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uation, I never would have exchanged it for all that kings in their profusion could bestow. I did hope that that day's danger and honor would have been a bond to hold us all together forever. But, alas ! that, with other pleasing visions, is long since vanished.
Sir, this act of supreme magnanimity has been represented as if it had been a measure of an administration that, having no scheme of their own, took a middle line, pilfered a bit from one side and a bit from the other. Sir, they took no middle lines. They differed fundamentally from the schemes of both parties; but they preserved the objects of both. They preserved the authority of Great Britain ; they preserved the equity of Great Britain. They made the Declaratory Act; they repealed the Stamp Act. They did both fully : because the Declaratory Act was without qualification ; and the repeal of the Stamp Act total. This they did in the situation I have described.
Now, Sir, what will the adversary say to both these acts? If the principle of the Declaratory Act was not good, the principle we are contending for this day is monstrous. If the principle of the repeal was not good, why are we not at war for a real, substantial, effective revenue? If both were bad, why has this ministry incurred all the inconveniences of both and of all schemes? why have they enacted, repealed, enforced, yielded, and now attempt to enforce again?
Sir, I think I may as well now as at any other time speak to a certain matter of fact not wholly unrelated to the question under your consideration. We, who would persuade you to revert to the ancient
policy of this kingdom, labor under the effect of this short current phrase, which the court leaders have given out to all their corps, in order to take away the credit of those who would prevent you from that frantic war you are going to wage upon your colonies. Their cant is this : “ All the disturbances in America have been created by the repeal of the Stamp Act.” I suppress for a moment my indignation at the falsehood, baseness, and absurdity of this most audacious assertion. Instead of remarking on the motives and character of those who have issued it for circulation, I will clearly lay before you the state of America, antecedently to that repeal, after the repeal, and since the renewal of the schemes of American taxation.
It is said, that the disturbances, if there were any before the repeal, were slight, and without difficulty or inconvenience might have been suppressed. For an answer to this assertion I will send you to the great author and patron of the Stamp Act, who, certainly meaning well to the authority of this country, and fully apprised of the state of that, made, before a repeal was so much as agitated in this House, the motion which is on your journals, and which, to save the clerk the trouble of turning to it, I will now read to you. It was for an amendment to the address of the 17th of December, 1765.
“ To express our just resentment and indignation at the outrageous tumults and insurrections which have been excited and carried on in North America, and at the resistance given, by open and rebellious force, to the execution of the laws in that part of his Majesty's dominions; to assure his Majesty, that his faithful Commons, animated with the warmest duty and at
tachment to his royal person and government, will firmly and effectually support his Majesty in all such measures as shall be necessary for preserving and securing the legal dependence of the colonies upon this their mother country," &c., &c.
Here was certainly a disturbance preceding the repeal, — such a disturbance as Mr. Grenville thought necessary to qualify by the name of an insurrection, and the epithet of a rebellious force: terms much stronger than any by which those who then supported his motion have ever since thought proper to distinguish the subsequent disturbances in America. They were disturbances which seemed to him and his friends to justify as strong a promise of support as hath been usual to give in the beginning of a war with the most powerful and declared ene mies. When the accounts of the American governors came before the House, they appeared stronger even than the warmth of public imagination had painted them : so much stronger, that the papers on your table bear me out in saying that all the late disturbances, which have been at one time the minister's motives for the repeal of five out of six of the new court taxes, and are now his pretences for refusing to repeal that sixth, did not amount - why do I compare them? — no, not to a tenth part of the tumults and violence which prevailed long before the repeal of that act.
Ministry cannot refuse the authority of the commander-in-chief, General Gage, who, in his letter of the 4th of November, from New York, thus represents the state of things :
“It is difficult to say, from the highest to the lowest, who has not been accessory to this insurrection, either
by writing, or mutual agreements to oppose the act, by what they are pleased to term all legal opposition to it. Nothing effectual has been proposed, either to prevent or quell the tumult. The rest of the provinces are in the same situation, as to a positive refusal to take the stamps, and threatening those who shall take them to plunder and murder them; and this affair stands in all the provinces, that, unless the act from its own nature enforce itself, nothing but a very considerable military force can do it.”
It is remarkable, Sir, that the persons who formerly trumpeted forth the most loudly the violent resolutions of assemblies, the universal insurrections, the seizing and burning the stamped papers, the forcing stamp officers to resign their commissions under the gallows, the rifling and pulling down of the houses of magistrates, and the expulsion from their country of all who dared to write or speak a single word in defence of the powers of Parliament, — these very trumpeters are now the men that represent the whole as a mere trifle, and choose to date all the disturbances from the repeal of the Stamp Act, which put an end to them. Hear your officers abroad, and let them refute this shameless falsehood, who, in all their correspondence, state the disturbances as owing to their true causes, the discontent of the people from the taxes. You have this evidence in your own archives; and it will give you complete satisfaction, if you are not so far lost to all Parliamentary ideas of information as rather to credit the lie of the day than the records of your own House.
Sir, this vermin of court reporters, when they are forced into day upon one point, are sure to burrow in another : but they shall have no refuge; I will make
them bolt out of all their holes. Conscious that they must be baffled, when they attribute a precedent disturbance to a subsequent measure, they take other ground, almost as absurd, but very common in modern practice, and very wicked; which is, to attribute the ill effect of ill-judged conduct to the arguments which had been used to dissuade us from it. They say, that the opposition made in Parliament to the Stamp Act, at the time of its passing, encouraged the Americans to their resistance. This has even formally appeared in print in a regular volume from an advocate of that faction, - a Dr. Tucker. This Dr. Tucker is already a dean, and his earnest labors in this vineyard will, I suppose, raise him to a bishopric. But this assertion, too, just like the rest, is false. In all the papers which have loaded your table, in all the vast crowd of verbal witnesses that appeared at your bar, witnesses which were indiscriminately produced from both sides of the House, not the least hint of such a cause of disturbance has ever appeared. As to the fact of a strenuous opposition to the Stamp Act, I sat as a stranger in your gallery wlien the act was under consideration. Far from anything inflammatory, I never heard a more languid debate in this House. No more than two or three gentlemen, as I remember, spoke against the act, and that with great reserve and remarkable temper. There was but one division in the whole progress of the bill; and the minority did not reach to more than 39 or 40. In the House of Lords I do not recollect that there was any debate or division at all. I am sure there was no protest. In fact, the affair passed with so very, very little noise, that in town they scarcely knew the nature of what you were doing. The opposition to