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capable of seats in this house. This scheme was adopted with very 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 resolved on, a revenue was to be found to support so great a burthen."
After a remark on the artifice with which CHARLES TOWNSHEND, then pay-master of the forces, cajoled the country gentlemen, by playing before their eyes the image of a revenue to be raised in America, he adds, "Here began to dawn the first glimmerings of this new colony system. It appeared more distinctly afterwards, when it was devolved upon a person [GEORGE GrenVILLE] 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 total circuit of our affairs. He generally considered his objects in lights that were rather too detached. No man can believe that at this time of day I mean to lean on the venerable memory of a great man, whose loss we deplore in common. Our little party differences have long ago been composed; and I have acted more with him, and certainly 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, except in such things as some way related to the business that was to be done within it. If he was ambitious, 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 gradations of public service; and to secure to himself a well earned rank in parliament by a thorough knowledge of its conftitution, and a perfect practice in all its business. 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 character, 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 liberalize the mind exactly in the same proportion. 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. Much knowledge is to be had undoubtedly in that line; and there is no knowledge that is not valuable. But it may be truly said, that men too much conversant in office are rarely minds of remarkable 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 persons 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, that a far more extensive comprehension
of things is requisite 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 deserves. 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 principle, and is not changed and modified according to the change of times and fluctuation of circumstances, it must do great mischief, and frequently even defeat its own purpose. "After the war," says he, "and in the last years of it, the trade of America had increased beyond the speculations of the most sanguine imaginations. It 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 greatness not to be exact; and great trade will always be attended with considerable abuses. The contraband will always keep pace in some measure with the fair trade. It should stand as a fundamental maxim, that no vulgar precaution ought to be employed in the cure of the evils, which are closely connected with the cause of our prosperity. Perhaps this great person turned his eye 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 this time from this over-earnest zeal. Much greater happened afterwards, when it operated with greater powers in the highest department of the finances. The bonds of the act of navigation were straightened so much, that America was on the point of having no trade, either contraband, or legitimate, They found, under the construction and execution then used, the act no longer tying, but actually strangling them. In consequence of Mr. GRENVILLE's prohibitions, which were for some time enforced by the naval officers with the utmost severity, not only all the contraband, but the fair and lawful trade of the Americans was threatened with irretrievable ruin. Other circumstances, the appointments of courts of admiralty, the extinction of the paper currencies, and a compulsory provision for the quartering of soldiers concurred with those checks on the coasting and maritime trade to make the people of America think themselves proceeded against as delinquents, or at best as people under suspicion of delinquency."
But the grand manoeuvre, as Mr. BURKE well observes, was the fifteenth act of the fourth of GEORGE the Third; which opened a new principle, and may be properly said to begin the second period of the policy of this country with regard to the colonies. The scheme of a regular plantation parliamentary revenue was then adopt. ed in theory, and settled in practice-a revenue, not substituted
substituted in the place of, but superadded to a monopoly. "This act, Sir," continues Mr. Burke, " had for the first time the title of granting duties in the colonies and plantations of America: and for the 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 granting: 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 neceffity of taxing the colonies, without any formal consent of theirs: Sir, it has been said in the debate, that when the first American revenue act 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."
Mr. BURKE then takes notice of some pretences which had been urged in justification of Mr. GRENVILLE'S Conduct towards the colonies. It was said, that he had given their agents an option for their assemblies to tax themselves, which they had refused. Mr. BURKE endeavours to prove that this was neither true nor possible. He observes, first, that Mr. GRENVILLE had never thought fit to make such an apology for himself, in the innumerable debates on the subject. That gentleman might have proposed to the colony agents, that they should agree in some mode of taxation, as the ground of an act of parliament. But he never could have proposed that they should tax themselves on requisition: he well knew that the colony agents could have no general powers to con