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withdrew from the house when this or any question respecting America was discussed. They did attend on ordinary business, but immediately after that was dispatched retired. They, said, they were tired with opposing reason and argument to superior power and numbers. This secession was not approved of by Opposition in general, and indeed does not appear justifiable. Eloquence, as Burke observed on another occasion, though it might not procure a majority to members of Opposition, was not without its effect, in modifying measures of Ministry. Indeed a very recent instance shewed, that as the late bill had, in consequence of the masterly discussion it underwent, been modified and defined in a manner it would not have been without that opposition, if the bill was bad, the opposition on the whole did good.
The object of this life not being to support any hypothesis concerning Burke's consistency or inconsistency, but impartially to narrate facts, and at the close to form å
summary of the character, I think it my duty to state truth, whatever effect the statement may have.
Secession from Parliament being uncommon, though not unprecedented, Burke considered it as incumbent on him to justify his conduct. He wrote an address to the king, stating the motives of the seceders.
The address has been printed in several of the newspapers, and contains Burke's notions respecting the British constitution, and the various great events by which it has been effected. As it never has been avowedly published as Burke's, for the sake of those readers who may not have seen the papers in which it was inserted, I shall endeavour to give the substance, with extracts from the most material parts.
The justificatory memorial sets out with representing to his Majesty the distracted state of affairs. Our situation it imputes to the misconduct of Government. The al
ledgei misconduct, after considerable detail, it generalizes into the following short description. • That grievance is as simple in its nature, and as level to the most ordinary understanding, as it is powerful in affecting the most languid passions. It is an attempt made to dispose of the property of a whole people, without their consent. Your Majesty's subjects in the colonies, possessing the ordinary faculties of mankind, know, that to live under such a plan of government, is not to live in a state of freedom. The sense of a whole people, most gracious Sovereign, never ought to be contemned by wise and beneficent rulers. When no means are possessed of power to awe, or to oblige, the strongest ties which connect mankind in every relation, social and civil, and which teach them mutually to respect each other, are broken. Independence from that moment virtually exists. In this state of things, we were of opinion, that satisfaction ought instantly to be given, or that, at least, the punishment of the disorder ought to be attended with the re
dress of the grievances. Because, whenever a disorder arises from, and is directly connected with a grievance, to confine ourselves to the punishment of the disorder, is to declare against the reason and justice of the complaint. The methods recommended and followed, as infallible means of restoring peace and order, we could not consider as at all adapted to their purposes. We could not conceive, when disorders had arisen from the complaint of one violated right, that to violate every other was the proper means of quieting exasperated minds. Recourse was had to force, and we saw-a force sent out, enough to menace liberty, but not to awe resistance.' He afterwards goes over the various measures of Government, both of coercion and conciliation, shewing both to be inadequate: affirms, that in the barbarity of the Germans and the atrocity of the American savages there was the infliction of misery without the advancement of conquest. He proceeds to the arbitrary doctrines which were becoming prevalent, and, as a contrast to these, boldly describes . the principles of the revolution, and of the establishment of the Brunswick family on the throne of England.
- Sire, your throne cannot stand secure upon the principles of unconditional submission, or passive obedience,-on powers exercised without the concurrence of the people to be governed,-on acts made in defiance of their prejudices and habits,--on acquiescence procured by foreign mercenary troops, and secured by standing armies. They may possibly be the foundation of other thrones: they must be the subversion of yours.
• It was not to passive principles in our ancestors that we owe the honour of appearing before a Sovereign, who cannot feel that he is a prince without knowing that we ought to be free. The revolution is a departure from the ancient course of the descent of this monarchy—the people reentered into their original rights ; and it was not because a positive law authorized VOL. 1.