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Tne alliance of Sardinia and its assistance would any gentleman have refused to congratu. may, I admit be of great use to us in defeating late his Majesty upon any fortunate event hap. the designs of the Spaniards in Italy. But gold pening to the royal family. The honorable gen. itself may be bought too dear; and I fear we tleman would have desired no more than this, shall find the purchase we have made to be but had he intended that his motion should be upan. precarious, especially if Sardinia should be at- imously agreed to. But ministers are generally tacked hy France as well as by Spain, the almost the authors and drawers up of the motion, and certain consequence of our present scheme of they always have a greater regard for them. politics. For these reasons, sir, I hope there is selves than for the service of their sovereign; not any gentleman, nor even any minister, who that is the true reason why such motions seldoni expects that I should declare my satisfaction that meet with unanimous approbation. this treaty has been concluded.
As to the danger, sir, of our returning or ne: It is very surprising, sir, to hear gentlemen returning to our national custom upon this oc. talk of the great advantages of unanimity in our casion, I think it lies wholly upon the side of our proceedings, when, at the time, they are doing not returning. I have shown that the measures all they can to prevent unanimity. If the hon we are now pursuing are fundamentally wrong, orable gentleman had intended that what he pro. and that the longer we pursue them, the heavier posed should be unanimously agreed to, he would our misfortunes will prove. Unless some signal have returned to the ancient custom of Parlia- providence interpose, experience, I am convinced, ment which some of his new friends have, on will confirm what I say. By the immediate informer occasions, so often recommended. It is tervention of Providence, we may, it is true, suc a new doctrine to pretend that we ought in our ceed in the most improbable schemes ; but Provaddress to return some sort of answer to every idence seems to be against us. The sooner, thing mentioned in his Majesty's speech. It is therefore, we repent and amend, the better it a doctrine that has prevailed only since our Par. will be for us; and unless repentance begins in liaments began to look more like French than this House, I shall no where expect it until dire English Parliaments; and now we pretend to be experience has convinced us of our errors. such enemies of France, I supposed we should For these reasons, sir, I wish, I hope, that we have laid aside a doctrine which the very meth- | may now begin to put a stop to the farther pros. od of proceeding in Parliament must show to be ecution of these disastrous measures, by refusing false. His Majesty's speech is not now so much them our approbation. If we put a negative as under our consideration, but upon a previous upon this question, it may awaken our ministers order for that purpose; therefore we can not now from their deceitful dreams. If we agree to it, properly take notice of its contents, any farther they will dream on till they have dreamed Eu. than to determine whether we ought to return rope their country, and themselves into attei thanks for it or not. Even this we may refuse, perdition. If they stop now, the nation may re without being guilty of any breach of duty to our cover; but if by such a flattering address we sovereign; but of this, I believe, no gentleman encourage them to go on, it may soon become would have thought, had the honorable gentle- impossible for them to retreat. For the sake of nan who made this motion not attached to it a Europe, therefore, for the sake of my country, ding and fulsome panegyric upon the conduct of 1 most heartily join in putting a negative upon our ministers. I am convinced no gentleman the question. would have objected to our expressing our duty to our sovereign, and our zeal for his service, in After a protracted debate, the address was the strongest and most affectionate terms: nor carried by a vote of 279 to 149.
OF LORD CHATHAM ON AN ADDRESS TO THE THRONE, IN WHICH THE RIGHT OF TAXING
AMERICA IS DISCUSSED, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, JANUARY 14, 1766.
INTRODUCTION. MR. GEORGE GRENVILLE, during his brief administration from 1763 to 1765, adopted a plan for replen ishing the exhausted treasury of Great Britain, which had been often proposed before, but rejected by every preceding minister. It was that of levying direct taxes on the American colonies. His famous Stamp Act was brought forward February 7th, 1765. It was strongly opposed by Colonel Barré, who thas indignantly replied to the charge of ingratitude, brought by Charles Townsend against the Ameri. csas, as “children planted by our care, nourished by our indulgence, and protected by our arms," &c. "They planted by your care ?” said Colonel Barré: “No! Your oppressions planted them in America They fled from your tyranny to a then ancultivated and inhospitable country, where they exposed theroselves to almost all the hardships to which human nature is liable; and, among others, to the cruelties of a savage foe, the most subtle, and, I will take it opon me to say, the most formidable of any people or earth; and yet, actuated by principles of true Eaglish liberty, they met all hardships with pleasure, com
pared with those chey suffered in their native land from the hands of those who should have been their friends. They nourished by your indulgence? They grew by your neglect of them! As soon as you began to care about them, that care was exercised in sending persons to rule them, who were, perhaps, the depcies of deputies to some members of this House-sent to spy out their fiberties, to mis. represent their actions, and to prey upon them-men promoted to the highest seats of justice; some of whom, to my knowledge, were glad, by going to a foreign country, to escape being brought to the bar of a court of justice in their own. They protected by your arms? They have nobly taken up anns in your defense; have exerted a valor, amid their constant and laborious industry, for the de. fense of a country whose frontier was drenched in blood, while its interior yielded all its little savings to your emolument. And-believe me-remember I this day told you so—that same spirit of freedom which actuated that people at first, will accompany them still. But prudence forbids me to say more. God knows I do not, at this time, speak from motives of party heat. What I deliver are the genuine senti. ments of my heart. However superior to me in general knowledge and experience the respectable body of this House may be, I claim to know more of America than most of you, having seen and been conver. sant with that country. The people are, I believe, as truly loyal as any subjects the King has; but a people jealous of their liberties, and who will vindicate them, if they should ever be violated.”
This prophetic warning was in vain. The bill was passed on the 22d of March, 1765.
A few months after, the ministry of Mr. Grenville came abruptly to an end, and was followed by the administration of Lord Rockingham. That able statesman was fully convinced that nothing but the re. peal of the Stamp Act could restore tranquillity to the colonics, which, according to Colonel Barré's predictions, were in a state of almost open resistance. The news of this resistance reached England at the close of 1765, and Parliament was summoned on the 17th of December. The plan of the ministry was to repeal the Stamp Act; but, in accordance with the King's wishes, to re-assert (in doing so) the right of Par liament to tax the colonies. Against this course Mr. Pitt determined to take bis stand; and when the ordinary address was made in answer to the King's speech, be entered at once on the subject of Ameri. can taxation, in a strain of the boldest eloquence. His speech was reported by Sir Robert Dean, assisted by Lord Charlemont, and, though obvionsly broken and imperfect, gives us far more of the language actu. ally used by Mr. Pitt than any of the preceding speeches.
SPEECH, &c. MR. SPEAKER,- I came to town but to-day. | own, I advised them to do it-but, notwithstand. I was a stranger to the tenor of his Majesty's ing (for I love to be explicit), I can not give them speech, and the proposed address, till I heard my confidence. Pardon me, gentlemen [bowing them read in this House. Unconnected and un- to the ministry), confidence is a plant of slow consulted, I have not the means of information. growth in an aged bosom. Youth is the season I am fearful of offending through mistake, and of credulity. By comparing events with each therefore beg to be indulged with a second read-other, reasoning from effects to causes, methinks ing of the proposed address. [The address being I plainly discover the traces of an overruling in read, Mr. Pitt went on :) I commend the King's fluence. speech, and approve of the address in answer, There is a clause in the Act of Settlement as it decides nothing, every gentleman being obliging every minister to sign his name to the left at perfect liberty to take such a part con- advice which he gives to his sovereign. Would cerning America as he may afterward see fit. it were observed! I have had the honor to serve One word only I can not approve of: an "early," the Crown, and if I could have submitted to inis a word that does not belong to the notice the fluence, I might have still continued to serve : ministry have given to Parliament of the troubles but I would not be responsible for others. I in America. In a matter of such importance, bave no local attachments. It is indifferent to the communication ought to have been imme- me whether a man was rocked in his cradle on
this side or that side of the Tweed. I sought I speak not now with respect to parties. I for merit wherever it was to be found. It is my stand up in this place single and independent. boast, that I was the first minister who looked As to the late ministry (turning himself to Mr. for it, and found it, in the mountains of the North Grenville, who sat within one of him), every cap. I called it forth, and drew into your service a ital measure they have taken has been entirely | bardy and intrepid race of men-men, who, wrong! As to the present gentlemen, to those when left by your jealousy, became a prey to at least whom I have in my eye [looking at the the artifices of your enemies, and had gone nigh bench where General Conway sat with the lords of the treasury), I have no objection. I have Chas. Butler says in his Reminiscences, "Those never been made a sacrifice by any of them.
who remember the air of condescending protectior
with which the bow was made and the look given Their characters are fair; and I am always
will rerwilect how much they themselveg, at the no glad when men of fair character engage in his
ment, were both delighted and awed ; and what they Majesty's service. Some of them did me the
themselves conceived of the immeasurable saperi honor to ask my opinion before they would en-ority of the speaker over every other human being gage. These will now do me the justice to that surrounde' him."
to have overturned the state in the war before firmities), I will beg to say a few words at pres the last. These men, in the last war, were ent, leaving the justice, the equity, the policy brought to combat on your side. They served the expediency of the act to another time. with fidelity, as they fought with valor, and con- I will only speak to one point, a point which quered for you in every part of the world De- seems not to have been generally understood. ? tested be the national reflections against them! mean to the right. Some gentlemen (alluding They are unjust, groundless, illiberal, unmanly! to Mr. Nugent) seem to have considered it as When I ceased to serve his Majesty as a min-a point of honor. If gentlemen consider it in ister, it was not the country of the man by which that light, they leave all measures of right and I was moved — but the man of that country wrong, to follow a delusion that may lead to de wanted wisdom, and held principles incompati-struction. It is my opinion, that this kingdom ble with freedom
has no right to lay a tax upon the colonies. At It is a long time, Mr. Speaker, sluce I have the same time, I assert the authority of this attended in Parliament. When the resolution kingdom over the colonies to be sovereign and was taken in this House to tax America, I was supreme, in every circumstance of government ill in bed. If I could have endured to be car- and legislation whatsoever. They are the subnied in my bed-s0 great was the agitation of jects of this kingdom ; equally entitled with your. my mind for the consequences- I would have selves to all the natural rights of mankind and solicited some kind hand to have laid me down the peculiar privileges of Englishmen; equally on this floor, to have borne my testimony against bound by its laws, and equally participating in it! It is now an act that has passed. I would the constitution of this free country. The Amer. speak with decency of every act of this House ; icans are the sons, not the bastards of England ! but I must beg the indulgence of the House to Taxation is no part of the governing or legislaspeak of it with freedom.
tive power. The taxes are a voluntary gif: I hope a day may soon be appointed to con- and grant of the Commons alone. In legislation sider the state of the nation with respect to the three estates of the realm are alike concernAmerica. I hope gentlemen will come to this ed; but the concurrence of the peers and the debate with all the temper and impartiality that Crown to a tax is only necessary to clothe it his Majesty recommends, and the importance of with the form of a law. The gift and grant is the subject requires ; a subject of greater im- of the Commons alone. In ancient days, the portance than ever engaged the attention of this Crown, the barons, and the clergy possessed the House, that subject only excepted, when, near a lands. In those days, the barons and the clergy century ago, it was che question, whether you gave and granted to the Crown. They gavo yourselves were to be bond or free. In the and granted what was their own! At present, mean time, as I can not depend upon my health since the discovery of America, and other cir. for any future day (such is the nature of my in- cumstances permitting, the Commons are be It need hardly be said that Lord Bate is aimed
come the proprietors of the land. The Church at throughout the whole of these two paragraphs.
(God bless it!) has but a pittance. The propThe passage illustrates a mode of attack which
which erty of the lords, compared with that of the comLord 'Chatbam often used, that of pointing at an in.' mons, is as a drop of water in the ocean; and dividual in a manner at once so significant as to ar this House represents those commons, the pro. rest attention, and yet so remote as to involve no prietors of the lands; and those proprietors vir. breach of decorum-saying the severest things by tnally represent the rest of the inhabitants. implication, and leaving the hearer to apply them; When, therefore, in this House, we give and thus avoiding the coarseness of personal invective, and giving a wiile scope for ingenuity in the most
grant, we give and grant what is our own. But stinging allusions. In the present case, the allusion
in an American tax, what do we do? “We, to Bute as baving "made a sacrifice" of Chatbam, by your Majesty's Commons for Great Britain, give driving him from power through a secret ascendency and grant to your Majesty"--what? Our own over the King; to " the traces of an overruling in property? No!“We give and grant to your fluence" from the same quarter as a reason for with Majesty" the property of your Majesty's comholding confidence from the new ministry; and to mons of America! It is an absurdity in terms Bute's shrinking from that responsibility which the The distinction between legislation and tax. Act of Settlement imposed upon all advisers of
ation is essentially necessary to liberty. The the King—these and other allusions to the favorite of George III. would be instantly understood and
Crown and the peers are equally legislative powkeenly felt among a people who have always re
ers with the Commons. If taxation be a part garded the character of a favorite with dread and of simple legislation, the Crown and the peere abhorrence. Lord Chatham, to avoid the impata have rights in taxation as well as yourselves. tion of being influenced in what he said by the pre. rights which they will claim, which they wil vailing prejudices against Bute as a Scotchman, re. exercise, whenever the principle can be support fers to himself, in glowing language, as the first led by power. minister who employed Highlanders in the army; There is an idea in some that the colonies are calling" from the mountains of the North" "a bardy and intrepid race of men," who had been alienated
virtually represented in the House. I would by previous severity, Lut wbo, by that one act of
fain know by whom an American is represented confidence, were indissolubly attached to the house
here. Is he represented by any knight of the of Hanover.
shire, in any county in this kingdom? Would " At die Revolution or 624
to God that respectable representation was aul
piented to a greater number! Or wiil you tell in the reign of Henry VIII., the other in that of him that he is represented by any representative Charles II. (Mr. Grenville then quoted the acts, of a borough ? a borough which, perhaps, its and desired that they might be read; which be. own representatives never saw! This is what ing done, he said,] When I proposed to tax is called the rotten part of the Constitution. It | America, I asked the House if any gentleman can not cntinue a century. If it does not drop, would object to the right; I repeatedly asked it it must be amputated. The idea of a virtual and no man would attempt to deny it. Protec rep:esentation of America in this House is the tion and ubedience are reciprocal. Great Brit. most contemptible idea that ever entered into ain protects America; America is bound to yield the heall of a man. It does not deserve a se- obedience. If not, tell me when the Americans ainus relutation.
were emancipated? When they want the pruThe Commons of America, represented in tection of this kingdom, they are always very their several assemblies, have ever been in pos- ready to ask it. That protection has always session of the exercise of this, their constitutional been afforded them in the most full and ample right, of giving and granting their own money. manner. The nation has run herself into an imThey would have been slaves if they had not mense debt to give them their protection; and enjoyed it! At the same time, this kingdom, now, when they are called upon to contribute a as the supreme governing and legislative power, small share toward the public expense-an exhas always bound the colonies by her laws, by pense arising from themselves—they renounce her regulations, and restrictions in trade, in nav your anthority, insult your officers, and break igation, in manufactures, in every thing, except out, I might almost say, into open rebellion. that of taking their money out of their pockets The seditious spirit of the colonies owes its without their consent.
birth to the factions in this House. Gentlemen Here I would draw the line,
are careless of the consequences of what they Quam ultra citraque neque consistere rectum.5 say, provided it answers the purposes of opposi.
(As soon as Lord Chatham concluded, Gen. tion. We were told we trod on tender ground. eral Conway arose, and succinctly avowed his
We were bid to expect disobedience. What is entire approbation of that part of his Lordship's
this but telling the Americans to stand out speech which related to American affairs, but against the law, to encourage their obstinacy disclaimed altogether that "secret overruling with the expectation of support from hence ? infinence which had been hinted at.” Mr.
“Let us only hold out a little," they would say, George Grenville, who followed in the debate,
“our friends will soon be in power.” Ungrateexpatiated at large on the tumults and riots
ful people of America! Bounties have been exwhich had taken place in the colonies, and de-tended to them. When I had the honor of serv. clared that they bordered on rebellion. He con- ing the Crown, while you yourselves were loaddemned the language and sentiments which he
ed with an enormous debt, you gave bounties on had heard as encouraging a revolution. A por
their lumber, on their iron, their hemp, and many tion of his speech is here inserted, as explanatory
other articles. You have relaxed in their favor of the replication of Lord Chatham.)
the Act of Navigation, that palladium of the I can not, said Mr. Grenville, understand the
British commerce; and yet I have been abused difference between external and internal taxes.
| in all the public papers as an enemy to the trade They are the same in effect, and differ only in of America. I have been particularly charged name. That this kingdom has the sovereign,
| with giving orders and instructions to prevent the supreme legislative power over America, is the Spanish trade, and thereby stopping the chanvranted; it can not be denied: and taxation is a / nel by which alone North America used to be part of that sovereign power. It is one branch supplied with cash for remittances to this counof the legislation. It is, it has been, exercised try. I dely any man to produce any such orover those who are not, who were never repre- ders or instructions. I discouraged no trade but sented. It is exercised over the India Company,
what was illicit, what was prohibited by an act the merchants of London, the proprietors of the
of Parliament. I desire a West India merchant stocks, and over many great manufacturing
(Mr. Long), well known in the city, a gentletowns. It was exercised over the county pala man of character, may be examined. He will tine of Chester, and the bishopric of Durham,
tell you that I offered to do every thing in my belore they sent any representatives to Parlia. | power to advance the trade of America. I was ment. I appeal for proof to the preambles of above giving an answer to anonymous calum. the acts which gave them representatives ; one
tives: one nies; but in this place it becomes one to wipe
off the aspersion. • We have here the first mention made by any (Here Mr. Grenville ceased. Several mem English statesman of a reform in the borough sys-bers got up to speak, but Mr. Pitt seeming to tern. A great truth once uttered never dies. The rise, the House was so clamorous for Mr. Pitt! Reform Bill of Earl Grey had its origin in the mind Mr. Pitt ! that the speaker was obliged to call
| to order.] • Mr. Grenville, it will be remembered, had now
| Mr. Pitt said, I do not apprehend I am speak. Do connection with the ministry, but was attempting ing twice. I did expressly reserve a part of my to defend his Stamp Act against the attack of Mr. subject, in order to save the time of this House: Pitt
| but I am compelled to procerd in it. I do not speak twice; I only finish what I designedly left tutional rights. That was reserved to mark the imperfect. But if the House is of a different era of the late administration. Not that there opinion, far be it from me to indulge a wish of were wanting some, when I had the honor to transgression against order. I am content, if it serve his Majesty, to propose to me to burn my be your pleasure, to be silent. [Here he paused. fingers with an American stamp act. With the The House resounding with Go on! go on ! he enemy at their back, with our bayonets at their proceeded :)
breasts, in the day of their distress, perhaps the Gentlemen, sir, have been charged with giv- Americans would have submitted to the imposiing birth to sedition in America. They have tion; but it would have been taking an ungen. spoken their sentiments with freedom against erous, an unjust advantage. The gentleman this unhappy act, and that freedom has become boasts of his bounties to America! Are not their crime. Sorry I am to hear the liberty of these bounties intended finally for the benefit of speech in this House imputed as a crime. But this kingdom ? If they are not, he has misapthe imputation shall not discourage me. It is plied the national treasures ! a liberty I mean to exercise. No gentleman I am no courtier of America. I stand up for ought to be afraid to exercise it. It is a liberty this kingdom. I maintain that the Parliament by which the gentleman who calumniates it has a right to bind, to restrain America. Ou might have profited. He ought to have desist- legislative power over the colonies is sorereign ed from his project. The gentleman tells us, and supreme. When it ceases to be sovereign America is obstinate ; America is almost in open and supreme, I would advise ezery gentleman rebellion. I rejoice that America has resisted to sell his lauds, if he can, and embark for that Three millions of people, so dead to all the feel country. When two countries are connected toings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be gether like England and her colonies, without slaves, would have been fit instruments to make being incorporated, the one must necessarily slaves of the rest. I come not here armed at govern. The greater must rule the less. But all points, with law cases and acts of Parlia- she must so rule it as not lo contradict the funment, with the statute book doubled down in damental principles that are common to both. dog's ears, to defend the cause of liberty. If I If the gentleman does not understand the dif. had, I myself would have cited the two cases ofference between external and internal taxes, 1 Chester and Durham. I would have cited them can not help it. There is a plain distinction beto show that, even under former arbitrary reigns, tween taxes levied for the purposes of raising a Parliaments were ashamed of taxing a people revenue, and duties imposed for the regulation without their consent, and allowed them repre- of trade, for the accommodation of the subject; sentatives. Why did the gentleman confine bim- althougb, in the consequences, some revenue self to Chester and Durham ? He might have may incidentally arise from the latter. taken a higher example in Wales-Wales, that The gentleman asks, When were the colonies never was taxed by Parliament till it was incor-emancipated ? I desire to know, when were porated. I would not debate a particular point they made slaves ? But I dwell not upon words of law with the gentleman. I know his abili When I had the honor of serving his Majesty, 1 ties. I have been obliged to his diligent re- availed myself of the means of information which searches. But, for the defense of liberty, upon I derived from my office. I speak, therefore, a general principle, upon a constitutional prin- from knowledge. My materials were good. I ciple, it is a ground on which I stand firm-on was at pains to collect, to digest, to consider which I dare meet any man. The gentleman them; and I will be bold to affirm, that the prof. tells us of many who are taxed, and are not rep- its to Great Britain from the trade of the coloresented—the India Company, merchants, stock-nies, through all its branches, is two millions a bolders, manufacturers. Surely many of these year. This is the fund that carried you triumphtre represented in other capacities, as owners of antly through the last war. The estates that 'scd, or as freemen of boroughs. It is a mis. were rented at two thousand pounds a year, ortune that more are not equally represented. threescore years ago, are at three thousand at But they are all inhabitants, and, as such, are present. Those estates sold then from fifteen to they not virtually represented ?. Many have it eighteen years purchase; the same may now be in their option to be actually represented. They sold for thirty. You owe this to America. This have connections with those that elect, and they is the price America pays you for her protec bave influence over them. The gentleman mention. And shall a miserable financier come with tioned the stockholders. I hope he does not a boast, that he can bring “a pepper-corn" into reckon the debts of the nation as a part of the the exchequer by the loss of millions to the na. national estate.
tion ?? I dare not say how much higher theso Since the accession of King William, many profits may be augmented. Omitting (i. c., net ministers, some of great, others of more moder-taking into account] the immense increase of ate abilities, have taken the lead of government. people, by natural population, in the northern (Here M:. Pitt went through the list of them, colonies, and the emigration from every part of bringing it down till he came to himself, giving Alluding to Mr. Nugent, who had said that . & short sketch of the characters of each, and
pepper-corn in acknowledgment of the right to taj then proceeded :) None of these thought, or even America, was of more value than millions without treamed of robbing the colonies of their consti- | it."