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from solicitous whether you accept or refuse the last. I think these six massive pillars will be of strength sufficient to support the temple of British concord. I have no more doubt than I entertain of my existence that, if you admitted these, you would command an immediate 5 peace, and, with but tolerable future management, a lasting obedience in America. I am not arrogant in this confident assurance. The propositions are all mere matters of fact; and if they are such facts as draw irresistible conclusions even in the stating, this is the 10 power of truth, and not any management of mine.
Sir, I shall open the whole plan to you, together with such observations on the motions as may tend to illustrate them where they may want explanation. The first is a resolution,
15 That the colonies and plantations of Great Britain in North America, consisting of fourteen separate governments, and containing two millions and upwards of free inhabitants, have not had the liberty and privilege of electing and sending any knights and burgesses, or others, to represent them in the high court of Parlia- 20
This is a plain matter of fact, necessary to be laid down, and (excepting the description) it is laid down in the language of the constitution; it is taken nearly verbatim from acts of Parliament.
25 The second is like unto the first,
That the said colonies and plantations have been liable to, and bounden 1 by, several subsidies, payments, rates and taxes, given
BURKE ON CONCILIATION
and granted by Parliament, though the said colonies and plantations have not their knights and burgesses in the said high court of Parliament, of their own election, to represent the condition of their country; by lack whereof they have been oftentimes touched 5 and grieved by subsidies given, granted and assented to, in the said court, in a manner prejudicial to the comme
monwealth, quietness, rest and peace of the subjects inhabiting within the same.
Is this description too hot or too cold, too strong or too weak? Does it arrogate too much to the supreme 10 legislature? Does it lean too much to the claims of the
people? If it runs into any of these errors, the fault is not mine. It is the language of your own ancient acts of Parliament :
Non meus hic sermo, sed quae praecepit Ofellaeus,
It is the genuine produce of the ancient, rustic, manly, home-bred sense of this country,
I did not dare to rub off a particle of the venerable rust that rather adorns
and preserves, than destroys, the metal. It would be a 20 profanation to touch with a tool the stones which con
struct the sacred altar of peace. I would not violate with modern polish the ingenuous and noble roughness of these truly constitutional materials. Above all things,
I was resolved not to be guilty of tampering, — the 25 odious vice of restless and unstable minds. I put my
foot in the tracks of our forefathers, where I can neither wander nor stumble. Determining to fix articles of peace, I was resolved not to be wise beyond what was written; I was resolved to use nothing else than the form
of sound words, to let others abound in their own sense, and carefully to abstain from all expressions of my own. What the law has said, I say. In all things else I am silent. I have no organ but for her words. This, if it be not ingenious, I am sure is safe.
5 There are indeed words expressive of grievance in this second resolution, which those who are resolved always to be in the right will deny to contain matter of fact, as applied to the present case, although Parliament thought them true with regard to the counties of Chester and 10 Durham. They will deny that the Americans were ever “ touched and grieved ” with the taxes. If they consider nothing in taxes but their weight as pecuniary impositions, there might be some pretence for this denial. But men may be sorely touched and deeply 15 grieved in their privileges as well as in their purses. Men may lose little in property by the act which takes away all their freedom. When a man is robbed of a trifle on the highway, it is not the twopence lost that constitutes the capital outrage. This is not confined to privi- 20 leges. Even ancient indulgences withdrawn, without offence on the part of those who enjoyed such favors, operate as grievances. But were the Americans then not touched and grieved by the taxes, in some measure, merely as taxes? If so, why were they almost all either 25 wholly repealed or exceedingly reduced? Were they not touched and grieved even by the regulating duties of the sixth of George the Second ? Else why were the duties first reduced to one-third in 1764, and afterwards
to a third of that third in the year 1766? Were they not touched and grieved by the Stamp Act? I shall say they were, until that tax is revived. Were they not touched and grieved by the duties of 1767, which were 5 likewise repealed, and which Lord Hillsborough tells you
(for the ministry) were laid contrary to the true principle of commerce? Is not the assurance given by that noble person to the colonies of a resolution to lay no more
taxes on them, an admission that taxes would touch and 10 grieve them? Is not the resolution of the noble lord in
the blue ribbon, now standing on your journals, the strongest of all proofs that parliamentary subsidies really touched and grieved them? Else why all these changes, modifications, repeals, assurances and resolutions ?
The next proposition is,
That, from the distance of the said colonies and from other circumstances, no method hath hitherto been devised for procuring a representation in Parliament for the said colonies.
This is an assertion of a fact. I go no further on the 20 paper, though in my private judgment a useful repre
sentation is impossible. · I am sure it is not desired by them ; nor ought it, perhaps, by us: but I abstain from opinions.
The fourth resolution is,
25 That each of the said colonies hath within itself a body, chosen
in part or in the whole by the freemen, freeholders or other free inhabitants thereof, commonly called the general assembly, or gen
eral court, with powers legally to raise, levy and assess, according to the several usages of such colonies, duties and taxes towards defraying 1 all sorts of public services.
This competence in the colony assemblies is certain. It is proved by the whole tenor of their acts of supply in 5 all the assemblies, in which the constant style 2 of granting is, "An aid to his Majesty"; and acts granting to the crown have regularly for near a century passed the public offices without dispute. Those who have been pleased paradoxically to deny this right, holding that 10 none but the British Parliament can grant to the crown, are wished 3 to look to what is done, not only in the colonies, but in Ireland, in one uniform, unbroken tenor every session. Sir, I am surprised that this doctrine should come from some of the law servants of the crown. 15 I say that if the crown could be responsible, his Majesty
but certainly the ministers, and even these law officers themselves through whose hands the acts pass, biennially in Ireland or annually in the colonies, are in an habitual course of committing impeachable offences. What habit- 20 ual offenders have been all presidents of the council, all secretaries of state, all first lords of trade, all attorneys and all solicitors-general ! However, they are safe, as no one impeaches them; and there is no ground of charge against them, except in their own unfounded 2 theories.
Supply “ the cost of.”