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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 splendour of the project, which has been lately laid upon your table by the noble lord in the blue riband * It does not propose to fill your lobby with squabbling colony agents, who will require the interposition of your mace, at every instant, to keep the peace amongst them. It does not institute a
That when the governor, council, or assembly, or general court, of any of his majesty's provinces or colonies “ in America, shall propose to make provision, according to the “ condition, circumstances, and situation, of such province or “colony, for contributing their proportion to the common “ defence (such proportion to be raised under the authority of “the general court, or general assembly, of such province or “ colony, and disposable by parliament) and shall engage to “ make provision also for the support of the civil government, “ and the administration of justice, in such province or “ colony, it will be proper, if such proposal shall be approved
by his majesty, and the two houses of parliament, and for so “ long as such provision shall be made accordingly, to forbear, “ in respect of such province or colony, to levy any duty, tax,
or assessment, or to impose any farther duty, tax, or assess“ment, except such duties as it may be expedient to continue “ to levy or impose, for the regulation of commerce; the nett “ produce of the duties last mentioned to be carried to the ac “count of such province or colony respectively.”—Resolution moved by Lord North in the committee; and agreed to by the house, 27th Feb. 1775.
magnificent auction of finance, where captivated provinces cometo 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 equalise 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, notwithstanding our heavy bill 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, prerious 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 had 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 parliament.
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 endeavour to shew
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 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 superiour power may offer peace with honour 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 superiour ; and he loses for ever that time and those chances, which, as they happen to all men, are the strength and resources of all infe
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; and not according to our own imaginations ; not 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 endeavour, 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 colour; besides at least
500,000 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 shew 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