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The sum of Burke's reasoning, from his complete history, is this: · By your old mode of treating the colonies, they were well affected to you, and you derived from tliem immense and rapidly increasing ada vantage: by your new mode they are ill-affected to you; you have obstructed and prevented the emolument. I recommend to you to return from the measures by which you now lose, to those by which you for.. merly gained.'
"I do not examine, whetlicr the giving away a man's money be a power excepted and reserved out of the general trust of government; and how far all mankind, in all forms of polity, are entitled to an exercise of that right by the charter of nature. Or whether, on the contrary, a right of taxation is necessarily involved in the general principle of legislation, and inseparable from the ordinary supreme power. These are deep questions, where great names militate against each other; where reason is perplexed; and an appeal to authorities only
thickens the confusion. For high and reverend authorities lift up their heads on both sides ; and there is no sure footing in thie middle. This point is the great Serborian bog, betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, where armies whole have sunk. I do not intend to be overwhelmed in that bog, though in such respectable company. The question with me is, not whether you have a right to render your people miserable; but whether it is not your interest to make them happy? It is not what a lawyer tells me, I may do ; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me, I ought to do.'
In many of Burke's speeches imagination occupies a great share; passion in not a few. This is the speech of calm wisdom, drawing from the most extensive information the most salutary conclusions, and recommending the most beneficial conduct. From the speech on American taxation, combined with this, a reader may derive more acquaintance with the history and impolicy of our contest with America, than from any
other publication ; he will see the facts and the reasonings in close connection, so as to form one great chain.
This oration, that on taxing America, and indeed every production of Burke, shew the absurdity of the opinion of the author of the Memoirs, that Burke seldom spoke to the understanding. His discourses and writings convey more of united information and instruction than are to be found in those of any orator or statesman whose speeches have been published. There are, no doubt, orators whose orations are directed as closely to the point at issue ; bụt where are there any which exhibit such a multiplicity of knowledge, and so profound' acquaintance with human nature, intellectual, moral, religious, social, civil, and political ? From what senator's speeches can there be formed such a system of wise and practical ethics as may be deduced from his? I may be wrong in this opinion; but until it be proved that there have been or are speeches containing equally extensive and multiform
knowledge ; equally profound philosophy ; equally momentous and beneficial instruction, I am justified in concluding myself to be in the right. I have perused the orations of Cicero, of Demosthenes, of Fox, of both the Pitts, Mansfield, and other eminent orators; and though I think that each of them is equal to Burke in several constituents of eloquence, yet none of them, extraordinary as each of them is for genius and oratorical powers, communicate to the reader and hearer so great a quantity of new and important, particular and general truths,
From the ternts in which Burke speaks of the principles of the dissenters and the American spirit of liberty, it has been asserted that lie was more favourable to dissenters than to the church, and had conceived republican ideas of freedom. This opinion (if it be really an opinion, and not merely pretended to be so, in order to charge himn with inconsistency) is maintained on passages taken from this speech more than on any other grounds. But if we impartially examine what he says of both the spirit of religion and liberty among the Americans, we find that he does not PRAISE either : he only states their existence, and describes their effects. They were very powerful moral causes of the repugnance of the Americans to submit to British legislation. It is on that account that he shews their nature and operation. He does not represent them as objects of approbation, but as motives to a certain conduct. He does not say the principles of the dissenters are better than those of the church, or the republican spirit of American freedom is more agreeable to the rights of man than the more moderate spirit of English freedom: he says the dissenters of America are inspired with a strong spirit of liberty, which, with other causes, render them unyielding to British authority. The difficulty of coercing men so inspired is great, and, with their physical advantages, probably unsurmountable ; or if surmountable, with an expence and