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ent Majesty, entitled, “ An act to discontinue, in such manner and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, wares and merchandise, at the town and within the harbor of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America.” — And that it may be proper to repeal an 5 act macle in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present Majesty, entitled, “ An act for the impartial administration of justice in the cases of persons questioned for any acts done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England.” — And that it 10 may be proper to repeal an act made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present Majesty, entitled, “ An act for the better regulating the government of the province of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England.” — And also, that it may be proper to explain and amend an act made in the thirty-fisth year of the reign of King 15 Henry the Eighth, entitled, “ An act for the trial of treasons committed out of the king's dominions."
I wish, Sir, to repeal the Boston Port Bill, because (independently of the dangerous precedent of suspending the rights of the subject during the king's pleasure) it 20 was passed, as I apprehend, with less regularity and on more partial principles than it ought. The corporation of Boston was not heard before it was condemned. Other towns, full as guilty as she was, have not had their ports blocked up. Even the Restraining Bill of the 23 present session does not go to the length of the Boston Port Act. The same ideas of prudence which induced you not to extend equal punishment to equal guilt, even when you were punishing, induced me, who mean not to chastise but to reconcile, to be satisfied with the punish- 30 ment already partially inflicted.
Ideas of prudence and accommodation to circumstances prevent you from taking away the charters of Connecticut and Rhode Island, as you have taken away that of Massachusetts Colony, though the crown has far less 5 power in the two former provinces than it enjoyed in the latter, and though the abuses have been full as great and as flagrant in the exempted as in the punished. The same reasons of prudence and accommodation have weight
with me in restoring the charter of Massachusetts Bay. 10 Besides, Sir, the act which changes the charter of Massa
chusetts is in many particulars so exceptionable that, if I did not wish absolutely to repeal, I would by all means desire to alter it, as several of its provisions tend to the
subversion of all public and private justice. Such, among 15 others, is the power in the governor to change the sheriff
at his pleasure, and to make a new returning officer for every special cause. It is shameful to behold such a regulation standing among English laws.
The act for bringing persons accused of committing 20 murder under the orders of government to England for
trial is but temporary. That act has calculated the probable duration of our quarrel with the colonies, and is accommodated to that supposed duration. I would
hasten the happy moment of reconciliation ; and there2; fore must, on my principle, get rid of that most justly obnoxious act.
The act of Henry the Eighth for the trial of treasons I do not mean to take away, but to confine it to its proper bounds and original intention; to make it expressly for
trial of treasons (and the greatest treasons may be committed) in places where the jurisdiction of the crown does not extend.
Having guarded the privileges of local legislature, I would next secure to the colonies a fair and unbiased 5 judicature; for which purpose, Sir, I propose the following resolution :
That from the time when the general assembly, or general court, of any colony or plantation in North America shall have appointed, by act of assembly duly confirmed, a settled salary to 10 the offices of the chief justice and other judges of the superior court, it may be proper that the said chief justice and other judges of the superior courts of such colony shall hold his and their office and offices during their good behavior, and shall not be removed therefrom but when the said removal shall be adjudged by his 15 Majesty in council, upon a hearing on complaint from the general assembly, or on a complaint from the governor or council or the house of representatives, severally, of the colony in which the said chief justice and other judges have exercised the said offices.
The next resolution relates to the courts of admiralty. 20 It is this :
That it may be proper to regulate the courts of admiralty or vice-admiralty authorized by the fifteenth chapter of the fourth of George the Third, in such a manner as to make the same more commodious to those who sue or who are sued in the said courts ; 25 and to provide for the more decent maintenance of the judges in the same.
These courts I do not wish to take away : they are in themselves proper establishments. This court is one of
the capital securities of the Act of Navigation. The extent of its jurisdiction, indeed, has been increased; but this is altogether as proper, and is indeed on many accounts more eligible, where new powers were wanted, 5 than a court absolutely new. But courts incommodiously situated in effect deny justice; and a court partaking in the fruits of its own condemnation is a robber. The Congress complain, and complain justly, of this griev
These are the three consequential propositions. I have thought of two or three more; but they come rather too near detail and to the province of executive government, which I wish Parliament always to superin
tend, never to assume. If the first six are granted, con15 gruity will carry the latter three. If not, the things that
remain unrepealed will be, I hope, rather unseemly incumbrances on the building than very materially detrimental to its strength and stability.
Here, Sir, I should close ; but I plainly perceive some objections remain which I ought, if possible, to remove. The first will be that, in resorting to the doctrine of our ancestors as contained in the preamble to the Chester Act, I prove too much; that the grievance from a want
of representation, stated in that preamble, goes to the 25 whole of legislation as well as to taxation ; and that the
colonies, grounding themselves upon that doctrine, will apply it to all parts of legislative authority. To this objection, with all possible deference and
humility, and wishing as little as any man living to impair the smallest particle of our supreme authority, I answer that the words are the words of Parliament, and not mine ; and that all false and inconclusive inferences drawn from them are not mine, for I heartily disclaim 5 any such inference. I have chosen the words of an act of Parliament which Mr. Grenville, surely a tolerably zealous and very judicious advocate for the sovereignty of Parliament, formerly moved to have read at your table in confirmation of his tenets. It is true that Lord Chatham 10 considered these preambles as declaring strongly in favor of his opinions. He was a no less powerful advocate for the privileges of the Americans. Ought I not from hence to presume that these preambles are as favorable as possible to both, when properly understood, — favorable 15 both to the rights of Parliament and to the privilege of the dependencies of this crown? But, Sir, the object of grievance in my resolution I have not taken from the Chester, but from the Durham Act, which confines the hardship of want of representation to the case of sub- 20 sidies, and which therefore falls in exactly with the case of the colonies. But whether the unrepresented counties were de jure or de facto bound, the preambles do not accurately distinguish ; nor indeed was it necessary; for whether de jure or de facto, the legislature thought the exercise of the power of taxing, as of right or as of fact without right, equally a grievance and equally oppressive. I do not know that the colonies have, in any general