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ing justice at the same time to the great qualities, whence that authority arose. The subject is instructive to those who wish to form themselves on whatever of excel. lence has gone before them.
There are many young members in the House (such of late has been the rapid 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 favorite habitation, in her chosen temple, the House of Commons. Besides the characters of the indi. viduals that compose our body, it is impossible not to observe, that this House has a collective character of its
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 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 mischief. It happens however very unfortunately, that almost the whole line of the great and masculine virtues, constancy, gravity, magnanimity, fortitude, 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 cer
tainly 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 asto Things and the disposition of men's minds were changed. In short, the stamp act began to be no favorite in this House. He therefore attended at the private meeting, in which the resolutions moved by a right honorable gentleman, Egeneral CONWAY] 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," continues Mr. Burke, “ as the fashion of this world passeth away, the repeal began to be in as bad an odor 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 mostly 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 engagements by some who had no objection to such experiments, when made at the cost of persons for whom they had no particular regard. The whole body of courtiers drove him onward. They always talked as if the king stood in a 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 revenues, he made a preamble stating the necesisty of such 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 satisfy 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 American contraband, the duty on tea was reduced from a shilling to three pence. But to secure the favor 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
I had the usual fate of all exquisite 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 considerable in this House by one method alone. They were a race of men (I hope in God the species is extinct) 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 order 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 uncer
tainty, now the hear-hims rose from this side—now they rebellowed from the other; and that party, to whom at length they fell 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 de. light in the clouds of it, which daily rose about him from the prodigal superstition of his innumerable admirer3. He was a candidate for contradictory honors; and his great aim 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, repealed it to please others, and again revived it in hopes of pleasing a third, and of catching something in the ideas of all.”
Having taken so comprehensive a view of the changes of system adopted by different ministers from the stamp aet in 1764 to the revenue act of 1767, which Mr. BURKE calls the fourth period of American policy, he declines going into the like details on the subject of lord NORTH's measures; but describes them in general terms as extremely weak, absurd, and inconsistent. 66 How have we fared since then,” he says: “ What woeful
6 variety of schemes have been adopted ? what enforcing, and what repealing ? what bullying, and what submitting? what doing and undoing? what straining and what relaxing? what assemblies dissolved for not obeying, and called again without obedience? what troops sent out to quell resistance, and on meeting that resistance recalled? what shiftiness, and changes, and jumblings of all kinds of men at home, which left no possibility of order, consistency, vigor, or even so much as a de
cent unity of color in any one public measure? It is a tedious, irksome task. My duty may call me to open
it out some other time for the present I shall forbear.” But he takes care to remind the House of the result of all these agitations, and then gives his opinions on the questions before them. " You have,” says he,
an act of parliament stating, that it is expedient to raise a revenue in America. By a partial repeal you annihilated the greatest part of that revenue, which this preamble declares to be so expedient. 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 repealed. The tax which lingers after its companions (under a preamble declaring an American revenue expedient, and for the sole purpose of supporting the theory of that preamble) militates with the assurance authentically conveyed to the colonies ; and is an exhaustless source of jealousy, and animosity. On this state, which I take to be a fair one, not being able to discover any grounds of honor, advana tage, 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.”
The House was much amused with these ingenious representations ; but Mr. FULLER's motion was negatived by a majority of 184 to 51.
On the 20th of January 1775, the plan of absolute coercion being resolved upon by the ministry, lord Dartmouth, the secretary of state for America, laid before the Peers the official papers belonging to his department, when lord CHATHAM, though sinking under bodily infirmitie, made the following powerful effort before the