laid for the discharge of that interest. Annual pro|vision is indeed to be made for them by parlia|ment: but in the enquiry before us, which is only what charge is brought on the public by interest paid or to be paid for money borrowed, the utmost that the author should do is to bring into the ac|count the full interest for all that money. This he has done in p. 15; and he repeats it in p. 18, the very page I am now examining, £. 2.614.892. To comprehend afterwards in the peace establish|ment the deficiency of the fund created for pay|ment of that interest, would be laying twice to the account of the war part of the same sum. Suppose ten millions borrowed at 4 per cent. and the fund for payment of the interest to produce no more than £. 200.000. The whole annual charge on the Page  36 public is £. 400.000. It can be no more. But to charge the interest in one part of the account, and then the deficiency in the other, would be charging £. 600.000. The deficiency of funds must there|fore be also deducted from the peace establishment in the Considerations; and then the peace establish|ment in that author will be reduced to the same articles with those included in the sum I have already mentioned for the peace establishment be|fore the last war, in the year 1753, and 1754.

Peace establishment in the Considera|tions,   3.609.700
Deduct deficiency of land and malt, 300.000  
Ditto of funds, 202.400  
Peace establishment before the late war, in which no deficiencies of land and malt, or funds, are included,   2.346.594
  Difference, £. 760.706
Being about half the sum which our author has been pleased to suppose it.
Let us put the whole together. The author states,   £.
Difference of peace establishment be|fore and since the war,   1.500.000
Interest of debt contracted by the war,   2.614.892
Page  37The real difference in the peace establishment is, 760.706  
The actual interest of the funded debt, in|cluding that charg|ed on the sinking fund, 2.315.642  
The actual interest of unfunded debt at most, 160.000  
Total interest of debt con|tracted by the war, 2.475.642  
Encrease of peace establishment, and interest of the new debt,   3.236.348
  Error of the author, £. 878.544

IT is true, the extraordinaries of the army have been found considerably greater than the author of the Considerations was pleased to foretell they would be. The author of the Present State avails himself of that encrease, and, finding it suit his purpose, sets the whole down in the peace-esta|blishment of the present times. If this is allow|ed him, his error perhaps may be reduced to £. 700.000. But I doubt the author of the Considerations will not thank him for admitting £. 200.000. and upwards, as the peace-establish|ment for extraordinaries, when that author has so much laboured to confine them within £. 35.000.

THESE are some of the capital fallacies of the author. To break the thread of my discourse as little as possible, I have thrown into the margin many instances, though God knows far from the whole, of his inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and want of common care. I think myself obliged to take some notice of them, in order to take off from any authority this writer may have; and to put an end to the deference which careless men are apt to pay to one who boldly arrays his accounts, and mar|shals Page  38 his figures, in perfect confidence that their correctness will never be examined.w

HOWEVER, for argument, I am content to take his state of it. The debt was and is enormous. The war was expensive. The best oeconomy had not perhaps been used. But I must observe, that war and oeconomy are things not easily reconciled; and that the attempt of leaning towards parsimony Page  39 in such a state may be the worst management, and in the end the worst oeconomy in the world, hazarding the total loss of all the charge incurred, and of every thing else along with it.

BUT cui bono all this detail of our debt? has the author given a single light towards any material reduction of it? Not a glimmering. We shall see in its place what sort of thing he proposes. But before he commences his operations, in order to scare the public imagination, he raises by art magic a thick mist before our eyes, through which glare the most ghastly and horrible phantoms:

Hunc igitur terrorem animi tenebrasque necesse est,
Non radii solis, neque lucida tela diei
Discutiant, sed naturae species ratioque.
Let us therefore calmly, if we can for the fright into which he has put us, appreciate those dreadful and deformed gorgons and hydras, which inhabit the joyless regions of an imagination, fruitful in nothing but the production of monsters.

HIS whole representation is founded on the sup|posed operation of our debt, upon our manufac|tures, and our trade. To this cause he attributes a certain supposed dearness of the necessaries of life, which must compel our manufacturers to emi|grate to cheaper countries, particularly to France, and with them the manufacture. Thence con|sumption declining, and with it revenue. He will not permit the real balance of our trade to be esti|mated so high £. 2.500.000; and the interest of the debt to foreigners carries off £. 1.500.000 of that balance. France is not in the same condition. Then follow his wailings and lamentings, which he renews over and over, according to his custom—a declining trade, and decreasing specie—on the point of becoming tributary to France—of Page  40 losing Ireland—of having the colonies torn away from us.

THE first thing upon which I shall observe is, what he takesx for granted as the clearest of all propositions, the emigration of our manufacturers to France. I undertake to say that this assertion is totally groundless, and I challenge the author to bring any sort of proof of it. If living is cheaper in France, that is, to be had for less specie, wages are proportionably lower. No manufacturer, let the living be what it will, was ever known to fly for refuge to low wages. Money is the first thing which attracts him. Accordingly our wages attract artificers from all parts of the world. From two shillings to one shilling, is a fall, in all mens ima|ginations, which no calculation upon a difference in the price of the necessaries of life can compen|sate. But it will be hard to prove, that a French artificer is better fed, cloathed, lodged, and warm|ed, than one in England; for that is the sense, and the only sense, of living cheaper. If, in truth and fact, our artificer farcs as well in all these respects as one in the same state in France—how stands the matter in point of opinion and prejudice, the springs by which people in that class of life are chiefly actuated! The idea of our common people, concerning French living, is dreadful; altogether as dreadful as our author's can possibly be of the state of his own country; a way of thinking that will hardly ever prevail on them to desert to France.y

Page  41BUT, leaving the author's speculations, the fact is, that they have not deserted; and of course the manufacture cannot be departed, or departing, with them. I am not indeed able to get at all the details of all our manufactures; though, I think, I have taken full as much pains for that purpose as our author. Some I have by me; and they do not hitherto, thank God, support the author's com|plaint, unless a vast encrease of the quantity of goods manufactured be a proof of losing the ma|nufacture. On a view of the registers in the West|riding of Yorkshire, for three years before the war, and for the three last, it appears, that the quanti|ties of cloths entered were as follow:

  Pieces broad.   Pieces narrow.
1752. 60.724   72.442
1753. 55.358   71.618
1754. 56.070   72.394
  172.152   216.454
  Pieces broad.   Pieces narrow.
1765. 54.660   77.419
1766. 72.575   78.893
1767. 102.428   78.819
3 years, ending 1767, 229.663   235.131
3 years, ending 1754, 172.152   216.454
Encrease, 57.511 Encrease, 18.677

IN this manner this capital branch of manufac|ture has encreased, under the encrease of taxes; and this not from a declining, but from a greatly flourishing period of commerce. I may say the Page  42 same on the best authority of the fabric of thin goods at Halifax; of the bays at Rochdale; and of that infinite variety of admirable manufactures that grow and extend every year among the spi|rited, inventive, and enterprizing traders of Man|chester.

A TRADE sometimes seems to perish when it only assumes a different form. Thus the coarsest woollens were formerly exported in great quanti|ties to Russia. The Russians now supply themselves with these goods. But the export thither of finer cloths has encreased in proportion as the other has declined. Possibly some parts of the kingdom may have felt something like a languor in business. Objects like trade and manufacture, which the very attempt to confine would certainly destroy, fre|quently change their place; and thereby, far from being lost, are often highly improved. Thus some manufactures have decayed in the west and south, which have made new and more vigorous shoots when transplanted into the north. And here it is impossible to pass by, though the author has said nothing upon it, the vast addition to the mass of British trade, which has been made by the improve|ment of Scotland. What does he think of the commerce of the city of Glasgow, and of the ma|nufactures of Paisley and all the adjacent county? has this any thing like the deadly aspect and facies Hippocratica which the false diagnostic of our state physician has given to our trade in general? has he not heard of the iron works of such magnitude even in their cradle which are set up on the Carron, and which at the same time have drawn nothing from Sheffield, Birmingham, or Wolverhampton?

THIS might perhaps be enough to shew the en|tire falsity of the complaint concerning the decline of our manufactures. But every step we advance, Page  43 this matter clears up more and more; and the false terrors of the author are dissipated, and fade away as the light appears.

"The trade and manufac|tures of this country (says he) going to ruin, and a diminution of our revenue from consumption must attend the loss of so many seamen and ar|tificers."
Nothing more true than the general observation: nothing more false than its applica|tion to our circumstances. Let the revenue on con|sumption speak for itself:
Average of net excise, since the new duties, three years ending 1767,   4.590.734
Ditto before the new duties, three years ending 1759,   3.261.694
  Average encrease, £. 1.329.040
Here is no diminution. Here is, on the contrary, an immense encrease. This is owing, I shall be told, to the new duties, which may encrease the total bulk, but at the same time may make some diminution of the produce of the old. Were this the fact, it would be far from supporting the au|thor's complaint. It might have proved that the burthen lay rather too heavy; but it would never prove that the revenue from consumption was impair|ed, which it was his business to do. But what is the real fact? Let us take, as the best instance for the purpose, the produce of the old hereditary and temporary excise granted in the reign of Charles the second, whose object is that of most of the new impositions, from two averages, each of eight years: Page  44
Average, first period, eight years, end|ing 1754,   525.317
Ditto, second period, eight years, end|ing 1767,   538.542
  Encrease, £. 13.225
I have taken these averages as including in each, a war and a peace period; the first before the impo|sition of the new duties, the other since those im|positions; and such is the state of the oldest branch of the revenue from consumption. Besides the ac|quisition of so much new, this article, to speak of no other, has rather encreased under the pressure of all those additional taxes to which the author is pleased to attribute its destruction. But as the author has made his grand effort against those mo|derate, judicious, and necessary levies, which sup|port all the dignity, the credit, and the power of his country, the reader will excuse a little further detail on this subject; that we may see how little oppressive those taxes are on the shoulders of the public, with which he labours so earnestly to load its imagination. For this purpose we take the state of that specific article upon which the two capital burthens of the war leaned the most immediately, by the additional duties on malt, and upon beer:
Average of strong beer, brewed in eight years before the addi|tional malt and beer duties,   3.895.059 Bar.
Average of strong beer, eight years since the duties,   4.060.726 Bar.
  Encrease in the last period, 165.667 Bar.
Page  45 Here is the effect of two such daring taxes as 3d. by the bushel additional on malt, and 3s. by the barrel additional on beer. Two impositions laid without remission one upon the neck of the other; and laid upon an object which before had been im|mensely loaded. They did not in the least impair the consumption: it has grown under them. It appears that, upon the whole, the people did not feel so much inconvenience from the new duties as to oblige them to take refuge in the private brew|ery. Quite the contrary happened in both these respects in the reign of king William; and it hap|pened from much slighter impositions.z No peo|ple can long consume a commodity for which they are not well able to pay. An enlightened reader laughs at the inconsistent chimera of our author, of a people universally luxurious, and at the same time oppressed with taxes and declining in trade. For my part, I cannot look on these duties as the author does. He sees nothing but the burthen. I can perceive the burthen as well as he; but I can|not avoid contemplating also the strength that sup|ports it. From thence I draw the most comfortable assurances of the future vigour, and the ample re|sources, of this great misrepresented country; and can never prevail on myself to make complaints which have no cause, in order to raise hopes which have no foundation.

Page  46WHEN a representation is built on truth and na|ture, one member supports the other, and mutual lights are given and received from every part. Thus, as our manufacturers have not deserted, nor the manufacture left us, nor the consumption de|clined, nor the revenue sunk; so neither has trade, which is at once the result, measure, and cause of the whole, in the least decayed, as our author has thought proper sometimes to affirm, constantly to suppose, as if it were the most indisputable of all propositions. The reader will see below the com|parative state of our trade in three of the best years before our encrease of debt and taxes, and with it the three last years since the author's date of our ruin.a

IN the last three years the whole of our exports was between 44 and 45 millions. In the three years preceding the war, it was no more than from Page  47 35 to 36 millions. The average balance of the former period was £. 3.706.000; of the latter, something above four millions. It is true, that whilst the impressions of the author's destructive war continued, our trade was greater than it is at present. One of the necessary consequences of the peace was, that France must gradually recover a part of those markets of which she had been originally in possession. However, after all these deductions, still the gross trade in the worst year of the present is better than in the best year of any former period of peace. A very great part of our taxes, if not the greatest, has been imposed since the beginning of this century. On the author's principles, this continual encrease of taxes must have ruined our trade, or at least entirely checked its growth. But I have a manuscript of Davenant, which contains an abstract of our trade for the years 1703 and 1704; by which it appears, that the whole export from England did not then exceed £. 6.552.019. It is now considerably more than double that amount. Yet England was then a rich and flourishing nation.

THE author endeavours to derogate from the balance in our favour as it stands on the entries, and reduces it from four millions as it there appears to no more than £. 2.500.000. His observation on the looseness and inaccuracy of the export entries is just; and that the error is always an error of excess, I readily admit. But because, as usual, he has wholly omitted some very material facts, his conclusion is as erroneous as the entries he com|plains of.

ON this point of the custom-house entries I shall make a few observations. 1st, The inaccuracy of these entries can extend only to FREE GOODS, that is, to such British products and manufactures, Page  48 as are exported without drawback and without bounty; which do not in general amount to more than two-thirds at the very utmost of the whole ex|port even of our home products. The valuable ar|ticles of corn, malt, leather, hops, beer, and many others, do not come under this objection of inac|curacy. The article of CERTIFICATE GOODS re|exported, a vast branch of our commerce, admits of no error (except some smaller frauds which can|not be estimated), as they have all a drawback of duty, and the exporter must therefore correctly specify their quantity and kind. The author there|fore is not warranted from the known error in some of the entries, to make a general defalcation from the whole balance in our favour. This error can|not affect more than half, if so much, of the ex|port article. 2dly, In the account made up at the inspector general's office, they estimate only the original cost of British products as they are here purchased; and on foreign goods, only the prices in the country from whence they are sent. This was the method established by Mr. Davenant; and, as far as it goes, it certainly is a good one. But the profits of the merchant at home, and of our factories abroad, are not taken into the ac|count: which profit on such an immense quantity of goods exported and re-exported cannot fail of being very great: five per cent. upon the whole, I should think a very moderate allowance. 3dly, It does not comprehend the advantage arising from the employment of 600.000 tons of shipping, which must be paid by the foreign consumer, and which, in many bulky articles of commerce, is equal to the value of the commodity. This can scarcely be rated at less than a million annually. 4thly, The whole import from Ireland and Ame|rica, and from the West Indies, is set against us in the ordinary way of striking a balance of imports Page  49 and exports; whereas the import and export are both our own. This is just as ridiculous, as to put against the general balance of the nation, how much more goods Cheshire receives from London, than London from Cheshire. The whole revolves and circulates through this kingdom, and is, so far as it regards our profit, in the nature of home trade, as much as if the several countries of Ame|rica and Ireland were all pieced to Cornwall. The course of exchange with all these places is fully suf|ficient to demonstrate that this kingdom has the whole advantage of their commerce. When the final profit upon a whole system of trade rests and centers in a certain place, a balance struck in that place merely on the mutual sale of commodities is quite fallacious. 5thly, The custom-house entries furnish a most defective, and indeed ridiculous idea, of the most valuable branch of trade we have in the world, that with Newfoundland. Observe what, you export thither; a little spirits, provision, fishing lines, and fishing hooks. Is the export the true idea of the Newfoundland trade in the light of a beneficial branch of commerce? nothing less. Examine our imports from thence; it seems, upon this vulgar idea of exports and imports, to turn the balance against you. But your exports to Newfoundland are your own goods. Your import is your own food; as much your own, as that you raise with your ploughs out of your own soil; and not your loss, but your gain; your riches, not your poverty. But so fallacious is this way of judging, that neither the export nor import, nor both together, supply any idea approaching to adequate of that branch of business. The vessels in that trade go strait from Newfoundland to the foreign market; and the sale there, not the import here, is the measure of its value. That trade which is one of your greatest and best is hardly so Page  50 much as seen in the custom-house entries; and it is not of less annual value to this nation than £. 400.000. 6thly, The quality of your imports must be considered as well as the quantity. To state the whole of the foreign import as loss, is ex|ceedingly absurd. All the iron, hemp, flax, cot|ton, Spanish wool, raw silk, woollen and linen yarn, which we import, are by no means to be consider|ed as the matter of a merely luxurious consump|tion; which is the idea too generally and loosely annexed to our import article. These above-men|tioned are materials of industry, not of luxury, which are wrought up here, in many instances, to ten times, and more, of their original value. Even where they are not subservient to our exports, they still add to our internal wealth, which consists in the stock of useful commodities, as much as in gold and silver. In looking over the specific articles of our export and import, I have often been astonish|ed to see for how small a part of the supply of our consumption, either luxurious or convenient, we are indebted to nations properly foreign to us.

THESE considerations are entirely passed over by the author; they have been but too much neglected by most who have speculated on this subject. But they ought never to be omitted by those who mean to come to any thing like the true state of the British trade. They compensate, and they more than compensate, every thing which the author can cut off with any appearance of reason for the over-entry of British goods; and they re|store to us that balance of four millions, which the author has thought proper on such a very poor and limited comprehension of the object to reduce to £. 2.500.000.

IN general this author is so circumstanced, that to support his theory he is obliged to assume his Page  51 facts; and then, if you allow his facts, they will not support his conclusions. What if all he says of the state of this balance were true? did not the same objections always lie to custom-house entries? do they defalcate more from the entries of 1766 than from those of 1754? If they prove us ruined, we were always ruined. Some ravens have always indeed croaked out this kind of song. They have a malignant delight in presaging mischief, when they are not employed in doing it: they are mi|serable and disappointed at every instance of the public prosperity. They overlook us like the male|volent being of the poet:

Tritonida conspicit arcem
Ingeniis, opibusque, et festa pace virentem;
Vixque tenet lacrymas quia nil lacrymabile cernit.

IT is in this spirit that some have looked upon those accidents that cast an occasional damp upon trade. Their imaginations entail these accidents upon us in perpetuity. We have had some bad harvests. This must very disadvantageously affect the balance of trade, and the navigation of a peo|ple, so large a part of whose commerce is in grain. But, in knowing the cause, we are morally certain, that, according to the course of events, it cannot long subsist. In the three last years, we have ex|ported scarcely any grain; in good years, that ex|port hath been worth twelve hundred thousand pounds and more; in the two last years, far from exporting, we have been obliged to import to the amount perhaps of our former exportation. So that in this article the balance must be £. 2.000.000 against us; that is, one million in the ceasing of gain, the other in the encrease of expenditure. But none of the author's promises or projects could have prevented this misfortune; and, thank God, we do not want him or them to relieve us from it; Page  52 although, if his friends should now come into power, I doubt not but they will be ready to take credit for any encrease of trade or excise, that may arise from the happy circumstance of a good harvest.

THIS connects with his loud laments and me|lancholy prognostications concerning the high price of the necessaries of life and the products of labour. With all his others, I deny this fact; and I again call upon him to prove it. Take average and not accident, the grand and first necessary of life is cheap in this country; and that too as weighed, not against labour, which is its true counterpoise, but against money. Does he call the price of wheat at this day, between 32 and 40 shillings per quarter in London, dear?b He must know that fuel (an object of the highest order in the necessaries of life, and of the first necessity in almost every kind of manufacture) is in many of our provinces cheaper than in any part of the globe. Meat is on the whole not excessively dear, whatever its price may be at particular times and from particular accidents. If it has had any thing like an uniform rise, this enhancement may easily be proved not to be owing to the encrease of taxes, but to uniform encrease of consumption and of money. Diminish the latter, and meat in your markets will be sufficiently cheap in account, but much dearer in effect: because fewer will be in a condition to buy. Thus your apparent plenty will be real indigence. At present, even under temporary disadvantages, the use of flesh is greater here than any where else; it is continued without any interruption of Lents or meagre days; it is sustained and growing even with the encrease of our taxes. But some have the art of converting Page  53 even the signs of national prosperity into symptoms of decay and ruin. And our author, who so loudly disclaims popularity, never fails to lay hold of the most vulgar popular prejudices and humours, in hopes to captivate the croud. Even those peevish dispositions which grow out of some transitory suf|fering, those passing clouds which float in our changeable atmosphere; are by him industriously figured into frightful shapes, in order first to terrify and then to govern the populace.

IT was not enough for the author's purpose to give this false and discouraging picture of the state of his own country. It did not fully answer his end, to exaggerate her burthens, to depreciate her successes, and to vilify her character. Nothing had been done, unless the situation of France were ex|alted in proportion as that of England had been abased. The reader will excuse the citation I make at length from his book; he out-does himself upon this occasion. His confidence is indeed unparalleled, and altogether of the heroic cast:

"IF our rival nations were in the same circum|stances with ourselves, the augmentation of our taxes would produce no ill consequences: if we were obliged to raise our prices, they must, from the same causes, do the like, and could take no ad|vantage by under-selling and under-working us. But the alarming consideration to Great Britain is, that France is not in the same condition. Her distresses, during the war, were great, but they were immediate; her want of credit, as has been said, compelled her to impoverish her people, by raising the greatest part of her sup|plies within the year; but the burdens she imposed on them were, in a great measure, temporary, and must be greatly diminished by a few years of peace. She could procure no considerable loans, there|fore Page  54 she has mortgaged no such oppressive taxes as those Great Britain has imposed in perpetuity for payment of interest. Peace must, therefore, soon re-establish her commerce and manufactures, especially as the comparative lightness of taxes, and the cheapness of living, in that country, must make France an asylum for British manu|facturers and artificers."
On this the author rests the merits of his whole system. And on this point I will join issue with him. If France is not at least in the same condition, even in that very condition which the author falsely represents to be ours, if the very reverse of his proposition be not true, then I will admit his State of the Nation to be just; and all his inferences from that state to be logical and conclusive. It is not surprizing, that the author should hazard our opinion of his veracity. That is a virtue on which great statesmen do not perhaps pique themselves so much: but it is somewhat ex|traordinary, that he should stake on a very poor calculation of chances, all credit for care, for ac|curacy, and for knowledge of the subject of which he treats. He is rash and inaccurate, because he thinks he writes to a public ignorant and inatten|tive. But he may find himself in that respect, as in many others, greatly mistaken.

IN order to contrast the light and vigorous con|dition of France with that of England, weak, and sinking under her burthens, he states in his 10th page, that France had raised £. 50.314.378 sterling by taxes within the several years from the year 1756 to 1762 both inclusive. An Englishman must stand aghast at such a representation: to find France able to raise within the year sums little inferior to all that we were able even to borrow on interest with all the resources of the greatest and most established credit in the world! Europe was filled with astonish|ment Page  55 when they saw England borrow in one year twelve millions. It was thought, and very justly, no small proof of national strength and financial skill, to find a fund for the payment of the interest upon this sum. The interest of this, computed with the one per cent. annuities, amounted only to £. 600.000 a year. This, I say, was thought a surprising effort even of credit. But this author talks, as of a thing not worth proving, and but just worth observing, that France in one year raised sixteen times that sum without borrowing, and continued to raise sums not far from equal to it for several years together. Suppose some Jacob Hen|riques had proposed, in the year 1762, to pre|vent a perpetual charge on the nation by raising ten millions within the year. He would have been considered, not as a harsh financier, who laid an heavy hand on the public; but as a poor visionary, who had run mad on supplies and taxes. They who know that the whole land tax of England, at 4s. in the pound, raises but two millions; will not easily apprehend that any such sums as the author has conjured up can be raised even in the most opu|lent nations. France owed a large debt, and was incumbered with heavy establishments, before that war. The author does not formally deny that she borrowed something in every year of its continu|ance; let him produce the funds for this astonishing annual addition to all her vast preceding taxes, an addition equal to the whole excise, customs, land and malt taxes of England taken together.

BUT what must be the reader's astonishment, perhaps his indignation, if he should find that this great financier has fallen into the most unaccount|able of all errors, no less an error than that of mistaking the identical sums borrowed by France upon interest, for supplies raised within the year. Can it Page  56 be conceived that any man only entered into the first rudiments of finance should make so egregious a blunder; should write it, should print it; should carry it to a second edition; should take it not col|laterally and incidentally, but lay it down as the corner stone of his whole system, in such an impor|tant point as the comparative states of France and England? But it will be said, that it was his misfor|tune to be ill informed. Not at all. A man of any loose general knowledge, and of the most ordinary sagacity, never could have been misinformed in so gross a manner; because he would have immediately rejected so wild and extravagant an account.

THE fact is this: the credit of France, bad as it might have been, did enable her (not to raise within the year) but to borrow the very sums the author mentions; that is to say, 1.106.916.261 livres, making, in the author's computation, £. 50.314.378. The credit of France was low; but it was not annihilated. She did not derive, as our author chooses to assert, any advantages from the debility of her credit. Its consequence was the natural one: she borrowed; but she borrowed upon bad terms, indeed on the most exorbitant usury.

IN speaking of a foreign revenue, the very pre|tence to accuracy would be the most inaccurate thing in the world. Neither the author nor I can with certainty authenticate the information we com|municate to the public, nor in an affair of eternal fluctuation arrive at perfect exactness. All we can do, and this we may be expected to do, is to avoid gross errors and blunders of a capital nature. We cannot order the proper officer to lay the accounts before the house. But the reader must judge on the probability of the accounts we lay before him. The author speaks of France as raising her supplies Page  57 for war by taxes within the year; and of her debt, as a thing scarcely worthy of notice. I affirm that she borrowed large sums in every year; and has thereby accumulated an immense debt. This debt continued after the war infinitely to embarrass her affairs; and to find some means for its reduction was then and has ever since been the first object of her policy. But she has so little succeeded in all her efforts, that the perpetual debt of France is at this hour little short of £. 100.000.000 sterling; and she stands charged with at least 40.000.000 of English pounds on life-rents and tontines. The annuities paid at this day at the hotel de Ville of Paris, which are by no means her sole payments of that nature, amount to 139.000.000 of livres, that is, to 6.318.000 pounds; besides billets au porteur, and various detached and unfunded debts, to a great amount, and which bear an interest.

AT the end of the war, the interest payable on her debt amounted to upwards of seven millions sterling. M. de la Verdy, the last hope of the French finances, was called in, to aid in the re|duction of an interest, so light to our author, so intolerably heavy upon those who are to pay it. After many unsuccessful efforts towards reconciling arbitrary reduction with public credit, he was ob|liged to go the plain high road of power, and to impose a tax of 10 per cent. upon a very great part of the capital debt of that kingdom; and this mea|sure of present ease, to the destruction of future credit, produced about £. 500.000 a year, which was carried to their caisse d'amortissement or sinking fund. But so unfaithfully and unsteadily has this and all the other articles which compose that fund been applied to their purposes, that they have given the state but very little even of present relief, since it is known to the whole world that she is behind-hand Page  58 on every one of her establishments. Since the year 1763, there has been no operation of any consequence on the French finances: and in this enviable condition is France at present with regard to her debt.

EVERY body knows that the principal of the debt is but a name; the interest is the only thing which can distress a nation. Take this idea, which will not be disputed, and compare the interest paid by England with that paid by France:

Interest paid by France, funded and unfunded, for perpetuity or on lives, after the tax of 10 per cent.   6.500.000
Interest paid by England, as stated by the author, p. 27,   4.600.000
Interest paid by France exceeds that paid by England, £. 1.900.000
The author cannot complain, that I state the in|terest paid by England as too low. He takes it himself as the extremest term. Nobody who knows any thing of the French finances will affirm that I state the interest paid by that kingdom too high. It might be easily proved to amount to a great deal more: even this is near two millions above what is paid by England.

THERE are three standards to judge of the good condition of a nation with regard to its finances. 1st, The relief of the people. 2d, The equality of supplies to establishments. 3d, The state of public credit. Try France on all these standards.

ALTHOUGH our author very liberally administers relief to the people of France, its government has not been altogether so gracious. Since the peace, Page  59 she has taken off but a single Vingtieme, or shilling in the pound, and some small matter in the capi|tation. But, if the government has relieved them in one point, it has only burthened them the more heavily in another. The Taille,c that grievous and destructive imposition, which all their financiers la|ment, without being able to remove or to replace, has been augmented no less than 6 millions of livres, or 270.000 pounds English. A further augmentation of this or other duties is now talked of; and it is certainly necessary to their affairs: so exceedingly remote from either truth or verisimili|tude is the author's amazing assertion, that the bur|thens of France in the war were in a great measure temporary, and must be greatly diminished by a few years of peace.

IN the next place, if the people of France are not lightened with taxes, so neither is the state dis|burthened of charges. I speak from very good information, that the annual income of that state is at this day 30 millions of livres, or £. 1.350.000 sterling, short of a provision for their ordinary peace establishment; so far are they from the at|tempt or even hope to discharge any part of the capital of their enormous debt. Indeed under such extreme straitness and distraction labours the whole body of their finances, so far does their charge outrun their supply in every particular, that no man, I believe, who has considered their affairs with any degree of attention or information, but must hourly look for some extraordinary convul|sion in that whole system; the effect of which on France, and even on all Europe, it is difficult to conjecture.

Page  60IN the third point of view, their credit. Let the reader cast his eye on a table of the price of French funds, as they stood a few weeks ago, compared with the state of some of our English stocks, even in their present low condition:

French. British.
5 per cents. 63. Bank stock, 5½, 159.
4 per cent. (not taxed) 57. 4 per cent. cons. 100.
3 per cent. ditto, 49. 3 per cent. cons. 88.

THIS state of the funds of France and England is sufficient to convince even prejudice and obsti|nacy, that if France and England are not in the same condition (as the author affirms they are not) the difference is infinitely to the disadvantage of France. This depreciation of their funds has not much the air of a nation lightening burthens and discharging debts.

SUCH is the true comparative state of the two kingdoms in those capital points of view. Now as to the nature of the taxes which provide for this debt, as well as for their ordinary establishments, the author has thought proper to affirm that

"they are comparatively light;" that "she has mort|gaged no such oppressive taxes as ours:"
his effrontery on this head is intolerable. Does the author recollect a single tax in England to which something parallel in nature, and as heavy in bur|then, does not exist in France; does he not know that the lands of the noblesse are still under the load of the greater part of the old feudal charges, from which the gentry of England have been re|lieved for upwards of 100 years, and which were in kind, as well as burthen, much worse than our modern land tax? Besides that all the gentry of France serve in the army on very slender pay, and to the utter ruin of their fortunes; all those who are Page  61 not noble, have their lands heavily taxed. Does he not know that wine, brandy, soap, candles, leather, salt-petre, gun-powder, are taxed in France? Has he not heard that government in France has made a monopoly of that great article of salt? that they compel the people to take a certain quantity of it, and at a certain rate, both rate and quantity fixed at the arbitrary pleasure of the imposer?d that they pay in France the Taille, an arbitrary imposition on presumed property? that a tax is laid in fact and name, on the same arbitrary standard, upon the acquisitions of their industry? and that in France a heavy capitation-tax is also paid, from the highest to the very poorest sort of people? have we taxes of such weight, or any thing at all of the compulsion, in the article of salt? do we pay any taillage, any faculty-tax, any industry-tax? do we pay any capitation-tax whatsoever? I be|lieve the people of London would fall into an agony to hear of such taxes proposed upon them as are paid at Paris. There is not a single article of provision for man or beast, which enters that great city, and is not excised; corn, hay, meal, butchers meat, fish, fowls, every thing. I do not here mean to censure the policy of taxes laid on the consumption of great luxurious cities. I only state the fact. We should be with difficulty brought to hear of a tax of 50s. upon every ox sold in Smithfield. Yet this tax is paid in Paris. Wine, the lower sort of wine, little better than English small beer, pays 2d. a bottle. We indeed tax our beer: but the impo|sition on small beer is very far from heavy. In no Page  62 part of England are eatables of any kind the ob|ject of taxation. In almost every other country in Europe they are excised, more or less. I have by me the state of the revenues of many of the prin|cipal nations on the continent; and, on comparing them with ours, I think I am fairly warranted to assert, that England is the most lightly taxed of any of the great states of Europe. They whose unna|tural and sullen joy arises from a contemplation of the distresses of their country will revolt at this po|sition. But, if I am called upon, I will prove it beyond all possibility of dispute; even though this proof should deprive these gentlemen of the sin|gular satisfaction of considering their country as undone; and though the best civil government, the best constituted, and the best managed revenue that ever the world beheld, should be thoroughly vindicated from their perpetual clamours and com|plaints. As to our neighbour and rival France, in addition to what I have here suggested, I say, and when the author chooses formally to deny, I shall formally prove it, that her subjects pay more than England, on a computation of the wealth of both countries; that her taxes are more injudiciously and more oppressively imposed; more vexatiously collected: come in a smaller proportion to the royal coffers, and are less applied by far to the public service. I am not one of those who choose to take the author's word for this happy and flourishing condition of the French finances, rather than at|tend to the changes, the violent pushes, and the despair, of all her own financiers. Does he choose to be referred for the easy and happy condition of the subject in France to the remonstrances of their own parliaments, written with such an eloquence, feeling, and energy, as I have not seen exceeded in any other writings? The author may say, their complaints are exaggerated, and the effects of fac|tion. Page  63 I answer, that they are the representations of numerous, grave, and most respectable bodies of men, upon the affairs of their own country. But, allowing that discontent and faction may per|vert the judgment of such venerable bodies in France, we have as good a right to suppose that the same causes may full as probably have pro|duced from a private, however respectable person, that frightful, and, I trust I have shewn, ground|less representation of our own affairs in Eng|land.

THE author is so conscious of the dangerous ef|fects of that representation, that he thinks it ne|cessary, and very necessary it is, to guard against them. He assures us,

"that he has not made that display of the difficulties of his country, to ex|pose her counsels to the ridicule of other states, or to provoke a vanquished enemy to insult her; nor to excite the peoples rage against their go|vernors, or sink them into a despondency of the public welfare."
I readily admit this apology for his intentions. God forbid I should think any man capable of entertaining so execrable and senseless a design. The true cause of his drawing so shocking a picture is no more than this; and it ought rather to claim our pity than excite our in|dignation; he finds himself out of power; and this condition is intolerable to him. The same sun which gilds all nature, and exhilarates the whole creation, does not shine upon disappointed am|bition. It is something that rays out of darkness, and inspires nothing but gloom and melancholy. Men, in this deplorable state of mind, find a com|fort in spreading the contagion of their spleen. They find an advantage too; for it is a general popular error to imagine the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its wel|fare. Page  64 If such persons can answer the ends of relief and profit to themselves, they are apt to be care|less enough about either the means or the conse|quences.

WHATEVER this complainant's motives may be, the effects can by no possibility be other than those which he so strongly, and I hope truely, disclaims all intention of producing. To verify this, the reader has only to consider how dreadful a picture he has drawn in his 32d page of the state of this kingdom; such a picture as, I believe, has hardly been applicable, without some exaggeration, to the most degenerate and undone commonwealth that ever existed. Let this view of things be com|pared with the prospect of a remedy which he pro|poses in the page directly opposite and the subse|quent. I believe no man living could have ima|gined it possible, except for the sake of burlesquing a subject, to propose remedies so ridiculously dis|proportionate to the evil, so full of uncertainty in their operation, and depending for their success in every step upon the happy event of so many new, dangerous, and visionary projects. It is not amiss, that he has thought proper to give the public some little notice of what they may expect from his friends, when our affairs shall be committed to their management. Let us see how the accounts of disease and remedy are balanced in his State of the Nation. In the first place, on the side of evils, he states,

"an impoverished and heavily-burthen|ed public. A declining trade and decreasing specie. The power of the crown never so much extended over the great; but the great without influence over the lower sort. Parliament losing its reverence with the people. The voice of the multitude set up against the sense of the legisla|ture; a people luxurious and licentious, impa|tient Page  65 of rule, and despising all authority. Go|vernment relaxed in every sinew, and a corrupt selfish spirit pervading the whole. An opinion of many, that the form of government is not worth contending for. No attachment in the bulk of the people towards the constitution. No reverence for the customs of our ancestors. No attachment but to private interest, nor any zeal but for selfish gratifications. Trade and manu|factures going to ruin. Great Britain in danger of becoming tributary to France, and the de|scent of the crown dependent on her pleasure. Ireland in case of a war to become a prey to France; and Great Britain, unable to recover Ireland, cede it by treaty (the author never can think of a treaty without making cessions), in order to purchase peace for herself. The colo|nies left exposed to the ravages of a domestic, or the conquest of a foreign enemy."
—Gloomy enough, God knows. The author well observes,ethat a mind not totally devoid of feeling cannot look upon such a prospect without horror; and an heart capable of humanity must be unable to bear its description. He ought to have added, that no man of common discretion ought to have exhibited it to the public, if it were true; or of common honesty, if it were false.

BUT now for the comfort; the day-star which is to arise in our hearts; the author's grand scheme for totally reversing this dismal state of things, and making usf

"happy at home and respected abroad, formidable in war and flourishing in peace."

IN this great work he proceeds with a facility equally astonishing and pleasing. Never was finan|cier less embarrassed by the burthen of establish|ments, 〈2 pages missing〉Page  68 two last years as given by the author himself, and lastly the new project of his political millennium:

Plan of establishment for 1764, as by Considerations, p. 43, i 3.609.700
Medium of 1767 and 1768, as by State of the Nation, p. 29 and 30, 3.919.375
Present peace establishment, as by the project in State of the Na|tion, p. 33, 3.468.161

IT is not from any thing our author has any where said, that you are enabled to find the ground, much less the justification, of the immense difference between these several systems; you must compare them yourself, article by article; no very pleasing employment, by the way, to com|pare the agreement or disagreement of two chi|meras. I now only speak of the comparison of his own two projects. As to the latter of them, it differs from the former, by having some of the articles diminished, and others encreased.k I find the chief article of reduction arises from the smaller deficiency of land and malt, and of the annuity funds, which he brings down to £. 295.561 in his new estimate, from £. 502.400, which he had allowed for those articles in the Considerations. With this reduction, owing, as it must be, merely to a smaller deficiency of funds, he has nothing at all to do. It can be no work and no merit of his. But with regard to the encrease, the matter is very different. It is all his own; the public is loaded (for any thing we can see to the contrary) entirely gratis. The chief articles of the l encrease Page  69 are on the navy, and on the army and ordnance extraordinaries; the navy being estimated in his State of the Nation £. 50.000 a year more, and the army and ordnance extraordinaries £. 40.000 more, than he had thought proper to allow for them in that estimate in his Considerations, which he makes the foundation of his present project. He has given no sort of reason, stated no sort of necessity, for this additional allowance, either in the one article or the other. What is still stronger, he admits that his allowance for the army and ordnance extras is too great, and expressly refers you to the Con|siderations;m where, far from giving £. 75.000 a year to that service, as the State of the Na|tion has done, the author apprehends his own scanty provision of £. 35.000 to be by far too con|siderable, and thinks it may well admit of further reductions.n Thus, according to his own princi|ples, Page  70 this great oeconomist falls into a vicious pro|digality; and is as far in his estimate from a con|sistency with his own principles as with the real na|ture of the services.

STILL, however, his present establishment differs from its archetype of 1764, by being, though raised in particular parts, upon the whole about £. 141.000 smaller. It is improved, he tells us, by the experience of the two last years. One would have concluded that the peace establishment of these two years had been less than that of 1764, in order to suggest to the author his improvements, which enabled him to reduce it. But how does that turn out?

Peace establishment 1767 and o 1768, medium,   3.919.375
Ditto, estimate in the Considerations, for 1764,   3.609.700
Difference, £. 309.675
A vast encrease instead of diminution. The expe|rience then of the two last years ought naturally to have given the idea of an heavier establish|ment; but this writer is able to diminish by en|creasing, and to draw the effects of subtraction from the operations of addition. By means of Page  71 these new powers, he may certainly do whatever he pleases. He is indeed moderate enough in the use of them, and condescends to settle his establish|ments at £. 3.468.161 a year.

HOWEVER, he has not yet done with it; he has further ideas of saving, and new resources of re|venue. These additional savings are principally two: 1st, It is to be hoped, says he,p that the sum of £. 250.000 (which in the estimate he allows for the deficiency of land and malt) will be less by £. 37.924.q

2d, THAT the sum of £. 20.000 allowed for the Foundling Hospital, and £. 1.800 for American Surveys, will soon cease to be necessary, as the ser|vices will be compleated.

WHAT follows with regard to the resources, is very well worthy of the reader's attention.

"Of this estimate, says he,r upwards of £. 300.000 will be for the plantation service; and that sum, I hope, the people of Ireland and the colonies might be induced to take off Great Britain, and Page  72 defray between them, in the proportion of £. 200.000 by the colonies, and £. 100.000 by Ireland."

SUCH is the whole of this mighty scheme. Take his reduced estimate, and his further reductions, and his resources all together, and the result will be: He will certainly lower the provision made for the navy. He will cut off largely (God knows what or how) from the army and ordnance extra|ordinaries. He may be expected to cut off more. He hopes that the deficiencies on land and malt will be less than usual; and he hopes that America and Ireland might be induced to take off £. 300.000 of our annual charges.

IF any one of these Hopes, Mights, Insinua|tions, Expectations, and Inducements, should fail him, there will be a formidable gaping breach in his whole project. If all of them should fail, he has left the nation without a glimmering of hope in this thick night of terrors which he has thought fit to spread about us. If every one of them, which, attended with success, would signify any thing to our revenue, can have no effect but to add to our distractions and dangers, we shall be if possible in a still worse condition from his projects of cure than he represents us from our original dis|orders.

BEFORE we examine into the consequence of these schemes, and the probability of these savings, let us suppose them all real and all safe, and then see what it is they amount to, and how he reasons on them:

Page  73
Deficiency on land and malt, less by   37.000
Foundling Hospital,   20.000
American Surveys,   1.800
  £. 58.800
This is the amount of the only articles of saving he specifies; and yet he chooses to asserts
"that we may venture on the credit of them to re|duce the standing expences of the estimate (from £. 3.468.161) to £. 3.300.000;"
that is, for a saving of £. 58.000, he is not ashamed to take credit for a defalcation from his own ideal establishment in a sum of no less than £. 168.161! Suppose even that we were to take up the estimate of the Considerations (which is however aban|doned in the State of the Nation), and reduce his £. 75.000 extraordinaries to the original £. 35.000. still all these savings joined together give us but £. 98.000; that is, near £. 70.000 short of the cre|dit he calls for, and for which he has neither given any reason, nor furnished any data whatsoever for others to reason upon.

SUCH are his savings, as operating on his own project of a peace establishment. Let us now con|sider them as they affect the existing establishment and our actual services. He tells us, the sum al|lowed in his estimate for the navy is

"£. 69.321 less than the grant for that service in 1767; but in that grant £. 30.000 was included for the pur|chase of hemp, and a saving of about £. 25.000 was made in that year."
The author has got some secret in arithmetic. These two sums put together amount, in the ordinary way of com|puting, to £. 55.000, and not to £. 69.321. On Page  74 what principle has he chosen to take credit for £. 14.321 more? To what this strange inaccuracy is owing, I cannot possibly comprehend; nor is it very material, where the logic is so bad, and the policy so erroneous, whether the arithmetic be just or otherwise. But in a scheme for making this nation
"happy at home and respected abroad, formidable in war and flourishing in peace,"
it is surely a little unfortunate for us, that he has picked out the Navy, as the very first object of his oeconomical experiments. Of all the public ser|vices, that of the navy is the one in which tamper|ing may be of the greatest danger, which can worst be supplied upon an emergency, and of which any failure draws after it the longest and heaviest train of consequences. I am far from say|ing, that this or any service ought not to be con|ducted with oeconomy. But I will never suffer the sacred name of oeconomy to be bestowed upon arbitrary defalcation of charge. The author tells us himself,
"that to suffer the navy to rot in harbour for want of repairs and marines, would be to invite destruction."
It would be so. When the author talks therefore of savings on the navy estimate, it is incumbent on him to let us know, not what sums he will cut off, but what branch of that service he deems superfluous. Instead of put|ting us off with unmeaning generalities, he ought to have stated what naval force, what naval works, and what naval stores, with the lowest estimated expence, are necessary to keep our marine in a condition commensurate to its great ends. And this too not for the contracted and deceitful space of a single year, but for some reasonable term. Every body knows that many charges cannot be in their nature regular or annual. In the year 1767 a stock of hemp, &c. was to be laid in; that charge intermits, but it does not end. Other charges of Page  75 other kinds take their place. Great works are now carrying on at Portsmouth, but not of greater magnitude than utility; and they must be provided for. A year's estimate is therefore no just idea at all of a permanent peace establishment. Had the author opened this matter upon these plain princi|ples, a judgment might have been formed, how far he had contrived to reconcile national defence with public oeconomy. Till he has done it, those who had rather depend on any man's reason than the greatest man's authority will not give him cre|dit on this head, for the saving of a single shilling. As to those savings which are already made, or in course of being made, whether right or wrong, he has nothing at all to do with them; they can be no part of his project, considered as a plan of refor|mation. I greatly fear that the error has not lately been on the side of profusion.

ANOTHER head is the saving on the Army and Ordnance extraordinaries, particularly in the Ame|rican branch. What or how much reduction may be made, none of us, I believe, can with any fairness pretend to say; very little, I am con|vinced. The state of America is extremely un|settled; more troops have been sent thither; new dispositions have been made; and this augmenta|tion of number, and change of disposition, has rarely, I believe, the effect of lessening the bill for extraordinaries, which, if not this year, yet in the next we must certainly feel. Care has not been wanting to introduce oeconomy into that part of the service. The author's great friend has made, I admit, some regulations; his immediate successors have made more and better. This part will be handled more ably and more minutely at another time: but no one can cut down this bill of extra|ordinaries at his pleasure. The author has given Page  76 us nothing, but his word, for any certain or consi|derable reduction; and this we ought to be the more cautious in taking, as he has promised great savings in his Considerations, which he has not chosen to abide by in his State of the Nation.

ON this head also of the American extraordina|ries, he can take credit for nothing. As to his next, the lessening of the deficiency of the land and malt tax, particularly of the malt tax; any person the least conversant in that subject cannot avoid a smile. This deficiency arises from charge of collection, from anticipation, and from defective produce. What has the author said on the re|duction of any head of this deficiency upon the land tax? On these points he is absolutely silent. As to the deficiency on the malt tax, which is chiefly owing to a defective produce, he has, and can have, nothing to propose. If this deficiency should be lessened by the encrease of malting in any years more than others (as it is a greatly fluc|tuating object), how much of this obligation shall we owe to this author's ministry? will it not be the case under any administration? must it not go to the general service of the year, in some way or other, let the finances be in whose hands they will? But why take credit for so extremely reduced a deficiency at all? I can tell him, he has no rational ground for it in the produce of the year 1767; and I suspect will have full as little reason from the produce of the year 1768. That produce may indeed become greater, and the deficiency of course will be less. It may too be far otherwise. A fair and judicious financier will not, as this writer has done, for the sake of making out a specious ac|count, select a favourable year or two, at remote periods, and ground his calculations on those. In 1768 he will not take the deficiencies of 1753 Page  77 and 1754 for his standard. Sober men have hi|therto (and must continue this course to preserve this character) taken indifferently the mediums of the years immediately preceding. But a person who has a scheme from which he promises much to the public ought to be still more cautious; he should ground his speculation rather on the lowest mediums; because all new schemes are known to be subject to some defect or failure not foreseen; and which therefore every prudent proposer will be ready to allow for, in order to lay his foundation as low and as solid as possible. Quite contrary is the practice of some politicians. They first pro|pose savings, which they well know cannot be made, in order to get a reputation for oeconomy. In due time they assume another, but a different method, by providing for the service they had be|fore cut off or straitened, and which they can then very easily prove to be necessary. In the same spirit they raise magnificent ideas of revenue on funds which they know to be insufficient. After|wards, who can blame them, if they do not satisfy the public desires? They are great artificers; but they cannot work without materials.

THESE are some of the little arts of great states|men. To such we leave them, and follow where the author leads us, to his next resource, the Foundling-hospital. Whatever particular virtue there is in the mode of this saving, there seems to be nothing at all new, and indeed nothing won|derfully important in it. The sum annually voted for the support of the Foundling-hospital has been in a former parliament limited to the establishment of the children then in the hospital. When they are apprenticed, this provision will cease. It will therefore fall in more or less at different times; and will at length cease entirely. But, until it Page  78 does, we cannot reckon upon it as the saving on the establishment of any given year: nor can any one conceive how the author comes to mention this, any more than some other articles, as a part of a new plan of oeconomy which is to retrieve our affairs. This charge will indeed cease in its own time. But will no other succeed to it? Has he ever known the public free from some contingent charge, either for the just support of royal dignity, or for national magnificence, or for public charity, or for public service? does he choose to flatter his readers that no such will ever return? or does he in good earnest declare, that let the reason, or neces|sity, be what they will, he is resolved not to pro|vide for such services?

ANOTHER resource of oeconomy yet remains, for he gleans the field very closely, £. 1.800 for the American surveys. Why what signifies a dispute about trifles? he shall have it. But while he is carrying it off, I shall just whisper in his ear, that neither the saving that is allowed, nor that which is doubted of, can at all belong to that future propos|ed administration, whose touch is to cure all our evils. Both the one and the other belong equally (as indeed all the rest do) to the present admini|stration, to any administration; because they are the gift of time, and not the bounty of the ex|chequer.

I HAVE now done with all the minor preparatory parts of the author's scheme, the several articles of saving which he proposes. At length comes the capital operation, his new resources. Three hun|dred thousand pounds a year from America and Ireland.—Alas! alas! if that too should fail us, what will become of this poor undone nation? The author, in a tone of great humility, hopes they may be induced to pay it. Well, if that be Page  79 all, we may hope so too: and for any light he is pleased to give us into the ground of this hope, and the ways and means of this inducement, here is a speedy end both of the question and the re|venue.

IT is the constant custom of this author, in all his writings, to take it for granted, that he has given you a revenue, whenever he can point out to you where you may have money, if you can con|trive how to get at it; and this seems to be the master-piece of his financial ability. I think how|ever, in his way of proceeding, he has behaved rather like an harsh step-dame, than a kind nursing mother to his country. Why stop at £. 300.000? If his state of things be at all founded, America and Ireland are much better able to pay £. 600.000, than we are to satisfy ourselves with half that sum. However, let us forgive him this one instance of tenderness towards Ireland and the colonies.

HE spends a vast deal of time,t in an endea|vour to prove, that Ireland is able to bear greater impositions. He is of opinion, that the poverty of the lower class of people there is, in a great mea|sure, owing to a want of judicious taxes; that a land tax will enrich her tenants; that taxes are paid in England which are not paid there; that the colony trade is encreased above £. 100.000 since the peace; that she ought to have further indul|gences in that trade; and ought to have further pri|vileges in the woollen manufacture. From these premises, of what she has, what she has not, and what she ought to have, he infers that Ireland will contribute £. 100.000 towards the extraordinaries of the American establishment.

I SHALL make no objections whatsoever, logical or financial, to this reasoning: many occur; but Page  80 they would lead me from my purpose, from which I do not intend to be diverted, because it seems to me of no small importance. It will be just enough to hint, what I dare say many readers have before observed, that when any man proposes new taxes in a country with which he is not personally con|versant by residence or office, he ought to lay open its situation much more minutely and critically than this author has done, or than perhaps he is able to do. He ought not to content himself with saying that a single article of her trade is encreased £. 100.000 a year; he ought, if he argues from the encrease of trade to the encrease of taxes, to state the whole trade, and not one branch of trade only; he ought to enter fully into the state of its remittances, and the course of its exchange; he ought likewise to examine whether all its establish|ments are encreased or diminished; and whether it incurs or discharges debt annually. But I pass over all this; and am content to ask a few plain ques|tions.

DOES the author then seriously mean to propose in parliament a land tax, or any tax for £. 100.000 a year upon Ireland? if he does, and if fatally, by his temerity and our weakness, he should succeed; then I say he will throw the whole empire from one end of it to the other into mortal convulsions. What is it that can satisfy the furious and perturbed mind of this man; is it not enough for him that such projects have alienated our colonies from the mo|ther country, and not to propose violently to tear our sister kingdom also from our side, and to con|vince every dependent part of the empire, that, when a little money is to be raised, we have no sort of regard to their ancient customs, their opinions, their circumstances, or their affections? He has however a douceur for Ireland in his pocket; bene|fits Page  81 in trade, by opening the woollen manufacture to that nation. A very right idea in my opinion; but not more strong in reason, than likely to be opposed by the most powerful and most violent of all local prejudices and popular passions. First, a fire is already kindled by his schemes of taxation in America; he then proposes one which will set all Ireland in a blaze; and his way of quenching both is by a plan which may kindle perhaps ten times a greater flame in Britain.

WILL the author pledge himself, previously to his proposal of such a tax, to carry this enlarge|ment of the Irish trade; if he does not, then the tax will be certain; the benefit will be less than problematical. In this view, his compensation to Ireland vanishes into smoke; the tax, to their pre|judices, will appear stark naked in the light of an act of arbitrary power and oppression. But, if he should propose the benefit and tax together, then the people of Ireland, a very high and spirited peo|ple, would think it the worst bargain in the world. They would look upon the one as wholly vitiated and poisoned by the other; and, if they could not be separated, would infallibly resist them both to|gether. Here would be taxes indeed, amounting to an handsome sum; £. 100.000 very effectually voted, and passed through the best and most au|thentic forms; but how to be collected?—This is his perpetual manner. One of his projects depends for success upon another project, and this upon a third, all of them equally visionary. His finance is like the Indian philosophy; his Earth is poised on the horns of a Bull, his Bull stands on an Elephant, his Elephant is supported by a Tortoise; and so on for ever.

As to his American £. 200.000 a year, he is satisfied to repeat gravely, as he has done an hun|dred Page  82 times before, that the Americans are able to pay it. Well, and what then? does he lay open any part of his plan how they may be compelled to pay it, without plunging ourselves into calamities that outweigh ten-fold the proposed benefit? or does he shew how they may be induced to submit to it quietly; or does he give any satisfaction con|cerning the mode of levying it, in commercial colonies one of the most important and difficult of all considerations? Nothing like it. To the stamp act, whatever its excellencies may be, I think he will not in reality recur, or even choose to assert that he means to do so, in case his minister should come again into power. If he does, I will predict that some of the fastest friends of that minister will desert him upon this point. As to port duties, he has damned them all in the lump, by declaring themu

"contrary to the first principles of colo|nization, and not less prejudicial to the interests of Great Britain than to those of the colonies."
Surely this single observation of his ought to have taught him a little caution; he ought to have be|gun to doubt, whether there is not something in the nature of commercial colonies, which renders them an unfit object of taxation; when port duties, so large a fund of revenue in almost all countries, are by himself found, in this case, not only im|proper, but destructive. However, he has here pretty well narrowed the field of taxation. Stamp act, hardly to be resumed. Port duties, mis|chievous. Excises, I believe, he will scarcely think worth the collection (if any revenue should be so) in America. Land tax (notwithstanding his opinion of its immense use to agriculture), he will not di|rectly propose, before he has thought again and again on the subject. Indeed he very readily re|commends it for Ireland, and seems to think it Page  83 not improper for America; because, he observes, they already raise most of their taxes internally, including this tax. A most curious reason truly! because their lands are already heavily burthened, he thinks it right to burthen them still further. But he will recollect, for surely he cannot be ignorant of it, that the lands of America are not, as in England, let at a rent certain in money, and there|fore cannot, as here, be taxed at a certain pound rate. They value them in gross among them|selves; and none but themselves in their several districts can value them. Without their hearty concurrence and co-operation, it is evident, we cannot advance a step in the assessing or collecting any land tax. As to the taxes which in some places the Americans pay by the acre, they are merely duties of regulation: they are small; and to encrease them, notwithstanding the secret vir|tues of a land tax, would be the most effectual means of preventing that cultivation they are in|tended to promote. Besides, the whole country is heavily in arrear already for land taxes and quit rents. They have different methods of taxation in the different provinces, agreeable to their several local circumstances. In New England by far the greatest part of their revenue is raised by faculty taxes and capitations. Such is the method in many others. It is obvious that parliament, un|assisted by the colonies themselves, cannot take so much as a single step in this mode of taxation. Then what tax is it he will impose? Why, after all the boasting speeches and writings of his faction for these four years, after all the vain expectations which they have held out to a deluded public, this their great advocate, after twisting the subject every way, after writhing himself in every posture, after knocking at every door, is obliged fairly to aban|don every mode of taxation whatsoever in America. Page  84 He thinksw it the best method for parliament to impose the sum, and reserve the account to itself, leaving the mode of taxation to the colonies. But how and in what proportion? what does the author say? O, not a single syllable on this the most ma|terial part of the whole question. Will he, in par|liament, undertake to settle the proportions of such payments from Nova Scotia to Nevis, in no fewer than six and twenty different countries, varying in almost every possible circumstance one from ano|ther? if he does, I tell him, he adjourns his reve|nue to a very long day. If he leaves it to them|selves to settle these proportions, he adjourns it to dooms-day.

THEN what does he get by this method on the side of acquiescence? will the people of America relish this course, of giving and granting and ap|plying their money, the better because their assem|blies are made commissioners of the taxes? This is far worse than all his former projects; for here, if the assemblies shall refuse, or delay, or be neg|ligent, or fraudulent, in this new-imposed duty, we are wholly without remedy; and neither our custom-house officers, nor our troops, nor our armed ships, can be of the least use in the col|lection. No idea can be more contemptible (I will not call it an oppressive one, the harshness is lost in the folly) than that of proposing to get any revenue from the Americans but by their freest and most chearful consent. Most monied men know their own interest right well; and are as able as any financier, in the valuation of risks. Yet I think this financier will scarcely find that adventurer hardy enough, at any premium, to advance a shil|ling upon a vote of such taxes. Let him name the man, or set of men, that would do it. This Page  85 is the only proof of the value of revenues; what would an interested man rate them at? His sub|scription would be at ninety-nine per cent. discount the very first day of its opening. Here is our only national security from ruin; a security upon which no man in his senses would venture a shilling of his fortune. Yet he puts down those articles as gravely in his supply for his peace establishment, as if the money had been all fairly lodged in the exchequer:

American revenue, 200.000
Ireland, 100.000
Very handsome indeed! but if supply is to be got in such a manner, farewell the lucrative mystery of finance! If you are to be credited for savings, without shewing how, why, or with what safety, they are to be made; and for revenues, without specifying on what articles, or by what means, or at what expence, they are to be collected; there is not a clerk in a public office who may not out|bid this author, or his friend, for the department of chancellor of the exchequer; not an apprentice in the city, that will not strike out, with the same advantages, the same, or a much larger, plan of supply.

HERE is the whole of what belongs to the au|thor's scheme for saving us from impending de|struction. Take it even in its most favourable point of view, as a thing within possibility; and imagine what must be the wisdom of this gentle|man, or his opinion of ours, who could first think of representing this nation in such a state, as no friend can look upon but with horror, and scarce an enemy without compassion, and afterwards of diverting himself with such inadequate, impracti|cable, Page  86 puerile methods for our relief? If these had been the dreams of some unknown, unnamed, and nameless writer, they would excite no alarm; their weakness had been an antidote to their malignity. But as they are universally believed to be written by the hand, or, what amounts to the same thing, under the immediate direction, of a person who has been in the management of the highest affairs, and may soon be in the same situation, I think it is not to be reckoned amongst our greatest consolations, that the yet remaining power of this kingdom is to be employed in an attempt to realize notions that are at once so frivolous, and so full of danger. That consideration will justify me in dwelling a little longer on the difficulties of the na|tion, and the solutions of our author.

I AM then persuaded that he cannot be in the least alarmed about our situation, let his outcry be what he pleases. I will give him a reason for my opinion, which, I think, he cannot dispute. All that he bestows upon the nation, which it does not possess without him, and supposing it all sure mo|ney, amounts to no more than a sum of £. 300.000 a year. This, he thinks, will do the business com|pleatly, and render us flourishing at home, and re|spectable abroad. If the option between glory and shame, if our salvation or destruction, depended on this sum, it is impossible that he should have been active, and made a merit of that activity, in taking off a shilling in the pound of the land tax, which came up to his grand desideratum, and up|wards of £. 100.000 more. By this manoeuvre, he left our trade, navigation, and manufactures, on the verge of destruction, our finances in ruin, our credit expiring, Ireland on the point of being ceded to France, the colonies of being torn to pieces, the succession of the crown at the mercy of Page  87 our great rival, and the kingdom itself on the very point of becoming tributary to that haughty power. All this for want of £. 300.000; for I defy the reader to point out any other revenue, or any other precise and defined scheme of politics, which he assigns for our redemption.

I KNOW that two things may be said in his de|fence, as bad reasons are always at hand in an in|different cause; that he was not sure the money would be applied as he thinks it ought to be, by the present ministers. I think as ill of them as he does to the full. They have done very near as much mischief as they can do, to a constitution so robust as this is. Nothing can make them more dangerous, but that, as they are already in general composed of his disciples and instruments, they may add to the public calamity of their own mea|sures, the adoption of his projects. But be the mi|nisters what they may, the author knows that they could not avoid applying this £. 450.000 to the service of the establishment, as faithfully as he, or any other minister, could do. I say they could not avoid it, and have no merit at all for the ap|plication. But supposing that they should greatly mismanage this revenue. Here is a good deal of room for mistake and prodigality before you come to the edge of ruin. The difference between the amount of that real and his imaginary revenue is, £. 150.000 a year, at least; a tolerable sum for them to play with: this might compensate the dif|ference between the author's oeconomy and their profusion; and still, notwithstanding their vices and ignorance, the nation might be saved. The author ought also to recollect, that a good man would hardly deny, even to the worst of ministers, the means of doing their duty; especially in a crisis when our being depended on supplying them with Page  88 some means or other. In such a case, their penury of mind, in discovering resources, would make it rather the more necessary, not to strip such poor providers of the little stock they had in hand.

BESIDES, here is another subject of distress, and a very serious one, which puts us again to a stand. The author may possibly not come into power (I only state the possibility): he may not always con|tinue in it; and if the contrary to all this should fortunately for us happen, what insurance on his life can be made for a sum adequate to his loss? Then we are thus unluckily situated, that the chance of an American and Irish revenue of £. 300.000, to be managed by him, is to save us from ruin two or three years hence at best, to make us happy at home and glorious abroad; and the actual possession of £. 450.000 English taxes cannot so much as protract our ruin without him. So we are staked on four chances; his power, its perma|nence, the success of his projects, and the duration of his life. Any one of these failing, we are gone. Propria haec si dona fuissent! This is no unfair repre|sentation; ultimately all hangs on his life, because, in his account of every set of men that have held or supported administration, he finds neither virtue nor ability in any but himself. Indeed he pays (through their measures) some compliments to Lord Bute and Lord Despenser. But to the latter, this is, I suppose, but a civility to old acquaint|ance: to the former, a little stroke of politics. We may therefore fairly say, that our only hope is his life; and he has, to make it the more so, taken care to cut off any resource which we possessed in|dependent of him.

IN the next place it may be said, to excuse any appearance of inconsistency between the author's actions and his declarations, that he thought it Page  89 right to relieve the landed interest, and lay the bur|then, where it ought to lie, on the colonies. What! to take off a revenue so necessary to our being, before any thing whatsoever was acquired in the place of it? In prudence, he ought to have waited at least for the first quarter's receipt of the new anonymous American revenue, and Irish land tax. Is there something so specific for our disorders in American, and something so poisonous in English money, that one is to heal, the other to destroy us? To say that the landed interest could not continue to pay it for a year or two longer, is more than the author will attempt to prove. To say that they would pay it no longer, is to treat the landed inte|rest, in my opinion, very scurvily. To suppose that the gentry, clergy, and freeholders of Eng|land do not rate the commerce, the credit, the re|ligion, the liberty, the independency of their country, and the succession of their crown, at a shilling in the pound land tax! They never gave him reason to think so meanly of them. And, if I am rightly informed, when that measure was de|bated in parliament, a very different reason was as|signed by the author's great friend, as well as by others, for that reduction: one very different from the critical and almost desperate state of our finan|ces. Some people then endeavoured to prove, that the reduction might be made without detriment to the national credit, or the due support of a pro|per peace establishment; otherwise it is obvious that the reduction could not be defended in argu|ment. So that this author cannot despair so much of the commonwealth, without this American and Irish revenue, as he pretends to do. If he does, the reader sees how handsomely he has provided for us, by voting away one revenue, and by giving us a pamphlet on the other.

Page  90I DO not mean to blame the relief which was then given by parliament to the land. It was grounded on very weighty reasons. The admini|stration contended only for its continuance for a year, in order to have the merit of taking off the shilling in the pound immediately before the electi|ons; and thus to bribe the freeholders of England with their own money.

IT is true, the author, in his estimate of ways and means, takes credit for £. 400.000 a year, Indian revenue. But he will not very positively insist, that we should put this revenue to the account of his plans or his power; and for a very plain reason: we are already near two years in possession of it. By what means we came to that possession, is a pretty long story; however, I shall give nothing more than a short abstract of the proceeding, in order to see whether the author will take to himself any part in that measure.

THE fact is this; the East India company had for a good while solicited the ministry for a negotia|tion, by which they proposed to pay largely for some advantages in their trade, and for the renewal of their charter. This had been the former me|thod of transacting with that body. Government having only leased the monopoly for short terms, the company has been obliged to resort to it fre|quently for renewals. These two parties had al|ways negotiated (on the true principle of credit) not as government and subject, but as equal dealers, on the footing of mutual advantage. The public had derived great benefit from such dealing. But at that time new ideas prevailed. The ministry, instead of listening to the proposals of that compa|ny, chose to set up a claim of the crown to their possessions. The original plan seems to have been, to get the house of commons to compliment the Page  91 crown with a sort of juridical declaration of a title to the company's acquisitions in India; which the crown, on its part, with the best air in the world, was to bestow upon the public. Then it would come to the turn of the house of commons again to be liberal and grateful to the crown. The civil list debts were to be paid off; with perhaps a pretty augmentation of income. All this was to be done on the most public-spirited principles, and with a politeness and mutual interchange of good offices, that could not but have charmed. But, what was best of all, these civilities were to be without a far|thing of charge to either of the kind and obliging parties.—The East India company was to be co|vered with infamy and disgrace, and at the same time was to pay the whole bill.

IN consequence of this scheme, the terrors of a parliamentary inquiry were hung over them. A judicature was asserted in parliament to try this question. But, lest this judicial character should chance to inspire certain stubborn ideas of law and right, it was argued, that the judicature was arbi|trary, and ought not to determine by the rules of law, but by their opinion of policy and expedi|ency. Nothing exceeded the violence of some of the managers, except their impotence. They were bewildered by their passions, and by their want of knowledge or want of consideration of the subject. The more they advanced, the further they found themselves from their object.—All things ran into confusion. The ministers quarrelled among them|selves. They disclaimed one another. They sus|pended violence, and shrunk from treaty. The in|quiry was almost at its last gasp; when some active persons of the company were given to understand, that this hostile proceeding was only set up in terrorem; that government was far from an inten|tion of seizing upon the possessions of the company. Page  92 Administration, they said, was sensible, that the idea was in every light full of absurdity; and that such a seizure was not more out of their power, than remote from their wishes; and therefore, if the company would come in a liberal manner to the house, they certainly could not fail of putting a speedy end to this disagreeable business, and of opening the way to an advantageous treaty.

ON this hint the company acted: they came at once to a resolution of getting rid of the difficul|ties which arose from the complication of their trade with their revenue; a step which despoiled them of their best defensive armour, and put them at once into the power of administration. They threw their whole stock of every kind, the reve|nue, the trade, and even their debt from govern|ment, into one fund, which they computed on the surest grounds would amount to £. 800.000, with a large probable surplus for the payment of debt. Then they agreed to divide this sum in equal portions between themselves and the public, £. 400.000 to each. This gave to the proprietors of that fund an annual augmentation of no more than £. 80.000 dividend. They ought to receive from government £. 120.000 for the loan of their capital. So that, in fact, the whole, which on this plan they reserved to themselves, from their vast re|venues, from their extensive trade, and in conside|ration of the great risks and mighty expences which purchased these advantages, amounted to no more than £. 280.000, whilst government was to re|ceive, as I said, £. 400.000.

THIS proposal was thought by themselves liberal indeed; and they expected the highest applauses for it. However, their reception was very different from their expectations. When they brought up their plan to the house of commons, the offer, as it Page  93 was natural, of £. 400.000, was very well relished. But nothing could be more disgustful than the £. 80.000 which the company had divided amongst themselves. A violent tempest of public indigna|tion and fury rose against them. The heads of people turned. The company was held well able to pay £. 400.000 a year to government; but bank|rupts, if they attempted to divide the fifth part of it among themselves. An ex post facto law was brought in with great precipitation, for annulling this divi|dend. In the bill was inserted a clause, which sus|pended for about a year the right, which, under the public faith, the company enjoyed, of making their own dividends. Such was the disposition and tem|per of the house, that, although the plain face of facts, reason, arithmetic, all the authority, parts, and elo|quence in the kingdom, were against this bill; though all the chancellors of the exchequer, who had held that office from the beginning of this reign, opposed it; yet a few placemen of the subordinate departments sprung out of their ranks, took the lead, and, by an opinion of some sort of secret support, car|ried the bill with an high hand, leaving the then se|cretary of state and the chancellor of the exchequer in a very moderate minority. In this distracted situation, the managers of the bill, notwithstanding their triumph, did not venture to propose the pay|ment of the civil list debt. The chancellor of the exchequer was not in good humour enough, after his late defeat by his own troops, to co-operate in such a design; so they made an act, to lock up the money in the exchequer until they should have time to look about them, and settle among themselves what they were to do with it.

THUS ended this unparalleled transaction. The author, I believe, will not claim any part of the glory of it: he will leave it whole and entire to the Page  94 authors of the measure. The money was the vo+luntary free gift of the company; the rescinding bill was the act of legislature, to which they and we owe submission: the author has nothing to do with the one or with the other. However, he cannot avoid rub|bing himself against this subject, merely for the pleasure of stirring controversies, and gratifying a certain pruriency of taxation that seems to infect his blood. It is merely to indulge himself in speculati|ons of taxing, that he chooses to harangue on this subject. For he takes credit for no greater sum than the public is already in possession of. He does not hint, that the company means, or has ever shewn any disposition, if managed with common prudence, to pay less in future; and he cannot doubt that the present ministry are as well inclined to drive them, by their mock enquiries, and real rescinding bills, as he can possibly be with his taxes. Besides, it is obvious, that as great a sum might have been drawn from that company, without affecting property, or shaking the constitution, or endanger|ing the principle of public credit, or running into his golden dreams of cockets on the Ganges, or visions of stamp duties on Pervanna's, Dustics, Kistbundees, and Husbulhookums. For once, I will disappoint him in this part of the dispute; and only in a few words recommend to his consideration, how he is to get off the dangerous idea of taxing a public fund, if he levies those duties in England; and if he is to levy them in India, what provision he has made for a revenue establishment there; sup|posing that he undertakes this new scheme of finance independently of the company, and against its in|clinations.

SO much for these revenues; which are nothing but his visions, or already the national possessions without any act of his. It is easy to parade with an Page  95 high talk of parliamentary rights, of the universality of legislative powers, and of uniform taxation. Men of sense, when new projects come before them, al|ways think a discourse proving the mere right or mere power of acting in the manner proposed, to be no more than a very unpleasant way of mispend|ing time. They must see the object to be of pro|per magnitude to engage them; they must see the means of compassing it to be next to certain; the mischiefs not to counterbalance the profit; they will examine how a proposed imposition or regula|tion agrees with the opinion of those who are likely to be affected by it; they will not despise the consi|deration even of their habitudes and prejudices. They wish to know how it accords or disagrees with the true spirit of prior establishments, whether of go|vernment or of finance; because they well know, that in the complicated oeconomy of great kingdoms, and immense revenues, which in a length of time, and by a variety of accidents, have coalesced into a sort of body, an attempt towards a compulsory equality in all circumstances, and an exact practical definiti|on of the supreme rights in every case, is the most dangerous and chimerical of all enterprizes. The old building stands well enough, though part Go|thic, part Grecian, and part Chinese, until an at|tempt is made to square it into uniformity. Then it may come down upon our heads all together, in much uniformity of ruin; and great will be the fall thereof. Some people, instead of inclining to de|bate the matter, only feel a sort of nausea, when they are told, that

"protection calls for supply," and that, "all the parts ought to contribute to the sup|port of the whole."
Strange argument for great and grave deliberation! As if the same end may not, and must not, be compassed, according to its circumstances, by a great diversity of ways. Thus in Great Britain some of our establishments are apt Page  96 for the support of credit. They stand therefore upon a principle of their own, distinct from, and in some respects contrary to, the relation between prince and subject. It is a new species of contract superinduced upon the old contract of the state. The idea of power must as much as possible be banished from it; for power and credit are things adverse, incompatible; Non bene conveniunt, nec in una sede morantur. Such establishments are our great monied companies. To tax them would be critical and dangerous, and contradictory to the very purpose of their institution; which is credit, and cannot therefore be taxation. But the nation, when it gave up that power, did not give up the advantage; but supposed, and with reason, that government was overpaid in credit for what it seemed to lose in authority. In such a case, to talk of the rights of sovereignty, is quite idle. Other establishments supply other modes of public contribution. Our trading companies, as well as individual importers, are a fit subject of revenue by customs. Some esta|blishments pay us by a monopoly of their consump|tion and their produce. This, nominally no tax, in reality comprehends all taxes. Such establish|ments are our colonies. To tax them, would be as erroneous in policy, as rigorous in equity. Ire|land supplies us by furnishing troops in war; and by bearing part of our foreign establishment in peace. She aids us at all times by the money that her absentees spend amongst us; which is no small part of the rental of that kingdom. Thus Ireland contributes her part. Some objects bear port du|ties. Some are fitter for an inland excise. The mode varies, the object is the same. To strain these from their old and inveterate leanings, might im|pair the old benefit, and not answer the end of the new project. Among all the great men of anti|quity, Procrustes shall never be my hero of legisla|tion; Page  97 with his iron bed, the allegory of his govern|ment, and the type of some modern policy, by which the long limb was to be cut short, and the short tortured into length. Such was the state-bed of uniformity! He would, I conceive, be a very indifferent farmer, who complained that his sheep did not plough, or his horses yield him wool; tho' it would be an idea full of equality. They may think this right in rustic oeconomy, who think it available in the politic;
Qui Bavium non odit, amet tua carmina, Maevi!
Atque idem jungat vulpes, et mulgeat hircos.

As the author has stated this Indian taxation for no visible purpose relative to his plan of supply, so he has stated many other projects with as little, if any distinct end; unless perhaps to shew you how full he is of projects for the public good; and what vast expectations may be formed of him or his friends, if they should be translated into admini|stration. It is always from some opinion that these speculations may one day become our public mea|sures, that I think it worth while to trouble the reader at all about them.

Two of them stand out in high relievo beyond the rest. The first is a change in the internal re|presentation of this country, by enlarging our num|ber of constituents. The second is an addition to our representatives, by new American members of parliament. I pass over here all considerations how far such a system will be an improvement of our constitution according to any sound theory. Not that I mean to condemn such speculative en|quiries concerning this great object of the national attention. They may tend to clear doubtful points, and possibly may lead, as they have often done, to real improvements. What I object to, is their Page  98 introduction into a discourse relating to the imme|diate state of our affairs, and recommending plans of practical government. In this view, I see no|thing in them but what is usual with the author; an attempt to raise discontent in the people of Eng|land, to balance those discontents the measures of his friends had already raised in America. What other reason can he have for suggesting, that we are not happy enough to enjoy a sufficient number of voters in England? I believe that most sober thinkers on this subject are rather of opinion, that our fault is on the other side; and that it would be more in the spirit of our constitution, and more agreeable to the pattern of our best laws, by les|sening the number, to add to the weight and in|dependency of our voters. And truly, consider|ing the immense and dangerous charge of elections; the prostitute and daring venality, the corruption of manners, the idleness and profligacy of the lower sort of voters, no prudent man would propose to increase such an evil, if it be, as I fear it is, out of our power to administer to it any remedy. The author proposes nothing further. If he has any improvements that may balance or may lessen this inconvenience, he has thought proper to keep them as usual in his own breast. Since he has been so reserved, I should have wished he had been as cau|tious with regard to the project itself. First, be|cause he observes justly, that his scheme, however it might improve the platform, can add nothing to the authority of the legislature; much I fear, it will have a contrary operation: for, authority de|pending on opinion at least as much as on duty, an idea circulated among the people that our constitu|tion is not so perfect as it ought to be, before you are sure of mending it, is a certain method of les|sening it in the public opinion. Of this irreverent opinion of parliament, the author himself complains Page  99 in one part of his book; and he endeavours to in|crease it in the other.

HAS he well considered what an immense ope|ration any change in our constitution is? how many discussions, parties, and passions, it will necessarily excite; and, when you open it to enquiry in one part, where the enquiry will stop? Experience shews us, that no time can be fit for such changes but a time of general confusion; when good men, finding every thing already broke up, think it right to take advantage of the opportunity of such derangement in favour of an useful alteration. Per|haps a time of the greatest security and tranquillity both at home and abroad may likewise be fit; but will the author affirm this to be just such a time? Transferring an idea of military to civil prudence, he ought to know how dangerous it is to make an alteration of your disposition in the face of an enemy.

NOW comes his American representation. Here too, as usual, he takes no notice of any difficulty, nor says any thing to obviate those objections that must naturally arise in the minds of his readers. He throws you his politics as he does his revenue; do you make something of them if you can. Is not the reader a little astonished at the proposal of an Ame|rican representation from that quarter? It is pro|posedx merely as a project of speculative im|provement; not from the necessity in the case, not to add any thing to the authority of parliament: but that we may afford a greater attention to the con|cerns of the Americans, and give them a better opportunity of stating their grievances, and of ob|taining redress. I am glad to find the author has at length discovered that we have not given a suffi|cient attention to their concerns, or a proper redress to their grievances. His great friend would once Page  100 have been exceedingly displeased with any person, who should tell him, that he did not attend suffici|ently to those concerns. He thought he did so, when he regulated the colonies over and over again: he thought he did so, when he formed two general systems of revenue; one of port-duties, and the other of internal taxation. These systems supposed, or ought to suppose, the greatest attention to, and the most detailed information of, all their affairs. However, by contending for the American repre|sentation, he seems at last driven virtually to ad|mit, that great caution ought to be used in the ex|ercise of all our legislative rights over an object so remote from our eye, and so little connected with our immediate feelings; that in prudence we ought not to be quite so ready with our taxes, until we can secure the desired representation in parliament. Perhaps it may be some time before this hopeful scheme can be brought to perfect maturity; al|though the author seems to be no wise aware of any obstructions that lie in the way of it. He talks of his union, just as he does of his taxes and his sav|ings, with as much sang froid and ease, as if his wish and the enjoyment were exactly the same thing. He appears not to have troubled his head with the infinite difficulty of settling that representation on a fair balance of wealth and numbers throughout the several provinces of America and the West Indies, under such an infinite variety of circumstances. It costs him nothing to fight with nature, and to conquer the order of Providence, which manifestly opposes itself to the possibility of such a parliamen|tary union.

BUT let us, to indulge his passion for projects and power, suppose the happy time arrived, when the author comes into the ministry, and is to realise his speculations. The writs are issued for electing Page  101 members for America and the West-Indies. Some provinces receive them in six weeks, some in ten, some in twenty. A vessel may be lost, and then some provinces may not receive them at all. But let it be, that they all receive them at once, and in the shortest time. A proper space must be given for proclamation and for the election; some weeks at least. But the members are chosen; and, if ships are ready to sail, in about six more they ar|rive in London. In the mean time the parliament has sat and business far advanced without American representatives → . Nay by this time, it may happen, that the parliament is dissolved; and then the members ship themselves again, to be again elect|ed. The writs may arrive in America, before the poor members of a parliament in which they never sat, can arrive at their several provinces. A new interest is formed, and they find other members are chosen whilst they are on the high seas. But, if the writs and members arrive together, here is at best a new trial of skill amongst the candidates, after one set of them have well aired themselves with their two voyages of 6000 miles.

HOWEVER, in order to facilitate every thing to the author, we will suppose them all once more elected, and steering again to Old England, with a good heart, and a fair westerly wind in their stern. On their arrival, they find all in a hurry and bustle; in and out; condolance and congratulation; the crown is demised. Another parliament is to be called. Away back to America again on a fourth voyage, and to a third election. Does the author mean to make our kings as immortal in their per|sonal as in their politic character? or, whilst he bountifully adds to their life, will he take from them their prerogative of dissolving parliaments, in favour of the American union? or are the Ameri|can Page  102 representatives to be perpetual, and to feel neither demises of the crown, nor dissolutions of parliament?

BUT these things may be granted to him, with|out bringing him much nearer to his point. What does he think of re-election? is the American mem|ber the only one who is not to take a place, or the only one to be exempted from the ceremony of re-election? How will this great politician preserve the rights of electors, the fairness of returns, and the privilege of the house of commons, as the sole judge of such contests? It would undoubtedly be a glorious sight to have eight or ten petitions, or double returns, from Boston and Barbadoes, from Philadelphia and Jamaica, the members returned, and the petitioners, with all their train of attornies, solicitors, mayors, select-men, provost-marshals, and about five hundred or a thousand witnesses, come to the bar of the house of commons. Possibly we might be interrupted in the enjoyment of this pleasing spectacle, if a war should break out, and our constitutional fleet, loaded with members of parliament, returning officers, petitioners, and wit|nesses, the electors and elected, should become a prize to the French or Spaniards, and be conveyed to Carthagena or to La Vera Cruz, and from thence perhaps to Mexico or Lima, there to remain until a cartel for members of parliament can be settled, or until the war is ended.

IN truth, the author has little studied this busi|ness; or he might have known, that some of the most considerable provinces of America, such for instance as Connecticut and Massachussett's Bay, have not in each of them two men who can afford, at a distance from their estates, to spend a thousand pounds a year. How can these provinces be re|presented at Westminster? If their province pays Page  103 them, they are American agents, with salaries, and not independent members of parliament. It is true, that formerly in England members had sala|ries from their constituents; but they all had sala|ries, and were all, in this way, upon a par. If these American representatives have no salaries, then they must add to the list of our pensioners and dependants at court, or they must starve. There is no alternative.

ENOUGH of this visionary union; in which much extravagance appears without any fancy, and the judgment is shocked without any thing to refresh the imagination. It looks as if the author had dropped down from the moon, without any know|ledge of the general nature of this globe, of the general nature of its inhabitants, without the least acquaintance with the affairs of this country. Go|vernal Pownal has handled the same subject. To do him justice, he treats it upon far more rational principles of speculation; and much more like a man of business. He thinks (erroneously, I con|ceive; but he does think) that our legislative rights are incomplete without such a representation. It is no wonder, therefore, that he endeavours by every means to obtain it. Not like our author, who is always on velvet, he is aware of some diffi|culties; and he proposes some solutions. But na|ture is too hard for both these authors; and Ame|rica is, and ever will be, without actual represen|tation in the house of commons; nor will any mi|nister be wild enough even to propose such a re|presentation in parliament; however he may choose to throw out that project, together with others equally far from his real opinions and remote from his designs, merely to fall in with the different views, and captivate the affections, of different sorts of men.

Page  104WHETHER these projects arise from the author's real political principles, or are only brought out in subservience to his political views, they compose the whole of any thing that is like precise and defi|nite, which the author has given us to expect from that administration which is so much the subject of his praises and prayers. As to his general proposi|tions, that

"there is a deal of difference between impossibilities and great difficulties;" that "a great scheme cannot be carried, unless made the business of successive administrations;" that "virtuous and able men are the fittest to serve their country;"
all this I look on as no more than so much rubble to fill up the spaces between the re|gular masonry. Pretty much in the same light I cannot forbear considering his detached observations on commerce; such as, thaty
"the system for colony regulations would be very simple, and mutually beneficial to Great Britain and her co|lonies, if the old navigation laws were adhered to." That "the transportation should be in all cases in ships belonging to British subjects." That "even British ships should not be generally received into the colonies from any part of Eu|rope, except the dominions of Great Britain."—That "it is unreasonable that corn and such like products should be restrained to come first to a British port."
What do all these fine observa|tions signify? some of them condemn as ill prac|tices, things that were never practised at all. Some recommend to be done, things that always have been done. Others indeed convey, though ob|liquely and loosely, some insinuations highly dan|gerous to our commerce. If I could prevail on myself to think the author meant to ground any practice upon these general propositions, I should think it very necessary to ask a few questions about Page  105 some of them. For instance, what does he mean by talking of an adherence to the old navigation laws? does he mean, that the particular law, 12 Car. II. c. 19, commonly called
"The act of navigation,"
is to be adhered to, and that the several subsequent additions, amendments, and ex|ceptions, ought to be all repealed? If so, he will make a strange havock in the whole system of our trade laws, which have been universally acknow|ledged to be full as well founded in the alterations and exceptions, as the act of Charles the second in the original provisions; and to pursue full as wisely the great end of that very politic law, the encrease of the British navigation. I fancy the writer could hardly propose any thing more alarming to those immediately interested in that navigation than such a repeal. If he does not mean this, he has got no farther than a nugatory proposition, which nobody can contradict, and for which no man is the wiser.


"the regulations for the colony trade would be few and simple if the old navigation-laws were adhered to,"
I utterly deny as a fact. That they ought to be so, sounds well enough; but this proposition is of the same nugatory nature with some of the former. The regulations for the colony trade ought not to be more nor fewer, nor more or less complex, than the occasion requires. And, as that trade is in a great measure a system of art and restriction, they can neither be few nor simple. It is true, that the very principle may be destroyed, by multiplying to excess the means of securing it. Never did a minister depart more from the author's ideas of simplicity, or more em|barrass the trade of America with the multiplicity and intricacy of regulations and ordinances, than his boasted minister of 1764. That minister seem|ed Page  106 to be possessed with something, hardly short of a rage, for regulation and restriction. He had so multiplied bonds, certificates, affidavits, warrants, sufferances, and cockets; had supported them with such severe penalties, and extended them without the least consideration of circumstances to so many objects, that, had they all continued in their origi|nal force, commerce must speedily have expired under them. Some of them, the ministry which gave them birth was obliged to destroy: with their own hand they signed the condemnation of their own regulations; confessing in so many words, in the preamble of their act of the 5th Geo. III. that some of these regulations had laid an unnecessary re|straint on the trade and correspondence of his Majesty's American subjects. This, in that ministry, was a candid confession of a mistake; but every altera|tion made in those regulations by their successors is to be the effect of envy, and American misre|presentation. So much for the author's simplicity in regulation.

I HAVE now gone through all which I think im|mediately essential in the author's ideas of war, of peace, of the comparative states of England and France, of our actual situation; in his projects of oeconomy, of finance, of commerce, and of con|stitutional improvement. There remains nothing now to be considered, except his heavy censures upon the administration which was formed in 1765; which is commonly known by the name of the marquis of Rockingham's administration, as the administration which preceded it is by that of Mr. Grenville. These censures relate chiefly to three heads: 1. To the repeal of the American stamp act. 2. To the commercial regulations then made. 3. To the course of foreign negotiations during that short period.

Page  107A PERSON who knew nothing of public affairs but from the writings of this author would be led to conclude, that, at the time of the change in June 1765, some well digested system of admi|nistration, founded in national strength, and in the affections of the people, proceeding in all points with the most reverential and tender regard to the laws, and pursuing with equal wisdom and success every thing which could tend to the in|ternal prosperity, and to the external honour and dignity of this country, had been all at once sub|verted, by an irruption of a sort of wild, licen|tious, unprincipled invaders, who wantonly, and with a barbarous rage, had defaced a thousand fair monuments of the constitutional and political skill of their predecessors. It is natural indeed that this author should have some dislike to the admi|nistration which was formed in 1765. Its views in most things were different from those of his friends; in some, altogether opposite to them. It is impossible that both of these administrations should be the objects of public esteem. Their different principles compose some of the strongest political lines which discriminate the parties even now subsisting amongst us. The ministers of 1764 are not indeed followed by very many in their op|positions; yet a large part of the people now in office entertain, or pretend to entertain, sentiments entirely conformable to theirs; whilst some of the former colleagues of the ministry which was formed in 1765, however they may have abandoned the connexion, and contradicted by their conduct the principles of their former friends, pretend, on their parts, still to adhere to the same maxims. All the lesser divisions, which are indeed rather names of personal attachment than of party distinc|tion, fall in with the one or the other of these lead|ing parties.

Page  108I INTEND to state, as shortly as I am able, the general condition of public affairs, and the dis|position of the minds of men, at the time of the re|markable change of system in 1765. The reader will have thereby a more distinct view of the com|parative merits of these several plans, and will re|ceive more satisfaction concerning the ground and reason of the measures which were then pursued, than, I believe, can be derived from the perusal of those partial representations contained in The State of the Nation, and the other writings of those who have continued, for now near three years, in the undisturbed possession of the press. This will, I hope, be some apology for my dwelling a little on this part of the subject.

ON the resignation of the earl of Bute, in 1763, our affairs had been delivered into the hands of three ministers of his recommendation; Mr. Gren|ville, the earl of Egremont, and the earl of Halifax. This arrangement, notwithstanding the retirement of lord Bute, announced to the public a con|tinuance of the same measures; nor was there more reason to expect a change from the death of the earl of Egremont. The earl of Sandwich supplied his place. The duke of Bedford, and the gentlemen who acted in that connexion, and whose general character and politics were sufficiently understood, added to the strength of the ministry, without mak|ing any alteration in their plan of conduct. Such was the constitution of the ministry which was changed in 1765.

AS to their politics, the principles of the peace of Paris governed in foreign affairs. In domestic, the same scheme prevailed, of contradicting the opi|nions, and disgracing most of the persons, who had been countenanced and employed in the late reign. The inclinations of the people were little attended Page  109 to; and a disposition to the use of forcible methods ran through the whole tenour of administration. The nation in general was uneasy and dissatisfied. Sober men say causes for it, in the constitution of the ministry and the conduct of the ministers. The ministers, who have usually a short method on such occasions, attributed their unpopularity wholly to the efforts of faction. However this might be, the licentiousness and tumults of the common people, and the contempt of government, of which our au|thor so often and so bitterly complains, as owing to the mismanagement of the subsequent administra|tions, had at no time risen to a greater or a more dangerous height. The measures taken to suppress that spirit were as violent and licentious as the spirit itself; injudicious, precipitate, and some of them illegal. Instead of allaying, they tended infinitely to inflame the distemper; and whoever will be at the least pains to examine, will find those measures not only the causes of the tumults which then pre|vailed, but the real sources of almost all the dis|orders which have arisen since that time. More intent on making a victim to party than an ex|ample of justice, they blundered in the method of pursuing their vengeance. By this means a dis|covery was made of many practices, common in|deed in the office of secretary of state, but wholly repugnant to our laws, and the genius of the Eng|lish constitution. One of the worst of these was, the wanton and indiscriminate seizure of papers, even in cases where the safety of the state was not pretended in justification of so harsh a proceeding. The temper of the ministry had excited a jealousy, which made the people more than commonly vi|gilant concerning every power which was exercised by government. The abuse, however sanctioned by custom, was evident; but the ministry, instead of resting in a prudent inactivity, or (what would Page  110 have been still more prudent) taking the lead, in quieting the minds of the people, and ascertaining the law upon those delicate points, made use of the whole influence of government to prevent a parlia|mentary resolution against these practices of office. And lest the colourable reasons, offered in argu|ment against this parliamentary procedure, should be mistaken for the real motives of their conduct, all the advantage of privilege, all the arts and finesses of pleading, and great sums of public mo|ney were lavished, to prevent any decision upon those practices in the courts of justice. In the mean time, in order to weaken, since they could not immediately destroy, the liberty of the press, the privilege of parliament was voted away in all accu|sations for a seditious libel. The freedom of debate in parliament itself was no less menaced. Officers of the army, of long and meritorious service, and of small fortunes, were chosen as victims for a sin|gle vote, by an exertion of ministerial power, which had been very rarely used, and which is extremely unjust, as depriving men not only of a place, but a profession, and is indeed of the most pernicious ex|ample both in a civil and a military light.

WHILST all things were managed at home with such a spirit of disorderly despotism; abroad there was a proportionable abatement of all spirit. Some of our most just and valuable claims were in a man|ner abandoned. This indeed seemed not very in|consistent conduct in the ministers who had made the treaty of Paris. With regard to our domestic affairs, there was no want of industry; but there was a great deficiency of temper and judgment, and manly comprehension of the public interest. The nation certainly wanted relief, and govern|ment attempted to administer it. Two ways were principally chosen for this great purpose. The Page  111 first by regulation; the second by new funds of re|venue. Agreeably to this plan, a new naval esta|blishment was formed at a good deal of expence, and to little effect, to aid in the collection of the customs. Regulation was added to regulation; and the strictest and most unreserved orders were given, for a prevention of all contraband trade here, and in every part of America. A teazing custom-house, and a multiplicity of perplexing regulations, ever have, and ever will appear, the master-piece of finance to people of narrow views; as a paper against smuggling, and the importation of French finery, never fails of furnishing a very popular co|lumn in a news-paper.

THE greatest part of these regulations were made for America; and they fell so indiscriminately on all sorts of contraband, or supposed contraband, that some of the most valuable branches of trade were driven violently from our ports; which caused an universal consternation throughout the colonies. Every part of the trade was infinitely distressed by them. Men of war now for the first time, armed with regular commissions of custom-house officers, invested the coasts, and gave to the collection of revenue the air of hostile contribution. About the same time that these regulations seemed to threaten the destruction of the only trade from whence the plantations derived any specie, an act was made, putting a stop to the future emission of paper cur|rency, which used to supply its place among them. Hand in hand with this went another act, for oblig|ing the colonies to provide quarters for soldiers. Instantly followed another law, for levying through|out all America new port duties, upon a vast va|riety of commodities of their consumption, and some of which lay heavy upon objects necessary for their trade and fishery. Immediately upon the Page  112 heels of these, and amidst the uneasiness and con|fusion produced by a crowd of new impositions and regulations, some good, some evil, some doubt|ful, all crude and ill-considered, came another act, for imposing an universal stamp duty on the colo|nies; and this was declared to be little more than an experiment, and a foundation of future revenue. To render these proceedings the more irritating to the colonies, the principal argument used in favour of their ability to pay such duties was the liberality of the grants of their assemblies during the late war. Never could any argument be more insult|ing and mortifying to a people habituated to the granting of their own money.

TAXES for the purpose of raising revenue had hitherto been sparingly attempted in America. Without ever doubting the extent of its lawful power, parliament always doubted the propriety of such impositions. And the Americans on their part never thought of contesting a right by which they were so little affected. Their assemblies in the main answered all the purposes necessary to the internal oeconomy of a free people, and provided for all the exigencies of government which arose amongst themselves. In the midst of that happy enjoyment, they never thought of critically settling the exact limits of a power, which was necessary to their union, their safety, their equality, and even their liberty. Thus the two very difficult points, superiority in the presiding state, and freedom in the subordinate, were on the whole sufficiently, that is, practically, reconciled: without agitating those vexatious questions, which in truth rather be|long to metaphysics than politics, and which can never be moved without shaking the foundations of the best governments that have ever been constitut|ed by human wisdom. By this measure was let Page  113 loose that dangerous spirit of disquisition, not in the coolness of philosophical enquiry, but enflamed with all the passions of an haughty resentful people, who thought themselves deeply injured, and that they were contending for every thing that was va|luable in the world.

IN England, our ministers went on without the least attention to these alarming dispositions; just as if they were doing the most common things in the most usual way, and among a people not only passive but pleased. They took no one step to divert the dangerous spirit which began even then to appear in the colonies, to compromise with it, to mollify it, or to subdue it. No new arrangements were made in civil government; no new powers or instructions were given to governors; no aug|mentation was made, or new disposition, of forces. Never was so critical a measure pursued with so little provision against its necessary consequences. As if all common prudence had abandoned the ministers, and as if they meant to plunge them|selves and us headlong into that gulph which stood gaping before them; by giving a year's notice of the project of their stamp-act, they allowed time for all the discontents of that country to fester and come to a head, and for all the arrangements which factious men could make towards an opposition to the law. At the same time they carefully con|cealed from the eye of parliament those remonstran|ces which they had actually received; and which in the strongest manner indicated the discontent of some of the colonies, and the consequences which might be expected; they concealed them, even in defiance of an order of council, that they should be laid before parliament. Thus, by concealing the true state of the case, they rendered the wisdom of the nation as improvident as their own temerity, Page  114 either in preventing or guarding against the mis|chief. It has indeed, from the beginning to this hour, been the uniform policy of this set of men, in order at any hazard to obtain a present credit, to propose whatever might be pleasing, as attended with no difficulty; and afterwards to throw all the disappointment of the wild expectations they had raised, upon those who have the hard task of freeing the public from the consequences of their pernicious projects.

WHILST the commerce and tranquillity of the whole empire were shaken in this manner, our af|fairs grew still more distracted by the internal dis|sensions of our ministers. Treachery and ingrati|tude was charged from one side; despotism and tyranny from the other; the vertigo of the regen|cy bill; the aukward reception of the silk bill in the house of commons, and the inconsiderate and abrupt rejection of it in the house of lords; the strange and violent tumults which arose in conse|quence, and which were rendered more serious, by being charged by the ministers upon one another; the report of a gross and brutal treatment of the —, by a ministry at the same time odious to the people; all conspired to leave the public, at the close of the session of 1765, in as critical and pe|rilous a situation, as ever the nation was, or could be, in a time when she was not immediately threat|ened by her neighbours.

IT was at this time, and in these circumstances, that a new administration was formed. Professing even industriously, in this public matter, to avoid anecdotes; I say nothing of those famous reconci|liations and quarrels, which weakened the body that should have been the natural support of this administration. I run no risk in affirming, that, surrounded as they were with difficulties of every Page  115 species, nothing but the strongest and most uncor|rupt sense of their duty to the public could have prevailed upon some of the persons who composed it to undertake the king's business at such a time. Their preceding character, their measures while in power, and the subsequent conduct of many of them, I think, leave no room to charge this asser|tion to flattery. Having undertaken the common|wealth, what remained for them to do? to piece their conduct upon the broken chain of former measures? If they had been so inclined, the ruin|ous nature of those measures which began instantly to appear would not have permitted it. Scarcely had they entered into office, when letters arrived from all parts of America, making loud complaints, backed by strong reasons, against several of the principal regulations of the late ministry, as threat|ening destruction to many valuable branches of commerce. These were attended with representa|tions from many merchants and capital manufactur|ers at home, who had all their interests involved in the support of lawful trade, and in the suppression of every sort of contraband. Whilst these things were under consideration, that conflagration blaz|ed out at once in North America, an universal dis|obedience, and open resistance to the stamp act; and, in consequence, an universal stop to the course of justice, and to trade and navigation, throughout that great important country; an interval during which the trading interest of England lay under the most dreadful anxiety which it ever felt.

THE repeal of that act was proposed. It was much too serious a measure, and attended with too many difficulties upon every side, for the then mi|nistry to have undertaken it, as some paltry writers have asserted, from envy and dislike to their pre|decessors in office. As little could it be owing to Page  116 personal cowardice, and dread of consequences to themselves. Ministers, timorous from their attach|ment to place and power, will fear more from the consequences of one court intrigue, than from a thousand difficulties to the commerce and credit of their country by disturbances at three thousand miles distance. From which of these the ministers had most to apprehend at that time, is known, I presume, universally. Nor did they take that re|solution from a want of the fullest sense of the in|conveniencies which must necessarily attend a mea|sure of concession from the sovereign to the subject. That it must increase the insolence of the mutinous spirits in America, was but too obvious. No great measure indeed, at a very difficult crisis, can be pur|sued, which is not attended with some mischief; none but conceited pretenders in public business will hold any other language: and none but weak and unexperienced men will believe them, if they should. If we were found in such a crisis, let those whose bold designs, and whose defective arrange|ments, brought us into it, answer for the conse|quences. The business of the then ministry evi|dently was, to take such steps, not as the wishes of our author, or as their own wishes dictated, but as the bad situation in which their predecessors had left them absolutely required.

THE disobedience to this act was universal throughout America; nothing, it was evident, but the sending a very strong military, backed by a very strong naval force, would reduce the seditious to obedience. To send it to one town, would not be sufficient; every province of America must be traversed, and must be subdued. I do not enter|tain the least doubt but this could be done. We might, I think, without much difficulty have de|stroyed our colonies. This destruction might be Page  117 effected, probably in a year, or in two at the ut|most. If the question was upon a foreign nation, where every successful stroke adds to your own power, and takes from that of a rival, a just war with such a certain superiority would be undoubt|edly an advisable measure. But four million of debt due to our merchants, the total cessation of a trade annually worth four million more, a large foreign traffic, much home manufacture, a very capital immediate revenue arising from colony imports, indeed the produce of every one of our revenues greatly depending on this trade, all these were very weighty accumulated considerations, at least well to be weighed, before that sword was drawn, which even by its victories must produce all the evil effects of the greatest national defeat. How public credit must have suffered, I need not say. If the conditi|on of the nation, at the close of our foreign war, was what this author represents it, such a civil war would have been a bad couch on which to repose our wearied virtue. Far from being able to have entered into new plans of oeconomy, we must have launched into a new sea, I fear a boundless sea, of expence. Such an addition of debt, with such a diminution of revenue and trade, would have left us in no want of a State of the nation to aggravate the picture of our distresses.

OUR trade felt this to its vitals: and our then mi|nisters were not ashamed to say, that they sympa|thized with the feelings of our merchants. The universal alarm of the whole trading body of Eng|land will never be laughed at by them as an ill-grounded or a pretended panic. The universal desire of that body will always have great weight with them in every consideration connected with commerce; neither ought the opinion of that body to be slighted (notwithstanding the contemptuous Page  118 and indecent language of this author and his asso|ciates) in any consideration whatsoever of revenue. Nothing amongst us is more quickly or deeply af|fected by taxes of any kind than trade; and if an American tax was a real relief to England, no part of the community would be sooner, or more mate|rially, relieved by it than our merchants. But they well know that the trade of England must be more burthened by one penny raised in America, than by three in England; and if that penny be raised with the uneasiness, the discontent, and the confu|sion of America, more than by ten.

IF the opinion and wish of the landed interest is a motive, and it is a fair and just one, for taking away a real and large revenue, the desire of the trading interest of England ought to be a just ground for taking away a tax, of little better than speculation, which was to be collected by a war, which was to be kept up with the perpetual discon|tent of those who were to be affected by it, and the value of whose produce, even after the ordinary charges of collection, was very uncertainz; after the extraordinary, the dearest purchased revenue that ever was made by any nation.

THESE were some of the motives drawn from principles of convenience for that repeal. When the object came to be more narrowly inspected, every motive concurred. These colonies were evi|dently founded in subservience to the commerce of Great Britain. From this principle, the whole system of our laws concerning them became a sys|tem Page  119 of restriction. A double monopoly was esta|blished on the part of the parent country; 1. a mo|nopoly of their whole import, which is to be altoge|ther from Great Britain; 2. a monopoly of all their export, which is to be no where but to Great Bri|tain, as far as it can serve any purpose here. On the same idea it was contrived that they should send all their products to us raw, and in their first state; and that they should take every thing from us in the last stage of manufacture.

WERE ever a people under such circumstances, that is, a people who were to export raw, and to receive manufactured, and this, not a few luxuri|ous articles, but all articles, even to those of the grossest, most vulgar, and necessary consumption, a people who were in the hands of a general mono|polist, were ever such a people suspected of a possi|bility of becoming a just object of revenue? All the ends of their foundation must be supposed utter|ly contradicted before they could become such an object. Every trade-law we have made must have been eluded, and become useless, before they could be in such a condition.

THE partizans of the new system, who, on most occasions, take credit for full as much knowledge as they possess, think proper on this occasion to counterfeit an extraordinary degree of ignorance, and in consequence of it to assert,

"that the balance (between the colonies and Great Britain) is un|known, and that no important conclusion can be drawn from premises so very uncertain."a
Now to what can this ignorance be owing? were the na|vigation laws made, that this balance should be unknown? is it from the course of exchange that it is unknown, which all the world knows to be greatly and perpetually against the colonies? is it Page  120 from the doubtful nature of the trade we carry on with the colonies? are not these schemists well ap|prized, that the colonists, particularly those of the northern provinces, import more from Great Bri|tain, ten times more, than they send in return to us? that a great part of their foreign balance is, and must be, remitted to London? I shall be ready to admit that the colonies ought to be taxed to the revenues of this country, when I know that they are out of debt to its commerce. This author will furnish some ground to his theories, and commu|nicate a discovery to the public, if he can shew this by any medium. But he tells us,b that
"their seas are covered with ships, and their rivers floating with commerce."
This is true. But it is with our ships that these seas are covered; and their rivers float with British commerce. The American merchants are our factors; all in reality, most even in name. The Americans trade, navigate, cultivate, with English capitals; to their own ad|vantage, to be sure; for without these capitals their ploughs would be stopped, and their ships wind-bound. But he who furnishes the capital must, on the whole, be the person principally be|nefited; the person who works upon it profits on his part too; but he profits in a subordinate way, as our colonies do; that is, as the servant of a wise and indulgent master, and no otherwise. We have all, except the peculium; without which, even slaves will not labour.

IF the author's principles, which are the common notions, be right, that the price of our manufac|tures is so greatly enhanced by our taxes; then the Americans already pay in that way a share of our impositions. He is not ashamed to assert, that

"France and China may be said, on the same Page  121 principle, to bear a part of our charges, for they consume our commodities."c
Was ever such a method of reasoning heard of? Do not the laws absolutely confine the colonies to buy from us, whether foreign nations sell cheaper or not? On what other idea are all our prohibitions, regula|tions, guards, penalties, and forfeitures, framed? To secure to us, not a commercial preference, which stands in need of no penalties to enforce it; it finds its own way; but to secure to us a trade, which is a creature of law and institution. What has this to do with the principles of a foreign trade, which is under no monopoly, and in which we cannot raise the price of our goods, without ha|zarding the demand for them? None but the au|thors of such measures could ever think of making use of such arguments.

WHOEVER goes about to reason on any part of the policy of this country with regard to America, upon the mere abstract principles of government, or even upon those of our own antient constitution, will be often misled. Those who resort for argu|ments to the most respectable authorities, antient or modern, or rest upon the clearest maxims, drawn from the experience of other states and empires, will be liable to the greatest errors imaginable. The object is wholly new in the world. It is sin|gular: it is grown up to this magnitude and im|portance within the memory of man; nothing in history is parallel to it. All the reasonings about it, that are likely to be at all solid, must be drawn from its actual circumstances. In this new system a principle of commerce, of artificial commerce, must predominate. This commerce must be se|cured by a multitude of restraints very alien from the spirit of liberty; and a powerful authority must Page  122 reside in the principal state, in order to enforce them. But the people who are to be subjects of these restraints are descendants of Englishmen; and of an high and free spirit. To hold over them a government made up of nothing but restraints and penalties, and taxes in the granting of which they can have no share, will neither be wise, nor long practicable. People must be governed in a manner agreeable to their temper and disposition; and men of free character and spirit must be ruled with, at least, some condescension to this spirit and this character. The British colonist must see something which will distinguish him from the colonists of other nations.

THOSE reasonings, which infer from the many restraints under which we have already laid Ame|rica, to our right to lay it under still more, and in|deed under all manner of restraints, are conclu|sive; conclusive as to right; but the very reverse as to policy and practice. We ought rather to infer from our having laid the colonies under many re|straints, that it is reasonable to compensate them by every indulgence that can by any means be re|conciled to our interest. We have a great empire to rule, composed of a vast mass of heterogeneous governments, all more or less free and popular in their forms, all to be kept in peace, and kept out of conspiracy, with one another, all to be held in subordination to this country; while the spirit of an extensive and intricate trading interest pervades the whole, always qualifying, and often controlling, every general idea of constitution and government. It is a great and difficult object; and I wish we may possess wisdom and temper enough to manage it as we ought. Its importance is infinite. I be|lieve the reader will be struck, as I have been, with one singular fact. In the year 1704, but sixty-five Page  123 years ago, the whole trade with our plantati|ons was but a few thousand pounds more in the export article, and a third less in the import, than that which we now carry on with the single island of Jamaica:

  Exports. Imports.
  £. £.
Total English plantations in 1704, 483.265 814.491
Jamaica, 1767, 467.681 1.243.742

FROM the same information I find that our deal|ing with most of the European nations is but little encreased; these nations have been pretty much at a stand since that time; and we have rivals in their trade. This colony intercourse is a new world of commerce in a manner created; it stands upon principles of its own; principles hardly worth endangering for any little consideration of extorted revenue.

THE reader sees, that I do not enter so fully into this matter as obviously I might. I have already been led into greater lengths than I in|tended. It is enough to say, that, before the mi|nisters of 1765 had determined to propose the repeal of the stamp act in parliament, they had the whole of the American constitution and commerce very fully before them. They considered maturely; they decided with wisdom; let me add, with firm|ness. For they resolved, as a preliminary to that repeal, to assert in the fullest and least equivocal terms the unlimited legislative right of this country over its colonies; and, having done this, to pro|pose the repeal, on principles, not of constitutional right, but on those of expediency, of equity, of lenity, and of the true interests present and future Page  124 of that great object for which alone the colonies were founded, navigation and commerce. This plan, I say, required an uncommon degree of firmness, when we consider that some of those per|sons who might be of the greatest use in promoting the repeal, violently withstood the declaratory act; and they who agreed with administration in the principles of that law, equally made, as well the reasons on which the declaratory act itself stood, as those on which it was opposed, grounds for an op|position to the repeal.

IF the then ministry resolved first to declare the right, it was not from any opinion they enter|tained of its future use in regular taxation. Their opinions were full and declared against the ordinary use of such a power. But it was plain, that the general reasonings which were employed against that power went directly to our whole legislative right; and one part of it could not be yielded to such arguments, without a virtual surrender of all the rest. Besides, if that very specific power of levying money in the colonies were not retained as a sacred trust in the hands of Great Britain (to be used, not in the first instance for supply, but in the last exigence for controul), it is obvious, that the presiding authority of Great Britain, as the head, the arbiter, and director of the whole em|pire, would vanish into an empty name, without operation or energy. With the habitual exercise of such a power in the ordinary course of supply, no trace of freedom could remain to America.d If Page  125 Great Britain were stripped of this right, every principle of unity and subordination in the empire was gone for ever. Whether all this can be re|conciled in legal speculation, is a matter of no consequence. It is reconciled in policy; and poli|tics ought to be adjusted, not to human reasonings, but to human nature; of which the reason is but a part, and by no means the greatest part.

FOUNDING the repeal on this basis, it was judg|ed proper to lay before parliament the whole detail of the American affairs, as fully as it had been laid before the ministry themselves. Ignorance of those affairs had misled parliament. Knowledge alone could bring it into the right road. Every paper of office was laid upon the table of the two houses; every denomination of men, either of America, or connected with it by office, by residence, by com|merce, by interest, even by injury; men of civil and military capacity, officers of the revenue, merchants, manufacturers of every species, and from every town in England, attended at the bar. Such evidence never was laid before parliament. If an emulation arose among the ministers and members of parliament, as the author rightly ob|serves,e for the repeal of this act, as well as for the other regulations, it was not on the confident assertions, the airy speculations, or the vain pro|mises, of ministers, that it arose. It was the sense of parliament on the evidence before them. No one so much as suspects that ministerial allurements or terrors had any share in it.

Page  126OUR author is very much displeased, that so much credit was given to the testimony of mer|chants. He has an habit of railing at them; and he may, if he pleases, indulge himself in it. It will not do great mischief to that respectable set of men. The substance of their testimony was, that their debts in America were very great: That the Americans declined to pay them, or to renew their orders, whilst this act continued: That, under these circumstances, they despaired of the recovery of their debts, or the renewal of their trade in that country: That they apprehended a general failure of mercantile credit. The manufacturers deposed to the same general purpose, with this addition, that many of them had discharged several of their artificers; and, if the law and the resistance to it should continue, must dismiss them all.

THIS testimony is treated with great contempt by our author. It must be, I suppose, because it was contradicted by the plain nature of things. Suppose then that the merchants had, to gratify this author, given a contrary evidence; and had deposed, that while America remained in a state of resistance, whilst four million of debt remained un|paid, whilst the course of justice was suspended for want of stamp paper, so that no debt could be re|covered, whilst there was a total stop to trade, be|cause every ship was subject to seizure for want of stamped clearances, and while the colonies were to be declared in rebellion, and subdued by armed force, that in these circumstances they would still continue to trade chearfully and fearlessly as before; would not such witnesses provoke universal indig|nation for their folly or their wickedness, and be de|servedly hooted from the barf; would any human Page  127 faith have given credit to such assertions? The testi|mony of the merchants was necessary for the detail, Page  128 and to bring the matter home to the feeling of the house; as to the general reasons, they spoke abun|dantly for themselves.

UPON these principles was the act repealed, and it produced all the good effect which was expected from it: quiet was restored; trade generally re|turned to its antient channels; time and means were furnished for the better strengthening of government there, as well as for recovering, by judicious measures, the affections of the people, had that ministry continued, or had a ministry suc|ceeded with dispositions to improve that opportu|nity.

SUCH an administration did not succeed. Instead of profiting of that season of tranquillity, in the very next year they chose to return to measures of the Page  129 very same nature with those which had been so so|lemnly condemned; though upon a smaller scale. The effects have been correspondent. America is again in disorder; not indeed in the same degree as formerly, nor any thing like it. Such good effects have attended the repeal of the stamp act, that the colonies have actually paid the taxes; and they have sought their redress (upon however improper principles) not in their own violence, as formerlyg; but in the experienced benignity of parliament. They are not easy indeed, nor ever will be so, un|der this author's scheme of taxation; but we see no longer the same general fury and confusion, which attended their resistance to the stamp act. The au|thor may rail at the repeal, and those who proposed it, as he pleases. Those honest men suffer all his obloquy with pleasure, in the midst of the quiet which they have been the means of giving to their country; and would think his praises for their per|severance in a pernicious scheme, a very bad com|pensation for the disturbance of our peace, and the ruin of our commerce. Whether the return to the system of 1764, for raising a revenue in America, the discontents which have ensued in consequence of it, the general suspension of the assemblies in con|sequence of these discontents, the use of the military power, and the new and dangerous commissions which now hang over them, will produce equally good effects, is greatly to be doubted. Never, I fear, will this nation and the colonies fall back upon their true centre of gravity, and natural point of repose, until the ideas of 1766 are resumed, and steadily pursued.

AS to the regulations, a great subject of the author's accusation, they are of two sorts; one of a mixed nature, of revenue and trade; the other Page  130 simply relative to trade. With regard to the for|mer I shall observe, that, in all deliberations con|cerning America, the ideas of that administration were principally these; to take trade as the primary end, and revenue but as a very subordinate con|sideration. Where trade was likely to suffer, they did not hesitate for an instant to prefer it to taxes, whose produce at best was contemptible, in compa|rison of the object which they might endanger. The other of their principles was, to suit the revenue to the object. Where the difficulty of collection, from the nature of the country, and of the revenue esta|blishment, is so very notorious, it was their policy to hold out as few temptations to smuggling as pos|sible, by keeping the duties as nearly as they could on a balance with the risk. On these principles they made many alterations in the port duties of 1764, both in the mode and in the quantity. The author has not attempted to prove them erroneous. He complains enough to shew that he is in an ill humour, not that his adversaries have done amiss.

AS to the regulations which were merely rela|tive to commerce, many were then made; and they were all made upon this principle; that many of the colonies, and those some of the most abounding in people, were so situated as to have very few means of traffic with this country. It became therefore our interest to let them into as much fo|reign trade as could be given them without inter|fering with our own; and to secure by every me|thod the returns to the mother country. Without some such scheme of enlargement, it was obvious that any benefit we could expect from these colo|nies must be extremely limited. Accordingly many facilities were given to their trade with the foreign plantations, and with the Southern parts of Europe. Page  131 As to the confining the returns to this country, ad|ministration saw the mischief and folly of a plan of indiscriminate restraint. They applied their remedy to that part where the disease existed, and to that only; on this idea they established regulations, far more likely to check the dangerous clandestine trade with Hamburgh and Holland, than this au|thor's friends, or any of their predecessors, had ever done.

THE friends of the author have a method surely a little whimsical in all this sort of discussions. They have made an innumerable multitude of com|mercial regulations, at which the trade of England exclaimed with one voice, and many of which have been altered on the unanimous opinion of that trade. Still they go on, just as before, in a sort of droning panegyric on themselves, talking of these regulations as prodigies of wisdom; and, in|stead of appealing to those who are most affected and the best judges, they turn round in a perpetual circle of their own reasonings and pretences; they hand you over from one of their pamphlets to ano|ther:

"See," say they, "this demonstrated in The Regulations of the colonies."
"See this satis|factorily proved in The Considerations."
By and by we shall have another;
"See for this The State of the Nation."
I wish to take another method in vindicating the opposite system. I refer to the petitions of merchants for these regulations; to their thanks when they were obtained; and to the strong and grateful sense they have ever since expressed of the benefits received under that administration.

ALL administrations have in their commercial re|gulations been generally aided by the opinion of some merchants; too frequently by that of a few, and those a sort of favourites: they have been di|rected by the opinion of one or two merchants, who Page  132 were to merit in flatteries, and to be paid in con|tracts; who frequently advised, not for the general good of trade, but for their private advantage. During the administration of which this author com|plains, the meetings of merchants upon the business of trade were numerous and public; sometimes at the house of the marquis of Rockingham; some|times at Mr. Dowdeswell's; sometimes at sir George Savile's, an house always open to every deliberation favourable to the liberty or the commerce of his country. Nor were these meetings confined to the merchants of London. Merchants and manufac|turers were invited from all the considerable towns of England. They conferred with the ministers and active members of parliament. No private views, no local interests prevailed. Never were points in trade settled upon a larger scale of information. They who attended these meetings well know, what ministers they were who heard the most pa|tiently, who comprehended the most clearly, and who provided the most wisely. Let then this author and his friends still continue in possession of the practice of exalting their own abilities, in their pamphlets and in the news-papers. They never will perswade the public, that the merchants of England were in a general confederacy to sacrifice their own interests to those of North America, and to destroy the vent of their own goods in favour of the manufactures of France and Holland.

HAD the friends of this author taken these means of information, his extreme terrors of contraband in the West India islands would have been greatly quieted, and his objections to the opening of the ports would have ceased. He would have learned, from the most satisfactory analysis of the West India trade, that we have the advantage in every essential Page  133 article of it; and that almost every restriction on our communication with our neighbours there, is a restriction unfavourable to ourselves.

SUCH were the principles that guided, and the authority that sanctioned, these regulations. No man ever said, that, in the multiplicity of regulations made in the administration of their predecessors, none were useful: some certainly were so; and I defy the author to shew a commercial regulation of that period, which he can prove, from any autho|rity except his own, to have a tendency beneficial to commerce, that has been repealed. So far were that ministry from being guided by a spirit of con|tradiction or of innovation.

THE author's attack on that administration, for their neglect of our claims on foreign powers, is by much the most astonishing instance he has given, or that, I believe, any man ever did give, of an in|trepid effrontery. It relates to the Manilla ransom; to the Canada bills; and to the Russian treaty. Could one imagine, that these very things, which he thus chooses to object to others, have been the principal subjects of charge against his favourite ministry? Instead of clearing them of these charges, he appears not so much as to have heard of them; but throws them directly upon the administration which succeeded to that of his friends.

IT is not always very pleasant to be obliged to produce the detail of this kind of transactions to the public view. I will content myself therefore with giving a short state of facts, which, when the author chooses to contradict, he shall see proved, more, perhaps, to his conviction, than to his liking. The first fact then is, that the demand for the Manilla ransom had been, in the author's favourite admini|stration, so neglected, as to appear to have been Page  134 little less than tacitly abandoned. At home, no countenance was given to the claimants; and when it was mentioned in parliament, the then leader did not seem, at least, a very sanguine advocate in fa|vour of the claim. These things made it a matter of no small difficulty to resume and press that negoti|ation with Spain. However, so clear was our right, that the then ministers resolved to revive it; and so little time was lost, that, though that administration was not compleated until the ninth of July 1765, on the 20th of the following August, general Con|way transmitted a strong and full remonstrance on that subject to the earl of Rochfort. The argument, on which the court of Madrid most relied, was the dereliction of that claim by the preceding ministers. However, it was still pushed with so much vigour, that the Spaniards, from a positive denial to pay, of|fered to refer the demand to arbitration. That proposition was rejected; and the demand being still pressed, there was all the reason in the world to expect its being brought to a favourable issue; when it was thought proper to change the admini|stration. Whether under their circumstances, and in the time they continued in power, more could be done, the reader will judge; who will hear with astonishment a charge of remissness from those very men, whose inactivity, to call it by no worse a name, laid the chief difficulties in the way of the re|vived negotiation.

As to the Canada bills, this author thinks proper to assert,h

"that the proprietors found themselves under a necessity of compounding their demands upon the French court, and accepting terms which they had often rejected, and which the earl of Halifax had declared he would sooner forfeit his hand than sign."
When I know that Page  135 the earl of Halifax says so, the earl of Halifax shall have an answer; but I perswade myself that his lordship has given no authority for this ridiculous rant. In the mean time, I shall only speak of it as a common concern of that ministry.

IN the first place then I observe, that a conventi|on, for the liquidation of the Canada bills, was con|cluded under the administration of 1766; when nothing was concluded under that of the favourites of this author.

2. THIS transaction was, in every step of it, car|ried on in concert with the persons interested, and was terminated to their entire satisfaction. They would have acquiesced perhaps in terms somewhat lower than those which were obtained. The author is indeed too kind to them. He will, however, let them speak for themselves, and shew what their own opinion was of the measures pursued in their favouri. In what manner the execution of the convention has been since provided for, it is not my present business to examine.

3. THE proprietors had absolutely despaired of being paid, at any time, any proportion of their demand, until the change of that ministry. The merchants were checked and discountenanced; they Page  136 had often been told, by some in authority, of the cheap rate at which these Canada bills had been procured; yet the author can talk of the composi|tion of them as a necessity induced by the change in administration. They found themselves indeed, before that change, under a necessity of hinting somewhat of bringing the matter into parliament; but they were soon silenced, and put in mind of the fate which the Newfoundland business had there met with. Nothing struck them more than the strong contrast between the spirit, and method of proceeding, of the two administrations.

4. THE earl of Halifax never did, nor could, refuse to sign this convention; because this conven|tion, as it stands, never was before himk.

THE author's last charge on that ministry, with regard to foreign affairs, is the Russian treaty of commerce, which the author thinks fit to assert, was concludedl

"on terms the earl of Bucking|hamshire had refused to accept of, and which had been deemed by former ministers disadvan|tageous to the nation, and by the merchants unsafe and unprofitable."

BOTH the assertions in this paragraph are equally groundless. The treaty then concluded by sir George Macartney was not on the terms which the earl of Buckinghamshire had refused. The earl of Buckinghamshire never did refuse terms, because the business never came to the point of refusal, or acceptance; all that he did was, to re|ceive the Russian project for a treaty of commerce, and to transmit it to England. This was in Novem|ber 1764; and he left Petersburgh the January Page  137 following, before he could even receive an answer from his own court. The conclusion of the treaty fell to his successor. Whoever will be at the trou|ble to compare it with the treaty of 1734, will, I believe, confess, that, if the former ministers could have obtained such terms, they were criminal in not accepting them.

BUT the merchants

"deemed them unsafe and unprofitable."
What merchants? As no treaty ever was more maturely considered, so the opinion of the Russian merchants in London was all along taken; and all the instructions sent over were in exact conformity to that opinion. Our minister there made no step without having previously con|sulted our merchants resident in Petersburgh, who, before the signing of the treaty, gave the most full and unanimous testimony in its favour. In their address to our minister at that court, among other things, they say,
"It may afford some additional satisfaction to your excellency, to receive a pub|lic acknowledgment of the entire and unreserved approbation of every article in this treaty, from us who are so immediately and so nearly concerned in its consequences."
This was signed by the consul general, and every British merchant in Pe|tersburgh.

THE approbation of those immediately concern|ed in the consequences is nothing to this author. He and his friends have so much tenderness for peoples interests, and understand them so much better than they do themselves, that, whilst these politicians are contending for the best of possible terms, the claimants are obliged to go without any terms at all.

ONE of the first and justest complaints against the administration of the author's friends, was the want Page  138 of vigour in their foreign negotiations. Their immediate successors endeavoured to correct that error, along with others; and there was scarcely a foreign court, in which the new spirit that had arisen was not sensibly felt, acknowledged, and sometimes complained of. On their coming into administration, they found the demolition of Dun|kirk entirely at a stand: instead of demolition, they found construction? for the French were then at work on the repair of the jettees. On the remon|strances of general Conway, some parts of these jettees were immediately destroyed. The duke of Richmond personally surveyed the place, and ob|tained a fuller knowledge of its true state and con|dition than any of our ministers had done; and, in consequence, had larger offers from the duke of Choiseul than had ever been received. But, as these were short of our just expectations under the treaty, he rejected them. Our then ministers, knowing that, in their administration, the peoples minds were set at ease upon all the essential points of public and private liberty, and that no project of theirs could endanger the concord of the empire, were under no restraint from pursuing every just demand upon foreign nations.

THE author, towards the end of this work, falls into reflections upon the state of public morals in this country: He draws use from his doctrine, by recommending his friend to the King and the pub|lic, as another duke of Sully; and he concludes the whole performance with a very devout prayer.

THE prayers of politicians may sometimes be sincere; and as this prayer is in substance, that the author, or his friends, may be soon brought into power, I have great reason to believe it is very much from the heart. It must be owned too that, after he has drawn such a picture, such a shocking Page  139 picture, of the state of this country, he has great faith in thinking the means he prays for sufficient to relieve us: after the character he has given of its inhabitants of all ranks and classes, he has great charity in caring much about them; and indeed, no less hope, in being of opinion, that such a de|testable nation can ever become the care of Pro|vidence. He has not even found five good men in our devoted city.

HE talks indeed of men of virtue and ability. But where are his men of virtue and ability to be found? Are they in the present administration? never were a set of people more blackened by this author. Are they among the party of those (no small body) who adhere to the system of 1766? these, it is the great purpose of this book to ca|lumniate. Are they the persons who acted with his great friend, since the change in 1762, to his removal in 1765? scarcely any of these are now out of employment; and we are in possession of his de|sideratum. Yet I think he hardly means to select, even some of the highest of them, as examples fit for the reformation of a corrupt world.

HE observes, that the virtue of the most exempla|ry prince that ever swayed a scepterm

"can never warm or illuminate the body of his people, if foul mirrours are placed so near him as to refract and dissipate the rays at their first emanation."
Without observing upon the propriety of this me|taphor, or asking how mirrours come to have lost their old quality of reflecting, and to have acquired that of refracting, and dissipating rays, and how far their foulness will account for this change; the re|mark itself is common and true: no less true, and equally surprizing from him, is that which imme|diately Page  140 precedes itn;
"it is in vain to endeavour to check the progress of irreligion and licentious|ness, by punishing such crimes in one individual, if others equally culpable are rewarded with the honours and emoluments of the state."
I am not in the secret of the author's manner of writing; but it appears to me, that he must intend these reflections as a satire upon the administration of his happy years. Were ever the honours and emoluments of the state more lavishly squandered upon persons scandalous in their lives than during that period? In these scandalous lives, was there any thing more scandalous than the mode of pu|nishing one culpable individual? In that individual, is any thing more culpable than his having been se|duced by the example of some of those very per|sons by whom he was thus persecuted?

THE author is so eager to attack others, that he provides but indifferently for his own defence. I believe, without going beyond the page I have now before me, he is very sensible, that I have sufficient matter of further, and, if possible, of heavier, charge against his friends, upon his own principles. But it is because the advantage is too great, that I decline making use of it. I wish the author had not thought that all methods are lawful in party. Above all, he ought to have taken care not to wound his enemies through the sides of his country. This he has done, by making that monstrous and overcharged picture of the distresses of our situation. No wonder that he, who finds this country in the same condition with that of France at the time of Henry the Fourth, could also find a resemblance between his political friend and the duke of Sully. As to those personal resem|blances, people will often judge of them from their Page  141 affections: they may image in these clouds what|soever figures they please; but what is the con|formation of that eye which can discover a resem|blance of this country and these times to those with which the author compares them? France, a country just recovered out of twenty-five years of the most cruel and desolating civil war that perhaps was ever known. The kingdom, under a veil of momentary quiet, full of the most atrocious poli|tical, operating upon the most furious fanatical factions. Some pretenders even to the crown, and those who did not pretend to the whole, aimed at the partition of the monarchy. There were almost as many competitors as provinces; and all abet|ted by the greatest, the most ambitious, and most enterprizing power in Europe. No place safe from treason; no, not the bosoms on which the most amiable prince that ever lived reposed his head; not his mistresses; not even his queen. As to the finances, they had scarce an existence, but as a matter of plunder to the managers, and of grants to insatiable and ungrateful courtiers.

HOW can our author have the heart to describe this as any sort of parallel to our situation? To be sure, an April shower has some resemblance to a water-spout; for they are both wet: and there is some likeness between a summer evening's breeze and an hurricane; they are both wind: but who can compare our disturbances, our situation, or our finances, to those of France in the time of Henry? Great Britain is indeed at this time wearied, but not broken, with the efforts of a victorious foreign war; not sufficiently relieved by an inadequate peace; but somewhat benefited by that peace, and infinitely by the consequences of that war. The powers of Europe awed by our victories, and lying in ruins upon every side of us. Burthened Page  142 indeed we are with debt, but abounding with re+sources. We have a trade, not perhaps equal to our wishes, but more than ever we possessed. In effect, no pretender to the crown; nor nutriment for such desperate and destructive factions as have formerly shaken this kingdom.

AS to our finances, the author trifles with us. When Sully came to those of France, in what order was any part of the financial system? or what system was there at all? There is no man in office who must not be sensible that ours is, without the act of any parading minister, the most regular and orderly system perhaps that was ever known: the best secured against all frauds in the collection, and all misapplication in the expenditure of public money.

I ADMIT that, in this flourishing state of things, there are appearances enough to excite uneasiness and apprehension. I admit there is a cankerworm in the rose:

—medio de fonte leporum
Surgit amari aliquid, quod in ipsis floribus angat.

THIS is nothing else than a spirit of disconnexion, of distrust, and of treachery, amongst public men. It is no accidental evil; nor has its effect been trusted to the usual frailty of nature: the distemper has been inoculated. The author is sensible of it, and we lament it together. This distemper is alone sufficient to take away considerably from the benefits of our constitution and situation, and perhaps to render their continuance precarious. If these evil dispositions should spread much farther, they must end in our destruction; for nothing can save a people destitute of public and private faith. However, the author, for the present state of things, has extended the charge by much too Page  143 widely; as men are but too apt to take the mea|sure of all mankind from their own particular ac|quaintance. Barren as this age may be in the growth of honour and virtue, the country does not want, at this moment, as strong, and those not a few examples, as were ever known, of an unshaken adherence to principle, and attachment to connexion, against every allurement of interest. Those examples are not furnished by the great alone; nor by those whose activity in public affairs may render it suspected that they make such a character one of the rounds in their ladder of am|bition; but by men more quiet, and more in the shade, on whom an unmixed sense of honour alone could operate. Such examples indeed are not furnished in great abundance amongst those who are the subjects of the author's panegyric. He must look for them in another camp. He who complains of the ill effects of a divided and hete|rogeneous administration, is not justifiable in la|bouring to render odious in the eyes of the public those men, whose principles, whose maxims of policy, and whose personal character, can alone administer a remedy to this capital evil of the age; neither is he consistent with himself, in con|stantly extolling those whom he knows to be the authors of the very mischief of which he com|plains, and which the whole nation feels so deeply.

THE persons who are the objects of his dislike and complaint are many of them of the first fami|lies, and weightiest properties, in the kingdom; but infinitely more distinguished for their untainted honour public and private, and their zealous but sober attachment to the constitution of their coun|try, than they can be by any birth, or any station. If they are the friends of any one great man ra|ther than another, it is not that they make his Page  144 aggrandisement the end of their union; or because they know him to be the most active in caballing for his connexions the largest and speediest emolu|ments. It is because they know him, by personal experience, to have wise and enlarged ideas of the public good, and an invincible constancy in ad|hering to it; because they are convinced, by the whole tenour of his actions, that he will never ne|gotiate away their honour or his own: and that, in or out of power, change of situation will make no alteration in his conduct. This will give to such a person, in such a body, an authority and respect that no minister ever enjoyed among his venal de|pendants, in the highest plenitude of his power; such as servility never can give, such as ambition never can receive or relish.

THIS body will often be reproached by their adversaries, for want of ability in their political transactions; they will be ridiculed for missing many favourable conjunctures, and not profiting of several brilliant opportunities of fortune: but they must be contented to endure that reproach; for they cannot acquire the reputation of that kind of ability without losing all the other reputation they possess.

THEY will be charged too with a dangerous spirit of exclusion and proscription, for being un|willing to mix in schemes of administration, which have no bond of union, or principle of confidence. That charge too they must suffer with patience. If the reason of the thing had not spoken loudly enough, the miserable examples of the several ad|ministrations constructed upon the idea of systematic discord would be enough to frighten them from such monstrous and ruinous conjunctions. It is however false, that the idea of an united admi|nistration carries with it that of a proscription of Page  145 any other party. It does indeed imply the neces|sity of having the great strong holds of govern|ment in well-united hands, in order to secure the predominance of right and uniform principles; of having the capital offices of deliberation and exe|cution in those who can deliberate with mutual con|fidence, and who will execute what is resolved with firmness and fidelity. If this system cannot be rigorously adhered to in practice (and what sys|tem can be so?) it ought to be the constant aim of good men to approach as nearly to it as possible. No system of that kind can be formed, which will not leave room fully sufficient for healing coaliti|ons: but no coalition, which, under the specious name of independency, carries in its bosom the unreconciled principles of the original discord of parties, ever was, or will be, an healing coalition. Nor will the mind of our sovereign ever know repose, his kingdom settlement, or his business order, efficiency, or grace with his people, until things are established upon the basis of some set of men, who are trusted by the public, and who can trust one another.

THIS comes rather nearer to the mark than the author's description of a proper administration, under the name of men of ability and virtue, which conveys no definite idea at all; nor does it apply specifically to our grand national distemper. All parties pretend to these qualities. The present mi|nistry, no favourites of the author, will be ready enough to declare themselves persons of virtue and ability; and if they choose a vote for that purpose, perhaps it would not be quite impossible for them to procure it. But, if the disease be this distrust and disconnexion, it is easy to know who are sound, and who are tainted; who are fit to restore us to health, who to continue, and to spread Page  146 the contagion. The present ministry being made up of draughts from all parties in the kingdom, if they should profess any adherence to the connexions they have left, they must convict themselves of the blackest treachery. They therefore choose rather to renounce the principle itself, and to brand it with the name of pride and faction. This test with certainty discriminates the opinions of men. The other is a description vague and unsatisfactory.

AS to the unfortunate gentlemen who may at any time compose that system, which, under the plausible title of an administration, subsists but for the establishment of weakness and confusion; they fall into different classes, with different merits. I think the situation of some people in that state may deserve a certain degree of compassion; at the same time that they furnish an example, which, it is to be hoped, by being a severe one, will have its effect, at least, on the growing generation; if an original seduction, on plausible but hollow pre|tences, into loss of honour, friendship, consistency, security, and repose, can furnish it. It is possible to draw, even from the very prosperity of ambi|tion, examples of terror, and motives to compas|sion.

I BELIEVE the instances are exceedingly rare of mens immediately passing over a clear marked line of virtue into declared vice and corruption. There are a sort of middle tints and shades between the two extremes; there is something uncertain on the confines of the two empires which they first pass through, and which renders the change easy and imperceptible. There are even a sort of splendid impositions so well contrived, that, at the very time the path of rectitude is quitted for ever, men seem to be advancing into some higher and nobler road Page  147 of public conduct. Not that such impositions are strong enough in themselves; but a powerful in|terest, often concealed from those whom it affects, works at the bottom, and secures the operation. Men are thus debauched away from those legiti|mate connexions, which they had formed on a judgment, early perhaps, but sufficiently mature, and wholly unbiassed. They do not quit them upon any ground of complaint, for grounds of just complaint may exist, but upon the flattering and most dangerous of all principles, that of mending what is well. Gradually they are habituated to other company; and a change in their habitudes soon makes a way for a change in their opinions. Certain persons are no longer so very frightful, when they come to be known and to be service|able. As to their old friends, the transition is easy; from friendship to civility; from civility to en|mity: few are the steps from dereliction to per|secution.

PEOPLE not very well grounded in the princi|ples of public morality find a set of maxims in office ready made for them, which they assume as naturally and inevitably, as any of the insignia or instruments of the situation. A certain tone of the solid and practical is immediately acquired. Every former profession of public spirit is to be consi|dered as a debauch of youth, or, at best, as a visionary scheme of unattainable perfection. The very idea of consistency is exploded. The conve|nience of the business of the day is to furnish the principle for doing it. Then the whole ministerial cant is quickly got by heart. The prevalence of faction is to be lamented. All opposition is to be regarded as the effect of envy and disappointed ambition. All administrations are declared to be alike. The same necessity justifies all their mea|sures. Page  148 It is no longer a matter of discussion, who or what administration is; but that admini|stration is to be supported, is a general maxim. Flattering themselves that their power is become necessary to the support of all order and govern|ment; every thing which tends to the support of that power is sanctified, and becomes a part of the public interest.

GROWING every day more formed to affairs, and better knit in their limbs, when the occasion (now the only rule) requires it, they become capable of sacrificing those very persons to whom they had be|fore sacrificed their original friends. It is now only in the ordinary course of business to alter an opinion, or to betray a connexion. Frequently relinquishing one set of men and adopting another, they grow into a total indifference to human feeling, as they had before to moral obligation; until at length, no one original impression remains upon their minds; every principle is obliterated; every sentiment ef|faced.

IN the mean time, that power, which all these changes aimed at securing, remains still as tottering and as uncertain as ever. They are delivered up into the hands of those who feel neither respect for their persons, nor gratitude for their favours; who are put about them in appearance to serve, in reality to govern them; and, when the signal is given, to abandon and destroy them in order to set up some newer dupe of ambition, who in his turn is to be abandoned and destroyed. Thus living in a state of continual uneasiness and ferment, softened only by the miserable consolation of giving now and then preferments to those for whom they have no value; they are unhappy in their situation, yet find it impossible to resign it. Until at length, soured in temper, and disappointed by the very at|tainment Page  149 of their ends, in some angry, in some haughty, or some negligent moment, they incur the displeasure of those upon whom they have ren|dered their very being dependent. Then perie|runt tempora longi servitii; they are cast off with scorn; they are turned out, emptied of all natural character, of all intrinsic worth, of all essential dig|nity, and deprived of every consolation of friend|ship. Having rendered all retreat to old princi|ples ridiculous, and to old regards impracticable, not being able to counterfeit pleasure, or to dis|charge discontent, nothing being sincere, or right, or balanced in their minds, it is more than a chance, that, in the delirium of the last stage of their distempered power, they make an insane po|litical testament, by which they throw all their re|maining weight and consequence into the scale of their declared enemies, and the avowed authors of their destruction. Thus they finish their course. Had it been possible that the whole, or even a great part of these effects on their minds, I say nothing of the effect upon their fortunes, could have appeared to them in their first departure from the right line, it is certain they would have rejected every temptation with horror. The principle of these remarks, like every good principle in mora|lity, is trite; but its frequent application is not the less necessary.

As to others, who are plain practical men, they have been guiltless at all times of all public pre|tence. Neither the author nor any one else, has reason to be angry with them. They belonged to his friend for their interest; for their interest they quitted him; and when it is their interest, he may depend upon it, they will return to their former connexion. Such people subsist at all times, and, though the nuisance of all, are at no time a worthy Page  150 subject of discussion. It is false virtue and plausible error that do the mischief.

IF men come to government with right dispo|sitions, they have not that unfavourable subject which this author represents to work upon. Our circumstances are indeed critical; but then they are the critical circumstances of a strong and mighty nation. If corruption and meanness are greatly spread, they are not spread universally. Many public men are hitherto examples of public spirit and integrity. Whole parties, as far as large bo|dies can be uniform, have preserved character. However they may be deceived in some particu|lars, I know of no set of men amongst us, which does not contain persons, on whom the nation, in a difficult exigence, may well value itself. Private life, which is the nursery of the commonwealth, is yet in general pure, and on the whole disposed to virtue; and the people at large want neither gene|rosity nor spirit. No small part of that very luxury, which is so much the subject of the author's decla|mation, but which, in most parts of life, by being well balanced and diffused, is only decency and convenience, has perhaps as many, or more, good than evil consequences attending it. It certainly excites industry, nourishes emulation, and inspires some sense of personal value into all ranks of peo|ple. What we want is, to establish more fully an opinion of uniformity, and consistency of character, in the leading men of the state; such as will restore some confidence to profession and appearance, such as will fix subordination upon esteem. Without this, all schemes are begun at the wrong end. All who join in them are liable to their consequences. All men who, under whatever pretext, take a part in the formation or the support of systems constructed in such a manner as must, in their nature, disable them Page  151 from the execution of their duty, have made them|selves guilty of all the present distraction, and of the future ruin, which they may bring upon their country.

IT is a serious affair, this studied disunion in go|vernment. In cases where union is most consulted in the constitution of a ministry, and where per|sons are best disposed to promote it, differences, from the various ideas of men, will arise; and, from their passions, will often ferment into violent heats, so as greatly to disorder all public business. What must be the consequence, when the very distemper is made the basis of the constitution; and the original weakness of humane nature is still fur|ther enfeebled by art and contrivance? It must sub|vert government from the very foundation. It turns our public councils into the most mischievous cabals; where the consideration is, not how the nation's business shall be carried on, but how those who ought to carry it on shall circumvent each other. In such a state of things, no order, unifor|mity, dignity, or effect, can appear in our pro|ceedings either at home or abroad. Nor will it make much difference, whether some of the con|stituent parts of such an administration are men of virtue or ability, or not; supposing it possible that such men, with their eyes open, should choose to make a part in such a body.

THE effects of all human contrivances are in the hand of Providence. I do not like to answer, as our author so readily does, for the event of any speculation. But sure the nature of our disorders, if any thing, must indicate the proper remedy. Men who act steadily on the principles I have stated may in all events be very serviceable to their country; in one case, by furnishing (if their Sovereign should be so advised) an administration formed upon ideas very different from those which have for some time Page  152 been unfortunately fashionable. But, if this should not be the case, they may be still serviceable; for the example of a large body of men, steadily sacri|ficing ambition to principle, can never be without use. It will certainly be prolific, and draw others to an imitation. Vera gloria radices agit, atque etiam propagatur.

I DO not think myself of consequence enough to imitate my author, in troubling the world with the prayers or wishes I may form for the public: full as little am I disposed to imitate his professions; those professions are long since worn out in the political service. If the work will not speak for the author, his own declarations deserve but little credit.

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SO much misplaced industry has been used by the au|thor of the State of the Nation, as well as by other writers, to infuse discontent into the people, on account of the late war, and of the effects of our national debt; that nothing ought to be omitted which may tend to dis|abuse the public upon these subjects. When I had gone through the foregoing sheets, I recollected, that, in my pages 43 and 44, I only gave the comparative states of the duties collected by the excise at large; together with the quantities of strong beer brewed in the two periods which are there compared. It might be still thought, that some other articles of popular consumption, of ge|neral convenience, and connected with our manufactures, might possibly have declined. I therefore now think it right to lay before the reader the state of the produce of three capital duties on such articles; duties which have frequently been made the subject of popular complaint. The duty on candles; that on soap, paper, &c. and that on hides.

Average of net produce of duty on soap, &c. for 8 years, ending 1767,   264.902
Average of ditto for 8 years, ending 1754,   228.114
  Average encrease, £. 36.788
Average of net produce of duty on candles for 8 years, ending 1767,   155.789
Average of ditto for 8 years, ending 1754,   136.716
  Average encrease, £. 19.073
Page  154Average net produce of duty on hides, 8 years, ending 1767,   189.216
Ditto 8 years, ending 1754,   168.200
  Average encrease, £. 21.016
This encrease has not arisen from any additional duties. None have been imposed on these articles during the war. Notwithstanding the burthens of the war, and the late dearness of provisions, the consumption of all these articles has encreased, and the revenue along with it.

THERE is another point in The State of the Nation, to which, I fear, I have not been so full in my answer as I ought to have been, and as I am well warranted to be. The author has endeavoured to throw a suspicion, or something more, on that salutary, and indeed necessary measure of opening the ports in Jamaica.*

"Orders were given," says he, "in August, 1765, for the free admission of Spanish vessels into all the colonies."
He then observes, that the exports to Jamaica fell £. 40.904 short of those of 1764; and that the exports of the suc|ceeding year, 1766, fell short of those of 1765, about eighty pounds; from whence he wisely infers, that, this decline of exports being since the relaxation of the laws of trade, there is a just ground of suspicion, that the co|lonies have been supplied with foreign commodities instead of British.

HERE, as usual with him, the author builds on a fact which is absolutely false; and which, being so, renders his whole hypothesis absurd and impossible. He asserts, that the order for admitting Spanish vessels was given in August, 1765. That order was not signed at the treasury board until the 15th day of the November following; and therefore so far from affecting the exports of the year 1765, that, supposing all possible diligence in the com|missioners of the customs in expediting that order, and every advantage of vessels ready to sail, and the most favourable wind, it would hardly even arrive in Jamaica within the limits of that year.

Page  155THIS order could therefore by no possibility be a cause of the decrease of exports in 1765. If it had any mis|chievous operation, it could not be before 1766. In that year, according to our author, the exports fell short of the preceding, just eighty pounds. He is welcome to that diminution; and to all the consequences he can draw from it.

BUT, as an auxiliary to account for this dreadful loss, he brings in the Free-port act, which he observes (for his convenience) to have been made in spring, 1766; but (for his convenience likewise) he forgets, that, by the express provision of the act, the regulation was not to be in force in Jamaica until the November following. Mira|culous must be the activity of that contraband whose ope|ration in America could, before the end of that year, have re-acted upon England, and checked the exportation from hence! unless he chooses to suppose, that the merchants, at whose solicitation this act had been obtained, were so frighted at the accomplishment of their own most earnest and anxious desire, that, before any good or evil effect from it could happen, they immediately put a stop to all further exportation.

IT is obvious that we must look for the true effect of that act at the time of its first possible operation, that is, in the year 1767. On this idea how stands the account?

1764 Exports to Jamaica 456.528
1765 415.624
1766 415.544
1767 (first year of the Free-port act) 467.681
This author, for the sake of a present momentary credit, will hazard any future and permanent disgrace. At the time he wrote, the account of 1767 could not be made up. This was the very first year of the trial of the Free-port act; and we find that the sale of British commodities is so far from lessened by that act, that the exports of 1767 amounts to £. 52.000 more than that of either of the two preceding years, and is £. 11.000 above that of his standard year 1764. If I could prevail on myself to argue Page  156 in favour of a great commercial scheme from the appear|ance of things in a single year, I should from this encrease of export infer the beneficial effects of that measure. In truth, it is not wanting. Nothing but the thickest igno|rance of the Jamaica trade could have made any one en|tertain a fancy, that the least ill effect on our commerce could follow from this opening of the ports. But, if the author argues the effect of regulations in the American trade from the export of the year in which they are made, or even of the following; why did he not apply this rule to his own? He had the same paper before him which I have now before me. He must have seen that in his standard year (the year 1764), the principal year of his new regulations, the export fell no less than £. 128.450 short of that in 1763! Did the export trade revive by these regulations in 1765, during which year they conti|nued in their full force? It fell about £. 40.000 still lower. Here is a fall of £. 168.000; to account for which, would have become the author much better than piddling for an £. 80 fall in the year 1766 (the only year in which the order he objects to could operate), or in presuming a fall of exports from a regulation which took place only in No|vember 1766; whose effects could not appear until the following year; and which, when they do appear, utterly overthrow all his flimsy reasons and affected suspicions upon the effect of opening the ports.

THIS author, in the same paragraph, says, that

"it was asserted by the American factors and agents, that the com|manders of our ships of war and tenders, having custom-house commissions, and the strict orders given in 1764 for a due execution of the laws of trade in the colonies, had deterred the Spaniards from trading with us; that the sale of British manufactures in the West Indies had been greatly lessened, and the receipt of large sums in specie prevented."

IF the American factors and agents asserted this, they had good ground for their assertion. They knew that the Spa|nish vessels had been driven from our ports. The author does not positively deny the fact. If he should, it will be Page  157 proved. When the factors connected this measure and its natural consequences, with an actual fall in the exports to Jamaica, to no less an amount than £. 128.450 in one year, and with a further fall in the next, is their assertion very wonderful? The author himself is full as much alarmed by a fall of only £. 40.000; for, giving him the facts which he chuses to coin, it is no more. The ex|pulsion of the Spanish vessels must certainly have been one cause, if not of the first declension of the exports, yet of their continuance in their reduced state. Other causes had their operation, without doubt. In what degree each cause produced its effect, it is hard to determine. But the fact of a fall of exports upon the restraining plan, and of a rise upon the taking place of the enlarging plan, is esta|blished beyond all contradiction.

THIS author says, that the facts relative to the Spanish trade were asserted by American factors and agents; insinu|ating, that the ministry of 1766 had no better authority for their plan of enlargement than such assertions. The moment he chooses it, he shall see the very same thing as|serted by governors of provinces, by commanders of men of war, and by officers of the customs; persons the most bound in duty to prevent contraband, and the most inte|rested in the seizures to be made in consequence of strict regulation. I suppress them for the present; wishing that the author may not drive me to a more full discussion of this matter than it may be altogether prudent to enter into. I wish he had not made any of these discussions ne|cessary.

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Hoc vero occultum, intestinum, domesticum malum, non modo non existit, verum etiam opprimit, antequam perspicere atque explorare potueris.


IT is an undertaking of some degree of delicacy to examine into the cause of public disorders. If a man happens not to succeed in such an enquiry, he will be thought weak and visionary; if he touches the true grievance, there is a danger that he may come near to persons of weight and consequence, who will rather be exasperated at the discovery of their errors, than thankful for the occasion of cor|recting them. If he should be obliged to blame the favourites of the people, he will be considered as the tool of power; if he censures those in power, he will be looked on as an instrument of faction. But in all exertions of duty something is to be ha|zarded. In cases of tumult and disorder, our law has invested every man, in some sort, with the authority of a magistrate. When the affairs of the nation are distracted, private people are, by the spirit of that law, justified in stepping a little out of their ordinary sphere. They enjoy a privilege, of somewhat more dignity and effect, than that of idle lamentation over the calamities of their coun|try. They may look into them narrowly; they Page  162 may reason upon them liberally; and if they should be so fortunate as to discover the true source of the mischief, and to suggest any probable method of removing it, though they may displease the rulers for the day, they are certainly of service to the cause of government. Government is deeply in|terested in every thing which, even through the medium of some temporary uneasiness, may tend finally to compose the minds of the subject, and to conciliate their affections. I have nothing to do here with the abstract value of the voice of the people. But as long as reputation, the most pre|cious possession of every individual, and as long as opinion, the great support of the state, depend en|tirely upon that voice, it can never be considered as a thing of little consequence either to individuals or to government. Nations are not primarily ruled by laws; less by violence. Whatever original energy may be supposed either in force or regula|tion; the operation of both is, in truth, merely instrumental. Nations are governed by the same methods, and on the same principles, by which an individual without authority is often able to govern those who are his equals or his superiors; by a knowledge of their temper, and by a judicious ma|nagement of it; I mean,—when public affairs are steadily and quietly conducted; not when govern|ment is nothing but a continued scuffle between the magistrate and the multitude; in which sometimes the one and sometimes the other is uppermost; in which they alternately yield and prevail, in a series of contemptible victories and scandalous submissi|ons. The temper of the people amongst whom he presides ought therefore to be the first study of a statesman. And the knowledge of this temper it is by no means impossible for him to attain, if he has not an interest in being ignorant of what it is his duty to learn.

Page  163TO complain of the age we live in, to murmur at the present possessors of power, to lament the past, to conceive extravagant hopes of the future, are the common dispositions of the greatest part of mankind; indeed the necessary effects of the igno|rance and levity of the vulgar. Such complaints and humours have existed in all times; yet as all times have not been alike, true political sagacity ma|nifests itself, in distinguishing that complaint which only characterizes the general infirmity of human nature, from those which are symptoms of the par|ticular distemperature of our own air and season.

NOBODY, I believe, will consider it merely as the language of spleen or disappointment, if I say, that there is something particularly alarming in the pre|sent conjuncture. There is hardly a man in or out of power who holds any other language. That government is at once dreaded and contemned; that the laws are despoiled of all their respected and salutary terrors; that their inaction is a subject of ridicule, and their exertion of abhorrence; that rank, and office, and title, and all the solemn plau|sibilities of the world, have lost their reverence and effect; that our foreign politics are as much de|ranged as our domestic oeconomy; that our depend|encies are slackened in their affection, and loosen|ed from their obedience; that we know neither how to yield nor how to inforce; that hardly any thing above or below, abroad or at home, is sound and intire; but that disconnexion and confusion, in of|fices, in parties, in families, in parliament, in the nation, prevail beyond the disorders of any former time: these are facts universally admitted and la|mented.

THIS state of things is the more extraordinary, because the great parties which formerly divided and agitated the kingdom are known to be in a Page  164 manner entirely dissolved. No great external ca|lamity has visited the nation; no pestilence or fa|mine. We do not labour at present under any scheme of taxation new or oppressive in the quantity or in the mode. Nor are we engaged in unsuccess|ful war; in which, our misfortunes might easily pervert our judgment; and our minds, sore from the loss of national glory, might feel every blow of fortune as a crime in government.

IT is impossible that the cause of this strange dis|temper should not sometimes become a subject of discourse. It is a compliment due, and which I willingly pay, to those who administer our affairs, to take notice in the first place of their speculation. Our ministers are of opinion, that the increase of our trade and manufactures, that our growth by colo|nization and by conquest, have concurred to accu|mulate immense wealth in the hands of some indi|viduals; and this again being dispersed amongst the people, has rendered them universally proud, ferocious, and ungovernable; that the insolence of some from their enormous wealth, and the boldness of others from a guilty poverty, have rendered them capable of the most atrocious attempts; so that they have trampled upon all subordination, and violently borne down the unarmed laws of a free government; barriers too feeble against the fury of a populace so fierce and licentious as ours. They contend, that no adequate provocation has been given for so spreading a discontent; our affairs having been conducted throughout with remarkable temper and consummate wisdom. The wicked industry of some libellers, joined to the intrigues of a few disappointed politicians, have, in their opi|nion, been able to produce this unnatural ferment in the nation.

Page  165NOTHING indeed can be more unnatural than the present convulsions of this country, if the above account be a true one. I confess I shall as|sent to it with great reluctance, and only on the compulsion of the clearest and firmest proofs; be|cause their account resolves itself into this short, but discouraging proposition,

"That we have a very good ministry, but that we are a very bad people;"
that we set ourselves to bite the hand that feeds us; that with a malignant insanity we op|pose the measures, and ungratefully vilify the per|sons, of those, whose sole object is our own peace and prosperity. If a few puny libellers, acting un|der a knot of factious politicians, without virtue, parts, or character (such they are constantly repre|sented by these gentlemen), are sufficient to excite this disturbance, very perverse must be the disposi|tion of that people, amongst whom such a disturb|ance can be excited by such means. It is besides no small aggravation of the public misfortune, that the disease, on this hypothesis, appears to be with|out remedy. If the wealth of the nation be the cause of its turbulence, I imagine it is not proposed to introduce poverty, as a constable to keep the peace. If our dominions abroad are the roots which feed all this rank luxuriance of sedition, it is not intended to cut them off in order to famish the fruit. If our liberty has enfeebled the executive power, there is no design, I hope, to call in the aid of despotism, to fill up the deficiencies of law. Whatever may be intended, these things are not yet professed. We seem therefore to be driven to absolute despair; for we have no other materials to work upon, but those out of which God has been pleased to form the inhabitants of this island. If these be radically and essentially vitious, all that can be said is, that those men are very unhappy, to whose fortune or duty it falls to administer the af|fairs Page  166 of this untoward people. I hear it indeed sometimes asserted, that a steady perseverance in the present measures, and a rigorous punishment of those who oppose them, will in course of time infal|libly put an end to these disorders. But this, in my opinion, is said without much observation of our present disposition, and without any knowledge at all of the general nature of mankind. If the mat|ter of which this nation is composed be so very fer|mentable as these gentlemen describe it, leaven ne|ver will be wanting to work it up, as long as discon|tent, revenge, and ambition, have existed in the world. Particular punishments are the cure for ac|cidental distempers in the state; they inflame rather than allay those heats which arise from the settled mismanagement of the government, or from a na|tural ill disposition in the people. It is of the utmost moment not to make mistakes in the use of strong measures; and firmness is then only a virtue when it accompanies the most perfect wisdom. In truth, inconstancy is a sort of natural corrective of folly and ignorance.

I AM not one of those who think that the people are never in the wrong. They have been so, fre|quently and outrageously, both in other countries and in this. But I do say, that in all disputes be|tween them and their rulers, the presumption is at least upon a par in favour of the people. Experi|ence may perhaps justify me in going further. Where popular discontents have been very preva|lent; it may well be affirmed and supported, that there has been generally something found amiss in the constitution, or in the conduct of government. The people have no interest in disorder. When they do wrong, it is their error, and not their crime. But with the governing part of the state, it is far otherwise. They certainly may act ill by Page  167 design, as well as by mistake.

"Les revolutions qui arrivent dans les grands etats ne sont point un effect du hazard, ni du caprice des peuples. Rein ne revolte les grands d'un royaume comme un Gou|vernement foible et derange. Pour la populace, ce n'est jamais par envie d'attaquer qu'elle se souleve, mais par impatience de souffrira."
These are the words of a great man; of a minister of state; and zealous assertor of monarchy. They are applied to the system of Favouritism which was adopted by Henry the third of France, and to the dreadful consequences it produced. What he says of revo|lutions, is equally true of all great disturbances. If this presumption in favour of the subjects against the trustees of power be not the more probable, I am sure it is the more comfortable speculation; be|cause it is more easy to change an administration than to reform a people.

UPON a supposition, therefore, that in the open|ing of the cause the presumptions stand equally ba|lanced between the parties, there seems sufficient ground to entitle any person to a fair hearing, who attempts some other scheme beside that easy one which is fashionable in some fashionable companies, to account for the present discontents. It is not to be argued that we endure no grievance, because our grievances are not of the same sort with those under which we laboured formerly; not precisely those which we bore from the Tudors, or vindicated on the Stuarts. A great change has taken place in the affairs of this country. For in the silent lapse of events as material alterations have been insensibly brought about in the policy and character of go|vernments and nations, as those which have been marked by the tumult of public revolutions.

Page  168IT is very rare indeed for men to be wrong in their feelings concerning public misconduct; as rare to be right in their speculation upon the cause of it. I have constantly observed, that the genera|lity of people are fifty years, at least, behind-hand in their politics. There are but very few, who are capable of comparing and digesting what passes be|fore their eyes at different times and occasions, so as to form the whole into a distinct system. But in books every thing is settled for them, without the exertion of any considerable diligence or sagacity. For which reason men are wise with but little re|flection, and good with little self-denial, in the bu|siness of all times except their own. We are very uncorrupt and tolerably enlightened judges of the transactions of past ages; where no passions deceive, and where the whole train of circumstances, from the trifling cause to the tragical event, is set in an orderly series before us. Few are the partizans of departed tyranny; and to be a whig on the business of an hundred years ago, is very consistent with every advantage of present servility. This retro|spective wisdom, and historical patriotism, are things of wonderful convenience; and serve admirably to reconcile the old quarrel between speculation and practice. Many a stern republican, after gorging himself with a full feast of admiration of the Grecian commonwealths and of our true Saxon constitution, and discharging all the splendid bile of his virtuous indignation on king John and king James, sits down perfectly satisfied to the coarsest work and homeliest job of the day he lives in. I believe there was no professed admirer of Henry the eighth among the instruments of the last king James; nor in the court of Henry the eighth, was there, I dare say, to be found a single advocate for the favourites of Richard the second.

NO complaisance to our court, or to our age, can make me believe nature to be so changed, but Page  169 that public liberty will be among us, as among our ancestors, obnoxious to some person or other; and that opportunities will be furnished, for attempting at least, some alteration to the prejudice of our con|stitution. These attempts will naturally vary in their mode according to times and circumstances. For ambition, though it has ever the same general views, has not at all times the same means, nor the same particular objects. A great deal of the furni|ture of ancient tyranny is worn to rags; the rest is entirely out of fashion. Besides, there are few statesmen so very clumsy and aukward in their bu|siness, as to fall into the identical snare which has proved fatal to their predecessors. When an arbi|trary imposition is attempted upon the subject, un|doubtedly it will not bear on its fore-head the name of Ship-money. There is no danger that an exten|sion of the Forest laws should be the chosen mode of oppression in this age. And when we hear any in|stance of ministerial rapacity, to the prejudice of the rights of private life, it will certainly not be the ex|action of two hundred pullets, from a woman of fashion, for leave to lie with her own husbandb.

EVERY age has its own manners, and its politics dependent upon them; and the same attempts will not be made against a constitution fully formed and matured, that were used to destroy it in the cradle, or to resist its growth during its infancy.

AGAINST the being of parliament, I am satisfi|ed, no designs have ever been entertained since the revolution. Every one must perceive, that it is strongly the interest of the court, to have some se|cond cause interposed between the ministers and Page  170 the people. The gentlemen of the House of Com|mons have an interest equally strong, in sustaining the part of that intermediate cause. However they may hire out the usufruct of their voices, they never will part with the fee and inheritance. Accordingly those who have been of the most known devotion to the will and pleasure of a court, have at the same time been most forward in asserting an high autho|rity in the House of Commons. When they knew who were to use that authority, and how it was to be employed, they thought it never could be carri|ed too far. It must be always the wish of an un|constitutional statesman, that an House of Commons who are entirely dependent upon him, should have every right of the people entirely dependant upon their pleasure. It was soon discovered, that the forms of a free, and the ends of an arbitrary go|vernment, were things not altogether incompatible.

THE power of the crown, almost dead and rotten as prerogative, has grown up anew, with much more strength, and far less odium, under the name of in|fluence. An influence, which operated without noise and without violence; an influence which converted the very antagonist, into the instrument, of power; which contained in itself a perpetual principle of growth and renovation; and which the distresses and the prosperity of the country equally tended to augment, was an admirable substitute for a prerogative, that, being only the offspring of an|tiquated prejudices, had moulded in its original sta|mina irresistible principles of decay and dissolution. The ignorance of the people is a bottom but for a temporary system; the interest of active men in the state is a foundation perpetual and infallible. How|ever, some circumstances, arising, it must be con|fessed, in a great degree from accident, prevented the effects of this influence for a long time from Page  171 breaking out in a manner capable of exciting any serious apprehensions. Although government was strong and flourished exceedingly, the Court had drawn far less advantage than one would imagine from this great source of power.

AT the revolution, the crown, deprived, for the ends of the revolution itself, of many prerogatives, was found too weak to struggle against all the diffi|culties which pressed so new and unsettled a go|vernment. The court was obliged therefore to de|legate a part of its powers to men of such interest as could support, and of such fidelity as would ad|here to, its establishment. Such men were able to draw in a greater number to a concurrence in the common defence. This connexion, necessary at first, continued long after convenient; and properly conducted might indeed, in all situations, be an useful instrument of government. At the same time, through the intervention of men of popular weight and character, the people possessed a security for their just portion of importance in the state. But as the title to the crown grew stronger by long pos|session, and by the constant increase of its influence, these helps have of late seemed to certain persons no better than incumbrances. The powerful ma|nagers for government were not sufficiently sub|missive to the pleasure of the possessors of immedi|ate and personal favour, sometimes from a confi|dence in their own strength natural and acquired; sometimes from a fear of offending their friends, and weakening that lead in the country, which gave them a consideration independent of the court. Men acted as if the court could receive, as well as confer, an obligation. The influence of govern|ment, thus divided in appearance between the court and the leaders of parties, became in many cases an accession rather to the popular than to the royal Page  172 scale; and some part of that influence which would otherwise have been possessed as in a sort of mort-main and unalienable domain, returned again to the great ocean from whence it arose, and circu|lated among the people. This method therefore of governing, by men of great natural interest or great acquired consideration, was viewed in a very invidious light by the true lovers of absolute mo|narchy. It is the nature of despotism to abhor power held by any means but its own momentary pleasure; and to annihilate all intermediate situa|tions between boundless strength on its own part, and total debility on the part of the people.

TO get rid of all this intermediate and inde|pendent importance, and to secure to the court the unlimited and uncontrouled use of its own vast influ|ence, under the sole direction of its own private fa|vour, has for some years past been the great object of policy. If this were compassed, the influence of the crown must of course produce all the effects which the most sanguine partizans of the court could possibly desire. Government might then be carried on without any concurrence on the part of the people, without any attention to the dignity of the greater, or to the affections of the lower sorts. A new project was therefore devised, by a certain set of intriguing men, totally different from the system of administration which had pre|vailed since the accession of the house of Bruns|wick. This project, I have heard, was first con|ceived by some persons in the court of Frederick prince of Wales.

THE earliest attempt in the execution of this design was to set up for minister, a person, in rank indeed respectable, and very ample in fortune; but who, to the moment of this vast and sudden elevation, was little known or considered in the Page  173 kingdom. To him the whole nation was to yield an immediate and implicit submission. But whe|ther it was for want of firmness to bear up against the first opposition; or that things were not yet fully ripened, or that this method was not found the most eligible; that idea was soon abandoned. The instrumental part of the project was a little altered, to accommodate it to the time, and to bring things more gradually and more surely to the one great end proposed.

THE first part of the reformed plan was to draw a line which should separate the court from the ministry. Hitherto these names had been looked upon as synonymous; but for the future, court and administration were to be considered as things totally distinct. By this operation, two systems of administration were to be formed; one which should be in the real secret and confidence; the other merely ostensible, to perform the official and executory duties of government. The latter were alone to be responsible; whilst the real advisers, who enjoyed all the power, were effectually re|moved from all the danger.

SECONDLY, A party under these leaders was to be formed in favour of the court against the ministry: this party was to have a large share in the emo|luments of government, and to hold it totally separate from, and independent of, ostensible ad|ministration.

THE third point, and that on which the success of the whole scheme ultimately depended, was to bring parliament to an acquiescence in this project. Parliament was therefore to be taught by degrees a total indifference to the persons, rank, influence, abilities, connexions, and character, of the mi|nisters of the crown. By means of a discipline, Page  174 on which I shall say more hereafter, that body was to be habituated to the most opposite interests, and the most discordant politics. All connexions and dependencies among subjects were to be entirely dissolved. As hitherto business had gone through the hands of leaders of whigs or tories, men of ta|lents to conciliate the people, and engage to their confidence, now the method was to be altered; and the lead was to be given to men of no sort of consideration or credit in the country. This want of natural importance was to be their very title to delegated power. Members of parliament were to be hardened into an insensibility to pride as well as to duty. Those high and haughty senti|ments, which are the great support of independ|ence, were to be let down gradually. Point of honour and precedence were no more to be re|garded in parliamentary decorum, than in a Turkish army. It was to be avowed as a constitutional maxim, that the king might appoint one of his footmen, or one of your footmen, for minister; and that he ought to be, and that he would be, as well followed as the first name for rank and wisdom in the nation. Thus parliament was to look on, as if perfectly unconcerned; while a cabal of the closet and back-stairs was substituted in the place of a na|tional administration.

WITH such a degree of acquiescence, any mea|sure of any court might well be deemed thoroughly secure. The capital objects, and by much the most flattering characteristics of arbitrary power, would be obtained. Every thing would be drawn from its holdings in the country to the personal favour and inclination of the prince. This favour would be the sole introduction to power, and the only tenure by which it was to be held: so that no person looking towards another, and all looking Page  175 towards the court, it was impossible but that the motive which solely influenced every man's hopes must come in time to govern every man's con|duct; till at last the servility became universal, in spite of the dead letter of any laws or institutions whatsoever.

HOW it should happen that any man could be tempted to venture upon such a project of govern|ment, may at first view appear surprizing. But the fact is, that opportunities very inviting to such an attempt have offered; and the scheme itself was not destitute of some arguments not wholly un|plausible to recommend it. These opportunities and these arguments, the use that has been made of both, the plan for carrying this new scheme of government into execution, and the effects which it has produced, are in my opinion worthy of our serious consideration.

HIS majesty came to the throne of these king|doms with more advantages than any of his prede|cessors since the Revolution. Fourth in descent, and third in succession of his royal family, even the zealots of hereditary right, in him, saw something to flatter their favourite prejudices; and to justify a transfer of their attachments, without a change in their principles. The person and cause of the Pretender were become contemptible; his title dis|owned throughout Europe, his party disbanded in England. His majesty came indeed to the inhe|ritance of a mighty war; but, victorious in every part of the globe, peace was always in his power, not to negociate, but to dictate. No foreign habi|tudes or attachments withdrew him from the culti|vation of his power at home. His revenue for the civil establishment, fixed (as it was then thought) at a large, but definite sum, was ample, without being invidious. His influence, by additions from Page  176 conquest, by an augmentation of debt, by an in|crease of military and naval establishment, much strengthened and extended. And coming to the throne in the prime and full vigour of youth, as from affection there was a strong dislike, so from dread there seemed to be a general averseness, from giving any thing like offence to a monarch, against whose resentment opposition could not look for a refuge in any sort of reversionary hope.

THESE singular advantages inspired his majesty only with a more ardent desire to preserve unim|paired the spirit of that national freedom, to which he owed a situation so full of glory. But to others it suggested sentiments of a very different nature. They thought they now beheld an oppor|tunity (by a certain sort of statesmen never long undiscovered or unemployed) of drawing to them|selves, by the aggrandisement of a court faction, a degree of power which they could never hope to de|rive from natural influence or from honourable ser|vice; and which it was impossible they could hold with the least security, whilst the system of admini|stration rested upon its former bottom. In order to facilitate the execution of their design, it was ne|cessary to make many alterations in political ar|rangement, and a single change in the opinions, habits, and connexions of the greatest part of those who at that time acted in public.

IN the first place, they proceeded gradually, but not slowly, to destroy every thing of strength which did not derive its principal nourishment from the immediate pleasure of the court. The greatest weight of popular opinion and party connexion were then with the duke of Newcastle and Mr. Pitt. Neither of these held their importance by the new tenure of the court; they were not therefore thought to be so proper as others for the services Page  177 which were required by that tenure. It happened very favourably for the new system, that under a forced coalition there rankled an incurable aliena|tion and disgust between the parties which composed the administration. Mr. Pitt was first attacked. Not satisfied with removing him from power, they endeavoured by various artifices to ruin his cha|racter. The other party seemed rather pleased to get rid of so oppressive a support; not perceiving, that their own fall was prepared by his, and in|volved in it. Many other reasons prevented them from daring to look their true situation in the face. To the great Whig families it was extremely disa|greeable, and seemed almost unnatural, to oppose the administration of a prince of the house of Bruns|wic. Day after day they hesitated, and doubted, and lingered, expecting that other counsels would take place; and were slow to be persuaded, that all which had been done by the cabal, was the effect not of humour, but of system. It was more strongly and evidently the interest of the new court faction, to get rid of the great Whig connexions, than to destroy Mr. Pitt. The power of that gentleman was vast indeed and merited; but it was in a great degree personal, and therefore transient. Theirs was rooted in the country. For, with a good deal less of popularity, they possessed a far more natural and fixed influence. Long possession of government; vast property; ob|ligations of favours given and received; connexion of offices; ties of blood, of alliance, of friendship (things at that time supposed of some force); the name of Whig, dear to the majority of the people; the zeal early begun and steadily continued to the royal family: all these together formed a body of power in the nation, which was criminal and de|voted. The great ruling principle of the cabal, and that which animated and harmonized all their proceedings, how various soever they may have Page  178 been, was to signify to the world, that the court would proceed upon its own proper forces only; and that the pretence of bringing any other into its service was an affront to it, and not a support. Therefore, when the chiefs were removed, in order to go to the root, the whole party was put under a proscription, so general and severe as to take their hard-earned bread from the lowest officers, in a manner which had never been known before, even in general revolutions. But it was thought necessary effectually to destroy all dependencies but one; and to shew an example of the firmness and rigour with which the new system was to be sup|ported.

THUS for the time were pulled down, in the persons of the Whig leaders and of Mr. Pitt (in spite of the services of the one at the accession of the royal family, and the recent services of the other in the war) the two only securities for the importance of the people; power arising from popularity; and power arising from connexion. Here and there indeed a few individuals were left standing, who gave security for their total estrangement from the odious principles of party connexion and personal attachment; and it must be confessed that most of them have religiously kept their faith. Such a change could not however be made without a mighty shock to government.

TO reconcile the minds of the people to all these movements, principles correspondent to them had been preached up with great zeal. Every one must remember that the cabal set out with the most asto|nishing prudery, both moral and political. Those who in a few months after soused over head and ears into the deepest and dirtiest pits of corruption, cried out violently against the indirect practices in the electing and managing of parliaments, which had formerly prevailed. This marvellous abhor|rence Page  179 which the court had suddenly taken to all in|fluence, was not only circulated in conversation through the kingdom, but pompously announced to the public, with many other extraordinary things, in a pamphletc which had all the appearance of a manifesto preparatory to some considerable enter|prize. Throughout, it was a satire, though in terms managed and decent enough, on the politics of the former reign. It was indeed written with no small art and address.

IN this piece appeared the first dawning of the new system; there first appeared the idea (then only in speculation) of separating the court from the admi|nistration; of carrying every thing from national connexion to personal regards; and of forming a regular party for that purpose, under the name of king's men.

TO recommend this system to the people, a per|spective view of the court gorgeously painted, and finally illuminated from within, was exhibited to the gaping multitude. Party was to be totally done away, with all its evil works. Corruption was to be cast down from court, as Atè was from Heaven. Power was thenceforward to be the chosen residence of public spirit; and no one was to be supposed un|der any sinister influence, except those who had the misfortune to be in disgrace at court, which was to stand in lieu of all vices and all corruptions. A scheme of perfection to be realized in a monarchy far beyond the visionary republic of Plato. The whole scenery was exactly disposed to captivate those good souls, whose credulous morality is so in valuable a treasure to crafty politicians. Indeed there was wherewithal to charm every body, ex|cept those few who are not much pleased with pro|fessions Page  180 of supernatural virtue, who know of what stuff such professions are made, for what purposes they are designed, and in what they are sure con|stantly to end. Many innocent gentlemen, who had been talking prose all their lives without knowing any thing of the matter, began at last to open their eyes upon their own merits, and to attribute their not having been lords of the Treasury and lords of Trade many years before, merely to the preva|lence of party, and to the ministerial power, which had frustrated the good intentions of the court in favour of their abilities. Now was the time to un|lock the sealed fountain of royal bounty, which had been infamously monopolized and huckstered, and to let it flow at large upon the whole people. The time was come, to restore royalty to its original splendour. Mettre le roy hors de page, became a sort of watch-word. And it was constantly in the mouths of all the runners of the court, that nothing could preserve the balance of the constitution from be|ing overturned by the rabble, or by a faction of the nobility, but to free the sovereign effectually from that ministerial tyranny under which the royal dig|nity had been oppressed in the person of his ma|jesty's grandfather.

THESE were some of the many artifices used to reconcile the people to the great change which was made in the persons who composed the ministry, and the still greater which was made and avowed in its constitution. As to individuals, other me|thods were employed with them; in order so thoroughly to disunite every party, and even every family, that no concert, order, or effect, might appear in any future opposition. And in this manner an administration without connexion with the peo|ple, or with one another, was first put in possession of government. What good consequences followed Page  181 from it, we have all seen; whether with regard to virtue, public or private; to the ease and happiness of the sovereign; or to the real strength of govern|ment. But as so much stress was then laid on the necessity of this new project, it will not be amiss to take a view of the effects of this royal servitude and vile durance, which was so deplored in the reign of the late monarch, and was so carefully to be avoided in the reign of his successor. The effects were these.

IN times full of doubt and danger to his person and family, George the second maintained the dig|nity of his crown connected with the liberty of his people, not only unimpaired, but improved, for the space of thirty-three years. He overcame a dangerous rebellion, abetted by foreign force, and raging in the heart of his kingdoms; and thereby destroyed the seeds of all future rebellion that could arise upon the same principle. He carried the glory, the power, the commerce of England, to an height unknown even to this renowned nation in the times of its greatest prosperity; and he left his succession resting on the true and only true foundations of all national and all regal greatness; affection at home, reputation abroad, trust in allies, terror in rival nations. The most ardent lover of his country cannot wish for Great Britain an happier fate than to continue as she was then left. A people emulous as we are in affection to our present so|vereign, know not how to form a prayer to Heaven for a greater blessing upon his virtues, or an higher state of felicity and glory, than that he should live, and should reign, and, when Providence ordains it, should die, exactly like his illustrious prede|cessor.

A GREAT prince may be obliged (though such a thing cannot happen very often) to sacrifice his pri|vate Page  182 inclination to his public interest. A wise prince will not think that such a restraint implies a condition of servility; and truly, if such was the condition of the last reign, and the effects were also such as we have described, we ought, no less for the sake of the sovereign whom we love, than for our own, to hear arguments convincing indeed, before we depart from the maxims of that reign, or fly in the face of this great body of strong and recent experience.

ONE of the principal topics which was then, and has been since, much employed by that politicald school, is an affected terror of the growth of an aristocratic power, prejudicial to the rights of the crown, and the balance of the constitution. Any new powers exercised in the house of lords, or in the house of commons, or by the crown, ought certainly to excite the vigilant and anxious jealousy of a free people. Even a new and unprecedented course of action in the whole legislature, without great and evident reason, may be a subject of just uneasiness. I will not affirm, that there may not have lately appeared in the house of lords a dispo|sition to some attempts derogatory to the legal rights of the subject. If any such have really ap|peared, they have arisen, not from a power pro|perly aristocratic, but from the same influence which is charged with having excited attempts of a similar nature in the house of commons; which house, if it should have been betrayed into an un|fortunate quarrel with its constituents, and involv|ed in a charge of the very same nature, could have neither power nor inclination to repel such attempts in others. Those attempts in the house of lords can no more be called aristocratic pro|ceedings, Page  183 than the proceedings with regard to the county of Middlesex in the house of commons can with any sense be called democratical.

IT is true, that the peers have a great influence in the kingdom, and in every part of the public concerns. While they are men of property, it is impossible to prevent it, except by such means as must prevent all property from its natural opera|tion; an event not easily to be compassed, while property is power; nor by any means to be wish|ed, while the least notion exists of the method by which the spirit of liberty acts, and of the means by which it is preserved. If any particular peers, by their uniform, upright, constitutional conduct, by their public and their private virtues, have ac|quired an influence in the country; the people, on whose favour that influence depends, and from whom it arose, will never be duped into an opini|on, that such greatness in a peer is the despotism of an aristocracy, when they know and feel it to be the effect and pledge of their own importance.

I AM no friend to aristocracy, in the sense at least in which that word is usually understood. If it were not a bad habit to moot cases on the sup|posed ruin of the constitution, I should be free to declare, that if it must perish, I would rather by far see it resolved into any other form, than lost in that austere and insolent domination. But, what|ever my dislikes may be, my fears are not upon that quarter. The question, on the influence of a court, and of a peerage, is not, which of the two dangers is the most eligible, but which is the most imminent. He is but a poor observer, who has not seen, that the generality of peers, far from supporting themselves in a state of independent greatness, are but too apt to fall into an oblivion of their proper dignity, and to run headlong into Page  184 an abject servitude. Would to God it were true, that the fault of our peers were too much spirit! It is worthy of some observation, that these gen|tlemen, so jealous of aristocracy, make no com|plaints of the power of those peers (neither few nor inconsiderable) who are always in the train of a court, and whose whole weight must be consi|dered as a portion of the settled influence of the crown. This is all safe and right: but if some peers (I am very sorry they are not as many as they ought to be) set themselves, in the great con|cern of peers and commons, against a back-stairs influence and clandestine government, then the alarm begins; then the constitution is in danger of being forced into an aristocracy.

I REST a little the longer on this court topic, because it was much insisted upon at the time of the great change, and has been since frequently revived by many of the agents of that party: for, whilst they are terrifying the great and opulent with the horrors of mob-government, they are by other managers attempting (though hitherto with little success) to alarm the people with a phantom of tyranny in the nobles. All this is done upon their favourite principle of disunion, of sowing jea|lousies amongst the different orders of the state, and of disjointing the natural strength of the kingdom; that it may be rendered incapable of resisting the sinister designs of wicked men, who have engrossed the royal power.

THUS much of the topics chosen by the cour|tiers to recommend their system; it will be neces|sary to open a little more at large the nature of that party which was formed for its support. Without this, the whole would have been no better than a visionary amusement, like the scheme of Harrington's political club, and not a business Page  185 in which the nation had a real concern. As a powerful party, and a party constructed on a new principle, it is a very inviting object of curiosity.

IT must be remembered, that since the revolu|tion, until the period we are speaking of, the in|fluence of the crown had been always employed in supporting the ministers of state, and in carry|ing on the public business according to their opini|ons. But the party now in question is formed upon a very different idea. It is to intercept the favour, protection and confidence of the crown in the passage to its ministers; it is to come between them and their importance in parliament; it is to separate them from all their natural and acquired dependencies; it is intended as the controul, not the support, of administration. The machinery of this system is perplexed in its movements, and false in its principle. It is formed on a supposition that the king is something external to his govern|ment; and that he may be honoured and ag|grandized, even by its debility and disgrace. The plan proceeds expressly on the idea of enfeebling the regular executory power. It proceeds on the idea of weakening the state in order to strengthen the court. The scheme depending entirely on distrust, on disconnexion, on mutability by prin|ciple, on systematic weakness in every particular member; it is impossible that the total result should be substantial strength of any kind.

AS a foundation of their scheme, the cabal have established a sort of rota in the court. All sorts of parties, by this means, have been brought into administration, from whence few have had the good fortune to escape without disgrace; none at all without considerable losses. In the beginning of each arrangement no professions of confidence and support are wanting, to induce the leading Page  186 men to engage. But while the ministers of the day appear in all the pomp and pride of power, while they have all their canvas spread out to the wind, and every sail filled with the fair and pros|perous gale of royal favour, in a short time they find, they know not how, a current, which sets directly against them; which prevents all progress; and even drives them backwards. They grow ashamed and mortified in a situation, which, by its vicinity to power, only serves to remind them the more strongly of their insignificance. They are obliged either to execute the orders of their inferiors, or to see themselves opposed by the na|tural instruments of their office. With the loss of their dignity, they lose their temper. In their turn they grow troublesome to that cabal, which, whe|ther it supports or opposes, equally disgraces and equally betrays them. It is soon found necessary to get rid of the heads of administration; but it is of the heads only. As there always are many rotten members belonging to the best connexions, it is not hard to persuade several to continue in office without their leaders. By this means the party goes out much thinner than it came in; and is only reduced in strength by its temporary pos|session of power. Besides, if by accident, or in course of changes, that power should be recovered, the junto have thrown up a retrenchment of these carcases, which may serve to cover themselves in a day of danger. They conclude, not unwisely, that such rotten members will become the first objects of disgust and resentment to their antient connexions.

THEY contrive to form in the outward admi|nistration two parties at the least; which, whilst they are tearing one another to pieces, are both competitors for the favour and protection of the Page  187 cabal; and, by their emulation, contribute to throw every thing more and more into the hands of the interior managers.

A MINISTER of state will sometimes keep him|self totally estranged from all his colleagues; will differ from them in their councils, will privately traverse, and publicly oppose, their measures. He will, however, continue in his employment. In|stead of suffering any mark of displeasure, he will be distinguished by an unbounded profusion of court rewards and caresses; because he does what is expected, and all that is expected, from men in office. He helps to keep some form of administra|tion in being, and keeps it at the same time as weak and divided as possible.

HOWEVER, we must take care not to be mis|taken, or to imagine that such persons have any weight in their opposition. When, by them, ad|ministration is convinced of its insignificancy, they are soon to be convinced of their own. They never are suffered to succeed in their opposition. They and the world are to be satisfied, that, nei|ther office, nor authority, nor property, nor abi|lity, eloquence, council, skill, or union, are of the least importance; but that the mere influence of the court, naked of all support, and destitute of all management, is abundantly sufficient for all its own purposes.

WHEN any adverse connexion is to be destroyed, the cabal seldom appear in the work themselves. They find out some person of whom the party en|tertains an high opinion. Such a person they en|deavour to delude with various pretences. They teach him first to distrust, and then to quarrel with his friends; among whom, by the same arts, they excite a similar diffidence of him; so that, in this Page  188 mutual fear and distrust, he may suffer himself to be employed as the instrument in the change which is brought about. Afterwards they are sure to de|stroy him in his turn; by setting up in his place some person in whom he had himself reposed the greatest confidence, and who serves to carry off a considerable part of his adherents.

WHEN such a person has broke in this manner with his connexions, he is soon compelled to commit some flagrant act of iniquitous personal hostility against some of them (such as an attempt to strip a particular friend of his family estate), by which the cabal hope to render the parties utterly irreconcila|ble. In truth, they have so contrived matters, that people have a greater hatred to the subordinate in|struments than to the principal movers.

AS in destroying their enemies they make use of instruments not immediately belonging to their corps, so in advancing their own friends they pursue exactly the same method. To promote any of them to considerable rank or emolument, they commonly take care that the recommendation shall pass through the hands of the ostensible ministry: such a recommendation might however appear to the world, as some proof of the credit of ministers, and some means of increasing their strength. To prevent this, the persons so advanced are directed, in all companies, industriously to declare, that they are under no obligations whatsoever to administra|tion; that they have received their office from ano|ther quarter; that they are totally free and inde|pendent.

WHEN the faction has any job of lucre to obtain, or of vengeance to perpetrate, their way is, to se|lect, for the execution, those very persons to whose habits, friendships, principles, and declarations, such Page  189 proceedings are publicly known to be the most adverse; at once to render the instruments the more odious, and therefore the more dependent, and to prevent the people from ever reposing a con|fidence in any appearance of private friendship, or public principle.

IF the administration seem now and then, from remissness, or from fear of making themselves disagreeable, to suffer any popular excesses to go unpunished, the cabal immediately sets up some creature of theirs to raise a clamour against the mi|nisters, as having shamefully betrayed the dignity of government. Then they compel the ministry to become active in conferring rewards and ho|nours on the persons who have been the instruments of their disgrace; and, after having first vilified them with the higher orders for suffering the laws to sleep over the licentiousness of the populace, they drive them (in order to make amends for their former in|activity) to some act of atrocious violence, which renders them completely abhorred by the people. They who remember the riots which attended the Middlesex election; the opening of the present par|liament; and the transaction relative to Saint George's Fields, will not be at a loss for an appli|cation of these remarks.

THAT this body may be enabled to compass all the ends of its institution, its members are scarcely ever to aim at the high and responsible offices of the state. They are distributed with art and judgment through all the secondary, but efficient, depart|ments of office, and through the households of all the branches of the royal family: so as on one hand to occupy all the avenues to the throne; and on the other to forward or frustrate the execution of any measure, according to their own interests. For with the credit and support which they are known to Page  190 have, though for the greater part in places which are only a genteel excuse for salary, they possess all the influence of the highest posts; and they dictate publicly in almost every thing, even with a parade of superiority. Whenever they dissent (as it often happens) from their nominal leaders, the trained part of the senate, instinctively in the secret, is sure to follow them; provided the leaders, sensible of their situation, do not of themselves recede in time from their most declared opinions. This latter is generally the case. It will not be conceivable to any one who has not seen it, what pleasure is taken by the cabal in rendering these heads of office tho|roughly contemptible and ridiculous. And when they are become so, they have then the best chance for being well supported.

THE members of the court faction are fully in|demnified for not holding places on the slippery heights of the kingdom, not only by the lead in all affairs, but also by the perfect security in which they enjoy less conspicuous, but very advantageous situ|ations. Their places are, in express legal tenure, or in effect, all of them for life. Whilst the first and most respectable persons in the kingdom are tossed about like tennis balls, the sport of a blind and insolent caprice, no minister dares even to cast an oblique glance at the lowest of their body. If an attempt be made upon one of this corps, imme|diately he flies to sanctuary, and pretends to the most inviolable of all promises. No conveniency of public arrangement is available to remove any one of them from the specific situation he holds; and the slightest attempt upon one of them, by the most powerful minister, is a certain preliminary to his own destruction.

CONSCIOUS of their independence, they bear themselves with a lofty air to the exterior ministers. Page  191 Like Janissaries, they derive a kind of freedom from the very condition of their servitude. They may act just as they please; provided they are true to the great ruling principle of their institution. It is, therefore, not at all wonderful, that people should be so desirous of adding themselves to that body, in which they may possess and reconcile satisfactions the most alluring, and seemingly the most contra|dictory; enjoying at once all the spirited pleasure of independence, and all the gross lucre and fat emo|luments of servitude.

HERE is a sketch, though a slight one, of the constitution, laws, and policy, of this new court corporation. The name by which they chuse to distinguish themselves, is that of King's men, or the King's friends, by an invidious exclusion of the rest of his majesty's most loyal and affectionate sub|jects. The whole system, comprehending the ex|terior and interior administrations, is commonly called, in the technical language of the court, Double Cabinet; in French or English, as you choose to pronounce it.

WHETHER all this be a vision of a distracted brain, or the invention of a malicious heart, or a real faction in the country, must be judged by the appearances which things have worn for eight years past. Thus far I am certain, that there is not a single public man, in or out of office, who has not, at some time or other, born testimony to the truth of what I have now related. In particular, no per|sons have been more strong in their assertions, and louder and more indecent in their complaints, than those who compose all the exterior part of the pre|sent administration; in whose time that faction has arrived at such an height of power, and of boldness in the use of it, as may, in the end, perhaps bring about its total destruction.

Page  192IT is true, that about four years ago, during the administration of the marquis of Rockingham, an attempt was made to carry on government without their concurrence. However, this was only a tran|sient cloud; they were hid but for a moment; and their constellation blazed out with greater bright|ness, and a far more vigorous influence, some time after it was blown over. An attempt was at that time made (but without any idea of proscription) to break their corps, to discountenance their doctrines, to revive connexions of a different kind, to restore the principles and policy of the whigs, to re-animate the cause of liberty by ministerial countenance; and then for the first time were men seen attached in office to every principle they had maintained in op|position. No one will doubt, that such men were abhorred and violently opposed by the court facti|on, and that such a system could have but a short duration.

IT may appear somewhat affected, that in so much discourse upon this extraordinary party, I should say so little of the earl of Bute, who is the supposed head of it. But this was neither owing to affectation nor inadvertence. I have carefully avoided the introduction of personal reflections of any kind. Much the greater part of the topics which have been used to blacken this nobleman, are either unjust or frivolous. At best, they have a tendency to give the resentment of this bitter ca|lamity a wrong direction, and to turn a public grievance into a mean personal, or a dangerous national quarrel. Where there is a regular scheme of operations carried on, it is the system, and not any individual person who acts in it, that is truly dangerous. This system has not risen solely from the ambition of lord Bute; but from the circum|stances which favoured it, and from an indifference Page  193 to the constitution which had been for some time growing among our gentry. We should have been tried with it, if the earl of Bute had never existed; and it will want neither a contriving head nor active members, when the earl of Bute exists no longer. It is not, therefore, to rail at lord Bute, but firmly to embody against this court party and its practices, which can afford us any prospect of relief in our present condition.

ANOTHER motive induces me to put the per|sonal consideration of lord Bute, wholly out of the question. He communicates very little in a direct manner with the greater part of our men of busi|ness. This has never been his custom. It is enough for him that he surrounds them with his creatures. Several imagine, therefore, that they have a very good excuse for doing all the work of this faction, when they have no personal connexion with lord Bute. But whoever becomes a party to an admini|stration, composed of insulated individuals, without faith plighted, tie, or common principle; an ad|ministration constitutionally impotent, because sup|ported by no party in the nation; he who contri|butes to destroy the connexions of men and their trust in one another, or in any sort to throw the dependence of public counsels upon private will and favour, possibly may have nothing to do with the earl of Bute. It matters little whether he be the friend or the enemy of that particular person. But let him be who or what he will, he abets a faction that is driving hard to the ruin of his coun|try. He is sapping the foundation of its liberty, disturbing the sources of its domestic tranquillity, weakening its government over its dependencies, degrading it from all its importance in the system of Europe.

Page  194IT is this unnatural infusion of a system of fa|vouritism into a government which in a great part of its constitution is popular, that has raised the present ferment in the nation. The people, with|out entering deeply into its principles, could plainly perceive its effects, in much violence, in a great spirit of innovation, and a general disorder in all the functions of government. I keep my eye solely on this system; if I speak of those measures which have arisen from it, it will be so far only as they illustrate the general scheme. This is the fountain of all those bitter waters of which, through an hundred different conduits, we have drunk until we are ready to burst. The discretionary power of the crown in the formation of ministry, abused by bad or weak men, has given rise to a system, which, without directly violating the letter of any law, operates against the spirit of the whole constitution.

A PLAN of favouritism for our executory go|vernment is essentially at variance with the plan of our legislature. One great end undoubtedly of a mixed government like ours, composed of mo|narchy, and of controuls, on the part of the higher people, and the lower, is that the prince shall not be able to violate the laws. This is useful indeed and fundamental. But this, even at first view, is no more than a negative advantage; an armour merely defensive. It is therefore next in order, and equal in importance, that the discretionary powers which are necessarily vested in the monarch, whether for the execution of the laws, or for the no|mination to magistracy and office, or for conducting the affairs of peace and war, or for ordering the revenue, should all be exercised upon public principles and na|tional grounds, and not on the likings or prejudices, the intrigues or policies, of a court. This, I said, is Page  195 equal in importance to the securing a government according to law. The laws reach but a very little way. Constitute government how you please, infinitely the greater part of it must depend upon the exercise of the powers which are left at large to the prudence and uprightness of ministers of state. Even all the use and potency of the laws depends upon them. Without them, your com|monwealth is no better than a scheme upon paper; and not a living, acting, effective constitution. It is possible, that through negligence, or ignorance, or design artfully conducted, ministers may suffer one part of government to languish, another to be perverted from its purposes, and every valuable interest of the country to fall into ruin and decay, without possibility of fixing any single act on which a criminal prosecution can be justly grounded. The due arrangement of men in the active part of the state, far from being foreign to the purposes of a wise government, ought to be among its very first and dearest objects. When, therefore, the abettors of the new system tell us, that be|tween them and their opposers there is nothing but a struggle for power, and that therefore we are no-ways concerned in it; we must tell those who have the impudence to insult us in this manner, that of all things we ought to be the most con|cerned, who and what sort of men they are, that hold the trust of every thing that is dear to us. Nothing can render this a point of indifference to the nation, but what must either render us totally desperate, or soothe us into the security of idiots. We must soften into a credulity below the milkiness of infancy, to think all men virtuous. We must be tainted with a malignity truly diabolical, to be|lieve all the world to be equally wicked and cor|rupt. Men are in public life as in private, some good, some evil. The elevation of the one, and Page  196 the depression of the other, are the first objects of all true policy. But that form of government, which, neither in its direct institutions, nor in their immediate tendency, has contrived to throw its affairs into the most trust-worthy hands, but has left its whole executory system to be disposed of agreeably to the uncontrouled pleasure of any one man, however excellent or virtuous, is a plan of polity defective not only in that member, but con|sequentially erroneous in every part of it.

IN arbitrary governments, the constitution of the ministry follows the constitution of the legisla|ture. Both the law and the magistrate are the creatures of will. It must be so. Nothing, indeed, will appear more certain, on any tolerable consi|deration of this matter, than that every sort of go|vernment ought to have its administration correspondent to its legislature. If it should be otherwise, things must fall into an hideous disorder. The people of a free commonwealth, who have taken such care that their laws should be the result of general con|sent, cannot be so senseless as to suffer their ex|ecutory system to be composed of persons on whom they have no dependence, and whom no proofs of the public love and confidence have recommended to those powers, upon the use of which the very being of the state depends.

THE popular election of magistrates, and po|pular disposition of rewards and honours, is one of the first advantages of a free state. Without it, or something equivalent to it, perhaps the people cannot long enjoy the substance of freedom; cer|tainly none of the vivifying energy of good go|vernment. The frame of our commonwealth did not admit of such an actual election: but it pro|vided as well, and (while the spirit of the constitu|tion is preserved) better for all the effects of it than Page  197 by the method of suffrage in any democratic state whatsoever. It had always, until of late, been held the first duty of parliament, to refuse to sup|port government, until power was in the hands of per|sons who were acceptable to the people, or while fac|tions predominated in the court in which the nation had no confidence. Thus all the good effects of popular election were supposed to be secured to us, without the mischiefs attending on perpetual intrigue, and a distinct canvass for every particular office through|out the body of the people. This was the most noble and refined part of our constitution. The people, by their representatives and grandees, were intrusted with a deliberative power in making laws; the king with the controul of his negative. The king was intrusted with the deliberative choice and the election to office; the people had the nega|tive in a parliamentary refusal to support. For|merly this power of controul was what kept mi|nisters in awe of parliaments, and parliaments in reverence with the people. If the use of this power of controul on the system and persons of admini|stration is gone, every thing is lost, parliament and all. We may assure ourselves, that if parlia|ment will tamely see evil men take possession of all the strong-holds of their country, and allow them time and means to fortify themselves, under a pretence of giving them a fair trial, and upon a hope of discovering, whether they will not be re|formed by power, and whether their measures will not be better than their morals; such a parliament will give countenance to their measures also, what|ever that parliament may pretend, and whatever those measures may be.

EVERY good political institution must have a preventive operation as well as a remedial. It ought to have a natural tendency to exclude bad men Page  198 from government, and not to trust for the safety of the state to subsequent punishment alone: punish|ment, which has ever been tardy and uncertain; and which, when power is suffered in bad hands, may chance to fall rather on the injured than the criminal.

BEFORE men are put forward into the great trusts of the state, they ought by their conduct to have obtained such a degree of estimation in their country, as may be some sort of pledge and securi|to the public, that they will not abuse those trusts. It is no mean security for a proper use of power, that a man has shewn by the general tenor of his ac|tions, that the affection, the good opinion, the con|fidence, of his fellow citizens have been among the principal objects of his life; and that he has owed none of the gradations of his power or fortune to a settled contempt, or occasional forfeiture of their esteem.

THAT man who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends, or who losing it has no friends to to sympathize with him; he who has no sway among any part of the landed or commercial inte|rest, but whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it; is a person who ought never to be suffered by a controuling parliament to continue in any of those situations which confer the lead and direction of all our pub|lic affairs; because such a man has no connexion with the interest of the people.

THOSE knots or cabals of men who have got to|gether, avowedly without any public principle, in order to sell their conjunct iniquity at the higher rate, and are therefore universally odious, ought never to be suffered to domineer in the state; be|cause Page  199 they have no connexion with the sentiments and opinions of the people.

THESE are considerations which in my opinion enforce the necessity of having some better reason, in a free country, and a free parliament, for sup|porting the ministers of the crown, than that short one, That the King has thought proper to appoint them. There is something very courtly in this. But it is a principle pregnant with all sorts of mischief, in a constitution like ours, to turn the views of active men from the country to the court. Whatever be the road to power, that is the road which will be trod. If the opinion of the country be of no use as a means of power or consideration, the qualities which usually procure that opinion will be no longer cultivated. And whether it will be right, in a state so popular in its constitution as ours, to leave ambi|tion without popular motives, and to trust all to the operation of pure virtue in the minds of kings and ministers, and public men, must be submitted to the judgment and good sense of the people of Eng|land.

CUNNING men are here apt to break in, and, without directly controverting the principle, to raise objections from the difficulty under which the sove|reign labours, to distinguish the genuine voice and sentiments of his people, from the clamour of a fac|tion, by which it is so easily counterfeited. The nation, they say, is generally divided into parties, with views and passions, utterly irreconcilable. If the king should put his affairs into the hands of any one of them, he is sure to disgust the rest; if he se|lect particular men from among them all, it is an hazard that he disgusts them all. Those who are left out, however divided before, will soon run into a body of opposition; which, being a collection of many discontents into one focus, will without Page  200 doubt be hot and violent enough. Faction will make its cries resound through the nation, as if the whole were in an uproar, when by far the majority, and much the better part, will seem for a while as it were annihilated by the quiet in which their virtue and moderation incline them to enjoy the blessings of government. Besides that the opinion of the meer vulgar is a miserable rule even with regard to themselves, on account of their violence and insta|bility. So that if you were to gratify them in their humour to-day, that very gratification would be a ground of their dissatisfaction on the next. Now as all these rules of public opinion are to be collect|ed with great difficulty, and to be applied with equal uncertainty as to the effect, what better can a king of England do, than to employ such men as he finds to have views and inclinations most con|formable to his own; who are at least infected with pride and self-will, and who are least moved by such popular humours as are perpetually traversing his designs, and disturbing his service; trusting that, when he means no ill to his people, he will be sup|ported in his appointments, whether he choses to keep or to change, as his private judgment or his pleasure leads him? He will find a sure resource in the real weight and influence of the crown, when it is not suffered to become an instrument in the hands of a faction.

I WILL not pretend to say that there is nothing at all in this mode of reasoning; because I will not assert, that there is no difficulty in the art of govern|ment. Undoubtedly the very best administration must encounter a great deal of opposition; and the very worst will find more support than it deserves. Sufficient appearances will never be wanting to those who have a mind to deceive themselves. It is a fallacy in constant use with those who would level Page  201 all things, and confound right with wrong, to insist upon the inconveniencies which are attached to eve|ry choice, without taking into consideration the dif|ferent weight and consequence of those inconveni|encies. The question is not concerning absolute discontent or perfect satisfaction in government; neither of which can be pure and unmixed at any time, or upon any system. The controversy is about that degree of good humour in the people, which may possibly be attained, and ought certain|ly to be looked for. While some politicians may be waiting to know whether the sense of every in|dividual be against them, accurately distinguishing the vulgar from the better sort, drawing lines be|tween the enterprizes of a faction and the efforts of a people, they may chance to see the government, which they are so nicely weighing, and dividing, and distinguishing, tumble to the ground in the midst of their wise deliberation. Prudent men, when so great an object as the security of govern|ment, or even its peace, is at stake, will not run the risk of a decision which may be fatal to it. They who can read the political sky will see an hurricane in a cloud no bigger than an hand at the very edge of the horizon, and will run into the first harbour. No lines can be laid down for civil or political wis|dom. They are a matter incapable of exact defini|tion. But, though no man can draw a stroke be|tween the confines of day and night, yet light and darkness are upon the whole tolerably distinguisha|ble. Nor will it be impossible for a prince to find out such a mode of government, and such persons to administer it, as will give a great degree of con|tent to his people; without any curious and anxious research for that abstract, universal, perfect harmo|ny, which while he is seeking, he abandons those means of ordinary tranquillity which are in his power without any research at all.

Page  202IT is not more the duty than it is the interest of a prince, to aim at giving tranquillity to his govern|ment. But those who advise him may have an in|terest in disorder and confusion. If the opinion of the people is against them, they will naturally wish that it should have no prevalence. Here it is that the people must on their part shew themselves sen|sible of their own value. Their whole importance, in the first instance, and afterwards their whole free|dom, is at stake. Their freedom cannot long sur|vive their importance. Here it is that the natural strength of the kingdom, the great peers, the lead|ing landed gentlemen, the opulent merchants and manufacturers, the substantial yeomanry, must in|terpose, to rescue their prince, themselves, and their posterity.

WE are at present at issue upon this point. We are in the great crisis of this contention; and the part which men take one way or other, will serve to discriminate their characters and their principles. Until the matter is decided, the country will remain in its present confusion. For while a system of ad|ministration is attempted, entirely repugnant to the genius of the people, and not conformable to the plan of their government, every thing must neces|sarily be disordered for a time, until this system de|stroys the constitution, or the constitution gets the the better of this system.

THERE is, in my opinion, a peculiar venom and malignity in this political distemper beyond any that I have heard or read of. In former times the projectors of arbitrary government attacked only the liberties of their country; a design surely mischievous enough to have satisfied a mind of the most unruly ambition. But a system unfavourable to freedom may be so formed, as considerably to exalt the grandeur of the state; and men may find Page  203 in the pride and splendor of that prosperity some sort of consolation for the loss of their solid pri|vileges. Indeed the increase of the power of the state has often been urged by artful men, as a pre|text for some abridgment of the public liberty. But the scheme of the junto under consideration, not only strikes a palsy into every nerve of our free constitution, but in the same degree benumbs and stupifies the whole executive power; rendering government in all its grand operations languid, un|certain, ineffective; making ministers fearful of attempting, and incapable of executing, any use|ful plan of domestic arrangement, or of foreign po|litics. It tends to produce neither the security of a free government, nor the energy of a monarchy that is absolute. Accordingly the crown has dwindled away, in proportion to the unnatural and turgid growth of this excrescence on the court.

THE interior ministry are sensible, that war is a situation which sets in its full light the value of the hearts of a people; and they well know, that the beginning of the importance of the people must be the end of theirs. For this reason they discover upon all occasions the utmost fear of every thing, which by possibility may lead to such an event. I do not mean that they manifest any of that pious fear which is backward to commit the safety of the country to the dubious experiment of war. Such a fear, being the tender sensation of virtue, excited, as it is regulated, by reason, frequently shews itself in a seasonable boldness, which keeps danger at a distance, by seeming to despise it. Their fear be|trays to the first glance of the eye, its true cause, and its real object. Foreign powers, confident in the knowledge of their character, have not scrupled to violate the most solemn treaties; and, in defiance Page  204 of them, to make conquests in the midst of a ge|neral peace, and in the heart of Europe. Such was the conquest of Corsica, by the professed enemies of the freedom of mankind, in defiance of those who were formerly its professed defenders. We have had just claims upon the same powers; rights which ought to have been sacred to them as well as to us, as they had their origin in our lenity and generosity towards France and Spain in the day of their great humiliation. Such I call the ransom of Manilla, and the demand on France for the East India prisoners. But these powers put a just con|fidence in their resource of the double cabinet. These demands (one of them at least) are hastening fast towards an acquittal by prescription. Oblivion begins to spread her cobwebs over all our spirited remonstrances. Some of the most valuable branches of our trade are also on the point of perishing from the same cause. I do not mean those branches which bear without the hand of the vine-dresser; I mean those which the policy of treaties had formerly secured to us; I mean to mark and distinguish the trade of Portugal, the loss of which, and the power of the cabal, have one and the same aera.

IF, by any chance, the ministers who stand be|fore the curtain possess or affect any spirit, it makes little or no impression. Foreign courts and mi|nisters, who were among the first to discover and to profit by this invention of the double cabinet, at|tend very little to their remonstrances. They know that those shadows of ministers have nothing to do in the ultimate disposal of things. Jealousies and animosities are sedulously nourished in the outward administration, and have been even considered as a causa sine qua non in its constitution: thence foreign courts have a certainty, that nothing can be done by common counsel in this nation. If one of those Page  205 ministers officially takes up a business with spirit, it serves only the better to signalize the meanness of the rest, and the discord of them all. His collegues in office are in haste to shake them off, and to dis|claim the whole of his proceedings. Of this nature was that astonishing transaction, in which lord Rochford, our ambassador at Paris, remonstrated against the attempt upon Corsica, in consequence of a direct authority from lord Shelburne. This re|monstrance the French minister treated with the contempt that was natural; as he was assured, from the ambassador of his court to ours, that these or|ders of lord Shelburne were not supported by the rest of the (I had like to have said British) admini|stration. Lord Rochford, a man of spirit, could not endure this situation. The consequences were, however, curious. He returns from Paris, and comes home full of anger. Lord Shelburne, who gave the orders, is obliged to give up the seals. Lord Rochford, who obeyed these orders, receives them. He goes, however, into another depart|ment of the same office, that he might not be obliged officially to acquiesce in one situation under what he had officially remonstrated against in ano|ther. At Paris, the duke of Choiseul considered this office arrangement as a compliment to him: here it was spoke of as an attention to the delicacy of lord Rochford. But whether the compliment was to one or both, to this nation it was the same. By this transaction the condition of our court lay exposed in all its nakedness. Our office corre|spondence has lost all pretence to authenticity; British policy is brought into derision in those na|tions, that a while ago trembled at the power of our arms, whilst they looked up with confidence to the equity, firmness, and candour, which shone in all our negociations. I represent this matter ex|actly Page  206 in the light in which it has been universally received.

SUCH has been the aspect of our foreign politics, under the influence of a double cabinet. With such an arrangement at court, it is impossible it should have been otherwise. Nor is it possible that this scheme should have a better effect upon the go|vernment of our dependencies, the first, the dearest, and most delicate objects, of the interior policy of this empire. The colonies know, that administra|tion is separated from the court, divided within it|self, and detested by the nation. The double cabinet has, in both the parts of it, shewn the most malig|nant dispositions towards them, without being able to do them the smallest mischief.

THEY are convinced, by sufficient experience, that no plan, either of lenity or rigour, can be pursued with uniformity and perseverance. There|fore they turn their eyes entirely from Great Bri|tain, where they have neither dependence on friendship, nor apprehension from enmity. They look to themselves, and their own arrangements. They grow every day into alienation from this country; and whilst they are becoming discon|nected with our government, we have not the con|solation to find, that they are even friendly in their new independence. Nothing can equal the fu|tility, the weakness, the rashness, the timidity, the perpetual contradiction, in the management of our affairs in that part of the world. A volume might be written on this melancholy subject; but it were better to leave it entirely to the reflexions of the reader himself than not to treat it in the extent it deserves.

IN what manner our domestic oeconomy is af|fected by this system, it is needless to explain. It is the perpetual subject of their own complaints.

Page  207THE court party resolve the whole into faction. Having said something before upon this subject, I shall only observe here, that when they give this account of the prevalence of faction, they present no very favourable aspect of the confidence of the people in their own government. They may be as|sured, that however they amuse themselves with a variety of projects for substituting something else in the place of that great and only foundation of go|vernment, the confidence of the people, every at|tempt will but make their condition worse. When men imagine that their food is only a cover for poi|son, and when they neither love nor trust the hand that serves it, it is not the name of the roast beef of old England, that will persuade them to sit down to the table that is spread for them. When the people conceive that laws, and tribunals, and even even popular assemblies, are perverted from the ends of their institution, they find in those names of degenerated establishments only new motives to discontent. Those bodies, which, when full of life and beauty, lay in their arms, and were their joy and comfort, when dead and putrid, become but the more loathsome from remembrance of for|mer endearments. A sullen gloom, and furious disorder, prevail by fits; the nation loses its relish for peace and prosperity, as it did in that season of fulness which opened our troubles in the time of Charles the first. A species of men to whom a state of order would become a sentence of obscurity, are nourished into a dangerous magnitude by the heat of intestine disturbances; and it is no wonder that, by a sort of sinister piety, they cherish, in their turn, the disorders which are the parents of all their consequence. Superficial observers consider such persons as the cause of the public uneasiness, when, in truth, they are nothing more than the effect of it. Good men look upon this distracted scene Page  208 with sorrow and indignation. Their hands are tied behind them. They are despoiled of all the power which might enable them to reconcile the strength of government with the rights of the people. They stand in a most distressing alternative. But in the election among evils they hope better things from temporary confusion, than from established servi|tude. In the mean time, the voice of law is not to be heard. Fierce licentiousness begets violent restraints. The military arm is the sole reliance; and then, call your constitution what you please, it is the sword that governs. The civil power, like every other that calls in the aid of an ally stronger than itself, perishes by the assistance it receives. But the contrivers of this scheme of government will not trust solely to the military power; because they are cunning men. Their restless and crooked spirit drives them to rake in the dirt of every kind of expedient. Unable to rule the multitude, they endeavour to raise divisions amongst them. One mob is hired to destroy another; a procedure which at once encourages the boldness of the populace, and justly increases their discontent. Men become pensioners of state on account of their abilities in the array of riot, and the discipline of confusion. Government is put under the disgraceful necessity of protecting from the severity of the laws that very licentiousness, which the laws had been before vi|olated to repress. Every thing partakes of the ori|ginal disorder. Anarchy predominates without freedom, and servitude without submission or sub|ordination. These are the consequences inevi|table to our public peace, from the scheme of ren|dering the executory government at once odious and feeble; of freeing administration from the con|stitutional and salutary controul of parliament, and inventing for it a new controul, unknown to the constitution, an interior cabinet; which brings the Page  209 whole body of government into confusion and contempt.

AFTER having stated, as shortly as I am able, the effects of this system on our foreign affairs, on the policy of our government with regard to our dependencies, and on the interior oeconomy of the commonwealth; there remains only, in this part of my design, to say something of the grand principle which first recommended this system at court. The pretence was, to prevent the king from being en|slaved by a faction, and made a prisoner in his clo|set. This scheme might have been expected to answer at least its own end, and to indemnify the king, in his personal capacity, for all the confusion into which it has thrown his government. But has it in reality answered this purpose? I am sure, if it had, every affectionate subject would have one mo|tive for enduring with patience all the evils which attend it.

IN order to come at the truth in this matter, it may not be amiss to consider it somewhat in detail. I speak here of the king, and not of the crown; the interests of which we have already touched. Inde|pendent of that greatness which a king possesses merely by being a representative of the national dignity, the things in which he may have an indi|vidual interest seem to be these: wealth accumu|lated; wealth spent in magnificence, pleasure, or beneficence; personal respect and attention; and above all, private ease and repose of mind. These compose the inventory of prosperous circumstances, whether they regard a prince or a subject; their en|joyments differing only in the scale upon which they are formed.

SUPPOSE then we were to ask, whether the king has been richer than his predecessors in accumulat|ed Page  210 wealth, since the establishment of the plan of fa|vouritism? I believe it will be found that the pic|ture of royal indigence which our court has pre|sented until this year, has been truly humiliating. Nor has it been relieved from this unseemly distress, but by means which have hazarded the affection of the people, and shaken their confidence in parlia|ment. If the public treasures had been exhausted in magnificence and splendour, this distress would have been accounted for, and in some measure jus|tified. Nothing would be more unworthy of this nation, than with a mean and mechanical rule, to mete out the splendour of the crown. Indeed I have found very few persons disposed to so ungene|rous a procedure. But the generality of people, it must be confessed, do feel a good deal mortified, when they compare the wants of the court with its expences. They do not behold the cause of this distress in any part of the apparatus of royal mag|nificence. In all this, they see nothing but the operations of parsimony, attended with all the con|sequences of profusion. Nothing expended, no|thing saved. Their wonder is increased by their knowledge, that besides the revenue settled on his majesty's civil list to the amount of 800,000 l. a year, he has a farther aid, from a large pension list, near 90,000 l. a year, in Ireland; from the produce of the dutchy of Lancaster (which we are told has been greatly improved); from the revenue of the dutchy of Cornwall; from the American quit-rents; from the four and a half per cent. duty in the Lee|ward Islands; this last worth to be sure considerably more than 40,000 l. a year. The whole is certain|ly not much short of a million annually.

THESE are revenues within the knowledge and cognizance of our national councils. We have no direct right to examine into the receipts from his Page  211 majesty's German dominions, and the bishopric of Osnabrug. This is unquestionably true. But that which is not within the province of parliament, is yet within the sphere of every man's own reflection. If a foreign prince resided amongst us, the state of his revenues could not fail of becoming the subject of our speculation. Filled with an anxious concern for whatever regards the welfare of our sovereign, it is impossible, in considering the miserable circum|stances into which he has been brought, that this obvious topic should be entirely passed over. There is an opinion universal, that these revenues produce something not inconsiderable, clear of all charges and establishments. This produce the people do not believe to be hoarded, nor perceive to be spent. It is accounted for in the only manner it can, by supposing that it is drawn away, for the support of that court faction, which, whilst it distresses the na|tion, impoverishes the prince in every one of his re|sources. I once more caution the reader, that I do not urge this consideration concerning the foreign revenue, as if I supposed we had a direct right to examine into the expenditure of any part of it; but solely for the purpose of shewing how little this sys|tem of favouritism has been advantageous to the monarch himself; which, without magnificence, has sunk him into a state of unnatural poverty; at the same time that he possessed every means of af|fluence, from ample revenues, both in this country, and in other parts of his dominions.

HAS this system provided better for the treat|ment becoming his high and sacred character, and secured the king from those disgusts attached to the necessity of employing men who are not personally agreeable? This is a topic upon which for many reasons I could wish to be silent; but the pretence of securing against such causes of uneasiness, is the Page  212 corner-stone of the court party. It has however so happened, that if I were to fix upon any one point, in which this system has been more particularly and shamefully blameable, the effects which it has pro|duced would justify me in choosing for that point its tendency to degrade the personal dignity of the sovereign, and to expose him to a thousand contra|dictions and mortifications. It is but too evident in what manner these projectors of royal greatness have fulfilled all their magnificent promises. Without recapitulating all the circumstances of the reign, every one of which is more or less a melancholy proof of the truth of what I have advanced, let us consider the language of the court but a few years ago, concerning most of the persons now in the ex|ternal administration: let me ask, whether any ene|my to the personal feelings of the sovereign, could possibly contrive a keener instrument of mortificati|on, and degradation of all dignity, than almost eve|ry part and member of the present arrangement? nor, in the whole course of our history, has any compliance with the will of the people ever been known to extort from any prince a greater contra|diction to all his own declared affections and dis|likes than that which is now adopted, in direct op|position to every thing the people approve and desire.

AN opinion prevails, that greatness has been more than once advised to submit to certain conde|scensions towards individuals, which have been de|nied to the entreaties of a nation. For the meanest and most dependent instrument of this system knows, that there are hours when its existence may depend upon his adherence to it; and he takes his advantage accordingly. Indeed it is a law of na|ture, that whoever is necessary to what we have made our object, is sure in some way, or in some Page  213 time or other, to become our master. All this how|ever is submitted to, in order to avoid that mons|trous evil of governing in concurrence with the opinion of the people. For it seems to be laid down as a maxim, that a king has some sort of interest in giving uneasiness to his subjects: that all who are pleasing to them, are to be of course disagreeable to him: that as soon as the persons who are odious at court are known to be odious to the people, it is snatched at as a lucky occasion of showering down upon them all kinds of emoluments and honours. None are considered as well-wishers to the crown, but those who advise to some unpopular course of action; none capable of serving it, but those who are obliged to call at every instant upon all its pow|er for the safety of their lives. None are supposed to be fit priests in the temple of government, but the persons who are compelled to fly into it for sanc|tuary. Such is the effect of this refined project; such is ever the result of all the contrivances which are used to free men from the servitude of their reason, and from the necessity of ordering their af|fairs according to their evident interests. These contrivances oblige them to run into a real and ruinous servitude, in order to avoid a supposed re|straint that might be attended with advantage.

IF therefore this system has so ill answered its own grand pretence of saving the king from the necessity of employing persons disagreeable to him, has it given more peace and tranquillity to his ma|jesty's private hours? No, most certainly. The fa|ther of his people cannot possibly enjoy repose, while his family is in such a state of distraction. Then what has the crown or the king profited by all this fine-wrought scheme? Is he more rich, or more splendid, or more powerful, or more at his ease, by so many labours and contrivances? Have Page  214 they not beggared his Exchequer, tarnished the splendour of his court, sunk his dignity, galled his feelings, discomposed the whole order and happi|ness of his private life?

IT will be very hard, I believe, to state in what respect the king has profited by that faction which presumptuously choose to call themselves his friends.

IF particular men had grown into an attachment, by the distinguished honour of the society of their sovereign; and, by being the partakers of his amusements, came sometimes to prefer the gratifi|cation of his personal inclinations to the support of his high character, the thing would be very natural, and it would be excusable enough. But the plea|sant part of the story is, that these King's friends have no more ground for usurping such a title, than a resident freeholder in Cumberland or in Cornwall. They are only known to their sovereign by kissing his hand, for the offices, pensions, and grants, into which they have deceived his benignity. May no storm ever come, which will put the firmness of their attachment to the proof; and which, in the midst of confusions, and terrors, and sufferings, may demonstrate the eternal difference between a true and severe friend to the monarchy, and a slip|pery sycophant of the court! Quantum infido scurrae distabit amicus.

SO far I have considered the effect of the court system, chiefly as it operates upon the executive government, on the temper of the people, and on the happiness of the sovereign. It remains, that we should consider, with a little attention, its ope|ration upon parliament.

PARLIAMENT was indeed the great object of all these politics, the end at which they aimed, as well as the instrument by which they were to operate. Page  215 But, before parliament could be made subservient to a system, by which it was to be degraded from the dignity of a national council, into a mere member of the court, it must be greatly changed from its original character.

IN speaking of this body, I have my eye chiefly on the house of commons. I hope I shall be in|dulged in a few observations on the nature and cha|racter of that assembly; not with regard to its legal form and power, but to its spirit, and to the purposes it is meant to answer in the constitution.

THE house of commons was supposed originally to be no part of the standing government of this country. It was considered as a controul, issuing immediately from the people, and speedily to be resolved into the mass from whence it arose. In this respect it was in the higher part of government what juries are in the lower. The capacity of a magistrate being transitory, and that of a citizen permanent, the latter capacity it was hoped would of course preponderate in all discussions, not only between the people and the standing authority of the crown, but between the people and the fleet|ing authority of the house of commons itself. It was hoped that, being of a middle nature between subject and government, they would feel with a more tender and a nearer interest every thing that concerned the people, than the other remoter and more permanent parts of legislature.

WHATEVER alterations time and the necessary accommodation of business may have introduced, this character can never be sustained, unless the house of commons shall be made to bear some stamp of the actual disposition of the people at large. It would (among public misfortunes) be an evil more natural and tolerable, that the house Page  216 of commons should be infected with every epide|mical phrensy of the people, as this would indicate some consanguinity, some sympathy of nature with their constituents, than that they should in all cases be wholly untouched by the opinions and feelings of the people out of doors. By this want of sym|pathy they would cease to be an house of com|mons. For it is not the derivation of the power of that house from the people, which makes it in a distinct sense their representative. The king is the representative of the people; so are the lords; so are the judges. They all are trustees for the peo|ple, as well as the commons; because no power is given for the sole sake of the holder; and although government certainly is an institution of divine authority, yet its forms, and the persons who ad|minister it, all originate from the people.

A POPULAR origin cannot therefore be the cha|racteristical distinction of a popular representative. This belongs equally to all parts of government, and in all forms. The virtue, spirit, and essence of a house of commons consists in its being the express image of the feelings of the nation. It was not instituted to be a controul upon the peo|ple, as of late it has been taught, by a doctrine of the most pernicious tendency. It was designed as a controul for the people. Other institutions have been formed for the purpose of checking popular excesses; and they are, I apprehend, fully ade|quate to their object. If not, they ought to be made so. The house of commons, as it was never intended for the support of peace and subordina|tion, is miserably appointed for that service; hav|ing no stronger weapon than its mace, and no better officer than its serjeant at arms, which it can command of its own proper authority. A vigilant and jealous eye over executory and judicial ma|gistracy; Page  217 an anxious care of public money, an openness, approaching towards facility, to public complaint: these seem to be the true characteristics of an house of commons. But an addressing house of commons, and a petitioning nation; an house of commons full of confidence, when the nation is plunged in despair; in the utmost harmony with ministers, whom the people regard with the utmost abhorrence; who vote thanks, when the public opinion calls upon them for impeachments; who are eager to grant, when the general voice de|mands account; who, in all disputes between the people and administration, presume against the people; who punish their disorders, but refuse even to enquire into the provocations to them; this is an unnatural, a monstrous state of things in this con|stitution. Such an assembly may be a great, wise, aweful senate; but it is not to any popular purpose an house of commons. This change from an im|mediate state of procuration and delegation to a course of acting as from original power, is the way in which all the popular magistracies in the world have been perverted from their purposes. It is indeed their greatest and sometimes their in|curable corruption. For there is a material dis|tinction between that corruption by which particu|lar points are carried against reason, (this is a thing which cannot be prevented by human wisdom, and is of less consequence) and the corruption of the principle itself. For then the evil is not accidental, but settled. The distemper becomes the natural habit.

FOR my part, I shall be compelled to conclude the principle of parliament to be totally corrupted, and therefore its ends entirely defeated, when I see two symptoms: first, a rule of indiscriminate support to all ministers; because this destroys the Page  218 very end of parliament as a controul, and is a ge|neral previous sanction to misgovernment: and se|condly, the setting up any claims adverse to the right of free election; for this tends to subvert the legal authority by which the house of commons sits.

I KNOW that, since the Revolution, along with many dangerous, many useful powers of govern|ment have been weakened. It is absolutely neces|sary to have frequent recourse to the legislature. Parliaments must therefore sit every year, and for great part of the year. The dreadful disorders of frequent elections have also necessitated a septen|nial instead of a triennial duration. These circum|stances, I mean the constant habit of authority, and the unfrequency of elections, have tended very much to draw the house of commons to|wards the character of a standing senate. It is a disorder which has arisen from the cure of greater disorders; it has arisen from the extreme difficulty of reconciling liberty under a monarchical govern|ment, with external strength and with internal tranquillity.

IT is very clear that we cannot free ourselves entirely from this great inconvenience; but I would not increase an evil, because I was not able to remove it; and because it was not in my power to keep the house of commons religiously true to its first principles, I would not argue for carrying it to a total oblivion of them. This has been the great scheme of power in our time. They who will not conform their conduct to the public good, and cannot support it by the prerogative of the crown, have adopted a new plan. They have to|tally abandoned the shattered and old-fashioned fortress of prerogative, and made a lodgement in the strong-hold of parliament itself. If they have Page  219 any evil design to which there is no ordinary legal power commensurate, they bring it into parlia|ment. In parliament the whole is executed from the beginning to the end. In parliament the power of obtaining their object is absolute; and the safety in the proceeding perfect; no rules to confine, no after reckonings to terrify. Parlia|ment cannot with any great propriety punish others, for things in which they themselves have been accomplices. Thus the controul of parlia|ment upon the executory power is lost; because parliament is made to partake in every considerable act of government. Impeachment, that great guar|dian of the purity of the constitution, is in danger of being lost, even to the idea of it.

BY this plan several important ends are answer|ed to the cabal. If the authority of parliament supports itself, the credit of every act of govern|ment which they contrive, is saved; but if the act be so very odious that the whole strength of parlia|ment is insufficient to recommend it, then parlia|ment is itself discredited; and this discredit in|creases more and more that indifference to the constitution, which it is the constant aim of its enemies, by their abuse of parliamentary powers, to render general among the people. Whenever parliament is persuaded to assume the offices of executive government, it will lose all the confi|dence, love, and veneration, which it has ever en|joyed whilst it was supposed the corrective and con|troul of the acting powers of the state. This would be the event, though its conduct in such a perver|sion of its functions should be tolerably just and moderate; but if it should be iniquitous, violent, full of passion, and full of faction, it would be considered as the most intolerable of all the modes of tyranny.

Page  220FOR a considerable time this separation of the representatives from their constituents went on with a silent progress; and had those, who con|ducted the plan for their total separation, been persons of temper and abilities any way equal to the magnitude of their design, the success would have been infallible: but by their precipitancy they have laid it open in all its nakedness; the nation is alarmed at it; and the event may not be pleasant to the contrivers of the scheme. In the last session, the corps called the king's friends made an hardy attempt all at once, to alter the right of election it|self; to put it into the power of the house of com|mons to disable any person disagreeable to them from sitting in parliament, without any other rule than their own pleasure; to make incapacities, either general for descriptions of men, or particular for individuals; and to take into their body, per|sons who avowedly had never been chosen by the majority of legal electors, nor agreeably to any known rule of law.

THE arguments upon which this claim was founded and combated, are not my business here. Never has a subject been more amply and more learnedly handled, nor upon one side in my opi|nion more satisfactorily; they who are not convinc|ed by what is already written would not receive conviction though one arose from the dead.

I TOO have thought on this subject: but my purpose here, is only to consider it as a part of the favourite project of government; to observe on the motives which led to it; and to trace its poli|tical consequences.

A VIOLENT rage for the punishment of Mr. Wilkes was the pretence of the whole. This gen|tleman, by setting himself strongly in opposition Page  221 to the court cabal, had become at once an object of their persecution, and of the popular favour. The hatred of the court party pursuing, and the countenance of the people protecting him, it very soon became not at all a question on the man, but a trial of strength between the two parties. The advantage of the victory in this particular contest was the present, but not the only, nor by any means the principal, object. Its operation upon the character of the house of commons was the great point in view. The point to be gained by the cabal was this; that a precedent should be esta|blished, tending to shew, That the favour of the people was not so sure a road as the favour of the court even to popular honours and popular trusts. A stre|nuous resistance to every appearance of lawless power: a spirit of independence carried to some degree of enthusiasm; an inquisitive character to discover, and a bold one to display, every corrup|tion and every error of government; these are the qualities which recommend a man to a seat in the house of commons, in open and merely popular elections. An indolent and submissive disposition; a disposition to think charitably of all the actions of men in power, and to live in a mutual inter|course of favours with them; an inclination rather to countenance a strong use of authority, than to bear any sort of licentiousness on the part of the people; these are unfavourable qualities in an open election for members of parliament.

THE instinct which carries the people towards the choice of the former, is justified by reason; because a man of such a character, even in its exorbitancies, does not directly contradict the purposes of a trust, the end of which is a controul on power. The latter character, even when it is not in its extreme, will execute this trust but very Page  222 imperfectly; and, if deviating to the least excess, will certainly frustrate instead of forwarding the purposes of a controul on government. But when the house of commons was to be new modelled, this principle was not only to be changed, but re|versed. Whilst any errors committed in support of power were left to the law, with every advan|tage of favourable construction, or mitigation, and finally of pardon; all excesses on the side of li|berty, or in pursuit of popular favour, or in de|fence of popular rights and privileges, were not only to be punished by the rigour of the known law, but by a discretionary proceeding which brought on the loss of the popular object itself. Popularity was to be rendered, if not directly penal, at least highly dangerous. The favour of the people might lead even to a disqualification of represent|ing them. Their odium might become, strained through the medium of two or three constructions, the means of sitting as the trustee of all that was dear to them. This is punishing the offence in the offending part. Until this time, the opinion of the people, through the power of an assembly, still in some sort popular, led to the greatest ho|nours and emoluments in the gift of the crown. Now the principle is reversed; and the favour of the court is the only sure way of obtaining and holding those honours which ought to be in the disposal of the people.

IT signifies very little how this matter may be quibbled away. Example, the only argument of effect in civil life, demonstrates the truth of my proposition. Nothing can alter my opinion con|cerning the pernicious tendency of this example, until I see some man for his indiscretion in the sup|port of power, for his violent and intemperate ser|vility, rendered incapable of sitting in parliament. Page  223 For as it now stands, the fault of overstraining po|pular qualities, and, irregularly if you please, as|serting popular privileges, has led to disqualifica|tion; the opposite fault never has produced the slightest punishment. Resistance to power, has shut the door of the House of Commons to one man; obsequiousness and servility, to none.

NOT that I would encourage popular disorder, or any disorder. But I would leave such offences to the law, to be punished in measure and propor|tion. The laws of this country are for the most part constituted, and wisely so, for the general ends of government, rather than for the preserva|tion of our particular liberties. Whatever therefore is done in support of liberty, by persons not in public trust, or not acting merely in that trust, is liable to be more or less out of the ordinary course of the law; and the law itself is sufficient to ani|madvert upon it with great severity. Nothing in|deed can hinder that severe letter from crushing us, except the temperaments it may receive from a trial by jury. But if the habit prevails of going be|yond the law, and superseding this judicature, of carrying offences, real or supposed, into the legis|lative bodies, who shall establish themselves into courts of criminal equity (so the Star Chamber has been called by lord Bacon), all the evils of the Star Cham|ber are revived. A large and liberal construction in ascertaining offences, and a discretionary power in punishing them, is the idea of criminal equity; which is in truth a monster in jurisprudence. It signifies nothing whether a court for this purpose be a committee of council, or an house of commons, or an house of lords; the liberty of the subject will be equally subverted by it. The true end and pur|pose of that house of parliament which entertains such a jurisdiction will be destroyed by it.

Page  224I WILL not believe, what no other man living believes, that Mr. Wilkes was punished for the in|decency of his publications, or the impiety of his ransacked closet. If he had fallen in a common slaughter of libellers and blasphemers, I could well believe that nothing more was meant than was pretended. But when I see that, for years toge|ther, full as impious, and perhaps more dangerous writings to religion and virtue and order, have not been punished, nor their authors discountenanced; that the most audacious libels on royal majesty have passed without notice; that the most treasonable invectives against the laws, liberties, and constitu|tion of the country, have not met with the slightest animadversion; I must consider this as a shocking and shameless pretence. Never did an envenomed scurrility against every thing sacred and civil, pub|lic and private, rage through the kingdom with such a furious and unbridled licence. All this while the peace of the nation must be shaken, to ruin one libeller, and to tear from the populace a single favourite.

NOR is it that vice merely skulks in an obscure and contemptible impunity. Does not the public behold with indignation, persons not only gene|rally scandalous in their lives, but the identical per|sons who, by their society, their instruction, their example, their encouragement, have drawn this man into the very faults which have furnished the cabal with a pretence for his persecution, loaded with every kind of favour, honour, and distinction, which a court can bestow? Add but the crime of servility (the foedum crimen servitutis) to every other crime, and the whole mass is immediately trans|muted into virtue, and becomes the just subject of reward and honour. When therefore I reflect upon this method pursued by the cabal in distributing Page  225 rewards and punishments, I must conclude that Mr. Wilkes is the object of persecution, not on account of what he has done in common with others who are the objects of reward, but for that in which he differs from many of them: that he is pursued for the spirited dispositions which are blend|ed with his vices; for his unconquerable firmness, for his resolute, indefatigable, strenuous resistance against oppression.

IN this case, therefore, it was not the man that was to be punished, nor his faults that were to be discountenanced. Opposition to acts of power was to be marked by a kind of civil proscription. The popularity which should arise from such an opposi|tion was to be shewn unable to protect it. The qualities by which court is made to the people, were to render every fault inexpiable, and every error irretrievable. The qualities by which court is made to power, were to cover and to sanctify every thing. He that will have a sure and ho|nourable seat in the house of commons, must take care how he adventures to cultivate popular qua|lities; otherwise he may remember the old maxim, Breves et infaustos populi Romani amores. If, there|fore, a pursuit of popularity expose a man to greater dangers than a disposition to servility, the principle which is the life and soul of popular elections will perish out of the constitution.

IT behoves the people of England to consider how the house of commons under the operation of these examples must of necessity be constituted. On the side of the court will be, all honours; offices, emoluments; every sort of personal gra|tification to avarice or vanity; and, what is of more moment to most gentlemen, the means of growing, by innumerable petty services to indi|viduals, into a spreading interest in their country. Page  226 On the other hand, let us suppose a person uncon|nected with the court, and in opposition to its system. For his own person, no office, or emolu|ment, or title; no promotion, ecclesiastical, or civil, or military, or naval, for children, or bro|thers, or kindred. In vain an expiring interest in a borough calls for offices, or small livings, for the children of mayors, and aldermen, and capital burgesses. His court rival has them all. He can do an infinite number of acts of generosity and kindness, and even of public spirit. He can pro|cure indemnity from quarters. He can procure ad|vantages in trade. He can get pardons for offences. He can obtain a thousand favours, and avert a thousand evils. He may, while he betrays every valuable interest of the kingdom, be a benefactor, a patron, a father, a guardian angel, to his bo|rough. The unfortunate independent member has nothing to offer but harsh refusal, or pitiful excuse, or despondent representation of an hopeless interest. Except from his private fortune, in which he may be equalled, perhaps exceeded, by his court com|petitor, he has no way of shewing any one good quality, or of making a single friend. In the house, he votes for ever in a dispirited minority. If he speaks, the doors are locked. A body of loqua|cious place-men go out to tell the world, that all he aims at, is to get into office. If he has not the ta|lent of elocution, which is the case of many as wise and knowing men as any in the house, he is liable to all these inconveniencies, without the eclat which attends upon any tolerably successful exertion of eloquence. Can we receive a more discouraging post of duty than this? Strip it of the poor reward of popularity; suffer even the excesses committed in defence of the popular interest, to become a ground for the majority of that house to form a disqualification out of the line of the law, and at Page  227 their pleasure, attended not only with the loss of the franchise, but with every kind of personal dis|grace.—If this shall happen, the people of this kingdom may be assured that they cannot be firmly or faithfully served by any man. It is out of the nature of men and things that they should; and their presumption will be equal to their folly, if they expect it. The power of the people, within the laws, must shew itself sufficient to protect every representative in the animated performance of his duty, or that duty cannot be performed. The house of commons can never be a controul on other parts of government unless they are con|trouled themselves by their constituents; and un|less these constituents possess some right in the choice of that house, which it is not in the power of that house to take away. If they suffer this power of arbitrary incapacitation to stand, they have ut|terly perverted every other power of the house of commons. The late proceeding, I will not say, is contrary to law; it must be so; for the power which is claimed cannot, by any possibility, be a legal power in any limited member of govern|ment.

THE power which they claim, of declaring in|capacities, would not be above the just claims of a final judicature, if they had not laid it down as a leading principle, that they had no rule in the exercise of this claim, but their own discretion. Not one of their abettors has ever undertaken to assign the principle of unfitness, the species or degree of delinquency, on which the house of commons will expel, nor the mode of proceeding upon it, nor the evidence upon which it is established. The direct consequence of which is, that the first fran|chise of an Englishman, and that on which all the rest vitally depend, is to be forfeited for some Page  228 offence which no man knows, and which is to be proved by no known rule whatsoever of legal evi|dence. This is so anomalous to our whole consti|tution, that I will venture to say, the most trivial right which the subject claims, never was, nor can be, forfeited in such a manner.

THE whole of their usurpation is established upon this method of arguing. We do not make laws. No; we do not contend for this power. We only declare law; and, as we are a tribunal both competent and supreme, what we declare to be law becomes law, although it should not have been so before. Thus the circumstance of having no appeal from their jurisdiction is made to imply that they have no rule in the exercise of it; the judgment does not derive its validity from its con|formity to the law; but preposterously the law is made to attend on the judgment; and the rule of the judgment is no other than the occasional will of the house. An arbitrary discretion leads, legality follows; which is just the very nature and de|scription of a legislative act.

THIS claim in their hands was no barren theory. It was pursued into its utmost consequences; and a dangerous principle has begot a correspondent practice. A systematic spirit has been shewn upon both sides. The electors of Middlesex chose a person whom the house of commons had voted incapable; and the house of commons has taken in a member whom the electors of Middlesex had not chosen. By a construction on that legislative power which had been assumed, they declared that the true legal sense of the county was con|tained in the minority, on that occasion; and might, on a resistance to a vote of incapacity, be contained in any minority.

Page  229WHEN any construction of law goes against the spirit of the privilege it was meant to support, it is a vicious construction. It is material to us to be represented really and bona fide, and not in Forms, in types, and shadows, and fictions of law. The right of election was not established merely as a matter of form, to satisfy some method and rule of technical reasoning; it was not a principle which might substitute a Titius or a Maevius, a John Doe or Richard Roe, in the place of a man specially chosen; not a principle which was just as well satisfied with one man as with another. It is a right, the effect of which is to give to the peo|ple, that man, and that man only, whom by their voices, actually, not constructively given, they declare that they know, esteem, love, and trust. This right is a matter within their own power of judging and feeling; not an ens rationis and crea|ture of law: nor can those devices, by which any thing else is substituted in the place of such an actual choice, answer in the least degree the end of representation.

I KNOW that the courts of law have made as strained constructions in other cases. Such is the construction in common recoveries. The method of construction which in that case gives to the persons in remainder, for their security and repre|sentative, the door-keeper, cryer, or sweeper of the court, or some other shadowy being without substance or effect, is a fiction of a very coarse texture. This was however suffered, by the ac|quiescence of the whole kingdom, for ages; be|cause the evasion of the old statute of Westminster, which authorised perpetuities, had more sense and utility than the law which was evaded. But an attempt to turn the right of election into such a farce and mockery as a fictitious fine and recovery, Page  230 will, I hope, have another fate; because the laws which give it are infinitely dear to us, and the evasion is infinitely contemptible.

THE people indeed have been told, that this power of discretionary disqualification is vested in hands that they may trust, and who will be sure not to abuse it to their prejudice. Until I find something in this argument differing from that on which every mode of despotism has been defended, I shall not be inclined to pay it any great compli|ment. The people are satisfied to trust themselves with the exercise of their own privileges, and do not desire this kind intervention of the house of commons to free them from the burthen. They are certainly in the right. They ought not to trust the house of commons with a power over their fran|chises: because the constitution, which placed two other co-ordinate powers to controul it, reposed no such confidence in that body, It were a folly well deserving servitude for its punishment, to be full of confidence where the laws are full of distrust; and to give to an house of commons, arrogating to its sole resolution the most harsh and odious part of legislative authority, that degree of submission which is due only to the legislature itself.

WHEN the house of commons, in an endeavour to obtain new advantages at the expence of the other orders of the state, for the benefit of the commons at large, have pursued strong measures; if it were not just, it was at least natural, that the constituents should connive at all their proceed|ings; because we were ourselves ultimately to profit. But when this submission is urged to us, in a contest between the representatives and our|selves, and where nothing can be put into their scale which is not taken from ours, they fancy us to be children when they tell us they are our re|presentatives, Page  231 our own flesh and blood, and that all the stripes they give us are for our good. The very desire of that body to have such a trust con|trary to law reposed in them, shews that they are not worthy of it. They certainly will abuse it; because all men possessed of an uncontrouled dis|cretionary power leading to the aggrandisement and profit of their own body have always abused it: and I see no particular sanctity in our times, that is at all likely, by a miraculous operation, to over|rule the course of nature.

BUT we must purposely shut our eyes, if we consider this matter merely as a contest between the house of commons and the electors. The true contest is between the electors of the kingdom and the crown; the crown acting by an instrumental house of commons. It is precisely the same, whe|ther the ministers of the crown can disqualify by a dependent house of commons, or by a dependent court of star chamber, or by a dependent court of king's bench. If once members of parliament can be practically convinced, that they do not depend on the affection or opinion of the people for their political being, they will give themselves over, without even an appearance of reserve, to the influ|ence of the court.

INDEED, a parliament unconnected with the people, is essential to a ministry unconnected with the people; and therefore those who saw through what mighty difficulties the interior ministry waded, and the exterior were dragged, in this business, will conceive of what prodigious importance, the new corps of king's men held this principle of occa|sional and personal incapacitation, to the whole body of their design.

Page  232WHEN the house of commons was thus made to consider itself as the master of its constituents, there wanted but one thing to secure that house against all possible future deviation towards popularity; an unlimited fund of money to be laid out according to the pleasure of the court.

TO compleat the scheme of bringing our court to a resemblance to the neighbouring monarchies, it was necessary, in effect, to destroy those appro|priations of revenue, which seem to limit the pro|perty, as the other laws had done the powers, of the crown. An opportunity for this purpose was taken, upon an application to parliament for pay|ment of the debts of the civil list; which in 1769 had amounted to 513,000 l. Such application had been made upon former occasions; but to do it in the former manner would by no means answer the present purpose.

WHENEVER the crown had come to the com|mons to desire a supply for the discharging of debts due on the civil list; it was always asked and grant|ed with one of the three following qualifications; sometimes with all of them. Either it was stated, that the revenue had been diverted from its pur|poses by parliament: or that those duties had fallen short of the sum for which they were given by parliament, and that the intention of the legislature had not been fulfilled: or that the money required to discharge the civil list debt, was to be raised chargeable on the civil list duties. In the reign of queen Anne, the crown was found in debt. The lessening and granting away some part of her re|venue by parliament was alleged as the cause of that debt, and pleaded as an equitable ground, such it certainly was, for discharging it. It does not appear that the duties which were then applied to the ordinary government produced clear above Page  233 580,000 l. a year; because, when they were after|wards granted to George the first, 120,000 l. was added, to complete the whole to 700,000 l. a year. Indeed it was then asserted, and, I have no doubt, truly, that for many years the net produce did not amount to above 550,000 l. The queen's extra|ordinary charges were besides very considerable; equal, at least, to any we have known in our time. The application to parliament was not for an ab|solute grant of money; but to empower the queen to raise it by borrowing upon the civil list funds.

THE civil list debt was twice paid in the reign of George the first. The money was granted upon the same plan which had been followed in the reign of queen Anne. The civil list revenues were then mortgaged for the sum to be raised, and stood charged with the ransom of their own deliverance.

GEORGE the second received an addition to his ci|vil list. Duties were granted for the purpose of rais|ing 800,000 l. a year. It was not until he had reign|ed nineteen years, and after the last rebellion, that he called upon parliament for a discharge of the civil list debt. The extraordinary charges brought on by the rebellion, account fully for the necessities of the crown. However, the extraordinary charges of government were not thought a ground fit to be relied on.

A DEFICIENCY of the civil list duties for several years before, was stated as the principal, if not the sole, ground on which an application to parliament could be justified. About this time the produce of these duties had fallen pretty low; and even upon an average of the whole reign they never produced 800,000 l. a year clear to the treasury.

THAT prince reigned fourteen years afterwards: not only no new demands were made; but with Page  234 so much good order were his revenues and expen|ces regulated, that, although many parts of the establishment of the court were upon a larger and more liberal scale than they have been since, there was a considerable sum in hand, on his decease, amounting to about 170,000 l. applicable to the service of the civil list of his present majesty. So that, if this reign commenced with a greater charge than usual, there was enough, and more than enough, abundantly to supply all the extraordinary expence. That the civil list should have been exceeded in the two former reigns, especially in the reign of George the first, was not at all surpriz|ing. His revenue was but 700,000 l. annually; if it ever produced so much clear. The prodigious and dangerous disaffection to the very being of the establishment, and the cause of a Pretender then powerfully abetted from abroad, produced many demands of an extraordinary nature both abroad and at home. Much management and great ex|pences were necessary. But the throne of no prince has stood upon more unshaken foundations than that of his present majesty.

TO have exceeded the sum given for the civil list, and to have incurred a debt without special au|thority of parliament, was, prima facie, a criminal act: as such, ministers ought naturally rather to have withdrawn it from the inspection, than to have exposed it to the scrutiny, of parliament. Certainly they ought, of themselves, officiously to have come armed with every sort of argument, which, by explaining, could excuse, a matter in it|self of presumptive guilt. But the terrors of the house of commons are no longer for ministers.

ON the other hand, the peculiar character of the house of commons, as trustee of the public purse, would have led them to call with a punctilious so|licitude Page  235 for every public account, and to have exa|mined into them with the most rigorous accuracy.

THE capital use of an account is, that the reality of the charge, the reason of incurring it, and the justice and necessity of discharging it, should all ap|pear antecedent to the payment. No man ever pays first, and calls for his account afterwards; because he would thereby let out of his hands the principal, and indeed only effectual, means of compelling a full and fair one. But, in national business, there is an additional reason for a previous production of every account. It is a check, per|haps the only one, upon a corrupt and prodigal use of public money. An account after payment is to no rational purpose an account. However, the house of commons thought all these to be antiquat|ed principles; they were of opinion, that the most parliamentary way of proceeding was, to pay first what the court thought proper to demand, and to take its chance for an examination into accounts at some time of greater leisure.

THE nation had settled 800,000 l. a year on the crown, as sufficient for the support of its dignity, upon the estimate of its own ministers. When mi|nisters came to parliament, and said that this allow|ance had not been sufficient for the purpose, and that they had incurred a debt of 500,000 l. would it not have been natural for parliament first to have ask|ed, how, and by what means, their appropriated allowance came to be insufficient? Would it not have favoured of some attention to justice, to have seen in what periods of administration this debt had been originally incurred; that they might discover, and, if need were, animadvert on the persons who were found the most culpable? To put their hands upon such articles of expenditure as they thought improper or excessive, and to secure, in future, Page  236 against such misapplication or exceeding? Ac|counts for any other purposes are but a matter of curiosity, and no genuine parliamentary object. All the accounts which could answer any parlia|mentary end were refused, or postponed by previ|ous questions. Every idea of prevention was re|jected, as conveying an improper suspicion of the ministers of the crown.

WHEN every leading account had been refused, many others were granted with sufficient facility.

BUT with great candour also, the house was in|formed, that hardly any of them could be ready until the next session; some of them perhaps not so soon. But, in order firmly to establish the prece|dent of payment previous to account, and to form it into a settled rule of the house, the god in the ma|chine was brought down, nothing less than the wonder-working Law of Parliament. It was al|leged, that it is the law of parliament, when any demand comes from the crown, that the house must go immediately into the committee of supply; in which committee it was allowed, that the producti|on and examination of accounts would be quite proper and regular. It was therefore carried, that they should go into the committee without delay, and without accounts, in order to examine with great order and regularity things that could not possibly come before them. After this stroke of orderly and parliamentary wit and humour, they went into the committee; and very generously voted the payment.

THERE was a circumstance in that debate too remarkable to be overlooked. This debt of the ci|vil list was all along argued upon the same footing as a debt of the state, contracted upon national au|thority. Its payment was urged as equally pressing Page  237 upon the public faith and honour: and when the whole year's account was stated, in what is called the Budget, the ministry valued themselves on the payment of so much public debt, just as if they had discharged 500,000 l. of navy or exchequer bills. Though, in truth, their payment, from the sinking fund, of debt which was never contracted by parli|amentary authority, was, to all intents and pur|poses, so much debt incurred. But such is the pre|sent notion of public credit, and payment of debt. No wonder that it produces such effects.

NOR was the house at all more attentive to a provident security against future, than it had been to a vindictive retrospect to past, mismanagements. I should have thought indeed that a ministerial pro|mise during their own continuance in office, might have been given, though this would have been but a poor security for the public. Mr. Pelham gave such an assurance, and he kept his word. But no|thing was capable of extorting from our ministers any thing which had the least resemblance to a pro|mise of confining the expences of the civil list with|in the limits which had been settled by parliament. This reserve of theirs I look upon to be equivalent to the clearest declaration, that they were resolved upon a contrary course.

HOWEVER, to put the matter beyond all doubt, in the speech from the throne, after thanking par|liament for the relief so liberally granted, the mini|sters inform the two houses, that they will endeavour to confine the expences of the civil government—within what limits, think you? those which the law had prescribed? Not in the least—

"such limits as the "honour of the crown can possibly admit."

THUS they established an arbitrary standard for that dignity which parliament had defined and li|mited Page  238 to a legal standard. They gave themselves, under the lax and indeterminate idea of the honour of the crown, a full loose for all manner of dissipati|on, and all manner of corruption. This arbitrary standard they were not afraid to hold out to both houses; while an idle and unoperative act of parlia|ment, estimating the dignity of the crown at 800,000 l. and confining it to that sum, adds to the number of obsolete statutes which load the shelves of libraries without any sort of advantage to the people.

AFTER this proceeding, I suppose that no man can be so weak as to think that the crown is limited to any settled allowance whatsoever. For if the ministry has 800,000 l. a year by the law of the land; and if by the law of parliament all the debts which exceed it are to be paid previous to the pro|duction of any account; I presume that this is equi|valent to an income with no other limits than the abilities of the subject and the moderation of the court; that is to say, it is such an income as is pos|sessed by every absolute monarch in Europe. It amounts, as a person of great ability said in the de|bate, to an unlimited power of drawing upon the sinking fund. Its effect on the public credit of this kingdom must be obvious; for in vain is the sinking fund the great buttress of all the rest, if it be in the power of the ministry to resort to it for the payment of any debts which they may choose to incur, under the name of the civil list, and through the medium of a committee, which thinks itself obliged by law to vote supplies without any other account than that of the mere existence of the debt.

FIVE hundred thousand pounds is a serious sum. But it is nothing to the prolific principle upon which the sum was voted; a principle that may be well called, the fruitful mother of an hundred more. Page  239 Neither is the damage to public credit of very great consequence, when compared with that which re|sults to public morals and to the safety of the con|stitution, from the exhaustless mine of corruption opened by the precedent, and to be wrought by the principle, of the late payment of the debts of the civil list. The power of discretionary disquali|fication by one law of parliament, and the necessity of paying every debt of the civil list by another law of parliament, if suffered to pass unnoticed, must establish such a fund of rewards and terrors as will make parliament the best appendage and sup|port of arbitrary power that ever was invented by the wit of man. This is felt. The quarrel is be|gun between the representatives and the people. The court faction have at length committed them.

IN such a strait the wisest may well be perplexed, and the boldest staggered. The circumstances are in a great measure new. We have hardly any land-marks from the wisdom of our ancestors, to guide us. At best we can only follow the spirit of their proceeding in other cases. I know the dili|gence with which my observations on our public disorders have been made; I am very sure of the integrity of the motives on which they are publish|ed: I cannot be equally confident in any plan for the absolute cure of those disorders, or for their cer|tain future prevention. My aim is to bring this matter into more public discussion. Let the saga|city of others work upon it. It is not uncommon for medical writers to describe histories of diseases very accurately, on whose cure they can say but very little.

THE first ideas which generally suggest them|selves, for the cure of parliamentary disorders, are, to shorten the duration of parliaments; and to dis|qualify all, or a great number of placemen, from a Page  240 seat in the house of commons. Whatever, effica|cy there may be in those remedies, I am sure in the present state of things it is impossible to apply them. A restoration of the right of free election is a preli|minary indispensable to every other reformation. What alterations ought afterwards to be made in constitution, is a matter of deep and difficult re|search.

IF I wrote merely to please the popular palate, it would indeed be as little troublesome to me as to another, to extol these remedies, so famous in speculation, but to which their greatest admirers have never attempted seriously to resort in practice. I confess then, that I have no sort of reliance upon either a triennial parliament, or a place-bill. With regard to the former, perhaps it might rather serve to counteract, than to promote the ends that are proposed by it. To say nothing of the horrible dis|orders among the people attending frequent elec|tions, I should be fearful of committing, every three years, the independent gentlemen of the country into a contest with the treasury. It is easy to see which of the contending parties would be ruined first. Whoever has taken a careful view of public proceedings, so as to endeavour to ground his spe|culations on his experience, must have observed how prodigiously greater the power of ministry is in the first and last session of a parliament, than it is in the intermediate period, when members sit a little firm on their seats. The persons of the greatest parliamentary experience, with whom I have con|versed, did constantly, in canvassing the fate of questions, allow something to the court-side, upon account of the elections depending or imminent. The evil complained of, if it exists in the present state of things, would hardly be removed by a tri|ennial parliament: for, unless the influence of go|vernment Page  241 in elections can be entirely taken away, the more frequently they return, the more they will harass private independence; the more generally men will be compelled to fly to the settled, syste|matic interest of government, and to the resources of a boundless civil list. Certainly something may be done, and ought to be done, towards lessening that influence in elections; and this will be neces|sary upon a plan either of longer or shorter duration of parliament. But nothing can so perfectly re|move the evil, as not to render such contentions, too frequently repeated, utterly ruinous, first to in|dependence of fortune, and then to independence of spirit. As I am only giving an opinion on this point, and not at all debating it in an adverse line, I hope I may be excused in another observation. With great truth I may aver, that I never remem|ber to have talked on this subject with any man much conversant with public business, who consi|dered short parliaments as a real improvement of the constitution. Gentlemen, warm in a popular cause, are ready enough to attribute all the decla|rations of such persons to corrupt motives. But the habit of affairs, if, on one hand, it tends to corrupt the mind, furnishes it, on the other, with the means of better information. The authority of such per|sons will always have some weight. It may stand upon a par with the speculations of those who are less practised in business; and who, with perhaps purer intentions, have not so effectual means of judging. It is, besides, an effect of vulgar and puerile malignity to imagine, that every statesman is of course corrupt; and that his opinion, upon every constitutional point, is solely formed upon some sinister interest.

THE next favourite remedy is a place-bill. The same principle guides in both; I mean, the opinion Page  242 which is entertained by many, of the infallibility of laws and regulations, in the cure of public distem|pers. Without being as unreasonably doubtful as many are unwisely confident, I will only say, that this also is a matter very well worthy of serious and mature reflection. It is not easy to foresee, what the effect would be, of disconnecting with parlia|ment, the greatest part of those who hold civil em|ployments, and of such mighty and important bo|dies as the military and naval establishments. It were better, perhaps, that they should have a cor|rupt interest in the forms of the constitution, than that they should have none at all. This is a ques|tion altogether different from the disqualification of a particular description of revenue officers from seats in parliament; or, perhaps, of all the lower sorts of them from votes in elections. In the former case, only the few are affected; in the latter, only the inconsiderable. But a great official, a great profes|sional, a great military and naval interest, all ne|cessarily comprehending many people of the first weight, ability, wealth, and spirit, has been gra|dually formed in the kingdom. These new inte|rests must be let into a share of representation, else possibly they may be inclined to destroy those insti|tutions of which they are not permitted to partake. This is not a thing to be trifled with; nor is it every well-meaning man, that is fit to put his hands to it. Many other serious considerations oc|cur. I do not open them here, because they are not directly to my purpose; proposing only to give the reader some taste of the difficulties that at|tend all capital changes in the constitution; just to hint the uncertainty, to say no worse, of being able to prevent the court, as long as it has the means of influence abundantly in its power, of applying that influence to parliament; and perhaps, if the public method were precluded, of doing it in some worse Page  243 and more dangerous method. Underhand and ob|lique ways would be studied. The science of eva|sion, already tolerably understood, would then be brought to the greatest perfection. It is no incon|siderable part of wisdom, to know how much of an evil ought to be tolerated; lest, by attempting a degree of purity impracticable in degenerate times and manners, instead of cutting of the sub|sisting ill practices, new corruptions might be pro|duced for the concealment and security of the old. It were better, undoubtedly, that no influence at all could affect the mind of a member of parlia|ment. But of all modes of influence, in my opinion, a place under the government is the least disgrace|ful to the man who holds it, and by far the most safe to the country. I would not shut out that sort of influence which is open and visible, which is connected with the dignity and the service of the state, when it is not in my power to prevent the influence of contracts, of subscriptions, of direct bribery, and those innumerable methods of clan|destine corruption, which are abundantly in the hands of the court, and which will be applied as long as these means of corruption, and the dispo|sition to be corrupted, have existence amongst us. Our constitution stands on a nice equipoise, with steep precipices and deep waters upon all sides of it. In removing it from a dangerous leaning to|wards one side, there may be a risque of overset|ting it on the other. Every project of a material change in a government so complicated as ours, combined at the same time with external circum|stances still more complicated, is a matter full of difficulties; in which a considerate man will not be too ready to decide; a prudent man too ready to undertake; or an honest man too ready to promise. They do not respect the public nor themselves, who engage for more, than they are sure that they Page  244 ought to attempt, or that they are able to perform. These are my sentiments, weak perhaps, but honest and unbiassed; and submitted entirely to the opinion of grave men, well affected to the constitution of their country, and of experience in what may best promote or hurt it.

INDEED, in the situation in which we stand, with an immense revenue, an enormous debt, mighty establishments, government itself a great banker and a great merchant, I see no other way for the preservation of a decent attention to public interest in the representatives, but the interposition of the body of the people itself, whenever it shall appear, by some flagrant and notorious act, by some ca|pital innovation, that these representatives are going to over-leap the fences of the law, and to intro|duce an arbitrary power. This interposition is a most unpleasant remedy. But, if it be a legal remedy, it is intended on some occasion to be used; to be used then only, when it is evident that nothing else can hold the constitution to its true principles.

THE distempers of monarchy were the great subjects of apprehension and redress, in the last century; in this, the distempers of parliament. It is not in parliament alone that the remedy for parliamentary disorders can be compleated; hardly indeed can it begin there. Until a confidence in government is re-established, the people ought to be excited to a more strict and detailed attention to the conduct of their representatives. Standards, for judging more systematically upon their conduct, ought to be settled in the meetings of counties and corporations. Frequent and correct lists of the voters in all important questions ought to be pro|cured.

Page  245BY such means something may be done. By such means it may appear who those are, that, by an indiscriminate support of all administrations, have totally banished all integrity and confidence out of public proceedings; have confounded the best men with the worst; and weakened and dis|solved, instead of strengthening and compacting, the general frame of government. If any person is more concerned for government and order, than for the liberties of his country; even he is equally concerned to put an end to this course of indiscri|minate support. It is this blind and undistinguish|ing support, that feeds the spring of those very disorders, by which he is frighted into the arms of the faction which contains in itself the source of all disorders, by enfeebling all the visible and re|gular authority of the state. The distemper is in|creased by his injudicious and preposterous endea|vours, or pretences, for the cure of it.

AN exterior administration, chosen for its impo|tency, or after it is chosen purposely rendered im|potent, in order to be rendered subservient, will not be obeyed. The laws themselves will not be respected, when those who execute them are de|spised; and they will be despised, when their power is not immediate from the crown, or natural in the kingdom. Never were ministers better sup|ported in parliament. Parliamentary support comes and goes with office, totally regardless of the man, or the merit. Is government strengthened? It grows weaker and weaker. The popular torrent gains upon it every hour. Let us learn from our experience. It is not support that is wanting to government, but reformation. When ministry rests upon public opinion, it is not indeed built upon a rock of adamant; it has, however, some stability. But when it stands upon private humour, its struc|ture Page  246 is of stubble, and its foundation is on quick|sand. I repeat it again—He that supports every administration, subverts all government. The rea|son is this. The whole business in which a court usually takes an interest goes on at present equally well, in whatever hands, whether high or low, wise or foolish, scandalous or reputable; there is nothing therefore to hold it firm to any one body of men, or to any one consistent scheme of politics. Nothing interposes, to prevent the full operation of all the caprices and all the passions of a court upon the servants of the public. The system of administra|tion is open to continual shocks and changes, upon the principles of the meanest cabal, and the most contemptible intrigue. Nothing can be solid and permanent. All good men at length fly with hor|rour from such a service. Men of rank and abi|lity, with the spirit which ought to animate such men in a free state, while they decline the juris|diction of a dark cabal on their actions and their fortunes, will, for both, chearfully put themselves upon their country. They will trust an inquisitive and distinguishing parliament; because it does enquire, and does distinguish. If they act well, they know, that in such a parliament, they will be supported against any intrigue; if they act ill, they know that no intrigue can protect them. This situation, however aweful, is honourable. But in one hour, and in the self-same assembly, without any assigned or assignable cause, to be precipitated from the highest authority to the most marked neglect, possibly into the greatest peril of life and reputation, is a situation full of danger, and desti|tute of honour. It will be shunned equally by every man of prudence, and every man of spirit.

SUCH are the consequences of the division of court from the administration; and of the division Page  247 of public men among themselves. By the former of these, lawful government is undone; by the latter, all opposition to lawless power is rendered impotent. Government may in a great measure be restored, if any considerable bodies of men have honesty and resolution enough never to accept ad|ministration, unless this garrison of king's men, which is stationed, as in a citadel, to controul and enslave it, be entirely broken and disbanded, and every work they have thrown up be levelled with the ground. The disposition of public men to keep this corps together, and to act under it, or to co-operate with it, is a touchstone by which every administration ought in future to be tried. There has not been one which has not sufficiently expe|rienced the utter incompatibility of that faction with the public peace, and with all the ends of good government: since, if they opposed it, they soon lost every power of serving the crown; if they submitted to it, they lost all the esteem of their country. Until ministers give to the public a full proof of their entire alienation from that sys|tem, however plausible their pretences, we may be sure they are more intent on the emoluments than the duties of office. If they refuse to give this proof, we know of what stuff they are made. In this particular, it ought to be the electors busi|ness to look to their representatives. The electors ought to esteem it no less culpable in their member to give a single vote in parliament to such an ad|ministration, than to take an office under it; to endure it, than to act in it. The notorious infide|lity and versatility of members of parliament, in their opinions of men and things, ought in a par|ticular manner to be considered by the electors in the enquiry which is recommended to them. This is one of the principal holdings of that destructive system, which has endeavoured to unhinge all the Page  248 virtuous, honourable, and useful connexions in the kingdom.

THIS cabal has, with great success, propagated a doctrine which serves for a colour to those acts of treachery; and whilst it receives any degree of countenance, it will be utterly senseless to look for a vigorous opposition to the court party. The doc|trine is this: That all political connexions are in their nature factious, and as such ought to be dissi|pated and destroyed; and that the rule for form|ing administrations is mere personal ability, rated by the judgment of this cabal upon it, and taken by draughts from every division and denomination of public men. This decree was solemnly pro|mulgated by the head of the court corps, the earl of Bute himself, in a speech which he made, in the year 1766, against the then administration, the only administration which he has ever been known directly and publicly to oppose.

IT is indeed in no way wonderful, that such persons should make such declarations. That connexion and faction are equivalent terms, is an opinion which has been carefully inculcated at all times by unconstitutional statesmen. The reason is evident. Whilst men are linked together, they easily and spedily communicate the alarm of any evil design. They are enabled to fathom it with common counsel, and to oppose it with united strength. Whereas, when they lie dispersed, without concert, order, or discipline, communica|tion is uncertain, counsel difficult, and resistance impracticable. Where men are not acquainted with each other's principles, nor experienced in each other's talents, nor at all practised in their mutual habitudes and dispositions by joint efforts in business; no personal confidence, no friendship, no common interest, subsisting among them; it is Page  249 evidently impossible that they can act a public part with uniformity, perseverance, or efficacy. In a connexion, the most inconsiderable man, by adding to the weight of the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it, the greatest talents are wholly un|serviceable to the public. No man, who is not in|flamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citi|zens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an un|pitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

IT is not enough in a situation of trust in the commonwealth, that a man means well to his country; it is not enough that in his single person he never did an evil act, but always voted accord|ing to his conscience, and even harangued against every design which he apprehended to be preju|dicial to the interests of his country. This innox|ious and ineffectual character, that seems formed upon a plan of apology and disculpation, falls miserably short of the mark of public duty. That duty demands and requires, that what is right should not only be made known, but made pre|valent; that what is evil should not only be de|tected, but defeated. When the public man omits to put himself in a situation of doing his duty with effect, it is an omission that frustrates the purposes of his trust almost as much as if he had formally be|trayed it. It is surely no very rational account of a man's life, that he has always acted right; but has taken special care, to act in such a manner that his endeavours could not possibly be productive of any consequence.

I DO not wonder that the behaviour of many par|ties should have made persons of tender and scru|pulous Page  250 virtue somewhat out of humour with all sorts of connexion in politics. I admit that people fre|quently acquire in such confederacies a narrow, bigoted, and proscriptive spirit; that they are apt to sink the idea of the general good in this circum|scribed and partial interest. But, where duty ren|ders a critical situation a necessary one, it is our business to keep free from the evils attendant upon it; and not to fly from the situation itself. If a fortress is seated in an unwholesome air, an officer of the garrison is obliged to be attentive to his health, but he must not desert his station. Every profession, not excepting the glorious one of a sol|dier, or the sacred one of a priest, is liable to its own particular vices; which, however, form no argument against those ways of life; nor are the vices themselves inevitable to every individual in those professions. Of such a nature are connexions in politics; essentially necessary for the full per|formance of our public duty, accidentally liable to degenerate into faction. Commonwealths are made of families, free commonwealths of parties also; and we may as well affirm, that our natural regards and ties of blood tend inevitably to make men bad citizens, as that the bonds of our party weaken those by which we are held to our country.

SOME legislators went so far as to make neutra|lity in party a crime against the state. I do not know whether this might not have been rather to overstrain the principle. Certain it is, the best pa|triots in the greatest commonwealths have always commended and promoted such connexions. Idem sentire de republica, was with them a principal ground of friendship and attachment; nor do I know any other capable of forming firmer, dearer, more pleasing, more honourable, and more virtuous ha|bitudes. The Romans carried this principle a great Page  251 way. Even the holding of offices together, the dis|position of which arose from chance not selection, gave rise to a relation which continued for life. It was called necessitudo sortis; and it was looked upon with a sacred reverence. Breaches of any of these kinds of civil relation were considered as acts of the most distinguished turpitude. The whole people was distributed into political societies, in which they acted in support of such interests in the state as they severally affected. For it was then thought no crime, to endeavour by every honest means to ad|vance to superiority and power those of your own sentiments and opinions. This wise people was far from imagining that those connexions had no tie, and obliged to no duty; but that men might quit them without shame, upon every call of interest. They believed private honour to be the great foun|dation of public trust; that friendship was no mean step towards patriotism; that he who, in the com|mon intercourse of life, shewed he regarded some|body besides himself, when he came to act in a public situation, might probably consult some other interest than his own. Never may we become plus sages que les sages, as the French comedian has hap|pily expressed it, wiser than all the wise and good men who have lived before us. It was their wish, to see public and private virtues, not dissonant and jarring, and mutually destructive, but harmoniously combined, growing out of one another in a noble and orderly gradation, reciprocally supporting and supported. In one of the most fortunate periods of our history this country was governed by a con|nexion; I mean the great connexion of whigs in the reign of queen Anne. They were complimented upon the principle of this connexion by a poet who was in high esteem with them. Addison, who knew their sentiments, could not praise them for what they considered as no proper subject of com|mendation. Page  252 As a poet who knew his business, he could not applaud them for a thing which in ge|neral estimation was not highly reputable. Ad|dressing himself to Britain,

Thy fav'rites grow not up by fortunes sport,
Or from the crimes or follies of a court.
On the firm basis of desert they rise,
From long-try'd faith, and friendship's holy ties.

THE whigs of those days believed that the only proper method of rising into power was through hard essays of practised friendship and experimented fidelity. At that time it was not imagined, that patriotism was a bloody idol, which required the sacrifice of children and parents, or dearest con|nexions in private life, and of all the virtues that rise from those relations. They were not of that ingenious paradoxical morality, to imagine that a spirit of moderation was properly shewn in patiently bearing the sufferings of your friends; or that dis|interestedness was clearly manifested at the expence of other peoples fortune. They believed that no men could act with effect, who did not act in con|cert; that no men could act in concert, who did not act with confidence; and that no men could act with confidence, who were not bound together by common opinions, common affections, and com|mon interests.

THESE wise men, for such I must call lord Sun|derland, lord Godolphin, lord Sommers, and lord Marlborough, were too well principled in these maxims upon which the whole fabric of public strength is built, to be blown off their ground by the breath of every childish talker. They were not afraid that they should be called an ambitious Junto; or that their resolution to stand or fall toge|ther Page  253 should, by placemen, be interpreted into a scuffle for places.

PARTY is a body of men united, for promoting by their joint endeavours the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed. For my part, I find it impossible to con|ceive, that any one believes in his own politics, or thinks them to be of any weight, who refuses to adopt the means of having them reduced into prac|tice. It is the business of the speculative philo|sopher to mark the proper ends of government. It is the business of the politician, who is the phi|losopher in action, to find out proper means towards those ends, and to employ them with effect. There|fore every honourable connexion will avow it is their first purpose, to pursue every just method to put the men who hold their opinions into such a condition as may enable them to carry their com|mon plans into execution, with all the power and authority of the state. As this power is attached to certain situations, it is their duty to contend for these situations. Without a proscription of others, they are bound to give to their own party the pre|ference in all things; and by no means, for private considerations, to accept any offers of power in which the whole body is not included; nor to suffer themselves to be led, or to be controuled, or to be over-balanced, in office or in council, by those who contradict the very fundamental principles on which their party is formed, and even those upon which every fair connexion must stand. Such a generous contention for power, on such manly and honourable maxims, will easily be distinguished from the mean and interested struggle for place and emolument. The very stile of such persons will serve to discri|minate them from those numberless impostors, who have deluded the ignorant with professions incom|patible Page  254 with human practice, and have afterwards incensed them by practices below the level of vul|gar rectitude.

IT is an advantage to all narrow wisdom and narrow morals, that their maxims have a plausible air; and, on a cursory view, appear equal to first principles. They are light and portable. They are as current as copper coin; and about as valu|able. They serve equally the first capacities and the lowest; and they are, at least, as useful to the worst men as the best. Of this stamp is the cant of Not men, but measures; a sort of charm, by which many people get loose from every honour|able engagement. When I see a man acting this desultory and disconnected part, with as much de|triment to his own fortune as prejudice to the cause of any party, I am not persuaded that he is right; but I am ready to believe he is in earnest. I respect virtue in all its situations; even when it is found in the unsuitable company of weakness. I lament to see qualities, rare and valuable, squandered away without any public utility. But when a gentle|man with great visible emoluments abandons the party in which he has long acted, and tells you, it is because he proceeds upon his own judgment; that he acts on the merits of the several measures as they arise; and that he is obliged to follow his own conscience, and not that of others; he gives rea|sons which it is impossible to controvert, and dis|covers a character which it is impossible to mistake. What shall we think of him who never differed from a certain set of men until the moment they lost their power, and who never agreed with them in a single instance afterwards? Would not such a coincidence of interest and opinion be rather fortunate? Would it not be an extraordinary cast upon the dice, that a man's connexions should degenerate into faction, Page  255 precisely at the critical moment when they lose their power, or he accepts a place? When people desert their connexions, the desertion is a manifest fact, upon which a direct simple issue lies, triable by plain men. Whether a measure of government be right or wrong, is no matter of fact, but a mere affair of opinion, on which men may, as they do, dispute and wrangle without end. But whether the individual thinks the measure right or wrong, is a point at still a greater distance from the reach of all human decision. It is therefore very conve|nient to politicians, not to put the judgment of their conduct on overt-acts, cognizable in any or|dinary court, but upon such matter as can be tri|able only in that secret tribunal, where they are sure of being heard with favour, or where at worst the sentence will be only private whipping.

I BELIEVE the reader would wish to find no substance in a doctrine which has a tendency to destroy all test of character as deduced from con|duct. He will therefore excuse my adding some|thing more, towards the further clearing up a point, which the great convenience of obscurity to dishonesty has been able to cover with some degree of darkness and doubt.

IN order to throw an odium on political con|nexion, these politicians suppose it a necessary in|cident to it, that you are blindly to follow the opinions of your party, when in direct opposition to your own clear ideas; a degree of servitude that no worthy man could bear the thought of sub|mitting to; and such as, I believe, no connexions (except some court factions) ever could be so sense|lessly tyrannical as to impose. Men thinking freely, will, in particular instances, think differently. But still, as the greater part of the measures which arise in the course of public business are related to, Page  256 or dependent on, some great leading general princi|ples in government, a man must be peculiarly un|fortunate in the choice of his political company if he does not agree with them at least nine times in ten. If he does not concur in these general prin|ciples upon which the party is founded, and which necessarily draw on a concurrence in their applica|tion, he ought from the beginning to have chosen some other, more conformable to his opinions. When the question is in its nature doubtful, or not very material, the modesty which becomes an indi|vidual, and (in spite of our court moralists) that partiality which becomes a well-chosen friendship, will frequently bring on an acquiescence in the ge|neral sentiment. Thus the disagreement will na|turally be rare; it will be only enough to indulge freedom, without violating concord, or disturbing arrangement. And this is all that ever was requir|ed for a character of the greatest uniformity and steadiness in connexion. How men can proceed without any connexion at all, is to me utterly in|comprehensible. Of what sort of materials must that man be made, how must he be tempered and put together, who can sit whole years in parlia|ment, with five hundred and fifty of his fellow citizens, amidst the storm of such tempestuous passions, in the sharp conflict of so many wits, and tempers, and characters, in the agitation of such mighty questions, in the discussion of such vast and ponderous interests, without seeing any one sort of men, whose character, conduct, or disposition, would lead him to associate himself with them, to aid and be aided, in any one system of public utility?

I REMEMBER an old scholastic aphorism, which says,

"that the man who lives wholly detached from others, must be either an angel or a devil."
Page  257 When I see in any of these detached gentlemen of our times the angelic purity, power, and benefi|cence, I shall admit them to be angels. In the mean time we are born only to be men. We shall do enough if we form ourselves to be good ones. It is therefore our business carefully to cultivate in our minds, to rear to the most perfect vigour and maturity, every sort of generous and honest feeling that belongs to our nature. To bring the disposi|tions that are lovely in private life into the service and conduct of the commonwealth; so to be pa|triots, as not to forget we are gentlemen. To cultivate friendships, and to incur enmities. To have both strong, but both selected: in the one, to be placable; in the other, immovable. To model our principles to our duties and our situation. To be fully persuaded, that all virtue which is impracticable is spurious; and rather to run the risque of falling into faults in a course which leads us to act with effect and energy, than to loiter out our days without blame, and without use. Public life is a situation of power and energy; he trespasses against his duty who sleeps upon his watch, as well as he that goes over to the enemy.

THERE is, however, a time for all things. It is not every conjuncture which calls with equal force upon the activity of honest men; but critical exigencies now and then arise; and I am mistaken, if this be not one of them. Men will see the ne|cessity of honest combination; but they may see it when it is too late. They may embody, when it will be ruinous to themselves, and of no advantage to the country; when, for want of such a timely union as may enable them to oppose in favour of the laws, with the laws on their side, they may, at length, find themselves under the necessity of con|spiring, Page  258 instead of consulting. The law, for which they stand, may become a weapon in the hands of its bitterest enemies; and they will be cast, at length, into that miserable alternative, between slavery and civil confusion, which no good man can look upon without horrour; an alternative in which it is impossible he should take either part, with a conscience perfectly at repose. To keep that situation of guilt and remorse at the utmost distance, is, therefore, our first obligation. Early activity may prevent late and fruitless violence. As yet we work in the light. The scheme of the enemies of public tranquillity has disarranged, it has not destroyed us.

IF the reader believes that there really exists such a faction as I have described; a faction ruling by the private inclinations of a court, against the general sense of the people; and that this faction, whilst it pursues a scheme for undermining all the foundations of our freedom, weakens (for the pre|sent at least) all the powers of executory govern|ment, rendering us abroad contemptible, and at home distracted; he will believe also, that nothing but a firm combination of public men against this body, and that, too, supported by the hearty con|currence of the people at large, can possibly get the better of it. The people will see the necessity of restoring public men to an attention to the pub|lic opinion, and of restoring the constitution to its original principles. Above all, they will endea|vour to keep the house of commons from assuming a character which does not belong to it. They will endeavour to keep that house, for its existence, for its powers, and its privileges, as independent of every other, and as dependent upon themselves, as possible. This servitude is to an house of commons Page  259 (like obedience to the Divine law)

"perfect free|dom."
For if they once quit this natural, ra|tional, and liberal obedience, having deserted the only proper foundation of their power, they must seek a support in an abject and unnatural de|pendence somewhere else. When, through the medium of this just connexion with their con|stituents, the genuine dignity of the house of commons is restored, it will begin to think of casting from it, with scorn, as badges of servi|lity, all the false ornaments of illegal power, with which it has been, for sometime, disgraced. It will begin to think of its old office of CON|TROUL. It will not suffer, that last of evils, to predominate in the country; men without popu|lar confidence, public opinion, natural connexi|on, or mutual trust, invested with all the powers of government.

WHEN they have learned this lesson themselves, they will be willing and able to teach the court, that it is the true interest of the prince to have but one administration; and that one composed of those who recommend themselves to their sovereign through the opinion of their country, and not by their obsequiousness to a favourite. Such men will serve their sovereign with affection and fidelity; because his choice of them, upon such principles, is a compliment to their virtue. They will be able to serve him effectually; because they will add the weight of the country to the force of the executory power. They will be able to serve their king with dignity; because they will never abuse his name to the gratification of their private spleen or avarice. This, with allowances for human frailty, may pro|bably be the general character of a ministry, which Page  260 thinks itself accountable to the house of commons; when the house of commons thinks itself accounta|ble to its constituents. If other ideas should pre|vail, things must remain in their present confusion; until they are hurried into all the rage of civil vio|lence; or until they sink into the dead repose of despotism.

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Page  263


THE following speech has been much the subject of conversation; and the desire of having it printed was last summer very general. The means of gratifying the pub|lic curiosity were obligingly furnished from the notes of some gentlemen, members of the last parliament.

THIS piece has been for some months ready for the press. But a delicacy, possibly over-scrupulous, has delayed the publication to this time. The friends of administration have been use to attribute a great deal of the opposition to their measures in America to the writings published in England. The Editor of this speech kept it back, until all the measures of government have had their full operation, and can be no longer affected, if ever they could have been affected, by any publication.

MOST readers will recollect the uncom|mon pains taken at the beginning of the last session of the last parliament, and indeed during the whole course of it, to asperse the characters, and decry the measures, of those who were supposed to be friends to Ame|rica; Page  264 in order to weaken the effect of their opposition to the acts of rigour then prepar|ing against the colonies. This speech con|tains a full refutation of the charges against that party with which Mr. Burke has all along acted. In doing this, he has taken a review of the effects of all the schemes which have been successively adopted in the government of the plantations. The subject is interesting; the matters of information various, and important; and the publica|tion at this time, the editor hopes, will not be thought unseasonable.

Page  [unnumbered]


DURING the last session of the last parlia|ment, on the 19th of April, 1774, Mr. Rose Fuller, member for Rye, made the following mo|tion; that an act made in the seventh year of the reign of his present Majesty, intituled,

"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 ex|portation from this kingdom of Coffee and Cocoa Nuts, of the produce of the said colonies or 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 co|lonies and plantations;"
might be read.

AND the same being read accordingly; he moved,

"That this house will, upon this day sevennight, resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, to take into consideration the duty of 3d. per pound weight upon tea, payable in all his Majesty's dominions in America, imposed by the said act; and also the appropriation of the said duty."

ON this latter motion a warm and interesting debate arose, in which Mr. Edmund Burke spoke as follows:

Page  266


I AGREE with the honourable gentlemana who spoke last, that this subject is not new in this house. Very disagreeably to this house, very un|fortunately to this nation, and to the peace and prosperity of this whole empire, no topic has been more familiar to us. For nine long years, session after session, we have been lashed round and round this miserable circle of occasional arguments and temporary expedients. I am sure our heads must turn, and our stomachs nauseate with them. We have had them in every shape; we have looked at them in every point of view. Invention is ex|hausted; reason is fatigued; experience has given judgment; but obstinacy is not yet conquered.

THE hon. gentleman has made one endeavour more to diversity the form of this disgusting argu|ment. He has thrown out a speech composed al|most entirely of challenges. Challenges are serious things; and as he is a man of prudence as well as resolution, I dare say he has very well weighed those challenges before he delivered them. I had long the happiness to sit at the same side of the house, and to agree with the hon. gentleman on all the American questions. My sentiments, I am sure, are well known to him; and I thought I had been perfectly acquainted with his. Though I find my|self mistaken, he will still permit me to use the privi|lege of an old friendship; he will permit me to apply myself to the house under the sanction of his autho|rity; and, on the various grounds he has measured out, to submit to you the poor opinions which I have formed, upon a matter of importance enough to demand the fullest consideration I could bestow upon it.

Page  267He has stated to the house two grounds of delibe|ration; one narrow and simple, and merely confin|ed to the question on your paper: the other more large and more complicated; comprehending the whole series of the parliamentary proceedings with regard to America, their causes, and their conse|quences. With regard to the latter ground, he states it as useless, and thinks it may be even dan|gerous, to enter into so extensive a field of enqui|ry. Yet, to my surprize, he had hardly laid down this restrictive proposition, to which his authority would have given so much weight, when directly, and with the same authority, he condemns it; and declares it absolutely necessary to enter into the most ample historical detail. His zeal has thrown him a little out of his usual accuracy. In this per|plexity what shall we do, sir, who are willing to submit to the law he gives us? He has reprobated in one part of his speech the rule he had laid down for debate in the other; and, after narrowing the ground for all those who are to speak after him, he takes an excursion himself, as unbounded as the subject and the extent of his great abilities.

SIR, when I cannot obey all his laws, I will do the best I can. I will endeavour to obey such of them as have the sanction of his example; and to stick to that rule, which, though not consistent with the other, is the most rational. He was certainly in the right when he took the matter largely. I cannot prevail on myself to agree with him in his censure of his own conduct. It is not, he will give me leave to say, either useless or dangerous. He asserts, that retrospect is not wise: and the proper, the only proper, subject of enquiry is,

"not how we got into this difficulty, but how we are to get out of it."
In other words, we are, according to him, to consult our invention, and to reject our Page  268 experience. The mode of deliberation he recom|mends is diametrically opposite to every rule of reason, and every principle of good sense establish|ed amongst mankind. For, that sense and that reason, I have always understood, absolutely to prescribe, whenever we are involved in difficulties from the measures we have pursued, that we should take a strict review of those measures, in order to correct our errors if they should be corrigible; or at least to avoid a dull uniformity in mischief, and the unpitied calamity of being repeatedly caught in the same snare.

SIR, I will freely follow the hon. gentleman in his historical discussion, without the least manage|ment for men or measures, further than as they shall seem to me to deserve it. But before I go into that large consideration, because I would omit nothing that can give the house satisfaction, I wish to tread the narrow ground to which alone the hon. gentleman, in one part of his speech, has so strictly confined us.

HE desires to know, whether, if we were to re|peal this tax, agreeably to the proposition of the hon. gentleman who made the motion, the Ameri|cans would not take post on this concession, in order to make a new attack on the next body of taxes; and whether they would not call for a re|peal of the duty on wine as loudly as they do now for the repeal of the duty on tea? Sir, I can give no security on this subject. But I will do all that I can, and all that can be fairly demanded. To the experience which the hon. gentleman reprobates in one instant, and reverts to in the next; to that ex|perience, without the least wavering or hesitation on my part, I steadily appeal; and would to God there was no other arbiter to decide on the vote with which the house is to conclude this day!

Page  269WHEN parliament repealed the stamp act in the year 1766, I affirm, first, that the Americans did not in consequence of this measure call upon you to give up the former parliamentary revenue which subsisted in that country; or even any one of the articles which compose it. I affirm also, that when, departing from the maxims of that repeal, you re|vived the scheme of taxation, and thereby filled the minds of the colonists with new jealousy, and all sorts of apprehensions, then it was that they quar|relled with the old taxes, as well as the new; then it was, and not till then, that they questioned all the parts of your legislative power; and by the battery of such questions have shaken the solid structure of this Empire to its deepest foundations.

ON those two propositions I shall, before I have done, give such convincing, such damning proof, that, however the contrary may be whispered in circles, or bawled in news-papers, they never more will dare to raise their voices in this house. I speak with great confidence. I have reason for it. The ministers are with me. They at least are convinced that the repeal of the stamp act had not, and that no repeal can have, the consequences which the hon. gentleman who defends their measures is so much alarmed at. To their conduct, I refer him for a conclusive answer to his objection. I carry my proof irresistibly into the very body of both mi|nistry and parliament; not on any general reason|ing growing out of collateral matter, but on the conduct of the hon. gentleman's ministerial friends on the new revenue itself.

THE act of 1767, which grants this tea duty, sets forth in its preamble, that it was expedient to raise a revenue in America, for the support of the civil government there, as well as for purposes still more extensive. To this support the act assigns Page  270 six branches of duties. About two years after this act passed, the ministry, I mean the present mi|nistry, thought it expedient to repeal five of the duties, and to leave (for reasons best known to themselves) only the sixth standing. Suppose any person, at the time of that repeal, had thus ad|dressed the ministerb:

"Condemning, as you do, the repeal of the stamp act, why do you venture to repeal the duties upon glass, paper, and painters colours? Let your pretence for the repeal be what it will, are not you thoroughly convinced, that your concessions will produce, not satisfaction, but insolence in the Americans; and that the giving up these taxes will necessitate the giving up of all the rest?"
This objection was as palpable then as it is now; and it was as good for preserving the five duties as for retaining the sixth. Besides, the minister will recollect, that the repeal of the stamp act had but just preceded his repeal; and the ill policy of that measure (had it been so impolitic as it has been represented), and the mischiefs it produced, were quite recent. Upon the principles therefore of the hon. gentleman, upon the principles of the minister himself, the minister has nothing at all to answer. He stands condemned by himself, and by all his associates old and new, as a destroyer, in the first trust of finance, of the revenues; and in the first rank of honour, as a betrayer of the dignity of his country.

MOST men, especially great men, do not always know their well-wishers. I come to rescue that no|ble lord out of the hands of those he calls his friends; and even out of his own. I will do him the justice, he is denied at home. He has not been this wicked or imprudent man. He knew that a repeal had no tendency to produce the mischiefs Page  271 which give so much alarm to his honourable friend. His work was not bad in its principle, but imper|fect in its execution; and the motion on your paper presses him only to compleat a proper plan, which, by some unfortunate and unaccountable error, he had left unfinished.

I HOPE, sir, the hon. gentleman who spoke last is thoroughly satisfied, and satisfied out of the pro|ceedings of ministry on their own favourite act, that his fears from a repeal are groundless. If he is not, I leave him, and the noble lord who sits by him, to settle the matter, as well as they can, together; for if the repeal of American taxes destroys all our go|vernment in America—He is the man!—and he is the worst of all the repealers, because he is the last.

BUT I hear it rung continually in my ears, now and formerly,—

"The preamble! what will become of the preamble, if you repeal this tax?"
—I am sorry to be compelled so often to expose the cala|mities and disgraces of parliament. The preamble of this law, standing as it now stands, has the lie direct given to it by the provisionary part of the act; if that can be called provisionary which makes no provision. I should be afraid to express my|self in this manner, especially in the face of such a formidable array of ability as is now drawn up be|fore me, composed of the antient household troops of that side of the house, and the new recruits from this, if the matter were not clear and indisputable. Nothing but truth could give me this firmness; but plain truth and clear evidence can be beat down by no ability. The clerk will be so good as to turn to the act, and to read this favourite preamble:

WHEREAS it is expedient that a revenue should be raised in your Majesty's dominions in America, forPage  272making a more certain and adequate provision for de|fraying the charge of the administration of justice, and support of civil government, in such provinces where it shall be found necessary; and towards further defray|ing the expences of defending, protecting, and se|curing the said dominions.

YOU have heard this pompous performance. Now where is the revenue which is to do all these mighty things? Five-sixths repealed—abandoned—sunk—gone—lost for ever. Does the poor solitary tea duty support the purposes of this preamble? Is not the supply there stated as effectually abandoned as if the tea duty had perished in the general wreck? Here, Mr. Speaker, is a precious mockery—a pre|amble without an act—taxes granted in order to be repealed—and the reasons of the grant still carefully kept up! This is raising a revenue in America! This is preserving dignity in England! If you repeal this tax in compliance with the motion, I readily admit that you lose this fair preamble. Esti|mate your loss in it. The object of the act is gone already; and all you suffer is the purging the Sta|tute-book of the opprobrium of an empty, absurd, and false recital.

IT has been said again and again, that the five taxes were repealed on commercial principles. It is so said in the paper in my handc; a paper which I constantly carry about; which I have often used, and shall often use again. What is got by this paltry pretence of commercial principles I know not; for, if your government in America is de|stroyed by the repeal of taxes, it is of no consequence upon what ideas the repeal is grounded. Repeal this tax too upon commercial principles if you Page  273 please. These principles will serve as well now as they did formerly. But you know that, either your objection to a repeal from these suppo|sed consequences has no validity, or that this pre|tence never could remove it. This commercial motive never was believed by any man, either in America, which this letter is meant to soothe, or in England, which it is meant to deceive. It was impossible it should. Because every man, in the least acquainted with the detail of commerce, must know, that several of the articles on which the tax was repealed were fitter objects of duties than al|most any other articles that could possibly be cho|sen; without comparison more so, than the Tea that was left taxed; as infinitely less liable to be eluded by contraband. The tax upon red and white Lead was of this nature. You have, in this kingdom, an advantage in Lead, that amounts to a monopoly. When you find yourself in this situ|ation of advantage, you sometimes venture to tax even your own export. You did so, soon after the last war, when, upon this principle, you ventured to impose a duty on coals. In all the articles of American contraband trade, who ever heard of the smuggling of red lead, and white lead? You might, therefore, well enough, without danger of contraband, and without injury to commerce (if this were the whole consideration) have taxed these commodities. The same may be said of Glass. Besides, some of the things taxed were so trivial, that the loss of the objects themselves, and their ut|ter annihilation out of American commerce, would have been comparatively as nothing. But is the article of Tea such an object in the trade of Eng|land, as not to be felt, or felt but slightly, like white Lead, and red Lead, and Painters colours? Tea is an object of far other importance. Tea is perhaps the most important object, taking it with Page  274 its necessary connections, of any in the mighty cir|cle of our commerce. If commercial principles had been the true motives to the repeal, or had they been at all attended to, Tea would have been the last article we should have left taxed for a subject of controversy.

SIR, it is not a pleasant consideration; but no|thing in the world can read so awful and so instruc|tive a lesson, as the conduct of ministry in this busi|ness, upon the mischief of not having large and li|beral ideas in the management of great affairs. Never have the servants of the state looked at the whole of your complicated interests in one connect|ed view. They have taken things, by bits and scraps, some at one time and one pretence, and some at another, just as they pressed, without any sort of regard to their relations or dependencies They never had any kind of system, right or wrong; but only invented occasionally some mise|rable tale for the day, in order meanly to sneak out of difficulties, into which they had proudly strutted. And they were put to all these shifts and devices, full of meanness and full of mischief, in order to pilser piecemeal a repeal of an act, which they had not the generous courage, when they found and felt their error, honourably and fairly to disclaim. By such management, by the irresistible operation of sceble councils, so paltry a sum as three-pence in the eyes of a financier, so insignificant an article as tea in the eyes of a philosopher, have shaken the pillars of a commercial empire that circled the whole globe.

Do you forget that, in the very last year, you stood on the precipice of general bankruptcy? Your danger was indeed great. You were distress|ed in the affairs of the East India company; and you well know what sort of things are involved in the comprehensive energy of that significant apella|tion. Page  275 I am not called upon to enlarge to you on that danger, which you thought proper yourselves to aggravate, and to display to the world with all the parade of indiscreet declamation. The mono|poly of the most lucrative trades, and the possession of imperial revenues, had brought you to the verge of beggary and ruin. Such was your representation—such, in some measure, was your case. The vent of ten millions of pounds of this commodity, now locked up by the operation of an injudicious tax, and rotting in the warehouses of the company, would have prevented all this distress, and all that series of desperate measures which you thought yourselves obliged to take in consequence of it. America would have furnished that vent, which no other part of the world can furnish but America; where Tea is next to a necessary of life; and where the demand grows upon the supply. I hope our dear-bought East India committees have done us at least so much good, as to let us know, that without a more extensive sale of that article our East India revenues and acquisitions can have no certain connection with this country. It is through the American trade of tea that your East India conquests are to be prevented from crushing you with their burthen. They are ponde|rous indeed; and they must have that great coun|try to lean upon, or they tumble upon your head. It is the same folly that has lost you at once the be|nefit of the West and of the East. This folly has thrown open folding-doors to contraband; and will be the means of giving the profits of the trade of your colonies, to every nation but yourselves. Never did a people suffer so much for the empty words of a preamble. It must be given up. For on what principle does it stand? This famous re|venue stands, at this hour, on all the debate, as a description of revenue not as yet known in all the comprehensive (but too comprehensive!) vocabu|lary of finance—a preambulary tax. It is indeed a Page  276 tax of sophistry, a tax of pedantry, a tax of dispu|tation, a tax of war and rebellion, a tax for any thing but benefit to the imposers, or satisfaction to the subject.

WELL! but whatever it is, gentlemen will force the colonists to take the Teas. You will force them? has seven years struggle been yet able to force them? Oh, but it seems

"we are in the right.—The tax is trifling—in effect it is rather an ex|oneration than an imposition; three-fourths of the duty formerly payable on Teas exported to America is taken off; the place of collection is only shifted; instead of the retention of a shil|ling from the draw-back here, it is three-pence custom paid in America."
All this, sir, is very true. But this is the very folly and mischief of the act. Incredible as it may seem, you know that you have deliberately thrown away a large duty which you held secure and quiet in your hands, for the vain hope of getting one three-fourths less, through every hazard, through certain litigation, and possi|bly through war.

THE manner of proceeding in the duties on pa|per and glass, imposed by the same act, was ex|actly in the same spirit. There are heavy excises on those articles when used in England. On ex|port these excises are drawn back. But instead of withholding the draw-back, which might have been done, with ease, without charge, without possibility of smuggling; and instead of applying the money (money already in your hands) according to your pleasure, you began your operations in finance by flinging away your revenue; you allowed the whole draw-back on export, and then you charged the duty, (which you had before discharged,) pay|able in the colonies; where it was certain the col|lection Page  277 would devour it to the bone; if any revenue were ever suffered to be collected at all. One spirit pervades and animates the whole mass.

COULD any thing be a subject of more just alarm to America, than to see you go out of the plain high road of finance, and give up your most cer|tain revenues and your clearest interests, merely for the sake of insulting your colonies? No man ever doubted that the commodity of Tea could bear an imposition of three-pence. But no com|modity will bear three-pence, or will bear a penny, when the general feelings of men are irritated, and two millions of people are resolved not to pay. The feelings of the Colonies were formerly the feelings of Great Britain. Theirs were formerly the feelings of Mr. Hampden when called upon for the payment of twenty shillings. Would twenty shillings have ruined Mr. Hampden's for|tune? No! but the payment of half twenty shil|lings, on the principle it was demanded, would have made him a slave, It is the weight of that preamble, of which you are so fond, and not the weight of the duty, that the Americans are unable and unwilling to bear.

IT is then, sir, upon the principle of this measure, and nothing else, that we are at issue. It is a prin|ciple of political expediency. Your act of 1767 asserts, that it is expedient to raise a revenue in America; your act of 1769, which takes away that revenue, contradicts the act of 1767; and, by something much stronger than words, asserts, that it is not expedient. It is a reflection upon your wisdom to persist in a solemn parliamentary declaration of the expediency of any object, for which, at the same time, you make no sort of pro|vision. And pray, sir, let not this circumstance es|cape you; it is very material; that the preamble of Page  278 this act, which we wish to repeal, is not declaratory of a right, as some gentlemen seem to argue it; it is only a recital of the expediency of a certain exer|cise of a right supposed already to have been as|serted; an exercise you are now contending for by ways and means, which you confess, though they were obeyed, to be utterly insufficient for their purpose. You are therefore at this moment in the aukward situation of fighting for a phantom; a quiddity; a thing that wants, not only a substance, but even a name; for a thing, which is neither ab|stract 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 sense; shew it to be the means of attain|ing some useful end; and then I am content to al|low it what dignity you please. But what dignity is derived from the perseverance in absurdity is more than ever I could discern. The hon. gentle|man 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 conclusion 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 delay.

BUT will you repeal the act, says the hon. gen|tleman, 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 am Page  279 content to meet him; because I enter the lists sup|ported by my old authority, his new friends, the ministers themselves. The hon. gentleman re|members, that about five years ago as great dis|turbances as the present prevailed in America on account of the new taxes. The ministers repre|sented 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 H. VIII. We be|sought the king, in that well-considered address, to inquire 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 ut|most scorn. An apprehension of the very conse|quences now stated by the hon. gentleman, was then given as a reason for shutting the door against all hope of such an alteration. And so strong was the spirit for supporting the new taxes, that the session concluded with the following remarkable declaration. After stating the vigorous measures which had been pursued, the speech from the throne proceeds:

YOU have assured me of your firm support in the prosecution of them. Nothing, in my opinion, could be more likely to enable the well-disposed among my sub|jects in that part of the world, effectually to discou|rage and defeat the designs of the factious and seditious, than the hearty concurrence of every branch of the le|gislature, 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 hon. gentleman knows as well as I, that the idea was Page  280 utterly exploded by those who sway the house. This speech was made on the ninth day of May, 1769. Five days after this speech, that is, on the 13th of the same month, the public 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, notwith|standing insinuations to the contrary, from men with factious and seditious views, that his majesty's present administration have at no time enter|tained a design 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 intention to propose, the next session of parliament, to take off the duties upon glass, paper, and colours, upon consideration of such duties having been laid contrary to the true principles of commerce."

"THESE have always been, and still are, the sentiments of his majesty's present servants; and by which their conduct in respect to America has been governed. And his majesty relies upon your prudence and fidelity for such an explanation of his measures, as may tend to remove the prejudices which have been excited by the misrepresentations of those who are enemies to the peace and prosperity of Great Britain and her colonies; and to re-establish that mutual confidence and affection, upon which the glory and safety of the British empire depend."

HERE, sir, is a canonical book of ministerial scripture; 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 Page  281 by the public promise of a peer relative to the re|peal of taxes by this house. I pass by the use of the king's name in a matter of supply, that sacred and reserved right of the commons. I conceal the ridiculous figure of parliament, hurling its thunders at the gigantic rebellion of America; and then five days after, prostrate at the feet of those assemblies we affected to despise; begging them, by the intervention of our ministerial sureties, to receive our submission; and heartily promising amendment. These might have been serious mat|ters formerly; but we are grown wiser than our fathers. Passing, therefore, from the constitutional consideration to the mere policy, does not this let|ter imply, that the idea of taxing America for the purpose of revenue is an abominable project; when the ministry suppose none but factious men, and with seditious views, could charge them with it? does not this letter adopt and sanctify the American distinction of taxing for a revenue? does it not formally reject all future taxation on that principle? does it not state 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 servants of the king, justly fearful lest they themselves should have lost all credit with the world, bring out the image of their gracious sovereign from the inmost and most sacred shrine, and they pawn him, as a security for their promises—

"His majesty relies on your prudence and fidelity for such an explanation 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 Page  282 lord Botetourt, stating it as such, did with great propriety, and in the exact spirit of his instructions, endeavour to remove the fears of the Virginian assembly, lest the sentiments, which it seems (un|known 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 possible revolution, favourable to wicked American taxers, be hereafter counteracted. He addresses them in this manner:

IT may possibly be objected, that as his majesty's present administration are not immortal, their succes|sors may be inclined to attempt to undo what the present ministers shall have attempted to perform; and to that objection I can give but this answer: that it is my firm opinion, that the plan I have stated to you will certainly take place, and that it will never be departed from; and so determined am I for ever to abide by it, that I will be content to be declared infamous, if I do not, to the last hour of my life, at all times, in all places, and upon all occasions, exert every power with which I either am, or ever shall be legally invested, in order to obtain and maintain for the continent of America that satisfaction which I have been authorised to promise this day, by the confidential servants of our gracious sovereign, who to my certain knowledge rates his ho|nour so high, that he would rather part with his crown, than preserve it by deceit.d

Page  283A GLORIOUS and true character! which (since we suffer his ministers with impunity to answer for his ideas of taxation) we ought to make it our bu|siness to enable his majesty to preserve in all its lustre. Let him have character, since ours is no more! Let some part of government be kept in respect!

THIS epistle was not the letter of lord Hillsbo|rough solely; though he held the official pen. It was the letter of the noble lord upon the floor,e and of all the king's then ministers, who (with I think the exception of two only) are his ministers at this hour. The very first news that a British parli|ament heard of what it was to do with the duties which it had given and granted to the king, was by the publication of the votes of American assem|blies. It was in America that your resolutions were pre-declared. It was from thence that we knew to a certainty, how much exactly, and not a scruple more or less, we were to repeal. We were un|worthy to be let into the secret of our own con|duct. The assemblies had confidential communica|tions from his majesty's confidential servants. We were nothing but instruments. Do you, after this, wonder that you have no weight and no respect in the colonies? After this, are you surprized, that prrliament is every day and every where losing (I feel it with sorrow, I utter it with reluctance) that reverential affection, which so endearing a name of authority ought ever to carry with it; that you are obeyed solely from respect to the bayonet; Page  284 and that this house, the ground and pillar of free|dom, is itself held up only by the treacherous under-pinning and clumsy buttresses of arbitrary power?

IF this dignity, which is to stand in the place of just policy and common sense, had been consulted, there was a time for preserving it, and for recon|ciling it with any concession. If in the session of 1768, that session of idle terror and empty me|naces, you had, as you were often pressed to do, repealed these taxes; then your strong operations would have come justified and enforced, in case your concessions had been returned by outrages. But, preposterously, you began with violence; and before terrors could have any effect, either good or bad, your ministers immediately begged pardon, and promised that repeal to the obstinate Americans which they had refused in an easy, good-natured, complying British parliament. The assemblies, which had been publicly and avowedly dissolved for their contumacy, are called together to receive your submission. Your ministerial di|rectors blustered like tragic tyrants here; and then went mumping with a sore leg in America, cant|ing, and whining, and complaining of faction, which represented them as friends to a revenue from the colonies. I hope nobody in this house will hereafter have the impudence to defend Ame|rican taxes in the name of ministry. The mo|ment they do, with this letter of attorney in my hand, I will tell them, in the authorised terms, they are wretches,

"with factious and seditious views: enemies to the peace and prosperity of the mo|ther country and the colonies," and subverters "of the mutual affection and confidence on which the glory and safety of the British empire de|pend."

Page  285AFTER this letter, the question is no more on propriety or dignity. They are gone already. The faith of your sovereign is pledged for the po|litical principle. The general declaration in the letter goes to the whole of it. You must therefore either abandon the scheme of taxing; or you must send the ministers tarred and feathered to America; who dared to hold out the royal faith for a renun|ciation of all taxes for revenue. Them you, must punish, or this faith you must preserve. The pre|servation of this faith is of more consequence than the duties on red lead, or white lead, or on broken glass, or atlas ordinary, or demi-fine, or blue-royal, or bastard, or fool's-cap, which you have given up; or the three pence on tea which you retained. The letter went stampt with the public authority of this kingdom. The instructions for the colony go|vernment go under no other sanction; and Ame|rica cannot believe, and will not obey you, if you do not preserve this channel of communication sa|cred. You are now punishing the colonies for acting on distinctions, held out by that very mi|nistry which is here shining in riches, in favour, and in power; and urging the punishment of the very offence, to which they had themselves been the tempters.

SIR, if reasons respecting simply your own com|merce, which is your own convenience, were the sole grounds of the repeal of the five duties; why does lord Hillsborough, in disclaiming in the name of the king and ministry their ever had having an intent to tax for revenue, mention it as the means

"of re-establishing the confidence and affection of the colonies?"
Is it a way of soothing others, to assure them that you will take good care of yourself? The medium, the only medium, for regaining their affection and confidence, is, that you will Page  286 take off something oppressive to their minds. Sir, the letter strongly enforces that idea; for though the repeal of the taxes is promised on commercial principles, yet the means of counteracting
"the insinuations of men with factious and seditious views,"
is by a disclaimer of the intention of taxing for revenue, as a constant invariable senti|ment and rule of conduct in the government of America.

I REMEMBER that the noble lord on the floor, not in a former debate to be sure (it would be disorderly to refer to it, I suppose I read it some|where), but the noble lord was pleased to say, that he did not conceive how it could enter into the head of man to impose such taxes as those of 1767; I mean those taxes which he voted for imposing, and voted for repealing; as being taxes, contrary to all the principles of commerce, laid on British manufactures.

I DARE say the noble lord is perfectly well read, because the duty of his particular office requires he should be so, in all our revenue laws; and in the policy which is to be collected out of them. Now, sir, when he had read this act of American reve|nue, and a little recovered from his astonishment, I suppose he made one step retrograde (it is but one) and looked at the act which stands just before in the statute book. The American revenue act is the forty-fifth chapter; the other to which I refer is the forty-fourth of the same session. These two acts are both to the same purpose; both revenue acts; both taxing out of the kingdom; and both taxing British manufactures exported. As the 45th is an act for raising a revenue in America, the 44th is an act for raising a revenue in the Isle of Man. The two acts perfectly agree in all respects, except one. In the act for taxing the Isle of Man, the Page  287 noble lord will find (not, as in the American act, four or five articles) but almost the whole body of British manufactures, taxed from two and an half to fifteen per cent. and some articles, such as that of spirits, a great deal higher. You did not think it uncommercial to tax the whole mass of your ma|nufactures, and, let me add, your agriculture too; for, I now recollect, British corn is there also taxed up to ten per cent. and this too in the very head|quarters, the very citadel of smuggling, the Isle of Man. Now will the noble lord condescend to tell me why he repealed the taxes on your manufac|tures sent out to America, and not the taxes on the manufactures exported to the Isle of Man? The principle was exactly the same, the objects charged infinitely more extensive, the duties with|out comparison higher. Why? why, notwith|standing all his childish pretexts, because the taxes were quietly submitted to in the Isle of Man; and because they raised a flame in America. Your reasons were political, not commercial. The re|peal was made, as lord Hillsborough's letter well expresses it, to regain

"the confidence and affec|tion of the colonies, on which the glory and safety of the British empire depend."
A wise and just motive surely, if ever there was such. But the mischief and dishonour is, that you have not done what you had given the colonies just cause to expect, when your ministers disclaimed the idea of taxes for a revenue. There is nothing simple, nothing manly, nothing ingenuous, open, deci|sive, or steady, in the proceeding, with regard either to the continuance or the repeal of the taxes. The whole has an air of littleness and fraud. The article of tea is slurred over in the circular letter, as it were by accident—nothing is said of a resolu|tion either to keep that tax, or to give it up. There is no fair dealing in any part of the transaction.

Page  288IF you mean to follow your true motive and your public faith, give up your tax on tea for rais|ing a revenue, the principle of which has, in effect, been disclaimed in your name; and which produces you no advantages; no, not a penny. Or, if you choose to go on with a poor pretence instead of a solid reason, and will still adhere to your cant of commerce, you have ten thousand times more strong commercial reasons for giving up this duty on tea, than for abandoning the five others that you have already renounced.

THE American consumption of teas is annually, I believe, worth 300,000l. at the least farthing. If you urge the American violence as a justification of your perseverance in enforcing this tax, you know that you can never answer this plain question—Why did you repeal the others given in the same act, whilst the very same violence subsisted? But you did not find the violence cease upon that concession.—No! because the concession was far short of satisfy|ing the principle which lord Hillsborough had ab|jured; or even the pretence on which the repeal of the other taxes was announced: and because, by enabling the East India company to open a shop for defeating the American resolution not to pay that specific tax, you manifestly shewed a hanker|ing after the principle of the act which you for|merly had renounced. Whatever road you take leads to a compliance with this motion. It opens to you at the end of every vista. Your commerce, your policy, your promises, your reasons, your pretences, your consistency, your inconsistency—all jointly oblige you to this repeal.

BUT still it sticks in our throats, if we go so far, the Americans will go farther.—We do not know that. We ought, from experience, rather to pre|sume the contrary. Do we not know for certain, Page  289 that the Americans are going on as fast as possible, whilst we refuse to gratify them? can they do more, or can they do worse, if we yield this point? I think this concession will rather fix a turnpike to prevent their further progress. It is impossible to answer for bodies of men. But I am sure the na|tural effect of fidelity, clemency, kindness in go|vernors, is peace, good-will, order, and esteem, on the part of the governed. I would certainly, at least, give these fair principles a fair trial; which, since the making of this act to this hour, they ne|ver have had.

SIR, The hon. gentleman having spoken what he thought necessary upon the narrow part of the subject, I have given him, I hope, a satisfactory answer. He next presses me by a variety of direct challenges and oblique reflexions to say something on the historical part. I shall therefore, sir, open myself fully on that important and delicate subject; not for the sake of telling you a long story (which, I know, Mr. Speaker, you are not particularly fond of), but for the sake of the weighty instruction that, I flatter myself, will necessarily result from it. It shall not be longer, if I can help it, than so serious a matter requires.

PERMIT me then, sir, to lead your attention very far back; back to the act of navigation; the corner-stone of the policy of this country with regard to its colonies. Sir, that policy was, from the be|ginning, purely commercial; and the commercial system was wholly restrictive. It was the system of a monopoly. No trade was let loose from that con|straint, but merely to enable the colonists to dispose of what, in the course of your trade, you could not take; or to enable them to dispose of such articles as we forced upon them, and for which, without some degree of liberty, they could not pay. Hence all Page  290 your specific and detailed enumerations: hence the innumerable checks and counter-checks: hence that infinite variety of paper chains by which you bind together this complicated system of the Colonies. This principle of commercial monopoly runs through no less than twenty-nine acts of parliament, from the year 1660 to the unfortunate period of 1764.

IN all those acts the system of commerce is esta|blished, as that, from whence alone you proposed to make the Colonies contribute (I mean directly and by the operation of your superintending legis|lative power) to the strength of the empire. I ven|ture to say, that during that whole period, a parlia|mentary revenue from thence was never once in contemplation. Accordingly in all the number of laws passed with regard to the plantations, the words which distinguish revenue laws, specifically as such, were, I think, premeditately avoided. I do not say, sir, that a form of words alters the nature of the law, or abridges the power of the lawgiver. It certainly does not. However, titles and formal preambles are not always idle words; and the law|yers frequently argue from them. I state these facts to shew, not what was your right, but what has been your settled policy. Our revenue laws have usually a title, purporting their being grants; and the words give and grant usually precede the enacting parts. Although duties were imposed on America in acts of king Charles the second, and in acts of king William, no one title of giving

"an aid to his majesty,"
or any other of the usual titles to revenue acts, was to be found in any of them till 1764; nor were the words
"give and grant"
in any preamble until the 6th of George the second. However, the title of this act of George the second, notwithstanding the words of Page  291 donation, considers it merely as a regulation of trade,
"An act for the better securing of the trade of his majesty's sugar colonies in America."
This act was made on a compromise of all, and at the express desire of a part, of the colonies them|selves. It was therefore in some measure with their consent; and having a title directly purporting only a commercial regulation, and being in truth nothing more, the words were passed by, at a time when no jealousy was entertained, and things were little scrutinized. Even governor Bernard, in his second printed letter, dated in 1763, gives it as his opinion, that,
"it was an act of prohibition, not of revenue."
This is certainly true; that no act avowedly for the purpose of revenue, and with the ordinary title and recital taken together, is found in the statute book until the year I have mentioned; that is, the year 1764. All before this period stood on commercial regulation and restraint. The scheme of a colony revenue by British authority appeared therefore to the Americans in the light of a great innovation. The words of governor Bernard's ninth letter, written in November 1765, state this idea very strongly;
"it must," says he, "have been sup|posed, such an innovation as a parliamentary taxa|tion, would cause a great alarm, and meet with much opposition in most parts of America; it was quite new to the people, and had no visible bounds set to it."
After stating the weakness of govern|ment there, he says,
"was this a time to introduce so great a novelty as a parliamentary inland taxa|tion in America?"
Whatever the right might have been, this mode of using it was absolutely new in policy and practice.

SIR, they who are friends to the schemes of American revenue say, that the commercial re|straint is full as hard a law for America to live un|der. Page  292 I think so too. I think it, if uncompensated, to be a condition of as rigorous servitude as men can be subject to. But America bore it from the fundamental act of navigation until 1764.—Why? Because men do bear the inevitable constitution of original nature with all its infirmities. The act of navigation attended the Colonies from their infan|cy, grew with their growth, and strengthened with their strength. They were confirmed in obedience to it, even more by usage than by law. They scarcely had remembered a time when they were not subject to such restraint. Besides, they were indemnified for it by a pecuniary compensation. Their monopolist happened to be one of the richest men in the world. By his immense capital (prima|rily employed, not for their benefit, but his own) they were enabled to proceed with their fisheries, their agriculture, their ship-building (and their trade too within the limits), in such a manner as got far the start of the slow languid operations of unassisted nature. This capital was a hot-bed to them. Nothing in the history of mankind is like their progress. For my part, I never cast an eye on their flourishing commerce, and their cultivated and commodious life, but they seem to me rather ancient nations grown to perfection through a long series of fortunate events, and a train of successful industry, accumulating wealth in many centuries, than the Colonies of yesterday; than a set of mise|rable out-casts, a few years ago, not so much sent as thrown out, on the bleak and barren shore of a desolate wilderness three thousand miles from all ci|vilized intercourse.

ALL this was done by England, whilst England pursued trade, and forgot revenue. You not only acquired commerce, but you actually created the very objects of trade in America; and by that Page  293 creation you raised the trade of this kingdom at least four-fold. America had the compensation of your capital, which made her bear her servitude. She had another compensation, which you are now going to take away from her. She had, except the commercial restraint, every characteristic mark of a free people in all her internal concerns. She had the image of the British constitution. She had the substance. She was taxed by her own repre|sentatives. She chose most of her own representa|tives. She paid them all. She had in effect the sole disposal of her own internal government. This whole state of commercial servitude and civil liber|ty, taken together, is certainly not perfect free|dom; but, comparing it with the ordinary circum|stances of human nature, it was an happy and a liberal condition.

I KNOW, sir, that great and not unsuccessful pains have been taken to inflame our minds by an outery, in this house and out of it, that in America the act of navigation neither is, or ever was, obey|ed. But if you take the colonies through, I affirm, that its authority never was disputed; that it was no where disputed for any length of time; and on the whole, that it was well observed. Wherever the act pressed hard, many individuals indeed evaded it. This is nothing. These scattered indi|viduals never denied the law, and never obeyed it. Just as it happens whenever the laws of trade, whenever the laws of revenue, press hard upon the people in England; in that case all your shores are full of contraband. Your right to give a mo|nopoly to the East India company, your right to lay immense duties on French brandy, are not disputed in England. You do not make this charge on any man. But you know that there is not a creek from Pentland Frith to the Isle of Wight, Page  294 in which they do not smuggle immense quantities of Teas, East India goods, and brandies. I take it for granted, that the authority of governor Bernard in this point is indisputable. Speaking of these laws, as they regarded that part of America now in so unhappy a condition, he says,

"I believe they are no where better supported than in this province: I do not pretend that it is entirely free from a breach of these laws; but that such a breach, if discovered, is justly punished."
What more can you say of the obedience to any laws in any coun|try? An obedience to these laws formed the ac|knowledgment, instituted by yourselves, for your superiority; and was the payment you originally imposed for your protection.

WHETHER you were right or wrong in esta|blishing the colonies on the principles of commer|cial monopoly, rather than on that of revenue, is at this day a problem of mere speculation. You can|not have both by the same authority. To join to|gether the restraints of an universal internal and ex|ternal monopoly, with an universal internal and ex|ternal taxation, is an unnatural union; perfect un|compensated slavery. You have long since decid|ed for yourself and them; and you and they have prospered exceedingly under that decision.

THIS nation, sir, never thought of departing from that choice until the period immediately on the close of the last war. Then a scheme of go|vernment new in many things seemed to have been adopted. I saw, or thought I saw, several symptoms of a great change, whilst I sat in your gallery, a good while before I had the honour of a seat in this house. At that period the necessity was established of keeping up no less than twenty new regiments, with twenty colonels capable of seats in this house. This scheme was adopted with very Page  295 general applause from all sides, at the very time that, by your conquests in America, your danger from foreign attempts in that part of the world was much lessened, or indeed rather quite over. When this huge increase of military establishment was re|solved on, a revenue was to be found to support so great a burthen. Country gentlemen, the great patrons of oeconomy, and the great resisters of a standing armed force, would not have entered with much alacrity into the vote for so large and so expensive an army, if they had been very sure that they were to continue to pay for it. But hopes of another kind were held out to them; and in parti|cular, I well remember, that Mr. Townshend, in a brilliant harangue on this subject, did dazzle them, by playing before their eyes the image of a reve|nue to be raised in America.

HERE began to dawn the first glimmerings of this new Colony system. It appeared more dis|tinctly afterwards, when it was devolved upon a person to whom, on other accounts, this country owes very great obligations. I do believe, that he had a very serious desire to benefit the public. But with no small study of the detail, he did not seem to have his view, at least equally, carried to the to|tal circuit of our affairs. He generally considered his objects in lights that were rather too detached. Whether the business of an American revenue was imposed upon him altogether; whether it was en|tirely the result of his own speculation; or, what is more probable, that his own ideas rather coincid|ed with the instructions he had received; certain it is, that, with the best intentions in the world, he first brought this fatal scheme into form, and esta|blished it by act of parliament.

NO man can believe, that at this time of day I mean to lean on the venerable memory of a great Page  296 man, whose loss we deplore in common. Our lit|tle party-differences have been along ago compos|ed; and I have acted more with him, and certain|ly with more pleasure with him, than ever I acted against him. Undoubtedly Mr. Grenville was a first-rate figure in this country. With a masculine understanding, and a stout and resolute heart, he had an application undissipated and unwearied. He took public business, not as a duty which he was to fulfil, but as a pleasure he was to enjoy; and he seemed to have no delight out of this house, ex|cept in such things as some way related to the busi|ness that was to be done within it. If he was ambi|tious, I will say this for him, his ambition was of a noble and generous strain. It was to raise himself, not by the low pimping politics of a court, but to win his way to power, through the laborious grada|tions of public service; and to secure to himself a well-earned rank in parliament, by a thorough knowledge of its constitution, and a perfect prac|tice in all its business.

SIR, if such a man fell into errors, it must be from defects not intrinsical; they must be rather sought in the particular habits of his life; which, though they do not alter the ground-work of charac|ter, yet tinge it with their own hue. He was bred in a profession. He was bred to the law, which is, in my opinion, one of the first and noblest of human sciences: a science which does more to quicken and invigorate the understanding, than all the other kinds of learning put together; but it is not apt, except in persons very happily born, to open and to liberalize the mind exactly in the same proporti|on. Passing from that study he did not go very largely into the world; but plunged into business; I mean into the business of office; and the limited and fixed methods and forms established there. Page  297 Much knowledge is to be had undoubtedly in that line; and there is no knowledge which is not valu|able. But it may be truly said, that men too much conversant in office are rarely minds of re|markable enlargement. Their habits of office are apt to give them a turn to think the substance of business not to be much more important than the forms in which it is conducted. These forms are adapted to ordinary occasions; and therefore per|sons who are nurtured in office do admirably well, as long as things go on in their common order; but when the high roads are broken up, and the waters out, when a new and troubled scene is opened, and the file affords no precedent, then it is that a greater knowledge of mankind, and a far more extensive comprehension of things, is requi|site than ever office gave, or than office can ever give. Mr. Grenville thought better of the wisdom and power of human legislation than in truth it de|serves. He conceived, and many conceived along with him, that the flourishing trade of this country was greatly owing to law and institution, and not quite so much to liberty; for but too many are apt to believe regulation to be commerce, and taxes to be revenue. Among regulations, that which stood first in reputation was his idol. I mean the act of navigation. He has often professed it to be so. The policy of that act is, I readily admit, in many respects well understood. But I do say, that, if the act be suffered to run the full length of its prin|ciple, and is not changed and modified according to the change of times and the fluctuation of cir|cumstances, it must do great mischief, and fre|quently even defeat its own purpose.

AFTER the war, and in the last year of it, the trade of America had encreased far beyond the speculations of the most sanguine imagination. It Page  298 swelled out on every side. It filled all its proper channels to the brim. It overflowed with a rich redundance, and, breaking its banks on the right and on the left, it spread out upon some places, where it was indeed improper, upon others where it was only irregular. It is the nature of all great|ness not to be exact; and great trade will always be attended with considerable abuses. The con|traband will always keep pace in some measure with the fair trade. It should stand as a funda|mental maxim, that no vulgar precaution ought to be employed in the cure of evils, which are closely connected with the cause of our prosperity. Perhaps this great person turned his eyes somewhat less than was just, towards the incredible increase of the fair trade; and looked with something of too exquisite a jealousy towards the contraband. He certainly felt a singular degree of anxiety on the subject; and even began to act from that passion earlier than is commonly imagined. For whilst he was first lord of the admiralty, though not strictly called upon in his official line, he presented a very strong memorial to the lords of the treasury (my lord Bute was then at the head of the board) heavily complaining of the growth of the illicit commerce in America. Some mischief happened even at that time from this over-earnest zeal. Much greater happened afterwards when it operated with greater power in the highest department of the finances. The bonds of the act of navigation were straitened so much, that America was on the point of having no trade, either contraband or le|gitimate. They found, under the construction and execution then used, the act no longer tying but actually strangling them. All this coming with new enumerations of commodities; with re|gulations which in a manner put a stop to the mu|tual coasting intercourse of the colonies; with the Page  299 appointment of courts of admiralty under various improper circumstances; with a sudden extinc|tion of the paper currencies; with a compulsory provision for the quartering of soldiers; the people of America thought themselves proceeded against as delinquents, or at best as people under suspicion of delinquency; and in such a manner as, they imagined, their recent services in the war did not at all merit. Any of these innumerable regulati|ons, perhaps, would not have alarmed alone; some might be thought reasonable; the multitude struck them with terror.

BUT the grand manoeuvre in that business of new regulating the colonies, was the 15th act of the fourth of George III.; which, besides contain|ing several of the matters to which I have just alluded, opened a new principle: and here pro|perly began the second period of the policy of this country with regard to the colonies; by which the scheme of a regular plantation parliamentary reve|nue was adopted in theory, and settled in practice. A revenue not substituted in the place of, but su|peradded to, a monopoly; which monopoly was enforced at the same time with additional strictness, and the execution put into military hands.

THIS act, sir, had for the first time the title of

"granting duties in the colonies and plantations of America;"
and for the first time it was asserted in the preamble,
"that it was just and necessary that a revenue should be raised there."
Then came the technical words of
"giving and grant|ing;"
and thus a complete American revenue act was made, in all the forms, and with a full avowal of the right, equity, policy, and even necessity, of taxing the colonies, without any formal consent of theirs. There are contained also in the pre|amble to that act these very remarkable words— Page  300 the commons, &c.—
"being desirous to make some provision in the present session of parliament to|wards raising the said revenue."
By these words it appeared to the colonies, that this act was but a beginning of sorrows; that every session was to produce something of the same kind; that we were to go on from day to day, in charging them with such taxes as we pleased, for such a military force as we should think proper. Had this plan been pursued, it was evident that the provincial assem|blies, in which the Americans felt all their portion of importance, and beheld their sole image of freedom, were ipso facto annihilated. This ill pros|pect before them seemed to be boundless in extent, and endless in duration. Sir, they were not mis|taken. The ministry valued themselves when this act passed, and when they gave notice of the stamp act, that both of the duties came very short of their ideas of American taxation. Great was the applause of this measure here. In England we cried out for new taxes on America, whilst they cried out that they were nearly crushed with those which the war and their own grants had brought upon them.

SIR, it has been said in the debate, that when the first American revenue act (the act in 1764, imposing the port duties) passed, the Americans did not object to the principle. It is true they touched it but very tenderly. It was not a direct attack. They were, it is true, as yet novices; as yet unaccustomed to direct attacks upon any of the rights of parliament. The duties were port duties, like those they had been accustomed to bear; with this difference, that the title was not the same, the preamble not the same, and the spirit altogether unlike. But of what service is this ob|servation to the cause of those that make it? It is a Page  301 full refutation of the pretence for their present cruelty to America; for it shews, out of their own mouths, that our colonies were backward to enter into the present vexatious and ruinous controversy.

THERE is also another circulation abroad, (spread with a malignant intention, which I cannot attri|bute to those who say the same thing in this house) that Mr. Grenville gave the colony agents an option for their assemblies to tax themselves, which they had refused. I find that much stress is laid on this, as a fact. However, it happens neither to be true nor possible. I will observe first, that Mr. Gren|ville never thought fit to make this apology for himself in the innumerable debates that were had upon the subject. He might have proposed to the colony agents, that they should agree in some mode of taxation as the ground of an act of parlia|ment. But he never could have proposed that they should tax themselves on requisition, which is the assertion of the day. Indeed, Mr. Grenville well knew, that the colony agents could have no general powers to consent to it; and they had no time to consult their assemblies for particular pow|ers, before he passed his first revenue act. If you compare dates, you will find it impossible. Bur|thened as the agents knew the colonies were at that time, they could not give the least hope of such grants. His own favourite governor was of opi|nion that the Americans were not then taxable objects:

"NOR was the time less favourable to the equity of such a taxation. I don't mean to dispute the rea|sonableness of America contributing to the charges of Great Britain when she is able; nor, I believe, would the Americans themselves have disputed it, at a proper time and season. But it should be considered, that the American governments themselves have, in the pro|secutionPage  302of the late war, contracted very large debts; which it will take some years to pay off, and in the mean time occasion very burdensome taxes for that purpose only. For instance, this government, which is as much beforehand as any, raises every year 37,500l. sterling for sinking their debt, and must con|tinue it for four years longer at least before it will be clear."

THESE are the words of governor Bernard's letter to a member of the old ministry, and which he has since printed. Mr. Grenville could not have made this proposition to the agents, for ano|ther reason. He was of opinion, which he has de|clared in this house an hundred times, that the co|lonies could not legally grant any revenue to the crown; and that infinite mischiefs would be the consequence of such a power. When Mr. Gren|ville had passed the first revenue act, and in the same session had made this house come to a resolu|tion for laying a stamp-duty on America; between that time and the passing the stamp-act into a law, he told a considerable and most respectable mer|chant, a member of this house, whom I am truly sorry I do not now see in his place, when he re|presented against this proceeding, that if the stamp-duty was disliked, he was willing to exchange it for any other equally productive; but that, if he objected to the Americans being taxed by parlia|ment, he might save himself the trouble of the discussion, as he was determined on the measure. This is the fact, and, if you please, I will mention a very unquestionable authority for it.

THUS, sir, I have disposed of this falsehood. But falsehood has a perennial spring. It is said, that no conjecture could be made of the dislike of the colonies to the principle. This is as untrue as the other. After the resolution of the house, and Page  303 before the passing of the stamp-act, the colonies of Massachuset's Bay and New York did send remon|strances, objecting to this mode of parliamentary taxation. What was the consequence? They were suppressed; they were put under the table; not|withstanding an order of council to the contrary, by the ministry which composed the very council that had made the order; and thus the house pro|ceeded to its business of taxing, without the least regular knowledge of the objections which were made to it. But, to give that house its due, it was not over-desirous to receive information, or to hear remonstrance. On the 15th of February, 1765, whilst the stamp-act was under deliberation, they refused with scorn even so much as to receive four petitions presented from so respectable colonies as Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Carolina; besides one from the traders of Jamaica. As to the colonies, they had no alternative left to them, but to disobey; or to pay the taxes imposed by that parliament which was not suffered, or did not suffer itself, even to hear them remonstrate upon the sub|ject.

THIS was the state of the colonies before his ma|jesty thought fit to change his ministers. It stands upon no authority of mine. It is proved by un|controvertible records. The hon. gentleman has desired some of us to lay our hands upon our hearts, and answer to his queries upon the historical part of this consideration; and by his manner (as well as my eyes could discern it) he seemed to address himself to me.

SIR, I will answer him as clearly as I am able, and with great openness: I have nothing to con|ceal. In the year sixty-five, being in a very pri|vate station, far enough from any line of business, and not having the honour of a seat in this house, Page  304 it was my fortune, unknowing and unknown to the then ministry, by the intervention of a common friend, to become connected with a very noble person, and at the head of the treasury department. It was indeed in a situation of little rank and no consequence, suitable to the mediocrity of my ta|lents and pretensions. But a situation near enough to enable me to see, as well as others, what was going on; and I did see in that noble person such sound principles, such an enlargement of mind, such clear and sagacious sense, and such unshaken fortitude, as have bound me, as well as others much better than me, by an inviolable attachment to him from that time forward. Sir, lord Rocking|ham very early in that summer received a strong representation from many weighty English mer|chants and manufacturers, from governors of pro|vinces and commanders of men of war, against almost the whole of the American commercial re|gulations: and particularly with regard to the total ruin which was threatened to the Spanish trade. I believe, sir, the noble lord soon saw his way in this business. But he did not rashly determine against acts which it might be supposed were the result of much deliberation. However, sir, he scarcely be|gan to open the ground, when the whole veteran body of office took the alarm. A violent outcry of all (except those who knew and felt the mis|chief) was raised against any alteration. On one hand, his attempt was a direct violation of treaties and public law.—On the other, the act of naviga|tion and all the corps of trade laws were drawn up in array against it.

THE first step the noble lord took, was to have the opinion of his excellent, learned, and ever|lamented friend the late Mr. Yorke, then attorney general, on the point of law. When he knew Page  305 that formally and officially, which in substance he had known before, he immediately dispatched or|ders to redress the grievance. But I will say it for the then minister, he is of that constitution of mind, that I know he would have issued, on the same critical occasion, the very same orders, if the acts of trade had been, as they were not, directly against him: and would have chearfully submit|ted to the equity of parliament for his indemnity.

ON the conclusion of this business of the Spanish trade, the news of the troubles, on account of the stamp-act, arrived in England. It was not until the end of October that these accounts were re|ceived. No sooner had the sound of that mighty tempest reached us in England, than the whole of the then opposition, instead of feeling humbled by the unhappy issue of their measures, seemed to be infinitely elated, and cried out, that the ministry, from envy to the glory of their predecessors, were prepared to repeal the stamp-act. Near nine years after, the hon. gentleman takes quite opposite ground, and now challenges me to put my hand to my heart, and say, whether the ministry had re|solved on the repeal till a considerable time after the meeting of parliament. Though I do not very well know what the hon. gentleman wishes to infer from the admission, or from the denial, of this fact, on which he so earnestly adjures me; I do put my hand on my heart, and assure him, that they did not come to a resolution directly to repeal. They weighed this matter as its difficulty and importance required. They considered maturely among them|selves. They consulted with all who could give advice or information. It was not determined until a little before the meeting of parliament; but it was determined, and the main lines of their own plan marked out, before that meeting. Two questions Page  306 arose. (I hope I am not going into a narrative trou|blesome to the house)

[A cry of, Go on, go on.]

THE first of the two considerations was, whe|ther the repeal should be total, or whether only partial; taking out every thing burthensome and productive, and reserving only an empty acknow|ledgment, such as a stamp on cards and dice. The other question was, On what principle the act should be repealed? On this head also two princi|ples were started. One, that the legislative rights of this country, with regard to America, were not entire, but had certain restrictions and limitations. The other principle was, that taxes of this kind were contrary to the fundamental principles of commerce on which the colonies were founded; and contrary to every idea of political equity; by which equity we are bound, as much as possible to extend the spirit and benefit of the British constitu|tion to every part of the British dominions. The option, both of the measure and of the principle of repeal, was made before the session; and I wonder how any one can read the king's speech at the opening of that session, without seeing in that speech both the repeal and the declaratory act very sufficiently crayoned out. Those who cannot see this, can see nothing.

SURELY the hon. gentleman will not think that a great deal less time than was then employed, ought to have been spent in deliberation; when he con|siders that the news of the troubles did not arrive till towards the end of October. The parliament sat to fill the vacancies on the 14th day of December, and on business the 14th of the following Ja|nuary.

Page  307SIR, a partial repeal, or, as the bon ton of court then was, a modification, would have satisfied a ti|mid, unsystematic, procrastinating ministry, as such a measure has since done such a ministry. A modification is the constant resource of weak un|deciding minds. To repeal by a denial of our right to tax in the preamble (and this too did not want advisers), would have cut, in the heroic style, the Gordian knot with a sword. Either measure would have cost no more than a day's debate. But when the total repeal was adopted; and a|dopted on principles of policy, of equity, and of commerce; this plan made it necessary to enter into many and difficult measures. It became ne|cessary to open a very large field of evidence com|mensurate to these extensive views. But then this labour did knights service. It opened the eyes of several to the true state of the American affairs; it enlarged their ideas; it removed prejudices; and it conciliated the opinions and affections of men. The noble lord, who then took the lead in admi|nistration, my hon. friendf under me, and a right hon. gentlemang (if he will not reject his share, and it was a large one, of this business) exerted the most laudable industry in bringing before you the fullest, most impartial, and least-garbled body of evidence that ever was produced to this house. I think the enquiry lasted in the committee for six weeks; and at its conclusion this house, by an in|dependent, noble, spirited, and unexpected majo|rity; by a majority that will redeem all the acts ever done by majorities in parliament; in the teeth of all the old mercenary Swiss of state, in despite of all the speculators and augurs of political events, in defiance of the whole embattled legion of veteran pensioners and practised instruments of a court, Page  308 gave a total repeal to the stamp-act, and (if it had been so permitted) a lasting piece to this whole empire.

I STATE, sir, these particulars, because this act of spirit and fortitude has lately been, in the circu|lation of the season, and in some hazarded declama|tions in this house, attributed to timidity. If, sir, the conduct of ministry, in proposing the repeal, had arisen from timidity with regard to themselves, it would have been greatly to be condemned. In|terested timidity disgraces as much in the cabinet, as personal timidity does in the field. But timidity, with regard to the well-being of our country, is he|roic virtue. The noble lord who then conducted affairs, and his worthy colleagues, whilst they trembled at the prospect of such distresses as you have since brought upon yourselves, were not afraid steadily to look in the face that glaring and dazzling influence at which the eyes of eagles have blenched. He looked in the face one of the ablest, and, let me say, not the most scrupulous oppo|sitions, that perhaps ever was in this house, and withstood it, unaided by, even one of, the usual supports of administration. He did this when he repealed the stamp-act. He looked in the face a person he had long respected and regarded, and whose aid was then particularly wanting; I mean lord Chatham. He did this when he passed the declaratory act.

IT is now given out, for the usual purposes, by the usual emissaries, that lord Rockingham did not consent to the repeal of this act until he was bullied into it by lord Chatham; and the reporters have gone so far as publicly to assert, in an hundred companies, that the hon. gentleman under the gal|lery,f who proposed the repeal in the American Page  309 committee, had another set of resolutions in his pocket directly the reverse of those he moved. These artifices of a desperate cause are, at this time, spread abroad, with incredible care, in every part of the town, from the highest to the lowest compa|nies; as if the industry of the circulation were to make amends for the absurdity of the report.

SIR, Whether the noble lord is of a complexion to be bullied by lord Chatham, or by any man, I must submit to those who know him. I confess, when I look back to that time, I consider him as placed in one of the most trying situations in which, perhaps, any man ever stood. In the house of peers there were very few of the ministry, out of the no|ble lord's own particular connexion, (except lord Egmont, who acted, as far as I could discern, an honourable and manly part), that did not look to some other future arrangement, which warped his politics. There were in both houses new and me|nacing appearances, that might very naturally drive any other, than a most resolute minister, from his measure or from his station. The household troops openly revolted. The allies of ministry (those, I mean, who supported some of their measures, but refused responsibility for any) endeavoured to un|dermine their credit, and to take ground that must be fatal to the success of the very cause which they would be thought to countenance. The question of the repeal was brought on by ministry in the committee of this house, in the very instant when it was known that more than one court negociation was carrying on with the heads of the opposition. Every thing, upon every side, was full of traps and mines. Earth below shook; heaven above me|naced; all the elements of ministerial safety were dissolved. It was in the midst of this chaos of plots and counterplots; it was in the midst of this com|plicated Page  310 warfare against public opposition and pri|vate treachery, that the firmness of that noble per|son was put to the proof. He never stirred from his ground; no, not an inch. He remained fixed and determined, in principle, in measure, and in con|duct. He practised no managements. He secured no retreat. He sought no apology.

I WILL likewise do justice, I ought to do it, to the hon. gentleman who led us in this housei. Far from the duplicity wickedly charged on him, he acted his part with alacrity and resolution. We all felt inspired by the example he gave us, down even to myself, the weakest in that phalanx. I declare for one, I knew well enough (it could not be con|cealed from any body) the true state of things: but, in my life, I never came with so much spirits into this house. It was a time for a man to act in. We had powerful enemies; but we had faithful and determined friends; and a glorious cause. We had a great battle to fight; but we had the means of fighting; not as now, when our arms are tied behind us. We did fight that day and conquer.

I REMEMBER, sir, with a melancholy pleasure, the situation of the hon. gentlemani who made the motion for the repeal; in that crisis, when the whole trading interest of this empire, crammed into your lobbies, with a trembling and anxious expectation, waited, almost to a winter's return of light, their fate from your resolutions. When, at length, you had determined in their favour, and your doors, thrown open, shewed them the figure of their deli|verer in the well-earned triumph of his important victory, from the whole of that grave multitude there arose an involuntary burst of gratitude and transport. They jumped upon him like children Page  311 on a long absent father. They clung about him as captives about their redeemer. All England, all America, joined to his applause. Nor did he seem insensible to the best of all earthly rewards, the love and admiration of his fellow-citizens. Hope elevated and joy brightened his crest. I stood near him; and his face, to use the expression of the scrip|ture of the first martyr,

"his face was as if it had been the face of an angel."
I do not know how others feel; but if I had stood in that situation, I ne|ver would have exchanged it for all that kings in their profusion could bestow. I did hope, that that day's danger and honour would have been a bond to hold us all together for ever. But, alas! that, with other pleasing visions, is long since vanished.

SIR, this act of supreme magnanimity has been represented, as if it had been a measure of an admi|nistration, that, having no scheme of their own, took a middle line, pilfered a bit from one side and a bit from the other. Sir, they took no middle lines. They differed fundamentally from the schemes of both parties; but they preserved the ob|jects of both. They preserved the authority of Great Britain. They preserved the equity of Great Britain. They made the declaratory act; they repealed the stamp-act. They did both fully; be|cause the declaratory act was without qualification; and the repeal of the stamp-act total. This they did in the situation I have described.

NOW, sir, what will the adversary say to both these acts? If the principle of the declaratory act was not good, the principle we are contending for this day is monstrous. If the principle of the repeal was not good, why are we not at war for a real sub|stantial effective revenue? If both were bad; why has this ministry incurred all the inconveniencies of kPage  312 both and of all schemes? Why have they enacted, repealed, enforced, yielded, and now attempt to enforce again?

SIR, I think I may as well now, as at any other time, speak to a certain matter of fact not wholly unrelated to the question under your consideration. We, who would persuade you to revert to the an|cient policy of this kingdom, labour under the ef|fect of this short current phrase, which the court leaders have given out to all their corps, in order to take away the credit of those who would prevent you from that frantic war you are going to wage upon your Colonies. The cant is this;

"All the disturbances in America have been created by the repeal of the stamp-act."
I suppress for a moment my indignation at the falsehood, baseness, and absurdity, of this most audacious assertion. In|stead of remarking on the motives and character of those who have issued it for circulation, I will clear|ly lay before you the state of America, antecedent|ly to that repeal; after the repeal; and since the renewal of the schemes of American taxation.

IT is said, that the disturbances, if there were any, before the repeal, were slight; and without difficulty or inconvenience might have been sup|pressed. For an answer to this assertion I will send you to the great author and patron of the stamp-act, who, certainly meaning well to the authority of this country, and fully apprized of the state of that, made, before a repeal was so much as agitated in this house, the motion which is on your journals; and which, to save the clerk the trouble of turning to it, I will now read to you. It was for an amend|ment to the address of the 17th of December 1765:

Page  313

"TO express our just resentment and indignation at the outrageous tumults and insurrections which have been excited and carried on in North America; and at the resistance given by open and rebellious force to the execution of the laws in that part of his majesty's dominions. And to assure his majesty, that his faithful commons, animated with the warmest duty and attachment to his royal person and govern|ment, will firmly and effectually support his majesty in all such measures as shall be necessary for preserv|ing and supporting the legal dependance of the Colonies on the Mother Country, &c. &c."

HERE was certainly a disturbance preceding the repeal; such a disturbance as Mr. Grenville thought necessary to qualify by the name of an insurrection, and the epithet of a rebellious force: terms much stronger than any, by which, those who then sup|ported his motion, have ever since thought proper to distinguish the subsequent disturbances in Ameri|ca. They were disturbances which seemed to him and his friends to justify as strong a promise of sup|port, as hath been usual to give in the beginning of a war with the most powerful and declared enemies. When the accounts of the American governors came before the house, they appeared stronger even than the warmth of public imagination had painted them; so much stronger, that the papers on your table bear me out in saying, that all the late disturbances, which have been at one time the minister's motives for the repeal of five out of six of the new court taxes, and are now his pretences for refusing to repeal that sixth, did not amount—why do I compare them? no, not to a tenth part of the tumults and violence which prevailed long before the repeal of that act.

MINISTRY cannot refuse the authority of the commander in chief, general Gage, who, in his let|ter Page  314 of the 4th of November, from New York, thus represents the state of things:

"IT is difficult to say, from the highest to the lowest, who has not been accessary to this insurrec|tion, either by writing or mutual agreements to oppose the act, by what they are pleased to term all legal opposition to it. Nothing effectual has been proposed either to prevent or quell the tumult. The rest of the provinces are in the same situation as to a positive refusal to take the stamps; and threatning those who shall take them, to plunder and murder them; and this affair stands in all the provinces, that unless the act, from its own nature, enforce it|self, nothing but a very considerable military force can do it."

IT is remarkable, sir, that the persons who for|merly trumpeted forth the most loudly, the violent resolutions of assemblies; the universal insurrecti|ons; the seizing and burning the stamped papers; the forcing stamp officers to resign their commissions under the gallows; the rifling and pulling down of the houses of magistrates; and the expulsion from their country of all who dared to write or speak a single word in defence of the powers of parliament; these very trumpeters are now the men that repre|sent the whole as a mere trifle; and choose to date all the disturbances from the repeal of the stamp-act, which put an end to them. Hear your officers abroad, and let them refute this shameless false|hood, who, in all their correspondence, state the disturbances as owing to their true causes, the dis|content of the people, from the taxes. You have this evidence in your own archives—and it will give you compleat satisfaction; if you are not so far lost to all parliamentary ideas of information, as rather to credit the lye of the day, than the records of your own house.

Page  315SIR, this vermin of court reporters, when they are forced into day upon one point, are sure to bur|row in another; but they shall have no refuge: I will make them bolt out of all their holes. Con|scious that they must be baffled, when they attri|bute a precedent disturbance to a subsequent mea|sure, they take other ground, almost as absurd, but very common in modern practice, and very wick|ed; which is, to attribute the ill effect of ill-judged conduct to the arguments which had been used to dissuade us from it. They say that the opposition made in parliament to the stamp-act at the time of its passing, encouraged the Americans to their re|sistance. This has even formally appeared in print in a regular volume, from an advocate of that faction, a doctor Tucker. This doctor Tucker is already a dean, and his earnest labours in this vineyard will, I suppose, raise him to a bishopric. But this asser|tion too, just like the rest, is false. In all the papers which have loaded your table; in all the vast crowd of verbal witnesses that appeared at your bar, wit|nesses which were indiscriminately produced from both sides of the house; not the least hint of such a cause of disturbance has ever appeared. As to the fact of a strenuous opposition to the stamp-act, I sat as a stranger in your gallery when the act was un|der consideration. Far from any thing inflamma|tory, I never heard a more languid debate in this house. No more than two or three gentlemen, as I remember, spoke against the act, and that with great reserve and remarkable temper. There was but one division in the whole progress of the bill; and the minority did not reach to more than 39 or 40. In the house of lords I do not recollect that there was any debate or division at all. I am sure there was no protest. In fact, the affair passed with so very, very little noise, that in town they scarcely knew the nature of what you were doing. The Page  316 opposition to the bill in England never could have done this mischief, because there scarcely ever was less of opposition to a bill of consequence.

SIR, the agents and distributors of falsehoods have, with their usual industry, circulated another lye of the same nature with the former. It is this, that the disturbances arose from the account which had been received in America of the change in the ministry. No longer awed, it seems, with the spirit of the former rulers, they thought themselves a match for what our calumniators choose to qua|lify by the name of so feeble a ministry as succeed|ed. Feeble in one sense these men certainly may be called; for, with all their efforts, and they have made many, they have not been able to resist the distempered vigour and insane alacrity with which you are rushing to your ruin. But it does so hap|pen, that the falsity of this circulation is (like the rest) demonstrated by indisputable dates and re|cords.

SO little was the change known in America, that the letters of your governors, giving an account of these disturbances long after they had arrived at their highest pitch, were all directed to the old mi|nistry, and particularly to the earl of Halifax, the secretary of state corresponding with the colonies, without once in the smallest degree intimating the slightest suspicion of any ministerial revolution whatsoever. The ministry was not changed in England until the tenth of July 1765. On the 14th of the preceding June, governor Fauquier from Virginia writes thus; and writes thus to the earl of Halifax:

"Government is set at defiance, not having strength enough in her hands to enforce obedience to the laws of the community.—The pri|vate distress, which every man feels, encreases the general dissatisfaction at the duties laid by thePage  317 stamp-act, which breaks out, and shews itself upon every trifling occasion."
The general dissatisfac|tion had produced some time before, that is, on the 29th of May, several strong public resolves against the stamp-act; and those resolves are assigned by governor Bernard, as the cause of the insurrections in Massachuset's Bay, in his letter of the 15th of August, still addressed to the earl of Halifax; and he continued to address such accounts to that mi|nister quite to the 7th of September of the same year. Similar accounts, and of as late a date, were sent from other governors, and all directed to lord Halifax. Not one of these letters indicates the slightest idea of a change, either known, or even apprehended.

THUS are blown away the insect race of courtly falsehoods! thus perish the miserable inventions of the wretched runners for a wretched cause, which they have fly-blown into every weak and rotten part of the country, in vain hopes that, when their maggots had taken wing, their importunate buzzing might sound something like the public voice!

SIR, I have troubled you sufficiently with the state of America before the repeal. Now I turn to the hon. gentleman who so stoutly challenges us, to tell, whether, after the repeal, the provinces were quiet? This is coming home to the point. Here I meet him directly; and answer most rea|dily, They were quiet. And I, in my turn, chal|lenge him to prove when, and where, and by whom, and in what numbers, and with what vio|lence, the other laws of trade, as gentlemen as|sert, were violated in consequence of your conces|sion? or that even your other revenue laws were attacked? But I quit the vantage ground on which I stand, and where I might leave the burthen of Page  318 the proof upon him: I walk down upon the open plain, and undertake to shew, that they were not only quiet, but shewed many unequivocal marks of acknowledgment and gratitude. And to give him every advantage, I select the obnoxious colony of Massachuset's Bay, which at this time (but with|out hearing her) is so heavily a culprit before par|liament—I will select their proceedings even under circumstances of no small irritation. For, a little imprudently I must say, governor Bernard mixed in the administration of the lenitive of the repeal no small acrimony arising from matters of a separate nature. Yet see, sir, the effect of that lenitive, though mixed with these bitter ingredients; and how these rugged people can express themselves on a measure of concession.

"If it is not now in our power" (say they in their address to governor Bernard) "in so full a manner as will be expected, to shew our respectful gratitude to the mother country, or to make a dutiful and af|fectionate return to the indulgence of the king and parliament, it shall be no fault of ours; for this we intend, and hope we shall be able fully to effect."

WOULD to God that this temper had been culti|vated, managed, and set in action! other effect than those which we have since felt would have re|sulted from it. On the requisition for compensation to those who had suffered from the violence of the populace, in the same address they say,

"The re|commendation enjoined by Mr. secretary Conway's letter, and in consequence thereof made to us, we will embrace the first convenient opportunity to consi|der and act upon."
They did consider; they did act upon it. They obeyed the requisition. I know the mode has been chicaned upon; but it was substantially obeyed; and much better obeyed, than I fear the parliamentary requisition of this Page  319 session will be, though enforced by all your rigour, and backed with all your power. In a word, the damages of popular fury were compensated by le|gislative gravity. Almost every other part of Ame|rica in various ways demonstrated their gratitude. I am bold to say, that so sudden a calm recovered after so violent a storm is without parallel in history. To say that no other disturbance should happen from any other cause, is folly. But, as far as ap|pearance went, by the judicious sacrifice of one law, you procured an acquiescence in all that re|mained. After this experience, nobody shall per|suade me, when an whole people are concerned, that acts of lenity are not means of conciliation.

I HOPE the hon. gentleman has received a fair and full answer to his question.

I HAVE done with the third period of your po|licy; that of your repeal; and the return of your ancient system, and your ancient tranquillity and concord. Sir, this period was not as long as it was happy. Another scene was opened, and other actors appeared on the stage. The state, in the condition I have described it, was delivered into the hands of lord Chatham—a great and celebrated name; a name that keeps the name of this country respectable in every other on the globe. It may be truly called,

—Clarum et venerabile nomen
Gentibus, et multum nostrae quod proderat urbi.

SIR, the venerable age of this great man, his merited rank, his superior eloquence, his splendid qualities, his eminent services, the vast space he fills in the eye of mankind; and, more than all the rest, his fall from power, which, like death, ca|nonizes and sanctifies a great character, will not suffer me to censure any part of his conduct. I am Page  320 afraid to flatter him; I am sure I am not disposed to blame him. Let those who have betrayed him by their adulation, insult him with their malevo|lence. But what I do not presume to censure, I may have leave to lament. For a wise man, he seemed to me, at that time, to be governed too much by general maxims. I speak with the free|dom of history, and I hope without offence. One or two of these maxims, flowing from an opinion not the most indulgent to our unhappy species, and surely a little too general, led him into mea|sures that were greatly mischievous to himself; and for that reason, among others, perhaps fatal to his country; measures, the effects of which, I am afraid, are for ever incurable. He made an ad|ministration, so checkered and speckled; he put together a piece of joinery, so crossly indented and whimsically dovetailed; a cabinet so variously inlaid; such a piece of diversified Mosaic; such a tesselated pavement without cement; here a bit of black stone, and there a bit of white; patriots and courtiers, kings friends and republicans; whigs and tories; treacherous friends and open enemies: that it was indeed a very curious show; but ut|terly unsafe to touch, and unsure to stand on. The colleagues whom he had assorted at the same boards, stared at each other, and were obliged to ask,

"Sir, your name?—Sir, you have the advan|tage of me—Mr. Such a one—I beg a thousand pardons—"
I venture to say, it did so happen, that persons had a single office divided between them, who had never spoke to each other in their lives; until they found themselves, they knew not how, pigging together, heads and points, in the same truckle-bed.k

Page  321SIR, In consequence of this arrangement, hav|ing put so much the larger part of his enemies and opposers into power, the confusion was such, that his own principles could not possibly have any effect or influence in the conduct of affairs. If ever he fell into a fit of the gout, or if any other cause withdrew him from public cares, principles di|rectly the contrary were sure to predominate. When he had executed his plan, he had not an inch of ground to stand upon. When he had accom|plished his scheme of administration, he was no lon|ger a minister.

WHEN his face was hid but for a moment, his whole system was on a wide sea, without chart or compass. The gentlemen, his particular friends, who, with the names of various departments of ministry, were admitted, to seem, as if they acted a part under him, with a modesty that becomes all men, and with a confidence in him, which was justified even in its extravagance by his superior abi|lities, had never, in any instance, presumed upon any opinion of their own. Deprived of his guiding influence, they were whirled about, the sport of every gust, and easily driven into any port; and as those who joined with them in manning the vessel were the most directly opposite to his opinions, measures, and character, and far the most artful and most powerful of the set, they easily prevailed, so as to seize upon the vacant, unoccupied, and derelict minds of his friends; and instantly they turned the vessel wholly out of the course of his po|licy. As if it were to insult as well as to betray him, even long before the close of the first session of his administration, when every thing was pub|licly transacted, and with great parade in his name, they made an act, declaring it highly just and ex|pedient to raise a revenue in America. For even Page  322 then, sir, even before this splendid orb was entirely set, and while the Western horizon was in a blaze with his descending glory, on the opposite quarter of the heavens arose another luminary, and, for his hour, became lord of the ascendant.

THIS light too is passed, and set for ever. You understand, to be sure, that I speak of Charles Townshend, officially the re-producer of this fatal scheme; whom I cannot even now remember with|out some degree of sensibility. In truth, sir, he was the delight and ornament of this house, and the charm of every private society which he honoured with his presence. Perhaps there never arose in this country, nor in any country, a man of a more pointed and finished wit; and (where his passions were not concerned) of a more refined, exquisite, and penetrating a judgment. If he had not so great a stock, as some have had who flourished formerly, of knowledge long treasured up, he knew better by far, than any man I ever was acquainted with, how to bring together within a short time, all that was necessary to establish, to illustrate, and to de|corate, that side of the question he supported. He stated his matter skilfully and powerfully. He particularly excelled in a most luminous explanation, and display of his subject. His style of argument was neither trite and vulgar, nor subtile and ab|struse. He hit the house just between wind and water.—And not being troubled with too anxious a zeal for any matter in question, he was never more tedious, or more earnest, than the preconceived opinions and present temper of his hearers required; to whom he was always in perfect unison. He conformed exactly to the temper of the house; and he seemed to guide, because he was always sure to follow it.

Page  323I BEG pardon, sir, if, when I speak of this and of other great men, I appear to digress in saying something of their characters. In this eventful history of the revolutions of America, the characters of such men are of much importance. Great men are the guide-posts and land-marks in the state. The credit of such men at court, or in the nation, is the sole cause of all the public measures. It would be an invidious thing, (most foreign I trust to what you think my disposition) to remark the errors into which the authority of great names has brought the nation, without doing justice at the same time to the great qualities, whence that autho|rity arose. The subject is instructive to those who wish to form themselves on whatever of excellence has gone before them. There are many young members in the house (such of late has been the ra|pid succession of public men) who never saw that prodigy Charles Townshend; nor of course know what a ferment he was able to excite in every thing by the violent ebullition of his mixed virtues and failings. For failings he had undoubtedly—many of us remember them; we are this day considering the effect of them. But he had no failings which were not owing to a noble cause; to an ardent, generous, perhaps an immoderate passion for fame; a passion which is the instinct of all great souls. He worshipped that goddess wheresoever she appeared; but he paid his particular devotions to her in her fa|vourite habitation, in her chosen temple, the house of commons. Besides the characters of the individuals that compose our body, it is impossible, Mr. Speaker, not to observe, that this house has a col|lective character of its own. That character too, however imperfect, is not unamiable. Like all great public collections of men, you possess a marked love of virtue and an abhorrence of vice. But among vices, there is none, which the house abhors Page  324 in the same degree with obstinacy. Obstinacy, sir, is certainly a great vice; and in the changeful state of political affairs it is frequently the cause of great mis|chief. It happens, however, very unfortunately, that almost the whole line of the great and mascu|line virtues, constancy, gravity, magnanimity, for|titude, fidelity, and firmness, are closely allied to this disagreeable quality, of which you have so just an abhorrence: and in their excess, all these virtues very easily fall into it. He, who paid such a punctilious attention to all your feelings, certainly took care not to shock them by that vice which is the most disgustful to you.

THAT fear of displeasing those who ought most to be pleased, betrayed him sometimes into the other extreme. He had voted, and, in the year 1765, had been an advocate for the stamp act. Things and the disposition of mens minds were changed. In short the stamp act began to be no favourite in this house. He therefore attended at the private meeting, in which the resolutions moved by a right hon. gentleman were settled; resolutions leading to the repeal. The next day he voted for that repeal; and he would have spoken for it too, if an illness, (not as was then given out a political) but to my knowledge, a very real illness, had not prevented it.

THE very next session, as the fashion of this world passeth away, the repeal began to be in as bad an odour in this house as the stamp act had been in the session before. To conform to the temper which began to prevail, and to prevail most amongst those most in power, he declared, very early in the winter, that a revenue must be had out of America. Instantly he was tied down to his en|gagements by some, who had no objection to such experiments, when made at the cost of persons for Page  325 whom they had no particular regard. The whole body of courtiers drove him onward. They always talked as if the king stood in a sort of humiliated state, until something of the kind should be done.

HERE this extraordinary man, then chancellor of the exchequer, found himself in great straits. To please universally, was the object of his life; but to tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men. However, he attempted it. To render the tax palatable to the partizans of American revenue, he made a preamble stating the necessity of such a revenue. To close with the American distinction, this revenue was external or port-duty; but again, to soften it to the other party, it was a duty of supply. To gratify the colonists, it was laid on British manufactures; to sa|tisfy the merchants of Britain, the duty was trivial, and (except that on tea, which touched only the devoted East India company) on none of the grand objects of commerce. To counterwork the Ame|rican contraband, the duty on tea was reduced from a shilling to three-pence. But to secure the favour of those who would tax America, the scene of collection was changed, and, with the rest, it was levied in the colonies. What need I say more? This fine-spun scheme had the usual fate of all ex|quisite policy. But the original plan of the duties, and the mode of executing that plan, both arose singly and solely from a love of our applause. He was truly the child of the house. He never thought, did, or said any thing but with a view to you. He every day adapted himself to your disposition; and adjusted himself before it, as at a looking-glass.

HE had observed (indeed it could not escape him) that several persons, infinitely his inferiors in all respects, had formerly rendered themselves con|siderable Page  326 in this house by one method alone. They were a race of men (I hope in God the species is ex|tinct) who, when they rose in their place, no man living could divine, from any known adherence to parties, to opinions, or to principles; from any or|der or system in their politics; or from any sequel or connection in their ideas, what part they were going to take in any debate. It is astonishing how much this uncertainty, especially at critical times, called the attention of all parties on such men. All eyes were fixed on them, all ears open to hear them; each party gaped, and looked alternately for their vote, almost to the end of their speeches. While the house hung in this uncertainty, now the hear-hims rose from this side, now they re-bellowed from the other; and that party to whom they fell at length from their tremulous and dancing balance, always received them in a tempest of applause. The fortune of such men was a temptation too great to be resisted by one, to whom, a single whiff of incense withheld gave much greater pain, than he received delight, in the clouds of it, which daily rose about him from the prodigal superstition of in|numerable admirers. He was a candidate for con|tradictory honours; and his great aim was to make those agree in admiration of him who never agreed in any thing else.

HENCE arose this unfortunate act, the subject of this day's debate; from a disposition which, after making an American revenue to please one, repeal|ed it to please others, and again revived it in hopes of pleasing a third, and of catching something in the ideas of all.

THIS revenue act of 1767, formed the fourth period of American policy. How we have fared since then—what woeful variety of schemes have been adopted; what enforcing, and what repealing; Page  327 what bullying, and what submitting; what doing, and undoing; what straining, and what relaxing; what assemblies dissolving for not obeying, and called again without obedience; what troops sent out to quell resistance, and on meeting that resist|ance recalled; what shiftings, and changes, and jumblings of all kinds of men at home, which left no possibility of order, consistency, vigour, or even so much as a decent unity of colour in any one public measure.—It is a tedious irksome task. My duty may call me to open it out some other time; on a former occasionl I tried your temper on a part of it; for the present I shall forbear.

AFTER all these changes and agitations, your immediate situation upon the question on your paper is at length brought to this. You have an act of parliament, stating, that

"it is expedient to raise a revenue in America."
By a partial re|peal, you annihilated the greatest part of that reve|nue, which this preamble declares to be so expe|dient. You have substituted no other in the place of it. A secretary of state has disclaimed, in the king's name, all thoughts of such a substitution in future. The principle of this disclaimer goes to what has been left, as well as what has been re|pealed. The tax which lingers after its compani|ons, (under a preamble declaring an American re|venue expedient, and for the sole purpose of sup|porting the theory of that preamble) militates with the assurance authentically conveyed to the colo|nies; and is an exhaustless source of jealousy and animosity. On this state, which I take to be a fair one; not being able to discern any grounds of ho|nour, advantage, peace, or power, for adhering, either to the act or to the preamble, I shall vote for the question which leads to the repeal of both.

Page  328IF you do not fall in with this motion, then secure something to fight for, consistent in theory and va|luable in practice. If you must employ your strength, employ it to uphold you in some honour|able right, or some profitable wrong. If you are apprehensive that the concession recommended to you, though proper, should be a means of drawing on you further but unreasonable claims—why then employ your force in supporting that reasonable concession against those unreasonable demands. You will employ it with more grace; with better effect; and with great probable concurrence of all the quiet and rational people in the provinces; who are now united with, and hurried away by, the violent; having indeed different dispositions, but a common interest. If you apprehend that on a con|cession you shall be pushed by a metaphysical pro|cess to the extreme lines, and argued out of your whole authority, my advice is this; when you have recovered your old, your strong, your tenable po|sition, then face about—stop short—do nothing more—reason not at all—oppose the ancient policy and practice of the empire, as a rampart against the speculations of innovators on both sides of the ques|tion, and you will stand on great, manly, and sure ground. On this solid basis fix your machines, and they will draw worlds towards you.

YOUR ministers, in their own and his majesty's name, have already adopted the American distinc|tion of internal and external duties. It is a distinc|tion, whatever merit it may have, that was origi|nally moved by the Americans themselves; and I think they will acquiesce in it, if they are not push|ed with too much logic and too little sense, in all the consequences. That is, if external taxation be understood, as they and you understand it when you please, to be not a distinction of geography, Page  329 but of policy; that it is a power for regulating trade, and not for supporting establishments. The distinction, which is as nothing with regard to right, is of most weighty consideration in practice. Re|cover your old ground, and your old tranquillity—try it—I am persuaded the Americans will com|promise with you. When confidence is once re|stored, the odious and suspicious summum jus will perish of course. The spirit of practicability, of moderation, and mutual convenience, will never call in geometrical exactness as the arbitrator of an amicable settlement. Consult and follow your ex|perience. Let not the long story with which I have exercised your patience, prove fruitless to your in|terests.

FOR my part, I should choose (if I could have my wish) that the proposition of the m hon. gentleman for the repeal, could go to America without the at|tendance of the penal bills. Alone I could almost answer for its success. I cannot be certain of its reception in the bad company it may keep. In such heterogeneous assortments, the most innocent person will lose the effect of his innocency. Though you should send out this angel of peace, yet you are sending out a destroying angel too; and what would be the effect of the conflict of these two ad|verse spirits, or which would predominate in the end, is what I dare not say: whether the lenient measures would cause American passion to subside, or the severe would increase its fury—All this is in the hand of providence; yet now, even now, I should confide in the prevailing virtue, and effica|cious operation of lenity, though working in dark|ness, and in chaos, in the midst of all this unnatural and turbid combination. I should hope it might produce order and beauty in the end.

Page  330LET us, sir, embrace some system or other before we end this session. Do you mean to tax America, and to draw a productive revenue from thence? if you do, speak out: name, fix, ascertain this reve|nue; settle its quantity; define its objects; provide for its collection; and then fight when you have something to fight for. If you murder—rob! If you kill, take possession; and do not appear in the character of madmen, as well as assassins, violent, vindictive, bloody, and tyrannical, without an object. But may better counsels guide you!

AGAIN, and again, revert to your old principles—seek peace, and ensue it—leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax herself. I am not here going into the distinctions of rights, nor at|tempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these metaphysical distinctions; I hate the very sound of them. Leave the Americans as they anti|ently stood; and these distinctions, born of our un|happy contest, will die along with it. They, and we, and their and our ancestors, have been happy under that system. Let the memory of all actions, in contradiction to that good old mode, on both sides, be extinguished for ever. Be content to bind America by laws of trade; you have always done it. Let this be your reason 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 sophis|ticate and poison the very source of government, by urging subtle deductions, and consequences odious to those you govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sovereignty, you will teach them by these means to call that sovereignty Page  331 itself in question. When you drive him hard, the boar will surely turn upon the hunters. If that so|vereignty and their freedom cannot be reconciled, which will they take? They will cast your sove|reignty in your face. Nobody 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 pro|perty 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 im|pose, without the least share in granting them? When they bear the burthens of unlimited mono|poly, will you bring them to bear the burthens of unlimited revenue too? The Englishman in Ame|rica will feel that this is slavery—that it is legal sla|very, will be no compensation, either to his feelings or his understanding.

A NOBLE Lordn, who spoke some time ago, is full of the fire of ingenuous youth; and when he has modelled the ideas of a lively imagination by further experience, he will be an ornament to his country in either house. He has said, that the Americans are our children; and how can they re|volt against their parent? He says, that if they are not free in their present state, England is not free; because Manchester, and other considerable places, are not represented. So then, because some towns in England are not represented, America is to have no representative at all. They are

"our children;"
but when children ask for bread, we are not to give a stone. Is it because the natural resistance of things, and the various mutations of time, hinders our government, or any scheme of government, from being any more than a sort of approximation Page  332 to the right, is it therefore that the colonies are to recede from it infinitely? When this child of ours wishes to assimilate to its parent, and to reflect with a true filial resemblance the beauteous countenance of British liberty; are we to turn to them the shameful parts of our constitution? are we to give them our weakness for their strength; our oppro|brium for their glory; and the slough of slavery, which we are not able to work off, to serve them for their freedom?

IF this be the case, ask yourselves this question: will they be content in such a state of slavery? If not, look to the consequences. Reflect how you are to govern a people, who think they ought to be free, and think they are not. Your scheme yields no revenue; it yields nothing but discontent, dis|order, disobedience; and such is the state of Ame|rica, that after wading up to your eyes in blood you could only end just where you began; that is, to tax where no revenue is to be found, to—my voice fails me; my inclination indeed carries me no further—all is confusion beyond it.

WELL, sir, I have recovered a little, and before I sit down I must say something to another point with which gentlemen urge us. What is to be be|come of the declaratory act asserting the entireness of British legislative authority, if we abandon the practice of taxation?

FOR my part I look upon the rights stated in that act, exactly in the manner in which I viewed them on its very first proposition, and which I have often taken the liberty, with great humility, to lay before you. I look, I say, on the imperial rights of Great Britain, and the privileges which the colonists ought to enjoy under these rights, to be just the most reconcilable things in the world. Page  333 The parliament of Great Britain sits at the head of her extensive empire in two capacities; one as the local legislature of this island, providing for all things at home, immediately, and by no other instru|ment than the executive power.—The other, and I think her nobler capacity, is what I call her im|perial character; in which, as from the throne of heaven, she superintends all the several inferior legislatures, and guides, and controls them all without annihilating any. As all these provincial legislatures are only co-ordinate to each other, they ought all to be subordinate to her; else they can neither preserve mutual peace, nor hope for mu|tual justice, nor effectually afford mutual assist|ance. It is necessary to coerce the negligent, to restrain the violent, and to aid the weak and defi|cient, by the over-ruling plenitude of her power. She is never to intrude into the place of the others, whilst they are equal to the common ends of their institution. But, in order to enable parliament to answer all these ends of provident and beneficent superintendance, her powers must be boundless. The gentlemen who think the powers of parlia|ment limited, may please themselves to talk of requisitions. But suppose the requisitions are not obeyed? What! shall there be no reserved power in the empire, to supply a deficiency which may weaken, divide, and dissipate the whole? We are engaged in war—the secretary of state calls upon the colonies to contribute—some would do it, I think most would chearfully furnish whatever is demanded—one or two, suppose, hang back, and, easing themselves, let the stress of the draft lie on the others—surely it is proper, that some authority might legally say—

"Tax yourselves for the com|mon supply, or parliament will do it for you."
This backwardness was, as I am told, actually the case of Pennsylvania for some short time towards Page  334 the beginning of the last war, owing to some inter|nal dissentions in the colony. But, whether the fact were so, or otherwise, the case is equally to be provided for by a competent sovereign power. But then this ought to be no ordinary power; nor ever used in the first instance. This is what I meant, when I have said at various times, that I consider the power of taxing in parliament as an instrument of empire, and not as a means of supply.

SUCH, sir, is my idea of the constitution of the British empire, as distinguished from the constitu|tion of Britain; and on these grounds I think sub|ordination and liberty may be sufficiently recon|ciled through the whole; whether to serve a refin|ing speculatist, or a factious demagogue, I know not; but enough surely for the ease and happiness of man.

SIR, whilst we held this happy course, we drew more from the colonies than all the impotent vio|lence of despotism ever could extort from them. We did this abundantly in the last war. It has never been once denied—and what reason have we to imagine that the colonies would not have pro|ceeded in supplying government as liberally, if you had not stepped in and hindered them from contributing, by interrupting the channel in which their liberality flowed with so strong a course; by attempting to take, instead of being satisfied to receive. Sir William Temple says, that Holland has loaded itself with ten times the impositions which it revolted from Spain rather than submit to. He says true. Tyranny is a poor provider. It knows neither how to accumulate, nor how to extract.

I CHARGE therefore to this new and unfortunate system the loss not only of peace, of union, and of Page  335 commerce, but even of revenue, which its friends are contending for.—It is morally certain, that we have lost at least a million of free grants since the peace. I think we have lost a great deal more; and that those who look for a revenue from the provinces, never could have pursued, even in that light, a course more directly repugnant to their purposes.

NOW, sir, I trust I have shewn, first on that narrow ground which the hon. gentleman mea|sured, that you are like to lose nothing by comply|ing with the motion, except what you have lost already. I have shewn afterwards, that in time of peace you flourished in commerce, and when war required it, had sufficient aid from the colonies, while you pursued your antient policy; that you threw every thing into confusion when you made the stamp-act; and that you restored every thing to peace and order when you repealed it. I have shewn that the revival of the system of taxation has produced the very worst effects; and that the partial repeal has produced, not partial good, but universal evil. Let these considerations, founded on facts, not one of which can be denied, bring us back to your reason by the road of your expe|rience.

I CANNOT, as I have said, answer for mixed measures; but surely this mixture of lenity would give the whole a better chance of success. When you once regain confidence, the way will be clear before you. Then you may enforce the act of navigation when it ought to be enforced. You will yourselves open it where it ought still further to be opened. Proceed in what you do, whatever you do, from policy, and not from rancour. Let us act like men, let us act like statesmen. Let us hold some sort of consistent conduct.—It is agreed Page  336 that the revenue is not to be had in America. If we lose the profit, let us get rid of the odium.

ON this business of America I confess I am seri|ous, even to sadness. I have had but one opinion concerning it since I sat, and before I sat, in par|liament. The noble lordo will, as usual, proba|bly, attribute the part taken by me and my friends in this business, to a desire of getting his places. Let him enjoy this happy and original idea. If I deprived him of it, I should take away most of his wit, and all his argument. But I had rather bear the brunt of all his wit, and indeed blows much heavier, than stand answerable to God for embrac|ing a system that tends to the destruction of some of the very best and fairest of his works. But I know the map of England, as well as the noble lord,o or as any other person; and I know that the way I take is not the road to preferment. My excellent and honourable friend under me on the floorp has trod that road with great toil for up|wards of twenty years together. He is not yet arrived at the noble lord's destination. However, the tracks of my worthy friend are those I have ever wished to follow; because I know they lead to honour. Long may we tread the same road together: whoever may accompany us, or who|ever may laugh at us on our journey! I honestly and solemnly declare, I have in all seasons adhered to the system of 1766, for no other reason, than that I think it laid deep in your truest interests—and that, by limiting the exercise, it fixes on the firmest foundations a real, consistent, well-ground|ed authority in parliament. Until you come back to that system, there will be no peace for England.

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WE believe there is no need of an apo|logy to the public for offering to them any genuine speeches of Mr. Burke's. The ge|neral approbation they met with from all parties at Bristol, persuades us that a good edition of them will not be unacceptable; which we own to be the inducement, and we hope is a justification, of our offering it.

WE do not presume to descant on the merit of these speeches; but as it is no less new, than honourable, to find a popular candidate, at a popular election, daring to avow his dissent to certain points that have been considered as very popular objects, and maintaining himself on the manly confidence of his own opinion; so, we must say, that it does great credit to the people of England, as it proves to the world, that, to insure their confidence, it is not necessary to flatter them, or to affect a subserviency to their passions or their prejudices.

IT may be necessary to premise, that at the opening of the poll the candidates were lord Clare, Mr. Brickdale, the two last mem|bers; and Mr. Cruger, a considerable mer|chant at Bristol. On the second day of the poll lord Clare declined; and a consider|able Page  340 body of gentlemen, who had wished that the city of Bristol should, at this critical season, be represented by some gentleman of tried abilities and known commercial know|ledge, immediately put Mr. Burke in no|mination. Some of them set off express for London, to apprise that gentleman of this event; but he was gone to Malton in York|shire. The spirit and active zeal of these gentlemen followed him to Malton. They arrived there just after Mr. Burke's election for that place, and invited him to Bristol.

MR. Burke, as he tells us in his first speech, acquainted his constituents with the honourable offer that was made him: and, with their consent, he immediately set off for Bristol on the Tuesday at six in the even|ing; he arrived at Bristol at half past two in the afternoon on Thursday the 13th of Octo|ber, being the sixth day of the poll.

HE drove directly to the mayor's house, who not being at home, he proceeded to the Guildhall, where he ascended the hustings, and having saluted the electors, the sheriffs, and the two candidates, he reposed himself for a few minutes, and then addressed the electors in a speech which was received with great and universal applause and appro|bation.

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I AM come hither to solicit in person, that fa|vour which my friends have hitherto endeavoured to procure for me, by the most obliging, and to me the most honourable, exertions.

I HAVE so high an opinion of the great trust which you have to confer on this occasion; and, by long experience, so just a diffidence in my abilities, to fill it in a manner adequate even to my own ideas, that I should never have ventured of myself to intrude into that awful situation. But since I am called upon by the desire of several re|spectable fellow-subjects, as I have done at other times, I give up my fears to their wishes. What|ever my other deficiencies may be, I do not know what it is to be wanting to my friends.

I AM not fond of attempting to raise public ex|pectation by great promises. At this time, there is much cause to consider, and very little to pre|sume. We seem to be approaching to a great crisis in our affairs, which calls for the whole wisdom of the wisest among us, without being able to assure ourselves, that any wisdom can preserve us from many and great inconveniencies. You know I Page  342 speak of our unhappy contest with America. I confess, it is a matter on which I look down as from a precipice. It is difficult in itself, and it is rendered more intricate by a great variety of plans of conduct. I do not mean to enter into them. I will not suspect a want of good intention in fram|ing them. But however pure the intentions of their authors may have been, we all know that the event has been unfortunate. The means of recovering our affairs are not obvious. So many great questions of commerce, of finance, of constitution, and of policy, are involved in this American deliberation, that I dare engage for nothing, but that I shall give it, without any predilection to former opinions, or any sinister bias whatsoever, the most honest and impartial consideration of which I am capable. The public has a full right to it; and this great city, a main pillar in the commercial interest of Great Britain, must totter on its base by the slightest mis|take with regard to our American measures.

THUS much, however, I think it not amiss to lay before you; That I am not, I hope, apt to take up or lay down my opinions lightly. I have held, and ever shall maintain, to the best of my power, unimpaired and undiminished, the just, wise, and necessary constitutional superiority of Great-Britain. This is necessary for America, as well as for us. I never mean to depart from it. Whatever may be lost by it, I avow it. The forfeiture even of your favour, if by such a declaration I could forfeit it, though the first object of my ambition never will make me disguise my sentiments on this subject.

BUT—I have ever had a clear opinion, and have ever held a constant correspondent conduct, that this superiority is consistent with all the liber|ties a sober and spirited American ought to desire. I never mean to put any colonist, or any human Page  343 creature, in a situation, not becoming a free-man. To reconcile British superiority with American li|berty shall be my great object, as far as my little faculties extend. I am far from thinking that both, even yet, may not be preserved.

WHEN I first devoted myself to the public ser|vice, I considered how I should render myself fit for it; and this I did by endeavouring to discover what it was, that gave this country the rank it holds in the world. I found that our prosperity and dig|nity arose principally, if not solely, from two sources; our constitution and commerce. Both these I have spared no study to understand, and no endeavour to support.

THE distinguishing part of our constitution is its liberty. To preserve that liberty inviolate, seems the particular duty and proper trust of a member of the house of commons. But the liberty, the only liberty I mean, is a liberty connected with order; that not only exists along with order and virtue, but which cannot exist at all without them. It inheres in good and steady government, as in its substance and vital principle.

THE other source of our power is commerce, of which you are so large a part, and which cannot exist, no more than your liberty, without a con|nection with many virtues. It has ever been a very particular and a very favourite object of my study, in its principles, and in its details. I think many here are acquainted with the truth of what I say. This I know, that I have ever had my house open, and my poor services ready, for traders and manu|facturers of every denomination. My favourite ambition is to have those services acknowledged. I now appear before you to make trial, whether my earnest endeavours have been so wholly oppressed Page  344 by the weakness of my abilities, as to be rendered insignificant in the eyes of a great trading city; or whether you chuse to give a weight to humble abi|lities, for the sake of the honest exertions with which they are accompanied. This is my trial to|day. My industry is not on trial. Of my industry I am sure, as far as my constitution of mind and body admitted.

WHEN I was invited by many respectable mer|chants, freeholders, and freemen of this city, to offer them my services, I had just received the ho|nour of an election at another place, at a very great distance from this. I immediately opened the matter to those of my worthy constituents who were with me, and they unanimously advised me not to decline it. They told me, that they had elected me with a view to the public service; and as great questions relative to our commerce and colonies were imminent, that in such matters I might derive authority and support from the representation of this great commercial city; they desired me therefore to set off without delay, very well persuaded that I never could forget my obligations to them, or to my friends, for the choice they had made of me. From that time to this instant I have not slept; and if I should have the honour of being freely chosen by you, I hope I shall be as far from slumbering or sleeping when your service requires me to be awake, as I have been in coming to offer myself a candi|date for your favour.

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SPEECH TO THE ELECTORS OF BRISTOL, ON Being declared by the Sheriffs duly elected one of the Representatives in Parliament for that City, On Thursday the 3d of November, 1774.



I CANNOT avoid sympathizing strongly with the feelings of the gentleman who has received the same honour that you have conferred on me. If he, who was bred and passed his whole life amongst you; if he, who, through the easy gradations of acquaint|ance, friendship, and esteem, has obtained the ho|nour, which seems of itself, naturally and almost in|sensibly, to meet with those, who, by the even te|nour of pleasing manners and social virtues, slide into the love and confidence of their fellow-citi|zens;—if he cannot speak but with great emotion on this subject, surrounded as he is on all sides with his old friends; you will have the goodness to ex|cuse me, if my real, unaffected embarrassment prevents me from expressing my gratitude to you as I ought.

I WAS brought hither under the disadvantage of being unknown, even by sight, to any of you. No previous canvass was made for me, I was put in nomination after the poll was opened. I did not appear until it was far advanced. If, under all these accumulated disadvantages, your good opi|nion has carried me to this happy point of success; you will pardon me, if I can only say to you col|lectively, as I said to you individually, simply and Page  348 plainly, I thank you—I am obliged to you—I am not insensible of your kindness.

THIS is all that I am able to say for the inestima|ble favour you have conferred upon me. But I cannot be satisfied, without saying a little more in defence of the right you have to confer such a fa|vour. The person that appeared here as counsel for the candidate, who so long and so earnestly soli|cited your votes, thinks proper to deny, that a very great part of you have any votes to give. He fixes a standard period of time in his own imagination, not what the law defines, but merely what the con|venience of his client suggests, by which he would cut off, at one stroke, all those freedoms, which are the dearest privileges of your corporation; which the common law authorizes; which your magi|strates are compelled to grant; which come duly authenticated into this court; and are saved in the clearest words, and with the most religious care and tenderness, in that very act of parliament, which was made to regulate the elections by freemen, and to prevent all possible abuses in making them.

I DO not intend to argue the matter here. My learned counsel has supported your cause with his usual ability; the worthy sheriffs have acted with their usual equity, and I have no doubt, that the same equity, which dictates the return, will guide the final determination. I had the honour, in con|junction with many far wiser men, to contribute a very small assistance, but however some assistance, to the forming the judicature which is to try such questions. It would be unnatural in me, to doubt the justice of that court, in the trial of my own cause, to which I have been so active to give juris|diction over every other.

Page  349I ASSURE the worthy freemen, and this corpora|tion, that, if the gentleman perseveres in the inten|tions, which his present warmth dictates to him, I will attend their cause with diligence, and I hope with effect. For, if I know any thing of myself, it is not my own interest in it, but my full conviction, that induces me to tell you—I think there is not a shadow of doubt in the case.

I DO not imagine that you find me rash in de|claring myself, or very forward in troubling you. From the beginning to the end of the election, I have kept silence in all matters of discussion. I have never asked a question of a voter on the other side, or supported a doubtful vote on my own. I respected the abilities of my managers; I relied on the candour of the court. I think the worthy she|riffs will bear me witness, that I have never once made an attempt to impose upon their reason, to surprize their justice, or to ruffle their temper. I stood on the hustings (except when I gave my thanks to those who favoured me with their votes) less like a candidate, than an unconcerned spectator of a public proceeding. But here the face of things is altered. Here is an attempt for a general massa|cre of suffrages; an attempt, by a promiscuous carnage of friends and foes, to exterminate above two thousand votes, including seven hundred polled for the gentleman himself, who now complains, and who would destroy the friends whom he has obtained, only because he cannot obtain as many of them as he wishes.

HOW he will be permitted, in another place, to stultify and disable himself, and to plead against his own acts, is another question. The law will decide it. I shall only speak of it as it concerns the pro|priety of public conduct in this city. I do not pre|tend to lay down rules of decorum for other gen|tlemen. Page  350 They are best judges of the mode of proceeding that will recommend them to the favour of their fellow-citizens. But I confess, I should look rather aukward, if I had been the very first to produce the new copies of freedom, if I had persisted in producing them to the last; if I had ransacked, with the most unremitting industry, and the most penetrating research, the remotest corners of the kingdom to discover them; if I were then, all at once, to turn short, and declare, that I had been sporting all this while with the right of election: and that I had been drawing out a poll, upon no sort of rational grounds, which disturbed the peace of my fellow-citizens for a month together—I really, for my part, should appear aukward under such cir|cumstances.

IT would be still more aukward in me, if I were gravely to look the sheriffs in the face, and to tell them, they were not to determine my cause on my own principles; nor to make the return upon those votes, upon which I had rested my election. Such would be my appearance to the court and magistrates.

BUT how should I appear to the Voters them|selves? If I had gone round to the citizens intitled to freedom, and squeezed them by the hand—

"Sir, I humbly beg your vote—I shall be eternally thankful—may I hope for the honour of your support?—Well!—come—we shall see you at the council-house."
—If I were then to deliver them to my managers, pack them into tallies, vote them off in court, and when I heard from the bar—
"Such a one only! and such a one for ever!—he's my man!"—"Thank you, good sir—Hah! my worthy friend! thank you kindly—that's an honest fellow—how is your good family?"
—Whilst these words were Page  351 hardly out of my mouth, if I should have wheeled round at once, and told them—
"Get you gone, you pack of worthless fellows! you have no votes—you are usurpers! you are intruders on the rights of real freemen! I will have nothing to do with you! you ought never to have been produced at this election, and the sheriffs ought not to have admitted you to poll."

GENTLEMEN, I should make a strange figure, if my conduct had been of this sort. I am not so old an acquaintance of yours as the worthy gentle|man. Indeed I could not have ventured on such kind of freedoms with you. But I am bound, and I will endeavour, to have justice done to the rights of freemen; even though I should, at the same time, be obliged to vindicate the former a part of my antagonist's conduct against his own present inclinations.

I OWE myself, in all things, to all the freemen of this city. My particular friends have a demand on me, that I should not deceive their expectati|ons. Never was cause or man supported with more constancy, more activity, more spirit. I have been supported with a zeal indeed and hearti|ness in my friends, which (if their object had been at all proportioned to their endeavours) could never be sufficiently commended. They supported me upon the most liberal principles. They wished that the members for Bristol should be chosen for the city, and for their country at large, and not for themselves.

SO far they are not disappointed. If I possess nothing else, I am sure I possess the temper that is Page  352 fit for your service. I know nothing of Bristol, but by the favours I have received, and the virtues I have seen exerted in it.

I SHALL ever retain, what I now feel, the most perfect and grateful attachment to my friends—and I have no enmities; no resentment. I never can consider fidelity to engagements, and con|stancy in friendships, but with the highest appro|bation; even when those noble qualities are em|ployed against my own pretensions. The gentle|man, who is not fortunate as I have been in this contest, enjoys, in this respect, a consolation full of honour both to himself and to his friends. They have certainly left nothing undone for his service.

AS for the trifling petulance, which the rage of party stirs up in little minds, though it should shew itself even in this court, it has not made the slight|est impression on me. The highest flight of such clamorous birds is winged in an inferior region of the air. We hear them, and we look upon them, just as you, gentlemen, when you enjoy the serene air on your lofty rocks, look down upon the gulls, that skim the mud of your river, when it is ex|hausted of its tide.

I AM sorry I cannot conclude, without saying a word on a topic touched upon by my worthy col|league. I wish that topic had been passed by; at a time when I have so little leisure to discuss it. But since he has thought proper to throw it out, I owe you a clear explanation of my poor sentiments on that subject.

HE tells you, that

"the topic of instructions has occasioned much altercation and uneasiness in this city;"
and he expresses himself (if I un|derstand him rightly) in favour of the coercive au|thority of such instructions.

Page  353CERTAINLY, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative, to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his con|stituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion high respect; their busi|ness unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacri|fice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and, above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But, his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you; to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

MY worthy colleague says, his will ought to be subservient to yours. If that be all, the thing is innocent. If government were a matter of will upon any side, yours, without question, ought to be superior. But government and legislation are matters of reason and judgment, and not of in|clination; and, what sort of reason is that, in which the determination precedes the discussion; in which one set of men deliberate, and another de|cide; and where those who form the conclusion are perhaps three hundred miles distant from those who hear the arguments?

TO deliver an opinion, is the right of all men; that of constituents is a weighty and respectable opinion, which a representative ought always to rejoice to hear; and which he ought always most seriously to consider. But authoritative instructions; Page  354mandates issued, which the member is bound blindly and implicitly to obey, to vote, and to argue for, though contrary to the clearest conviction of his judgment and conscience; these are things utterly unknown to the laws of this land, and which arise from a fundamental mistake of the whole order and tenour of our constitution.

PARLIAMENT is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local pur|poses, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You chuse a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament. If the local constituent should have an interest, or should form an hasty opinion, evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the mem|ber for that place ought to be as far, as any other, from any endeavour to give it effect. I beg par|don for saving so much on this subject. I have been unwillingly drawn into it; but I shall ever use a respectful frankness of communication with you. Your faithful friend, your devoted servant, I shall be to the end of my life: a flatterer you do not wish for. On this point of instructions, however, I think it scarcely possible, we ever can have any sort of difference. Perhaps I may give you too much, rather than too little trouble.

FROM the first hour I was encouraged to court your favour to this happy day of obtaining it, I have never promised you any thing, but humble and persevering endeavours to do my duty. The weight of that duty, I confess, makes me tremble, and whoever well considers what it is, of all things Page  355 in the world will fly from what has the least like|ness to a positive and precipitate engagement. To be a good member of parliament, is, let me tell you, no easy task; especially at this time, when there is so strong a disposition to run into the pe|rilous extremes of servile compliance, or wild po|pularity. To unite circumspection with vigour, is absolutely necessary; but it is extremely difficult. We are now members for a rich commercial city; this city, however, is but a part of a rich com|mercial nation, the interests of which are various, multiform, and intricate. We are members for that great nation, which however is itself but part of a great empire, extended by our virtue and our fortune to the farthest limits of the east and of the west. All these wide-spread interests must be con|sidered; must be compared; must be reconciled if possible. We are members for a free country; and surely we all know, that the machine of a free constitution is no simple thing; but as intricate and as delicate, as it is valuable. We are mem|bers in a great and ancient monarchy; and we must preserve religiously, the true legal rights of the sovereign, which form the key-stone that binds together the noble and well-constructed arch of our empire and our constitution. A constitution made up of balanced powers must ever be a critical thing. As such I mean to touch that part of it which comes within my reach. I know my inabi|lity, and I wish for support from every quarter. In particular I shall aim at the friendship, and shall cultivate the best correspondence, of the worthy colleague you have given me.

I TROUBLE you no farther than once more to thank you all; you, gentlemen, for your favours; the candidates for their temperate and polite beha|viour; and the sheriffs, for a conduct which may give a model for all who are in public stations.

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I HOPE, sir, that, notwithstanding the austerity of the chair, your good-nature will incline you to some degree of indulgence towards human frailty. You will not think it unnatural, that those who have an object depending, which strongly engages their hopes and fears, should be somewhat inclined to superstition. As I came into the house full of anx|iety about the event of my motion, I found to my infinite surprize, that the grand penal bill, by which we had passed sentence on the trade and sustenance of America, is to be returned to us from the other housea. I do confess, I could not help looking on this event as a fortunate omen. I look upon it as a sort of providential favour; by which we are put once more in possession of our deliberative capacity, upon a business so very questionable in its nature, so very uncertain in its issue. By the return of this bill, which seemed to have taken its flight for ever, Page  360 we are at this very instant nearly as free to chuse a plan for our American government, as we were on the first day of the session. If, sir, we incline to the side of conciliation, we are not at all embar|rassed (unless we please to make ourselves so) by any incongruous mixture of coercion and restraint. We are therefore called upon, as it were by a superior warning voice, again to attend to America; to at|tend to the whole of it together; and to review the subject with an unusual degree of care and calm|ness.

SURELY it is an awful subject; or there is none so on this side of the grave. When I first had the honour of a seat in this house, the affairs of that con|tinent pressed themselves upon us, as the most im|portant and most delicate object of parliamentary attention. My little share in this great deliberation oppressed me. I found myself a partaker in a very high trust; and having no sort of reason to rely on the strength of my natural abilities for the proper execution of that trust, I was obliged to take more than common pains, to instruct myself in every thing which relates to our colonies. I was not less under the necessity of forming some fixed ideas, concerning the general policy of the British Empire. Something of this sort seemed to be indispensable; in order, amidst so vast a fluctuation of passions and opinions, to concenter my thoughts; to ballast my conduct; to preserve me from being blown about by every wind of fashionable doctrine. I really did not think it safe, or manly, to have fresh principles to seek upon every fresh mail which should arive from America.

AT that period, I had the fortune to find myself in perfect concurrence with a large majority in this house. Bowing under that high authority, and penetrated with the sharpness and strength of that Page  361 early impression, I have continued ever since, with|out the least deviation, in my original sentiments. Whether this be owing to an obstinate perseverance in error, or to a religious adherence to what ap|pears to me truth and reason, it is in your equity to judge.

SIR, parliament having an enlarged view of ob|jects, made, during this interval, more frequent changes in their sentiments and their conduct, than could be justified in a particular person upon the contracted scale of private information. But though I do not hazard any thing approaching to a censure on the motives of former parliaments to all those al|terations, one fact is undoubted; that under them the state of America has been kept in continual agi|tation. Every thing administered as remedy to the public complaint, if it did not produce, was at least followed by, an heightening of the distemper; until, by a variety of experiments, that important country has been brought into her present situation;—a situation, which I will not miscall, which I dare not name; which I scarcely know how to comprehend in the terms of any description.

IN this posture, sir, things stood at the beginning of the session. About that time a worthy memberb of great parliamentary experience, who in the year 1766, filled the chair of the American committee with much ability, took me aside; and, lamenting the present aspect of our politics, told me, things were come to such a pass, that our former methods of proceeding in the house would be no longer to|lerated. That the public tribunal (never too indul|gent to a long and unsuccessful opposition) would now scrutinize our conduct with unusual severity. That the very vicissitudes and shiftings of minis|terial Page  362 measures, instead of convicting their authors of inconstancy and want of system, would be taken as an occasion of charging us with a predetermined discontent, which nothing could satisfy; whilst we accused every measure of vigour as cruel, and every proposal of lenity as weak and irresolute. The pub|lic, he said, would not have patience to see us play the game out with our adversaries: we must pro|duce our hand. It would be expected, that those who for many years had been active in such affairs should shew, that they had formed some clear and decided idea of the principles of colony government; and were capable of drawing out something like a platform of the ground, which might be laid for future and permanent tranquillity.

I FELT the truth of what my hon. friend repre|sented: but I felt my situation too. His application might have been made with far greater propriety to many other gentlemen. No man was indeed ever better disposed, or worse qualified, for such an undertaking than myself. Though I gave so far into his opinion, that I immediately threw my thoughts into a sort of parliamentary form, I was by no means equally ready to produce them. It ge|nerally argues some degree of natural impotence of mind, or some want of knowledge of the world, to hazard plans of government, except from a seat of authority. Propositions are made, not only ineffectually, but somewhat disreputably, when the minds of men are not properly disposed for their reception; and for my part, I am not am|bitious of ridicule; not absolutely a candidate for disgrace.

BESIDES, sir, to speak the plain truth, I have in general no very exalted opinion of the virtue of pa|per government; nor of any politics, in which the plan is to be wholly separated from the execution. Page  363 But when I saw, that anger and violence prevailed every day more and more; and that things were hastening towards an incurable alienation of our colonies; I confess, my caution gave way. I felt this, as one of those few moments in which deco|rum yields to an higher duty. Public calamity is a mighty leveller; and there are occasions when any, even the slightest, chance of doing good, must be laid hold on, even by the most inconsider|able person.

TO restore order and repose to an empire so great and so distracted as ours, is, merely in the attempt, an undertaking that would ennoble the flights of the highest genius, and obtain pardon for the efforts of the meanest understanding. Strug|gling a good while with these thoughts, by degrees I felt myself more firm. I derived, at length, some confidence from what in other circumstances usually produces timidity. I grew less anxious, even from the idea of my own insignificance. For, judging of what you are, by what you ought to be, I persuaded myself, that you would not reject a reasonable proposition, because it had nothing but its reason to recommend it. On the other hand, being totally destitute of all shadow of influence, natural or adventitious, I was very sure, that, if my proposition were futile or dangerous; if it were weakly conceived, or improperly timed, there was nothing exterior to it, of power to awe, dazzle, or delude you. You will see it just as it is; and you will treat it just as it deserves.

THE proposition is peace. Not peace through the medium of war; not peace to be hunted through the labyrinth of intricate and endless ne|gociations; not peace to arise out of universal dis|cord, fomented, from principle, in all parts of the empire; not peace to depend on the juridical de|termination Page  364 of perplexing questions; or the precise marking the shadowy boundaries of a complex go|vernment. It is simple peace; sought in its natu|ral course, and its ordinary haunts.—It is peace sought in the spirit of peace; and laid in principles purely pacific. I propose, by removing the ground of the difference, and by restoring the former un|suspecting confidence of the colonies in the mother coun|try, to give permanent satisfaction to your people; and (far from a scheme of ruling by discord) to re|concile them to each other in the same act, and by the bond of the very same interest, which recon|ciles them to British government.

MY idea is nothing more. Refined policy ever has been the parent of confusion; and ever will be so, as long as the world endures. Plain good intention, which is as easily discovered at the first view, as fraud is surely detected at last, is, let me say, of no mean force in the government of man|kind. Genuine simplicity of heart is an healing and cementing principle. My plan, therefore, be|ing formed upon the most simple grounds imagin|able, may disappoint some people, when they hear it. It has nothing to recommend it to the pru|riency of curious ears. There is nothing at all new and captivating in it. It has nothing of the splendour of the project, which has been lately laid upon your table by the noble lord in the blue ribband.c It does not propose to fill your lobby Page  365 with squabbling colony agents, who will require the interposition of your mace, at every instant, to keep the peace amongst them. It does not in|stitute a magnificent auction of finance, where captivated provinces come to general ransom by bidding against each other, until you knock down the hammer, and determine a proportion of pay|ments, beyond all the powers of algebra to equa|lize and settle.

THE plan, which I shall presume to suggest, derives, however, one great advantage from the proposition and registry of that noble lord's project. The idea of conciliation is admissible. First, the house, in accepting the resolution moved by the noble lord, has admitted, notwithstanding the me|nacing front of our address, notwithstanding our heavy bill of pains and penalties—that we do not think ourselves precluded from all ideas of free grace and bounty.

THE house has gone farther; it has declared conciliation admissible, previous to any submission on the part of America. It has even shot a good deal beyond that mark, and has admitted, that the complaints of our former mode of exerting the right of taxation were not wholly unfounded. That right thus exerted is allowed to have had something reprehensible in it; something unwise, or something Page  366 grievous: since, in the midst of our heat and re|sentment, we, of ourselves, have proposed a capital alteration; and, in order to get rid of what seemed so very exceptionable, have instituted a mode that is altogether new; one that is, indeed, wholly alien from all the ancient methods and forms of parliament.

THE principle of this proceeding is large enough for my purpose. The means proposed by the noble lord for carrying his ideas into execution, I think indeed, are very indifferently suited to the end; and this I shall endeavour to shew you before I sit down. But, for the present, I take my ground on the admitted principle. I mean to give peace. Peace implies reconciliation; and where there has been a material dispute, reconciliation does in a manner always imply concession on the one part or on the other. In this state of things I make no difficulty in affirming, that the proposal ought to originate from us. Great and acknowledged force is not impaired, either in effect or in opinion, by an unwillingness to exert itself. The superior power may offer peace with honour and with safety. Such an offer from such a power will be attributed to magnanimity. But the concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear. When such a one is dis|armed, he is wholly at the mercy of his superior; and he loses for ever that time and those chances, which, as they happen to all men, are the strength and resources of all inferior power.

THE capital leading questions on which you must this day decide, are these two. First, whe|ther you ought to concede; and secondly, what your concession ought to be. On the first of these questions we have gained (as I have just taken the liberty of observing to you) some ground. But I am sensible that a good deal more is still to be Page  367 done. Indeed, sir, to enable us to determine both on the one and the other of these great questions with a firm and precise judgment, I think it may be necessary to consider distinctly the true nature and the peculiar circumstances of the object which we have before us. Because after all our struggle, whether we will or not, we must govern America, according to that nature, and to those circumstan|ces; and not according to our own imaginations; not according to abstract ideas of right; by no means according to mere general theories of go|vernment, the resort to which appears to me, in our present situation, no better than arrant trifling. I shall therefore endeavour, with your leave, to lay before you some of the most material of these cir|cumstances in as full and as clear a manner as I am able to state them.

THE first thing that we have to consider with regard to the nature of the object is—the number of people in the colonies. I have taken for some years a good deal of pains on that point. I can by no calculation justify myself in placing the number below two millions of inhabitants of our own European blood and colour; besides at least 500.000 others, who form no inconsiderable part of the strength and opulence of the whole. This, sir, is, I believe, about the true number. There is no occasion to exaggerate, where plain truth is of so much weight and importance. But whether I put the present numbers too high or too low, is a matter of little moment. Such is the strength with which population shoots in that part of the world, that state the numbers as high as we will, whilst the dispute continues, the exaggeration ends. Whilst we are discussing any given magnitude, they are grown to it. Whilst we spend our time in deliberating on the mode of governing two mil|lions, Page  368 we shall find we have millions more to ma|nage. Your children do not grow faster from infancy to manhood, than they spread from fami|lies to communities, and from villages to nations.

I PUT this consideration of the present and the growing numbers in the front of our deliberation; because, sir, this consideration will make it evident to a blunter discernment than yours, that no par|tial, narrow, contracted, pinched, occasional sys|tem will be at all suitable to such an object. It will shew you, that it is not to be considered as one of those minima which are out of the eye and consi|deration of the law; not a paltry excrescence of the state; not a mean dependant, who may be neglected with little damage, and provoked with little danger. It will prove, that some degree of care and caution is required in the handling such an object; it will shew, that you ought not, in reason, to trifle with so large a mass of the inte|rests and feelings of the human race. You could at no time do so without guilt; and be assured you will not be able to do it long with impunity.

BUT the population of this country, the great and growing population, though a very important consideration, will lose much of its weight, if not combined with other circumstances. The com|merce of your colonies is out of all proportion be|yond the numbers of the people. This ground of their commerce indeed has been trod some days ago, and with great ability, by a distinguished d person, at your bar. This gentleman, after thirty-five years—it is so long since he first appeared at the same place to plead for the commerce of Great Britain—has come again before you to plead the same cause, without any other effect of time, than, that to the fire of imagination and extent of Page  369 erudition, which even then marked him as one of the first literary characters of his age, he has added a consummate knowledge in the commercial inte|rest of his country, formed by a long course of en|lightened and discriminating experience.

SIR, I should be inexcusable in coming after such a person with any detail; if a great part of the members who now fill the house had not the misfortune to be absent, when he appeared at your bar. Besides, sir, I propose to take the matter at periods of time somewhat different from his. There is, if I mistake not, a point of view, from whence if you will look at this subject, it is impossible that it should not make an impression upon you.

I HAVE in my hand two accounts; one a com|parative state of the export trade of England to its colonies, as it stood in the year 1704, and as it stood in the year 1772. The other a state of the export trade of this country to its colonies alone, as it stood in 1772, compared with the whole trade of England to all parts of the world (the colonies included) in the year 1704. They are from good vouchers; the latter period from the accounts on your table, the earlier from an original manuscript of Davenant, who first established the inspector general's office, which has been ever since his time so abundant a source of parliamentary informa|tion.

THE export trade to the colonies consists of three great branches. The African, which, ter|minating almost wholly in the colonies, must be put to the account of their commerce; the West Indian; and the North American. All these are so interwoven, that the attempt to separate them, would tear to pieces the contexture of the whole; and if not entirely destroy, would very much de|preciate Page  370 the value of all the parts. I therefore consider these three denominations to be, what in effect they are, one trade.

THE trade to the colonies, taken on the export side, at the beginning of this century, that is, in the year 1704, stood thus:

Exports to North America, and the West Indies,   483.265
To Africa,   86.665
  £. 569.930

In the year 1772, which I take as a middle year between the highest and lowest of those lately laid on your table, the account was as follows:

To North America, and the West In|dies,   4.791.734
To Africa,   866.398
To which if you add the export trade from Scotland, which had in 1704 no existence,   364.000
  £. 6.024.171

FROM five hundred and odd thousand, it has grown to six millions. It has increased no less than twelve-fold. This is the state of the colony trade, as compared with itself at these two periods, within this century;—and this is matter for medi|tation. But this is not all. Examine my second account. See how the export trade to the colonies alone in 1772 stood in the other point of view, that is, as compared to the whole trade of England in 1704.

Page  371
The whole export trade of England, including that to the colonies, in 1704,   6.509.000
Export to the colonies alone, in 1772,   6.024.000
  Difference, 485.000

THE trade with America alone is now within less than 500.000l. of being equal to what this great commercial nation, England, carried on at the beginning of this century with the whole world! If I had taken the largest year of those on your table, it would rather have exceeded. But, it will be said, is not this American trade an unna|tural protuberance, that has drawn the juices from the rest of the body? The reverse. It is the very food that has nourished every other part into its present magnitude. Our general trade has been greatly augmented; and augmented more or less in almost every part to which it ever extended; but with this material difference; that of the six mil|lions which in the beginning of the century con|stituted the whole mass of our export commerce, the colony trade was but one twelfth part; it is now (as a part of sixteen millions) considerably more than a third of the whole. This is the relative proportion of the importance of the colonies at these two periods: and all reasoning concerning our mode of treating them must have this propor|tion as its basis; or it is a reasoning weak, rotten, and sophistical.

MR. SPEAKER, I cannot prevail on myself to hurry over this great consideration. It is good for us to be here. We stand where we have an im|mense view of what is, and what is past. Clouds indeed, and darkness, rest upon the future. Let us however, before we descend from this noble Page  172 eminence, reflect that this growth of our national prosperity has happened within the short period of the life of man. It has happened within sixty-eight years. There are those alive whose memory might touch the two extremities. For instance, my lord Bathurst might remember all the stages of the pro|gress. He was in 1704 of an age, at least to be made to comprehend such things. He was then old enough acta parentum jam legere, et quae sit pote|rit cognoscere virtus—Suppose, sir, that the angel of this auspicious youth, foreseeing the many virtues, which made him one of the most amiable, as he is one of the most fortunate men of his age, had opened to him in vision, that, when, in the fourth generation, the third prince of the house of Brunswick had sat twelve years on the throne of that nation, which (by the happy issue of moderate and healing coun|cils) was to be made Great Britain, he should see his son, lord chancellor of England, turn back the current of hereditary dignity to its fountain, and raise him to an higher rank of peerage, whilst he enriched the family with a new one—If amidst these bright and happy scenes of domestic honour and prosperity, that angel should have drawn up the curtain, and unfolded the rising glories of his country, and whilst he was gazing with admiration on the then commercial grandeur of England, the genius should point out to him a little speck, scarce visible in the mass of the national interest, a small seminal principle, rather than a formed body, and should tell him—

"Young man, There is America—which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men, and un|couth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, shew itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world. Whatever England has been growing Page  373 to by a progressive increase of improvement, brought in by varieties of people, by succession of civilizing conquests and civilizing settlements in a series of seventeen hundred years, you shall see as much added to her by America in the course of a single life!"
If this state of his country had been foretold to him, would it not require all the sanguine credulity of youth, and all the fervid glow of enthusiasm, to make him believe it? For|tunate man, he has lived to see it! Fortunate indeed, if he lives to see nothing that shall vary the prospect, and cloud the setting of his day!

EXCUSE me, sir, if turning from such thoughts I resume this comparative view once more. You have seen it on a large scale; look at it on a small one. I will point out to your attention a particular instance of it in the single province of Pensylvania. In the year 1704 that province called for 11.459l. in value of your commo|dities, native and foreign. This was the whole. What did it demand in 1772? Why nearly fifty times as much; for in that year the export to Pensylvania was 507.909l. nearly equal to the export to all the colonies together in the first period.

I CHOOSE, sir, to enter into these minute and particular details; because generalities, which in all other cases are apt to heighten and raise the sub|ject, have here a tendency to sink it. When we speak of the commerce with our colonies, fiction lags after truth; invention is unfruitful, and ima|gination cold and barren.

So far, sir, as to the importance of the object in the view of its commerce, as concerned in the ex|ports from England. If I were to detail the im|ports, I could shew how many enjoyments they Page  374 procure, which deceive the burthen of life; how many materials which invigorate the springs of na|tional industry, and extend and animate every part of our foreign and domestic commerce. This would be a curious subject indeed—but I must pre|scribe bounds to myself in a matter so vast and va|rious.

I PASS therefore to the colonies in another point of view, their agriculture. This they have pro|secuted with such a spirit, that, besides feeding plentifully their own growing multitude, their an|nual export of grain, comprehending rice, has some years ago exceeded a million in value. Of their last harvest, I am persuaded, they will export much more. At the beginning of the century, some of these colonies imported corn from the mo|ther country. For some time past, the old world has been fed from the new. The scarcity which you have felt would have been a desolating famine; if this child of your old age, with a true filial piety, with a Roman charity, had not put the full breast of its youthful exuberance to the mouth of its exhausted parent.

AS to the wealth which the colonies have drawn from the sea by their fisheries, you had all that matter fully opened at your bar. You surely thought those acquisitions of value; for they seemed even to excite your envy; and yet the spirit, by which that enterprizing employment has been ex|ercised, ought rather, in my opinion, to have raised your esteem and admiration. And pray, sir, what in the world is equal to it? Pass by the other parts, and look at the manner in which the people of New England have of late carried on the whale fishery. Whilst we follow them among the jumbling mountains of ice, and behold them pene|trating into the deepest frozen recesses of Hudson's Page  375 Bay, and Davis's Streights, whilst we are looking for them beneath the Arctic circle, we hear that they have pierced into the opposite region of polar cold, that they are at the Antipodes, and engaged under the frozen serpent of the south. Falkland Island, which seemed too remote and romantic an object for the grasp of national ambition, is but a stage and resting-place in the progress of their vic|torious industry. Nor is the equinoctial heat more discouraging to them, than the accumulated winter of both the poles. We know that whilst some of them draw the line and strike the harpoon on the coast of Africa, others run the longitude, and pur|sue their gigantic game along the coast of Bra|zil. No sea but what is vexed by their fisheries. No climate that is not witness to their toils. Nei|ther the perseverance of Holland, nor the activity of France, nor the dextrous and firm sagacity of English enterprize, ever carried this most perilous mode of hardy industry to the extent to which it has been pushed by this recent people; a people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle, and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood. When I contemplate these things; when I know that the colonies in general owe little or nothing to any care of ours, and that they are not squeezed into this happy form by the constraints of watchful and sus|picious government, but that through a wise and salutary neglect, a generous nature has been suffered to take her own way to perfection: when I reflect upon these effects, when I see how profitable they have been to us, I feel all the pride of power sink, and all presumption in the wisdom of human con|trivances melt, and die away within me. My rigour relents. I pardon something to the spirit of li|berty.

I AM sensible, sir, that all which I have asserted in my detail, is admitted in the gross; but that Page  376 quite a different conclusion is drawn from it. Ame|rica, 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. Gentlemen in this respect will be led to their choice of means by their complexions and their habits. Those who understand the military art, will of course have some predilection for it. Those who wield the thunder of the state, may have more confidence in the efficacy of arms. But I confess, possibly for want of this knowledge, my opinion is much more in favour of prudent management, than of force; considering force not as an odious, but a feeble instrument, for preserving a people so nu|merous, so active, so growing, so spirited as this, in a profitable and subordinate connexion with us.

FIRST, sir, permit me to observe, that the use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered.

MY next objection is its uncertainty. Terror is not always the effect of force; and an armament is not a victory. If you do not succeed, you are without resource; for, conciliation failing, force re|mains; but, force failing, no further hope of recon|ciliation is rest. Power and authority are some|times bought by kindness; but they can never be begged as alms, by an impoverished and de|feated violence.

A FURTHER objection to force is, that you im|pair the object by your very endeavours to preserve it. The thing you fought for, is not the thing which you recover; but depreciated, sunk, wasted, and consumed in the contest. Nothing less will content me, than whole America. I do not choose Page  377 to consume its strength along with our own; be|cause in all parts it is the British strength that I con|sume. I do not choose to be caught by a foreign enemy at the end of this exhausting conflict; and still less in the midst of it. I may escape; but I can make no insurance against such an event. Let me add, that I do not choose wholly to break the American spirit, because it is the spirit that has made the country.

LASTLY, we have no sort of experience in fa|vour of force as an instrument in the rule of our colonies. Their growth and their utility has been owing to methods altogether different. Our an|cient indulgence has been said to be pursued to a fault. It may be so. But we know, if feeling is evidence, that our fault was more tolerable than our attempt to mend it; and our sin far more salutary than our penitence.

THESE, sir, are my reasons for not entertaining that high opinion of untried force, by which many gentlemen, for whose sentiments in other particu|lars I have great respect, seem to be so greatly capti|vated. But there is still behind a third consideration concerning this object, which serves to determine my opinion on the sort of policy which ought to be pursued in the management of America, even more than its population and its commerce, I mean its temper and character.

IN this character of the Americans, a love of free|dom is the predominating feature, which marks and distinguishes the whole: and as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your colonies become sus|picious, 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 Page  378 of liberty is stronger in the English colonies proba|bly than in any other people of the earth; and this from a great variety of powerful causes; which, to understand the true temper of their minds, and the direction which this spirit takes, it will not be amiss to lay open somewhat more largely.

FIRST, the people of the colonies are descend|ents of Englishmen. England, sir, is a nation, which still I hope respects, and formerly adored, her freedom. The colonists emigrated from you, when this part of your character was most predomi|nant; and they took this biass 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 princi|ples. Abstract liberty, like other mere abstracti|ons, is not to be found. Liberty inheres in some sensible object; and every nation has formed to it|self some favourite point, which by way of eminence becomes the criterion of their happiness. It hap|pened, you know, sir, that the great contests for freedom in this country were from the earliest times chiefly upon the question of taxing. Most of the contests in the ancient commonwealths turned primarily on the right of election of magistrates; or on the balance among the several orders of the state. The question of money was not with them so immediate. But in England it was otherwise. On this point of taxes the ablest pens, and most eloquent tongues have been exercised; the greatest spirits have acted and suffered. In order to give the fullest satisfaction concerning the importance of this point, it was not only necessary for those who in argument defended the excellence of the English constitution, to insist on this privilege of granting money as a dry point of fact, and to prove, that the right had been acknowledged in ancient parch|ments, Page  379 and blind usages, to reside in a certain body called an house of commons. They went much further; they attempted to prove, and they suc|ceeded, that in theory it ought to be so, from the particular nature of a house of commons, as an im|mediate representative of the people; whether the old records had delivered this oracle or not. They took infinite pains to inculcate, as a fundamental principle, that, in all monarchies, the people must in effect themselves mediately or immediately possess the power of granting their own money, or no sha|dow of liberty could subsist. The colonies draw from you as with their life-blood, these ideas and principles. Their love of liberty, as with you, fixed and attached 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. I do not say whether they were right or wrong in applying your general arguments to their own case. It is not easy indeed to make a monopoly of theorems and corollaries. The fact is, that they did thus apply those general arguments; and your mode of governing them, whether through lenity or indolence, through wisdom or mistake, confirmed them in the imagination, that they, as well as you, had an interest in these common prin|ciples.

THEY were further confirmed in this pleasing er|ror by the form of their provincial legislative assem|blies. Their governments are popular in an high degree; some are merely popular; in all, the po|pular representative is the most weighty; and this share of the people in their ordinary government never fails to inspire them with lofty sentiments, and with a strong aversion from whatever tends to deprive them of their chief importance.

Page  380IF any thing were wanting to this necessary ope|ration of the form of government, religion would have given it a complete effect. Religion, always a principle of energy, in this new people, is no way worn out or impaired; and their mode of professing it is also one main cause of this free spirit. The people are protestants; and of that kind, which is the most adverse to all implicit submission of mind and opinion. This is a persuasion not only favour|able to liberty, but built upon it. I do not think, sir, that the reason of this averseness in the dissent|ing churches from all that looks like absolute go|vernment is so much to be sought in their religious tenets, as in their history. Every one knows, that the Roman Catholic religion is at least coeval with most of the governments where it prevails; that it has generally gone hand in hand with them; and received great favour and every kind of support from authority. The church of England too was formed from her cradle under the nursing care of regular government. But the dissenting interests have sprung up in direct opposition to all the ordi|nary powers of the world; and could justify that opposition only on a strong claim to natural liberty. Their very existence depended on the powerful and unremitted assertion of that claim. All protes|tantism, even the most cold and passive, is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance; it is the dissidence of dissent; and the protestantism of the protestant religion. This reli|gion, under a variety of denominations, agreeing in nothing but in the communion of the spirit of liberty, is predominant in most of the northern pro|vinces; where the church of England, notwith|standing its legal rights, is in reality no more than a sort of private sect, not composing most probably the tenth of the people. The colonists left England Page  381 when this spirit was high; and in the emigrants was the highest of all: and even that stream of fo|reigners, which has been constantly flowing into these colonies, has, for the greatest part, been composed of dissenters from the establishments of their several countries, and have brought with them a temper and character far from alien to that of the people with whom they mixed.

SIR, I can perceive by their manner, that some gentlemen object to the latitude of this description; because in the southern colonies the church of Eng|land forms a large body, and has a regular esta|blishment. It is certainly true. There is however a circumstance attending these colonies, which in my opinion, fully counterbalances this difference, and makes the spirit of liberty still more high and haughty than in those to the northward. It is that in Virginia and the Carolinas, they have a vast mul|titude of slaves. Where this is the case in any part of the world, those who are free, are by far the most proud and jealous of their freedom. Freedom is to them not only an enjoyment, but a kind of rank and privilege. Not seeing there, that free|dom, as in countries where it is a common blessing, and as broad and general as the air, may be united with much abject toil, with great misery, with all the exterior of servitude, liberty looks amongst them, like something that is more noble and liberal. I do not mean, sir, to commend the superior mora|lity of this sentiment, which has at least as much pride as virtue in it; but I cannot alter the nature of man. The fact is so; and these people of the southern colonies are much more strongly, and with an higher and more stubborn spirit, attached to liberty than those to the northward. Such were all the ancient commonwealths; such were our Gothic ancestors; such in our days were the Poles; Page  382 and such will be all masters of slaves, who are not slaves themselves. In such a people the haughtiness of domination combines with the spirit of freedom, fortifies it, and renders it invincible.

PERMIT me, sir, to add another circumstance in our colonies, which contributes no mean part to|wards the growth and effect of this untractable spirit. I mean their education. In no country perhaps in the world is the law so general a study The profession itself is numerous and powerful; and in most provinces it takes the lead. The greater number of the deputies sent to the congress were lawyers. But all who read, and most do read, en|deavour to obtain some smattering in that science. I have been told by an eminent bookseller, that in no branch of his business, after tracts of popular de|votion, were so many books as those on the law ex|ported to the plantations. The colonists have now fallen into the way of printing them for their own use. I hear that they have sold nearly as many of Blackstone's Commentaries in America as in Eng|land. General Gage marks out this disposition ve|ry particularly in a letter on your table. He states, that all the people in his government are lawyers, or smatterers in law; and that in Boston they have been enabled, by successful chicane, wholly to evade many parts of one of your capital penal con|stitutions. The smartness of debate will say, that this knowledge ought to teach them more clearly the rights of legislature, their obligations to obedi|ence, and the penalties of rebellion. All this is mighty well. But my c honourable and learned friend on the floor, who condescends to mark what I say for animadversion, will disdain that ground. He has heard as well as I, that when great honours and great emoluments do not win over this know|ledge Page  383 to the service of the state, it is a formidable adversary to government. If the spirit be not tam|ed and broken by these happy methods, it is stub|born and litigious. Abeunt studia in mores. This study renders men acute, inquisitive, dextrous, prompt in attack, ready in defence, full of re|sources. In other countries, the people, more sim|ple and of a less mercurial cast, judge of an ill prin|ciple in government only by an actual grievance; here they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pres|sure of the grievance by the badness of the princi|ple. They augur misgovernment at a distance; and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.

THE last cause of this disobedient spirit in the co|lonies is hardly less powerful than the rest, as it is not merely moral, but laid deep in the natural con|stitution of things. Three thousand miles of ocean lie between you and them. No contrivance can prevent the effect of this distance, in weakening government. Seas roll, and months pass, between the order and the execution; and the want of a speedy explanation of a single point is enough to defeat an whole system. You have, indeed, wing|ed ministers of vengeance, who carry your bolts in their pounces to the remotest verge of the sea. But there a power steps in, that limits the arrogance of raging passions and furious elements, and says, "So far shalt thou go, and no farther." Who are you, that should fret and rage, and bite the chains of nature?—Nothing worse happens to you, than does to all nations, who have extensive empire; and it happens in all the forms into which empire can be thrown. In large bodies, the circulation of power must be less vigorous at the extremities. Nature has said it. The turk cannot govern Aegypt, and Arabia, and Curdistan, as he governs Page  384 Thrace; nor has he the same dominion in Crimea and Algiers, which he has at Brusa and Smyrna. Despotism itself is obliged to truck and huckster. The sultan gets such obedience as he can. He governs with a loose rein, that he may govern at all; and the whole of the force and vigour of his autho|rity in his centre, is derived from a prudent relaxa|tion in all his borders. Spain, in her provinces, is, perhaps, not so well obeyed, as you are in yours. She complies too; she submits; she watches times. This is the immutable condition; the eternal law, of extensive and detached empire.

THEN, sir, from these six capital sources; of descent; of form of government; of religion in the northern provinces; of manners in the southern; of education; of the remoteness of situation from the first mover of government; from all these causes a fierce spirit of liberty has grown up. It has grown with the growth of the people in your colo|nies, and increased with the increase of their wealth; a spirit, that unhappily meeting with an exercise of power in England, which, however lawful, is not reconcilable to any ideas of liberty, much less with theirs, has kindled this flame, that is ready to consume us.

I DO not mean to commend either the spirit in this excess, or the moral causes which produce it. Perhaps a more smooth and accommodating spirit of freedom in them would be more acceptable to us. Perhaps ideas of liberty might be desired, more reconcilable with an arbitrary and boundless authority. Perhaps we might wish the colonists to be persuaded, that their liberty is more secure when held in trust for them by us (as their guardians dur|ing a perpetual minority) than with any part of it in their own hands. But the question is, not whe|ther their spirit deserves praise or blame;—what, in Page  385 the name of God, shall we do with it? You have before you the object; such as it is, with all its glories, with all its imperfections on its head. You see the magnitude; the importance; the temper; the habits; the disorders. By all these considerations, we are strongly urged to determine something concerning it. We are call|ed upon to fix some rule and line for our future conduct, which may give a little stability to our politics, and prevent the return of such unhap|py deliberations as the present. Every such return will bring the matter before us in a still more un|tractable form. For, what astonishing and incre|dible things have we not seen already? What mon|sters have not been generated from this unnatural contention? Whilst every principle of authority and resistance has been pushed, upon both sides, as far as it would go, there is nothing so solid and cer|tain, either in reasoning or in practice, that has been not shaken. Until very lately, all authority in America seemed to be nothing but an emanation from yours. Even the popular part of the colony constitution derived all its activity, and its first vi|tal movement, from the pleasure of the crown. We thought, sir, that the utmost which the discon|tented colonists could do, was to disturb authority; we never dreamt they could of themselves supply it; knowing in general what an operose business it is, to establish a government absolutely new. But having, for our purposes in this contention, re|solved, that none but an obedient assembly should sit, the humours of the people there, finding all passage through the legal channel stopped, with great violence broke out another way. Some pro|vinces have tried their experiment, as we have tried ours; and theirs has succeeded. They have formed a government sufficient for its purposes, without the bustle of a revolution, or the troublesome formality of an election. Evident necessity, and tacit con|sent, Page  386 have done the business in an instant. So well they have done it, that lord Dunmore (the account is among the fragments on your table) tells you, that the new institution is infinitely better obeyed than the antient government ever was in its most fortunate period. Obedience is what makes go|vernment, and not the names by which it is called; not the name of governor, as formerly, or commit|tee, as at present. This new government has ori|ginated directly from the people; and was not transmitted through any of the ordinary artificial media of a positive constitution. It was not a ma|nufacture ready formed, and transmitted to them in that condition from England. The evil arising from hence is this; that the colonists having once found the possibility of enjoying the advantages of order, in the midst of a struggle for liberty, such struggles will not henceforward seem so terrible to the settled and sober part of mankind, as they had appeared before the trial.

PURSUING the same plan of punishing by the denial of the exercise of government to still greater lengths, we wholly abrogated the antient govern|ment of Massachuset. We were confident, that the first feeling, if not the very prospect of anarchy, would instantly enforce a compleat submission. The experiment was tried. A new, strange, unex|pected face of things appeared. Anarchy is found tolerable. A vast province has now subsisted, and subsisted in a considerable degree of health and vi|gour, for near a twelvemonth, without governor, without public council, without judges, without ex|ecutive magistrates. How long it will continue in this state, or what may arise out of this unheard-of situation, how can the wisest of us conjecture? Our late experience has taught us, that many of those fundamental principles, formerly believed in|fallible, Page  387 are either not of the importance they were imagined to be; or that we have not at all ad|verted to some other far more important, and far more powerful principles, which entirely over-rule those we had considered as omnipotent. I am much against any further experiments, which tend to put to the proof any more of these allowed opi|nions, which contribute so much to the public tran|quillity. In effect, we suffer as much at home, by this loosening of all ties, and this concussion of all established opinions, as we do abroad. For, in order to prove, that the Americans have no right to their liberties, we are every day endeavouring to subvert the maxims, which preserve the whole spirit of our own. To prove that the Americans ought not to be free, we are obliged to depreciate the value of freedom itself; and we never seem to gain a paltry advantage over them in debate, with|out attacking some of those principles, or deriding some of those feelings, for which our ancestors have shed their blood.

BUT, sir, in wishing to put an end to pernicious experiments, I do not mean to preclude the fullest enquiry. Far from it. Far from deciding on a sudden or partial view, I would patiently go round and round the subject, and survey it minutely in every possible aspect. Sir, if I were capable of en|gaging you to an equal attention, I would state, that, as far as I am capable of discerning, there are but three ways of proceeding relative to this stub|born spirit, which prevails in your colonies, and di|sturbs your government. These are—To change that spirit, as inconvenient, by removing the causes. To prosecute it as criminal. Or, to comply with it as necessary. I would not be guilty of an imper|fect enumeration; I can think of but these three. Another has indeed been started, that of giving up Page  388 the colonies; but it met so slight a reception, that I do not think myself obliged to dwell a great while upon it. It is nothing but a little sally of anger; like the frowardness of peevish children; who, when they cannot get all they would have, are resolved to take nothing.

THE first of these plans, to change the spirit as inconvenient, by removing the causes, I think is the most like a systematic proceeding. It is radical in its principle; but it is attended with great dif|ficulties, some of them little short, as I conceive, of impossibilities. This will appear by examining into the plans which have been proposed.

AS the growing population in the colonies is evidently one cause of their resistance, it was last session mentioned in both houses, by men of weight, and received not without applause, that, in order to check this evil, it would be proper for the crown to make no further grants of land. But to this scheme, there are two objections. The first, that there is already so much unsettled land in private hands, as to afford room for an immense future population, although the crown not only withheld its grants, but annihilated its soil. If this be the case, then the only effect of this avarice of desolation, this hoarding of a royal wilderness, would be to raise the value of the possessions in the hands of the great private monopolists, without any adequate check to the growing and alarming mischief of popu|lation.

BUT, if you stopped your grants, what would be the consequence? The people would occupy without grants. They have already so occupied in many places. You cannot station garrisons in every part of these deserts. If you drive the people from one place, they will carry on their annual Page  389 tillage, and remove with their flocks and herds to another. Many of the people in the back settle|ments are already little attached to particular situa|tions. Already they have topped the Apalachian mountains. From thence they behold before them an immense plain, one vast, rich, level meadow; a square of five hundred miles. Over this they would wander, without a possibility of restraint; they would change their manners with the habits of their life; would soon forget a government, by which they were disowned; would become Hordes of English Tartars; and, pouring down upon your unfortified frontiers a fierce and irresistible cavalry, become masters of your governors and your coun|sellors, your collectors and comptrollers, and of all the slaves that adhered to them. Such would, and, in no long time, must be, the effect of at|tempting to forbid as a crime, and to suppress as an evil, the command and blessing of Providence,

"encrease and multiply."
Such would be the happy result of an endeavour to keep as a lair of wild beasts, that earth, which God by an express charter, has given to the children of men. Far dif|ferent, and surely much wiser, has been our policy hitherto. Hitherto we have invited our people by every kind of bounty, to fixed establishments. We have invited the husbandman, to look to authority for his title. We have taught him piously to believe in the mysterious virtue of wax and parchment. We have thrown each tract of land, as it was peo|pled, into districts; that the ruling power should never be wholly out of sight. We have settled all we could; and we have carefully attended every settlement with government.

ADHERING, sir, as I do, to this policy, as well as for the reasons I have just given, I think this new Page  390 project of hedging-in population to be neither pru|dent nor practicable.

TO impoverish the colonies in general, and in particular to arrest the noble course of their marine enterprizes, would be a more easy task. I freely confess it. We have shewn a disposition to a system of this kind; a disposition even to continue the re|straint after the offence; looking on ourselves as ri|vals to our colonies, and persuaded that of course we must gain all that they shall lose. Much mis|chief we may certainly do. The power inadequate to all other things is often more than sufficient for this. I do not look on the direct and immediate power of the colonies to resist our violence, as very formidable. In this, however, I may be mistaken. But when I consider, that we have colonies for no purpose but to be serviceable to us, it seems to my poor understanding a little preposterous, to make them unserviceable, in order to keep them obedient. It is, in truth, nothing more than the old, and, as I thought, exploded problem of tyranny which pro|poses to beggar its subjects into submission. But, remember, when you have compleated your system of impoverishment, that nature still proceeds in her ordinary course; that discontent will encrease with misery; and that there are critical moments in the fortune of all states, when they, who are too weak to contribute to your prosperity, may be strong enough to complete your ruin. Spoliatis arma supersunt.

THE temper and character which prevail in our colonies, are, I am afraid, unalterable by any human art. We cannot, 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 Page  391 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.

I THINK it is nearly as little in our power to change their republican religion, as their free descent; or to substitute the Roman Catholic, as a penalty; or the church of England, as an improve|ment. The mode of inquisition and dragooning, is going out of fashion in the old world; and I should not confide much to their efficacy in the new. The education of the Americans is also on the same unalterable bottom with their religion. You can|not persuade them to burn their books of curious science; to banish their lawyers from their courts of law; or to quench the lights of their assemblies, by refusing to choose those persons who are best read in their privileges. It would be no less impracti|cable to think of wholly annihilating the popular as|semblies, in which these lawyers sit. The army, by which we must govern in their place, would be far more chargeable to us; not quite so effectual; and perhaps, in the end, full as difficult to be kept in obe|dience.

WITH regard to the high aristocratic spirit of Virginia and the southern colonies, it has been proposed, I know, to reduce it, by declaring a general enfranchisement of their slaves. This pro|ject has had its advocates and panegyrists; yet I never could argue myself into any opinion of it. Slaves are often much attached to their masters. A general wild offer of liberty, would not always be accepted. History furnishes few instances of it. It is sometimes as hard to persuade slaves to be free, as it is to compel freemen to be slaves; and in this auspicious scheme, we should have both these pleasing tasks on our hands at once. But when we Page  392 talk of enfranchisement, do we not perceive that the American master may enfranchise too; and arm servile hands in defence of freedom? A measure to which other people have had recourse more than once, and not without success, in a desperate situa|tion of their affairs.

SLAVES as these unfortunate black people are, and dull as all men are from slavery, must they not a little suspect the offer of freedom from that very nation which has sold them to their present masters? From that nation, one of whose causes of quarrel with those masters, is their refusal to deal any more in that inhuman traffic? An offer of freedom from England, would come rather oddly, shipped to them in an African vessel, which is refused an entry into the ports of Virginia or Ca|rolina, with a cargo of three hundred Angola ne|groes. It would be curious to see the Guinea cap|tain attempting at the same instant to publish his proclamation of liberty, and to advertise his sale of slaves.

BUT let us suppose all these moral difficulties got over. The ocean remains. You cannot pump this dry; and as long as it continues in its present bed, so long all the causes which weaken authority by distance will continue.

"Ye gods, annihilate but space and time, and make two lovers hap|py!"
—was a pious and passionate prayer;—but just as reasonable, as many of the serious wishes of very grave and solemn politicians.

IF then, sir, it seems almost desperate to think of any alterative course, for changing the moral causes (and not quite easy to remove the natural), which produce prejudices irreconcilable to the late exer|cise of our authority; but that the spirit infallibly will continue; and, continuing, will produce such Page  393 effects, as now embarrass us; the second mode un|der consideration is, to prosecute that spirit in its overt acts, as criminal.

AT this proposition, I must pause a moment. The thing seems a great deal too big for my ideas of jurisprudence. It should seem, to my way of conceiving such matters, that there is a very wide difference in reason and policy, between the mode of proceeding on the irregular conduct of scattered individuals, or even of bands of men, who disturb order within the state, and the civil dissensions which may, from time to time, on great questions, agitate the several communities which compose a great empire. It looks to me to be narrow and pe|dantic, to apply the ordinary ideas of criminal justice to this great public contest. I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against an whole people. I cannot insult and ridicule the feelings of millions of my fellow-creatures, as sir Edward Coke insulted one excellent individual (Sir Walter Rawleigh) at the bar. I am not ripe to pass sentence on the gravest public bodies, entrust|ed with magistracies of great authority and dignity, and charged with the safety of their fellow-citizens, upon the very same title that I am. I really think, that for wise men, this is not judicious; for sober men, not decent; for minds tinctured with huma|nity, not mild and merciful.

PERHAPS, sir, I am mistaken in my idea of an empire, as distinguished from a single state or kingdom. But my idea of it is this; that an em|pire is the aggregate of many states, under one common head; whether this head be a monarch, or a presiding republic. It does, in such constitu|tions, frequently happen (and nothing but the dis|mal, cold, dead uniformity of servitude can pre|vent its happening) that the subordinate parts have Page  394 many local privileges and immunities. Between these privileges, and the supreme common autho|rity, the line may be extremely nice. Of course disputes, often too, very bitter disputes, and much ill blood, will arise. But though every privilege is an exemption (in the case) from the ordinary ex|ercise of the supreme authority, it is no denial of it. The claim of a privilege seems rather, ex vi termini, to imply a superior power. For to talk of the pri|vileges of a state or of a person, who has no su|perior, is hardly any better than speaking non|sense. Now, in such unfortunate quarrels, among the component parts of a great political union of communities, I can scarcely conceive any thing more compleatly imprudent, than for the head of the empire to insist, that, if any privilege is pleaded against his will, or his acts, that his whole authority is denied; instantly to proclaim rebellion, to beat to arms, and to put the offending provinces under the ban. Will not this, sir, very soon teach the provinces to make no distinctions on their part? Will it not teach them that the government, against which a claim of liberty is tantamont to high-trea|son, is a government to which submission is equi|valent to slavery? It may not always be quite convenient to impress dependent communities with such an idea.

WE are, indeed, in all disputes with the colo|nies, by the necessity of things, the judge. It is true, sir. But, I confess, that the character of judge in my own cause, is a thing that frightens me. Instead of filling me with pride, I am ex|ceedingly humbled by it. I cannot proceed with a stern, assured, judicial confidence, until I find myself in something more like a judicial character. I must have these hesitations as long as I am com|pelled to recollect, that, in my little reading upon Page  395 such contests as these, the sense of mankind has, at least, as often decided against the superior as the subordinate power. Sir, let me add too, that the opinion of my having some abstract right in my favour, would not put me much at my ease in passing sentence; unless I could be sure, that there were no rights which, in their exercise under cer|tain circumstances, were not the most odious of all wrongs, and the most vexatious of all injustice. Sir, these considerations have great weight with me, when I find things so circumstanced; that I see the same party, at once a civil litigant against me in a point of right; and a culprit before me, while I sit as a criminal judge, on acts of his, whose moral quality is to be decided upon the merits of that very litigation. Men are every now and then put, by the complexity of human affairs, into strange situations; but justice is the same, let the judge be in what situation he will.

THERE is, sir, also a circumstance which con|vinces me, that this mode of criminal proceeding is not (at least in the present stage of our contest) altogether expedient; which is nothing less than the conduct of those very persons who have seemed to adopt that mode, by lately declaring a rebellion in Massachuset's Bay, as they had formerly address|ed to have traitors brought hither under an act of Henry the eighth, for trial. For though rebellion is declared, it is not proceeded against as such; nor have any steps been taken towards the appre|hension or conviction of any individual offender, either on our late or our former address; but modes of public coercion have been adopted, and such as have much more resemblance to a sort of qualified hostility towards an independant power than the pu|nishment of rebellious subjects. All this seems ra|ther Page  396 inconsistent; but it shews how difficult it is to apply these juridical ideas to our present case.

IN this situation, let us seriously and coolly pon|der. What is it we have got by all our menaces, which have been many and ferocious? What ad|vantage have we derived from the penal laws we have passed, and which, for the time, have been severe and numerous? What advances have we made towards our object, by the sending of a force, which, by land and sea, is no contemptible strength? Has the disorder abated? Nothing less.—When I see things in this situation, after such confi|dent hopes, bold promises, and active exertions, I cannot, for my life, avoid a suspicion, that the plan itself is not correctly right.

IF then the removal of the causes of this spirit of American liberty be, for the greater part, or rather entirely, impracticable; if the ideas of cri|minal process be inapplicable, or, if applicable, are in the highest degree inexpedient, what way yet remains? No way is open, but the third and last—to comply with the American spirit as ne|cessary; or, if you please, to submit to it, as a ne|cessary evil.

IF we adopt this mode; if we mean to conci|liate and concede; let us see of what nature the concession ought to be? To ascertain the nature of our concession, we must look at their complaint. The colonies complain, that they have not the characteristic mark and seal of British freedom. They complain, that they are taxed in a parlia|ment, in which they are not represented. If you mean to satisfy them at all, you must satisfy them with regard to this complaint. If you mean to please any people, you must give them the boon which they ask; not what you may think better Page  397 for them, but of a kind totally different. Such an act may be a wise regulation, but it is no con|cession: whereas our present theme is the mode of giving satisfaction.

SIR, I think you must perceive, that I am re|solved this day to have nothing at all to do with the question of the right of taxation. Some gen|tlemen startle—but it is true: I put it totally out of the question. It is less than nothing in my con|sideration. I do not indeed wonder, nor will you, sir, that gentlemen of profound learning are fond of displaying it on this profound subject. But my consideration is narrow, confined, and wholly li|mited to the policy of the question. I do not exa|mine, whether the giving away a man's money be a power excepted and reserved out of the general trust of government; and how far all mankind, in all forms of polity, are intitled to an exercise of that right by the charter of nature. 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 mili|tate against each other; where reason is perplexed; and an appeal to authorities only thickens the con|fusion. For high and reverend authorities lift up their heads on both sides; and there is no sure footing 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 re|spectable 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, I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me, I ought to do. Is a politic act Page  398 the worse for being a generous one? Is no conces|sion 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 exer|cise 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 of my own weapons?

SUCH is stedfastly my opinion of the absolute necessity of keeping up the concord of this empire by a unity of spirit, though in a diversity of ope|rations, that, if I were sure the colonists had, at their leaving this country, sealed a regular compact of servitude; that they had solemnly abjured all the rights of citizens; that they had made a vow to renounce all ideas of liberty for them and their posterity, to all generations; yet I should hold myself obliged to conform to the temper I found universally prevalent in my own day, and to go|vern two million of me, impatient of servitude, on the principles of freedom. I am not determin|ing 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 favour, is to admit the people of our colonies into an in|terest in the constitution; and, by recording that ad|mission in the journals of parliament, to give them as strong an assurance as the nature of the thing Page  399 will admit, that we mean for ever to adhere to that solemn declaration of systematic indulgence.

SOME years ago, the repeal of a revenue act, upon its understood principle, might have served to shew, that we intended an unconditional abate|ment of the exercise of a taxing power. Such a measure was then sufficient to remove all suspicion; and to give perfect content. But unfortunate events, since that time, may make something fur|ther necessary; and not more necessary for the sa|tisfaction of the colonies, than for the dignity and consistency of our own future proceedings.

I HAVE taken a very incorrect measure of the disposition of the house, if this proposal in itself would be received with dislike. I think, sir, we have few American financiers. But our misfortune is, we are too acute; we are too exquisite in our conjectures of the future, for men oppressed with such great and present evils. The more moderate among the opposers of parliamentary concession freely confess, that they hope no good from taxa|tion; but they apprehend the colonists have further views; and if this point were conceded, they would instantly attack the trade-laws. These gen|tlemen are convinced, that this was the intention from the beginning; and the quarrel of the Ame|ricans with taxation was no more than a cloke and cover to this design. Such has been the language even of a f gentleman of real moderation, and of a natural temper well adjusted to fair and equal government. I am, however, sir, not a little sur|prized at this kind of discourse, whenever I hear it; and I am the more surprized, on account of the arguments which I constantly find in company Page  400 with it, and which are often urged from the same mouths, and on the same day.

FOR instance, when we allege, that it is against reason to tax a people under so many restraints in trade as the Americans, the g noble lord in the blue ribband shall tell you, that the restraints on trade are futile and useless; of no advantage to us, and of no burthen to those on whom they are imposed; that the trade to America is not secured by the acts of navigation, but by the natural and irresistible ad|vantage of a commercial preference.

SUCH is the merit of the trade laws in this pos|ture of the debate. But when strong internal cir|cumstances are urged against the taxes; when the scheme is dissected; when experience and the na|ture of things are brought to prove, and do prove, the utter impossibility of obtaining an effective re|venue from the colonies; when these things are pressed, or rather press themselves, so as to drive the advocates of colony taxes to a clear admission of the futility of the scheme; then, sir, the sleep|ing trade laws revive from their trance; and this useless taxation is to be kept sacred, not for its own sake, but as a counterguard and security of the laws of trade.

THEN, sir, you keep up revenue laws which are mischievous, in order to preserve trade laws that are useless. Such is the wisdom of our plan in both its members. They are separately given up as of no value; and yet one is always to be de|fended for the sake of the other. But I cannot agree with the noble lord, nor with the pamphlet from whence he seems to have borrowed these ideas, concerning the inutility of the trade laws. For without idolizing them, I am sure they are still, in Page  401 many ways, of great use to us; and in former times, they have been of the greatest. They do confine, and they do greatly narrow, the market for the Americans. But my perfect conviction of this, does not help me in the least to discern how the revenue laws form any security whatsoever to the commercial regulations; or that these commer|cial regulations are the true ground of the quarrel; or, that the giving way in any one instance of au|thority, is to lose all that may remain unconceded.

ONE fact is clear and indisputable. The public and avowed origin of this quarrel, was on taxation. This quarrel has indeed brought on new disputes on new questions; but certainly the least bitter, and the fewest of all, on the trade laws. To judge which of the two be the real radical cause of quar|rel, we have to see whether the commercial dispute did, in order of time, precede the dispute on tax|ation? There is not a shadow of evidence for it. Next, to enable us to judge whether at this mo|ment a dislike to the trade laws be the real cause of quarrel, it is absolutely necessary to put the taxes out of the question by a repeal. See how the Americans act in this position, and then you will be able to discern correctly what is the true object of the controversy, or whether any controversy at all will remain? Unless you consent to remove this cause of difference, it is impossible, with de|cency, to assert that the dispute is not upon what it is avowed to be. And I would, sir, recommend to your serious consideration, whether it be prudent to form a rule for punishing people, not on their own acts, but on your conjectures? Surely it is preposterous at the very best. It is not justifying your anger, by their misconduct; but it is con|verting your ill-will into their delinquency.

Page  402BUT the colonies will go further.—Alas! alas! when will this speculating against fact and reason end? What will quiet these panic fears which we entertain of the hostile effect of a conciliatory conduct? Is it true, that no case can exist, in which it is proper for the sovereign to accede to the desires of his discontented subjects? Is there any thing pe|culiar in this case, to make a rule for itself? Is all authority of course lost, when it is not pushed to the extreme? Is it a certain maxim, that, the fewer causes of dissatisfaction are left by government, the more the subject will be inclined to resist and rebel?

ALL these objections being in fact no more than suspicions, conjectures, divinations; formed in de|fiance of fact and experience; they did not, sir, discourage me from entertaining the idea of a con|ciliatory concession, founded on the principles which I have just stated.

IN forming a plan for this purpose, I endeavour|ed to put myself in that frame of mind, which was the most natural, and the most reasonable; and which was certainly the most probable means of se|curing me from all error. I set out with a perfect distrust of my own abilities; a total renunciation of every speculation of my own; and with a profound reverence for the wisdom of our ancestors, who have left us the inheritance of so happy a consti|tution, and so flourishing an empire, and what is a thousand times more valuable, the treasury of the maxims and principles which formed the one, and ebtained the other.

DURING the reigns of the kings of Spain of the Austrian family, whenever they were at a loss in the Spanish councils, it was common for their states|men to say, that they ought to consult the genius Page  403 of Philip the second. The genius of Philip the se|cond might mislead them; and the issue of their affairs shewed, that they had not chosen the most perfect standard. But, sir, I am sure that I shall not be misled, when, in a case of constitutional difficulty, I consult the genius of the English con|stitution. Consulting at that oracle (it was with all due humility and piety) I found four capital ex|amples in a similar case before me: those of Ire|land, Wales, Chester, and Durham.

IRELAND, before the English conquest, though never governed by a despotic power, had no parli|ament. How far the English parliament itself was at that time modelled according to the present form, is disputed among antiquarians. But we have all the reason in the world to be assured, that a form of parliament, such as England then enjoy|ed, she instantly communicated to Ireland; and we are equally sure that almost every successive im|provement in constitutional liberty, as fast as it was made here, was transmitted thither. The feudal baronage, and the feudal knighthood, the roots of our primitive constitution, were early transplanted into that soil; and grew and flourished there. Magna charta, if it did not give us originally the house of commons, gave us at least an house of commons of weight and consequence. But your ancestors did not churlishly sit down alone to the feast of magna charta. Ireland was made immedi|ately a partaker. This benefit of English laws and liberties, I confess, was not at first extended to all Ireland. Mark the consequence. English autho|rity and English liberties had exactly the same boundaries. Your standard could never be ad|vanced an inch before your privileges. Sir John Davis shews beyond a doubt, that the refusal of a general communication of these rights, was the true Page  404 cause why Ireland was five hundred years in sub|duing; and after the vain projects of a military go|vernment, attempted in the reign of queen Eliza|beth, it was soon discovered, that nothing could make that country English, in civility and allegi|ance, but your laws and your forms of legislature. It was not English arms, but the English constitu|tion, that conquered Ireland. From that time, Ireland has ever had a general parliament, as she had before a partial parliament. You changed the people; you altered the religion; but you never touched the form or the vital substance of free go|vernment in that kingdom. You deposed kings; you restored them; you altered the succession to theirs, as well as to your own crown; but you ne|ver altered their constitution; the principle of which was respected by usurpation; restored with the re|storation of monarchy, and established, I trust, for ever, by the glorious revolution. This has made Ireland the great and flourishing kingdom that it is; and from a disgrace and a burthen intolerable to this nation, has rendered her a principal part of our strength and ornament. This country cannot be said to have ever formally taxed her. The irregu|lar things done in the confusion of mighty troubles, and on the hinge of great revolutions, even if all were done that is said to have been done, form no example. If they have any effect in argument, they make an exception to prove the rule. None of your own liberties could stand a moment, if the casual deviations from them, at such times, were suffered to be used as proofs of their nullity. By the lucrative amount of such casual breaches in the constitution, judge what the stated and fixed rule of supply has been in that kingdom. Your Irish pen|sioners would starve, if they had no other fund to live on than taxes granted by English authority. Turn your eyes to those popular grants from whence Page  405 all your great supplies are come; and learn to re|spect that only source of public wealth in the British empire.

MY next example is Wales. This country was said to be reduced by Henry the third. It was said more truly to be so by Edward the first. But though then conquered, it was not looked upon as any part of the realm of England. Its old constitution, whatever that might have been, was destroyed; and no good one was substituted in its place. The care of that tract was put into the hands of lords marchers—a form of government of a very singu|lar kind; a strange heterogeneous monster, some|thing between hostility and government; perhaps it has a sort of resemblance, according to the modes of those times, to that of commander in chief at present, to whom all civil power is granted as se|condary. The manners of the Welsh nation fol|lowed the genius of the government: The people were ferocious, restive, savage, and uncultivated; sometimes composed, never pacified. Wales within itself, was in perpetual disorder; and it kept the frontier of England in perpetual alarm. Bene|fits from it to the state, there were none. Wales was only known to England, by incursion and in|vasion.

SIR, during that state of things, parliament was not idle. They attempted to subdue the fierce spirit of the Welsh by all sorts of rigorous laws. They prohibited by statute the sending all sorts of arms into Wales, as you prohibit by proclamation (with something more of doubt on the legality) the sending arms to America. They disarmed the Welsh by statute, as you attempted (but still with more question on the legality) to disarm New Eng|land by an instruction. They made an act to drag offenders from Wales into England for trial, as you Page  406 have done (but with more hardship) with regard to America. By another act, where one of the parties was an Englishman, they ordained, that his trial should be always by English. They made acts to restrain trade, as you do; and they prevented the Welsh from the use of fairs and markets, as you do the Americans from fisheries and foreign ports. In short, when the statute-book was not quite so much swelled as it is now, you find no less than fifteen acts of penal regulation on the subject of Wales.

HERE we rub our hands—A fine body of pre|cedents for the authority of parliament and the use of it!—I admit it fully; and pray add likewise to these precedents, that all the while, Wales rid this kingdom like an incubus; that it was an unprofit|able and oppressive burthen; and that an English|man travelling in that country, could not go six yards from the high road without being murdered.

THE march of the human mind is slow. Sir, it was not, until after two hundred years, disco|vered, that by an eternal law, Providence had de|creed vexation to violence; and poverty to rapine. Your ancestors did however at length open their eyes to the ill husbandry of injustice. They found that the tyranny of a free people could of all tyran|nies the least be endured; and that laws made against an whole nation were not the most effectual methods for securing its obedience. Accordingly, in the twenty-seventh year of Henry VIII. the course was entirely altered. With a preamble stating the entire and perfect rights of the crown of England, it gave to the Welsh all the rights and privileges of English subjects. A political order was established; the military power gave way to the civil; the marches were turned into counties. But that a nation should have a right to English li|berties, Page  407 and yet no share at all in the fundamental security of these liberties, the grant of their own property, seemed a thing so incongruous; that eight years after, that is, in the thirty-fifth of that reign, a complete and not ill proportioned repre|sentation by counties and boroughs was bestowed upon Wales, by act of parliament. From that moment, as by a charm, the tumults subsided; obedience was restored; peace, order, and civili|zation, followed in the train of liberty—When the day-star of the English constitution had arisen in their hearts, all was harmony within and with|out—

Simul alba nautis
Stella refulsit,
Defluit saxis agitatus humor:
Concidunt venti, fugiuntque nubes:
Et minax (quod sic voluere) ponto
Unda recumbit.

THE very same year the county palatine of Chester received the same relief from its oppressi|ons, and the same remedy to its disorders. Before this time Chester was little less distempered than Wales. The inhabitants, without rights themselves, were the fittest to destroy the rights of others; and from thence Richard II. drew the standing army of archers, with which for a time he oppressed Eng|land. The people of Chester applied to parliament in a petition penned as I shall read to you:

TO the king our sovereign lord, in most humble wise shewn unto your excellent majesty, the inhabitants of your grace's county palatine of Chester, that where the said county palatine of Chester is and hath been always hitherto exempt, excluded and separated out and from your high court of parliament, to have any knights and burgesses within the said court; by reason whereof thePage  408said inhabitants have hitherto sustained manifold dishe|risons, losses and damages, as well in their lands, goods, and bodies, as in the good, civil, and politic governance and maintenance of the commonwealth of their said coun|try: (2.) And for as much as the said inhabitants have always hitherto been bound by the acts and statutes made and ordained by your said highness, and your most noble progenitors, by authority 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 of parliament, and yet have had neither knight ne burgess there for the said county palatine; the said inhabitants, for lack thereof, have been oftentimes touch|ed and grieved with acts and statutes made within the said court, as well derogatory unto the most antient juris|dictions, liberties, and privileges of your said county pala|tine, as prejudicial unto the common wealth, quietness, rest, and peace of your grace's most bounden subjects in|habiting within the same.

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 ta|ble? Did they burn it by the hands of the common hangman?—They took the petition of grievance, all rugged as it was, without softening or tempera|ment, unpurged of the original bitterness and in|dignation of complaint; they made it the very pre|amble to their act of redress; and consecrated its principle to all ages in the sanctuary of legislation.

HERE is my third example. It was attended with the success of the two former. Chester, civi|lized as well as Wales, has demonstrated that free|dom and not servitude is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy for superstition. Sir, this pattern of Chester was fol|lowed in the reign of Charles II. with regard to the Page  409 county palatine of Durham, which is my fourth ex|ample. This county had long lain out of the pale of free legislation. So scrupulously was the example of 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 autho|rity of parliament, it recognizes the equity of not suffering any considerable district in which the Bri|tish subjects may act as a body, to be taxed without their own voice in the grant.

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 Ameri|ca? Are not the people of America as much Eng|lishmen as the Welsh? The preamble of the act of Henry VIII. says, the Welsh speak a language no way resembling that of his majesty's English sub|jects. Are the Americans not as numerous? If we may trust the learned and accurate judge Barring|ton's account of North Wales, and take that as a standard to measure the rest, there is no compari|son. The people cannot amount to above 200,000; not a tenth part of the number in the colonies. Is America in rebellion? Wales was hardly ever free from it. Have you attempted to govern America by penal statutes? You made fifteen for Wales. But your legislative authority is perfect with regard to America; was it less perfect in Wales, Chester, and Durham? But America is virtually represented. What! does the electric force of virtual representa|tion more easily pass over the Atlantic, than per|vade Wales, which lies in your neighbourhood; or than Chester and Durham, surrounded by abun|dance of representation that is actual and palpable? But, sir, your ancestors thought this sort of virtual representation, however ample, to be totally in|sufficient Page  410 for the freedom of the inhabitants of terri|tories that are so near, and comparatively so incon|siderable. How then can I think it sufficient for those which are infinitely greater, and infinitely more remote?

YOU will now, sir, perhaps imagine, that I am on the point of proposing to you a scheme for a repre|sentation of the colonies in parliament. Perhaps I might be inclined to entertain some such thought; but a great flood stops me in my course. Opposuit natura—I cannot remove the eternal barriers of the creation. The thing in that mode, I do not know to be possible. As I meddle with no theory, I do not absolutely assert the impracticability 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 be|nevolence is not shortened; and there are often se|veral means to the same end. What nature has dis|joined in one way, wisdom may unite in another. When we cannot give the benefit as we would wish, let us not refuse it altogether. If we cannot give the principal, let us find a substitute. But how? Where? What substitute?

FORTUNATELY I am not obliged for the ways and means of this substitute to tax my own unpro|ductive invention. I am not even obliged to go to the rich treasury of the fertile framers of imagin|ary commonwealths; not to the republic of Plato, not to the Utopia of More; not to the Oceana of Harrington. It is before me—It is at my feet, and the rude swain treads daily on it with his clouted shoon. I only wish you to recognize, for the theory, the ancient constitutional policy of this kingdom with regard to representation, as that policy has been de|clared in acts of parliament; and, as to the prac|tice, to return to that mode which an uniform ex|perience Page  411 has marked out to you, as best; and in which you walked with security, advantage, and honour, until the year 1763.

MY resolutions therefore mean to establish the equity and justice of a taxation of America, by grant, and not by imposition. To mark the legal competency of the colony assemblies for the support of their government in peace, and for public aids in time of war. To acknowledge that this legal competency has had a dutiful and beneficial exercise; and that experience has shewn the benefit of their grants, and the futility of parliamentary taxation as a method of supply.

THESE solid truths compose six fundamental pro|positions. There are three more resolutions corol|lary to these. If you admit the first set, you can hardly reject the others. But if you admit the first, I shall be far from solicitous whether you accept or refuse the last. I think these six massive pillars will be of strength sufficient to support the temple of British concord. I have no more doubt than I en|tertain of my existence, that, if you admitted these, you would command an immediate peace; and with but tolerable future management, 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, this 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 explana|tion. The first is a resolution—

"That the colonies and plantations of Great Britain in North America, consisting of fourteen separate governments, and con|taining two millions and upwards of free inhabitants,Page  412have not had the liberty and privilege of electing and sending any knights and burgesses, or others to repre|sent them in the high court of parliament."
—This is a plain matter of fact, necessary to be laid down, and (excepting the description) it is laid down in the language of the constitution; it is taken nearly verbatim from acts of parliament.

THE second is like unto the first—

"That the said colonies and plantations have been liable to, and boun|den by, several subsidies, payments, rates, and taxes, given and granted by parliament, though the said colo|nies and plantations have not their knights and bur|gesses, in the said high court of parliament, of their own election, to represent the condition of their coun|try; by lack whereof they have been oftentimes touch|ed and grieved by subsidies given, granted, and assent|ed to, in the said court, in a manner prejudicial to the common wealth, quietness, rest, and peace of the sub|jects inhabiting within the same."

IS this description too hot, or too cold, too strong, or too weak? Does it arrogate too much to the su|preme legislature? Does it lean too much to the claims of the people? If it runs into 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 quae praecepit Ofellus, rusticus, abnormis sapiens. It is the genuine produce of the ancient rustic, manly, 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 odi|ous vice of restless and unstable minds. I put my Page  413 foot in the tracks of our forefathers; where I can neither wander nor stumble. Determining to fix articles of peace, I was resolved not to be wise be|yond what was written; I was resolved to use no|thing 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 in|genious, I am sure is safe.

THERE are indeed words expressive of grievance in this second resolution, which those who are re|solved always to be in the right, will deny to contain matter of fact, as applied to the present case; al|though parliament thought them true, with regard to the counties of Chester and Durham. They will deny that the Americans were ever

"touched and griev|ed"
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 highway, it is not the two-pence lost that constitutes the capital outrage. This is not con|fined to privileges. Even ancient indulgencies with|drawn, without offence on the part of those who en|joyed 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 II? 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 Page  414 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 Hills|borough tells you (for the ministry) were laid con|trary 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 strong|est of all proofs that parliamentary subsidies really touched and grieved them? Else, why all these changes, modifications, repeals, assurances, and re|solutions?

THE next proposition is—

"That, from the distance of the said colonies, and from other circumstances, no method hath hitherto been devised for procuring a re|presentation in parliament for the said colonies."
This is an assertion of a fact. I go no further on the paper; though in my private judgment, an useful represen|tation 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 assem|bly, 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 cer|tain. It is proved by the whole tenour of their acts of supply in all the assemblies, in which the constant style of granting is,

"an aid to his majesty;"
and Page  415 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 parlia|ment can grant to the crown, are wished to look to what is done, not only in the colonies, but in Ire|land, in one uniform unbroken tenour every session. Sir, I am surprized, 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 offi|cers themselves, through whose hands the acts pass, biennially in Ireland, or annually in the colonies, are in an habitual course of committing impeachable of|fences. What habitual offenders have been all pre|sidents 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, ex|cept 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 sun|dry 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 chearfulness 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; re|solving to deal in nothing but fact, authenticated by Page  416 parliamentary record; and to build myself wholly on that solid basis.

ON the 4th of April 1748,h a committee of this house came to the following resolution:


"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, Con|necticut, 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 colo|nies. They were above 200.000l. sterling; money first raised and advanced on their public credit.

ON the 28th of January 1756,i 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,k the house came to a suitable resolution, expressed in words nearly the same as those of the message: but with the fur|ther 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:

    Page  417
  • 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 20th, 1761.
  • Vol. XXIX.—Jan. 22d 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 formally acknow|ledged 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 en|couragement. 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 acknow|leged 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 con|tinually dinned 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 his system of American revenue, he stated in this house, that the colonies were then in debt two mil|lions Page  418 six hundred thousand pounds sterling money; and was of opinion they would discharge that 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 fifty 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 calculation was too sanguine: the reduction was not compleated till some years after, and at dif|ferent 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 re|quisitions 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.

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 pro|duce of the revenue by imposition.—Where is it?—let us know the volume and the page?—what is the gross, what is the nett produce?—to what service is it applied?—how have you appropriated its surplus?—What, can none of the many skilful index-ma|kers, that we are now employing, find any trace of it?—Well, let them and that rest together.—But are the journals, which say nothing of the revenue, as silent on the discontent?—Oh no! a child may find it. It is the melancholy burthen and blot of every page.

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 manner of granting the said supplies and aids, by the said gene|ral assemblies, hath been more agreeable to the said co|lonies, and more beneficial, and conducive to the publicPage  419service, than the mode of giving and granting aids in parliament, to be raised and paid in the said colonies."
This makes the whole of the fundamental part of the plan. The conclusion is irresistible. You cannot say, that you were driven by any necessity, to an ex|ercise of the utmost rights of legislature. You cannot assert, that you took on yourselves the task of im|posing 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.

THE question now, on all this accumulated mat|ter, is;—whether you will chuse to abide by a pro|fitable experience, or a mischievous theory; whe|ther you chuse to build on imagination or fact; whe|ther you prefer enjoyment or hope; satisfaction in your subjects, or discontent?

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, intituled, 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 or plantations; for discontinuing the draw|backs payable on China earthen-ware exported to A|merica; and for more effectually preventing the clan-destine running of goods in the said colonies and plan|tations.—And that it may be proper to repeal an act, made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present majesty, intituled, An act to discontinue in such manner,Page  420and for such time, as are therein mentioned, the land|ing and discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandize, at the town and within the harbour of Boston, in the province of Massachuset's Bay, in North America.—And that it may be proper to repeal an act, made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present majesty, intituled, An act for the impartial administration of justice, in the cases of per|sons questioned for any acts done by them, in the execu|tion of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tu|mults, in the province of Massachuset's Bay in New England.—And that it may be proper to repeal an act, made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present majesty, intituled, An act for the better regu|lating the government of the province of the Massa|chuset's Bay in New England.—And also that it may be proper to explain and amend an act, made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of king Henry the eighth, intituled, An act for the trial of treasons committed out of the king's dominions."

I WISH, sir, to repeal the Boston port bill, be|cause (independently of the dangerous precedent of suspending the rights of the subject during the king's pleasure) it was passed, as I 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 ports blocked up. Even the restraining bill of the present session does not go to the length of the Boston port act. The same ideas of prudence, which induced you not to extend equal punishment 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.

IDEAS of prudence, and accomodation to cir|cumstances, prevent you from taking away the Page  421 charters of Connecticut and Rhode-island, as you have taken away that of Massachuset's colony, though the crown has far less power in the two for|mer 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 Massa|chuset's Bay. Besides, sir, the act which changes the charter of Massachuset's 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.

THE act for bringing persons accused of com|mitting murder under the orders of government to England for trial, is but temporary. That act has calculated the probable duration of our quarrel with the colonies; and is accommodated to that suppos|ed duration. I would hasten the happy moment of reconciliation; and therefore must, on my principle, get rid of that most justly obnoxious act.

THE act of Henry the eighth, for the trial of trea|sons, I do not mean to take away, but to confine it to its proper bounds and original intention; to make it expressly for trial of treasons (and the great|est treasons may be committed) in places where the jurisdiction of the crown does not extend.

HAVING guarded the privileges of local legisla|ture, I would next secure to the colonies a fair and unbiassed judicature; for which purpose, sir, I pro|pose the following resolution:

"That, from the timePage  422when the general assembly or general court of any co|lony or plantation in North America, shall have ap|pointed by act of assembly, duly confirmed, a settled salary to the offices of the chief justice and other judges of the superior court, it may be proper, that the said chief justice and other judges of the superior courts of such colony, shall hold his and their office and offices during their good behaviour; and shall not be removed therefrom, but when the said removal shall be adjudged by his majesty in council, upon a hearing on complaint from the general assembly, or on a complaint from the governor, or council, or the house of representatives severally, of the colony in which the said chief justice and other judges have exercised the said offices."

THE next resolution relates to the courts of ad|miralty.

IT is this.

"That it may be proper to regulate the courts of admiralty, or vice admiralty, authorized by the 15th chap. of the 4th of George the third, in such a manner as to make the same more commodious to those who sue, or are sued, in the said courts, and to provide for the more decent maintenance of the judges in the same."

THESE courts I do not wish to take away; they are in themselves proper establishments. This court is one of the capital securities of the act of naviga|tion. The extent of its jurisdiction, indeed, has been encreased; but this is altogether as proper, and is, indeed, on many accounts, more eligible, where new powers were wanted, than a court abso|lutely new. But courts incommodiously situated, in effect, deny justice;l and a court, partaking in Page  423 the fruits of its own condemnation, is a robber. The congress complain, and complain justly, of this grievance.

THESE are the three consequential propositions. I have thought of two or three more; but they come rather too near detail, and to the province of execu|tive government, which I wish parliament always to superintend, never to assume. If the first six are granted, congruity will carry the latter three. If not, the things that remain unrepealed, will be, I hope, rather unseemly incumbrances on the building, than very materially detrimental to its strength and sta|bility.

HERE, sir, I should close; but that I plainly per|ceive some objections remain, which, I ought, if possible, to remove. The first will be, that, in re|sorting to the doctrine of our ancestors, as contained in the preamble to the Chester act, I prove too much; that the grievance from a want of represen|tation, stated in that preamble, goes to the whole of legislation as well as to taxation. And that the co|lonies grounding themselves upon that doctrine, will apply it to all parts of legislative authority.

TO this objection, with all possible deference and humility, and wishing as little as any man living to impair the smallest particle of our supreme authority, I answer, that the words are the words of parliament, and not mine; and, that all false and inconclusive in|ferences, drawn from them, are not mine; for I heartily disclaim any such inference. I have chosen the words of an act of parliament, which Mr. Gren|ville, surely a tolerably zealous and very judicious advocate for the sovereignty of parliament, formerly moved to have read at your table, in confirmation of his tenets. It is true that lord Chatham consider|ed these preambles as declaring strongly in favour Page  424 of his opinions. He was a no less powerful advo|cate for the privileges of the Americans. Ought I not from hence to presume, that these preambles are as favourable as possible to both, when properly un|derstood; favourable both to the rights of parlia|ment, and to the privilege of the dependencies of this crown? But, sir, the object of grievance in my resolution, I have not taken from the Chester, but from the Durham act, which confines the hardship of want of representation, to the case of subsidies; and which therefore falls in exactly with the case of the colonies. But whether the unrepresented coun|ties were de jure, or de facto, bound, the preambles do not accurately distinguish; nor indeed was it ne|cessary; for, whether de jure, or de facto, the legisla|ture thought the exercise of the power of taxing, as of right, or as of fact without right, equally a griev|ance and equally oppressive.

I DO not know, that the colonies have, in any ge|ral way, or in any cool hour, gone much beyond the demand of immunity in relation to taxes. It is not fair to judge of the temper or dispositions of any man, or any set of men, when they are compos|ed and at rest, from their conduct, or their expres|sions, in a state of disturbance and irritation. It is besides a very great mistake to imagine, that man|kind follow up practically any speculative principle, either of government or of freedom, as far as it will go in argument and logical illation. We English|men, stop very short of the principles upon which we support any given part of our constitution; or even the whole of it together. I could easily, if I had not already tired you, give you very striking and convincing instances of it. This is nothing but what is natural and proper. All government, in|deed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on com|promise Page  425 and barter. We balance inconveniencies; we give and take; we remit some rights, that we may enjoy others; and, we chuse rather to be hap|py citizens, than subtle disputants. As we must give away some natural liberty, to enjoy civil advanta|ges; so we must sacrifice some civil liberties, for the advantages to be derived from the communion and fellowship of a great empire. But in all fair dealings the thing bought, must bear some proportion to the purchase paid. None will barter away the immedi|ate jewel of his soul. Though a great house is apt to make slaves haughty, yet it is purchasing a part of the artificial importance of a great empire too dear, to pay for it all essential rights, and all the in|trinsic dignity of human nature. None of us who would not risque his life, rather than fall under a go|vernment purely arbitrary. But, although there are some amongst us who think our constitution wants many improvements, to make it a complete system of liberty, perhaps none who are of that opinion, would think it right to aim at such improvement, by disturbing his country, and risquing every thing that is dear to him. In every arduous enterprize, we consider what we are to lose, as well as what we are to gain; and the more and better stake of liberty every people possess, the less they will hazard in a vain attempt to make it more. These are the cords of man. Man acts from adequate motives relative to his interest; and not on metaphysical speculati|ons. Aristotle, the great master of reasoning, cau|tions us, and with great weight and propriety, a|gainst this species of delusive geometrical accuracy in moral arguments, as the most fallacious of all sophistry.

THE Americans will have no interest contrary to the grandeur and glory of England, when they are not oppressed by the weight of it; and they will ra|ther Page  426 be inclined to respect the acts of a superin|tending legislature; when they see them the acts of that power, which is itself the security, not the rival, of their secondary importance. In this assurance, my mind most perfectly acquiesces; and I confess, I feel not the least alarm, from the discontents which are to arise, from putting people at their ease; nor do I apprehend the destruction of this empire, from giving, by an act of free grace and indulgence, to two millions of my fellow citizens, some share of those rights, upon which I have always been taught to value myself.

IT is said indeed, that this power of granting vest|ed in American assemblies, would dissolve the unity of the empire; which was preserved, entire, although Wales, and Chester, and Durham, were added to it. Truly, Mr. Speaker, I do not know what this unity means; nor has it ever been heard of, that I know, in the constitutional policy of this country. The very idea of subordination of parts, excludes this notion of simple and undivided unity. England is the head; but she is not the head and the members too. Ireland has ever had from the beginning a separate, but not an independent, legislature; which, far from distracting, promoted the union of the whole. Every thing was sweetly and harmoniously disposed through both islands for the conservation of English dominion, and the communication of English liberties. I do not see that the same princi|ples might not be carried into twenty islands, and with the same good effect. This is my model with regard to America, as far as the internal circumstan|ces of the two countries are the same. I know no other unity of this empire, than I can draw from its example during these periods, when it seemed to my poor understanding more united than it is now, or than it is likely to be by the present methods.

Page  427BUT since I speak of these methods, I recollect, Mr. Speaker, almost too late, that I promised, be|fore I finished, to say something of the proposition of the m noble lord on the floor, which has been so lately received, and stands on your journals. I must be deeply concerned, whenever it is my misfortune to continue a difference with the majority of this house. But as the reasons for that difference are my apology for thus troubling you, suffer me to state them in a very few words. I shall compress them into as small a body as I possibly can, having al|ready debated that matter at large, when the ques|tion was before the committee.

FIRST, then, I cannot admit that proposition of a ransom by auction;—because it is a meer project. It is a thing new; unheard of; supported by no ex|perience; justified by no analogy; without exam|ple of our ancestors, or root in the constitution. It is neither regular parliamentary taxation, nor colony grant. Experimentum in corpore vili, is a good rule, which will ever make me adverse to any trial of ex|periments on what is certainly the most valuable of all subjects; the peace of this empire.

SECONDLY, it is an experiment which must be fatal in the end to our constitution. For what is it but a scheme for taxing the colonies in the anti-chamber of the noble lord and his successors? To settle the quotas and proportions in this house, is clearly impossible. You, sir, may flatter yourself, you shall sit a state auctioneer with your hammer in your hand, and knock down to each colony as it bids. But to settle (on the plan laid down by the noble lord) the true proportional payment for four or five and twenty governments, according to the absolute and the relative wealth of each, and ac|cording to the British proportion of wealth and bur|then, Page  428 is a wild and chimerical notion. This new taxation must therefore come in by the back-door of the constitution. Each quota must be brought to this house ready formed; you can neither add nor alter. You must register it. You can do no|thing further. For on what grounds can you deli|berate either before or after the proposition? You cannot hear the counsel for all these provinces, quar|relling each on its own quantity of payment, and its proportion to others. If you should attempt it, the committee of provincial ways and means, or by whatever other name it will delight to be called, must swallow up all the time of parliament.

THIRDLY, it does not give satisfaction to the complaint of the colonies. They complain, that they are taxed without their consent; you answer, that you will fix the sum at which they shall be tax|ed. That is, you give them the very grievance for the remedy. You tell them indeed, that you will leave the mode to themselves. I really beg pardon: it gives me pain to mention it; but you must be sensible that you will not perform this part of the compact. For, suppose the colonies were to lay the duties which furnished their contingent, upon the importation of your manufactures; you know you would never suffer such a tax to be laid. You know too, that you would not suffer many other modes of taxation. So that, when you come to explain your|self, it will be found, that you will neither leave to themselves the quantum nor the mode; nor indeed any thing. The whole is delusion from one end to the other.

FOURTHLY, this method of ransom by auction, unless it be universally accepted, will plunge you into great and inextricable difficulties. In what year of our Lord are the proportions of payments to be set|tled? To say nothing of the impossibility that co|lony Page  429 agents should have general powers of taxing the colonies at their discretion; consider, I implore you, that the communication by special messages, and orders between these agents and their constitu|ents on each variation of the case, when the parties come to contend together, and to dispute on their relative proportions, will be a matter of delay, per|plexity, and confusion, that never can have an end.

IF all the colonies do not appear at the outcry, what is the condition of those assemblies, who offer, by themselves or their agents, to tax themselves up to your ideas of their proportion? The refractory colonies, who refuse all composition, will remain taxed only to your old impositions; which, how|ever grievous in principle, are trifling as to produc|tion. The obedient colonies in this scheme are heavily taxed; the refractory remain unburthened. What will you do? Will you lay new and heavier taxes by parliament on the disobedient? Pray con|sider in what way you can do it? You are perfectly convinced that in the way of taxing, you can do no|thing but at the ports. Now suppose it is Virginia that refuses to appear at your auction, while Mary|land and North Carolina bid handsomely for their ransom, and are taxed to your quota? How will you put these colonies on a par? Will you tax the tobacco of Virginia? If you do, you give its death-wound to your English revenue at home, and to one of the very greatest articles of your own foreign trade. If you tax the import of that rebellious co|lony, what do you tax but your own manufactures, or the goods of some other obedient, and already well-taxed colony? Who has said one word on this labyrinth of detail, which bewilders you more and more as you enter into it? Who has presented, who can present you, with a clue, to lead you out of it? I think, sir, it is impossible, that you should not re|collect Page  430 that the colony bounds are so implicated in one another (you know it by your other experi|ments in the bill for prohibiting the New-England fishery) that you can lay no possible restraints on almost any of them which may no be presently eluded, if you do not confound the innocent with the guilty, and burthen those whom upon every principle, you ought to exonerate. He must be grossly ignorant of America, who thinks, that, with|out falling into this confusion of all rules of equity and policy, you can restrain any single colony, es|pecially Virginia and Maryland, the central, and most important of them all.

LET it also be considered, that, either in the pre|sent confusion you settle a permanent contingent, which will and must be trifling; and then you have no effectual revenue: or you change the quota at every exigency; and then on every new repartition you will have a new quarrel.

REFLECT besides, that when you have fixed a quota for every colony, you have not provided for prompt and punctual payment. Suppose one, two, five, ten years arrears. You cannot issue a treasury extent against the failing colony. You must make new Boston port bills, new restraining laws, new acts for dragging men to England for trial. You must send out new fleets, new armies. All is to begin again. From this day forward the empire is never to know an hour's tranquillity. An intestine fire will be kept alive in the bowels of the colonies, which one time or other must consume this whole empire. I allow indeed that the empire of Germa|ny raises her revenue and her troops by quotas and contingents; but the revenue of the empire, and the army of the empire, is the worst revenue, and the worst army, in the world.

Page  431INSTEAD of a standing revenue, you will there|fore have a perpetual quarrel. Indeed the noble lord, who proposed this project of a ransom by auc|tion, seemed himself to be of that opinion. His project was rather designed for breaking the union of the colonies, than for establishing a revenue. He confessed, he apprehended that his proposal would not be to their taste. I say, this scheme of disunion seems to be at the bottom of the project; for I will not suspect that the noble lord meant nothing but merely to delude the nation by an airy phantom which he never intended to realize. But, whatever his views may be; as I propose the peace and uni|on of the colonies as the very foundation of my plan, it cannot accord with one whose foundation is perpetual discord.

COMPARE the two. This I offer to give you is plain and simple. The other full of perplexed and intricate mazes. This is mild; that harsh. This is found by experience effectual for its purposes; the other is a new project. This is universal; the other calculated for certain colonies only. This is immediate in its conciliatory operation; the other remote, contingent, full of hazard. Mine is what becomes the dignity of a ruling people; gratui|tous, unconditional, and not held out as matter of bargain and sale. I have done my duty in propos|ing it to you. I have indeed tired you by a long discourse; but this is the misfortune of those to whose influence nothing will be conceded, and who must win every inch of their ground by argument. You have heard me with goodness. May you de|cide with wisdom! For my part, I feel my mind greatly disburthened, by what I have done to-day. I have been the less fearful of trying your patience, because on this subject I mean to spare it altogether in future. I have this comfort, that in every stage Page  432 of the American affairs, I have steadily opposed the measures that have produced the confusion, and may bring on the destruction, of this empire. I now go so far as to risque a proposal of my own. If I cannot give peace to my country; I give it to my conscience.

BUT what (says the financier) is peace to us without money? Your plan gives us no revenue. No! But it does—For it secures to the subject the power of REFUSAL; the first of all revenues. Experience is a cheat, and fact a liar, if this power in the subject of proportioning his grant, or of not granting at all, has not been found the richest mine of revenue ever discovered by the skill or by the fortune of man. It does not indeed vote you £. 152 750: 11: 2¾ths, nor any other paltry li|mited sum.—But it gives the strong box itself, the fund, the bank, from whence only revenues can arise amongst a people sensible of freedom: Posita luditur arca. Cannot you in England; cannot you at this time of day; cannot you, an house of com|mons, trust to the principle which has raised so mighty a revenue, and accumulated a debt of near 140 millions in this country? Is this principle to be true in England, and false every where else? Is it not true in Ireland? Has it not hitherto been true in the colonies? Why should you presume that, in any country, a body duly constituted for any func|tion, will neglect to perform its duty, and abdicate its trust? Such a presumption would go against all government in all modes. But, in truth, this dread of penury of supply, from a free assembly, has no foundation in nature. For first observe, that, be|sides the desire which all men have naturally of sup|porting the honour of their own government; that sense of dignity, and that security to property, which ever attends freedom, has a tendency to in|crease Page  433 the stock of the free community. Most may be taken where most is accumulated. And what is the soil or climate where experience has not uni|formly proved, that the voluntary flow of heaped-up plenty, bursting from the weight of its own rich luxuriance, has ever run with a more copious stream of revenue, than could be squeezed from the dry husks of oppressed indigence, by the straining of all the politic machinery in the world.

NEXT we know, that parties must ever exist in a free country. We know too, that the emulations of such parties, their contradictions, their reciprocal necessities, their hopes, and their fears, must send them all in their turns to him that holds the balance of the state. The parties are the gamesters; but government keeps the table, and is sure to be the winner in the end. When this game is played, I really think it is more to be feared, that the people will be exhausted, than that government will not be supplied. Whereas, whatever is got by acts of ab|solute power ill obeyed, because odious, or by con|tracts ill kept, because constrained; will be narrow, feeble, uncertain, and precarious.

"Ease would re|tract vows made in pain, as violent and void."

I, for one, protest against compounding our de|mands: I declare against compounding, for a poor limited sum, the immense, evergrowing, eternal debt, which is due to generous government from protected freedom. And so may I speed in the great object I propose to you, as I think it would not only be an act of injustice, but would be the worst oeconomy in the world, to compel the colo|nies to a sum certain, either in the way of ransom, or in the way of compulsory compact.

BUT to clear up my ideas on this subject—a re|venue from America transmitted hither—do not Page  434 delude yourselves—you never can receive it—No, not a shilling. We have experience that from re|mote countries it is not to be expected. If, when you attempted to extract revenue from Bengal, you were obliged to return in loan what you had taken in imposition; what can you expect from North America? for certainly, if ever there was a country qualified to produce wealth, it is India; or an in|stitution fit for the transmission, it is the East-India company. America has none of these aptitudes. If America gives you taxable objects, on which you lay your duties here, and gives you, at the same time, a surplus by a foreign sale of her commodities to pay the duties on these objects which you tax at home, she has performed her part to the British re|venue. But with regard to her own internal esta|blishments; she may, I doubt not she will, contri|bute in moderation. I say in moderation; for she ought not to be permitted to exhaust herself. She ought to be reserved to a war; the weight of which, with the enemies that we are most likely to have, must be considerable in her quarter of the globe. There she may serve you, and serve you essentially.

FOR that service, for all service, whether of re|venue, trade, or empire, my trust is in her interest in the British constitution. My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties, which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government;—they will cling and grapple to you; and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood, that your govern|ment may be one thing, and their privileges ano|ther; that these two things may exist without any Page  435 mutual relation; the cement is gone; the cohesion is loosened; and every thing hastens to decay and dissolution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have any where. It is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But until you become lost to all feeling of your true in|terest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price, of which you have the monopoly. This is the true act of navigation, which binds to you the commerce of the colonies, and through them secures to you the wealth of the world. Deny them this participation of freedom, and you break that sole bond, which originally made, and must still preserve, the unity of the empire. Do not enter|tain so weak an imagination, as that your registers and your bonds, your affidavits and your sufferan|ces, your cockets and your clearances, are what form the great securities of your commerce. Do not dream that your letters of office, and your in|structions, and your suspending clauses, are the things that hold together the great contexture of this mysterious whole. These things do not make your government. Dead instruments, passive tools as they are, it is the spirit of English communion that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It is the spirit of the English constitution, which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, unites, invigorates, vivifies, every part of the empire, even down to the minutest member.

Page  436IS it not the same virtue which does every thing for us here in England? Do you imagine then, that it is the land-tax act which raises your reve|nue? that it is the annual vote in the committee of supply, which gives you your army? or that it is the mutiny bill which inspires it with bravery and discipline? No! surely no! It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience, without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber.

ALL this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the prophane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians, who have no place among us; a sort of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material; and who therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and master principles, which, in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned, have no substantial existence, are in truth every thing, and all in all. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together. If we are conscious of our situation, and glow with zeal to fill our place as becomes our station and ourselves, we ought to auspicate all our public pro|ceedings on America, with the old warning of the church, Sursum corda! We ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of that trust to which the or|der of Providence has called us. By adverting to the dignity of this high calling, our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire; Page  437 and have made the most extensive, and the only honourable conquests; not by destroying, but by promoting, the wealth, the number, the happiness, of the human race. Let us get an American re|venue as we have got an American empire. English privileges have made it all that it is; English pri|vileges alone will make it all it can be.

IN full confidence of this unalterable truth, I now (quod felix faustumque sit)—lay the first stone of the temple of peace; and I move you,

"THAT the colonies and plantations of Great Bri|tain in North America, consisting of fourteen separate governments, and containing two millions and upwards of free inhabitants, have not had the liberty and pri|vilege of electing and sending any knights and burges|ses, or others, to represent them in the high court of parliament."

UPON this resolution, the previous question was put, and carried;—for the previous question 270,—against it 78.

As the propositions were opened separately in the body of the speech, the reader perhaps may wish to see the whole of them toge|ther, in the form in which they were moved for.


"THAT the colonies and plantations of Great Britain in North America, consisting of fourteen separate governments, and containing two milli|ons and upwards of free inhabitants, have not had the liberty and privilege of electing and sending any knights and burgesses, or others, to represent them in the high court of parliament."

Page  438

"THAT the said colonies and plantations have been made liable to, and bounden by, several subsidies, payments, rates, and taxes, given and granted by parliament; though the said colonies and plantations have not their knights and bur|gesses, in the said high court of parliament, of their own election, to represent the condition of their country; by lack whereof, they have been of|tentimes touched and grieved by subsidies given, grant|ed, and assented to, in the said court, in a manner pre|judicial to the commonwealth, quietness, rest, and peace, of the subjects inhabiting within the same."

"THAT, from the distance of the said colonies, and from other circumstances, no method hath hitherto been devised for procuring a representa|tion in parliament for the said colonies."

"THAT each of the said colonies hath within it|self a body, chosen, in part or in the whole, by the freemen, freeholders, or other free inhabit|ants thereof, commonly called the general assem|bly, 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."n

"THAT the said general assemblies, general courts, or other bodies, legally qualified as afore|said, have at sundry times freely granted several large subsidies and public aids for his majesty's service, according to their abilities, when requir|ed thereto by letter from one of his majesty's principal secretaries of state; and that their right to grant the same, and their chearfulness and suf|ficiency Page  439 in the said grants, have been at sundry times acknowledged by parliament."

"THAT it hath been found by experience, that the manner of granting the said supplies and aids, by the said general assemblies, hath been more agreeable to the inhabitants of the said colonies, and more beneficial and conducive to the public service, than the mode of giving and granting aids and subsidies in parliament to be raised and paid in the said colonies."

"THAT it may be proper to repeal an act made in the 7th year of the reign of his present majesty, intituled, An act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America; for allowing a draw-back of the duties of customs, upon the exportation from this kingdom, of cof|fee and cocoa-nuts, of the produce of the said co|lonies or plantations; for discontinuing the draw-backs payable on China earthen-ware exported to America; and for more effectually preventing the clandestine running of goods in the said colo|nies and plantations."

"THAT it may be proper to repeal an act, made in the 14th year of the reign of his present majesty, intituled, An act to discontinue, in such manner, and for such time, as are therein menti|oned, the landing and discharging, lading or ship|ping of goods, wares, and merchandize, at the town, and within the harbour, of Boston, in the province of Massachuset's Bay, in North America."

"THAT it may be proper to repeal an act made in the 14th year of the reign of his present ma|jesty, intituled, An act for the impartial admini|stration of justice, in cases of persons questioned for any acts done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tu|mults, in the province of Massachuset's Bay, in New England."

Page  440

"THAT it is proper to repeal an act, made in the 14th year of the reign of his present majesty, intituled, An act for the better regulating the government of the province of the Massachuset's Bay in New England."

"THAT it is proper to explain and amend an act made in the 35th year of the reign of king Henry VIII. intituled, An act for the trial of trea|sons committed out of the king's dominions."

"THAT, from the time when the general as|sembly, or general court, of any colony or plan|tation, in North America, shall have appointed, by act of assembly duly confirmed, a settled sa|lary to the offices of the chief justice and judges of the superior courts, it may be proper that the said chief justice and other judges of the superior courts of such colony shall hold his and their of|fice and offices during their good behaviour; and shall not be removed therefrom, but when the said removal shall be adjudged by his majesty in coun|cil, upon a hearing on complaint from the gene|ral assembly, or on a complaint from the gover|nor, or council, or the house of representatives, severally, of the colony in which the said chief justice and other judges have exercised the said office."

"THAT it may be proper to regulate the courts of admiralty, or vice-admiralty, authorized by the 15th chapter of the 4th of George III. in such a manner as to make the same more commodi|ous to those who sue, or are sued, in the said courts; and to provide for the more decent mainte|nance of the judges of the same."

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