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´╗┐Title: Burke's Speech on Conciliation with America
Author: Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Burke's Speech on Conciliation with America" ***

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By Edmond Burke

Edited With Introduction And Notes By Sidney Carleton Newsom

Teacher Of English, Manual Training High School Indianapolis, Indiana


The introduction to this edition of Burke's speech on Conciliation with
America is intended to supply the needs of those students who do not
have access to a well-stocked library, or who, for any reason,
are unable to do the collateral reading necessary for a complete
understanding of the text.

The sources from which information has been drawn in preparing this
edition are mentioned under "Bibliography." The editor wishes to
acknowledge indebtedness to many of the excellent older editions of
the speech, and also to Mr. A. P. Winston, of the Manual Training High
School, for valuable suggestions.













In 1651 originated the policy which caused the American Revolution.
That policy was one of taxation, indirect, it is true, but none the less
taxation. The first Navigation Act required that colonial exports should
be shipped to England in American or English vessels. This was followed
by a long series of acts, regulating and restricting the American trade.
Colonists were not allowed to exchange certain articles without
paying duties thereon, and custom houses were established and officers
appointed. Opposition to these proceedings was ineffectual; and in 1696,
in order to expedite the business of taxation, and to establish a better
method of ruling the colonies, a board was appointed, called the Lords
Commissioners for Trade and Plantations. The royal governors found
in this board ready sympathizers, and were not slow to report their
grievances, and to insist upon more stringent regulations for enforcing
obedience. Some of the retaliative measures employed were the suspension
of the writ of habeas corpus, the abridgment of the freedom of the press
and the prohibition of elections. But the colonists generally succeeded
in having their own way in the end, and were not wholly without
encouragement and sympathy in the English Parliament. It may be that
the war with France, which ended with the fall of Quebec, had much to do
with this rather generous treatment. The Americans, too, were favored by
the Whigs, who had been in power for more than seventy years. The policy
of this great party was not opposed to the sentiments and ideas of
political freedom that had grown up in the colonies; and, although more
than half of the Navigation Acts were passed by Whig governments, the
leaders had known how to wink at the violation of nearly all of them.

Immediately after the close of the French war, and after George III. had
ascended the throne of England, it was decided to enforce the Navigation
Acts rigidly. There was to be no more smuggling, and, to prevent this,
Writs of Assistance were issued. Armed with such authority, a servant of
the king might enter the home of any citizen, and make a thorough search
for smuggled goods. It is needless to say the measure was resisted
vigorously, and its reception by the colonists, and its effect upon
them, has been called the opening scene of the American Revolution. As a
matter of fact, this sudden change in the attitude of England toward the
colonies, marks the beginning of the policy of George III. which, had it
been successful, would have made him the ruler of an absolute instead
of a limited monarchy. He hated the Tories only less than the Whigs,
and when he bestowed a favor upon either, it was for the purpose of
weakening the other. The first task he set himself was that of crushing
the Whigs. Since the Revolution of 1688, they had dictated the policy of
the English government, and through wise leaders had become supreme
in authority. They were particularly obnoxious to him because of their
republican spirit, and he regarded their ascendency as a constant menace
to his kingly power. Fortune seemed to favor him in the dissensions
which arose. There grew up two factions in the Whig party. There were
old Whigs and new Whigs. George played one against the other, advanced
his favorites when opportunity offered, and in the end succeeded in
forming a ministry composed of his friends and obedient to his will.

With the ministry safely in hand, he turned his attention to the House
of Commons. The old Whigs had set an example, which George was shrewd
enough to follow. Walpole and Newcastle had succeeded in giving England
one of the most peaceful and prosperous governments within in the
previous history of the nation, but their methods were corrupt. With
much of the judgment, penetration and wise forbearance which marks a
statesman, Walpole's distinctive qualities of mind eminently fitted
him for political intrigue; Newcastle was still worse, and has the
distinction of being the premier under whose administration the revolt
against official corruption first received the support of the public.

For near a hundred years, the territorial distribution of seats in the
House had remained the same, while the centres of population had shifted
along with those of trade and new industries. Great towns were without
representation, while boroughs, such as Old Sarum, without a single
voter, still claimed, and had, a seat in Parliament. Such districts,
or "rotten boroughs," were owned and controlled by many of the great
landowners. Both Walpole and Newcastle resorted to the outright purchase
of these seats, and when the time came George did not shrink from doing
the same thing. He went even further. All preferments of whatsoever sort
were bestowed upon those who would do his bidding, and the business
of bribery assumed such proportions that an office was opened at the
Treasury for this purpose, from which twenty-five thousand pounds are
said to have passed in a single day. Parliament had been for a long
time only partially representative of the people; it now ceased to be so
almost completely.

With, the support which such methods secured, along with encouragement
from his ministers, the king was prepared to put in operation his policy
for regulating the affairs of America. Writs of Assistance (1761) were
followed by the passage of the Stamp Act (1765). The ostensible object
of both these measures was to help pay the debt incurred by the French
war, but the real purpose lay deeper, and was nothing more or less than
the ultimate extension of parliamentary rule, in great things as well as
small, to America. At this crisis, so momentous for the colonists, the
Rockingham ministry was formed, and Burke, together with Pitt, supported
a motion for the unconditional repeal of the Stamp Act. After much
wrangling, the motion was carried, and the first blunder of the mother
country seemed to have been smoothed over.

Only a few months elapsed, however, when the question of taxing the
colonies was revived. Pitt lay ill, and could take no part in the
proposed measure. Through the influence of other members of his
party,--notably Townshend,--a series of acts were passed, imposing
duties on several exports to America. This was followed by a suspension
of the New York Assembly, because it had disregarded instructions in the
matter of supplies for the troops. The colonists were furious. Matters
went from bad to worse. To withdraw as far as possible without yielding
the principle at stake, the duties on all the exports mentioned in
the bill were removed, except that on tea. But it was precisely the
principle for which the colonists were contending. They were not in the
humor for compromise, when they believed their freedom was endangered,
and the strength and determination of their resistance found a climax in
the Boston Tea Party.

In the meantime, Lord North, who was absolutely obedient to the king,
had become prime minister. Five bills were prepared, the tenor of which,
it was thought, would overawe the colonists. Of these, the Boston Port
Bill and the Regulating Act are perhaps the most famous, though the
ultimate tendency of all was blindly coercive.

While the king and his friends were busy with these, the opposition
proposed an unconditional repeal of the Tea Act. The bill was introduced
only to be overwhelmingly defeated by the same Parliament that passed
the five measures of Lord North.

In America, the effect of these proceedings was such as might have been
expected by thinking men. The colonies were as a unit in their support
of Massachusetts. The Regulating Act was set at defiance, public
officers in the king's service were forced to resign, town meetings
were held, and preparations for war were begun in dead earnest. To avert
this, some of England's greatest statesmen--Pitt among the number--asked
for a reconsideration. On February the first, 1775, a bill was
introduced, which would have gone far toward bringing peace. One month
later, Burke delivered his speech on Conciliation with the Colonies.


There is nothing unusual in Burke's early life. He was born in Dublin,
Ireland, in 1729. His father was a successful lawyer and a Protestant,
his mother, a Catholic. At the age of twelve, he became a pupil of
Abraham Shackleton, a Quaker, who had been teaching some fifteen years
at Ballitore, a small town thirty miles from Dublin. In after years
Burke was always pleased to speak of his old friend in the kindest way:
"If I am anything," he declares, "it is the education I had there that
has made me so." And again at Shackleton's death, when Burke was near
the zenith of his fame and popularity, he writes: "I had a true
honor and affection for that excellent man. I feel something like a
satisfaction in the midst of my concern, that I was fortunate enough to
have him under my roof before his departure." It can hardly be doubted
that the old Quaker schoolmaster succeeded with his pupil who was
already so favorably inclined, and it is more than probable that the
daily example of one who lived out his precepts was strong in its
influence upon a young and generous mind.

Burke attended school at Ballitore two years; then, at the age of
fourteen, he became a student at Trinity College, Dublin, and remained
there five years. At college he was unsystematic and careless of
routine. He seems to have done pretty much as he pleased, and, however
methodical he became in after life, his study during these five years
was rambling and spasmodic. The only definite knowledge we have of this
period is given by Burke himself in letters to his former friend Richard
Shackleton, son of his old schoolmaster. What he did was done with a
zest that at times became a feverish impatience: "First I was greatly
taken with natural philosophy, which, while I should have given my mind
to logic, employed me incessantly. This I call my FUROR MATHEMATICUS."
Following in succession come his FUROR LOGICUS, FUROR HISTORICUS, and
FUROR PEOTICUS, each of which absorbed him for the time being. It would
be wrong, however, to think of Burke as a trifler even in his youth. He
read in the library three hours every day and we may be sure he read as
intelligently as eagerly. It is more than probable that like a few other
great minds he did not need a rigid system to guide him. If he chose
his subjects of study at pleasure, there is every reason to believe he
mastered them.

Of intimate friends at the University we hear nothing. Goldsmith came
one year later, but there is no evidence that they knew each other. It
is probable that Burke, always reserved, had little in common with his
young associates. His own musings, with occasional attempts at writing
poetry, long walks through the country, and frequent letters to and from
Richard Shackleton, employed him when not at his books.

Two years after taking his degree, Burke went to London and established
himself at the Middle Temple for the usual routine course in law.
Another long period passes of which there is next to nothing known.
His father, an irascible, hot-tempered man, had wished him to begin the
practice of law, but Burke seems to have continued in a rather irregular
way pretty much as when an undergraduate at Dublin. His inclinations
were not toward the law, but literature. His father, angered at such a
turn of affairs, promptly reduced his allowance and left him to follow
his natural bent in perfect freedom. In 1756, six years after his
arrival in London, and almost immediately following the rupture with his
father, he married a Miss Nugent. At about the same time he published
his first two books, [Footnote: A Vindication of Natural Society and
Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and
Beautiful] and began in earnest the life of an author.

He attracted the attention of literary men. Dr. Johnson had just
completed his famous dictionary, and was the centre of a group of
writers who accepted him at his own valuation. Burke did not want for
company, and wrote copiously.[Footnote: Hints for an Essay on the
Drama. Abridgement of the History of England] He became associated with
Dodsley, a bookseller, who began publishing the Annual Register in 1759,
and was paid a hundred pounds a year for writing upon current events.
He spent two years (1761-63) in Ireland in the employment of William
Hamilton, but at the end of that time returned, chagrined and disgusted
with his would-be patron, who utterly failed to recognize Burke's worth,
and persisted in the most unreasonable demands upon his time and energy.

For once Burke's independence served him well. In 1765 Lord Rockingham
became prime minister, and Burke, widely known as the chief writer
for the Annual Register, was free to accept the position of private
secretary, which Lord Rockingham was glad to offer him. His services
here were invaluable. The new relations thus established did not end
with the performance of the immediate duties of his office, but a warm
friendship grew up between the two, which lasted till the death of Lord
Rockingham. While yet private secretary, Burke was elected to Parliament
from the borough of Wendover. It was through the influence of his
friend, or perhaps relative, William Burke, that his election was

Only a few days after taking his seat in the House of Commons, Burke
made his first speech, January 27, 1766. He followed this in a very
short time with another upon the same subject--the Taxation of the
American Colonies. Notwithstanding the great honor and distinction which
these first speeches brought Burke, his party was dismissed at the close
of the session and the Chatham ministry formed. He remained with his
friends, and employed himself in refuting [Footnote: Observations on the
Present State of the Nation] the charges of the former minister, George
Grenville, who wrote a pamphlet accusing his successors of gross neglect
of public duties.

At this point in his life comes the much-discussed matter of
Beaconsfield. How Burke became rich enough to purchase such expensive
property is a question that has never been answered by his friends or
enemies. There are mysterious hints of successful speculation in East
India stock, of money borrowed, and Burke himself, in a letter to
Shackleton, speaks of aid from his friends and "all [the money] he
could collect of his own." However much we may regret the air of mystery
surrounding the matter, and the opportunity given those ever ready to
smirch a great man's character, it is not probable that any one ever
really doubted Burke's integrity in this or any other transaction.
Perhaps the true explanation of his seemingly reckless extravagance (if
any explanation is needed) is that the conventional standards of his
time forced it upon him; and it may be that Burke himself sympathized
to some extent with these standards, and felt a certain satisfaction in
maintaining a proper attitude before the public.

The celebrated case of Wilkes offered an opportunity for discussing
the narrow and corrupt policy pursued by George III. and his followers.
Wilkes, outlawed for libel and protected in the meantime through legal
technicalities, was returned to Parliament by Middlesex. The House
expelled him. He was repeatedly elected and as many times expelled, and
finally the returns were altered, the House voting its approval by a
large majority. In 1770 Burke published his pamphlet [Footnote: Present
Discontents] in which he discussed the situation. For the first time he
showed the full sweep and breadth of his understanding. His tract was
in the interest of his party, but it was written in a spirit far removed
from narrow partisanship. He pointed out with absolute clearness the
cause of dissatisfaction and unrest among the people and charged George
III. and his councillors with gross indifference to the welfare of the
nation and corresponding devotion to selfish interests. He contended
that Parliament was usurping privileges when it presumed to expel any
one, that the people had a right to send whomsoever they pleased to
Parliament, and finally that "in all disputes between them and their
rulers, the presumption was at least upon a par in favor of the
people." From this time until the American Revolution, Burke used every
opportunity to denounce the policy which the king was pursuing at home
and abroad. He doubtless knew beforehand that what he might say would
pass unnoticed, but he never faltered in a steadfast adherence to
his ideas of government, founded, as he believed, upon the soundest
principles. Bristol elected him as its representative in Parliament. It
was a great honor and Burke felt its significance, yet he did not flinch
when the time came for him to take a stand. He voted for the removal
of some of the restrictions upon Irish trade. His constituents,
representing one of the most prosperous mercantile districts, angered
and disappointed at what they held to be a betrayal of trust, refused to
reelect him.

Lord North's ministry came to an end in 1782, immediately after the
battle of Yorktown, and Lord Rockingham was chosen prime minister.
Burke's past services warranted him in expecting an important place in
the cabinet, but he was ignored. Various things have been suggested
as reasons for this: he was poor; some of his relations and intimate
associates were objectionable; there were dark hints of speculations; he
was an Irishman. It is possible that any one of these facts, or all of
them, furnished a good excuse for not giving him an important position
in the new government. But it seems more probable that Burke's abilities
were not appreciated so justly as they have been since. The men with
whom he associated saw some of his greatness but not all of it. He
was assigned the office of Paymaster of Forces, a place of secondary

Lord Rockingham died in three months and the party went to pieces. Burke
refused to work under Shelburne, and, with Fox, joined Lord North in
forming the coalition which overthrew the Whig party. Burke has been
severely censured for the part he took in this. Perhaps there is little
excuse for his desertion, and it is certainly true that his course
raises the question of his sincere devotion to principles. His personal
dislike of Shelburne was so intense that he may have yielded to his
feelings. He felt hurt, too, we may be sure, at the disposition made of
him by his friends. In replying to a letter asking him for a place
in the new government, he writes that his correspondent has been
misinformed. "I make no part of the ministerial arrangement," he writes,
and adds, "Something in the official line may be thought fit for my

As a supporter of the coalition, Burke was one of the framers of
the India Bill. This was directed against the wholesale robbery and
corruption which the East India Company had been guilty of in its
government of the country. Both Fox and Burke defended the measure with
all the force and power which a thorough mastery of facts, a keen sense
of the injustice done an unhappy people, and a splendid rhetoric
can give. But it was doomed from the first. The people at large were
indifferent, many had profitable business relations with the company,
and the king used his personal influence against it. The bill failed to
pass, the coalition was dismissed, and the party, which had in Burke its
greatest representative, was utterly ruined.

The failure of the India Bill marked a victory for the king, and it
also prepared the way for one of the most famous transactions of Burke's
life. Macaulay has told how impressive and magnificent was the scene
at the trial of Warren Hastings. There were political reasons for the
impeachment, but the chief motive that stirred Burke was far removed
from this. He saw and understood the real state of affairs in India. The
mismanagement, the brutal methods, and the crimes committed there in the
name of the English government, moved him profoundly, and when he rose
before the magnificent audience at Westminster, for opening the cause,
he forced his hearers, by his own mighty passion, to see with his own
eyes, and to feel his own righteous anger. "When he came to his two
narratives," says Miss Burney, "when he related the particulars of those
dreadful murders, he interested, he engaged, he at last overpowered me;
I felt my cause lost. I could hardly keep my seat. My eyes dreaded a
single glance toward a man so accused as Mr. Hastings; I wanted to sink
on the floor, that they might be saved so painful a sight. I had no hope
he could clear himself; not another wish in his favor remained." The
trial lasted for six years and ended with the acquittal of Hastings. The
result was not a surprise, and least of all to Burke. The fate of the
India Bill had taught him how completely indifferent the popular mind
was to issues touching deep moral questions. Though a seeming failure,
he regarded the impeachment as the greatest work of his life. It did
much to arouse and stimulate the national sense of justice. It
made clear the cruel methods sometimes pursued under the guise of
civilization and progress. The moral victory is claimed for Burke, and
without a doubt the claim is valid.

The second of the great social and political problems, which employed
English statesmen in the last half of the eighteenth century, was
settled in the impeachment of Warren Hastings. The affairs of America
and India were now overshadowed by the French Revolution, and Burke,
with the far-sighted vision of a veteran statesman, watched the progress
of events and their influence upon the established order. In 1773 he had
visited France, and had returned displeased. It is remarkable with what
accuracy he pointed out the ultimate tendency of much that he saw. A
close observer of current phases of society, and on the alert to explain
them in the light of broad and fundamental principles of human progress,
he had every opportunity for studying social life at the French capital.
Unlike the younger men of his times, he was doubtful, and held his
judgment in suspense. The enthusiasm of even Fox seemed premature, and
he held himself aloof from the popular demonstrations of admiration and
approval that were everywhere going on. The fact is, Burke was growing
old, and with his years he was becoming more conservative. He dreaded
change, and was suspicious of the wisdom of those who set about such
widespread innovations, and made such brilliant promises for the future.
But the time rapidly approached for him to declare himself, and in 1790
his Reflections on the Revolution in France was issued. His friends
had long waited its appearance, and were not wholly surprised at the
position taken. What did surprise them was the eagerness with which the
people seized upon the book, and its effect upon them. The Tories, with
the king, applauded long and loud; the Whigs were disappointed, for
Burke condemned the Revolution unreservedly, and with a bitterness
out of all proportion to the cause of his anxiety and fear. As the
Revolution progressed, he grew fiercer in his denunciation. He broke
with his lifelong associates, and declared that no one who sympathized
with the work of the Assembly could be his friend. His other writings
on the Revolution [Footnote: Letter to a Member of the National Assembly
and Letters on a Regicide Peace.] were in a still more violent strain,
and it is hard to think of them as coming from the author of the Speech
on Conciliation.

Three years before his death, at the conclusion of the trial of Warren
Hastings, Burke's last term in Parliament expired. He did not wish
office again and withdrew to his estate. Through the influence of
friends, and because of his eminent services, it was proposed to make
him peer, with the title of Lord Beacons field. But the death of his son
prevented, and a pension of twenty-five hundred pounds a year was given
instead. It was a signal for his enemies, and during his last days he
was busy with his reply. The "Letter to a Noble Lord," though written
little more than a year before his death, is considered one of the most
perfect of his papers. Saddened by the loss of his son, and broken in
spirits, there is yet left him enough old-time energy and fire to answer
his detractors. But his wonderful career was near its close. His last
months were spent in writing about the French Revolution, and the third
letter on a Regicide Peace--a fragment--was doubtless composed just
before his death. On the 9th of July, 1797, he passed away. His friends
claimed for him a place in Westminster, but his last wish was respected,
and he was buried at Beaconsfield.


There is hardly a political tract or pamphlet of Burke's in which he
does not state, in terms more or less clear, the fundamental principle
in his theory of government. "Circumstances," he says in one place,
"give, in reality, to every political principle, its distinguishing
color and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what renders
every civil and political scheme beneficial or obnoxious to mankind." At
another time he exclaims: "This is the true touchstone of all theories
which regard man and the affairs of men; does it suit his nature in
general, does it suit his nature as modified by his habits?" And again
he extends his system to affairs outside the realm of politics. "All
government," he declares, "indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment,
every virtue and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and

It is clear that Burke thought the State existed for the people, and not
the people for the State. The doctrine is old to us, but it was not
so in Burke's time, and it required courage to expound it. The great
parties had forgotten the reason for their existence, and one of them
had become hardened and blinded by that corruption which seems to follow
long tenure of office. The affairs of India, Ireland, and America gave
excellent opportunity for an exhibition of English statesmanship, but in
each case the policy pursued was dictated, not by a clear perception
of what was needed in these countries, but by narrow selfishness, not
unmixed with dogmatism of the most challenging sort. The situation in
India, as regards climate, character, and institutions, counted for
little in the minds of those who were growing rich as agents of the East
India Company. Much the same may be said of America and Ireland. The
sense of Parliament, influenced by the king, was to use these parts
of the British Empire in raising a revenue, and in strengthening party
organization at home. In opposing this policy, Burke lost his seat
as representative for Bristol, then the second city of England; spent
fourteen of the best years of his life in conducting the impeachment
of Warren Hastings, Governor-General of India; and, greatest of all,
delivered his famous speeches on Taxation and Conciliation, in behalf of
the American colonists.

Notwithstanding the distinctly modern tone of Burke's ideas, it would
be wrong to think of him as a thoroughgoing reformer. He has been called
the Great Conservative, and the title is appropriate. He would have
shrunk from a purely republican form of government, such as our own,
and it is, perhaps, a fact that he was suspicious of a government by the
people. The trouble, as he saw it, lay with the representatives of the
people. Upon them, as guardians of a trust, rested the responsibility
of protecting those whom they were chosen to serve. While he bitterly
opposed any measures involving radical change in the Constitution, he
was no less ardent in denouncing political corruptions of all kinds
whatsoever. In his Economical Reform he sought to curtail the enormous
extravagance of the royal household, and to withdraw the means of
wholesale bribery, which offices at the disposal of the king created.
He did not believe that a more effective means than this lay in the
proposed plan for a redistribution of seats in the House of Commons. In
one place, he declared it might be well to lessen the number of voters,
in order to add to their weight and independence; at another, he asks
that the people be stimulated to a more careful scrutiny of the conduct
of their representatives; and on every occasion he demands that the
legislators give their support to those measures only which have for
their object the good of the whole people.

It is obvious, however, that Burke's policy had grievous faults. His
reverence for the past, and his respect for existing institutions as the
heritage of the past, made him timid and overcautious in dealing with
abuses. Although he stood with Pitt in defending the American colonies,
he had no confidence in the thoroughgoing reforms which the great
Commoner proposed. When the Stamp Act was repealed, Pitt would have
gone even further. He would have acknowledged the absolute injustice of
taxation without representation. Burke held tenaciously to the opposing
theory, and warmly supported the Declaratory Act, which "asserted
the supreme authority of Parliament over the colonies, in all cases
whatsoever." His support of the bill for the repeal of the Stamp Act, as
well as his plea for reconciliation, ten years later, were not prompted
by a firm belief in the injustice of England's course. He expressly
states, in both cases that to enforce measures so repugnant to the
Americans, would be detrimental to the home government. It would result
in confusion and disorder, and would bring, perhaps, in the end, open
rebellion. All of his speeches on American affairs show his willingness
to "barter and compromise" in order to avoid this, but nowhere is there
a hint of fundamental error in the Constitution. This was sacred to him,
and he resented to the last any proposition looking to an organic change
in its structure. "The lines of morality," he declared, "are not like
ideal lines of mathematics. They are broad and deep, as well as long.
They admit of exceptions; they demand modifications. These exceptions
and modifications are made, not by the process of logic, but the rules
of prudence. Prudence is not only first in rank of all the virtues,
political and moral, but she is the director, the regulator, the
standard of them all."

The chief characteristics, then, of Burke's political philosophy are
opposed to much that is fundamental in modern systems. His doctrine is
better than that of George III, because it is more generous, and affords
opportunity for superficial readjustment and adaptation. It is this
last, or rather the proof it gives of his insight, that has secured
Burke so high a place among English statesmen.


  Addison. . . . 1672-1719
  Steele . . . . 1672-1729
  Defoe. . . . . 1661-1731
  Swift. . . . . 1667-1745
  Pope . . . . . 1688-1744
  Richardson . . 1689-1761


     Johnson . . . . 1709-1784
     Goldsmith . . . 1728-1774
     Fielding. . . . 1707-1754
     Sterne. . . . . 1713-1768
     Smollett. . . . 1721-1771
     Gray. . . . . . 1716-1771
     Boswell . . . . 1740-1795


It has become almost trite to speak of the breadth of Burke's
sympathies. We should examine the statement, however, and understand its
significance and see its justice. While he must always be regarded first
as a statesman of one of the highest types, he had other interests than
those directly suggested by his office, and in one of these, at least,
he affords an interesting and profitable study.

To the student of literature Burke's name must always suggest that of
Johnson and Goldsmith. It was eight years after Burke's first appearance
as an author, that the famous Literary Club was formed. At first it was
the intention to limit the club to a membership of nine, and for a
time this was adhered to. The original members were Johnson, Burke,
Goldsmith, Reynolds, and Hawkins. Garrick, Pox, and Boswell came in
later. Macaulay declares that the influence of the club was so great
that its verdict made and unmade reputations; but the thing most
interesting to us does not lie in the consideration of such literary
dictatorship. To Boswell we owe a biography of Johnson which has
immortalized its subject, and shed lustre upon all associated with him.
The literary history of the last third of the eighteenth century, with
Johnson as a central figure, is told nowhere else with such accuracy, or
with better effect.

Although a Tory, Johnson was a great one, and his lasting friendship for
Burke is an enduring evidence of his generosity and great-mindedness.
For twenty years, and longer, they were eminent men in opposing parties,
yet their mutual respect and admiration continued to the last. To Burke,
Johnson was a writer of "eminent literary merit" and entitled to a
pension "solely on that account." To Johnson, Burke was the greatest
man of his age, wrong politically, to be sure, yet the only one "whose
common conversation corresponded to the general fame which he had in
the world"--the only one "who was ready, whatever subject was chosen, to
meet you on your own ground." Here and there in the Life are allusions
to Burke, and admirable estimates of his many-sided character.

Coming directly to an estimate of Burke from the purely literary point
of view, it must be borne in mind that the greater part of his writings
was prepared for an audience. Like Macaulay, his prevailing style
suggests the speaker, and his methods throughout are suited to
declamation and oratory. He lacks the ease and delicacy that we are
accustomed to look for in the best prose writers, and occasionally one
feels the justice of Johnson's stricture, that "he sometimes talked
partly from ostentation", or of Hazlitt's criticism that he seemed to be
"perpetually calling the speaker out to dance a minuet with him before
he begins."

There may be passages here and there that warrant such censure. Burke is
certainly ornate, and at times he is extremely self-conscious, but the
dominant quality of his style, and the one which forever contradicts
the idea of mere showiness, is passion. In his method of approaching a
subject, he may be, and perhaps is, rather tedious, but when once he
has come to the matter really in hand, he is no longer the rhetorician,
dealing in fine phrases, but the great seer, clothing his thoughts
in words suitable and becoming. The most magnificent passages in
his writings--the Conciliation is rich in them--owe their charm and
effectiveness to this emotional capacity. They were evidently written
in moments of absolute abandonment to feeling--in moments when he was
absorbed in the contemplation of some great truth, made luminous by his
own unrivalled powers.

Closely allied to this intensity of passion, is a splendid imaginative
quality. Few writers of English prose have such command of figurative
expression. It must be said, however, that Burke was not entirely free
from the faults which generally accompany an excessive use of figures.
Like other great masters of a decorative style, he frequently becomes
pompous and grandiloquent. His thought, too, is obscured, where we
would expect great clearness of statement, accompanied by a dignified
simplicity; and occasionally we feel that he forgets his subject in an
anxious effort to make an impression. Though there are passages in his
writings that justify such observations, they are few in number, when
compared with those which are really masterpieces of their kind.

Some great crisis, or threatening state of affairs, seems to furnish the
necessary condition for the exercise of a great mind, and Burke is never
so effective as when thoroughly aroused. His imagination needed the
chastening which only a great moment or critical situation could give.
Two of his greatest speeches--Conciliation, and Impeachment of
Warren Hastings--were delivered under the restraining effect of such
circumstances, and in each the figurative expression is subdued and not
less beautiful in itself than, appropriate for the occasion.

Finally, it must be observed that no other writer of English prose has a
better command of words. His ideas, as multifarious as they are, always
find fitting expression. He does not grope for a term; it stands ready
for his thought, and one feels that he had opportunity for choice. It
is the exuberance of his fancy, already mentioned, coupled with this
richness of vocabulary, that helped to make Burke a tiresome speaker.
His mind was too comprehensive to allow any phase of his subject to pass
without illumination. He followed where his subject led him, without any
great attention to the patience of his audience. But he receives full
credit when his speeches are read. It is then that his mastery of
the subject and the splendid qualities of his style are apparent, and
appreciated at their worth.

In conclusion, it is worth while observing that in the study of a
great character, joined with an attempt to estimate it by conventional
standards, something must always be left unsaid. Much may be learned of
Burke by knowing his record as a partisan, more by a minute inspection
of his style as a writer, but beyond all this is the moral tone or
attitude of the man himself. To a student of Burke this is the greatest
thing about him. It colored every line he wrote, and to it, more than
anything else, is due the immense force of the man as a speaker and
writer. It was this, more than Burke's great abilities, that justifies
Dr. Johnson's famous eulogy: "He is not only the first man in the House
of Commons, he is the first man everywhere."


Wordsworth . . . . 1770-1850

Coleridge . . . . . 1772-1834

Byron . . . . . . . 1788-1824

Shelley . . . . . . 1792-1822

Keats . . . . . . . 1795-1821

Scott . . . . . . . 1771-1832


1. "Like Goldsmith, though in a different sphere, Burke belongs both to
the old order and the new." Discuss that statement.

2. Burke and the Literary Club. (Boswell's Life of Johnson.)

3. Lives of Burke and Goldsmith. Contrast.

4. An interpretation of ten apothegms selected from the Speech on

5. A study of figures in the Speech on Conciliation.

6. A definition of the terms: "colloquialism" and "idiom" Instances of
their use in the Speech on Conciliation.


1. Burke's Life. John Morley. English Men of Letters Series.

2. Burke. John Morley. An Historical Study.

3. Burke. John Morley. Encyclopaedia Britannica.

4. History of the English People. Green. Vol. IV., pp 193-271.

5 History of Civilization in England. Buckle. Vol I, pp. 326-338

6. The American Revolution. Fiske. Vol. I, Chaps. I., II.

7. Life of Johnson. Boswell. (Use the Index)



I hope, Sir, that notwithstanding the austerity of the Chair, your
good nature will incline you to some degree of indulgence towards human
frailty. You will not think it unnatural that those who have an object
depending, which strongly engages their hopes and fears, should be
somewhat inclined to superstition. As I came into the House full of
anxiety about the event of my motion, I found, to my infinite surprise,
that the grand penal bill, [Footnote: 1] by which we had passed sentence
on the trade and sustenance of America, is to be returned to us from the
other House. I do confess I could not help looking on this event as a
fortunate omen. I look upon it as a sort of providential favor, by which
we are put once more in possession of our deliberative capacity upon a
business so very questionable in its nature, so very uncertain in its
issue. By the return of this bill, which seemed to have taken its flight
forever, we are at this very instant nearly as free to choose a plan for
our American Government as we were on the first day of the session.
If, Sir, we incline to the side of conciliation, we are not at all
embarrassed (unless we please to make ourselves so) by any incongruous
mixture of coercion and restraint. We are therefore called upon, as it
were by a superior warning voice, again to attend to America; to attend
to the whole of it together; and to review the subject with an unusual
degree of care and calmness.

Surely it is an awful subject, or there is none so on this side of the
grave. When I first had the honor [Footnote: 2] of a seat in this House,
the affairs of that continent pressed themselves upon us as the most
important and most delicate object of Parliamentary attention. My little
share in this great deliberation oppressed me. I found myself a partaker
in a very high trust; and, having no sort of reason to rely on the
strength of my natural abilities for the proper execution of that trust,
I was obliged to take more than common pains to instruct myself in
everything which relates to our Colonies. I was not less under the
necessity of forming some fixed ideas concerning the general policy of
the British Empire. Something of this sort seemed to be indispensable,
in order, amidst so vast a fluctuation of passions and opinions, to
concentre my thoughts, to ballast my conduct, to preserve me from being
blown about by every wind of fashionable doctrine. I really did not
think it safe or manly to have fresh principles to seek upon every fresh
mail which should arrive from America.

At that period I had the fortune to find myself in perfect concurrence
with a large majority in this House. Bowing under that high authority,
and penetrated with the sharpness and strength of that early impression,
I have continued ever since, without the least deviation, in my
original sentiments. [Footnote: 3] Whether this be owing to an obstinate
perseverance in error, or to a religious adherence to what appears to me
truth, and reason, it is in your equity to judge.

Sir, Parliament having an enlarged view of objects, made, during this
interval, more frequent changes in their sentiments and their conduct
than could be justified in a particular person upon the contracted scale
of private information. But though I do not hazard anything approaching
to a censure on the motives of former Parliaments to all those
alterations, one fact is undoubted--that under them the state of
America has been kept in continual agitation. [Footnote: 4] Everything
administered as remedy to the public complaint, if it did not produce,
was at least followed by, an heightening of the distemper; until, by a
variety of experiments, that important country has been brought into her
present situation--a situation which I will not miscall, which I dare
not name, which I scarcely know how to comprehend in the terms of any

In this posture, Sir, things stood at the beginning of the session.
About that time, a worthy member [Footnote: 5] of great Parliamentary
experience, who, in the year 1766, filled the chair of the American
committee with much ability, took me aside; and, lamenting the present
aspect of our politics, told me things were come to such a pass that
our former [Footnote: 6] methods of proceeding in the House would be
no longer tolerated: that the public tribunal (never too indulgent to a
long and unsuccessful opposition) would now scrutinize our conduct
with unusual severity: that the very vicissitudes and shiftings of
Ministerial measures, instead of convicting their authors of inconstancy
and want of system, would be taken as an occasion of charging us with a
predetermined discontent, which nothing could satisfy; whilst we accused
every measure of vigor as cruel, and every proposal of lenity as weak
and irresolute. The public, he said, would not have patience to see us
play the game out with our adversaries; we must produce our hand. It
would be expected that those who for many years had been active in such
affairs should show that they had formed some clear and decided idea
of the principles of Colony government; and were capable of drawing out
something like a platform of the ground which might be laid for future
and permanent tranquillity.

I felt the truth of what my honorable friend represented; but I felt
my situation too. His application might have been made with far greater
propriety to many other gentlemen. No man was indeed ever better
disposed, or worse qualified, for such an undertaking than myself.
Though I gave so far in to his opinion that I immediately threw my
thoughts into a sort of Parliamentary form, I was by no means equally
ready to produce them. It generally argues some degree of natural
impotence of mind, or some want of knowledge of the world, to hazard
plans of government except from a seat of authority. Propositions are
made, not only ineffectually, but somewhat disreputably, when the minds
of men are not properly disposed for their reception; and, for my part,
I am not ambitious of ridicule--not absolutely a candidate for disgrace.

Besides, Sir, to speak the plain truth, I have in general no very
exalted opinion of the virtue of paper government; [Footnote: 7] nor
of any politics in which the plan is to be wholly separated from the
execution. But when I saw that anger and violence prevailed every day
more and more, and that things were hastening towards an incurable
alienation of our Colonies, I confess my caution gave way. I felt this
as one of those few moments in which decorum yields to a higher duty.
Public calamity is a mighty leveller; and there are occasions when any,
even the slightest, chance of doing good must be laid hold on, even by
the most inconsiderable person.

To restore order and repose to an empire so great and so distracted as
ours, is, merely in the attempt, an undertaking that would ennoble the
flights of the highest genius, and obtain pardon for the efforts of the
meanest understanding. Struggling a good while with these thoughts, by
degrees I felt myself more firm. I derived, at length, some confidence
from what in other circumstances usually produces timidity. I grew less
anxious, even from the idea of my own insignificance. For, judging of
what you are by what you ought to be, I persuaded myself that you would
not reject a reasonable proposition because it had nothing but its
reason to recommend it. On the other hand, being totally destitute of
all shadow of influence, natural or adventitious, I was very sure that,
if my proposition were futile or dangerous--if it were weakly conceived,
or improperly timed--there was nothing exterior to it of power to awe,
dazzle, or delude you. You will see it just as it is; and you will treat
it just as it deserves.

The proposition is peace. Not peace through the medium of war; not
peace to be hunted through the labyrinth of intricate and endless
negotiations; not peace to arise out of universal discord fomented,
from principle, in all parts of the Empire, not peace to depend on the
juridical determination of perplexing questions, or the precise marking
the shadowy boundaries of a complex government. It is simple peace;
sought in its natural course, and in its ordinary haunts. It is peace
sought in the spirit of peace, and laid in principles purely pacific. I
propose, by removing the ground of the difference, and by restoring the
former unsuspecting confidence of the Colonies in the Mother Country,
to give permanent satisfaction to your people; and (far from a scheme of
ruling by discord) to reconcile them to each other in the same act and
by the bond of the very same interest which reconciles them to British

My idea is nothing more. Refined policy [Footnote: 8] ever has been, the
parent of confusion; and ever will be so, as long as the world endures.
Plain good intention, which is as easily discovered at the first view
as fraud is surely detected at last, is, let me say, of no mean force in
the government of mankind. Genuine simplicity of heart is an healing
and cementing principle. My plan, therefore, being formed upon the most
simple grounds imaginable, may disappoint some people when they hear it.
It has nothing to recommend it to the pruriency of curious ears. There
is nothing at all new and captivating in it. It has nothing of the
splendor of the project [Footnote: 9] which has been lately laid upon
your table by the noble lord in the blue ribbon. [Footnote: 10] It does
not propose to fill your lobby with squabbling Colony agents, [Footnote:
11] who will require the interposition of your mace, at every instant,
to keep the peace amongst them. It does not institute a magnificent
auction of finance, where captivated provinces come to general ransom
by bidding against each other, until you knock down the hammer, and
determine a proportion of payments beyond all the powers of algebra to
equalize and settle.

The plan which I shall presume to suggest derives, however, one great
advantage from the proposition and registry of that noble lord's
project. The idea of conciliation is admissible. First, the House,
in accepting the resolution moved by the noble lord, has admitted,
notwithstanding the menacing front of our address, [Footnote: 12]
notwithstanding our heavy bills of pains and penalties--that we do not
think ourselves precluded from all ideas of free grace and bounty.

The House has gone farther; it has declared conciliation admissible,
previous to any submission on the part of America. It has even shot a
good deal beyond that mark, and has admitted that the complaints of our
former mode of exerting the right of taxation were not wholly unfounded.
That right thus exerted is allowed to have something reprehensible in
it, something unwise, or something grievous; since, in the midst of
our heat and resentment, we, of ourselves, have proposed a
capital alteration; and in order to get rid of what seemed so very
exceptionable, have instituted a mode that is altogether new; one that
is, indeed, wholly alien from all the ancient methods and forms of

The principle of this proceeding is large enough for my purpose. The
means proposed by the noble lord for carrying his ideas into execution,
I think, indeed, are very indifferently suited to the end; and this I
shall endeavor to show you before I sit down. But, for the present, I
take my ground on the admitted principle. I mean to give peace. Peace
implies reconciliation; and where there has been a material dispute,
reconciliation does in a manner always imply concession on the one
part or on the other. In this state of things, I make no difficulty
in affirming that the proposal ought to originate from us. Great and
acknowledged force is not impaired, either in effect or in opinion, by
an unwillingness to exert itself. The superior power may offer peace
with honor and with safety. Such an offer from such a power will be
attributed to magnanimity. But the concessions of the weak are the
concessions of fear. When such a one is disarmed, he is wholly at the
mercy of his superior; and he loses forever that time and those chances,
[Footnote: 13] which, as they happen to all men, are the strength and
resources of all inferior power.

The capital leading questions on which you must this day decide are
these two: First, whether you ought to concede; and secondly, what your
concession ought to be. On the first of these questions we have gained,
as I have just taken the liberty of observing to you, some ground. But
I am sensible that a good deal more is still to be done. Indeed, Sir,
to enable us to determine both on the one and the other of these great
questions with a firm and precise judgment, I think it may be necessary
to consider distinctly the true nature and the peculiar circumstances
of the object which we have before us; because after all our struggle,
whether we will or not, we must govern America according to that nature
and to those circumstances, [Footnote: 14] and not according to our
own imaginations, nor according to abstract ideas of right--by no means
according to mere general theories of government, the resort to which
appears to me, in our present situation, no better than arrant trifling.
I shall therefore endeavor, with your leave, to lay before you some
of the most material of these circumstances in as full and as clear a
manner as I am able to state them.

The first thing that we have to consider with regard to the nature of
the object is--the number of people in the Colonies. I have taken for
some years a good deal of pains on that point. I can by no calculation
justify myself in placing the number below two millions of inhabitants
of our own European blood and color, besides at least five hundred
thousand others, who form no inconsiderable part of the strength and
opulence of the whole. This, Sir, is, I believe, about the true number.
There is no occasion to exaggerate where plain truth is of so much
weight and importance. But whether I put the present numbers too high
or too low is a matter of little moment. Such is the strength with which
population shoots in that part of the world, that, state the numbers as
high as we will, whilst the dispute continues, the exaggeration ends.
Whilst we are discussing any given magnitude, they are grown to it.
Whilst we spend our time in deliberating on the mode of governing two
millions, we shall find we have millions more to manage. Your children
do not grow faster from infancy to manhood than they spread from
families to communities, and from villages to nations.

I put this consideration of the present and the growing numbers in the
front of our deliberation, because, Sir, this consideration will make
it evident to a blunter discernment than yours, that no partial, narrow,
contracted, pinched, occasional system will be at all suitable to such
an object. It will show you that it is not to be considered as one of
those minima which are out of the eye and consideration of the law;
not a paltry excrescence of the state; not a mean dependent, who may be
neglected with little damage and provoked with little danger. It will
prove that some degree of care and caution is required in the handling
such an object; it will show that you ought not, in reason, to trifle
with so large a mass of the interests and feelings of the human race.
You could at no time do so without guilt; and be assured you will not be
able to do it long with impunity.

But the population of this country, the great and growing population,
though a very important consideration, will lose much of its weight if
not combined with other circumstances. The commerce of your Colonies is
out of all proportion beyond the numbers of the people. This ground
of their commerce indeed has been trod some days ago, and with great
ability, by a distinguished person at your bar. This gentleman, after
thirty-five years--it is so long since he first appeared at the same
place to plead for the commerce of Great Britain--has come again before
you to plead the same cause, without any other effect of time, than
that to the fire of imagination and extent of erudition which even then
marked him as one of the first literary characters of his age, he has
added a consummate knowledge in the commercial interest of his country,
formed by a long course of enlightened and discriminating experience.

Sir, I should be inexcusable in coming after such a person with any
detail, if a great part of the members who now fill the House had not
the misfortune to be absent when he appeared at your bar. Besides, Sir,
I propose to take the matter at periods of time somewhat different from
his. There is, if I mistake not, a point of view from whence, if you
will look at the subject, it is impossible that it should not make an
impression upon you.

I have in my hand two accounts; one a comparative state of the export
trade of England to its Colonies, as it stood in the year 1704, and as
it stood in the year 1772; the other a state of the export trade of this
country to its Colonies alone, as it stood in 1772, compared with the
whole trade of England to all parts of the world (the Colonies included)
in the year 1704. They are from good vouchers; the latter period from
the accounts on your table, the earlier from an original manuscript of
Davenant, who first established the Inspector-General's office, which
has been ever since his time so abundant a source of Parliamentary

The export trade to the Colonies consists of three great branches: the
African--which, terminating almost wholly in the Colonies, must be
put to the account of their commerce,--the West Indian, and the North
American. All these are so interwoven that the attempt to separate them
would tear to pieces the contexture of the whole; and, if not entirely
destroy, would very much depreciate the value of all the parts. I
therefore consider these three denominations to be, what in effect they
are, one trade. [Footnote: 15]

The trade to the Colonies, taken on the export side, at the beginning of
this century, that is, in the year 1704, stood thus:--

 Exports to North America and the West Indies. L483,265
 To Africa. ..................................  86,665

In the year 1772, which I take as a middle year between the highest and
lowest of those lately laid on your table, the account was as follows:--

 To North America and the West Indies ...... L4,791,734
 To Africa. ................................  866,398
 To which, if you add the export trade from
 Scotland, which had in 1704 no existence ..  364,000

From five hundred and odd thousand, it has grown to six millions. It
has increased no less than twelve-fold. This is the state of the
Colony trade as compared with itself at these two periods within this
century;--and this is matter for meditation. But this is not all.
Examine my second account. See how the export trade to the Colonies
alone in 1772 stood in the other point of view; that is, as compared to
the whole trade of England in 1704:--

 The whole export trade of England, including
 that to the Colonies, in 1704. ................ L6,509,000
 Export to the Colonies alone, in 1772 ......... 6,024,000

                   Difference,  L485,000

The trade with America alone is now within less than L500,000 of being
equal to what this great commercial nation, England, carried on at
the beginning of this century with the whole world! If I had taken the
largest year of those on your table, it would rather have exceeded. But,
it will be said, is not this American trade an unnatural protuberance,
that has drawn the juices from the rest of the body? The reverse. It
is the very food that has nourished every other part into its present
magnitude. Our general trade has been greatly augmented, and augmented
more or less in almost every part to which it ever extended; but
with this material difference, that of the six millions which in the
beginning of the century constituted the whole mass of our export
commerce, the Colony trade was but one-twelfth part, it is now (as a
part of sixteen millions) considerably more than a third of the whole.
This is the relative proportion of the importance of the Colonies at
these two periods, and all reasoning concerning our mode of treating
them must have this proportion as its basis, or it is a reasoning weak,
rotten, and sophistical.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot prevail on myself to hurry over this great
consideration. [Footnote: 15] IT IS GOOD FOR US TO BE HERE. [Footnote:
16] We stand where we have an immense view of what is, and what is past.
Clouds, indeed, and darkness, rest upon the future. Let us, however,
before we descend from this noble eminence, reflect that this growth of
our national prosperity has happened within the short period of the life
of man. It has happened within sixty-eight years. There are those alive
whose memory might touch the two extremities. For instance, my Lord
Bathurst might remember all the stages of the progress. He was in 1704
of an age at least to be made to comprehend such things. He was then old
enough acta parentum jam legere, et quae sit potuit cognoscere virtus.
[Footnote: 17] Suppose, Sir, that the angel of this auspicious youth,
foreseeing the many virtues which made him one of the most amiable, as
he is one of the most fortunate, men of his age, had opened to him in
vision that when in the fourth generation the third Prince of the House
of Brunswick had sat twelve years on the throne of that nation which, by
the happy issue of moderate and healing counsels, was to be made Great
Britain, he should see his son, Lord Chancellor of England, turn back
the current of hereditary dignity to its fountain, and raise him to
a higher rank of peerage, whilst he enriched the family with a new
one--if, amidst these bright and happy scenes of domestic honor and
prosperity, that angel should have drawn up the curtain, and unfolded
the rising glories of his country, and, whilst he was gazing with
admiration on the then commercial grandeur of England, the genius should
point out to him a little speck, scarcely visible in the mass of the
national interest, a small seminal principle, rather than a formed body,
and should tell him: "Young man, there is America--which at this day
serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men, and
uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, [Footnote: 18]
show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the
envy of the world. Whatever England has been growing to by a progressive
increase of improvement, brought in by varieties of people, by
succession of civilizing conquests and civilizing settlements in a
series of seventeen hundred years, you shall see as much added to her
by America in the course of a single life!" If this state of his
country had been foretold to him, would it not require all the sanguine
credulity of youth, and all the fervid glow of enthusiasm, to make him
believe it? Fortunate man, he has lived to see it! Fortunate, indeed,
if he lives to see nothing that shall vary the prospect, and cloud the
setting of his day!

Excuse me, Sir, if turning from such thoughts I resume this comparative
view once more. You have seen it on a large scale; look at it on a small
one. I will point out to your attention a particular instance of it
in the single province of Pennsylvania. In the year 1704 that province
called for L11,459 in value of your commodities, native and foreign.
This was the whole. What did it demand in 1772? Why, nearly fifty times
as much; for in that year the export to Pennsylvania was L507,909,
nearly equal to the export to all the Colonies together in the first

I choose, Sir, to enter into these minute and particular details,
because generalities, which in all other cases are apt to heighten and
raise the subject, have here a tendency to sink it. When we speak of
the commerce with our Colonies, fiction lags after truth, invention is
unfruitful, and imagination cold and barren.

So far, Sir, as to the importance of the object, in view of its
commerce, as concerned in the exports from England. If I were to detail
the imports, I could show how many enjoyments they procure which deceive
the burthen of life; how many materials which invigorate the springs of
national industry, and extend and animate every part of our foreign and
domestic commerce. This would be a curious subject indeed; but I must
prescribe bounds to myself in a matter so vast and various.

I pass, therefore, to the Colonies in another point of view, their
agriculture. This they have prosecuted with such a spirit, that, besides
feeding plentifully their own growing multitude, their annual export
of grain, comprehending rice, has some years ago exceeded a million in
value. Of their last harvest I am persuaded they will export much more.
At the beginning of the century some of these Colonies imported corn
from the Mother Country. For some time past the Old World has been
fed from the New. The scarcity which you have felt would have been a
desolating famine, if this child of your old age, with a true filial
piety, with a Roman charity, [Footnote: 19] had not put the full breast
of its youthful exuberance to the mouth of its exhausted parent.

As to the wealth which the Colonies have drawn from the sea by their
fisheries, you had all that matter fully opened at your bar. You surely
thought those acquisitions of value, for they seemed even to excite your
envy; and yet the spirit by which that enterprising employment has been
exercised ought rather, in my opinion, to have raised your esteem and
admiration. And pray, Sir, what in the world is equal to it? Pass by the
other parts, and look at the manner in which the people of New England
have of late carried on the whale fishery. Whilst we follow them among
the tumbling mountains of ice, and behold them penetrating into the
deepest frozen recesses of Hudson's Bay and Davis's Straits, whilst we
are looking for them beneath the arctic circle, we hear that they have
pierced into the opposite region of polar cold, that they are at the
antipodes, and engaged under the frozen Serpent of the south. Falkland
Island, which seemed too remote and romantic an object for the grasp of
national ambition, is but a stage and resting-place in the progress of
their victorious industry. Nor is the equinoctial heat more discouraging
to them than the accumulated winter of both the poles. We know that
whilst some of them draw the line and strike the harpoon on the coast
of Africa, others run the longitude and pursue their gigantic game along
the coast of Brazil. No sea but what is vexed by their fisheries; no
climate that is not witness to their toils. Neither the perseverance of
Holland, nor the activity of France, nor the dexterous and firm sagacity
of English enterprise ever carried this most perilous mode of hardy
industry to the extent to which it has been pushed by this recent
people; a people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle, and not
yet hardened into the bone of manhood. When I contemplate these things;
when I know that the Colonies in general owe little or nothing to any
care of ours, and that they are not squeezed into this happy form by the
constraints of watchful and suspicious government, but that, through a
wise and salutary neglect, a generous nature has been suffered to take
her own way to perfection; when I reflect upon these effects, when I see
how profitable they have been to us, I feel all the pride of power sink,
and all presumption in the wisdom of human contrivances melt and die
away within me. My rigor relents. I pardon something to the spirit of

I am sensible, Sir, that all which I have asserted in my detail is
admitted in the gross; but that quite a different conclusion is drawn
from it. America, gentlemen say, is a noble object. It is an object well
worth fighting for. Certainly it is, if fighting a people be the best
way of gaining them. Gentlemen in this respect will be led to their
choice of means by their complexions [Footnote: 20] and their habits.
Those who understand the military art will of course have some
predilection for it. Those who wield the thunder of the state [Footnote:
21] may have more confidence in the efficacy of arms. But I confess,
possibly for want of this knowledge, my opinion is much more in favor
of prudent management than of force; considering force not as an odious,
but a feeble instrument for preserving a people so numerous, so active,
so growing, so spirited as this, in a profitable and subordinate
connection with us.

First, Sir, permit me to observe that the use of force alone is but
temporary. It may subdue for a moment, but it does not remove the
necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed [Footnote: 22]
which is perpetually to be conquered.

My next objection is its uncertainty. Terror is not always the effect of
force, and an armament is not a victory. If you do not succeed, you are
without resource; for, conciliation failing, force remains; but, force
failing, no further hope of reconciliation is left. Power and authority
are sometimes bought by kindness; but they can never be begged as alms
by an impoverished and defeated violence.

A further objection to force is, that you impair the object by your
very endeavors to preserve it. The thing you fought for is not the thing
which you recover; but depreciated, sunk, wasted, and consumed in the
contest. Nothing less will content me than WHOLE AMERICA. I do not
choose to consume its strength along with our own, 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 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 has been
owing to methods altogether different. Our ancient indulgence [Footnote:
23] 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.

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 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 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 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 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. 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 object; and
every nation has formed to itself some favorite point, which by way
of eminence becomes the criterion of their happiness. It happened, you
know, Sir, that the great contests [Footnote: 24] 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
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
exercised; 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 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
so, from the particular nature of a 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,
mediately or immediately, possess the power of granting their own money,
or no shadow of liberty can 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. 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 your general
arguments to their own case. It is not easy, 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 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

They were further confirmed in this pleasing error by 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 ordinary
government never fails to inspire them with lofty sentiments, and with
a strong aversion from whatever tends to deprive them of their chief

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 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
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
that the Roman Catholic religion is at least co-eval 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
unremitted 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
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
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 part,
been composed of dissenters from the establishments of their several
countries, who 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 gentlemen 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 certainly true. There is, however, a circumstance attending these
Colonies which, in my opinion, fully counterbalances this difference,
and makes the spirit of liberty still more high and haughty than in
those to the northward. It is that in Virginia and the Carolinas they
have a vast multitude of slaves. Where this is the case in any part of
the world, those who are free are by far the most proud and jealous of
their freedom. Freedom is to them [Footnote: 25] not only an enjoyment,
but a kind of rank and privilege. Not seeing there, that freedom, as in
countries where it is a common blessing and as broad and general as the
air, may be united with much abject toil, with great misery, with all
the exterior of servitude; liberty looks, amongst them, like something
that is more noble and liberal. I do not mean, Sir, to commend the
superior morality of this sentiment, which has at least as much pride as
virtue in it; but I cannot alter the nature of man. The fact is so; and
these people of the Southern Colonies are much more strongly, and with
an higher and more stubborn spirit, attached to liberty than those to
the northward. Such were all the ancient commonwealths; such were our
Gothic ancestors; such in our days were the Poles; and such will be all
masters of slaves, who are not slaves themselves. In such a people the
haughtiness of domination combines with the spirit of freedom, fortifies
it, and renders it invincible.

Permit me, Sir, to add another circumstance in our Colonies which
contributes no mean part towards the growth and effect of this
untractable spirit. I mean their education. In no country perhaps in the
world is the law so general a study. The profession itself is numerous
and powerful; and in most provinces it takes the lead. The greater
number of the deputies sent to the Congress were lawyers. But all who
read, and most do read, endeavor to obtain some smattering in that
science. I have been told by an eminent bookseller, that in no branch
of his business, after tracts of popular devotion, were so many books
as those on the law exported to the Plantations. The Colonists have now
fallen into the way of printing them for their own use. I hear that they
have sold nearly as many of Blackstone's Commentaries in America as in
England. General Gage marks out this disposition very particularly in
a letter on your table. He states that all the people in his government
are lawyers, or smatterers in law; and that in Boston they have been
enabled, by successful chicane, wholly to evade many parts of one of
your capital penal constitutions. The smartness of debate will say
that this knowledge ought to teach them more clearly the rights of
legislature, their obligations to obedience, and the penalties of
rebellion. All this is mighty well. But my honorable and learned friend
on the floor, who condescends to mark what I say for animadversion, will
disdain that ground. He has heard, as well as I, that when great honors
and great emoluments do not win over this knowledge to the service of
the state, it is a formidable adversary to government. If the spirit
be not tamed and broken by these happy methods, it is stubborn and
litigious. Abeunt studia in mores. [Footnote: 26] This study readers men
acute, inquisitive, dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in defence, full
of resources. In other countries, the people, more simple, and of a
less mercurial cast, judge of an ill principle in government only by
an actual grievance; here they anticipate the evil, and judge of the
pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle. They augur
misgovernment at a distance, and snuff the approach of tyranny in every
tainted breeze.

The last cause of this disobedient spirit in the Colonies is hardly less
powerful than the rest, as it is not merely moral, but laid deep in
the natural constitution of things. Three thousand miles of ocean lie
between you and them. No contrivance can prevent the effect of this
distance in weakening government. Seas roll, and months pass, between
the order and the execution, and the want of a speedy explanation of
a single point is enough to defeat a whole system. You have, indeed,
winged ministers of vengeance, [Footnote: 27] who carry your bolts in
their pounces to the remotest verge of the sea. But there a power steps
in that limits the arrogance of raging passions and furious elements,
and says, SO FAR SHALL THOU GO, AND NO FARTHER. Who are you, that you
should fret and rage, and bite the chains of nature? Nothing worse
happens to you than does to all nations who have extensive empire; and
it happens in all the forms into which empire can be thrown. In large
bodies the circulation [Footnote: 28] of power must be less vigorous at
the extremities. Nature has said it. The Turk cannot govern Egypt and
Arabia and Kurdistan as he governs Thrace; nor has he the same dominion
in Crimea and Algiers which he has at Brusa and Smyrna. Despotism itself
is obliged to truck and huckster. The Sultan gets such obedience as he
can. He governs with a loose rein, that he may govern at all; and the
whole of the force and vigor of his authority in his centre is derived
from a prudent relaxation in all his borders. Spain, in her provinces,
is, perhaps, not so well obeyed as you are in yours. She complies, too;
she submits; she watches times. This is the immutable condition, the
eternal law of extensive and detached empire.

Then, Sir, from these six capital sources--of descent, of form of
government, of religion in the Northern Provinces, of manners in the
Southern, of education, of the remoteness of situation from the first
mover of government--from all these causes a fierce spirit of liberty
has grown up. It has grown with the growth of the people in your
Colonies, and increased with the increase of their wealth; a spirit that
unhappily meeting with an exercise of power in England which, however
lawful, is not reconcilable to any ideas of liberty, much less with
theirs, has kindled this flame that is ready to consume us.

I do not mean to commend either the spirit in this excess, or the moral
causes which produce it. Perhaps a more smooth and accommodating spirit
of freedom in them would be more acceptable to us. Perhaps ideas
of liberty might be desired more reconcilable with an arbitrary and
boundless authority. Perhaps we might wish the Colonists to be persuaded
that their liberty is more secure when held in trust for them by us, as
their guardians during a perpetual minority, than with any part of it
in their own hands. The question is, not whether their spirit deserves
praise or blame, but--what, in the name of God, shall we do with it? You
have before you the object, such as it is, with all its glories, with
all its imperfections [Footnote: 29] on its head. You see the magnitude,
the importance, the temper, the habits, the disorders. By all these
considerations we are strongly urged to determine something concerning
it. We are called upon to fix some rule and line for our future conduct
which may give a little stability to our politics, and prevent the
return of such unhappy deliberations as the present. Every such return
will bring the matter before us in a still more untractable form. For,
what astonishing and incredible things have we not seen already! What
monsters have not been generated from this unnatural contention! Whilst
every principle of authority and resistance has been pushed, upon both
sides, as far as it would go, there is nothing so solid and certain,
either in reasoning or in practice, that has not been shaken. Until very
lately all authority in America seemed to be nothing but an emanation
from yours. Even, the popular part of the Colony Constitution derived
all its activity and its first vital movement from the pleasure of the
Crown. We thought, Sir, that the utmost which the discontented Colonies
could do was to disturb authority; we never dreamt they could of
themselves supply it--knowing in general what an operose business it is
to establish a government absolutely new. But having, for our purposes
in this contention, resolved that none but an obedient Assembly should
sit, the humors of the people there, finding all passage through the
legal channel stopped, with great violence broke out another way. Some
provinces have tried their experiment, as we have tried ours; and
theirs has succeeded. They have formed a government sufficient for its
purposes, without the bustle of a revolution or the formality of an
election. Evident necessity and tacit consent have done the business in
an instant. So well they have done it, that Lord Dunmore--the account is
among the fragments on your table--tells you that the new institution
is infinitely better obeyed than the ancient government ever was in its
most fortunate periods. Obedience is what makes government, and not the
names by which it is called; not the name of Governor, as formerly, or
Committee, as at present. This new government has originated directly
from the people, and was not transmitted through any of the ordinary
artificial media of a positive constitution. It was not a manufacture
ready formed, and transmitted to them in that condition from England.
The evil arising from hence is this; that the Colonists having once
found the possibility of enjoying the advantages of order in the midst
of a struggle for liberty, such struggles will not henceforward seem so
terrible to the settled and sober part of mankind as they had appeared
before the trial. Pursuing the same plan [Footnote: 30] of punishing by
the denial of the exercise of government to still greater lengths,
we wholly abrogated the ancient government of Massachusetts. We were
confident that the first feeling if not the very prospect, of anarchy
would instantly enforce a complete submission. The experiment was tried.
A new, strange, unexpected face of things appeared. Anarchy is found
tolerable. A vast province has now subsisted, and subsisted in a
considerable degree of health and vigor for near a twelvemonth, without
Governor, without public Council, without judges, without executive
magistrates. How long it will continue in this state, or what may arise
out of this unheard-of situation, how can the wisest of us conjecture?
Our late experience has taught us that many of those fundamental
principles, formerly believed infallible, are either not of the
importance they were imagined to be, or that we have not at all adverted
to some other far more important and far more powerful principles,
which entirely overrule those we had considered as omnipotent. I am much
against any further experiments which tend to put to the proof any
more of these allowed opinions which contribute so much to the public
tranquillity. In effect we suffer as much at home by this loosening
of all ties, and this concussion of all established opinions as we do
abroad; for in order to prove that the Americans have no right to their
liberties, we are every day endeavoring to subvert the maxims which
preserve the whole spirit of our own. To prove that the Americans
ought not to be free, we are obliged to depreciate the value of freedom
itself; and we never seem to gain a paltry advantage over them in debate
without attacking some of those principles, or deriding some of those
feelings, for which our ancestors have shed their blood.

But, Sir, in wishing to put an end to pernicious experiments, I do not
mean to preclude the fullest inquiry. Far from it. Far from deciding on
a sudden or partial view, [Footnote: 31] I would patiently go round and
round the subject, and survey it minutely in every possible aspect. Sir,
if I were capable of engaging you to an equal attention, I would state
that, as far as I am capable of discerning, there are but three ways
[Footnote: 32] of proceeding relative to this stubborn spirit which
prevails in your Colonies, and disturbs your government. These are--to
change that spirit, as inconvenient, by removing the causes; to
prosecute it as criminal; or to comply with it as necessary. I would not
be guilty of an imperfect enumeration; I can think of but these three.
Another has indeed been started,--that of giving up the Colonies; but it
met so slight a reception that I do not think myself obliged to dwell a
great while upon it. It is nothing but a little sally of anger, like the
forwardness of peevish children who, when they cannot get all they would
have, are resolved to take nothing.

The first of these plans--to change the spirit, as inconvenient, by
removing the causes--I think is the most like a systematic proceeding.
It is radical in its principle; but it is attended with great
difficulties, some of them little short, as I conceive, of
impossibilities. This will appear by examining into the plans which have
been proposed.

As the growing population in the Colonies is evidently one cause of
their resistance, it was last session mentioned in both Houses, by men
of weight, and received not without applause, that in order to check
this evil it would be proper for the Crown to make no further grants of
land. But to this scheme there are two objections. The first, that there
is already so much unsettled land in private hands as to afford room for
an immense future population, although the Crown not only withheld its
grants, but annihilated its soil. If this be the case, then the
only effect of this avarice of desolation, this hoarding of a royal
wilderness, would be to raise the value of the possessions in the hands
of the great private monopolists without any adequate cheek to the
growing and alarming mischief of population.

But if you stopped your grants, what would be the consequence? The
people would occupy without grants. They have already so occupied
in many places. You cannot station garrisons in every part of these
deserts. If you drive the people from one place, they will carry on
their annual tillage, and remove with their flocks and herds to another.
Many of the people in the back settlements are already little attached
to particular situations. Already they have topped the Appalachian
Mountains. From thence they behold before them an immense plain, one
vast, rich, level meadow; a square of five hundred miles. Over this they
would wander without a possibility of restraint; they would change their
manners with the habits of their life; would soon forget a government by
which they were disowned; would become hordes of English Tartars; and,
pouring down upon your unfortified frontiers a fierce and irresistible
cavalry, become masters of your governors and your counsellors, your
collectors and comptrollers, and of all the slaves that adhered to them.
Such would, and in no long time must be, the effect of attempting to
forbid as a crime and to suppress as an evil the command and blessing of
providence, INCREASE AND MULTIPLY. Such would be the happy result of the
endeavor to keep as a lair of wild beasts that earth which God, by an
express charter, has given to the children of men. Far different,
and surely much wiser, has been our policy hitherto. Hitherto we have
invited our people, by every kind of bounty, to fixed establishments. We
have invited the husbandman to look to authority for his title. We
have taught him piously to believe in the mysterious virtue of wax and
parchment. We have thrown each tract of land, as it was peopled, into
districts, that the ruling power should never be wholly out of sight.
We have settled all we could; and we have carefully attended every
settlement with government.

Adhering, Sir, as I do, to this policy, as well as for the reasons I
have just given, I think this new project of hedging-in population to be
neither prudent nor practicable.

To impoverish the Colonies in general, and in particular to arrest the
noble course of their marine enterprises, would be a more easy task. I
freely confess it. We have shown a disposition to a system of this kind,
a disposition even to continue the restraint after the offence, looking
on ourselves as rivals to our Colonies, and persuaded that of course we
must gain all that they shall lose. Much mischief we may certainly do.
The power inadequate to all other things is often more than sufficient
for this. I do not look on the direct and immediate power of the
Colonies to resist our violence as very formidable. In this, however,
I may be mistaken. But when I consider that we have Colonies for no
purpose but to be serviceable to us, it seems to my poor understanding
a little preposterous to make them unserviceable in order to keep them
obedient. It is, in truth, nothing more than the old and, as I thought,
exploded problem of tyranny, which proposes to beggar its subjects
into submission. But remember, when you have completed your system of
impoverishment, that nature still proceeds in her ordinary course;
that discontent will increase with misery; and that there are critical
moments in the fortune of all states when they who are too weak to
contribute to your prosperity may be strong enough to complete your
ruin. Spoliatis arma supersunt. [Footnote: 34]

The temper and character which prevail in our Colonies are, I am afraid,
unalterable by any human art. We cannot, I fear, falsify the pedigree
of this fierce people, and persuade them that they are not sprung from
a nation in whose veins the blood of freedom circulates. The language
in which they would hear you tell them this tale would detect the
imposition; your speech would betray you. [Footnote: 35] An Englishman
is the unfittest person on earth to argue another Englishman into

I think it is nearly as little in our power to change their republican
religion as their free descent; or to substitute the Roman Catholic as
a penalty, or the Church of England as an improvement. The mode of
inquisition and dragooning is going out of fashion in the Old World, and
I should not confide much to their efficacy in the New. The education
of the Americans is also on the same unalterable bottom with their
religion. You cannot persuade them to burn their books of curious
science; to banish their lawyers from their courts of laws; or to quench
the lights of their assemblies by refusing to choose those persons who
are best read in their privileges. It would be no less impracticable
to think of wholly annihilating the popular assemblies in which these
lawyers sit. The army, by which we must govern in their place, would be
far more chargeable to us, not quite so effectual, and perhaps in the
end full as difficult to be kept in obedience. With regard to the high
aristocratic spirit of Virginia and the Southern Colonies, it has been
proposed, I know, to reduce it by declaring a general enfranchisement of
their slaves. This object has had its advocates and panegyrists; yet I
never could argue myself into any opinion of it. Slaves are often much
attached to their masters. A general wild offer of liberty would
not always be accepted. History furnishes few instances of it. It is
sometimes as hard to persuade slaves [Footnote: 36] to be free, as it is
to compel freemen to be slaves; and in this auspicious scheme we should
have both these pleasing tasks on our hands at once. But when we talk
of enfranchisement, do we not perceive that the American master may
enfranchise too, and arm servile hands in defence of freedom?--a measure
to which other people have had recourse more than once, and not without
success, in a desperate situation of their affairs.

Slaves as these unfortunate black people are, and dull as all men are
from slavery, must they not a little suspect the offer of freedom from
that very nation which has sold them to their present masters?--from
that nation, one of whose causes of quarrel [Footnote: 37] with those
masters is their refusal to deal any more in that inhuman traffic? An
offer of freedom from England would come rather oddly, shipped to
them in an African vessel which is refused an entry into the ports of
Virginia or Carolina with a cargo of three hundred Angola negroes.
It would be curious to see the Guinea captain attempting at the same
instant to publish his proclamation of liberty, and to advertise his
sale of slaves.

But let us suppose all these moral difficulties got over. The ocean
remains. You cannot pump this dry; and as long as it continues in its
present bed, so long all the causes which weaken authority by distance
will continue.

     "Ye gods, annihilate but space and time,
     And make two lovers happy!"

was a pious and passionate prayer; but just as reasonable as many of the
serious wishes of grave and solemn politicians.

If then, Sir, it seems almost desperate to think of any alterative
course for changing the moral causes, and not quite easy to remove the
natural, which produce prejudices irreconcilable to the late exercise
of our authority--but that the spirit infallibly will continue, and,
continuing, will produce such effects as now embarrass us--the second
mode under consideration is to prosecute that spirit in its overt acts
as criminal.

At this proposition I must pause a moment. The thing seems a great
deal too big for my ideas of jurisprudence. It should seem to my way of
conceiving such matters that there is a very wide difference, in reason
and policy, between the mode of proceeding on the irregular conduct of
scattered individuals, or even of bands of men who disturb order within
the state, and the civil dissensions which may, from time to time, on
great questions, agitate the several communities which compose a great
empire. It looks to me to be narrow and pedantic to apply the ordinary
ideas of criminal justice to this great public contest. I do not know
the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people. I cannot
insult and ridicule the feelings of millions of my fellow-creatures as
Sir Edward Coke insulted one excellent individual (Sir Walter Raleigh)
at the bar. I hope I am not ripe to pass sentence on the gravest public
bodies, intrusted with magistracies of great authority and dignity, and
charged with the safety of their fellow-citizens, upon the very
same title that I am. I really think that, for wise men, this is not
judicious; for sober men, not decent; for minds tinctured with humanity,
not mild and merciful.

Perhaps, Sir, I am mistaken in my idea of an empire, as distinguished
from a single state or kingdom. But my idea of it is this; that an
empire is the aggregate of many states under one common head, whether
this head be a monarch or a presiding republic. It does, in such
constitutions, frequently happen--and nothing but the dismal, cold, dead
uniformity of servitude can prevent its happening--that the subordinate
parts have many local privileges and immunities. Between these
privileges and the supreme common authority the line may be extremely
nice. Of course disputes, often, too, very bitter disputes, and much ill
blood, will arise. But though every privilege is an exemption, in the
case, from the ordinary exercise of the supreme authority, it is no
denial of it. The claim of a privilege seems rather, ex vi termini,
[Footnote: 38] to imply a superior power; for to talk of the privileges
of a state or of a person who has no superior is hardly any better than
speaking nonsense. Now, in such unfortunate quarrels among the component
parts of a great political union of communities, I can scarcely conceive
anything more completely imprudent than for the head of the empire to
insist that, if any privilege is pleaded against his will or his acts,
his whole authority is denied; instantly to proclaim rebellion, to beat
to arms, and to put the offending provinces under the ban. Will not
this, Sir, very soon teach the provinces to make no distinctions on
their part? Will it not teach them that the government, against which a
claim of liberty is tantamount to high treason, is a government to
which submission is equivalent to slavery? It may not always be quite
convenient to impress dependent communities with such an idea.

We are, indeed, in all disputes with the Colonies, by the necessity of
things, the judge. It is true, Sir. But I confess that the character of
judge in my own cause is a thing that frightens me. Instead of filling
me with pride, I am exceedingly humbled by it. I cannot proceed with a
stern, assured, judicial confidence, until I find myself in something
more like a judicial character. I must have these hesitations as long
as I am compelled to recollect that, in my little reading upon such
contests as these, the sense of mankind has at least as often decided
against the superior as the subordinate power. Sir, let me add, too,
that the opinion of my having some abstract right [Footnote: 39] in my
favor would not put me much at my ease in passing sentence, unless I
could be sure that there were no rights which, in their exercise under
certain circumstances, were not the most odious of all wrongs and the
most vexatious of all injustice. Sir, these considerations have great
weight with me when I find things so circumstanced, that I see the
same party at once a civil litigant against me in point of right and a
culprit before me, while I sit as a criminal judge on acts of his whose
moral quality is to be decided upon the merits of that very litigation.
Men are every now and then put, by the complexity of human affairs, into
strange situations; but justice is the same, let the judge be in what
situation he will.

There is, Sir, also a circumstance which convinces me that this mode
of criminal proceeding is not, at least in the present stage of our
contest, altogether expedient; which is nothing less than the conduct
of those very persons who have seemed to adopt that mode by lately
declaring a rebellion in Massachusetts Bay, as they had formerly
addressed to have traitors brought hither, under an Act of Henry the
Eighth, [Footnote: 40] for trial. For though rebellion is declared, it
is not proceeded against as such, nor have any steps been taken towards
the apprehension or conviction of any individual offender, either on
our late or our former Address; but modes of public coercion have been
adopted, and such as have much more resemblance to a sort of qualified
hostility towards an independent power than the punishment of rebellious
subjects. All this seems rather inconsistent; but it shows how difficult
it is to apply these juridical ideas to our present case.

In this situation, let us seriously and coolly ponder. What is it we
have got by all our menaces, which have been many and ferocious? What
advantage have we derived from the penal laws we have passed, and which,
for the time, have been severe and numerous? What advances have we made
towards our object by the sending of a force which, by land and sea, is
no contemptible strength? Has the disorder abated? Nothing less. When I
see things in this situation after such confident hopes, bold promises,
and active exertions, I cannot, for my life, avoid a suspicion that the
plan itself is not correctly right. [Footnote: 41]

If, then, the removal of the causes of this spirit of American liberty
be for the greater part, or rather entirely, impracticable; if the
ideas of criminal process be inapplicable--or, if applicable, are in the
highest degree inexpedient; what way yet remains? No way is open but the
third and last,--to comply with the American spirit as necessary; or, if
you please, to submit to it as a necessary evil.

If we adopt this mode,--if we mean to conciliate and concede,--let us
see of what nature the concession ought to be. To ascertain the nature
of our concession, we must look at their complaint. The Colonies
complain that they have not the characteristic mark and seal of British
freedom. They complain that they are taxed in a Parliament in which
they are not represented. If you mean to satisfy them at all, you must
satisfy them with regard to this complaint. If you mean to please any
people you must give them the boon which they ask; not what you may
think better for them, but of a kind totally different. Such an act may
be a wise regulation, but it is no concession; whereas our present theme
is the mode of giving satisfaction.

Sir, I think you must perceive that I am resolved this day to have
nothing at all to do with the question of the right of taxation. Some
gentlemen start--but it is true; I put it totally out of the question.
It is less than nothing in my consideration. I do not indeed wonder,
nor will you, Sir, that gentlemen of profound learning are fond of
displaying it on this profound subject. But my consideration is narrow,
confined, and wholly limited to the policy of the question. I do not
examine whether the giving away a man's money be a power excepted
and reserved out of the general trust of government, and how far all
mankind, in all forms of polity, are entitled to an exercise of that
right by the charter of nature; or whether, on the contrary, a right
of taxation is necessarily involved in the general principle of
legislation, and inseparable from the ordinary supreme power. These are
deep questions, where great names militate against each other, where
reason is perplexed, and an appeal to authorities only thickens the
confusion; for high and reverend authorities lift up their heads on both
sides, and there is no sure footing in the middle. This point is the

     "Serbonian bog,
     Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old,
     Where armies whole have sunk."
     [Footnote: 42]

I do not intend to be overwhelmed in that bog, though in such
respectable company. The question [Footnote: 43] with me is, not whether
you have a right to render your people miserable, but whether it is not
your interest to make them happy. It is not what a lawyer tells me I MAY
do, but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I OUGHT to do. Is a
politic act the worse for being a generous one? Is no concession proper
but that which is made from your want of right to keep what you grant?
Or does it lessen the grace or dignity of relaxing in the exercise of
an odious claim because you have your evidence-room full of titles, and
your magazines stuffed with arms to enforce them? What signify all those
titles, and all those arms? Of what avail are they, when the reason
of the thing tells me that the assertion of my title is the loss of my
suit, and that I could do nothing but wound myself by the use of my own

Such is steadfastly my opinion of the absolute necessity of keeping up
the concord of this Empire by an unity of spirit, though in a diversity
of operations, that, if I were sure the Colonists had, at their leaving
this country, sealed a regular compact of servitude; that they had
solemnly abjured all the rights of citizens; that they had made a vow
to renounce all ideas of liberty for them and their posterity to all
generations; yet I should hold myself obliged to conform to the temper I
found universally prevalent in my own day, and to govern two million
of men, impatient of servitude, on the principles of freedom. I am not
determining a point of law, I am restoring tranquillity; and the
general character and situation of a people must determine what sort of
government is fitted for them. That point nothing else can or ought to

My idea, therefore, without considering whether we yield as matter
of right, or grant as matter of favor, is to admit the people of our
Colonies into an interest in the Constitution; and, by recording that
admission in the journals of Parliament, to give them as strong an
assurance as the nature of the thing will admit, that we mean forever to
adhere to that solemn declaration of systematic indulgence.

Some years ago the repeal of a revenue Act, upon its understood
principle, might have served to show that we intended an unconditional
abatement of the exercise of a taxing power. Such a measure was then
sufficient to remove all suspicion, and to give perfect content. But
unfortunate events since that time may make something further necessary;
and not more necessary for the satisfaction of the Colonies than for the
dignity and consistency of our own future proceedings.

I have taken a very incorrect measure of the disposition of the House if
this proposal in itself would be received with dislike. I think, Sir, we
have few American financiers. But our misfortune is, we are too acute,
we are too exquisite [Footnote: 44] in our conjectures of the future,
for men oppressed with such great and present evils. The more moderate
among the opposers of Parliamentary concession freely confess that
they hope no good from taxation, but they apprehend the Colonists have
further views; and if this point were conceded, they would instantly
attack the trade laws. [Footnote: 45] These gentlemen are convinced
that this was the intention from the beginning, and the quarrel of
the Americans with taxation was no more than a cloak and cover to
this design. Such has been the language even of a gentleman of real
moderation, and of a natural temper well adjusted to fair and equal
government. I am, however, Sir, not a little surprised at this kind of
discourse, whenever I hear it; and I am the more surprised on account of
the arguments which I constantly find in company with it, and which are
often urged from the same mouths and on the same day.

For instance, when we allege that it is against reason to tax a people
under so many restraints in trade as the Americans, the noble lord in
the blue ribbon shall tell you that the restraints on trade are futile
and useless--of no advantage to us, and of no burthen to those on whom
they are imposed; that the trade to America is not secured by the
Acts of Navigation, but by the natural and irresistible advantage of a
commercial preference.

Such is the merit of the trade laws in this posture of the debate. But
when strong internal circumstances are urged against the taxes; when
the scheme is dissected; when experience and the nature of things are
brought to prove, and do prove, the utter impossibility of obtaining an
effective revenue from the Colonies; when these things are pressed, or
rather press themselves, so as to drive the advocates of Colony taxes to
a clear admission of the futility of the scheme; then, Sir, the sleeping
trade laws revive from their trance, and this useless taxation is to be
kept sacred, not for its own sake, but as a counterguard and security of
the laws of trade.

Then, Sir, you keep up revenue laws which are mischievous, in order to
preserve trade laws that are useless. Such is the wisdom of our plan in
both its members. They are separately given up as of no value, and yet
one is always to be defended for the sake of the other; but I cannot
agree with the noble lord, nor with the pamphlet from whence he seems
to have borrowed these ideas concerning the inutility of the trade laws.
For, without idolizing them, I am sure they are still, in many ways,
of great use to us; and in former times they have been of the greatest.
They do confine, and they do greatly narrow, the market for the
Americans; but my perfect conviction of this does not help me in the
least to discern how the revenue laws form any security whatsoever to
the commercial regulations, or that these commercial regulations are the
true ground of the quarrel, or that the giving way, in any one instance
of authority, is to lose all that may remain unconceded.

One fact is clear and indisputable. The public and avowed origin of this
quarrel was on taxation. This quarrel has indeed brought on new disputes
on new questions; but certainly the least bitter, and the fewest of all,
on the trade laws. To judge which of the two be the real radical cause
of quarrel, we have to see whether the commercial dispute did, in order
of time, precede the dispute on taxation? There is not a shadow of
evidence for it. Next, to enable us to judge whether at this moment a
dislike to the trade laws be the real cause of quarrel, it is absolutely
necessary to put the taxes out of the question by a repeal. See how the
Americans act in this position, and then you will be able to discern
correctly what is the true object of the controversy, or whether any
controversy at all will remain. Unless you consent to remove this
cause of difference, it is impossible, with decency, to assert that the
dispute is not upon what it is avowed to be. And I would, Sir, recommend
to your serious consideration whether it be prudent to form a rule for
punishing people, not on their own acts, but on your conjectures? Surely
it is preposterous at the very best. It is not justifying your anger
by their misconduct, but it is converting your ill-will into their

But the Colonies will go further. Alas! alas! when will this speculation
against fact and reason end? What will quiet these panic fears which we
entertain of the hostile effect of a conciliatory conduct? Is it true
that no case can exist in which it is proper for the sovereign to accede
to the desires of his discontented subjects? Is there anything peculiar
in this case to make a rule for itself? Is all authority of course lost
when it is not pushed to the extreme? Is it a certain maxim that the
fewer causes of dissatisfaction are left by government, the more the
subject will be inclined to resist and rebel?

All these objections being in fact no more than suspicions, conjectures,
divinations, formed in defiance of fact and experience, they did
not, Sir, discourage me from entertaining the idea of a conciliatory
concession founded on the principles which I have just stated.

In forming a plan for this purpose, I endeavored to put myself in that
frame of mind which was the most natural and the most reasonable, and
which was certainly the most probable means of securing me from all
error. I set out with a perfect distrust of my own abilities, a total
renunciation of every speculation of my own, and with a profound
reverence for the wisdom of our ancestors who have left us the
inheritance of so happy a constitution and so flourishing an empire,
and, what is a thousand times more valuable, the treasury of the maxims
and principles which formed the one and obtained the other.

During the reigns of the kings of Spain of the Austrian family, whenever
they were at a loss in the Spanish councils, it was common for their
statesmen to say that they ought to consult the genius of Philip the
Second. The genius of Philip the Second might mislead them, and the
issue of their affairs showed that they had not chosen the most perfect
standard; but, Sir, I am sure that I shall not be misled when, in a
case of constitutional difficulty, I consult the genius of the English
Constitution. Consulting at that oracle--it was with all due humility
and piety--I found four capital examples in a similar case before me;
those of Ireland, Wales, Chester, and Durham.

Ireland, before the English conquest, [Footnote: 46] though never
governed by a despotic power, had no Parliament. How far the English
Parliament itself was at that time modelled according to the present
form is disputed among antiquaries; but we have all the reason in the
world to be assured that a form of Parliament such as England then
enjoyed she instantly communicated to Ireland, and we are equally sure
that almost every successive improvement in constitutional liberty, as
fast as it was made here, was transmitted thither. The feudal baronage
and the feudal knighthood, the roots of our primitive Constitution, were
early transplanted into that soil, and grew and flourished there. Magna
Charta, if it did not give us originally the House of Commons, gave
us at least a House of Commons of weight and consequence. But your
ancestors did not churlishly sit down alone to the feast of Magna
Charta. Ireland was made immediately a partaker. This benefit of English
laws and liberties, I confess, was not at first extended to all Ireland.
Mark the consequence. English authority and English liberties had
exactly the same boundaries. Your standard could never be advanced an
inch before your privileges. Sir John Davis shows beyond a doubt that
the refusal of a general communication of these rights was the true
cause why Ireland was five hundred years in subduing; and after the
vain projects of a military government, attempted in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, it was soon discovered that nothing could make that country
English, in civility and allegiance, but your laws and your forms of
legislature. It was not English arms, but the English Constitution,
that conquered Ireland. From that time Ireland has ever had a general
Parliament, as she had before a partial Parliament. You changed the
people; you altered the religion; but you never touched the form or the
vital substance of free government in that kingdom. You deposed kings;
[Footnote: 47] you restored them; you altered the succession to theirs,
as well as to your own Crown; but you never altered their Constitution,
the principle of which was respected by usurpation, restored with the
restoration of monarchy, and established, I trust, forever, by the
glorious Revolution. This has made Ireland the great and flourishing
kingdom that it is, and, from a disgrace and a burthen intolerable
to this nation, has rendered her a principal part of our strength and
ornament. This country cannot be said to have ever formally taxed her.
The irregular things done in the confusion of mighty troubles and on the
hinge of great revolutions, even if all were done that is said to have
been done, form no example. If they have any effect in argument, they
make an exception to prove the rule. None of your own liberties could
stand a moment, if the casual deviations from them at such times were
suffered to be used as proofs of their nullity. By the lucrative amount
of such casual breaches in the Constitution, judge what the stated and
fixed rule of supply has been in that kingdom. Your Irish pensioners
would starve, if they had no other fund to live on than taxes granted
by English authority. Turn your eyes to those popular grants from whence
all your great supplies are come, and learn to respect that only source
of public wealth in the British Empire.

My next example is Wales. This country was said to be reduced by Henry
the Third. It was said more truly to be so by Edward the First. But
though then conquered, it was not looked upon as any part of the realm
of England. Its old Constitution, whatever that might have been, was
destroyed, and no good one was substituted in its place. The care of
that tract was put into the hands of Lords Marchers [Footnote: 48]--a
form of government of a very singular kind; a strange heterogeneous
monster, something between hostility and government; perhaps it has a
sort of resemblance, according to the modes of those terms, to that of
Commander-in-chief at present, to whom all civil power is granted as
secondary. The manners of the Welsh nation followed the genius of
the government. The people were ferocious, restive, savage, and
uncultivated; sometimes composed, never pacified. Wales, within itself,
was in perpetual disorder, and it kept the frontier of England in
perpetual alarm. Benefits from it to the state there were none. Wales
was only known to England by incursion and invasion.

Sir, during that state of things, Parliament was not idle. They
attempted to subdue the fierce spirit of the Welsh by all sorts of
rigorous laws. They prohibited by statute the sending all sorts of arms
into Wales, as you prohibit by proclamation (with something more of
doubt on the legality) the sending arms to America. They disarmed the
Welsh by statute, as you attempted (but still with more question on the
legality) to disarm New England by an instruction. They made an Act to
drag offenders from Wales into England for trial, as you have done (but
with more hardship) with regard to America. By another Act, where one
of the parties was an Englishman, they ordained that his trial should be
always by English. They made Acts to restrain trade, as you do; and they
prevented the Welsh from the use of fairs and markets, as you do the
Americans from fisheries and foreign ports. In short, when the Statute
Book was not quite so much swelled as it is now, you find no less than
fifteen acts of penal regulation on the subject of Wales.

Here we rub our hands.--A fine body of precedents for the authority of
Parliament and the use of it!--I admit it fully; and pray add likewise
to these precedents that all the while Wales rid this Kingdom like an
incubus, that it was an unprofitable and oppressive burthen, and that
an Englishman travelling in that country could not go six yards from the
high road without being murdered.

The march of the human mind is slow. Sir, it was not until after two
hundred years discovered that, by an eternal law, providence had decreed
vexation to violence, and poverty to rapine. Your ancestors did however
at length open their eyes to the ill-husbandry of injustice. They found
that the tyranny of a free people could of all tyrannies the least be
endured, and that laws made against a whole nation were not the most
effectual methods of securing its obedience. Accordingly, in the
twenty-seventh year of Henry the Eighth the course was entirely altered.
With a preamble stating the entire and perfect rights of the Crown of
England, it gave to the Welsh all the rights and privileges of English
subjects. A political order was established; the military power gave way
to the civil; the Marches were turned into Counties. But that a nation
should have a right to English liberties, and yet no share at all in
the fundamental security of these liberties--the grant of their own
property--seemed a thing so incongruous that, eight years after,
that is, in the thirty-fifth of that reign, a complete and not
ill-proportioned representation by counties and boroughs was bestowed
upon Wales by Act of Parliament. From that moment, as by a charm, the
tumults subsided; obedience was restored; peace, order, and civilization
followed in the train of liberty. When the day-star of the English
Constitution had arisen in their hearts, all was harmony within and

     "--simul alba nautis
       Stella refulsit,
     Defluit saxis agitatus humor;
     Concidunt venti, fugiuntque nubes,
     Et minax (quod sic voluere) ponto
       Unda recumbit."
     [Footnote: 49]

The very same year the County Palatine of Chester received the same
relief from its oppressions and the same remedy to its disorders.
Before this time Chester was little less distempered than Wales. The
inhabitants, without rights themselves, were the fittest to destroy the
rights of others; and from thence Richard the Second drew the standing
army of archers with which for a time he oppressed England. The people
of Chester applied to Parliament in a petition penned as I shall read to

   "To the King, our Sovereign Lord, in most hunible wise
   shewen unto your excellent Majesty the inhabitants of
   your Grace's County Palatine of Chester: (1) That where
   the said County Palatine of Chester is and hath been always
   hitherto exempt, excluded, and separated out and
   from your High Court of Parliament, to have any Knights
   and Burgesses within the said Court; by reason whereof
   the said inhabitants have hitherto sustained manifold
   disherisons, losses, and damages, as well in their lands,
   goods, and bodies, as in the good, civil, and politic governance
   and maintenance of the commonwealth of their said
   county; (2) And forasmuch as the said inhabitants have
   always hitherto been bound by the Acts and Statutes
   made and ordained by your said Highness and your most
   noble progenitors, by authority of the said Court, as far
   forth as other counties, cities, and boroughs have been,
   that have had their Knights and Burgesses within your
   said Court of Parliament, and yet have had neither Knight
   ne Burgess there for the said County Palatine, the said
   inhabitants, for lack thereof, have been oftentime touched
   and grieved with Acts and Statutes made within the said
   Court, as well derogatory unto the most ancient jurisdictions,
   liberties, and privileges of your said County Palatine,
   as prejudicial unto the commonwealth, quietness,
   rest, and peace of your Grace's most bounden subjects
   inhabiting within the same."

What did Parliament with this audacious address?--Reject it as a libel?
Treat it as an affront to Government? Spurn it as a derogation from the
rights of legislature? Did they toss it over the table? Did they burn
it by the hands of the common hangman?--They took the petition of
grievance, all rugged as it was, without softening or temperament,
unpurged of the original bitterness and indignation of complaint--they
made it the very preamble to their Act of redress, and consecrated its
principle to all ages in the sanctuary of legislation.

Here is my third example. It was attended with the success of the two
former. Chester, civilized as well as Wales, has demonstrated that
freedom, and not servitude, is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and
not atheism, is the true remedy for superstition. Sir, this pattern of
Chester was followed in the reign of Charles the Second with regard to
the County Palatine of Durham, which is my fourth example. This county
had long lain out of the pale of free legislation. So scrupulously was
the example of Chester followed that the style of the preamble is
nearly the same with that of the Chester Act, and, without affecting the
abstract extent of the authority of Parliament, it recognizes the equity
of not suffering any considerable district in which the British subjects
may act as a body, to be taxed without their own voice in the grant.

Now if the doctrines of policy contained in these preambles, and the
force of these examples in the Acts of Parliaments, avail anything, what
can be said against applying them with regard to America? Are not the
people of America as much Englishmen as the Welsh? The preamble of
the Act of Henry the Eighth says the Welsh speak a language no way
resembling that of his Majesty's English subjects. Are the Americans not
as numerous? If we may trust the learned and accurate Judge Barrington's
account of North Wales, and take that as a standard to measure the rest,
there is no comparison. The people cannot amount to above 200,000; not a
tenth part of the number in the Colonies. Is America in rebellion? Wales
was hardly ever free from it. Have you at tempted to govern America
by penal statutes? You made fifteen for Wales. But your legislative
authority is perfect with regard to America. Was it less perfect in
Wales, Chester, and Durham? But America is virtually represented. What!
does the electric force of virtual representation more easily pass over
the Atlantic than pervade Wales,--which lies in your neighborhood--or
than Chester and Durham, surrounded by abundance of representation that
is actual and palpable? But, Sir, your ancestors thought this sort of
virtual representation, however ample, to be totally insufficient for
the freedom of the inhabitants of territories that are so near, and
comparatively so inconsiderable. How then can I think it sufficient for
those which are infinitely greater, and infinitely more remote?

You will now, Sir, perhaps imagine that I am on the point of proposing
to you a scheme for a representation of the Colonies in Parliament.
Perhaps I might be inclined to entertain some such thought; but a great
flood stops me in my course. Opposuit natura. [Footnote: 50 ]--I cannot
remove the eternal barriers of the creation. The thing, in that mode, I
do not know to be possible. As I meddle with no theory,[Footnote: 51] I
do not absolutely assert the impracticability of such a representation;
but I do not see my way to it, and those who have been more confident
have not been more successful. However, the arm of public benevolence is
not shortened, and there are often several means to the same end. What
nature has disjoined in one way, wisdom may unite in another. When
we cannot give the benefit as we would wish, let us not refuse it
altogether. If we cannot give the principal, let us find a substitute.
But how? Where? What substitute?

Fortunately I am not obliged, for the ways and means of this substitute,
to tax my own unproductive invention. I am not even obliged to go to the
rich treasury of the fertile framers of imaginary commonwealths--not
to the Republic of Plato, [Footnote: 52] not to the Utopia of More,
[Footnote: 52] not to the Oceana of Harrington. It is before me--it is
at my feet,

   "And the rude swain Treads daily on it with his clouted shoon."
   [Footnote: 53]

I only wish you to recognize, for the theory, the ancient constitutional
policy of this kingdom with regard to representation, as that policy has
been declared in Acts of Parliament; and as to the practice, to return
to that mode which a uniform experience has marked out to you as best,
and in which you walked with security, advantage, and honor, until the
year 1763. [Footnote: 54]

My Resolutions therefore mean to establish the equity and justice of a
taxation of America by GRANT, and not by IMPOSITION; to mark the LEGAL
COMPETENCY [Footnote: 55] of the Colony Assemblies for the support
of their government in peace, and for public aids in time of war; to
acknowledge that this legal competency has had a DUTIFUL AND BENEFICIAL
EXERCISE; and that experience has shown the BENEFIT OF THEIR GRANTS and

These solid truths compose six fundamental propositions. There are three
more Resolutions corollary to these. If you admit the first set, you
can hardly reject the others. But if you admit the first, I shall be far
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 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 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--

"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 Parliament."

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.

The second is like unto the first--

"That the said Colonies and Plantations have been liable to, and bounden
by, several subsidies, payments, rates, and taxes given 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 and grieved by subsidies given,
granted, and assented to, in the said Court, in a manner prejudicial to
the commonwealth, 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 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

     "Non meus hic sermo, sed quae praecepit Ofellus,
     Rusticus, abnormis sapiens."
     [Footnote: 56]

It is the genuine produce of the ancient, rustic, manly, homebred 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 profanation to touch with a tool the stones which construct
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
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. [Footnote: 57]

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 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 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 privileges. 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 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 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 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 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

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, free-holders, or other free
inhabitants thereof, commonly called the General Assembly, or General
Court, with powers legally to raise, levy, and assess, according to the
several usage of such Colonies duties and taxes towards 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, "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 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 passed, biennially
in Ireland, or annually in the Colonies--are in an 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."

The expenses were immense for such Colonies. They were above L200,000
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 vigor 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 3d of February, 1756, the House came to a suitable Resolution,
expressed in words nearly the same as those of the message, but with the
further addition, that the money then voted was as an encouragement to
the Colonies to exert themselves with vigor. 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

  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;
          Jan. 9th and 20th, 1761.
  Vol. xxix.--Jan. 22d and 26th, 1762; March 14th and 17th,

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 honorable to them and to you, will, indeed, be mortal to
all the miserable stories by which the passions of the misguided people
[Footnote: 58] 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 millions
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 burthens 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

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 burthen 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 [Footnote: 59] 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
[Footnote: 60] 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 therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or
shipping of goods, wares, and merchandise at the town and within
the harbor 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 [Footnote: 61] 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 [Footnote: 62] of the
Government of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England.
And also that it may be proper to explain and amend an Act made in the
thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, entitled, An
Act for the Trial of Treasons [Footnote: 63] committed out of the King's

I wish, Sir, to repeal the Boston Port Bill, because--independently of
the dangerous precedent of suspending the rights of the subject during
the King's pleasure--it was passed, as I apprehend, with less regularity
and on more partial principles than it ought. The corporation of Boston
was not heard before it was condemned. Other towns, full as guilty as
she was, have not had their ports blocked up. Even the Restraining Bill
of the present session does not go to the length of the Boston Port
Act. The same ideas of prudence which induced you not to extend equal
punishment to equal guilt, even when you were punishing, induced me,
who mean not to chastise, but to reconcile, to be satisfied with the
punishment already partially inflicted.

Ideas of prudence and accommodation to circumstances prevent you from
taking away the charters of Connecticut and Rhode Island, as you have
taken away that of Massachusetts Bay, though the Crown has far less
power in the two former provinces than it enjoyed in the latter, and
though the abuses have been full as great, and as flagrant, in
the exempted as in the punished. The same reasons of prudence
and accommodation have weight with me in restoring the charter of
Massachusetts Bay. Besides, Sir, the Act which changes the charter of
Massachusetts is in many particulars so exceptionable that if I did not
wish absolutely to repeal, I would by all means desire to alter it,
as several of its provisions tend to the subversion of all public and
private justice. Such, among others, is the power in the Governor to
change the sheriff at his pleasure, and to make a new returning officer
for every special cause. It is shameful to behold such a regulation
standing among English laws.

The Act for bringing persons accused of committing murder, under the
orders of Government to England for trial, is but temporary. That Act
has calculated the probable duration of our quarrel with the Colonies,
and is accommodated to that supposed duration. I would hasten the happy
moment of reconciliation, and therefore must, on my principle, get rid
of that most justly obnoxious Act.

The Act of Henry the Eighth, for the Trial of Treasons, I do not mean
to take away, but to confine it to its proper bounds and original
intention; to make it expressly for trial of treasons--and the greatest
treasons may be committed--in places where the jurisdiction of the Crown
does not extend.

Having guarded the privileges of local legislature, I would next secure
to the Colonies a fair and unbiassed judicature, for which purpose, Sir,
I propose the following Resolution:

"That, from the time when the General Assembly or General Court of any
Colony or Plantation in North America shall have appointed by Act of
Assembly, duly confirmed, a settled salary to the offices of the Chief
Justice and other Judges of the Superior Court, it may be proper that
the said Chief Justice and other Judges of the Superior Courts of such
Colony shall hold his and their office and offices during their good
behavior, and shall not be removed therefrom but when the said removal
shall be adjudged by his Majesty in Council, upon a hearing on complaint
from the General Assembly, or on a complaint from the Governor, or
Council, or the House of Representatives severally, or of the Colony in
which the said Chief Justice and other Judges have exercised the said

The next Resolution relates to the Courts of Admiralty. It is this.

"That it may be proper to regulate the Courts of Admiralty or Vice
Admiralty authorized by the fifteenth Chapter of the Fourth of George
the Third, in such a manner as to make the same more commodious to those
who sue, or are sued, in the said Courts, and to provide for the more
decent maintenance of the Judges in the same."

These courts I do not wish to take away, they are in themselves proper
establishments. This court is one of the capital securities of the
Act of Navigation. The extent of its jurisdiction, indeed, has been
increased, but this is altogether as proper, and is indeed on many
accounts more eligible, where new powers were wanted, than a court
absolutely new. But courts incommodiously situated, in effect, deny
justice, and a court partaking in the fruits of its own condemnation is
a robber. The Congress complain, and complain justly, of this grievance.

These are the three consequential propositions I have thought of two or
three more, but they come rather too near detail, and to the province
of executive government, which I wish Parliament always to superintend,
never to assume. If the first six are granted, congruity will carry the
latter three. If not, the things that remain unrepealed will be, I
hope, rather unseemly incumbrances on the building, than very materially
detrimental to its strength and stability.

Here, Sir, I should close, but I plainly perceive some objections
remain which I ought, if possible, to remove. The first will be that, in
resorting to the doctrine of our ancestors, as contained in the preamble
to the Chester Act, I prove too much, that the grievance from a want
of representation, stated in that preamble, goes to the whole of
legislation as well as to taxation, and that the Colonies, grounding
themselves upon that doctrine, will apply it to all parts of legislative

To this objection, with all possible deference and humility, and wishing
as little as any man living to impair the smallest particle of our
supreme authority, I answer, that the words are the words of Parliament,
and not mine, and that all false and inconclusive inferences drawn from
them are not mine, for I heartily disclaim any such inference. I have
chosen the words of an Act of Parliament which Mr. Grenville, surely
a tolerably zealous and very judicious advocate for the sovereignty of
Parliament, formerly moved to have read at your table in confirmation of
his tenets. It is true that Lord Chatham considered these preambles as
declaring strongly in favor of his opinions. He was a no less powerful
advocate for the privileges of the Americans. Ought I not from hence to
presume that these preambles are as favorable as possible to both, when
properly understood; favorable both to the rights of Parliament, and to
the privilege of the dependencies of this Crown? But, Sir, the object of
grievance in my Resolution I have not taken from the Chester, but from
the Durham Act, which confines the hardship of want of representation
to the case of subsidies, and which therefore falls in exactly with the
case of the Colonies. But whether the unrepresented counties were de
jure or de facto [Footnote: 64] bound, the preambles do not accurately
distinguish, nor indeed was it necessary; for, whether de jure or de
facto, the Legislature thought the exercise of the power of taxing as
of right, or as of fact without right, equally a grievance, and equally

I do not know that the Colonies have, in any general way, or in any cool
hour, gone much beyond the demand of humanity in relation to taxes. It
is not fair to judge of the temper or dispositions of any man, or any
set of men, when they are composed and at rest, from their conduct
or their expressions in a state of disturbance and irritation. It
is besides a very great mistake to imagine that mankind follow up
practically any speculative principle, either of government or of
freedom, as far as it will go in argument and logical illation. We
Englishmen stop very short of the principles upon which we support any
given part of our Constitution, or even the whole of it together. I
could easily, if I had not already tired you, give you very striking
and convincing instances of it. This is nothing but what is natural and
proper. All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every
virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter. We
balance inconveniences; we give and take; we remit some rights, that we
may enjoy others; and we choose rather to be happy citizens than subtle
disputants. As we must give away some natural liberty to enjoy civil
advantages, so we must sacrifice some civil liberties for the advantages
to be derived from the communion and fellowship of a great empire. But,
in all fair dealings, the thing bought must bear some proportion to the
purchase paid. None will barter away the immediate jewel of his soul.
[Footnote: 65] Though a great house is apt to make slaves haughty, yet
it is purchasing a part of the artificial importance of a great empire
too dear to pay for it all essential rights and all the intrinsic
dignity of human nature. None of us who would not risk his life rather
than fall under a government purely arbitrary. But although there are
some amongst us who think our Constitution wants many improvements
to make it a complete system of liberty, perhaps none who are of that
opinion would think it right to aim at such improvement by disturbing
his country, and risking everything that is dear to him. In every
arduous enterprise we consider what we are to lose, as well as what
we are to gain; and the more and better stake of liberty every people
possess, the less they will hazard in a vain attempt to make it more.
These are the cords of man. Man acts from adequate motives relative to
his interest, and not on metaphysical speculations. Aristotle, the great
master of reasoning, cautions us, and with great weight and propriety,
against this species of delusive geometrical accuracy in moral arguments
as the most fallacious of all sophistry.

The Americans will have no interest contrary to the grandeur and glory
of England, when they are not oppressed by the weight of it; and
they will rather be inclined to respect the acts of a superintending
legislature when they see them the acts of that power which is itself
the security, not the rival, of their secondary importance. In this
assurance my mind most perfectly acquiesces, and I confess I feel not
the least alarm from the discontents which are to arise from putting
people at their ease, nor do I apprehend the destruction of this Empire
from giving, by an act of free grace and indulgence, to two millions of
my fellow-citizens some share of those rights upon which. I have always
been taught to value myself.

It is said, indeed, that this power of granting, vested in American
Assemblies, would dissolve the unity of the Empire, which was preserved
entire, although Wales, and Chester, and Durham were added to it. Truly,
Mr. Speaker, I do not know what this unity means, nor has it ever been
heard of, that I know, in the constitutional policy of this country. The
very idea of subordination of parts excludes this notion of simple and
undivided unity. England is the head; but she is not the head and the
members too. Ireland has ever had from the beginning a separate, but not
an independent, legislature, which, far from distracting, promoted the
union of the whole. Everything was sweetly and harmoniously disposed
through both islands for the conservation of English dominion, and
the communication of English liberties. I do not see that the same
principles might not be carried into twenty islands and with the same
good effect. This is my model with regard to America, as far as the
internal circumstances of the two countries are the same. I know no
other unity of this Empire than I can draw from its example during these
periods, when it seemed to my poor understanding more united than it is
now, or than it is likely to be by the present methods.

But since I speak of these methods, I recollect, Mr. Speaker, almost
too late, that I promised, before I finished, to say something of the
proposition of the noble lord on the floor, which has been so lately
received and stands on your Journals. I must be deeply concerned
whenever it is my misfortune to continue a difference with the majority
of this House; but as the reasons for that difference are my apology for
thus troubling you, suffer me to state them in a very few words. I shall
compress them into as small a body as I possibly can, having already
debated that matter at large when the question was before the Committee.

First, then, I cannot admit that proposition of a ransom [Footnote: 66]
by auction; because it is a mere project. It is a thing new, unheard of;
supported by no experience; justified by no analogy; without example
of our ancestors, or root in the Constitution. It is neither regular
Parliamentary taxation, nor Colony grant. Experimentum in corpore vili
[Footnote: 67] is a good rule, which will ever make me adverse to any
trial of experiments on what is certainly the most valuable of all
subjects, the peace of this Empire.

Secondly, it is an experiment which must be fatal in the end to our
Constitution. For what is it but a scheme for taxing the Colonies in the
ante-chamber of the noble lord and his successors? To settle the quotas
and proportions in this House is clearly impossible. You, Sir, may
flatter yourself you shall sit a state auctioneer, with your hammer in
your hand, and knock down to each Colony as it bids. But to settle, on
the plan laid down by the noble lord, the true proportional payment for
four or five and twenty governments according to the absolute and the
relative wealth of each, and according to the British proportion of
wealth and burthen, is a wild and chimerical notion. This new taxation
must therefore come in by the back door of the Constitution. Each quota
must be brought to this House ready formed; you can neither add nor
alter. You must register it. You can do nothing further, for on what
grounds can you deliberate either before or after the proposition? You
cannot hear the counsel for all these provinces, quarrelling each on
its own quantity of payment, and its proportion to others If you should
attempt it, the Committee of Provincial Ways and Means, or by whatever
other name it will delight to be called, must swallow up all the time of

Thirdly, it does not give satisfaction to the complaint of the Colonies.
They complain that they are taxed without their consent, you answer,
that you will fix the sum at which they shall be taxed. That is, you
give them the very grievance for the remedy. You tell them, indeed, that
you will leave the mode to themselves. I really beg pardon--it gives me
pain to mention it--but you must be sensible that you will not perform
this part of the compact. For, suppose the Colonies were to lay the
duties, which furnished their contingent, upon the importation of your
manufactures, you know you would never suffer such a tax to be laid. You
know, too, that you would not suffer many other modes of taxation, so
that, when you come to explain yourself, it will be found that you
will neither leave to themselves the quantum nor the mode, nor indeed
anything. The whole is delusion from one end to the other.

Fourthly, this method of ransom by auction, unless it be universally
accepted, will plunge you into great and inextricable difficulties. In
what year of our Lord are the proportions of payments to be settled? To
say nothing of the impossibility that Colony agents should have general
powers of taxing the Colonies at their discretion, consider, I implore
you, that the communication by special messages and orders between these
agents and their constituents, on each variation of the case, when
the parties come to contend together and to dispute on their relative
proportions, will be a matter of delay, perplexity, and confusion that
never can have an end.

If all the Colonies do not appear at the outcry, what is the condition
of those assemblies who offer, by themselves or their agents, to tax
themselves up to your ideas of their proportion? The refractory
Colonies who refuse all composition will remain taxed only to your old
impositions, which, however grievous in principle, are trifling as to
production. The obedient Colonies in this scheme are heavily taxed, the
refractory remain unburdened. What will you do? Will you lay new and
heavier taxes by Parliament on the disobedient? Pray consider in what
way you can do it. You are perfectly convinced that, in the way of
taxing, you can do nothing but at the ports. Now suppose it is Virginia
that refuses to appear at your auction, while Maryland and North
Carolina bid handsomely for their ransom, and are taxed to your quota,
how will you put these Colonies on a par? Will you tax the tobacco of
Virginia? If you do, you give its death-wound to your English revenue
at home, and to one of the very greatest articles of your own foreign
trade. If you tax the import of that rebellious Colony, what do you
tax but your own manufactures, or the goods of some other obedient and
already well-taxed Colony? Who has said one word on this labyrinth of
detail, which bewilders you more and more as you enter into it? Who
has presented, who can present you with a clue to lead you out of it?
I think, Sir, it is impossible that you should not recollect that the
Colony bounds are so implicated in one another,--you know it by
your other experiments in the bill for prohibiting the New England
fishery,--that you can lay no possible restraints on almost any of them
which may not be presently eluded, if you do not confound the innocent
with the guilty, and burthen those whom, upon every principle, you ought
to exonerate. He must be grossly ignorant of America who thinks that,
without falling into this confusion of all rules of equity and policy,
you can restrain any single Colony, especially Virginia and Maryland,
the central and most important of them all.

Let it also be considered that, either in the present confusion you
settle a permanent contingent, which will and must be trifling, and
then you have no effectual revenue; or you change the quota at every
exigency, and then on every new repartition you will have a new quarrel.

Reflect, besides, that when you have fixed a quota for every Colony,
you have not provided for prompt and punctual payment. Suppose one, two,
five, ten years' arrears. You cannot issue a Treasury Extent against
the failing Colony. You must make new Boston Port Bills, new restraining
laws, new acts for dragging men to England for trial. You must send out
new fleets, new armies. All is to begin again. From this day forward the
Empire is never to know an hour's tranquillity. An intestine fire will
be kept alive in the bowels of the Colonies, which one time or other
must consume this whole Empire. I allow indeed that the empire of
Germany raises her revenue and her troops by quotas and contingents;
but the revenue of the empire, and the army of the empire, is the worst
revenue and the worst army in the world.

Instead of a standing revenue, you will therefore have a perpetual
quarrel. Indeed, the noble lord who proposed this project of a ransom
by auction seems himself to be of that opinion. His project was rather
designed for breaking the union of the Colonies than for establishing a
revenue. He confessed he apprehended that his proposal would not be to
their taste. I say this scheme of disunion seems to be at the bottom of
the project; for I will not suspect that the noble lord meant nothing
but merely to delude the nation by an airy phantom which he never
intended to realize. But whatever his views may be, as I propose the
peace and union of the Colonies as the very foundation of my plan, it
cannot accord with one whose foundation is perpetual discord.

Compare the two. This I offer to give you is plain and simple. The other
full of perplexed and intricate mazes. This is mild; that harsh. This
is found by experience effectual for its purposes; the other is a new
project. This is universal; the other calculated for certain Colonies
only. This is immediate in its conciliatory operation; the other remote,
contingent, full of hazard. Mine is what becomes the dignity of a ruling
people--gratuitous, unconditional, and not held out as a matter of
bargain and sale. I have done my duty in proposing it to you. I have
indeed tired you by a long discourse; but this is the misfortune of
those to whose influence nothing will be conceded, and who must win
every inch of their ground by argument. You have heard me with goodness.
May you decide with wisdom! For my part, I feel my mind greatly
disburthened by what I have done to-day. I have been the less fearful
of trying your patience, because on this subject I mean to spare it
altogether in future. I have this comfort, that in every stage of the
American affairs I have steadily opposed the measures that have produced
the confusion, and may bring on the destruction, of this Empire. I now
go so far as to risk a proposal of my own. If I cannot give peace to my
country, I give it to my conscience.

But what, says the financier, is peace to us without money? Your plan
gives us no revenue. No! But it does; for it secures to the subject the
power or refusal, the first of all revenues. Experience is a cheat, and
fact a liar, if this power in the subject of proportioning his grant, or
of not granting at all, has not been found the richest mine of revenue
ever discovered by the skill or by the fortune of man. It does not
indeed vote you L152,750 11s. 23/4d, nor any other paltry limited sum;
but it gives the strong box itself, the fund, the bank--from whence only
revenues can arise amongst a people sensible of freedom. Posita luditur
arca. [Footnote: 68] Cannot you, in England--cannot you, at this time
of day--cannot you, a House of Commons, trust to the principle which has
raised so mighty a revenue, and accumulated a debt of near 140,000,000
in this country? Is this principle to be true in England, and false
everywhere else? Is it not true in Ireland? Has it not hitherto been
true in the Colonies? Why should you presume that, in any country, a
body duly constituted for any function will neglect to perform its
duty and abdicate its trust? Such a presumption [Footnote: 69] would
go against all governments in all modes. But, in truth, this dread of
penury of supply from a free assembly has no foundation in nature; for
first, observe that, besides the desire which all men have naturally of
supporting the honor of their own government, that sense of dignity and
that security to property which ever attends freedom has a tendency to
increase the stock of the free community. Most may be taken where most
is accumulated. And what is the soil or climate where experience has not
uniformly proved that the voluntary flow of heaped-up plenty, bursting
from the weight of its own rich luxuriance, has ever run with a more
copious stream of revenue than could be squeezed from the dry husks of
oppressed indigence by the straining of all the politic machinery in the
world? [Footnote: 70]

Next, we know that parties must ever exist in a free country. We know,
too, that the emulations of such parties--their contradictions, their
reciprocal necessities, their hopes, and their fears--must send them all
in their turns to him that holds the balance of the State. The parties
are the gamesters; but Government keeps the table, and is sure to be the
winner in the end. When this game is played, I really think it is more
to be feared that the people will be exhausted, than that Government
will not be supplied; whereas, whatever is got by acts of absolute
power ill obeyed, because odious, or by contracts ill kept, because
constrained, will be narrow, feeble, uncertain, and precarious.

"Ease would retract Vows made in pain, as violent and void."

I, for one, protest against compounding our demands. I declare against
compounding, for a poor limited sum, the immense, ever-growing, eternal
debt which is due to generous government from protected freedom. And so
may I speed in the great object I propose to you, as I think it would
not only be an act of injustice, but would be the worst economy in the
world, to compel the Colonies to a sum certain, either in the way of
ransom or in the way of compulsory compact.

But to clear up my ideas on this subject: a revenue from America
transmitted hither--do not delude yourselves--you never can receive it;
no, not a shilling. We have experience that from remote countries it
is not to be expected. If, when you attempted to extract revenue
from Bengal, you were obliged to return in loan what you had taken in
imposition, what can you expect from North America? For certainly, if
ever there was a country qualified to produce wealth, it is India; or
an institution fit for the transmission, it is the East India Company.
America has none of these aptitudes. If America gives you taxable
objects on which you lay your duties here, and gives you, at the same
time, a surplus by a foreign sale of her commodities to pay the duties
on these objects which you tax at home, she has performed her part to
the British revenue. But with regard to her own internal establishments,
she may, I doubt not she will, contribute in moderation. I say in
moderation, for she ought not to be permitted to exhaust herself. She
ought to be reserved to a war, the weight of which, with the enemies
[Footnote: 71] that we are most likely to have, must be considerable
in her quarter of the globe. There she may serve you, and serve you

For that service--for all service, whether of revenue, trade, or
empire--my trust is in her interest in the British Constitution. My hold
of the Colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names,
from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These
are ties which, though light as air, [Footnote: 72] are as strong as
links of iron. Let the Colonists always keep the idea of their civil
rights associated with your government,--they will cling and grapple to
you, [Footnote: 73] and no force under heaven will be of power to tear
them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood that your
government may be one thing, and their privileges another, that these
two things may exist without any mutual relation, the cement is gone
[Footnote: 74]--the cohesion is loosened--and everything hastens to
decay and dissolution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the
sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the
sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race
and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards
you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have; the more
ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience.
Slavery they can have anywhere--it is a weed that grows in every soil.
They may have it from Spain; they may have it from Prussia. But, until
you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural
dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity
of price of which you have the monopoly. This is the true Act of
Navigation which binds to you the commerce of the Colonies, and
through them secures to you the wealth of the world. Deny them this
participation of freedom, and you break that sole bond which originally
made, and must still preserve, the unity of the Empire. Do not entertain
so weak an imagination as that your registers and your bonds, your
affidavits and your sufferances, your cockets and your clearances, are
what form the great securities of your commerce. Do not dream that your
letters of office, and your instructions, and your suspending clauses,
are the things that hold together the great contexture of the mysterious
whole. These things do not make your government. Dead instruments,
passive tools as they are, it is the spirit of the English communion
that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It is the spirit of the
English Constitution which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades,
feeds, unites, invigorates, vivifies every part of the Empire, even down
to the minutest member.

Is it not the same virtue which does everything for us here in England?
Do you imagine, then, that it is the Land Tax Act which raises your
revenue? that it is the annual vote in the Committee of Supply which
gives you your army? or that it is the Mutiny Bill which inspires
it with bravery and discipline? No! surely no! It is the love of the
people; it is their attachment to their government, from the sense of
the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you
your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience
without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing
but rotten timber.

All this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the
profane herd [Footnote: 75] of those vulgar and mechanical politicians
who have no place among us; a sort of people who think that nothing
exists but what is gross and material, and who, therefore, far from
being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are
not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated and
rightly taught, these ruling and master principles which, in the opinion
of such men as I have mentioned, have no substantial existence, are in
truth everything, and all in all. Magnanimity [Footnote: 76] in politics
is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go
ill together. If we are conscious of our station, and glow with zeal
to fill our places as becomes our situation and ourselves, we ought to
auspicate [Footnote: 77] all our public proceedings on America with
the old warning of the church, Sursum corda! [Footnote: 78] We ought to
elevate our minds to the greatness of that trust to which the order
of providence has called us. By adverting to the dignity of this high
calling our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious
empire, and have made the most extensive and the only honorable
conquests--not by destroying, but by promoting the wealth, the number,
the happiness, of the human race. Let us get an American revenue as we
have got an American empire. English privileges have made it all that it
is; English privileges alone will make it all it can be.

In full confidence of this unalterable truth, I now, quod felix
faustumque sit, [Footnote: 79] lay the first stone of the Temple of
Peace; and I move you--

"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 Parliament."


[Footnote: 1. grand penal bill. This bill originated with Lord North.
It restricted the trade of the New England colonies to England and her
dependencies. It also placed serious limitations upon the Newfoundland
fisheries. The House of Lords was dissatisfied with the measure because
it did not include all the colonies.]

[Footnote: 2. When I first had the honor. Burke was first elected
to Parliament Dec. 26, 1765. He was at the time secretary to Lord
Rockingham, Prime Minister. Previous to this he had made himself
thoroughly familiar with England's policy in dealing with her
dependencies--notably Ireland.]

[Footnote: 3. my original sentiments. After many demonstrations both in
America and England the Stamp Act became a law in 1765. One of the first
tasks the Rockingham ministry set itself was to bring about a repeal of
this act. Burke made his first speech in support of his party. He argued
that the abstract and theoretical rights claimed by England in matters
of government should be set aside when they were unfavorable to the
happiness and prosperity of her colonies and herself. His speech was
complimented by Pitt, and Dr. Johnson wrote that no new member had ever
before attracted such attention.]

[Footnote: 4. America has been kept in agitation. For a period of nearly
one hundred years the affairs of the colonies had been intrusted to a
standing committee appointed by Parliament. This committee was called
"The Lords of Trade." From its members came many if not the majority of
the propositions for the regulation of the American trade. To them the
colonial governors, who were appointed by the king, gave full accounts
of the proceedings of the colonial legislatures. These reports, often
colored by personal prejudice, did not always represent the colonists in
the best light. It was mainly through the influence of one of the former
Lords of Trade, Charles Townshend, who afterwards became the leading
voice in the Pitt ministry, that the Stamp Act was passed.]

[Footnote: 5. a worthy member. Mr. Rose Fuller.]

[Footnote: 6. former methods. Condense the thought in this paragraph.
Are such "methods" practised nowadays?]

[Footnote: 7. paper government. Burke possibly had in mind the
constitution prepared for the Carolinas by John Locke and Earl of
Shaftesbury. The scheme was utterly impracticable and gave cause for
endless dissatisfaction.]

[Footnote: 8. Refined policy. After a careful reading of the paragraph
determine what Burke means by "refined policy."]

[Footnote: 9. the project. The bill referred to had been passed by the
House on Feb. 27. It provided that those colonies which voluntarily
voted contributions for the common defence and support of the English
government, and in addition made provision for the administration of
their own civil affairs, should be exempt from taxation, except such as
was necessary for the regulation of trade. It has been declared by some
that the measure was meant in good faith and that its recognition and
acceptance by the colonies would have brought good results. Burke, along
with others of the opposition, argued that the intention of the bill was
to cause dissension and division among the colonies. Compare 7, 11-12.
State your opinion and give reasons.]

[Footnote: 10. the noble lord in the blue ribbon Lord North (1732-1792)
He entered Parliament at the age of twenty-two, served as Lord of the
Treasury, 1759; was removed by Rockingham, 1765; was again appointed
by Pitt to the office of Joint Paymaster of the Forces, became Prime
Minister, 1770, and resigned, 1781 Lord North is described both by
his contemporaries and later histonaus as an easy-going, indolent man,
short-sighted and rather stupid, though obstinate and courageous. He
was the willing servant of George III, and believed in the principle of
authority as opposed to that of conciliation. The blue ribbon was the
badge of the Order of the Garter instituted by Edward III Lord North
was made a Knight of the Garter, 1772. Burke often mentions the "blue
ribbon" in speaking of the Prime Minister. Why?]

[Footnote: 11. Colony agents. It was customary for colonies to select
some one to represent them in important matters of legislation. Burke
himself served as the agent of New York. Do you think this tact accounts
in any way for his attitude in this speech?]

[Footnote: 12. our address Parliament had prepared an address to the
king some months previous, in which Massachusetts was declared to be in
a state of rebellion. The immediate cause of this address was the
Boston Tea Party. The lives and fortunes of his Majesty's subjects were
represented as being in danger, and he was asked to deal vigorously not
only with Massachusetts but with her sympathizers.]

[Footnote: 13. those chances. Suggested perhaps by lines in Julius
Caesar, IV., iii., 216-219:--

     "There is a tide in the affairs of men,
     Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
     Omitted, all the voyage of their life
     Is bound in shallows and in miseries."]

[Footnote: 14. according to that nature and to those circumstances.
Compare with 8. Point out the connection between the thought here
expressed and Burke's idea of "expediency."]

[Footnote: 15. great consideration. This paragraph has been censured
for its too florid style. It may be rather gorgeous and rhetorical when
considered as part of an argument, yet it is very characteristic of
Burke as a writer. In no other passage of the speech is there such vivid
clear-cut imagery. Note the picturesque quality of the lines and detect
if you can any confusion in figures.]

[Footnote: 16. It is good for us to be here. Burke's favorite books were
Shakespeare, Milton, and the Bible. Trace the above sentence to one of

[Footnote: 17.

          "Facta parentun
     Jam legere et quae sit poteris cognoscere virtus."
           --VIRGIL'S Eclogues, IV., 26, 27]

Notice the alteration. Already old enough to study the deeds of his
father and to know what virtue is.

[Footnote: 18. before you taste of death. Compare 16.]

[Footnote: 19. Roman charity. This suggests the more famous "Ancient
Roman honor" (Merchant of Venice, III., 11, 291). The incident referred
to by Burke is told by several writers. A father condemned to death by
starvation is visited in prison by his daughter, who secretly nourishes
him with milk from her breasts.]

[Footnote: 20. complexions. "Mislike me not for my COMPLEXION."--M. V.
Is the word used in the same sense by Burke?]

[Footnote: 21. the thunder of the state. What is the classical

[Footnote: 22. a nation is not governed.

     "Who overcomes By force hath overcome but half his foe"
     --Paradise Lost, 1, 648, 649.]

[Footnote: 23. Our ancient indulgence. "The wise and salutary neglect,"
which Burke has just mentioned, was the result of (a) the struggle of
Charles I. with Parliament, (b) the confusion and readjustment at the
Restoration, (c) the Revolution of 1688, (d) the attitude of France
in favoring the cause of the Stuarts, (e) the ascendency of the Whigs.
England had her hands full in attending to affairs at home. As a result
of this the colonies were practically their own masters in matters of
government. Also the political party known as the Whigs had its origin
shortly before William and Mary ascended the throne. This party favored
the colonies and respected their ideas of liberty and government.]

[Footnote: 24. great contests. One instance of this is Magna Charta.
Suggest others.]

[Footnote: 25. Freedom is to them Such keen analysis and subtle
reasoning is characteristic of Burke It is this tendency that justifies
some of his admirers in calling him "Philosopher Statesman". Consider
his thought attentively and determine whether or not his argument is
entirely sound. Is he correct in speaking of our Gothic ancestors?]

[Footnote: 26. Abeunt studia in mores. Studies become a part of

[Footnote: 27. winged ministers of vengeance. A figure suggested perhaps
by Horace, Odes, Bk. IV., 4: "Ministrum fulmims alitem"--the thunder's
winged messenger.]

[Footnote: 28. the circulation. The Conciliation, as all of Burke's
writings, is rich in such figurative expressions. In every instance
the student should discover the source of the figure and determine
definitely whether or not his author is accurate and suggestive.]

[Footnote: 29. its imperfections.

     "But sent to my account
     With all my imperfections upon my head."
     --Hamlet, I, v, 78, 79.]

[Footnote: 30. same plan. The act referred to, known as the Regulating
Act, became a law May 10, 1774. It provided (a) that the council, or the
higher branch of the legislature, should be appointed by the Crown (the
popular assemblies had previously selected the members of the council);
(b) that officers of the common courts should be chosen by the royal
governors, and (c) that public meetings (except for elections) should
not be held without the sanction of the king. These measures were
practically ignored. By means of circular letters the colonies were
fully instructed through their representatives. As a direct result of
the Regulating Act, along with other high-handed proceedings of the same
sort, delegates were secretly appointed for the Continental Congress on
Sept. 1 at Philadelphia. The delegates from Massachusetts were Samuel
Adams, John Adams, Robert Paine, and Thomas Cushing.]

[Footnote: 31. their liberties. Compare 24]

[Footnote: 32. sudden or partial view. Goodrich, in his Select British
Eloquence, speaking of Burke's comprehensiveness in discussing his
subject, compares him to one standing upon an eminence, taking a large
and rounded view of it on every side. The justice of this observation is
seen in such instances as the above. It is this breadth and clearness of
vision more than anything else that distinguishes Burke so sharply from
his contemporaries.]

[Footnote: 33. three ways. How does the first differ from the third?]

[Footnote: 34. Spoliatis arma supersunt. Though plundered their arms
still remain.]

[Footnote: 35. your speech would betray you. "Thy speech bewrayeth
thee"--Matt. xxvi 73. There is much justice in the observation that
Burke is often verbose, yet such paragraphs as this prove how well he
knew to condense and prune his expression. It is an excellent plan to
select from day to day passages of this sort and commit them to memory
for recitation when the speech has been finished.]

[Footnote: 36. to persuade slaves. Does this suggest one of Byron's

[Footnote: 37. causes of quarrel. The Assembly of Virginia in 1770
attempted to restrict the slave trade. Other colonies made the same
effort, but Parliament vetoed these measures, accompanying its action
with the blunt statement that the slave trade was profitable to England.
Observe how effectively Burke uses his wide knowledge of history.]

[Footnote: 38. ex vi termini. From the force of the word.]

[Footnote: 39. abstract right. Compare with 14; also 8. Point out
connection in thought.]

[Footnote: 40. Act of Henry the Eighth. Burke alludes to this in his
letter to the sheriffs of Bristol in the following terms: "To try a man
under this Act is to condemn him unheard. A person is brought hither in
the dungeon of a ship hold; thence he is vomited into a dungeon on land,
loaded with irons, unfurnished with money, unsupported by friends, three
thousand miles from all means of calling upon or confronting evidence,
where no one local circumstance that tends to detect perjury can
possibly be judged of;--such a person may be executed according to form,
but he can never be tried according to justice."]

[Footnote: 41. correctly right. Explain.]

[Footnote: 42. Paradise Lost, II., 392-394.]

[Footnote: 43. This passage should be carefully studied. Burke's theory
of government is given in the Conciliation by just such lines as these.
Refer to other instances of principles which he considers fundamental in
matters of government.]

[Footnote: 44. exquisite. Exact meaning?]

[Footnote: 45. trade laws. What would have been the nature of a change
beneficial to the colonies?]

[Footnote: 46. English conquest. At Henry II.'s accession, 1154, Ireland
had fallen from the civilization which had once flourished upon her soil
and which had been introduced by her missionaries into England during
the seventh century. Henry II. obtained the sanction of the Pope,
invaded the island, and partially subdued the inhabitants. For an
interesting account of England's relations to Ireland the student should
consult Green's Short History of the English People.]

[Footnote: 47. You deposed kings. What English kings have been deposed?]

[Footnote: 48. Lords Marchers. March, boundary. These lords were given
permission by the English kings to take from the Welsh as much land as
they could. They built their castles on the boundary line between the
two countries, and when they were not quarrelling among themselves waged
a guerilla warfare against the Welsh. The Lords Marchers, because of
special privileges and the peculiar circumstances of their life, were
virtually kings--petty kings, of course.]

[Footnote: 49. "When the clear star has shone upon the sailors, the
troubled water flows down from the rocks, the winds fall, the clouds
fade away, and, since they (Castor and Pollux) have so willed it, the
threatening waves settle on the deep."--HORACE, Odes, I., 12, 27-32.]

[Footnote: 50. Opposuit natura. Nature opposed.]

[Footnote: 51. no theory. Select other instances of Burke's impatience
with fine-spun theories in statescraft]

[Footnote: 52. Republic of Plato Utopia of More Ideal states Consult the Century Dictionary]

[Footnote: 53.              "And the DULL swain
   Treads daily on it with his clouted shoon"
                 --MILTON'S Comus, 6, 34, 35.]

[Footnote: 54. the year 1763 The date marks the beginning of the active
struggle between England and the American colonies. The Stamp Act was
the first definite step taken by the English Parliament in the attempt
to tax the colonies without their consent.]

[Footnote: 55. legal competency. This had been practically recognized by
Parliament prior to the passage of the Stamp Act. In Massachusetts the
Colonial Assembly had made grants from year to year to the governor,
both for his salary and the incidental expenses of his office.
Notwithstanding the fact that he was appointed (in most cases) by the
Crown, and invariably had the ear of the Lords of Trade, the colonies
generally had things their own way and enjoyed a political freedom
greater, perhaps, than did the people of England.]

[Footnote: 56. This is not my doctrine, but that of Ofellus; a rustic,
yet unusually wise]

[Footnote: 57. Compare in point of style with 43, 22-25; 44, 1-6 In what
way do such passages differ from Burke's prevailng style? What is the
central thought in each paragraph?]

[Footnote: 58. misguided people. There is little doubt that the
colonists m many instances were misrepresented by the Lords of Trade and
by the royal governors. See an interesting account of this in Fiske's
American Revolution.]

[Footnote: 59. an Act. Passed in 1767. It provided for a duty on
imports, including tea, glass, and paper.]

[Footnote: 60 An Act. Boston Post Bill.]

[Footnote: 61. impartial administration of justice. This provided that
if any person in Massachusetts were charged with murder, or any other
capital offence, he should be tried either in some other colony or in
Great Britain]

[Footnote: 62. An Act for the better regulating See 87, 23. ]

[Footnote: 63. Trial of Treasons See 50, 20.]

[Footnote: 64. de jure. According to law. de facto. According to fact.]

[Footnote: 65. jewel of his soul.

     "Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
     Is the immediate jewel of their souls"
     --Othello, III, iii, 155,156.]

[Footnote: 66. proposition of a ransom. See 8, 13.]

[Footnote: 67. An experiment upon something of no value.]

[Footnote: 68. They stake their fortune and play.]

[Footnote: 69. Such a presumption Is Burke right in this? Select
instances which seem to warrant rest such a presumption. Discuss the
political parties of Burke's own day from this point of view.]

[Footnote: 70. What can you say about the style of this passage? Note
the figure, sentence structure, and diction. Does it seem artificial and
overwrought? Compare it with 43, 22-25; 44. 1-6; also with 90, 23-25,
91, 1-25, 92, 1-23.]

[Footnote: 71. enemies. France and Spain.]

[Footnote: 72. light as air.

       "Trifles light as air
      Are to the jealous confirmations strong
       As proofs of holy writ"
      --Othello, III, iii, 322-324]

[Footnote: 73.

                     grapple to you.
  "The friends thou hast and their adoption tried
  Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel"
           --Hamlet, I., iii, 62,63.]

[Footnote: 74. the cement is gone. Figure?]

[Footnote: 75. profane herd.

   "Odi profanum volgus et arceo"
   I hate the vulgar herd and keep it from me
          --Horace, Odes, III, 1, 1]

[Footnote: 76. Magnanimity. Etymology?]

[Footnote: 77. auspicate Etymology and derivation?]

[Footnote: 78. Sursum corda. Lift up your hearts.]

[Footnote: 79. quod felix faustumque sit. May it be happy and

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