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rested the security of property from arbitrary invasion : a security which constituted one of the most striking differences between Britain and absolute governments. He demonstrated the impracticability of the American subjects of Britain enjoying this privilege by representation in Parliament, on account of the immense distance; and, therefore, that to be on an equal footing with other British subjects, they should be taxed by their own assemblies. Edward, one of the wisest and most vigorous sovereigns that ever sate upon the throne of England, had, on a dispute about taxation breaking out between him and his people, agreed to this law rather than continue the contest, so hurtful to both parties. In describing the character of Edward, he drew the line between the firmness of wisdom and the obstinacy of folly. - Wisdom pursued her ends no longer than she found them to be attainable and salutary. Folly, unable to distinguish, and filled with conceit, often 'continued to seek objects, merely because
she had once done so.' Burke proposed a bill, in the spirit of that famous statute, to renounce the future exercise of taxation, without discussing the abstract question of right, to repeal all the laws complained of by the colonies, and to pass an immediate amnesty. From the petition of the Congress, the evidence of Mr. Penn, and many others, he inferred, that the bill would satisfy America. The speech was esteemed by both parties a most finished piece of eloquence; and, as well as the two other orations, and indeed most of the writings of Burke, shewed the ignorance and folly of those who assert, that Burke rarely speaks to the understanding, and chiefly to the imagination. It embraced every consideration of justice and expediency, dehortatory of war and recommendatory of peace. The views of Burke, on both the right and the prudence of the proceedings of Government, from the commencement of the contest to this last effort to prevent children and parents embruing their hands in the blood of each other, had been the same. . It is impolitic to provoke to a separation from the mother-country colonies which contribute so largely to its wealth and prosperity. It is inconsistent with the constitution of Britain that any subject should be taxed but by himself or his representatives. Such, from a concurrence of causes, is the disposition of the Americans, that they will resist whatever they conceive to be oppression. If recourse be had to the sword, the conquest of America, at such a distance, in a country so intersected by rivers, entangled by woods, and fortified by mountains, its inhabitants inspired by the love of liberty, will be difficult, if not impracticable. Should it be at all possible, it must be with an immense effusion of blood and treasure; after America is so exhausted as to be unable to afford any indemnification. Our European rivals will watch the opportunity of intestine dissensions, and we shall be involved in a general war. These were the predictions of wisdom
To whatever subject Burke turned his thoughts, he looked before, behind, and about him:
· Turns on all hands his deep discerning eyes ;
Burke was not a man of ephemerous expedients, but of permanent plans. He not only saw what was actually the case, but what was the cause, and what was or would be the effect. The Minister talked of pacific assurances from foreign powers. The little details of diplomatique intrigue were not the grounds on which Burke formed his conclusions. He viewed human nature, and could from situation infer objects and passion, motive and action. He concluded that an opportunity of humbling a powerful and triumphant rival would not be slipt while such passions as pride and ambition existed... He knew history in detail, but studied it in principle. From considering the conduct
of France in her relations of peace, neutrality, alliance, and war, with different powers of Europe, he could find the main spring of her policy. He saw ambition to be her ruling motive; that her enmity was in proportion to the obstacles, to the gratification of that passion : that while extension of territorial power was her principal object, the house of Austria had been the chief butt of her attacks; but that from the time that terrestrial superiority came to be considered as secondary to naval, Britain had been her most dreaded enemy. For near a century this country had been indirectly her most formidable opponent by land, and directly her conqueror by sea. Britain had been the soul of every confederacy that had repressed her ambition ; and in the preceding war had obtained a superiority unprecedented in former contests.
The great raval power of England she beheld with jealousy, envy, resentment, and terror. She would rejoice at an internal contest which would employ great part of the British force, and enable her, and her