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by degrees I felt myself more firm. I derived, at length, some confidence from what in other circumstances usually produces timidity. I grew less anxious, even from the idea of my own insignificance. For judging of what you 5 are by what you ought to be, I persuaded myself that you would not reject a reasonable proposition, because it had nothing but its reason to recommend it. On the other hand, being totally destitute of all shadow of influence,
natural or adventitious, I was very sure that if my propo10 sition were futile or dangerous, if it were weakly con
ceived or improperly timed, there was nothing exterior to it, of power to awe, dazzle or delude you. You will see it just as it is, and you will treat it just as it deserves.
The proposition is peace. Not peace through the 15 medium of war ; not peace to be hunted through the
labyrinth of intricate and endless negotiations ; not peace to arise out of universal discord fomented from principle in all parts of the empire ; not peace to depend on the
juridical determination of perplexing questions, or the 20 precise marking the shadowy boundaries of a complex
government. It is simple peace, sought in its natural course and in its ordinary haunts. It is peace sought in the spirit of peace, and laid in principles purely pacific.
I propose, by removing the ground of the difference, and 25 by restoring the former unsuspecting confidence of the
colonies in the mother country, to give permanent satisfaction to your people ; and (far from a scheme of ruling by discord) to reconcile them to each other in the same
1 Purely legal.
act and by the bond of the very same interest which reconciles them to British government.
My idea is nothing more. Refined policy ever has been the parent of confusion, and ever will be so as long as the world endures. Plain good intention, which s is as easily discovered at the first view as fraud is surely detected at last, is, let me say, of no mean force in the government of mankind. Genuine simplicity of heart is an healing and cementing principle. My plan, therefore, being formed upon the most simple grounds imaginable, 10 may disappoint some people when they hear it. It has nothing to recommend it to the pruriency? of curious
There is nothing at all new and captivating in it. It has nothing of the splendor of the project which has been lately laid upon your table by the noble lord in the 15 blue ribbon. It does not propose to fill your lobby with squabbling colony agents, who will require the interposition of your mace at every instant to keep the peace amongst them.
It does not institute a magnificent auction of finance, where captivated provinces come to 20 general ransom by bidding against each other, until you knock down the hammer, and determine a proportion of payments beyond all the powers of algebra to equalize and settle.
The plan which I shall presume to suggest derives, 25 however, one great advantage from the proposition and registry of that noble lord's project. The idea of conciliation is admissible. First, the House, in accepting 1 Elaborate.
2 Desire, in the bad sense.
the resolution moved by the noble lord, has admitted, notwithstanding the menacing front of our address, notwithstanding our heavy bill of pains and penalties, that we do not think ourselves precluded from all ideas of 5 free grace and bounty.
The House has gone farther : it has declared conciliation admissible, previous to any submission on the part of America. It has even shot a good deal beyond that
mark, and has admitted that the complaints of our former 10 mode of exerting the right of taxation were not wholly
unfounded. That right thus exerted is allowed to have something reprehensible in it, something unwise or something grievous; since, in the midst of our heat and resent
ment, we of ourselves have proposed a capital 2 alteration; 15 and, in order to get rid of what seemed so very exceptionable, have instituted a mode that is altogether new,
one that is, indeed, wholly alien from all the ancient methods and forms of Parliament.
The principle of this proceeding is large enough for 20 my purpose. The means proposed by the noble lord
for carrying his ideas into execution, I think, indeed, are very indifferently suited to the end ; and this I shall endeavor to show you before I sit down. But, for the pres
ent, I take my ground on the admitted principle. I mean 25 to give peace. Peace implies reconciliation ; and where
there has been a material 4 dispute, reconciliation does in a manner always imply concession on the one part or Appearance.
2 Of the first importance. 3 Stand.
4 Real, as opposed to formal.
on the other. In this state of things I make no difficulty in affirming that the proposal ought to originate from us. Great and acknowledged force is not impaired, either in effect or in opinion, by an unwillingness to exert itself. The superior power may offer peace with honor and with 5 safety. Such an offer from such a power will be attributed to magnanimity. But the concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear. When such a one is disarmed, he is wholly at the mercy of his superior; and he loses forever that time and those chances which, as they hap- 10 pen to all men, are the strength and resources of all inferior power.
The capital leading questions on which you must this day decide are these two: first, whether you ought to concede; and secondly, what your concession ought 15 to be. On the first of these questions we have gained (as I have just taken the liberty of observing to you) some ground. But I am sensible that a good deal more is still to be done. Indeed, Sir, to enable us to determine both on the one and the other of these great ques- 20 tions with a firm and precise judgment, I think it may be necessary to consider distinctly the true nature and the peculiar circumstances of the object which we have before us : because after all our struggle, whether we will or not, we must govern America according to that nature 25 and to those circumstances, and not according to our own imaginations, not according to abstract ideas of right; by no means according to mere general theories of govern
ment, the resort to which appears to me in our present situation no better than arrant trifling. I shall therefore endeavor, with your leave, to lay before you some of the most material of these circumstances in as full and as clear 5 a manner as I am able to state them.
The first thing that we have to consider with regard to the nature of the object is the number of people in the colonies. I have taken for some years a good deal of
pains on that point. I can by no calculation justify my. 10 self in placing the number below two millions of inhab
itants of our own European blood and color, besides at least 500,000 others who form no inconsiderable part of the strength and opulence of the whole. This, Sir, is,
I believe, about the true number. There is no occasion 15 to exaggerate where plain truth is of so much weight and
importance. But whether I put the present numbers too high or too low is a matter of little moment. Such is the strength with which population shoots in that part
of the world, that, state the numbers as high as we will, 20 whilst the dispute continues, the exaggeration ends.
Whilst we are discussing any given magnitude, they are grown to it. Whilst we spend our time in deliberating on the mode of governing two millions, we shall find we
have millions more to manage. Your children do not 25 grow faster from infancy to manhood, than they spread from families to communities, and from villages to nations.
I put this consideration of the present and the growing numbers in the front of our deliberation, because, Sir, this consideration will make it evident to a blunter