Imágenes de página

Most may be taken where most is accumulated. And what is the soil or climate where experience has not uniformly proved that the voluntary flow of heaped-up plenty, bursting from the weight of its own rich luxuri5 ance, has ever run with a more copious stream of revenue than could be squeezed from the dry husks of oppressed indigence by the straining of all the politic machinery in the world?

Next, we know that parties must ever exist in a free 10 country. We know, too, that the emulations of such

parties, their contradictions, their reciprocal necessities, their hopes and their fears, must send them all in their turns to him that holds the balance of the state. The

parties are the gamesters; but government keeps the 15 table, and is sure to be the winner in the end. When

this game is played, I really think it is more to be feared that the people will be exhausted than that government will not be supplied. Whereas, whatever is got by acts

of absolute power, ill obeyed because odious, or by con20 tracts ill kept because constrained, will be narrow, feeble,

uncertain and precarious.

Ease would retract
Vows made in pain, as violent and void.

I, for one, protest against compounding our demands. 25 I declare against compounding for a poor limited sum

the immense, ever-growing, eternal debt which is due to generous government from protected freedom. And so

1 Political.


may I speed in the great object I propose to you, as I think it would not only be an act of injustice, but would be the worst economy in the world, to compel the colonies to a sum certain, either in the way of ransom or in the way of compulsory compact.

But to clear up my ideas on this subject: a revenue from America transmitted hither, - do not delude yourselves; you never can receive it, no, not a shilling. We have experience that from remote countries it is not to be expected. If, when you attempted to extract reve- 10 nue from Bengal, you were obliged to return in loan what you had taken in imposition, what can you expect from North America ? For certainly, if ever there was a country qualified to produce wealth, it is India; or an institution for the transmission, it is the East India Com- 15 pany. America has none of these aptitudes. If America gives you taxable objects on which you lay your duties here, and gives you at the same time a surplus by a foreign sale of her commodities to pay the duties on these objects which you tax at home, she has performed her 20 part to the British revenue. But with regard to her own internal establishments, she may, - I doubt not she will,

contribute in moderation. I say in moderation ; for she ought not to be permitted to exhaust herself. She ought to be reserved to a war, the weight of which, with 25 the enemies that we are most likely to have, must be considerable in her quarter of the globe. There she may serve you, and serve you essentially,

1 Indispensably.

For that service, for all service, whether of revenue, trade or empire, my trust is in her interest in the British Constitution. My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred 5 blood, from similar privileges and equal protection. These are ties which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government,

they will cling and grapple to you, and no force under 10 heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance.

But let it be once understood that your government may be one thing and their privileges another; that these two things may exist without any mutual relation, the cement

is gone, the cohesion is loosened and everything hastens 15 to decay and dissolution. As long as you have the wis

dom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of

England worship freedom, they will turn their faces to20 wards you.

The more they multiply, the more friends you will have ; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil.

They may have it from Spain; they may have it from 25 Prussia.

But until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price' of which you have the monopoly. This is the

1 The priceless commodity.

true Act of Navigation which binds to you the commerce of the colonies, and through them secures to you the wealth of the world. Deny them this participation of freedom, and you break that sole bond which originally made and must still preserve the unity of the empire. 5 Do not entertain so weak an imagination as that your registers and your bonds, your affidavits and your sufferances, your cockets and your clearances, are what form the great securities of your commerce.

Do not dream that

your letters of office and your instructions and your 10 suspending clauses are the things that hold together the great contexture of the mysterious whole. These things do not make your government. Dead instruments, passive tools as they are, it is the spirit of the English communion that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It 15 is the spirit of the English Constitution, which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, unites, invigorates, vivifies every part of the empire, even down to the minutest member.

Is it not the same virtue which does everything for us 20 here in England? Do you imagine, then, that it is the Land Tax Act which raises your revenue? that it is the annual vote in the Committee of Supply which gives you your army? or that it is the Mutiny Bill which inspires it with bravery and discipline? No! surely no! It is 25 the love of the people ; it is their attachment to their government, from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience



without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber.

All this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profanel herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians who have no place among us, sort of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material; and who, therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of em

pire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to 10 men truly initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and

master principles, which in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned have no substantial existence, are in truth everything and all in all. Magnanimity in politics is not

seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little 15 minds


ill together. If we are conscious of our station, and glow with zeal to fill our places as becomes our situation and ourselves, we ought to auspicate all our public proceedings on America with the old warning of the

church, Sursum corda! We ought to elevate our minds 20 to the greatness of that trust to which the order 3 of Provi

dence has called us. By adverting to the dignity of this high calling, our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire, and have made the most

extensive, and the only honorable conquests, not by de25 stroying, but by promoting the wealth, the number, the

happiness of the human race. Let us get an American revenue as we have got an American empire. English

1 Corrupt.

2 Commonplace.

8 Plan.

« AnteriorContinuar »