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against which opposition was fast rising to revolutionary heat, he met by steady labour in the interests of peace. The Stamp Act was repealed, and Parliament satisfied itself with the assertion of imperial right to tax. Assert by all means, argued Burke, your right to tax the colonies directly for imperial revenue. If you take care never to exercise the right, it will be undis ted. Be taught by the experience that shows the peril of enforcing such a right.
The Rockingham Ministry was followed in July, 1766 by that of the elder Pitt, who took only a small office in his own Ministry, and with it a peerage as Earl of Chatham. The Duke of Grafton took the place at the head of the Treasury vacated by Lord Rockingham, and the Ministry included men who would be foremost in enforcing rights of taxation against the colonists.
American opposition was disarmed by the repeal of the Stamp Act; statues were voted to Pitt and to the king; removal of the active cause of irritation brought back the old spirit of loyalty ; while at home the Parliament of 1767 was reversing all the policy of peace. It created a Board of Revenue Commissioners for America; it passed a Tea Act that imposed duties on teas and other imports into the colonies, as means of providing for payment of troops and for the salaries of royal governors and judges; it also declared the New York Assembly incapable of legislation until it had assented to the Quartering Act of 1675. In 1768 the ordering of British troops into Boston, to control the public feeling excited by this policy of coercion, led to the gathering of a convention from all Massachusetts, that urged in vain upon the governor the summoning of the Legislature. In 1769 a new Act of Parliament directed that all cases of treason in the colonies should be tried in the mother country. This drew from Washington the declaration that no man should scruple or hesitate a moment to use arms in defence of freedom. “ Yet arms, I would beg leave to add, should be the last resource.'
In 1770 the Assembly of Virginia endeavoured to lay restrica tions on the slave-trade; but the royal governor was at once directed by the Ministry at home to consent to no laws affecting the interests of the slave-dealers. Attempts of other
colonies in the same direction were met in the same way. By 1773 the irritation of the colonists had been urged so far that three ships in the port of Boston bringing cargoes of tea upon which duty was to be raised, were boarded and their tea thrown into the dock.
The Duke of Grafton's Ministry had been succeeded by that of Lord North, who ruled as agent for the king, and during th? whole of his disastrous Ministry, from 1770 to 1782, the country suffered from that interference of the king and the king's friends which Burke condemned in 1773 in his Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents.
In 1774, at a meeting of the county of Fairfax, with George Washington in the chair, it was resolved “that during our present difficulties and distress no slaves ought to be imported into any of the British colonies on this continent; and we take this opportunity of declaring our most earnest wishes to see an entire stop forever put to such wicked, cruel, and unnatural trade.”
The Government at home met opposition by enactments that virtually deprived Massachusetts of its charter, and placed it under strict British rule. Virginia voted in May, 1774 that an attack upon one colony was an attack upon all British America, and recommended a General Congress, which first met as the Continental Congress at Philadelphia on the 5th of September, 1774. On the 20th of October it signed the agreement that established the American Association. On the day of the separation of this Congress, October 26th, the Congress of Massachusetts organized its inilitia, and began to prepare for the alternative of forcible resistance. Other colonies followed the example.
In the month of the first meeting of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia there was a general election in England, swayed by strong feeling against the colonists, and a large majority was returned of members pledged to a policy of coercion. Burke entered that Parliament as member for Bristol, then the second town in the kingdom; and on the 22nd of March, 1775 he laid before the House of Commons thirteen resolutions for reconcilement with America, and made the greatest of all his speeches, that on Conciliation with American
GOLDWIN SMITH'S HISTORICAL SUMMARY.
The United States, pp. 67-71.
It is needless and would be painful to recount to English-
other duties were repealed, pride and obstinacy retained the tea duty as a proof of power ; how strife again broke out, and ended only with the destruction of the unity of the British race. Nor would it be profitable to rehearse arguments which were mostly in the air, though they had too practical an influence on the conduct of statesmen and of political assemblies. A sovereign power there inust have been soinewhere. Where could it be but in the colonists just acquiesced
min hal Parliament ? Had not the
an act declaring the power of Parliament to bind them in all cases ? Out of the jurisdiction of Parliament they could not pretend to be, since they had submitted to laws made by Parliament respecting navigation, trade, naturalization, and other imperial matters, not to mention the Habeas Corpus Act, or the common law which was recognized in the colonies, and must have had for its basis the legislative supremacy of the Pa ment of Great Britain. That there was an essential difference between internal and external taxation, as Chatham in the interest of peace and unity contended, few will now maintain. The sovereign power must include the power of taxation, and taxation is but an exercise of the legislative power in the form of a law enacting that the impost shall be paid. We rely for our judgment respecting these questions mainly on Burke. But Burke, though of all rhetoricians the most philosophic, was still a rhetorician, and presented only one side of a case. Of this his essay on the French Revolution is the memorable and disastrous proof. Though he goes deep into everything he seldom goes to the bottom. You cannot extract from him any definite theory of the colonial relation, of the authority which an imperial country was entitled really to exercise over colonial de. pendencies, or of the use of such dependencies if authority really to be exercised there was none. Was Great Britain bound to defend the colonies, and were the colonies not bound, unless they chose, to contribute to the defence? Was each colonial legislature in the case of a peril calling for common effort to be at liberty to renounce its share of the burden ? It is said that if England had then done by the American colonies as she has since done by her other colonies, the result would have been equally happy. The result is that she bears
the whole burden of imperial defence and all other expenses of
email for a horseshoe ? Wisdom
he was, the
was independent, and of less than no use politically when
At the same time we must recognize the natural sentiment of