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because in all parts it is the British strength that I consume. I do not choose to be caught by a foreign enemy at the end of this exhausting conflict, and still less in the midst of it. I may escape, but I can make no insurance against such an event. Let me add that I do 5 not choose wholly to break the American spirit; because it is the spirit that has made the country.
Lastly, we have no sort of experience in favor of force as an instrument in the rule of our colonies. Their growth and their utility have been owing to methods alto- 10 gether different. Our ancient indulgence has been said to be pursued to a fault. It may be so; but we know, if feeling is evidence, that our fault was more tolerable than our attempt to mend it, and our sin far more salutary than our penitence.
15 These, Sir, are my reasons for not entertaining that high opinion of untried force, by which many gentlemen, for whose sentiments in other particulars I have great respect, seem to be so greatly captivated. But there is still behind a third consideration concerning this object, 20 which serves to determine my opinion on the sort of policy which ought to be pursued in the management of America, even more than its population and its commerce : I mean its temper and character.
In this character of the Americans a love of freedom is 25 the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole : and as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your colonies become suspicious, restive and untractable, whenever they see the least attempt to wrest from them
by force or shuffle from them by chicane what they think the only advantage worth living for. This fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English colonies, probably, than in any other people of the earth; and this from a great 5 variety of powerful causes, which, to understand the true temper of their minds and the direction which this spirit takes, it will not be amiss to lay open somewhat more largely.
First, the people of the colonies are descendants of 10 Englishmen. England, Sir, is a nation which still, I hope,
respects, and formerly adored, her freedom. The colonists emigrated from you when this part of your character was most predominant; and they took this bias and
direction the moment they parted from your hands. 15 They are therefore not only devoted to liberty, but to
liberty according to English ideas and on English principles. Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found. Liberty inheres in some sensible ob
ject; and every nation has formed to itself some favorite 20 point, which by way of eminence becomes the criterion
of their happiness. It happened, you know, Sir, that the great contests for freedom in this country were from the earliest times chiefly upon the question of taxing. Most
of the contests in the ancient commonwealths turned 25 primarily on the right of election of magistrates or on the
balance among the several orders of the state. The question of money was not with them so immediate. But in England it was otherwise. On this point of taxes the ablest pens and most eloquent tongues have been exer
cised, the greatest spirits have acted and suffered. In order to give the fullest satisfaction concerning the importance of this point, it was not only necessary for those who in argument defended the excellence of the English Constitution to insist on this privilege of granting money 5 as a dry point of fact, and to prove that the right had been acknowledged in ancient parchments and blind usages to reside in a certain body called a House of Commons. They went much farther : they attempted to prove, and they succeeded, that in theory it ought to be 10 so, from the particular nature of the House of Commons as an immediate representative of the people, whether the old records had delivered this oracle or not. They took infinite pains to inculcate, as a fundamental principle, that in all monarchies the people must in effect themselves, 15 mediately or immediately, possess the power of granting their own money, or no shadow of liberty could subsist. The colonies draw from you, as with their life-blood, these ideas and principles. Their love of liberty, as with you, fixed and attached on this specific point of taxing. 20 Liberty might be safe or might be endangered in twenty other particulars without their being much pleased or alarmed. Here they felt its pulse; and as they found that beat, they thought themselves sick or sound. I do not say whether they were right or wrong in applying 25 your general arguments to their own case. indeed, to make a monopoly of theorems and corollaries. The fact is that they did thus apply those general arguments; and your mode of governing them, whether
It is not easy,
through lenity or indolence, through wisdom or mistake, confirmed them in the imagination that they, as well as you, had an interest in these common principles.
They were further confirmed in this pleasing error by 5 the form of their provincial legislative assemblies. Their governments are popular in an high degree: some are merely popular; in all the popular representative is the most weighty; and this share of the people in their ordi
nary government never fails to inspire them with lofty 10 sentiments and with a strong aversion from whatever tends to deprive them of their chief importance.
If anything were wanting to this necessary operation of the form of government, religion would have given
it a complete effect. Religion, always a principle of 15 energy, in this new people is no way worn out or
impaired ; and their mode of professing it is also one main cause of this free spirit. The people are Protestants, and of that kind which is the most adverse to all
implicit submission of mind and opinion. This is a 20 persuasion not only favorable to liberty, but built upon
it. I do not think, Sir, that the reason of this averseness in the dissenting churches from all that looks like absolute government is so much to be sought in their
religious tenets as in their history. Every one knows 25 that the Roman Catholic religion is at least coeval with
most of the governments where it prevails; that it has generally gone hand in hand with them, and received great favor and every kind of support from authority. The Church of England too was formed from her cradle
under the nursing care of regular government. But the dissenting interests have sprung up in direct opposition to all the ordinary powers of the world, and could justify that opposition only on a strong claim to natural liberty. Their very existence depended on the powerful and un- 5 remitted assertion of that claim. All Protestantism, even the most cold and passive, is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance: it is the dissidence of dissent and the Protestantism of the Protestant 10 religion. This religion, under a variety of denominations agreeing in nothing but in the communion of the spirit of liberty, is predominant in most of the northern provinces, where the Church of England, notwithstanding its legal rights, is in reality no more than a sort of 15 private sect, not composing' most probably the tenth of the people. The colonists left England when this spirit was high, and in the emigrants was the highest of all; and even that stream of foreigners which has been constantly flowing into these colonies has, for the greatest 20 part, been composed of dissenters from the establishments ? of their several countries, and have brought with them a temper and character far from alien to that of the people with whom they mixed.
Sir, I can perceive by their manner that some gentle- 25 men object to the latitude of this description, because in the southern colonies the Church of England forms a large body and has a regular establishment. It is 1 Comprising. 2 State churches.