« PreviousContinue »
to have overturned the state in the war before firmities), I will beg to say a few words at piesthe last. These men, in the last war, were ent, leaving the justice, the equity, the policy, brought to combat on your side. They served the expediency of the act to another time. with fidelity, as they fought with valor, and con- I will only speak to one point, a point which quered for you in every part of the world. De- seems not to have been generally understood. I tested be the national reflections against them! mean to the right. Some gentlemen (alluding They are unjust, groundless, illiberal, unmanly! to Mr. Nugent) seem to have considered it as When I ceased to serve his Majesty as a min- a point of honor. If gentlemen consider it in ister, it was not the country of the man by which that light, they leave all measures of right and I was moved — but the man of that country wrong, to follow a delusion that may lead to dewanted wisdom, and held principles incompati-struction. It is my opinion, that this kingdom ble with freedom.?
has no right to lay a tax upon the colonies. At It is a long time, Mr. Speaker, since I have the same time, I assert the authority of this attended in Parliament. When the resolution kingdom over the colonies to be sovereign and was taken in this House to tax America, I was supreme, in every circumstance of government ill in bed. If I could have endured to be car- and legislation whatsoever. They are the subried in my bed—so great was the agitation of jects of this kingdom ; equally entitled with your. my mind for the consequences—I would have selves to all the natural rights of mankind and solicited some kind hand to have laid me down the peculiar privileges of Englishmen; equally on this floor, to have borne my testimony against bound by its laws, and equally participating in it! It is now an act that has passed. I would the constitution of this free country. The Amerspeak with decency of every act of this House ; icans are the sons, not the bastards of England ! but I must beg the indulgence of the House to Taxation is no part of the governing or legislaspeak of it with freedom.
The taxes are a voluntary gift I hope a day may soon be appointed to con- and grant of the Commons alone. In legislation sider the state of the nation with respect to the three estates of the realm are alike concernAmerica. I hope gentlemen will come to this ed; but the concurrence of the peers and the debate with all the temper and impartiality that Crown to a tax is only necessary to clothe it his Majesty recommends, and the importance of with the form of a law. The gift and grant is the subject requires ; a subject of greater im- of the Commons alone. In ancient days, the portance than ever engaged the attention of this Crown, the barons, and the clergy possessed the House, that subject only excepted, when, near a lands. In those days, the barons and the clergy century ago, it was the question, whether you gave and granted to the Crown. They gave yourselves were to be bond or free. In the and granted what was their own! mean time, as I can not depend upon my health since the discovery of America, and other cirfor any future day (such is the nature of my in- cumstances permitting, the Commons are bea It need hardly be said that Lord Bute is aimed (God bless it!) has but a pittance. The prop
come the proprietors of the land. The Church at throughout the whole of these two paragraphs. The passage illustrates a mode of attack which erty of the lords, compared with that of the comLord Chatham often used, that of pointing at an in- mons, is as a drop of water in the ocean; and dividual in a manner at once so significant as to ar. this House represents those commons, the prorest attention, and yet remote as to involve no prietors of the lands; and those proprietors virbreach of decorum-saying the severest things by tually represent the rest of the inhabitants. implication, and leaving the hearer to apply them; When, therefore, in this House, we give and thus avoiding the coarseness of personal invective,
But and giving a wide scope for ingenuity in the most grant, we give and grant what is our own. stinging allusions. In the present case, the allusion
in an American tax, what do we do? “We, to Bute as having “made a sacrifice" of Chatham, by your Majesty's Commons for Great Britain, give driving him from power through a secret ascendency and grant to your Majesty"-what? Oar own over the King; to "the traces of an overruling in property ? No! "We give and grant to your Auence" from the same quarter as a reason for with Majesty" the property of your Majesty's comholding confidence from the new ministry ; and to mons of America! It is an absurdity in terms. Bute's shrinking from that responsibility which the The distinction between legislation and taxAct of Settlement imposed upon all advisers of ation is essentially necessary to liberty. The the King-these and other allusions to the favorite Crown and the peers are equally legislative powof George III. would be instantly understood and keenly felt among a people who have always re
ers with the Commons. If taxation be a part garded the character of a favorite with dread and of simple legislation, the Crown and the peers abhorrence. Lord Chatham, to avoid the imputa- have rights in taxation as well as yourselves ; tion of being influenced in what he said by the pre- rights which they will claim, which they will vailing prejudices against Bute as a Scotchman, re. exercise, whenever the principle can be supportfers to himself, in glowing language, as the first ed by power. minister who employed Highlanders in the army; There is an idea in some that the colonies are calling " from the mountains of the North” “ a hardy virtually represented in the House. I would and intrepid race of men,” who had been alienated by previous severity, but who, by that one act of fain know by whom an American is represented confidence, were indissolubly attached to the house here. Is he represented by any knight of the of Hazover.
shire, in any county in this kingdom? Would 3 At the Revolution of 1688.
to God that respectable representation was aug.
mented to a greater number! Or will you tell | in the reign of Henry VIII., the other in that of him that he is represented by any representative Charles II. (Mr. Grenville then quoted the acts, of a borough? a borough which, perhaps, its and desired that they might be read; which beown representatives never saw! This is what ing done, he said,) When I proposed to tax is called the rotten part of the Constitution. It America, I asked the House if any gentleman can not continue a century. If it does not drop, would object to the right; I repeatedly asked it, it must be amputated. The idea of a virtual and no man would attempt to deny it. Protecrepresentation of America in this House is the tion and obedience are reciprocal. Great Britmost contemptible idea that ever entered into ain protects America; America is bound to yield the head of a man. It does not deserve a se- obedience. If not, tell me when the Americans rious refutation.
were emancipated? When they want the proThe Commons of America, represented in tection of this kingdom, they are always very their several assemblies, have ever been in pos- ready to ask it. That protection has always session of the exercise of this, their constitutional been afforded them in the most full and ample right, of giving and granting their own money. manner. The nation has run herself into an imThey would have been slaves if they had not mense debt to give them their protection; and enjoyed it! At the same time, this kingdom, now, when they are called upon to contribute a as the supreme governing and legislative power, small share toward the public expense-an exhas always bound the colonies by her laws, by pense arising from themselves--they renounce her regulations, and restrictions in trade, in nav- your anthority, insult your officers, and break igation, in manufactures, in every thing, except out, I might almost say, into open rebellion. that of taking their money out of their pockets The seditious spirit of the colonies owes its without their consent.
birth to the factions in this House. Gentlemen Here I would draw the line,
are careless of the consequences of what they Quam ultra citraque peque consistere rectum.s say, provided it answers the purposes of opposi.
(As soon as Lord Chatham concluded, Gen- tion. We were told we trod on tender ground. eral Conway arose, and succinctly avowed his We were bid to expect disobedience. What is entire approbation of that part of his Lordship’s this but telling the Americans to stand out speech which related to American affairs, but against the law, to encourage their obstinacy disclaimed altogether that “secret overruling with the expectation of support from hence ? influence which had been hinted at.” Mr. "Let us only hold out a little," they would say, George Grenville, who followed in the debate,
our friends will soon be in power.” Ungrateexpatiated at large on the tumults and riots ful people of America ! Bounties have been exwhich had taken place in the colonies, and de- tended to them. When I had the honor of serv. clared that they bordered on rebellion. He con- ing the Crown, while you yourselves were loaddemned the language and sentiments which he ed with an enormous debt, you gave bounties on had heard as encouraging a revolution. A por- their lumber, on their iron, their hemp, and many tion of his speech is here inserted, as explanatory other articles. You have relaxed in their favor of the replication of Lord Chatham.]
the Act of Navigation, that palladium of the I can not, said Mr. Grenville, understand the British commerce; and yet I have been abused difference between external and internal taxes. in all the public papers as an enemy to the trade They are the same in effect, and differ only in of America. I have been particularly charged name. That this kingdom has the sovereign, with giving orders and instructions to prevent the supreme legislative power over America, is the Spanish trade, and thereby stopping the changranted; it can not be denied; and taxation is a nel by which alone North America used to be part of that sovereign power. It is one branch supplied with cash for remittances to this counof the legislation. It is, it has been, exercised try. I defy any man to produce any such orover those who are not, who were never repre- ders or instructions. I discouraged no trade but sented. It is exercised over the India Company, what was illicit, what was prohibited by an act the merchants of London, the proprietors of the of Parliament. I desire a West India merchant stocks, and over many great manufacturing (Mr. Long), well known in the city, a gentletowns. It was exercised over the county pala- man of character, may be examined. He will tine of Chester, and the bishopric of Durham, tell you that I offered to do every thing in my before they sent any representatives to Parlia- power to advance the trade of America. I was ment. I appeal for proof to the preambles of above giving an answer to anonymous calum. the acts which gave them representatives ; one nies; but in this place it becomes one to wipe
off the aspersion. * We have here the first mention made by any (Here Mr. Grenville ceased.. Several memEnglish statesman of a reform in the borough sys- bers got up to speak, but Mr. Pitt seeming to tem. A great truth once uttered never dies. The rise, the House was so clamorous for Mr. Pitt! Reform Bill of Earl Grey had its origin in the mind Mr. Pitt! that the speaker was obliged to call of Chatham. . On neither side of which we can rightly stand
to order.] • Mr. Grenville, it will be remembered, had now
Mr. Pitt said, I do not apprehend I am speakno connection with the ministry, but was attempting ing twice. I did expressly reserve a part of my to defend his Stamp Act against the attack of Mr. subject, in order to save the time of this House; Pitt.
but I am compelled to proceed in it. I do not speak twice; I only finish what I designedly left| tutional rights. That was reserved to mark the imperfect. But if the House is of a different era of the late administration. Not that there opinion, far be it from me to indulge a wish of were wanting some, when I had the honor to transgression against order. I am content, if it serve his Majesty, to propose to me to burn my be your pleasure, to be silent. [Here he paused. fingers with an American stamp act. With the The House resounding with Go on! go on! he enemy at their back, with our bayonets at their proceeded :)
breasts, in the day of their distress, perhaps the Gentlemen, sir, have been charged with giv- Americans would have submitted to the imposiing birth to sedition in America. They have tion; but it would have been taking an ungen. spoken their sentiments with freedom against erous, an unjust advantage. The gentleman this unhappy act, and that freedom has become boasts of his bounties to America ! Are not their crime. Sorry I'am to hear the liberty of these bounties intended finally for the benefit of speech in this House imputed as a crime. But this kingdom? If they are not, he has misapthe imputation shall not discourage me. It is plied the national treasures ! a liberty I mean to exercise. No gentleman I am no courtier of America. I stand up for ought to be afraid to exercise it. It is a liberty this kingdom. I maintain that the Parliament by which the gentleman who calumniates it has a right to bind, to restrain America. Our might have profited. He ought to have desist- legislative power over the colonies is sovereign ed from his project. The gentleman tells us, and supreme. When it ceases to be sovereign America is obstinate ; America is almost in open and supreme, I would advise every gentleman rebellion. I rejoice that America has resisted. to sell his lands, if he can, and embark for that Three millions of people, so dead to all the feel-country. When two countries are connected to. ings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be gether like England and her colonies, without slaves, would have been fit instruments to make being incorporated, the one must necessarily slaves of the rest. I come not here armed at govern. The greater must rule the less. But all points, with law cases and acts of Parlia- she must so rule it as not to contradict the funment, with the statute book doubled down in damental principles that are common to both. dog's ears, to defend the cause of liberty. If I If the gentleman does not understand the difhad, I myself would have cited the two cases ofference between external and internal taxes, I Chester and Durham. I would have cited them can not help it. There is a plain distinction beto show that, even under former arbitrary reigns, tween taxes levied for the purposes of raising a Parliaments were ashamed of taxing a people revenue, and duties imposed for the regulation without their consent, and allowed them repre- of trade, for the accommodation of the subject; sentatives. Why did the gentleman confine him- although, in the consequences, some revenue self to Chester and Durham ? He might have may incidentally arise from the latter. taken a higher example in Wales-Wales, that The gentlenian asks, When were the colonies never was taxed by Parliament till it was incor- emancipated ? I desire to know, when were porated. I would not debate a particular point they made slaves ? But I dwell not upon words. of law with the gentleman. I know his abili. When I had the honor of serving his Majesty, I ties. I have been obliged to his diligent re- availed myself of the means of information which searches. But, for the defense of liberty, upon I derived from my office. I speak, therefore, a general principle, upon a constitutional prin- from knowledge. My materials were good. I ciple, it is a ground on which I stand firm-on was at pains to collect, to digest, to consider which I dare meet any man. The gentleman them; and I will be bold to affirm, that the prof. tells us of many who are taxed, and are not rep- its to Great Britain from the trade of the coloresented—the India Company, merchants, stock- nies, through all its branches, is two millions a holders, manufacturers. Surely many of these year. This is the fund that carried you triumphare represented in other capacities, as owners of antly through the last war. The estates that land, or as freemen of boroughs. It is a mis- were rented at two thousand pounds a year, fortune that more are not equally represented. threescore years ago, are at three thousand at But they are all inhabitants, and, as such, are present. Those estates sold then from fifteen to they not virtually represented ? Many have it eighteen years purchase; the same may now bo in their option to be actually represented. They sold for thirty. You owe this to America. This have connections with those that elect, and they is the price America pays you for her protechave influence over them. The gentleman men- tion. And shall a miserable financier come with tioned the stockholders. I hope he does not a boast, that he can bring "a pepper-corn” into
“ reckon the debts of the nation as a part of the the exchequer by the loss of millions to the nanational estate.
tion ?? I dare not say how much higher these Since the accession of King William, many profits may be augmented. Omitting (i. e., not ministers, some of great, others of more moder- iaking into account) the immense increase of ate abilities, have taken the lead of government. people, by natural population, in the northern · [Here Mr. Pitt went through the list of them, colonies, and the emigration from every part of bringing it down till he came to himself, giving
? Alluding to Mr. Nugent, who had said that “a a short sketch of the characters of each, and peppercorn in acknowledgment of the right to tax then proceeded :] None of these thought, or even America, was of more value than millions without dreamed, of robbing the colonies of their consti- it."
Enrope, I am convinced (on other grounds) that gentleman only excepted, since removed to the the commercial system of America may be al- Upper House by succession to an ancient bartered to advantage. You have prohibited where ony (Lord Le Despencer, formerly Sir Francis you ought to have encouraged. You have en- Dashwood). He told me he did not like a Gercouraged where you ought to have prohibited. man war. I honored the man for it, and was Improper restraints have been laid on the conti- sorry when he was turned out of his post. Dent in favor of the islands. You have but two A great deal has been said without doors of nations to trade with in America. Would you the power, of the strength of America. It is a had twenty! Let acts of Parliament in conse- topic that ought to be cautiously meddled with. quence of treaties remain; but let not an En- In a good cause, on a sound bottom, the force glish minister become a custom-house officer of this country can crush America to atoms. I for Spain, or for any foreign power. Much is know the valor of your troops. I know the skill wrong! Much may be amended for the gen- of your officers. There is not a company of foot eral good of the whole !
that has served in America, out of which you Does the gentleman complain he has been may not pick a man of sufficient knowledge and misrepresented in the public prints? It is a cxperience to make a governor of a colony there. common misfortune. In the Spanish affair of But on this ground, on the Stamp Act, which so the last war, I was abused in all the newspapers many here will think a crying injustice, I am for having advised his Majesty to violate the laws one who will lift up my hands against it. of nations with regard to Spain. The abuse was In such a cause, your success would be hazindustriously circulated even in handbills. If ardous. America, if she fell, would fall like the administration did not propagate the abuse, ad- strong man; she would embrace the pillars of ministration never contradicted it. I will not the state, and pull down the Constitution along say what advice I did give the King. My ad- with her. Is this your boasted peace-not to vice is in writing, signed by myself, in the pos- sheathe the sword in its scabbard, but to sheathe session of the Crown. But I will say what ad- it in the bowels of your countrymen? Will you vice I did not give to the King. I did not ad- quarrel with yourselves, now the whole house of vise him to violate any of the laws of nations. Bourbon is united against you; wbile France
As to the report of the gentleman's prevent disturbs your fisheries in Newfoundland, embaring in some way the trade for bullion with the rasses your slave trade to Africa, and withholds Spaniards, it was spoken of so confidently that I from your subjects in Canada their property own I am one of those who did believe it to be stipulated by treaty; while the ransom for the true.
Manillas is denied by Spain, and its gallant conThe gentleman must not wonder he was not queror basely traduced into a mean plunderer! contradicted when, as minister, he asserted the a gentleman (Colonel Draper) whose noble and right of Parliament to tax America. I know generous spirit would do honor to the proudest not how it is, but there is a modesty in this grandee of the country? The Americans have House which does not choose to contradict a not acted in all things with prudence and temminister. Even your chair, sir, looks too often per : they have been wronged; they have been woward St. James's. I wish gentlemen would driven to madness by injustice. Will you pun. get the better of this modesty. If they do not, ish them for the madness you have occasioned ? perhaps the collective body may begin to abate Rather let prudence and temper come first from of its respect for the representative. Lord Ba- this side. I will undertake for America that con has told me, that a great question would not she will follow the example. There are two fail of being agitated at one time or another. I lines in a ballad of Prior's, of a man's behavior was willing to agitate such a question at the to his wife, so applicable to you and
coloproper season, viz., that of the German war- nies, that I can not help repeating them : my German war, they called it! Every session “Be to her faults a little blind; I called out, Has any body any objection to the Be to her virtues very kind." German war ? Nobody would object to it, one Upon the whole, I will beg leave to tell the
• This speech is so much condensed by the report. House what is my opinion. It is, that the Stamp er as sometimes to make the connection obscure. Act be repealed absolutely, totally, and immediMr. Pitt is answering Mr. Grenville's complaints by a reference to his own experience when minister. resisted the disposition of George II. to engage in Had Mr. Grenville been misrepresented in the pub. wars on the Continent. But when things had wholhe prints ? So was Mr. Pitt in respect to "the Span- ly changed, when England had united with Prussia ish affair of the last war." Had the Stamp Act been to repress the ambition of Austria sustained by drawn into discussion, though originally passed with France and Russia, he did carry on "a German out contradiction? Mr. Grenville might easily un. war," though not one of his own commencing. And derstand that there was a reluctance to contradict he was always ready to meet the question. He the minister; and he might learn from Lord Bacon challenged discussion. He called out, “Has any that a great question like this could not be avoided; body objections to the German war ?" Probably it would be “ agitated at one time or another." Mr. Mr. Pitt here alludes to an incident already refer. Pitt, when minister, had a great question of this red to, page 62, when, putting himself in an attitude kind, viz., the “German war,'' and he did not shrink of defiance, he exclaimed, " Is there an Austrian from meeting it, or complain of the misrepresenta among you ? Let him come forward and reveal tion to which he was subjected. He had originally I himself!"
ately. That the reason for the repeal be assign- | whatsoever !" Lord Camden, when the Declared, viz., because it was founded on an erroneous atory Act came into the House of Lords, took principle. At the same time, let the sovereign the same ground with Mr. Pitt in the House of authority of this country over the colonies be as- Commons. “My position," said he, “is this serted in as strong terms as can be devised, and I repeat it, I will maintain it to the last hour : be made to extend to every point of legislation Taxation and representation are inseparable. whatsoever; that we may bind their trade, con- This position is founded on the laws of nature. fine their manufactures, and exercise every power It is more; it is in itself an eternal law of nawhatsoever, except that of taking their money For whatever is a man's own is absoout of their pockets without their consent. lutely his own. No man has a right to take it
from him without his consent, either expressed
by himself or his representative. Whoever atThe motion for the address received the ap- tempts to do this, attempts an injury. Whoever probation of all. About a month after, February does it, commits a robbery. He throws down 26th, 1766, a bill was introduced repealing the and destroys the distinction between liberty and Stamp Act; but, instead of following Mr. Pitt's slavery." Other counsels, however, prevailed. advice, and abandoning all claim to the right of The Stamp Act was repealed, but the Declarataxing the colonies, a Declaratory Act was in- tóry Act was passed; its principles were carried troduced, asserting the authority of the King and out by Charles Townsend the very next year, by Parliament to make laws which should "bind imposing new taxes; and the consequences are the colonies and people of America in all cases before the world.
SPEECH OF LORD CHATHAM IN REPLY TO LORD MANSFIELD, IN RELATION TO THE CASE OF JOHN
WILKES, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, JANUARY 9, 1770.
INTRODUCTION. This was the first appearance of Lord Chatham in the House of Lords after his illness in 1767. The Duke of Grafton, his former friend and ally, was now minister, and had come out a virtual Tory. The case of John Wilkes agitated the whole kingdom. He had been expelled from the House of Commons for a “ seditious libel," in February, 1763, and a new writ was issued for the election of a member from Middlesex. Wilkes was almost unanimously re-elected, and the House of Commons resolved, on the day , after his election, that he was incapable of being chosen to that Parliament. Another election was there. fore held; he was again chosen, and his election again declared void. A third was ordered, and the min. istry now determined to contest it to the utmost. They prevailed upon Colonel Luttrell, son of Lord Irn. bam, to vacate his seat in the House, and become their candidate ; but, with all their influence and bribery, they could obtain only 296 votes, while Wilkes numbered 1143. The latter, of course, was again returned as a member; but the House passed a resolution directing the clerk of the Crown to amend the return, by erasing the name of Mr. Wilkes and inserting that of Colonel Luttrell, who accordingly took his seat, in April, 1769.
There is, at the present day, no difference of opinion as to these proceedings. “All mankind are agreed," says Lord Campbell, in his Lives of the Chancellors, “ that the House of Commons acted illegally and unconstitutionally in expelling Mr. Wilkes for a supposed offense, committed before his re-election, and in seating Mr. Luttrell as representative for Middlesex." With Mr. Wilkes as an individual, Lord Chatham had no connection, either personal or political. He had, on the contrary, expressed his detestatiou of his character and principles, some years before, in the presence of Parliament. But he felt that one of the greatest questions had now arisen which was ever agitated in England, and that the House of Lords ought to enter their protest against this flagrant breach of the Coustitution. He, perhaps, considered him. self the more bound to come forward, because in his late ministry be had given the Duke of Grafton the place which he now held of First Lord of the Treasury, and had thus opened the way for the advance. ment of his grace to the station of Prime Minister. At all events, he determined, on the first day of his appearance in Parliament after his late ministry, to express his disapprobation of two measures which had been adopted by his former colleagues, viz., the taxation of America, and the expulsion of Mr. Wilkes. When, therefore, an address to the Throne was moved, January 9th, 1770, he came forward on both these subjects in one of his most celebrated speeches, but which, unfortunately, is very imperfectly preserved.
He commenced with great impressiveness of manner: "At my advanced period of life, my Lords, bow. ing under the weight of my infirmities, I might, perhaps, bave stood excused if I bad continued in my retirement, and never taken part again in public affairs. But the alarming state of the country calls upon me to execute the duty which I owe to my God, my sovereign, and my country." He then took a rapid view of the external and internal state of the country. He lamented the measures which had aliepated the colonies, and driven them to such excesses. But he still insisted that they should be treated with ten