« PreviousContinue »
Now, Sir, I trust I. have shown, first on that nar. row ground which the honorable gentleman measured, that you are like to lose nothing by complying with the motion, except what you have lost already. I have shown afterwards, that in time of peace you flourished in commerce, and, when war required it, had sufficient aid from the colonies, while you pursued your ancient policy; that you threw everything into confusion, when you made the Stamp Act; and that you restored everything to peace and order, when you repealed it. I have shown that the revival of the system of taxation has produced the very worst effects; and that the partial repeal has produced, not partial good, but universal evil. Let these considerations, founded on facts, not one of which can be denied, bring us back to our reason by the road of our experience.
I cannot, as I have said, answer for mixed measures: but surely this mixture of lenity would give the whole a better chance of success. once regain confidence, the way will be clear before you. Then you may enforce the Act of Navigation, when it ought to be enforced. You will yourselves open it, where it ought still further to be opened. Proceed in what you do, whatever you do, from policy, and not from rancor. Let us act like men, let us act like statesmen. Let us hold some sort of consistent conduct. It is agreed that a revenue is not to be had in America. If we lose the profit, let us get rid of the odium.
On this business of America, I confess I am serious, even to sadness. I have had but one opinion concerning it, since I sat, and before I sat in Parliament. The noble lord * will, as usual, probably,
* Lord North.
attribute the part taken by me and my friends in this business to a desire of getting his places. Let him enjoy this happy and original idea. If I deprived him of it, I should take away most of his wit, and all his argument. But I had rather bear the brunt of all his wit, and indeed blows much heavier, than stand answerable to God for embracing a system that tends to the destruction of some of the very best and fairest of His works. But I know the map of England as well as the noble lord, or as any other person ; and I know that the way I take is not the road to preferment. My excellent and honorable friend under me on the floor * has trod that road with great toil for upwards of twenty years together. He is not yet arrived at the noble lord's destination. However, the tracks of my worthy friend are those I have ever wished to follow ; because I know they lead to honor. Long may we tread the same road together, whoever may accompany us, or whoever may laugh at us on our journey! I honestly and solemnly declare, I have in all seasons adhered to the system of 1766 for no other reason than that I think it laid deep in your truest interests, — and that, by limiting the exercise, it fixes on the firmest foundations a real, consistent, well-grounded authority in Parliament. Until you come back to that system, thero will be no peace for England.
* Mr. Dowdeswell.