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places, political circles and clubs were formed; the subjectof all conversations was the fatal tax. Every day, every hour, diminished the respect and affection of the Americans towards the British nation, and increased their disposition to resist. As it happens in all popular commotions, be that declaimed with the most vehemence was the most applauded, and deemed the best citizen. The benefits conferred by the mother country, during so long a period, were consigned to oblivion; and it had become as frequent as it was grateful to the people, to read the list of British vexations. These outrages were represented in the most odious colors by the orators of the multitude, whose minds were continually exasperated by similar harangues. The assemblies of representatives, and particularly those of Massachusetts and Virginia, despatched instructions to their agents in London, to use all diligence, by all possible means, to prevent the intentional act from being passed into a law.
They also addressed remonstrances to the king, and to the two houses of parliament, all tending to the same end. But those of the province of Massachusetts were the most energetic and vehement. This province was particularly distinguished, for the warmth with which it had opposed the new and pernicious direction which the ministers bad for some time given to American affairs. The colonists acquired a still more determined resolution, when they learned, that in the present contest they were not abandoned to themselves, but that many were found in the mother country itself, even persons illustrious by their rank, their merit, or their dignities, who, from conviction, from the desire of renown, or from a wish to supplant the ministers, were continually exclaiming, both in parliament and elsewhere, that. Such was not the accustomed mode of conduct of the English government towards its subjects; that it was a new tyranny, which, is tolerated, would one day rebound from the shores of America upon those of England ; the evil should be resisted in its principles; that governments in prosperity were but too much disposed to arrogate an extension of power; there was much appearance that the government of Great Britain inclined to imitate this usurpation ; that it was therefore essential to watch it with attention; the desires and the arts. of Scottish favorites were sufficiently notorious ; that America was the means or the instrument, but England the object. And what occasion was there for these new imposts ? To protect and defend America, or the conquered territories? Was it to repress the Indian tribes? The colonists, with their light arms, and divided into detachments, were more proper
for this service than the heavy English infantry. The Americans had all the courage requisite to defend themselves, and to succour, if necessary, the advanced posts: they had given the proof of this, on numerous occasions. There no longer existed a powerful enemy upon the American continent : whence, therefore, these continual
apprehensions of an attack, when the vestige of an enemy is no where to be seen ? And what necessity was there for maintaining an army in America, the expense of which must be extorted from the Americans ? Precious fruits, truly, had already been gathered from this military parade ! the minds of the colonists exasperated, affection converted into hatred, loyalty into a desire of innovation. In other times, had not the ministers obtained from the colonies, by legitimate means, and without such a display of troops, according to the exigency, all the succours at their disposal? Since they had been thought able to furnish subsidies to the mother country, they had never been demanded, except in the mode of requisitions on the part of the crown, addressed by the governors to the different assemblies. By adhering to this mode, the same subsidies might be obtained, without giving offence, and without danger of revolt. But they would exact a servile obedience, in order to introduce, in due time, into the very bosom of the kingdom, the principles and government of the Stuarts! Too certain indications had been remarked of this, the day George Grenville ventured to produce bis project of a bill to authorise officers in the colonies to quarter their soldiers in the houses of the citizens ; a thing expressly calculated to strike the people with terrror, to degrade them by permitting themselves to be trampled upon, and thus prepare them to receive the intended taxes with submission. The murmurs which had arisen, from every quarter, against so shocking an enormity, had indeed alarmed the minister; but it was time to act more vigorously; for it was the duty of every good citizen to oppose these first attempts.
But the ministers were not to be diverted from their plan ; either because they were encouraged by the favorites concealed behind them, or from personal obstinacy, or because they believed, in defiance of all demonstration to the contrary, that the Americans would be intimidated by the confusion and dangerous uncertainty which would prevail in all their affairs, if, in their civil and commercial transactions, they did not make use of stamped paper, and thus pay the duty established. Hence the ministers were often heard to say, that the measure proposed should be a law which would execute itself. The memorials, the remonstrances, the petitions, the resolutions, of the American provinces, were rejected. The bill for imposing a stamp duty was therefore submitted to parliament, in its session of 1765. It is easy to imagine with what animation it was discussed. It may be doubted whether upon any other occasion, either in times past or present, there has been displayed more vigor or acuteness of intellect, more love of country, or spirit of party, or greater splendor of eloquence, than in these debates. Nor was the shock or opinions less violent, without the walls of Westminster. All Europe, it may be said, and especially the commercial countries, were attentive to the progress, and to the decision, of this important question.
The members of parliament who opposed the bill, discovered great energy. They cited the authority of the most celebrated political writers, such as Locke, Selden, Harrington, and Puffendorff, who establish it as an axiom, that the very foundation, and ultimate point in view, of all governments, is the good of society. Then, retracing their national history, they alleged ;
• That it resulted from Magna Charta, and from all the writs of those times relative to the imposition of taxes for the benefit of the crown, and to the sending of representatives to parliament, as well as from the Declaration of Rights, and the whole history of the English constitution, that no English subject can be taxed, except, in their own phrase, ' per communem consensum parliamenti,' that is, by his own consent, or that of his representatives; that such was the original and general right, which the inhabitants of the colonies, as English subjects, carried with them, when they left their native land, to establish themselves in these distant countries; that therefore it must not be imagined their rights were derived from charters, which were granted them merely to regulate the external form of the constitution of the colonies; but that the great interior foundation of their constitution was this general right of the British subject, which is the first principle of British liberty,—that is, that no man shall be taxed, but by himself, or by his representative.
• The counties palatine of Chester, Durham and Lancaster,' added these orators, and the marches of Wales, were not taxed, except in their own assemblies or parliaments, until, at different times, they were called to participate in the national representation.
• The clergy, until the late period, when they were admitted to a share in the general representation, always taxed themselves, and. granted the king what they called benevolences, or free gifts.
* There are some, who, extending the power of parliament beyond all limits, affect to believe that this body can do every thing, and is invested with all rights; but this is not supported, and though true, could only be so in violation of the constitution ; for then there would exist in parliament, as might occur in the instance of a single individual, an arbitrary power. But the fact is, that many things are not within the power of parliament. It cannot, for example, make itself executive; it cannot dispose of the offices that belong to the crown; it cannot take the property of any man, not even in cases of enclosures, without his being heard. The Lords cannot reject a money bill, passed by the commons; nor the commons erect themselves into a court of justice ; neither can the parliament of England tax Ireland.
It is the birthright of the colonists, as descendants of Englishmen, not to be taxed by any but their own representatives; and so far from being represented in the parliament of Great Britain, they are not even virtually represented here, as the meanest inhabitants
of Great Britain are, in consequence of their intimate connexion with those who are actually represented.
* And if laws made by the British parliament to tax all except its own members, or even all except such members and those actually represented by them, would be deemed tyrannical, how much more tyrannical and unconstitutional must not such laws appear to those who cannot be said to be either actually or virtually represented !
“The people of Ireland are much more virtually represented in the parliament of Great Britain than the colonists, in consequence of the great number of Englishmen possessed of estates and places of trust and profit in Ireland, and their immediate descendants settled in that country, and of the great number of Irish noblemen and gentlemen in both houses of the British parliament, and the greater numbers still constantly residing in Great Britain. But, notwithstanding this, the British parliament has never claimed any right to tax the people of Ireland.
• The first founders of the colonies were not only driven out of the mother country by persecution, but they left it at their own risk and expense. Being thus forsaken, if not worse treated, all ties, except those common to mankind, were dissolved between them. They absolved from all duty of obedience to her, as she dispensed herself from all duty of protection to them.
• If they accepted of any royal charters on the occasion, it was done through mere necessity; and, as this necessity was not of their own making, their charters cannot be binding upon them; and even allowing these charters to be binding, they are only bound thereby to that allegiance which the supreme head of the realm may claim indiscriminately from all its subjects.
'It is extremely absurd to affirm that the Americans owe any submission to the legislative power of Great Britain, which had not authority enough to shield them against the violences of the executive; and more absurd still, to say that the people of Great Britain can exercise over them rights which that very people affirm they might justly oppose, if claimed over themselves by others ?
• The English people combated long, and shed much blood, with a view of recovering those rights which the crown, it was believed, had usurped over then selves; and how can they now, without becoming guilty of the same usurpation, pretend to exercise these rights over others ?
But, admitting that, by the charters granted to the Americans at the time of their emigration, and by them from necessity accepted, they are bound to make no laws but such as, allowing for the difference of circumstances, shall not clash with those of England, this no more subjects them to the parliament of England, than their having been laid under the same restraint with respect to the laws of Scotland, or any other country, would have subjected them to the parlia
ment of Scotland, or the supreme authority of this other country; since, by these charters, they have a right to tax themselves, for their own support and defence.
• Whatever assistance the people of Great Britain may have given to the people of the colonies, it must have been given either from motives of humanity and fraternal affection, or with a view of being one day repaid for it, and not as the price of their liberty; at least the colonies can never be presumed to have accepted it in that light. If it was given from motives of humanity and fraternal affection, as the people of the colonies have never given the mother country any room to complain of them, so they never will. If, finally, it was given with a view of being one day repaid for it, the colonists are willing to coine to a fair account, which, allowing for the assistance they themselves have often given the mother country, for what they must have lost, and the mother country must have gained, by preventing their selling to others at higher prices than they could sell to her, and their buying from others at lower prices than they could buy from her, would, they apprehend, not turn out so much to her advantage as she imagines.'
• Their having heretofore submitted to laws made by the British parliament, for their internal goveroment, can no more be brought as a precedent against them, than against the English themselves their tameness under the dictates of a Henry, or the rod of a Star Chamber; the tyranny of many being as grievous to human nature as that of a few, and the tyranny of a few as that of a single person.
If liberty is the due of those who have sense enough to know the value of it, and courage enough to expose themselves to every danger and fatigue to acquire it, the American colonists are better entitled to possess it than even their brethren of Great Britain ; since they not only renounced their native soil, the love of which is so congenial with the human mind, and all those tender charities inseparable from it, but exposed themselves to all the risks and hardships unavoidable in a long voyage ; and, after escaping the danger of being swallowed up by the waves, encountered, upon those uninhabited and barbarous shores, the more cruel danger of perishing by a slow famine ; which having combated, and surmounted, with infinite patience and constancy, they have, as if by a miracle of Divine Providence, at length arrived at this vigorous and prosperous state, so eminently profitable to those from whom they derive their original.
'If, in the first years of their existence, some of the colonists discovered a turbulent humor, and all were exposed to the incursions of the neighboring tribes, a savage and hostile race, which condition required the interposition and assistance of the British parliament, they have now arrived to such a degree of maturity, in point of polity and strength, as no longer to need such interposition for the future; and therefore, since the proportions are changed which existed beVOL. J.