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weight as pecuniary impositions, there might be some pretence for this denial. But men may be sorely touched and deeply grieved in their privileges as well as in their purses. They 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 privileges. Even ancient indulgences withdrawn, without offence on the part of those who enjoy such favours, operate as grievances.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 If so, why were they almost all either wholly repealed or exceedingly reduced ?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 Were they not touched and grieved by the duties of 1767, which were likewise repealed, and which Lord Hillsborough tells you, for the ministry, were laid contrary to the true principles of commerce?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 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 farther on the paper ; though in my private judgment, a useful representation 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 :
“ 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, with powers
legally to raise, levy, and assess, according to the several usages of such colonies, duties and taxes toward the defraying 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 all the assemblies, in which the constant style of granting is, 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 none but the British Parliament can grant to the Crown, are wished 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. 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 a habitual course of committing impeachable offences. What habitual 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 theories.
The fifth resolution is also a resolution of fact :
“That the said General Assemblies, General Courts, or other bodies legally qualified as aforesaid, have at sundry times freely granted several large subsidies and public aids for his Majesty's service, according to their abilities, when required thereto by letter from one of his Majesty's principal secretaries of State. And that their right to grant the same, and their cheerfulness and sufficiency in the said grants, have been at sundry times acknowledged by Parliament."
To say nothing of their great expenses in the Indian wars; and not to take their exertion in foreign ones, so high as the supplies in the year 1695, not to go back to their public contributions in the year 1710, I shall begin to travel only where the journals give me light; resolving to deal in nothing but fact authenticated by Parliamentary record, and to build myself wholly on that solid basis.
On the 4th of April, 1748, a committee of this House came to the following resolution :
Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that it is just and reasonable that the several provinces and colonies of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island be reimbursed the expenses they have been at in taking and securing to the Crown of Great Britain, the Island of Cape Breton, and its dependencies.”
These expenses were immense for such colonies. They were above £200,000 sterling ; money first raised and advanced on their public credit.
On the 28th of January, 1756, a message from the King came to us to this effect :
“ His Majesty being sensible of the zeal and vigour with which his faithful subjects of certain colonies in North America have exerted themselves in defence of his Majesty's just rights and possessions, recommends it to this House to take the same into their consideration, and to enable his Majesty to give them such assistance as may be a proper reward and encouragement.”
On the 3rd of February, 1756, the House came to a suitable resolution, expressed in words nearly the same as those of the message ; but with the farther addition, that the money then voted was an encouragement to the colonies to exert themselves with vigour. It will not be necessary to go through all the testimonies which your own records have given to the truth of my resolutions. I will only refer you to the places in the journals : Vol. xxvii, 16th and 19th May, 1757 ; Vol. xxviii, June 1st, 1758; April 26th and 30th, 1759 ; March 26th and 31st, and April 28th, 1760 ; January 9th and 20th, 1761 ; Vol. xxix, January 9th and 20th, 1761 ; Vol. xxx, January 22nd and 26th, 1762; March 14th and 17th, 1763.
Sir, here is the repeated acknowledgment of Parliament, that the colonies not only gave, but gave to satiety. This nation has formally acknowledged two things : first, that the colonies had gone beyond their abilities, Parliament having thought it necessary to reimburse them ; secondly, that they had acted legally and laudably in their grants of money, and their maintenance of troops, since the compensation is expressly given as reward and encouragement. Reward is not bestowed for acts that are unlawful ; and encouragement is not held out to things that deserve reprehension. My resolution, therefore, does nothing more than collect into one proposition what is scattered through your journals. I give you nothing but your own, and you cannot refuse in the gross what you have so often acknowledged in detail. The admission of this, which will be
so honourable to them and to you, will, indeed, be mortal to all the miserable stories by which the passions of the misguided people have been engaged in an unhappy system. The people heard, indeed, from the beginning of these disputes, one thing continually dinned in their ears, that reason and justice demanded that the Americans, who paid no taxes, should be compelled to contribute. How did that fact of their paying nothing stand when the taxing system began ? When Mr. Grenville began to form his system of American revenue, he stated in this House that the colonies were then in debt two million six hundred thousand pounds sterling money, and was of opinion they would discharge that debt in four years. On this state, those untaxed people were actually subject to the payment of taxes to the amount of six hundred and fifty thousand a year. In fact, however, Mr. Grenville was mistaken. The funds given for sinking the debt did not prove quite so ample as both the colonies and he expected. The calculation was too sanguine : the reduction was not completed till some years after, and at different times in different colonies. However, the taxes after the war continued too great to bear any addition, with prudence or propriety; and when the burdens imposed in consequence of former requisitions were discharged, our tone became too high to resort again to requisition. No colony, since that time, ever has had any requisition whatsoever made to it.
We see the sense of the Crown, and the sense of Parliament on the productive nature of a revenue by grant. Now search the same journals for the produce of the revenue by imposition. Where is it? Let us know the volume and the page. What is the gross, what is the net produce ? To what service is it applied ? How have you appropriated its surplus ? What, can none of the many skilful index-makers that we are now employing, find any trace of it? Well, let them and that rest together. But, are the journals, which say nothing of the revenue, as silent on the discontent? Oh, no! a child may find it. It is the melancholy burden and blot of every page.
I think, then, I am, from those journals, justified in the sixth and last resolution, which is :
“That it hath been found by experience that the manner of granting the said supplies and aids, by the said general assemblies, hath been more agreeable to the said colonies, and more beneficial and conducive to the public service, than the mode of giving and granting aids in Parliament, to be raised and paid in the said colonies.
This makes the whole of the fundamental part of the plan. The conclusion is irresistible. You cannot say that you were driven by any necessity to an exercise of the utmost rights of legislature. You cannot assert that you took on yourselves the task of imposing colony taxes, from the want of another legal body, that is competent to the purpose of supplying the exigencies of the State without wounding the prejudices of the people. Neither is it true that the body so qualified, and having that competence, had neglected the duty.
The question now on all this accumulated matter, is whether you will choose to abide by a profitable experience, or a mischievous theory; whether you choose to build on imagination or fact; whether you prefer enjoyment or hope ; satisfaction in your subjects or discontent ?
If these propositions are accepted, everything which has been made to enforce a contrary system must, I take it for granted, fall along with it. On that ground I have drawn the following resolution, which, when it comes to be moved, will naturally be divided in a proper manner :
"That it may be proper to repeal an act, made in the seventh year of the reign of his present Majesty, entitled An Act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America ; for allowing a drawback of the duties of customs upon the exportation from this Kingdom of coffee and cocoa-nuts of the produce of the said colonies or plantations; for discontinuing the drawbacks payable on China earthenware exported to America, and for more effectually preventing the clandestine running of goods in the said colonies and plantations ; and that it may be proper to repeal an act, made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present Majesty, entitled, An Act to discontinue, in such manner, and for such time as are ther mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading, or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the town and within the harbour of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America ; and that it may be proper to repeal an act, made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present Majesty, entitled, An Act for the impartial administration of justice in the cases of persons questioned for any acts done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England ; and that it may be proper to repeal an act, made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his present Majesty, entitled, An Act for the better regulating the government of the province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England ; and also, that it may be proper to explain and amend an act, made in the thirtyfifth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, entitled, An Act for the trial of treasons committed out of the King's dominions."