페이지 이미지

under the effect of this short current phrase, Ministry can not refuse the authority of the which the court leaders have given out to all commander-in-chief, General Gage, who, in his their corps, in order to take away the credit of letter of the 4th of November, from New York, those who would prevent you from that frantic thus represents the state of things : wal you are going to wage upon your colonies. “It is difficult to say, from the highest to the Their cant is this : "All the distarbances in lowest, who has not been accessory to this insur. America have been created by the repeal of the rection, either by writing or mutual agreements Stamp Act." I suppress for a moment my in to oppose the act, by what they are pleased to digration at the falsehood, baseness, and absurd term all legal opposition to it. Nothing effectu. ity of this most audacious assertion. Instead of ally has been proposed, either to prevent or quell remarking on the motives and character of those the tumult. The rest of the provinces are in the who have issued it for circulation, I will clearly same situation as to a positive refusal to take the lay before you the state of America, antecedently stamps; and threatening those who shall tako to that repeal, after the repeal, and since the re- them, to plunder and murder them; and this af. gewal of the schemes of American taxation. fair stands in all the provinces, that unless the

It is said that the disturbances, if there were act, from its own nature, enforce itself, nothing The disturban. any before the repeal, were slight, but a very considerable military force can do it." alore the rest and without difficulty or inconven | It is remarkable, sir, that the persons who for peal. ience might have been suppressed. merly trumpeted forth the most loudly the violent For an answer to this assertion, I will send you resolutions of assemblies; the universal insurrec to the great author and patron of the Stamp Act, tions; the seizing and burning the stamped pa. who, certainly meaning well to the authority of pers; the forcing stamp officers to resign their this country, and fully apprised of the state of commissions under the gallows; the rifling and that, made, before a repeal was so much as ag. pulling down of the houses of magistrates; and itated in this House, the motion which is on your the expulsion from their country of all who dared journals; and which, to save the clerk the to write or speak a single word in defense of the trouble of turning to it, I will now read to you. powers of Parliament—these very trumpeters are It was for an amendment to the address of the now the men that represent the whole as a mere 17th of December, 1765.

trifle, and choose to date all the disturbances ** To express our just resentment and indigna- from the repeal of the Stamp Act, which put an tion at the outrageous tumults and insurrections end to them. Hear your officers abroad, and let which have been excited and carried on in North them refute ibis shameless falsehood, who, in all America; and at the resistance given by open their correspondence, state the disturbances as and rebellious force to the execution of the laws owing to their true causes, the discontent of the ir that part of his Majesty's dominions; and to people, from the taxes. You have this evidence asjure his Majesty that his faithful commons, an- in your own archives; and it will give you com. imated with the warmest duty and attachment plete satisfaction, if you are not so far lost to all to his royal person and government, will firmly parliamentary ideas of information as rather to and effectually support bis Majesty in all such credit the lie of the day than the records of your measures as shall be necessary for preserving own House. and supporting the legal dependence of the col- Sir, this vermin of court reporters, when they onies on the mother country," &c., &c. are forced into day upon one point, Did not spring Here was certainly a disturbance preceding are sure to burrow in another; but from opposition

in the House to the repeal; such a disturbance as Mr. Grenville they shall have no refuge; I will the stap Act

wben passed. thought necessary to qualify by the name of an make them bolt out of all their holes. when insurrection, and the epithet of a rebellious force : Conscious that they must be baffled, when they 'erms much stronger than any by which those attribute a precedent disturbance to a subse. who then supported his motion have ever since quent measure, they take other ground, almost bought proper to distinguish the subsequent dis- as absurd, but very common in modern practice, turbances in America. They were disturbances and very wicked; which is, to attribute the ill which seemed to him and his friends to justify as effect of ill-judged conduct to the arguments strong a promise of support as hath been usual which had been used to dissuade us from it. to give in the beginning of a war with the most They say that the opposition made in Parliament powerful and declared enemies. When the ac-to the Stamp Act, at the time of its passing, en. counts of the American governors came before couraged the Americans to their resistance. This che House, they appeared stronger even than the has even formally appeared in print in a regular warmth of public imagination had painted them ; volume, from an advocate of that faction, a Doc. so mnch stronger, that the papers on your table tor Tucker. This Doctor Tucker is already a bear me out in saying, that all the late disturb- dean, and his earnest labors in this vineyard will, ances, which have been at one time the minister's I suppose, raise him to a bishopric. But this as motives for the repeal of five out of six of the sertion, too, just like the rest, is false. In all the new court taxes, and are now his pretenses for papers which have loaded your table; in all the refrsing to repeal that sixth, did not amount- vast crowd of verbal witnesses that appeared at why do I compare ibem ? no, not to a tenth part your bar—witnesses which were indiscriminate. of the tumults and violence which prevailed long ly produced from both sides of the House-N01 helure the repeal of that act.

the least hint of such a cause of disturbance ha.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ever appeared. As to the fact of a strenuous of as late a date, were sent from other governopposition to the Stamp Act, I sat as a stranger ors, and all directed to Lord Halifax. Not one in your gallery when the act was under consid. of these letters indı.ates the slightest idea of a eration. Far from any thing inflammatory, I change, either known, or even apprehended. never heard a more languid debate in this House. Thus are blown away the insect race of couriNo more than two or three gentlenien, as I re. ly falsehoods! thus perish the miserable inven. member, spoke against the act, and that with tions of the wretched runners for a wretched great reserve and remarkable temper. There cause, which they have flyblown into every weak was but one division in the whole progress of the and rotten part of the country, in vain hopes that bill; and the minority did not reach to more than when their maggots had taken wing, their impor. thirty-nine or forty. In the House of Lords I do tunate buzzing might sound something like the not recollect that there was any debate or divi. public voice! sion at all. I am sure there was no protest. In Sir, I have troubled you sufficiently with the fact, the affair passed with so very, very little state of America before the repeal. The disturban noise, that in town they scarcely knew the na. Now I turn to the honorable gentle- feed considering ture of what you were doing. The opposition man who so stoutly challenges us to the repeat. to the bill in England never could have done tell whether, aster the repeal, the provinces were this mischief, because there scarcely ever was quiet? This is coming home to the point. Here less of opposition to a bill of consequence. I meet him directly, and answer most readily :

Sir, the agents and distributors of falsehoods They were quict. And I, in my turn, challenge For from the have, with their usual industry, cir- him to provo when, where, and by whom, and in

i culated another lie of the same na- what numbers, and with what violence, the other 'stry.

ture of the former. It is this, that laws of trade, as gentlemen assert, were violated the disturbances arose from the account which in consequence of your concession ? or that even had been received in America of the change in your other revenue laws were attacked ? Bat 1 the ministry. No longer awed, it seems, with quit the vantage ground on which I stand, and the spirit of the former rulers, they thought them- where I might leave the burden of proof upon selves a match for what our calumniators choose him. I walk down upon the open plain, and un. to qualify by the name of so seeble a ministry as dertake to show that they were not only quiet, succeeded. Feeble in one sense these men cer- but showed many unequivocal marks of acknow).

ainly may be called; for, with all their efforts, edgment and gratitude. And, to give him every and they have made many, they have not been advantage, I select the obnoxious colony of Mas able to resist the distempered vigor and insane sachusetts Bay, which at this time (but without alacrity with which you are rushing to your ruin. hearing her) is so heavily a culprit before Par. But it does so happen, that the falsity of this cir. liament. I will select their proceedings cren culation is, like the rest, demonstrated by indis- under circumstances of no small irritation; for, putable dates and records.

a little imprudently, I must say, Governor Ber. So little was the change known in America, nard mixed in the administration of the lenitive that the letters of your governors, giving an ac- of the repeal no small acrimony arising from mat count of these disturbances long after they had ters of a separate nature. Yet see, sir, the effect arrived at their highest pitch, were all directed of that lenitive, though mixed with these bitter to the old ministry, and particularly to the Earl ingredients; and how this rugged people can of Halifax, the secretary of state corresponding express themselves on a measure of concession with the colonies, without once in the smallest “If it is not in our power," say they, in their degree intimating the slightest suspicion of any address to Governor Bernard, “in so full a matministerial revolution whatsoever. The ministry ner as will be expected, to show our res tetful was not changed in England until the 10th day of gratitude to the mother country, or to make a July, 1765. On the 14th of the preceding June, dutiful and aflectionate return to the indulgence Governor Fauquier, from Virginia, writes thus, of the King and Parliament, it shall be no fault and writes thus to the Earl of Halifax: “Gov- of ours; for this we intend, and hope we shall be ernment is set at defiance, not having strength able fully to effect.” enough in her hands to enforce obedience to | Would to God that this temper had been enlthe laws of the country. The private distress tivated, managed, and set in action! Oiher er. which every man feels, increases the general dis. fects than those which we have since felt would satisfaction at the duties laid by the Stamp Act, have resulted from it. On the requisition for which breaks out and shows itself upon every tri compensation to those who had suffered from the fling occasion." The general dissatisfaction had violence of the populace, in the same address produced some time before, that is, on the 29th of they say: “The recommendation enjoined by May, several strong public resolves against the Mr. Secretary Conway's letter, and in conse. Stamp Act; and those resolves are assigned by quence thereof made to us, we will embrace the liovernor Bernard as the cause of the insurrec- first convenient opportunity to consider and act tions in Massachusetts Bay, in his letter of the upon." They did consider; they did act upon 15th of August, still addressed to the Earl of it. They obeyed the requisitiin. I know the Halifax; and he continued to address such ac mode has been chicaned upon; but it was sub pounts to that minister quite to the 7th of Sep-stantially obeyed, and much better obeyed that ember of the same year. Similar accounts, and I feer the parliamentary requisition of this ses

[ocr errors]

sion will be though enforced by all your rigor, and there a bit of white; patriots and courtiers, and backed with all your power. In a word, king's friends and Republicans, Whigs and To the damages of popular fury were compensated ries, treacherous friends and open enemies; that by legislative gravity. Almost erery other part it was indeed a very curious show, but utterly of America in various ways demonstrated their unsafe to touch, and unsure to stand on. The gratitude. I am bold to say, that so sudden a colleagues whom he had assorted at the saine calm recovered after so violent a storm is with | boards, stared at each other, and wore obliged out parallel in history. To say that no other to ask, “Sir, your name? Sir, you have the addisturbance should happen from any other cause, vantage of me-Mr. Such-a-one-I beg a thou. s folly. But, as far as appearances went, by the sand pardons." I venture to say, it did so hap. judicious sacrifice of one law, you procured an pen, that persons had a single office divided be. acquiescence in all that remained. After this tween them, who had never spoke to each other experience, nobody shall persuade me, when a in their lives, until they found themselves, they whole people are concerned, that acts of lenity knew not how, pigging together, heads and are not means of conciliation.

points, in the same truckle-bed.23 I hope the honorable gentleman has received Sir, in consequence of this arrangement, hav a fair and full answer to his question.

ing put so much the larger portion of his enemies (4.) I have done with the third period of your and opposers in power, the confusion was such, fourts Period. policy-that of your repeal; and the that his own principles could not possibly have Spatates fard return of your ancient system, and any effect or influence in the conduct of affairs. 10**ed, as your ancient tranquillity and con- If ever he fell into a fit of the gout, or if any other was thin cord. Sir, this period was not as cause withdrew him from public cares, principles

long as it was happy. Another scene directly the contrary were sure to predominate. was opened, and other actors appeared on the When he had executed his plan, he had not an stage. The state, in the condition I have de- inch of ground to stand upcn. When he had ac. scribed it, was delivered into the hands of Lord complished his scheme of administration, he was Chatham-a great and celebrated name-a name no longer a minister. ihat keeps the name of this country respectable When his face was hid but for a moment, his in every other on the globe. It may be truly whole system was on a wide sea, without chart called

or compass. The gentlemen, his particular Clarum et venerabile nomen,

friends, who, with the names of various departGentibas, et multum nostræ quod proderat urbi. 2 ments of ministry, were admitted to seem as if

Sir, the venerable age of this great man, his they acted under him, with a modesty that be. merited rank, bis superior eloquence, his splen- comes all men, and with a confidence in him did qcalities, his eminent services, the vast space which was justified, even in its extravagance, by be fills in the eye of mankind, and, more than all his superior abilities, had never, in any instance, The rest, bis fall from power, which, like death, presumed upon any opinion of their own. Decanonizes and sanctifies a great character, will prived of his guiding influence, they were whirled not suffer me to censure any part of his conduct. about, the sport of every gust, and easily driven I am afraid to flatter him ; I am sure I am not into any port; and as those who joined with them disposed to blame him. Let those who have be | in marning the vessel were the most directly op. trayed him by their adulation, insult him with posite to his opinions, measures, and character, their malevolence. But what I do not presume and far the most artful and most powerful of the to censure, I may have leave to lament. For a set, they easily prevailed, so as to seize upon the wise man, he seemed to me at that time to be vacant, unoccupied, and derelict minds of his governed too much by general maxims. I speak friends; and instantly they turned the vessel with the freedom of history, and, I hope, without wholly out of the course of his policy. As if it offense. One or two of these maxims, flowing

were to insult as well as to betray him, even from an opinion not the most indulgent to our long before the close of the first session of his unhappy species, and surely a little too general, administration, when every thing was publicly bed him into measures that were greatly mis

transacted, and with great parade, in his name, chievous to himself; and, for that reason, among

they made an act declaring it highly just and otbers, perhaps, fatal to his country ; measures, expedient to raise a revenue in America. For the effects of which, I am afraid, are forever in- even then, sir, even before this splendid orb was curable. He made an administration so check- entirely set, and while the western horizon was ered and speckled; he put together a piece of in a blaze with his descending glory, on the opjoinery so crossly indented and whimsically dove-posite quarter of the heavens arose another luailed; a cabinet so variously inlaid ; such a piece minary, and, for his hour, became lord of the asof diversified mosaic; such a tesselated pave- ccndant. ment without cement; here a bit of black stone, | This light, too, is passed and set forever. You

understand, to be sure, that ! speak of Charles :: A name illustrious and revered by nations,

And rich in blessings for our country's good. 23 Supposed to allade to the Right Honorable Lord The passage may be found in Lucan's Pharsalia, North, and George Cooke, Esq., who were made book is., v. 202, and forms part of the character of joint paymasters in the summer of 1766, on the re. Pompey, as pat by the poet in the mouth of Cato. Imoval of the Rockingham administrati in.

I'ownsend, orficially the reproducer of this fatal imperfect, is not unamiable. Like all great pubscheme, whom I can not even now remember lic collections of men, you possess a marked love without some degree of sensibility. In truth, of virtue, and an abhorrence of vice. But amoug sir, he was the delight and ornament of this vices, there is none which the House abhors in the House, and the charm of every society which he same degree with obstinacy. Obstinacy, sir, is honored with his presence. Perhaps there never certainly a great vice; and, in the changeful arose in this country, nor in any country, a man state of political affairs, it is frequently the cause of a more pointed and finished wit, and (where his of great mischief. It happens, however, very unpassions were not concerned) of a more refined, fortunately, that almost the whole line of the great yxquisite, and penetrating judgment. If he had and masculine virtues, constancy, gravity, mag. not so great a stock as some have had who flour- nanimity, fortitude, fidelity, and firmness, are ished formerly, of knowledge long treasured up, closely allied to this disagreeable quality, of he knew better by far, than any man I ever was which you have so just an abhorrence; and, in acquainted with, how to bring together within a their excess, all these virtues very easily fall ir.to short time all that was necessary to establish, to it. He who paid such a punctilious attention to illustrate, and to decorate that side of the ques- all your feelings, certainly took care not to shock tion be supported. He stated his matter skill- them by that vice which is the most disgustful fully and powerfully. He particularly excelled to you. in a most luminous explanation and display of his That fear of displeasing those who ought most subject. His style of argument was neither to be pleased, betrayed him sometimes into the trite and vulgar, nor subtle and abstruse. He other extreme. He had voted, and, in the year hit the House just between wind and water; and, 1765, had been an advocate for the Stamp Act, not being troubled with too anxious a zeal for any Things and the disposition of men's minds were matter in question, he was never more tedious or changed. In short, the Stamp Act began to be more earnest than the preconceived opinions and no favorite in this House. He therefore attend. present temper of his hearers required, to whom ed at the private meeting in which the resolu. he was always in perfect unison. He conformed lions moved by a right honorable gentleman were exactly to the temper of the House; and he settled-resolutions leading to the repeal. The seemed to guide, because he was always sure to next day he voted for that repeal—and he would follow it.

have spoken for it, too, if an illness (not, as was I beg pardon, sir, if, when I speak of this and then given out, a political, but, to my knowledge, other great men, I appear to digress in saying a very real illness) had not prevented it. 3mething of their characters. In this eventful The very next session, as the fashion of this history of the revolutions of America, the charac- world passeth away, the repeal began to be in bers of such men are of much importance. Great as bad an odor in this House as the Stamp Aet men are the guide-posts and land-marks in the had been in the session before. To conform to state. The credit of such men at court, or in the the temper which began to prevail, and to pre. nation, is the sole cause of all the public meas- vail mostly among those most in power, he deures. It would be an invidious thing (most for- clared, very early in the winter, that a revenue eign, I trust, to what you think my disposition) must be had out of America. Instantly he was to remark the errors into which the authority of tied down to his engagements by some who had great names has brought the nation, without do- no objections to such experiments, when made ing justice at the same time to the great quali- at the cost of persons for whom they had no rarties whence that authority arose. The subject | ticular regard. 24 . The whole body of courtiers is instrnctive to those who wish to form them- drove him onward. They always talked as if selves on whatever of excellence has gone before the King stood in a sort of humiliated state unti them. There are many young members in the something of the kind should be done. House (such of late has been the rapid succes. Here this extraordinary man, then Chancellor sion of public men) who never saw that prodigy, of the Exchequer, found himself in great straits. Charles Townsend, nor, of course, know what a To please universally was the object of his life: ferment he was able to excite in every thing, by but to tax and to please, no more than to love the violent ebullition of his mixed virtues and fail. and to be wise, is not given to men. However, ings. For failings he had, undoubtedly. Many he attempted it. To render the tax palatable to of us remember them. We are this day consid the partisans of American revenue, he made a ering the effect of them. But he had no failings preamble stating the necessity of such a revenue. which were not owing to a noble cause-to an To close with the American distinction, this rev. ardent, generous, perhaps an immoderate passion enue was external, or port duty; but again, to for fame--a passion which is the instinct of all sosten it to the other party, it was a duty of great souls. He worshiped that goddess where- supply. To gratify the colonists, it was laid on Boever she appeared; but he paid his particular British manufactures; to satisfy the merchants devotions to her in her favorite habitation, in her of Britain, the duty was trivial, and, except tha chosen temple, the House of Commons. Be- on tea, which touched only the devoted East Insides the characters of the individuals that com- dia Company, on none of the grand objects of pose our body, it is impossible, Mr. Speaker, not 24 See the introduction to Lord Chatham's speech to observe, that this House has a collective char- touching America, p. 126, where the circumstances meter of its own. That character, too, however of this engagement are stated.


sommerce. Tu counterwork the American con- Hence arose this unfortunate act, the subject traband, the daty on tea was reduced from a shil- of this day's debate; from a disposition which, ling to threepence. But, to secure the favor of after making an American revenue to please one, those who would tax America, the scene of col- repealed it to please others, and again revived it lection was changed, and, with the rest, it was in hopes of pleasing a third, and of catching somelevied in the colonies. What need I say more thing in the ideas of all. This fine-gpun scheme had the usual fate of all (5.) The revenue act of 1767 formed the found exqu.site policy. But the original plan of the period of American policy. How we have fared daties, and the mode of executing that plan, both since then; what woeful variety of schemes have arose singly and solely from a love of our ap- been adopted : what ensorcing and what repeal. plause. He was truly the child of the House. ing; what bullying and what submitting ; what He never thought, did, or said any thing but with doing and undoing; what straining and what rea view to you. He every day adapted himself laxing; what assemblies dissolved for not obey. to your disposition, and adjusted himself before iting, and called again without obedience; what ** a looking-glass.25

troops sent out to quell resistance, and, on meetHe had observed (indeed, it could not escape ing that resistance, recalled; what shiftings, and hun) that several persons, infinitely his inferiors changes, and jumblings of all kinds of men at wall respects, had formerly rendered themselves home, which left no possibility of order, consist. 141. suderable in this House by one method alone. ency, vigor, or even so much as a decent unity of l'upy irere a race of men (I hope in God the spe- color in any one public measure—It is a tedious, per is extinct) who, when they rose in their place, irksome task. My daty may call me to open it illt man living could divine, from any known ad-out some other time; on a former occasion I tried he ence to parties, to opinions, or to principles, your temper on a part of it ;26 for the present I Ifun any order or system in their politics, or from shall forbear. any sequel or connection in their ideas, what part After all these changes and agitations, you l'hey were going to take in any debate. It is as- | immediate situation upon the question immer

bing how much this uncertainty, especially on your paper is at length brought to repeal now de ul critical times, called the attention of all par- this. You have an act of Parliament," les on such men. All eyes were fixed on them, stating that "it is expedient to raise a revenue a. Fars open to hear them. Each party gaped, in America." By a partial repoal you annibi. and looked alternately for their vote, almost to lated the greatest part of that revenue, which the end of their speeches. While the House this preamble declares to be so expedient. You bing in this uncertainty, now the hear-him's rose bave substituted no other in the place of it. A from this side-now they rebellowed from the secretary of state has disclaimed, in the King's other; and that party to whom they fell at length name, all thoughts of such a substitution in lufrom their tremulous and dancing balance, always ture. The principle of this disclaimer goes to received them in a tempest of applause. The for what has been left as well as what has been retune of such men was a temptation too great to be pealed. The tax which lingers after its comresisted by one to whom a single whiff of incense panions (under a preamble declaring an Ameriwithheld gave much greater pain than he re- can revenue expedient, and for the sole purpose reived delight in the clouds of it which daily rose of supporting the theory of that preamble) mili. about him, from the prodigal superstition of innu- tates with the assurance authentically conveyed merable admirers. He was a candidate for con- to the colonies, and is an exhaustless source of tradictory honors, and his great aim was to make jealousy and animosity. On this state, which I those agree in admiration of him who never | take to be a fair one, not being able to discern any agreed in any thing else.

grounds of honor, advantage, peace, or power, for

adhering either to the act or to the preamble, I * Mr. Burke has here touched with great tender. shall vote for the question which leads to the reDess and forbearance on the peculiar faults of Town- peal of both. setal. Horace Walpole has given them with per- If you do not fall in with this motion, then sebape too mach prominence in the following sketch:

cure something to fight for, consistent in theory * He had almost every great talent and every little

and valuable in practice. If you must employ gaality. His vanity exceeded even his abilities, and bis suspicions seemed to make bim doubt whether be

your strength, employ it to uphold you in soms had any. With such a capacity, he must have been

honorable right or some profitable wrong. If the greatest man of his age, and perhaps inferior to you are apprehensive that the concession recom1x man in any age, had his faults been only in a mod. mended to you, though proper, should be a means erate proportion-in short, if he had had but common of drawing on you farther but unreasonable trath, common sincerity, common honesty, common claims, why then employ your force in support. modesty, common stendiness, common courage, and

ing that reasonable concession against those uncommon sense." Sir Dennis Le Marchant remarks

| reasonable demands. You will employ it with in a note: “This portrait has the broad lines of truth, and is more to be depended upon than Mr.

more grace, with better effect, and with great Burke's splendid and affectionate panegyric (Speech

probable concurrence of all the quiet and rationan American Taxation); and yet, who can blame the al people in the provinces, who are now united warmth with which this great man claims admiration for a genius which in some points resembled 26 By moving certain resolutions relative to the bis own ?"

| disturbances in America, in May, 1770.

« 이전계속 »