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constitution declares, that to suspend a law, or the execution of a law, by royal authority, and without consent of parliament, is felony; in defiance of which, ihis law has been suspended,-has been openly resisted,--but did I say resisted? Your delegates are insulted, their houses are pillaged; even iheir persons are not secure from violence; and, as is to provoke your patience, you are mocked and braved under the mouths of your artillery. Your ears are assailed from every quarter, with protestations that obedience cannot, shall not, ought not, to be rendered to your decrees. Perhaps other ministers, more old fashioned, would bave thought it their duty, in such a case, to lend the law the aid of force ; thus maintaining the dignity of the crown and the authority of your deliberations. But those young gentlemen who sit on the opposite benches, and no one knows how, look upon these principles as the antiquated maxims of our simple ancestors, and disdain to honor with their attention mere acts of riot, sedition, and open resistance. With a patience truly exemplary, they recommend to the governors lenity and moderation ; they grant them permission to call in the aid of three or four soldiers from general Gage, and as many cock-boats from lord Colvil; they commend them for not having employed, to carry the law into effect, the means which had been placed in their hands.
. Be prepared to see that the seditious are in the right, and that we only are in fault; such, assuredly, is the opinion of the ministers. And who could doubt it? They have declared it themselves, they incessantly repeat it, in your presence. It is but too apparent that, much against their will, they have at length laid before you the disorders and audacious enormities of the Americans ; for they began in July, and now we are in the middle of January ; lately, they were only occurrences—they are now grown to disturbances, tumults and riots. I doubt they border on open rebellion; and if the doctrine I have heard this day be confirmed, I fear they will lose that name, to take that of revolution. May heaven bless the admirable resignation of our ministers; but I much fear we shall gather no fruits from it of an agreeable relish. Occasion is fleeting, the danger is urgent; and this undisciplinable people, the amiable object of their fond solicitude, of their tender care, are forming leagues, are weaving conspiracies, are preparing to resist the orders of the king and of the parliament. Continue then, ye men of long suffering, to march in the way you have chosen ; even repeal the law; and see how many agents you will find zealous in the discharge of their duty, in executing the laws of the kingdom, in augmenting the revenues and diminishing the burthens of your people; see, also, how many ministers you will find, who, for the public service, will oppose a noble and invincible firmness against the cabals of malignity, against the powerful combination of all private interests, against the clamors of the multitude, and the perversity of faction. In a word, if you would shiver all the springs of government, repeal the law.
I hear it asserted, from every quarter, by these defenders of the colonisis
, that they cannot be taxed by authority of parliainent, because they are not there represented. But if so, why, and by what authority, do you legislate for them at all? If they are represented, they ought to obey all laws of parliament whatsoever, whether of the nature of taxes, or any other whatever. If they are not, they ought neither to submit 10 tax laws nor to any other. And if you believe the colonists ought not to be taxed by authority of parliament, froin defect of representation, how will you maintain that nine tenths of the inhabitants of this kingdom, no better represented than the colonists, ought to submit to your taxation? The Americans have taken a hostile attitude towards ihe mother country; and you would not only forgive their errors, dissemble their outrages, reinit the punishment due, but surrender at discretion, and acknowledge their victory complete! Is this preventing popular commotions? Is this repressing tumults and rebellion ? Is it not rather to foment them, to encourage them to supply fresh fuel to the conflagration ? Let any man, not blinded by the spirit of party, judge and pronounce. I would freely listen to the councils of clemency, I would even consent to the abrogation of the law, if the Americans had requested it in a decent mode ; but their modes are outrages, derision, and the ways of force; pillage, plunder, arms and open resistance to the will of government. It is a thing truly inadmissible, and altogether new, that, at any moment, whenever the fancy may take them, or the the name of a law shall happen to displease them, these men should at once set about starving our manufacturers, and refuse to pay what they owe to the subjects of Great Britain. The officers of the crown, in America, have repeatedly solicited, and earnestly entreated, the ministers, to furnish them with proper means to carry the law into effect; but the latter have disregarded their instances; and, by this negligence, the American tumulis have taken the alarming character we see. And shall we now suffer the ministers to come and allege the effects of their own neglect, to induce us to sacrifice the best interests of this kingdom, the majesty, the power, and even the reputation of the government, to an evil, overgrown indeed, but not past cure, the moment a suitable resolution is demonstrated to bring this infatuated multitude to a sense of duty ? But, again, if the colonists are exempted, by their constitutions, from parliamentary tases, as levies of seamen have been either prohibited or restricted in America, by different acts of parliament, ii follows, of necessity, that they are not bound either to furnish men for the desence of the common country, or money to pay them; and that England alone must support the burthen of the maintainance and protection of these her ungrateful children. If such a partiality should be established, it must be at the hazard of depopulating this kingdom, and of dissolving that original compact upon which all human societies repose.
• But I hear these subtle doctors attempting to inculcate a fantastical distinction between external and internal taxes, as if they were not the same as to the effect, that of taking money from the subjects for the public service. Wherefore, then, these new councils ? When I proposed to tax America, I asked the house if any gentleman would object to the right ? I repeatedly asked it; and no man would attempt to deny it. And tell me when the Americans were emancipated. When they want the protection of this kingdom, they are always very ready to ask it. This protection has always been afforded them in the most full and ample manner; and now they refuse to contribute their mite towards the public expenses. For, let not gentlemen deceive themselves, with regard to the rigor of the tax; it would not suffice even for the necessary expenses of the troops stationed in America; but a peppercorn, in acknowledgment of the right, is of more value than millions without. Yet, notwithstanding the slightness of the tax, and the urgency of our situation, the Americans grow sullen, and instead of concurring in expenses arising from themselves, they renounce your authority, insult your officers, and break out, I might almost say, into open rebellion.
• There has been a time when they would not have proceeded thus; but they are now supported by ministers more American than English. Already, by the artifice of these young gentlemen, inflammatory petitions are handed about, against us, and in their favor. Even within this house, even in this sanctuary of the laws, sedition has found its defenders. Resistance to the laws is applauded, obstinacy encouraged, disobedience extolled, rebellion pronounced a virtue! Oh more than juvenile imprudence! Oh blind ambition of the human mind! But you give a fatal example ; you will soon have ample cause to repent your own work.
And thou, ungrateful people of America, is this the return for the cares and fondness of thy ancient mother? When I bad the honor of serving the crown, while you yourselves were loaded with an enormous debt, you have given bounties on their lumber, on their iron, their hemp, and many other articles. You have relaxed in their favor, the act of navigation, that palladiuin of the British commerce ; and yet I have been abused, in all the public papers, as an enemy to the trade of America. I have been charged with giving orders and instructions to prevent the Spanish trade. I discouraged no trade but what was illicit, what was prohibited by act of parliament.
• But it is meant first to columniate the man, and then destroy his work. Of myself I will speak no inore; and the substance of my decided opinion, upon the subject of our debates, is briefly this ; let the stamp act be maintained ; and let the governors of the American provinces be provided with suitable means to repress disorders, and carry the law into complete effect.'
William Pitt, Venerable for his age, and still more for the services he had rendered his country, rose to answer this discourse ; 'I know not whether 1 ought most to rejoice, that the infirmities which have been wasting, for so long a time, a body already bowed by the weight of years, of late suspending their ordinary violence, should have allowed me, this day, to behold these walls, and to discuss, in the presence of this august assembly, a subject of such high importance, and which so nearly concerns the safety of our country; or to grieve at the rigor of destiny, in contemplating this country, which, within a few years bad arrived at such a pinnacle of splendor and majesty, and become formidable to the universe from the immensity of its power, now wasted by an intestine evil, a prey to civil discords, and madly hastening to the brink of the abyss, into which the united force of the most powerful nations of Europe, struggled in vain to plunge it. Would to heaven that my health had permitted my attendance here, when it was first proposed to tax America ! If my feeble voice should not have been able to avert the torrent of calamities which has fallen upon us, and the tempest which threatens us, at least my testimony would have attested that I had no part in them.
'It is now an act that has passed ; I would speak with decency of every act of this house, but I must beg the indulgence of the house to speak of it with freedom. Assuredly, a more important subject never engaged your attention, that subject only excepted, when, near a century ago, it was the question whether you yourselves were to be bound or free. Those who have spoken before me, with so much vehemence, would maintain the act because our honor demands it. If gentlemen consider the subject in that light, they leave all measures of right and wrong to follow a delusion that may lead to destruction. But can the point of honor stand opposed against justice, against reason, against right? Wherein can honor better consist than in doing reasonable things ? It is my opinion that England has no right to tax the colonies. At the same time, I assert the authority of this kingdom over the colonies to be sovereign and supreme, in every circumstance of government and legislation whatsoever. The colopists are the subjects of this kingdom, equally entitled with yourselves to all the natural rights of mankind, and the peculiar privi. leges of Englishmen. Equally bound by its laws, and equally participating of the constitution of this free country. The Americans are the sons, not the bastards, of England. Taxation is no part of the governing or legislative power. The taxes are a voluntary gist and grant of the commons alone. In legislation, the three estates of the realm are alike concerned; but the concurrence of the peers and the crown to a tax, is only necessary to close with the form of a law. The gift and grant is of the commons alone; now this house represents the commons, as they virtually represent the rest of the inhabitants; when, therefore in this house, we give and grant, we give and grant
what is our own. But in an American tax, what do we do? We, your majesty's commons of Great Britain, give and grant to your majesty, what? Our own property ? No. We give and grant to your majesty, the property of your commons of America. It is an absurdity in terms. It was just now affirmed, that no difference exists between internal and external taxes, and that taxation is an essential part of legislation. Are not the crown and the peers equally legislative powers with the commons? If taxation be a part of simple legislation, the crown, the peers, have rights in taxation as well as yourselves; rights which they will claim, which they will exercise, whenever the principal can be supported by power.
• There is an idea in some, that the Americans are virtually represented in this house ; but I would fain know by what province, county, city, or borough, they are represented here ? No doubt by some province, county, city, or borough, never seen or known by them or their ancestors, and which they never will see or know.
"The commons of America, represented in their several assemblies, have ever been in possession of the exercise of this, their constitutional right, of giving and granting their own money. They would have been slaves if they had not enjoyed it.
'I come not here armed at all points, with law cases, and acts of parliament, with the statute book doubled down in dog's ears, as my valiant adversary has done. But I know, at least, if we are to take example from ancient facts, that, even under the most arbitrary reigns, parliaments were ashamed of taxing a people without their consent, and allowed them representatives; and in our own times, even those who send no members to parliament, are all at least inhabitants of Great Britain. Many have it in their option to be actually represented. They have connexions with those that elect, and they have induence over them. Would to heaven that all were better represented than they are! It is the vice of our constitution ; perhaps the day will arrive, and I rejoice in the hope, when the mode of representation, this essential part of our civil organisation, and principal safeguard of our liberry, will be carried to that perfection, which every good Englishman must desire.
'It has been asked, when were the Americans emancipated ? But I desire to know when they were made slaves ?
It is said, that in this bouse the signal of resistance bas been given, that the standard of rebellion has been erected; and thus it is attempted to stigmatise the fairest prerogative of British senators, that of speaking what they think, and freely discussing the interests of their country. They have spoken their sentiments with freedom, against this unhappy act; they have foreseen, they have predicted the perils that impend; and this frankness is imputed as a crime. Sorry I am to observe, that we can no longer express our opinions in this house, without being exposed to censure; we must prepare for