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had almot forgot, in their excess of gratitude for the repeal of the stamp act, any interest but that of the mother country; there seemed an emulation among the different provinces who should be most dutiful and forward in their expressions of loyalty to their real benefactor; as you will readily perceive by the following letter from governour Bernard to a noble lord then in office.
“ The house of representatives," says he, “ from the time of opening the session to this day, has shown a disposition to avoid all dispute with me; every thing having passed with as much good humour as I could desire. They have acted, in all things, with temper and moderation; they have avoided some subjects of dispute, and have laid a foundation for removing some causes of former altercation.”
This, my lords, was the temper of the Americans ; and would have continued so, had it not been interrupted by your fruitless endeavours to tax them without their consent: but the moment they perceived your intention was renewed to tax them, under a pretence of serving the East India company, their resentment got the ascendant of their moderation, and hurried them into actions contrary to law, which, in their cooler hours, they would have thought on with horrour: for I sincerely believe, the destroying of the tea was the effect of despair.
But, my lords, from the complexion of the whole of the proceedings, I think that administration has purposely irritated them into those late violent acts, for which they now so severely smart; purposely to be revenged on them for the victory they gained by the repeal of the stamp act: a measure to which they seemingly acquiesced; but at the bottom they were its real enemies. For what other motive could induce them to dress taxation, that father of American sedition in the robes of an East India director, but to break in upon that mutual peace and harmony, which then so happily subsisted between them and the mo
My lords, I am an old man, and would advise the noble lords in office to adopt a more gentle mode of governing America; for the day is not far distant, when America may vie with these kingdoms, not only in arms, but in arts also. It is an established fact, that the principal towns in America are learned and polite, and understand the constitution of the empire as well as the noble lords who are now in of fice; and, consequently, they will have a watchful eye over their liberties, to prevent the least encroach. ment on their hereditary rights.
This observation is so recently exemplified in an excellent pamphlet, which comes from the pen of an American gentleman, that I shall take the liberty of reading to your lordships his thoughts on the competency of the British parliament to tax America, which, in my opinion, puts this interesting matter in the clearest view.
“ The high court of parliament,” says he, " is the supreme legislative power over the whole empire ; in all free states the constitution is fixed; and as the supreme legislature derives its power and authority from the constitution, it cannot overleap the bounds of it, without destroying its own foundation. The consti. tution ascertains and limits both sovereignty and alle. giance; and therefore his majesty's American subjects, who acknowledged themselves bound by the ties of allegiance, have an equitable claim to the full enjoyment of the fundamental rules of the English constitution; and that it is an essential, unalterable right in nature, ingrafted into the British constitution as a fundamental law, and ever held sacred and irrevocable by the subjects within this realm, that what a man has honestly acquired, is absolutely his own; which he may freely give, but which cannot be taken from him without his consent."
This, my lords, though no new doctrine, has al. ways been my received and unalterable opinion, and I will carry it to my grave, that this country had no right under Heaven to tax America.
It is contrary to all the principles of justice and civil polity, which
neither the exigencies of the state, nor even an acqui. escence in the taxes, could justify upon any occasion whatever. Such proceedings will never meet their wished for success; and, instead of adding to their miseries, as the bill now before you most undoubtedly does, adopt some lenient measures, which may lure them to their duty; proceed like a kind and affectionate parent over a child whom he tenderly loves; and, instead of those harslı and severe proceedings, pass an amnesty on all their youthful errours ; clasp them once more in your fond and affectionate arms; and I will venture to affirm you will find them children worthy of their sire. But should their turbulence exist after your proffered terms of forgiveness, which I hope and expect this house will immediately adopt, I will be among the foremost of your lordships to move for such measures as will effectually prevent a future relapse, and make them feel what it is to provoke a fond and forgiving parent! a parent, my lords, whose welfare has ever been my greatest and most pleasing consolation.
This declaration may seem unnecessary; but I will venture to declare, the
period is not far distant, when she will want the assistance of her most distant friends: but should the all disposing hand of Providence prevent me from affording her my poor assistance, my prayers shall be ever for her welfare-Length of days be in her right hand, and in her left riches and honour;
*; may her ways be the ways of pleasantness, and all her paths be peace !
LORD CHATHAM'S SPEECH
IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, JANUARY 20th 1775. ON A MO.
TION FOR AN ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY, TO GIVE IMMEDIATE ORDERS FOR REŇOVING HIS TROOPS FROM BOSTON FORTHWITH, IN ORDER TO QUIET THE MINDS AND TAKE AWAY THE APPREHENSIONS OF HIS GOOD SUBJECTS IN AMERICA
LORD Dartmouth, the secretary of state for the colonial department, laid before the house of lords a variety of papers relating to American affairs at the opening of parliament, on the 20th of January 1775.
Convinced, by the contents of these documents, that it was not too late to renew a conciliatory policy with the colonies, lord Chatham moved on the same day, an address to his majesty, praying the removal of the troops from Boston, as a primary step towards the restoration of harmony, and the cementing of a permanent attachment.
It being previously understood, notwithstanding the infirmities of his health, and the little respect for a long time paid by ministry to his sentiments, that he would on this important occasion leave his retirement, to lend another effort to save that empire which, recently, under his auspices had reached such consummate glory, the house, at an early hour, was filled by an uncommonly numerous attendance of members, and the bar below, with an anxious and admiring au
When he arose to speak, observes a describer of the scene, all was silence and profound attention. Animated, and almost inspired by his subject, he seemed to feel his own unrivalled superiority. His