Proceedings of the American Stamp Act

[33] sents to pluck from his breast a predilection for this island ; perhaps a prejudice, but a prejudice of which the most noble minds are not the least susceptible.

He supposes, " that it no longer pleases the providence of God that it should remain in his blood and name," when his country wants it. Of that country which wants it, he asks an equivalent, such an equivalent as you gave for the heretable jurisdiction.

The Isle of Man may be injurious to commerce, but the heretable jurisdictions were subversive of liberty. The Isle of Man may be detrimental to the revenue. The heretable jurisdictions were the seminaries of treason and rebellion. What would you have him do ? Name your commissioners, name your arbitrators: treat with him. When you do, you will find him not the king of Man, but a subject of Great Britain. Be yourselves his arbitrators. He throws himself upon the justice, the equity, and the honour of this House.

March 5. The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented a Copy of a Letter from the duke and duchess of Athol to the commissioners of the treasury, dated February 27th, 1765; and also copy of an abstract of the clear revenue of the Isle of Man for ten years, from the year 1754 to the year 1763, both inclusive : He then acquainted the House, that his Majesty recommends it to the House to do as they shall think fit with respect to the proposal contained in the letter from the duke and duchess of Athol to the commissioners of the treasury.

Ordered, That the said copies be referred to the committee of the whole House, to whom it is referred to consider what rights of the proprietor of the Isle of Man, under the several grants of the"said island, it may be expedient to vest in the crown for the farther and more effectual preventing the mischiefs arising to the revenue and commerce of Great Britain and [34] Ireland, from the illicit and clandestine trade to and from the said island ; and what compensation it may be proper to make to the said proprietor in respect thereof; and which report was ordered to be received next day.

March 6. It was resolved,' 1. " That for the farther and more effectually preventing the mischiefs arising to the revenue and commerce of Great Britain and

Ireland, from the illicit and clandestine trade to and from the Isle of Man, it is expedient to vest in the crown, upon a proper compensation to be paid to the proprietors of the said island, the Isle, Castle, and Peele of Man, and all rights, jurisdictions, and interests, in and over the said island, and all its dependencies, holden by the said proprietors, under the several grants thereof, or under any other title whatsoever, excepting only their landed property, with all their rights in and over the soil, as lords of the manor, with all courts baron, rents, services, and other incidents, to such courts belonging ; their wastes, commons, and other lands, inland waters, fisheries^ and mills, and all mines, minerals, and quarries, according to their present rights therein, felon's goods, deodands, waifs, estrays, and wrecks at sea, together with the patronage of the bishopric, and of the other ecclesiastical benefices in the said island, to which they are now entitled. And 2. That the sum of 70,000/. may be proper to be paid, as a full compensation to the proprietors of the Isle of Man, according to the proposal contained in the letter from the said proprietors, dated the 27th day of Feb., 1765, to the commissioners of the treasury."

And. a Bill was afterwards passed, whereby the whole isle, with all its jurisdictions, interests, and dependencies, was vested in the crown.


Proceedings on the American Stamp Act.]

Fifty five Resolutions (1) of the Com- [35] mittee of Ways and Means were agreed to by the Commons, and afterwards incorporated into "An Act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, towards further [36] defraying the expences of defending, protecting, and securing, the same ; and for amending such parts of the several acts of parliament, relating to the trade and revenues of the said colonies and plantations, as direct the manner of [37] determining and recovering the penalties and forfeitures therein mentioned."

This Act passed the Commons almost without debate, two or three members spoke against it, but without force or apparent interest, except a vehement ha [38] rangue from colonel Barré, who in reply to an observation of Mr. Grenville, in which he described the Americans as children of our own, planted by our care, nourished by our indulgence ; said, "Children planted by your care ! No ! [39] your oppression planted them in America ; they fled from your tyranny, into a then uncultivated land, where they were exhosed to almost all hardships to which puman nature is liable, and yet, actuated by principles of true English liberty, they met all these hardships with pleasure, compared to those they suffered in their own country, from the hands of those who should have been their friends. They nourished by your indulgence ! They grew by your neglect of them : as soon as you began to care about them, that care was exercised in sending persons to rule over them, who were, perhaps, the deputies of some deputy, sent to spy out their liberty, to misrepresent their actions, and to prey upon them ; men, whose behaviour, on many occasions, has caused the blood of those sons of liberty to recoil within them. They protected by your arms ! they have nobly taken up arms in your defence, have exerted their valour amidst their constant and laborious industry, for the defence of a country, whose [40] frontiers, while drenched in blood, its interior parts have yielded all its little savings to your enlargement ; and the same spirit which actuated that people at first, will continue with them still ; but prudence forbids me to explain myself further."

There was but one division during the progress of the Bill, and then the minority did not amount to more than forty. The petitions presented against it, although recommended by an order of council, were not attended to, and the House refused to receive four from the agents of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Carolina, and one from the traders of Jamaica. In the House of Lords the act passed without debate, division, or protest ; and having thus received the sanction of both Houses, was ratified by the royal assent, on the 22nd of March.(2)


Motion in the Commons respecting Informations Ex-Officio by the Attorney General.]

March 4. Mr. Nicholson Calvert moved, that part of an Act, made in the 16th year of the reign of king Charles the 1st, intituled, " An Act for regulating the privy council, and for taking away the Court commonly called the Star Chamber," might be read: and the same being read accordingly, he spoke as follows :

Mr. Speaker; the business of this day is of so great importance, not only to every member of this House, but to every subject in his Majesty's dominions: that affrighted as I am at my own incapacity, lest the cause of the public should suffer in my hands, I should not have dared to [83] the most effectual methods to establish the public credit upon the surest foundations, and to alleviate by degrees the burdens of my people.

" My Lords, and Gentlemen: " The provisions winch have been made for the administration of the government, in case the crown should descend to any of my children under the age of eighteen years, whilst they add strength and security to our present establishment, give me the kindest and most convincing proof of your confidence. The sense which I have of the important trust reposed in me, and my desire to repay this mark of your affection, by discharging my part agreeably to your intentions, in the manner most beneficial to my people, have concurred to make me execute without delay the powers with which you have entrusted me: this is already done; and you may be assured that, as far as it depends upon me, those salutary provisions shall never be ineffectual. It is my ardent wish, and shall be my constant endeavour, on this and every other occasion, to perpetuate the happiness of my subjects, and to transmit to posterity the blessings of our invaluable constitution."

The Parliament was then prorogued to the 11 th of July; and was afterwards further prorogued to the 17th of December.




of the




The King's Speech on Opening the Session.]

December 17, 1765. His Majesty opened the Session with the following Speech to both Houses :

"My Lords, and Gentlemen :

"The present general state of tranquillity in Europe gave me hopes that it would not have been necessary to assemble my parliament sooner than is usual in times of peace.

"But, as matters of importance have lately occurred in some of my colonies in America, which will demand the most serious attention of parliament ; and as further informations are daily expected from different parts of that country, of which I shall order the fullest accounts to be prepared for your consideration ; I have [84] thought fit to call you now together in order that opportunity may thereby be given to issue the necessary writs on the many vacancies that have happened in the House of Commons since the last session ; so that the parliament may be full to proceed immediately, after the usual recess, on the consideration of such weighty matters as will then come before you."


The Lords' Address of Thanks.]

His Majesty having retired,

The Earl of Hardwicke (3) rose and said :

My lords ; our duty to the King, when speaking to his parliament from that royal seat, and the ancient usage of this House, have introduced the form of an immediate return of thanks to the throne, with general assurances of support on such weighty matters as the crown is advised to lay before us.

I should be justly diffident of my own abilities and experience in the proceedings of this House, to be the first to submit an opinion to your lordships as to the proper form of an address, if the speech had opened to us the entire plan of business for the session. But, as in the present conjuncture, his Majesty has only acquainted us, that he shall, (after the usual recess), have matters of the greatest importance, relative to our colonies in America, to lay before us, the trouble I shall give your lordships on this occasion will and ought to be short.

The state of affairs in America, which is the subject pointed out to us in the Speech, is indeed of the highest magnitude ; if I had not heard that term so often misapplied, I should say the greatest in its extent and consequences, that ever came before parliament ; it is of the utmost importance to the royal and legislative authority ; to the good order of government ; and to the commerce and navigation of these kingdoms. When we enter into this arduous matter, my lords, it should be discussed deliberately, wisely, (sine ullis animorum incendiis) and thoroughly with all the materials necessary to inform and direct our judgments ; with joint deliberation and concurrence of both Houses of parliament, and with the fullest attendance of ther members.

These circumstances (all of them es[85] sential in my poor opinion) cannot take place till after the holidays, and therefore I shall propose nothing further in the motion I shall take the liberty to make, than to assure his Majesty, that when the accounts of these late transactions in America have been received, and are laid before us, we will weigh them with an attention equal to their importance, and do every thing which the exigence of affairs shall require.

Two events have occurred since our last meeting very proper subjects for your lordships to express your dutiful sentiments upon at this time ; the one a very agreeable subject of congratulation to the throne ; the increase of the royal family by the birth of a prince. Every event of this kind must give your lordships not only that satisfaction which arises from having before your eyes the most complete examples of domestic felicity in the most exalted situation, but from the sure prospect of the continuance of those invaluable blessings, which we have enjoyed for more than half a century under the Protestant succession in the House of Brunswick.

The other event (of a very different cast) which your lordships will certainly make part of your address, is a condolence on the irreparable loss which his Majesty and the kingdom have sustained in the death of the duke of Cumberland.

The motion I shall offer, endeavours to express that just tribute of respect and gratitude which is due to the character of that illustrious prince. I shall not pretend to add much to it, because the national, sense of his royal highness's merit and services stands already recorded in our statute book, and will for ever live in our memories.

One thing, however, your lordships will permit me to recall to your minds, before I sit down, rather to indulge my own feelings, than to reanimate, (which would be quite needless) the fervent and loyal zeal of your lordships, that the conduct, activity and valor, of the duke of Cumberland preserved this country, when a rebellion, impiously and wantonly set on foot, had shaken the throne, and distempered the state. This pleasing and interesting retrospect is alone sufficient to convey the highest idea of his capacity and services, and to transmit his respectable name amongst the other heroes of our own growth, with lustre to the latest posterity.

The noble lord concluded with moving, [86] "That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to return his Majesty the thanks of this House, for his most gracious Speech from the throne.

"To assure his Majesty, that, when he shall be pleased to communicate to his parliament the informations and advices which have been, or shall be, received from America, this House will proceed to the consideration of those weighty affairs, with an attention equal to the importance of the subject ; and with a resolution to do every thing which the exigency of the case may require.

"To congratulate his Majesty on the birth of a prince ; and to assure him, that whatever adds to the domestic happiness, stability, and increase, of his illustrious House, from which these kingdoms have received the most important benefits, must always afford the highest satisfaction to his faithful subjects.

"To express our sincere condolence on the loss of his late royal highness the duke of Cumberland ; and to assure his Majesty, that the many eminent public and private virtues, the extent of capacity, and the magnanimity of mind, the affection for his Majesty's person, and the eminent services performed for this country, which distinguished that great and excellent prince, as they have left a lasting memorial in his Majesty's royal breast, so have they made an impression never to be erased from the minds of his grateful people."

Then an Amendment was proposed to be made to the said Resolution, by inserting, after the words "which the exigency of the case may require,Ó the following words ; viz. "To express to his Majesty our deep concern and indignation at the dangerous tumults and insurrections which have been raised and fomented in his Majesty's dominions of North America, in opposition to the execution of the laws, and in open defiance of the parliamentary right of Great Britain : and that we embrace with pleasure the earliest opportunity in our power to assure his Majesty, that, fully sensible of the indispensable necessity of vindicating and establishing the just power of the legislature of Great Britain, we will cheerfully concur in every measure, which may strengthen the hands of government, and enforce the legal obedience of the colonies, and their constitutional dependance on the sovereign authority of this kingdom." Which being objected to : after long debate, the question was put, "Whether the said words [87] shall be there inserted ?" It was resolved in the negative.

Then the following Address was agreed to :

"Most Gracious Sovereign,

"We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords spiritual and temporal in parliament assembled, beg leave to return your Majesty our humble thanks, for your most gracious Speech from the throne.

"We should be wanting in our duty, not to assure your Majesty, that, when your Majesty shall have been pleased to communicate to your parliament those informations and advices which have been, or shall be, received from America, we will proceed to the consideration of those weighty matters, with an attention equal to the importance of the subject, and with a resolution to do every thing which the exigency of the case may require.

"Attentive to every event which affects your Majesty, permit us to congratulate your Majesty on the birth of a prince : whatever adds to your domestic happiness, and the stability and increase of that illustrious House from which these kingdoms have received the most important benefits, must always afford the highest satisfaction to your faithful subjects.

"Animated by the same sentiments of zeal and duty to your Majesty and your royal family, and under the deepest impressions of concern, we beg leave to approach your throne with our sincere condolence on the loss of his late royal highness the duke of Cumberland.

"The many eminent, public, and private virtues, the extent of capacity, and the magnanimity of mind, the affection for your Majesty's person, and the eminent services performed for this country, which distinguished that great and excellent prince, as they have left a lasting memorial in your royal breast, so have they made an impression never to be erased from the minds of your grateful people."


The King's Answer.]

His Majesty returned this Answer : "My Lords,

"The assurances you give me of your loyalty and affection are truly pleasing to me.

"I have the strongest reliance on your resolution to do every thing that may be most expedient in the present state of my colonies in America.

"I see with particular pleasure those [88] sentiments of zeal and duty to me and my family with which you express your satisfaction on the birth of my third son, and your concern for the loss I have sustained by the death of the duke of Cumberland."


The Commons' Address of Thanks.]

The Commons being returned to their House, lord George Cavendish moved,

"That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to return his Majesty the thanks of this House for his most gracious Speech from the throne.

"To assure his Majesty, that we will not fail, when this House shall be supplied with its members, to apply ourselves with the utmost diligence and attention to those important occurrences in America, which his Majesty recommends to our consideration ; and to exert our most zealous endeavours for the honour of his Majesty's government, and the true interest of his people, in all parts of his extended empire.

"To congratulate his Majesty on the late increase of his royal family, by the birth of a prince. His Majesty's happiness and that of his people are one ; and every increase of his Majesty's illustrious family is considered by his faithful Commons, as a further security to that religion, and those liberties we enjoy under his Majesty's most auspicious government.

"To offer to his Majesty our sincere condolence on the great loss, which his Majesty and this kingdom have sustained by the death of his late royal highness the duke of Cumberland ; whose private and public virtues, whose duty and affection to his Majesty, and whose distinguished merits, and services to this country, as they made his person dear to this nation while he lived, so they cannot fail to render his memory sacred to the latest posterity :Ó

An Amendment was proposed to be made to the question, by inserting, after the words "extended empireÓ, these words, "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 attachment to his royal person and government, and to the constitution of these kingdoms, will firmly and effectually support his Majesty in all such measures as shall be necessary for preserving and [89] securing the legal dependance of the colonies upon this their mother country ; for enforcing their due obedience to the laws ; for maintaining the dignity of the crown, and asserting the indubitable and fundamental rights of the legislature of Great Britain." (4)

And the said proposed Amendment was, by leave of the House, withdrawn ; and the original Address agreed to, as follows :

"Most Gracious Sovereign ;

"We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in parliament assembled, beg leave to return your Majesty the thanks of this House, for your most gracious Speech from the throne : and to assure your Majesty, that we will not fail, when this House shall be supplied with its members, to apply ourselves with the utmost diligence and attention to those important occurrences in America, which your Majesty recommends to our consideration ; and to exert our most zealous endeavours for the honour of your Majesty's government, and the true interest of your people, in all parts of your extended empire.

"Permit us, at the same time, to congratulate your Majesty on the late increase of your royal family, by the birth of a prince. Your Majesty's happiness and that of your people are one ; and every increase of your Majesty's illustrious family is considered by your faithful Commons, as a further security to that religion, and those liberties we enjoy under your Majesty's most auspicious government.

"We also beg leave to offer to your [90] Majesty our sincere condolence on the great loss, which your Majesty and this kingdom have sustained by the death of his late royal highness the duke of Cumberland ; whose private and public virtues, whose duty and affection to your Majesty, and whose distinguished merits, and services to this country, as they made his person dear to this nation while he lived, so they cannot fail to render his memory sacred to the latest posterity."


The King's Answer.]

His Majesty returned this Answer : Gentlemen :

"I return you thanks for this loyal and dutiful Address.

"The satisfaction you express in the increase of my family, and the affectionate share you take in the great loss I have sustained by the death of the duke of Cumberland, are fresh proofs of your zeal and loyalty.

"Your resolution at the same time to support the honour of my government, and to provide for the true interest of all my people, cannot but be most acceptable to me. My conduct shall always shew, that I consider their interest as inseparable from my own."


On the 20th of December, both Houses adjourned, to the 14th of January, 1766.



The King's Speech after the Christmas Recess.(5)]

January 14,1766. The King [91] came to the House of Peers, and made the following Speech to both Houses : "My Lords, and Gentlemen ; "When I met you last, I acquainted you that matters of importance had happened in America, which would demand the most serious attention of parliament.

"That no information which could serve to direct your deliberations in so interesting a concern might be wanting, I have ordered all the papers that give any light into the origin, the progress, or the tendency, of the disturbances which have of late prevailed in some of the northern colonies, to be immediately laid before you.

"No time has been lost, on the first advice of these disturbances, to issue orders to the governors of my provinces, and to the commanders of my forces in [92] America, for the exertion of all the powers of government, in the suppression of riots and tumults, and in the effectual support of lawful authority.

"Whatever remains to be done on this occasion, I commit to your wisdom ; not doubting but your zeal for the honour of my crown, your attention to the just rights and authority of the British legislature, and your affection and concern for the welfare and prosperity of all my people, will guide you to such sound and prudent resolutions, as may tend at once to preserve those constitutional rights over the colonies, and to restore to them that harmony and tranquillity, which have lately been interrupted by riots and disorders of the most dangerous nature.

"If any alterations should be wanting [93] in the commercial oeconomy of the plantations, which may tend to enlarge and secure the mutual and beneficial intercourse of my kingdoms and colonies, they will deserve your most serious consideration. In effectuating purposes so worthy of your wisdom and public spirit, you may depend upon my most hearty concurrence and support. The present happy tranquillity now subsisting in Europe will enable you to pursue such objects of our interior policy with a more uninterrupted attention.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons ; "I have ordered the proper estimates for the current service of the year to be laid before you. Such supplies as you may grant shall be duly applied with the utmost fidelity, and shall be dispensed with the strictest Ïconomy.

"My Lords, and Gentlemen ; "I earnestly recommend to you, to proceed in your deliberations with temper and unanimity. The time requires, and I doubt not but your own inclination will lead you to, those salutary dispositions. I have nothing at heart but the assertion of legal authority, the preservation of the liberties of all my subjects, the equity and good order of my government, and the concord and prosperity of all parts of my dominions."


The Lords' Address of Thanks.]

His Majesty having retired, the Earl of Dartmouth moved the following Address, which was agreed to :

"Most Gracious Sovereign ;

"We, your Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Lords spiritual and temporal in parliament assembled, beg leave to return our hearty and most unfeigned thanks to your Majesty, for your most gracious Speech from the throne.

"We gratefully acknowledge your Majesty's goodness and condescension, in ordering to be immediately laid before us all the materials of information, which may serve to direct our proceedings upon the very important objects which your Majesty has proposed to our consideration.

"We cannot avoid expressing our satisfaction in your Majesty's parental care and vigilance, in losing no time to issue the necessary orders for exerting the several powers of government, in the suppression of riots and tumults, and the support of order and legal authority. Concurring heartily with your Majesty's salutary intentions, we will exert our utmost [94] endeavours to assert and support your Majesty's dignity and honour, and the legislative authority of this kingdom over its colonies ; and will take into consideration the most proper methods to provide for the restoration of the tranquillity of those colonies, which has been disturbed by such violent and dangerous commotions.

"We congratulate your Majesty, that the state of tranquillity, so happily subsisting in Europe, leaves us at leisure to attend to the mutual commercial concerns of your kingdoms and colonies.

"Permit us, Sir, to condole with you on the loss your Majesty and your royal family has sustained by the premature death of his royal highness prince Frederick William, whose amiable qualities and early attainments afforded so pleasing a prospect of happiness to your Majesty, and of advantage to your kingdoms.

"Our deliberations will, we trust, be conducted with that prudence and temper which your Majesty so graciously recommends. You will find, Sir, that our sentiments correspond with your Majesty's gracious intentions towards all your subjects ; and that all things which may tend to re-establish tranquillity and order, and to cement the several parts of the British dominions in a close connection and constitutional dependance, shall be the first objects of our attention, that such a firm authority may be established, and such a general satisfaction diffused, over every part of your extensive empire, as ought to distinguish the government of so wise, so just, and so beneficent a prince."


The King's Answer.]

His Majesty returned this Answer : "My Lords ;

"I thank you for this dutiful and loyal Address. Your firm and temperate resolution to support the dignity of my crown, and the legislative authority of this kingdom over its colonies ; your care at the same time to re-establish order and tranquillity in those colonies ; and your regard to the prosperity and happiness of all my people ; shew dispositions which are altogether worthy of your wisdom, and which cannot fail of producing the most salutary effects both at home and abroad : you will find me unalterably fixed in the same intentions. Your affectionate condolence on the death of my brother affords me some consolation on that melancholy occasion." [95]


Debate in the Commons on the Address of Thanks.]

The Commons being returned to their House,

Lord Villiers moved, "That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to return his Majesty our most humble thanks for his most gracious Speech from the throne.

"To assure his Majesty, that it is with the highest sense of his Majesty's goodness we acknowledge that care for the welfare of his people, and that confidence in the loyalty and affection of his faithful Commons, which his Majesty shews in the early communication, his Majesty has been pleased to order, of the necessary informations relative to the disturbances in America ; that his reliance on the wisdom and duty of his parliament, in a matter of so great importance, and the attention shewn by his Majesty, in referring to their deliberation and advice, the joint concern of his Majesty's royal authority, the rights of his parliament, and the happiness of his subjects, are at once objects of our highest admiration and gratitude.

"That it is our duty, as it shall be our care to imitate that temper and equanimity, which appear in his Majesty's conduct, by mixing with our zeal for the honour of his Majesty's government, and with our just regard for the dignity and authority of parliament, the utmost attention to the important objects of the trade and navigation of these kingdoms, and the tenderest concern for the united interests of all his people.

"That it is with inexpressible grief we are again called upon to condole with his Majesty, on the death of another prince of his royal family, whose amiable disposition, and whose early virtues in the first dawn of life, while they shew him worthy of the illustrious race he sprung from, must now double our regret for his untimely loss.

"That the general state of peace and tranquillity, so happily reigning in all parts of Europe, must give the greatest satisfaction to every one, who has any concern for the true interest of his country, or who feels for the general happiness of mankind.

"That our assistance shall not be wanting, to aid his Majesty with our advice, and to strengthen his authority for the continuation of that harmony, so happily preserved by the wisdom of his Majesty's councils and the influence of his mild auspicious government.

"To assure his Majesty that we shall, [96] with the greatest cheerfulness, grant his Majesty the supplies necessary for the current service of the year ; having the firmest reliance on the promise his Majesty is graciously pleased to make, of seeing them duly applied with that oeconomy, which his own wisdom will direct, and which the circumstances of this country so strongly demand.

"That the unanimity and dispatch, which his Majesty is pleased to recommend, we shall, from motives both of duty and inclination, endeavour to make the rule of our proceedings ; being sensible that nothing can more immediately tend to add weight to the deliberations of parliament, or efficacy to their resolutions.

"That, as the constant tenor of his Majesty's conduct shews that the happiness and prosperity of his people are the sole objects of his concern, we should be equally wanting in duty to our sovereign, and care for our own honour, did we a moment neglect our part in promoting all such wise and salutary measures, as may tend to reflect dignity on his Majesty's government, and fix the welfare of his people on the most solid foundations."

Upon this motion a long Debate (6) ensued. The gentlemen in support of the motion spoke very tenderly of the disturbances raised in America, in opposition to the Stamp Act, terming them only "occurrences ;" which gave great offence to the friends of the late minister, by whom that act had been projected.

Mr. Nugent, (afterwards lord Clare,) insisted, That the honour and dignity of the kingdom obliged us to compel the execution of the Stamp Act, except the right was acknowledged, and the repeal solicited as a favour. He computed the expence of the troops now employed in America for their defence, as he called it, to amount to nine pence in the pound of our land tax ; while the produce of the Stamp-act would not raise a shilling a head on the inhabitants of America ; but [97] that a pepper-corn, in acknowledgment of the right, was of more value, than millions without. He expatiated on the extreme ingratitude of the colonies ; and concluded with charging the ministry with encouraging petitions to parliament, and instructions to members from trading and manufacturing towns, against the act.

Mr. Pitt spoke next. As he always began very low, and as every body was in agitation at his first rising, his introduction was not heard, till he said, I came to town but to-day ; I was a stranger to the tenor of his Majesty's Speech, and the proposed Address, till I heard them read in this House. Unconnected and unconsulted, I have not the means of information ; I am fearful of offending through mistake, and therefore beg to be indulged with a second reading of the proposed Address. [The Address being read, Mr. Pitt went on :] He commended the King's Speech, approved of the Address in answer, as it decided nothing, every gentleman being left at perfect liberty to take such a part concerning America, as he might afterwards see fit. One word only he could not approve of, an "early,Õ is a word that does not belong to the notice the ministry have given to parliament of the troubles in America. In a matter of such importance, the communication ought to have been immediate : I speak not with respect to parties ; I stand up in this place single and unconnected. As to the late ministry (turning himself to Mr. Grenville, who sat within one of him) every capital measure they have taken, has been entirely wrong !

As to the present gentlemen, to those at least whom I have in my eye (looking at the bench where Mr. Conway sat, with the lords of the treasury) I have no objection ; I have never been made a sacrifice by any of them. Their characters are fair ; and I am always glad when men of fair character engage in his Majesty's service. Some of them have done me the honour to ask my poor opinion, before they would engage. These will do me the justice to own I advised them to engage ; but notwithstanding, I love to be explicit ; I cannot give them my confidence ; pardon me, gentlemen, (bowing to the ministry) confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom : youth is the season of credulity ; by comparing events with each other, reasoning from effects to causes, methinks, I plainly discover the traces of an over-ruling influence. [98] There is a clause in the Act of Settlement, to oblige every minister to sign his name to the advice which he gives his sovereign. Would it were observed ! I have had the honour to serve the crown, and if I could have submitted to influence, I might have still continued to serve ; but I would not be responsible for others. I have no local attachments : it is indifferent to me, whether a man was rocked in his cradle on this side or that side of the Tweed. I sought for merit wherever it was to be found. It is my boast, that I was the first minister who looked for it, and I found it in the mountains of the north. I called it forth, and drew it into your service, an hardy and intrepid race of men ! men, who, when left by your jealousy, became a prey to the artifices of your enemies, and had gone nigh to have overturned the state, in the war before the last. These men, in the last war, were brought to combat on your side : they served with fidelity, as they fought with valour, and conquered for you in every part of the world : detested be the national reflections against them ! they are unjust, groundless, illiberal, unmanly. When I ceased to serve his Majesty as a minister, it was not the country of the man by which I was moved, but the man of that country wanted wisdom, and held principles incompatible with freedom.

It is a long time, Mr. Speaker, since I have attended in parliament. When the resolution was taken in the House to tax America, I was ill in bed. If I could have endured to have been carried in my bed, so great was the agitation of my mind for the consequences ! I would have solicited some kind hand to have laid me down on this floor, to have borne my testimony against it. It is now an act that has passed ; I would speak with decency of every act of this House, but I must beg the indulgence of the House to speak of it with freedom.

I hope a day may be soon appointed to consider the state of the nation with respect to America. I hope gentlemen will come to this debate with all the temper and impartiality that his Majesty recommends, and the importance of the subject requires. A subject of greater importance than ever engaged the attention of this House ! that subject only excepted, when near a century ago, it was the question whether you yourselves were to be bound, or free. In the mean time, as I cannot [99depend upon health for any future day, such is the nature of my infirmities, I will beg to say a few words at present, leaving the justice, the equity, the policy, the expediency of the act, to another time. I will only speak to one point, a point which seems not to have been generally understood, I mean to the right. Some gentlemen (alluding to Mr. Nugent) seem to have considered it as a point of honour. If gentlemen consider it in that light, they leave all measures of right and wrong, to follow a delusion that may lead to destruction. It is my opinion, that this kingdom has no right to lay a tax upon the colonies. At the same time, I assert the authority of this kingdom over the colonies, to be sovereign and supreme, in every circumstance of government and legislation whatsoever. They are the subjects of this kingdom, equally entitled with yourselves to all the natural rights of mankind and the peculiar privileges of Englishmen. Equally bound by its laws, and equally participating of the constitution of this free country. The Americans are the sons, not the bastards, of England. Taxation is no part of the governing or legislative power. The taxes are a voluntary gift and grant of the Commons alone. In legislation the three estates of the realm are alike concerned, but the concurrence of the peers and the crown to a tax, is only necessary to close with the form of a law. The gift and grant is of the Commons alone. In ancient days, the crown, the barons, and the clergy possessed the lands. In those days, the barons and the clergy gave and granted to the crown. They gave and granted what was their own. At present, since the discovery of America, and other circumstances permitting, the Commons are become the proprietors of the land. The crown has divested itself of its great estates. The church (God bless it) has but a pittance. The property of the Lords, compared with that of the Commons, is as a drop of water in the ocean : and this House represents those Commons, the proprietors of the lands ; and those proprietors virtually represent the rest of the inhabitants. "When, therefore, in this House we give and grant, we give and grant what is our own. But in an American tax, what do we do ? We, your Majesty's Commons of Great Britain, give and grant to your Majesty, what ? Our own-property ? No. We give and grant to your Majesty, the property of your Majesty's [100] commons of America. It is an absurdity in terms.

The distinction between legislation and taxation is essentially necessary to liberty. The Crown, the Peers, are equally legislative powers, with the Commons. If taxation be a part of simple legislation, the Crown, the Peers, have rights in taxation as well as yourselves : rights which they will claim, which they will exercise, whenever the principle, can be supported by power.

There is an idea in some, that the colonies are virtually represented in this House. I would fain know by whom an American is represented here ? Is he represented by any knight of the shire, in any county in this kingdom ? Would to God that respectable representation was augmented to a greater number ! Or will you tell him, that he is represented by any representative of a boroughÑa borough, which perhaps, its own representative never saw. This is what is called, "the rotten part of the constitution." It cannot continue the century ; if it does not drop, it must be amputated. The idea of a virtual representation of America in this House, is the most contemptible idea that ever entered into the head of a man ; it does not deserve a serious refutation.

The Commons of America, represented in their several assemblies, have ever been in possession of the exercise of this, their constitutional right, of giving and granting their own money. They would have been slaves if they had not enjoyed it. At the same time, this kingdom, as the supreme governing and legislative power, has always bound the colonies by her laws, by her regulations, and restrictions in trade, in navigation, in manufactures, in every thing, except that of taking their money out of their pockets without their consent.

Here I would draw the line,

"Quam ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum."

He concluded with a familiar voice and tone, but so low that it was not easy to distinguish what he said. A considerable pause ensued after Mr. Pitt had done speaking.

Mr. Conway at length got up. He said, he had been waiting to see whether any answer would be given to what had been advanced by the right hon. gentleman, reserving himself for the reply : but as none had been given, he had only to declare, that his own sentiments were entirely conformable to those of the right hon. gentlemanÑThat they are so conformable, he [101] said, is a circumstance that affects me with most sensible pleasure, and does me the greatest honour. But two things fell from that gentleman, which give me pain, as whatever falls from that gentleman, falls from so great a height as to make a deep impression. I must endeavour to remove it. It was objected, that the notice given to parliament of the troubles in America was not early. I can assure the House, the first accounts were too vague and imperfect to be worth the notice of parliament. It is only of late that they have been precise and full. An over-ruling influence has also been hinted at. I see nothing of it ; I feel nothing of it ; I disclaim it for myself, and (as far as my discernment can reach), for all the rest of his Majesty's ministers.

Mr. Pitt said in answer to Mr. Conway, The excuse is a valid one, if it is a just one. That must appear from the papers now before the House.

Mr. Grenville next stood up. He began with censuring the ministry very severely, for delaying to give earlier notice to parliament of the disturbances in America. He said, They began in July, and now we are in the middle of January ; lately they were only occurrences, they are now grown to disturbances, to tumults and riots. I doubt they border on open rebellion ; and if the doctrine I have heard this day be confirmed, I fear they will lose that name to take that of revolution. The government over them being dissolved, a revolution will take place in America. I cannot understand the difference between external and internal taxes. They are the same in effect, and only differ in name. That this kingdom has the sovereign, the supreme legislative power over America, is granted. It cannot be denied ; and taxation is a part of that sovereign power. It is one branch of the legislation. It is, it has been exercised, over those who are not, who were never represented. It is exercised over the India Company, the merchants of London, the proprietors of the stocks, and over many great manufacturing towns. It was exercised over the palatinate of Chester, and the bishopric of Durham, before they sent any representatives to parliament. I appeal, for proof, to the preambles of the acts which gave them representatives : the one in the reign of Henry 8, the other in that of Charles 2. [Mr. Grenville then quoted the acts, and desired that they might be read ; which being [102] done, he said :] When I proposed to tax America, I asked the House, if any gentleman would object to the right ; I repeatedly asked it, and no man would attempt to deny it. Protection and obedience are reciprocal. Great Britain protects America ; America is bound to yield obedience. If not, tell me when the Americans were emancipated ? When they want the protection of this kingdom, they are always very ready to ask it. That protection has always been afforded them in the most full and ample manner. The nation has run itself into an immense debt to give them their protection ; and now they are called upon to contribute a small share towards the public expence, an expence arising from themselves, they renounce your authority, insult your officers, and break out, I might almost say, into open rebellion. The seditious spirit of the colonies owes its birth to the factions in this House. Gentlemen are careless of the consequences of what they say, provided it answers the purposes of opposition. We were told we trod on tender ground ; we were bid to expect disobedience. What was this, but telling the Americans to stand out against the law, to encourage their obstinacy with the expectation of support from hence ? Let us only hold out a little, they would say, our friends will soon be in power. Ungrateful people of America ! Bounties have been extended to them. When I had the honour of serving the crown, while you yourselves were loaded with an enormous debt, you have given bounties on their lumber, on their iron, their hemp, and many other articles. You have relaxed, in their favour, the Act of Navigation, that palladium of the British commerce ; and yet I have been abused in all the public papers as an enemy to the trade of America. I have been particularly charged with giving orders and instructions to prevent the Spanish trade, and thereby stopping the channel, by which alone North America used to be supplied with cash for remittances to this country. I defy any man to produce any such orders or instructions. I discouraged no trade but what was illicit, what was prohibited by act of parliament. I desire a West India merchant, well known in the city (Mr. Long), a gentleman of character, may be examined. He will tell you, that I offered to do every thing in my power to advance the trade of America. I was above giving an answer to anonymous calumnies ; [103] but in this place, it becomes one to wipe off the aspersion.

Here Mr. Grenville ceased. Several members got up to speak, but

Mr. Pitt seeming to rise, the House was so clamorous for Mr. Pitt ! Mr. Pitt ! that the Speaker was obliged to call to order. After obtaining a little quiet, he said, "Mr. Pitt was up !" who began with informing the House, That he did not mean to have gone any further upon the subject that day : that he had only designed to have thrown out a few hints, which, gentlemen who were so confident of the right of this kingdom to send taxes to America, might consider ; might, perhaps, reflect in a cooler moment, that the right was at least equivocal. But since the gentleman, who spoke last, had not stopped on that ground, but had gone into the whole ; into the justice, the equity, the policy, the expediency of the Stamp-Act, as well as into the right, he would follow him through the whole field, and combat his arguments on every point.

He was going on, when Lord Strange got up, and called both the gentlemen, Mr. Pitt, and Mr. Grenville, to order. He said, they had both departed from the matter before the House, which was the King's Speech ; and that Mr. Pitt was going to speak twice on the same debate, although the House was not in a committee.

Mr. George Onslow answered, That they were both in order, as nothing had been said, but what was fairly deducible from the King's Speech ; and appealed to the Speaker. The Speaker decided in Mr. Onslow's favour.

Mr. Pitt said, I do not apprehend I am speaking twice : I did expressly reserve a part of my subject, in order to save the time of this House, but I am compelled to proceed in it. I do not speak twice ; I only finish what I designedly left imperfect. But if the House is of a different opinion, far be it from me to indulge a wish of transgression, against order. I am content, if it be your pleasure, to be silent.ÑHere he pausedÑThe House resounding with, "Go on, go on ;" he proceeded :

Gentlemen, Sir, (to the Speaker) I have been charged with giving birth to sedition in America. They have spoken their sentiments with freedom, against this unhappy act, and that freedom has become their crime. Sorry I am to hear the liberty of speech in this House, im- [104] puted as a crime. But the imputation shall not discourage me. It is a liberty I mean to exercise. No gentleman ought to be afraid to exercise it. It is a liberty by which the gentleman who calumniates it might have profited. He ought to have profited. He ought to have desisted from his project. The gentleman tells us, America is obstinate ; America is almost in open rebellion. I rejoice that America has resisted. Three millions of people, so dead to all the feelings of liberty, as voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would have been fit instruments to make slaves of the rest. I come not here armed at all points, with law cases and acts of parliament, with the statute-book doubled down in dogs-ears, to defend the cause of liberty : if I had, I myself would have cited the two cases of Chester and Durham. I would have cited them, to have shewn, that, even under any arbitrary reigns, parliaments were ashamed of taxing a people without their consent, and allowed them representatives. Why did the gentleman confine himself to Chester and Durham ? He might have taken a higher example in Wales ; Wales, that never was taxed by parliament, till it was incorporated. I would not debate a particular point of law with the gentleman : I know his abilities. I have been obliged to his diligent researches. But, for the defence of liberty upon a general principle, upon a constitutional principle, it is a ground on which I stand firm ; on which I dare meet any man. The gentleman tells us of many who are taxed, and are not representedÑThe India company, merchants, stock-holders, manufacturers. Surely many of these are represented in other capacities, as owners of land, or as freemen of boroughs. It is a misfortune that more are not actually represented. But they are all inhabitants, and, as such, are virtually represented. Many have it in their option to be actually represented. They have connexions with those that elect, and they have influence over them. The gentleman mentioned the stockholders : I hope he does not reckon the debts of the nation as a part of the national estate. Since the accession of king William, many ministers, some of great, others of more moderate abilities, have taken the lead of government.

He then went through the list of them, bringing it down till he came to himself, giving a short sketch of the characters of each of them. None of these, he said, [105] thought, or ever dreamed, of robbing the colonies of their constitutional rights. That was reserved to mark the aera of the late administration : not that there were wanting some, when I had the honour to serve his Majesty, to propose to me to burn my fingers with an American Stamp Act. With the enemy at their back, with our bayonets at their breasts, in the day of their distress, perhaps the Americans would have submitted to the imposition ; but it would have been taking an ungenerous, and unjust advantage. The gentleman boasts of his bounties to America ! Are not those bounties intended finally for the benefit of this kingdom ? If they are not, he has misapplied the national treasures. I am no courtier of America, I stand up for this kingdom. I maintain, that the parliament has a right to bind, to restrain America. Our legislative power over the colonies is sovereign and supreme. When it ceases to be sovereign and supreme, I would advise every gentleman to sell his lands, if he can, and embark for that country. When two countries are connected together, like England and her colonies, without being incorporated, the one must necessarily govern ; the greater must rule the less ; but so rule it, as not to contradict the fundamental principles that are common to both.

If the gentleman does not understand the difference between internal and external taxes, I cannot help it ; but there is a plain distinction between taxes levied for the purposes of raising a revenue, and duties imposed for the regulation of trade, for the accommodation of the subject ; although, in the consequences, some revenue might incidentally arise from the latter.

The gentleman asks, when were the colonies emancipated ? But I desire to know, when they were made slaves ? But I dwell not upon words. When I had the honour of serving his Majesty, I availed myself of the means of information, which I derived from my office : I speak, therefore, from knowledge. My materials were good. I was at pains to collect, to digest, to consider them ; and I will be bold to affirm, that the profits to Great Britain from the trade of the colonies, through all its branches, is two millions a year. This is the fund that carried you triumphantly through the last war. The estates that were rented at two thousand pounds a year, threescore years ago, are at three thousand pounds at present. [106]

Those estates sold then from fifteen to eighteen years purchase ; the same may be now sold for thirty. You owe this to America. This is the price that America pays you for her protection. And shall a miserable financier come with a boast, that he can fetch a pepper-corn into the exchequer, to the loss of millions to the nation ! I dare not say, how much higher these profits may be augmented. Omitting the immense increase of people, by natural population, in the northern colonies, and the migration from every part of Europe, I am convinced the whole commercial system of America may be altered to advantage. You have prohibited, where you ought to have encouraged ; and you have encouraged where you ought to have prohibited. Improper restraints have been laid on the continent, in favour of the islands. You have but two nations to trade with in America. Would you had twenty ! Let acts of parliament in consequence of treaties remain, but let not an English minister become a customhouse officer for Spain, or for any foreign power. Much is wrong, much may be amended for the general good of the whole.

Does the gentleman complain he has been misrepresented in the public prints ? It is a common misfortune. In the Spanish affair of the last war, I was abused in all the news-papers, for having advised his Majesty to violate the law of nations with regard to Spain. The abuse was industriously circulated even in hand-bills. If administration did not propagate the abuse, administration never contradicted it. I will not say what advice I did give to the King. My advice is in writing, signed by myself, in the possession of the crown. But I will say, what advice I did not give to the King : I did not advise him to violate any of the laws of nations.

As to the report of the gentleman's preventing in some way the trade for bullion with the Spaniards, it was spoken of so confidently, that I own I am one of those who did believe it to be true.

The gentleman must not wonder he was not contradicted, when, as the minister, he asserted the right of parliament to tax America. I know not how it is, but there is a modesty in this House, which does not chuse to contradict a minister. I wish gentlemen would get the better of this modesty. Even that Chair, Sir, looks too often towards St. James's. If they do not, perhaps, the collective body may be- [107] gin to abate of its respect for the representative. Lord Bacon had told me, that a great question would not fail of being agitated at one time or another. I was willing to agitate that at the proper season, the German war : my German war, they called it. Every session I called out, Has any body any objections to the German war ? Nobody would object to it, one gentleman only excepted, since removed to the upper House, by succession to an ancient barony, (meaning lord le Despencer, formerly sir Francis Dashwood ;) he told me, "he did not like a German war." I honoured the man for it, and was sorry when he was turned out of his post.

A great deal has been said without doors, of the power, of the strength of America. It is a topic that ought to be cautiously meddled with. In a good cause, on a sound bottom, the force of this country can crush America to atoms. I know the valour of your troops. I know the skill of your officers. There is not a company of foot that has served in America, out of which you may not pick a man of sufficient knowledge and experience, to make a governor of a colony there. But on this ground, on the Stamp Act, when so many here will think it a crying injustice, I am one who will lift up my hands against it.

In such a cause, your success would be hazardous. America, if she fell, would fall like a strong man. She would embrace the pillars of the state, and pull down the constitution along with her. Is this your boasted peace ? Not to sheath the sword in its scabbard, but to sheath it in the bowels of your countrymen ? Will you quarrel with yourselves, now the whole House of Bourbon is united against you ? While France disturbs your fisheries in Newfoundland, embarrasses your slave trade to Africa, and withholds from your subjects in Canada, their property stipulated by treaty ; while the ransom for the Manillas is denied by Spain, and its gallant conqueror basely traduced into a mean plunderer, a gentleman, (colonel Draper) whose noble and generous spirit would do honour to the proudest grandee of the country. The Americans have not acted in all things with prudence and temper. They have been wronged. They have been driven to madness by injustice. Will you punish them for the madness you have occasioned ? Rather let prudence and temper come first from this side. I will undertake for America, that she will [108] follow the example. There are two lines in a ballad of Prior's, of a man's behaviour to his wife, so applicable to you and your colonies, that I cannot help repeating them :

"Be to her faults a little blind :

"Be to her virtues very kind."

Upon the whole, I will beg leave to tell the House what is really my opinion. It is, that the Stamp Act be repealed absolutely, totally, and immediately. That the reason for the repeal be assigned, because it was founded on an erroneous principle. At the same time, let the sovereign authority of this country over the colonies, be asserted in as strong terms as can be devised, and be made to extend to every point of legislation whatsoever. That we may bind their trade, confine their manufactures, and exercise every power whatsoever, except that of taking their money out of their pockets without their consent.(7)

Mr. Nicholson Calvert said :

Sir ; I last year gave my vote for laying a stamp duty in North America : the right of the legislature of Great Britain was not then called in question : and I must confess I did then think nothing could be founded more upon the basis of equity and fairness, than for America to support that force which was to be maintained merely and solely for her benefit and protection.

I have, Sir, since that time altered my opinion. I think, Sir, it ill behoves any member of this House to change his opinion lightly. I therefore beg leave, in the shortest manner I am able, to lay before the House those reasons which have thus induced me to change my opinion, and at the same time not presuming to think any thing I can lay before the House can give the least weight or addition to the great opinions which have been already offered, but merely as an apology for my own conduct in this great and important business.

On the outset of this great affair, Sir, two opinions, both equally true, (though carrying with them a seeming contradiction in this particular) were set before us, The one, that in all free countries no one can be taxed but by himself, or representative. The other, that there never was [109any country, since the Creation, where there was not somewhere lodged, for the superintendancy of the whole, one supreme legislative authority, controling, directing, and governing the whole.

As to the first proposition, no doubt of it, it is, according to all the authors who have ever wrote upon that subject, the very criterion of liberty ; there is no lover of liberty but treats it as such. The right hon. gentleman (Mr. Pitt) reasoning upon this subject, "That the Americans migrating from this country, carrying with them all the rights of free-born Englishmen, struggling through the greatest hardships and difficulties, having at last founded that which will one day produce a mighty empire, having lived uninterruptedly for the space of near two centuries, without any internal tax laid upon them ; that the moment you lay that tax upon them, they are that instant slaves ; for they that moment cease to have any property, when you have once confirmed an authority of taking any part of that property away, unheard, unrepresented, that you have the same right to every farthing they are worth, as to any part of it."

I must own, Sir, these arguments struck deep into my mind ; I saw the right hon. gentleman's reasoning founded on the broad basis of liberty, and, for ought I know, of sound policy. But alas, Sir ! I could not at the same time but most heartily from my soul lament the truly deplorable state of this country ; the present generation (and I see not any prospect for the succeeding one more promising) passing away in beggary and distress, all resources whatever cut off, and all this for our future benefit and advantage. God send it may so prove !

But, Sir, as this matter has been cut short by the resolution of this House ; that the parliament of Great Britain has, in all cases whatever, a right to lay taxes upon her colonies ; the great question now before you, I think, may be confined to two points ; that having this right, how far you may be able to carry it into execution ? Or, being able to carry it into execution, how far it may be thought proper and prudent to exert that authority under the present situation ?

Sir, it has always been my opinion, to lay any taxes upon a numerous people, situated as the Americans are, without their consent, is impossible. It is a widely different thing, Sir, the quelling a paltry riot in Moorfields, or Bloomsbury-square, [110] to that of making two millions of people, distributed from one corner of the American continent to the other, all unanimous in the opinion of right being on their side, submit to your decisions. It matters little to the question, whether they are in the right or not ; they think themselves so.

Can this be done but by force ? The thought of putting it to the trial, Sir, strikes me with horror ! Let us not, Sir, drive them to despair ; the despair of a brave people always turns to courage : that courage once exerted, God knows what may be the end of it. But, alas ! will those misfortunes await the Americans alone ! What must become of your own manufacturers here at home, while this contest is carrying on in America ? Will the many thousands of this country, who depend on your American trade for their support, remain quiet, without victuals to eat, till you have made the Americans submit by force of arms ? I much doubt whether the mischief may not be brought to your own doors long before the conflict is ended.

Upon the whole, Sir, notwithstanding the right is now so indubitably asserted by the legislature of this country, notwithstanding you were certain by force of arms to carry that resolution into execution, yet I for one should be of opinion, that right, and that ability to exercise that right, is, at this time, neither proper nor expedient to be carried into execution.


The Commons' Address of Thanks.]

The Address was then agreed to without a division, as follows :

"Most Gracious Sovereign,

"We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Britain, in parliament assembled, return your Majesty our most humble thanks for your most gracious Speech from the throne.

"It is with the highest sense of your Majesty's goodness we acknowledge that care for the welfare of your people, and that confidence in the loyalty and affection of your faithful Commons, which your Majesty shews in the early communication your Majesty has been pleased to order, of the necessary informations relative to the disturbances in America. Your reliance on the wisdom and duty of your parliament in a matter of so great importance, and the attention shewn by your Majesty, in reserving to our deliberation and advice the joint concern of your Majesty's royal authority, the rights of your parliament, [111] and the happiness of your subjects, are at once objects of our highest admiration and gratitude.

"It is our duty, as it shall be our care, to imitate that temper and equanimity which appears in your Majesty's conduct, by mixing with our zeal for the honour of your Majesty's government, and with our just regard for the dignity and authority of parliament, the utmost attention to the important objects of the trade and navigation of these kingdoms, and the tenderest concern for the united interest of all your Majesty's people.

"It is with inexpressible grief we are again called upon to condole with your Majesty on the death of another prince of your royal family, whose amiable disposition, and whose early virtues in the first dawn of life, while they shew him worthy of the illustrious race he sprung from, must now double our regret for his untimely loss.

"The general state of peace and tranquillity, so happily reigning in all parts of Europe, must give the greatest satisfaction to every one who has any concern for the true interest of this country, or who feels for the general happiness of mankind.

"Our assistance shall not be wanting to aid your Majesty with our advice, and to strengthen your authority, for the continuation of that harmony, so happily preserved by the wisdom of your Majesty's councils, and the influence of your mild auspicious government.

"We assure your Majesty that we shall, with the greatest cheerfulness, grant your Majesty the supplies necessary for the current service of the year, having the firmest reliance on the promise your Majesty is graciously pleased to make, of seeing them duly applied, with that economy which your own wisdom will direct, and which the circumstances of this country so strongly demand.

"The unanimity and dispatch which your Majesty is pleased to recommend, we shall, from motives both of duty and inclination, endeavour to make the rule of our proceedings ; being sensible that nothing can more immediately tend to add weight to the deliberations of parliament, or efficacy to their resolutions.

"And as the constant tenor of your Majesty's conduct shews that the happiness and prosperity of your people are the sole objects of your concern, we should be equally wanting in duty to our sovereign, [112] and care of our own honour, did we a moment neglect our part, in promoting all such wise and salutary measures as may tend to reflect dignity on your Majesty's government, and fix the welfare of your people on the most solid foundations."


Papers relating to the Disturbances in America, on account of the Stamp Act.]

The following are copies of some of the most material Letters and Papers relative to the disturbances in America, which Mr. Secretary Conway, by his Majesty's command, laid this day before the House of Commons.


Letter from Mr. Secretary Conway, to Lieut. Gov. Faquier.

Sept. 14, 1765.

Sir ; It is with the greatest pleasure I received his Majesty's commands to declare to you his most gracious approbation of your conduct. His Majesty and his servants are satisfied, that the precipitate resolutions you sent home did not take their rise from any remissness or inattention in you ; nor is his Majesty at all inclined to suppose, that any instance of diffidence or dissatisfaction could be founded in the general inclination of his antient and loyal colony of Virginia ; the nature of the thing and your representations induce a persuasion, that those ill-advised resolutions owed their birth to the violence of some individuals, who taking the advantage of a thin assembly, so far prevailed, as to publish their own unformed opinions to the world as the sentiments of the colony. But his Majesty, Sir, will not, by the prevalence of a few men, at a certain moment, be persuaded to change the opinion, or lessen the confidence, he has always entertained of the colony of Virginia ; which has always experienced the protection of the crown. His Majesty's servants, therefore, with entire reliance on your prudence, and on the virtue and wisdom of the colony entrusted to your care, persuade themselves, that when a full assembly shall calmly and maturely deliberate upon those resolutions, they will see, and be themselves alarmed at, the dangerous tendency and mischievous consequences which they might be productive of, both to the mother country and the colonies, which are the equal objects of his Majesty's parental care ; and whose mutual happiness and prosperity certainly require a confidential reliance of the colonies upon the mother country. [113]

Upon these principles, Sir, and upon your prudent management, and a proper representation to the wise and sober part of the people, how earnest his Majesty is to extend the happy influence of his fatherly care over every part of his dominions, it is expected that a full assembly will form very different resolutions, such as may cement that union, which alone can establish the safety and prosperity of the colonies, and the mother country.

As there is no intention in the crown to attempt, nor in the King's servants to advise, any incroachments on the real rights and liberties of any part of his Majesty's subjects ; so neither will his Majesty undoubtedly submit, or servants advise, under any circumstances, that the respect which is due to parliament, and which is necessary for the general good of the whole British empire, should any where be made a sacrifice to local and dangerous prejudices.

As this important matter is, however, now before his Majesty's privy council, as well as the other consideration of the dangerous riot and mutinous behaviour of the people on the frontiers, I shall not pretend to give any advice or instructions on these subjects ; not doubting, but you will soon have the fullest from the wisdom of that board, in all those things, in which, by your last accounts, the most essential interests of the colony are so deeply concerned.

You will therefere, in the mean time, be very attentive, by every prudent measure in your power, at once to maintain the just rights of the British government, and to preserve the peace and tranquillity of the provinces committed to your care.

But as these appear to me matters of government fit for his Majesty's more immediate notice and information, I must beg you will not fail to transmit to me such occurrences, from time to time, on these heads, as you may deem of importance in the light I mention. I am, &c.

H. S. Conway.


Extract of a Letter from Mr. Secretary Conway, to Major General Gage.

October 24, 1765.

Sir ; It is with the greatest concern, that his Majesty learns the disturbances which have arisen in some of the North American colonies : these events will probably create application to you, in which the utmost exertion of your prudence may [114] be necessary ; so as justly to temper your conduct between that caution and coolness, which the delicacy of such a situation may demand on the one hand, and the vigour necessary to suppress outrage and violence on the other. It is impossible, at this distance, to assist you by any particular or positive instruction, because you will find yourself necessarily obliged to take your resolution as particular circumstances and emergencies may require.

It is hoped, and expected, that this want of confidence in the justice and tenderness of the mother country, and this open resistance to its authority, can only have found place among the lower and more ignorant of the people. The better and wiser part of the colonies will know, that decency and submission may prevail not only to redress grievances, but to obtain grace and favour, while the outrage of a public violence can expect nothing but severity and chastisement. You and all his Majesty's servants, from a sense of your duty to, and love of, your country, will endeavour to excite and encourage these sentiments.

If, by lenient and persuasive methods, you can contribute to restore that peace and tranquillity to the provinces, on which their welfare and happiness depend, you will do a most acceptable and essential service to your country : but having taken every step which the utmost prudence and lenity can dictate, in compassion to the folly and ignorance of some misguided people, you will not, on the other hand, where your assistance may be wanted to strengthen the hands of government, fail to concur in every proper measure for its support, by such a timely exertion of force as may be necessary to repel acts of outrage and violence, and to provide for the maintenance of peace and good order in the provinces.


Letter from Mr. Secretary Conway, to Governor Bernard.

October, 24, 1765.

Sir ; your letters of the 15th, 16th, 22d and 31st of August have been received : the three former not till yesterday.

It is with the greatest concern his Majesty learns the disturbances which have lately arisen in your province, the general confusion that seems to reign there, and the total languor and want of energy, in your government, to exert itself with any dignity or efficacy, for the suppression of tumults, which seem to strike at the very [115] being of all authority and subordination among you. His Majesty cannot but, with the greatest surprise, hear of the refusal of your council to call for the aid of any regular force to the support of the civil magistracy, at a time when, it seems, you had reason to think, there was no other power capable of providing for the peace and quiet of the province.

Nothing can, certainly, exceed the illadvised and intemperate conduct held by a party in your province, which can in no way contribute to the removal of any real grievance they might labour under, but may tend to obstruct and impede the exertion of his Majesty's benevolent attention to the ease and comfort, as well as the welfare, of all his people.

It is hoped, and expected, that this want of confidence in the justice and tenderness of the mother country, and this open resistance to its authority, can only have found place among the lower and more ignorant of the people ; the better and more wise part of the colonies will know, that decency and submission may prevail, not only to redress grievances, but to obtain grace and favour, while the outrage of a public violence can expect nothing but severity and chastisement. These sentiments, you, and all his Majesty's servants, from a sense of your duty to, and love of, your country, will endeavour to excite and encourage : you will all, in a particular manner, call upon them not to render their case desperate ; you will, in the strongest colours, represent to them the dreadful consequences that must inevitably attend the forcible and violent resistance to acts of the British parliament, and the scene of misery and distraction to both countries, inseparable from such a conduct.

If, by lenient and persuasive methods, you can contribute to restore that peace and tranquillity to the provinces, on which their welfare and happiness depend, you will do a most acceptable and essential service to your country ; but having taken every step which the utmost prudence and lenity can dictate, in compassion to the folly and ignorance of some misguided people, you will not, on the other hand, fail to use your utmost power for repelling all acts of outrage and violence, and to provide for the maintenance of peace and good order in the province, by such a timely exertion of force, as the occasion may require ; for which purpose, you will make the proper applications to general [116] Gage, or lord Colvil, commanders of his Majesty's land and naval forces in America : for however unwillingly his Majesty may consent to the exertion of such powers as may endanger the safety of a single subject, yet can he not permit his own dignity, and the authority of the British legislature, to be trampled on by force and violence, and in avowed contempt of all order, duty, and decorum.

If the subject is aggrieved, he knows in what manner legally and constitutionally to apply for relief : but it is not suitable, either to the safety or dignity of the British empire, that any individuals, under the pretence of redressing grievances, should presume to violate the public peace. I am, &c. H. S. Conway.

P. S. The sloop which carries this will carry orders to lord Colvil, and to the governor of Nova Scotia, to send to your assistance any force which may be thought necessary from thence, and which that province can supply.


Mr. Secretary Conway's Circular Letter to the Governors in North America.

October 24, 1765.

Sir ; it is with the greatest concern, that his Majesty learns the disturbances which have arisen in some of the North American colonies : if this evil should spread to the government of --, where you preside, the utmost exertion of your prudence will be necessary, so as justly to temper your conduct between that caution and coolness which the delicacy of such a situation may demand, on the one hand, and the vigour necessary to suppress outrage and violence on the other. It is impossible, at this distance, to assist you, by any particular or positive instruction ; because you will find yourself necessarily obliged to take your resolution, as particular circumstances and emergencies may require.

His Majesty, and the servants he honours with his confidence, cannot but lament the ill-advised intemperance shewn already in some of the provinces, by taking up a conduct, which can in no way contribute to the removal of any real grievance they might labour under, but may tend to obstruct and impede the exertion of his Majesty's benevolence and attention to the ease and comfort, as well as the welfare, of all his people.

It is hoped and expected, that this want of confidence in the justice and tenderness of the mother country, and this open re- [117] sistance to its authority, can only have found place among the lower and more ignorant of the people. The better and wiser part of the colonies will know, that decency and submission may prevail, not only to redress grievances, but to obtain grace and favour, while the outrage of a public violence can expect nothing but severity and chastisement. These sentiments you, and all his Majesty's servants from a sense of your duty to, and love of, your country, will endeavour to excite and encourage.

You will all, in a particular manner, call upon them not to render their case desperate. You will, in the strongest colours, represent to them the dreadful consequences that must inevitably attend the forcible and violent resistance to acts of the British parliament, and the scene of misery and calamity to themselves, and of mutual weakness and distraction to both countries, inseparable from such a conduct.

If, by lenient and persuasive methods, you can contribute to restore that peace and tranquillity to the provinces, on which depend their welfare and happiness, you will do a most acceptable and essential service to your country : but having taken every step which the utmost prudence and lenity can dictate, in compassion to the folly and ignorance of some misguided people, you will not, on the other hand, fail to use your utmost power, for repelling all acts of outrage and violence, and to provide for the maintenance of peace and good order in the province, by such a timely exertion of force as the occasion may require : for which purpose, you will make the proper applications to general Gage, or lord Colvil, commanders of his Majesty's land and naval forces in America. For however unwillingly his Majesty may consent to the exertion of such powers as may endanger the safety of a single subject ; yet can he not permit his own dignity, and the authority of the British legislature, to be trampled on by force and violence, and in avowed contempt of all order, duty and decorum.

If the subject is aggrieved, he knows in what manner legally and constitutionally to apply for relief ; but it is not suitable, either to the safety or dignity of the British empire, that any individuals, under the pretence of redressing grievances, should presume to violate the public peace. I am, &c. H. S. Conway.

P. S. To Governor Wilmot.

You will probably receive application [118] from governor Bernard, to send him part of the force which may be within your government. Lord Colvil has command to transport them ; and you will be very attentive, that the public service should suffer no impediment from any delay in you, when such application is made.


Extract of a Letter from Mr. Secretary Conway, to Major General Gage.

December 15, 1765.

Sir ; I had the favour of your letters of the 4th, 8th, and 9th of November last, by which I learn, with the utmost concern, the disordered state of the province where you reside, and the very riotous and outrageous behaviour of too many of the inhabitants.

I did not fail to lay your dispatches, together with those of lieutenant governor Colden, before his Majesty, who, though highly provoked by such an insult offered to his governor there, is however pleased to hear, that matters were not pushed to such extremity, as might have cost the lives of many of his subjects, and perhaps have tended, as you seem apprehensive, to the great detriment, if not ruin, of the town of New York ; particularly if the fort had fired on that insolent and infatuated mob which so provokingly approached. The temper shewn, as well by lieutenant governor Colden, as by the officers there, is highly to be commended. His Majesty is willing to suppose, that both yourself and governor Colden have acted on principles of duty to his service, in the advice and resolution formed to put the stampt paper into the hands of the magistrates of New York ; which, however, unless the necessity for it appeared very pressing, must certainly be looked upon as a step greatly humiliating and derogating to his Majesty's government.

If the post was not tenable, or the papers insecure there, it should seem much preferable to have put them on board the man of war, as was proposed : nor does there appear any good reason, why captain Kennedy refused to take them. It is difficult, at this distance, to judge with the same propriety of the conduct, to be held on occasions of such difficulty and importance, as on the spot. Had the personal safety of those in the fort alone been considered, I am persuaded, there would not have been a moment's hesitation about the defence of it, against any attack that might rashly have been attempted : nor can his Majesty suppose [119] any want of resolution for his service, in those who have, in their different stations, given so many proofs of their regard to it. It should otherwise seem, that the reality of the mobs being armed and prepared for an actual attack, should have been well ascertained before the papers were given up.

The step you have thought fit to take, in drawing together such forces as their situation allowed, was certainly prudent, and could not be too soon determined, on any positive grounds, to suspect an insurrection ; and especially in regard to the securing his Majesty's stores, a circumstance which will still demand your greatest attention ; and particularly those arms, which may be seized by the mob for their own mutinous purposes.

Your situation is certainly delicate and difficult ; it requires both prudence and firmness in the conduct of all employed in his Majesty's service there ; especially, considering what you say of the difficulty, or rather impossibility, of drawing any considerable number of men together, and of the impracticability of attempting any thing by force, in the present disposition of the people, without a respectable body of troops.

You seem to think there are still hopes, that as the spirits of those unhappy people have time to cool, there will be more submission shewn : you will not fail, I am persuaded, in your station, to avail yourself of every favourable symptom for the improvement of such favourable dispositions, any more than to exert yourself where the necessity of the case may require, in support of the honour of government, and for suppressing any riotous or rebellious resistance offered to the laws, or those magistrates who have the execution of them.

I hope my former letters are come safe, as they will have conveyed to you his Majesty's sentiments and commands for your conduct, on the first notice of these disturbances.


Letter from Mr. Secretary Conway, to Lieutenant Governor Colden.

December 15, 1765.

Sir ; I have received your letter of the 5th of November by major James, and that of the 9th of the same month by the pacquet, with the minutes of the council of New York, from the 31st of October to the 6th of November, &c. From your last letter, I have hopes that time will  [120] produce a recollection, which may lead these unhappy people back to a sense of their duty ; and that, in the mean time, every proper and practicable measure will be taken to awe that licentious spirit, which has hurried them to those acts of outrage and violence, equally dangerous to the sober and well-disposed part of the people, the ease and quiet of the city, and subversive of all order and authority among them.

Sir Henry Moore will certainly be arrived before this reaches you ; it is expected, therefore, Sir, from your knowledge of the country and people, that you should inform the new governor of every thing necessary for his knowledge, as well respecting the state of things, as the characters and dispositions of men in that country. He will see that, by his instructions, he is empowered to suspend members of the council, and officers of the law, who shall appear to desire it ; being, in that case, only obliged to send home immediately the reasons and causes of such suspension. It is not improbable, that such times as these may require the exercise of that power : as it is not doubted the governor will use it with discretion, so it is expected he should not want firmness to use it boldly, whenever it may seem useful to the King's service and the public peace.


Resolutions of the House of Burgesses in Virginia,

in consequence of a motion made (May 29, 1765)

to take into consideration the late Act for levying a Duty upon Stamps.

Resolved, 1. That the first adventurers and settlers of his Majesty's colony and dominion of Virginia brought with them, and transmitted to their posterity, and all other his Majesty's subjects since inhabiting in this his Majesty's said colony, all the liberties, privileges, franchises and immunities, that have at any time been held and enjoyed, and possessed by the people of Great Britain.

2. That, by two royal charters granted by king James 1, the colonies, aforesaid are declared entitled to all liberties, privileges, and immunities, of denizens and natural subjects, to all intents and purposes, as if they had been abiding and born within the realm of England.

3. That the taxation of the people, by themselves, or by persons chosen by themselves to represent them, who can only know what taxes the people are able to [121] bear, or the easiest method of raising them, and must themselves be affected by every tax laid on the people, is the only security against a burthensome taxation, and the distinguishing characteristic of British freedom, without which the antient constitution cannot exist.

4. That his Majesty's liege people of this his most antient and loyal colony have, without interruption, enjoyed the inestimable right of being governed by such laws, respecting their internal polity and taxation, as are derived from their own consent, with the approbation of their sovereign, or his substitutes, and that the same hath been constantly recognized by the king and people of Great Britain.


Representation of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations,

touching the Proceedings and Resolutions of the House of Representatives of Massachuset's Bay, with respect to the Act for levying a Duty upon Stamps in America, and to other Acts of the parliament of Great Britain.


To the King's most excellent Majesty.

May it please your Majesty,

The House of Representatives of your Majesty's province of Massachuset's Bay having, last year, printed and published, in the journals of their proceedings, a letter from a committee of that house to their agent here ; in which letter the acts and resolutions of the parliament of Great Britain were treated with the most indecent disrespect, and principles tending to a denial of the right of parliament to levy taxes upon your Majesty's subjects in the colonies, were openly avowed ; our predecessors in office thought it their duty to transmit this transaction to your Majesty's consideration, to the end that such directions might be given, as the nature and importance of the matter should appear to require.

Since this, and since the passing the act of parliament for levying a stamp duty in America, the grounds of which act gave rise to the reflections contained in the above-mentioned letter, the same spirit that dictated the sentiments it expresses, has appeared throughout the whole proceedings of the said house of representatives.

Upon the election of counsellors, who, by the constitution of this colony, are annually chosen by the house of representa- [122] tives, the strongest endeavours were used to preclude your Majesty's secretary of state, who has always been a member of the council, from his seat at that board ; and this, as your Majesty's governor represents, merely on account of his having received an appointment (unsolicited) to be a distributor of the stamps : and the motion made in that house, to discontinue the annual salary allowed for the support of your Majesty's governor, upon which proceeding we have this day made a separate representation to your Majesty, seems to have arisen from the same motives.

These, however, being only attempts of individuals in the community, would not either have required or deserved your Majesty's attention, in the light in which we view them ; but it further appears, from the journals of the house of representatives in their last session, that this assembly, having thought fit to make the propriety and expediency of the Stamp Act, and of other acts of parliament, a subject of open question and discussion, came to several resolutions and proceedings thereupon, which they kept secret till the last day of their session, when they published them in their printed journals.Ñ[Then follow the resolutionsÑThen the board of trade proceeds thus :] The object of the resolutions and proceedings of the house of representatives of Massachuset's bay, is to recommend to, and induce, the rest of your Majesty's colonies in America, to join in a general congress of committees from the several assemblies, independent of the other branches of the legislasture, and without any previous application to your Majesty, to consider and deliberate upon the acts of the parliament of this kingdom. As this appears to us to be the first instance of a general congress, appointed by the assemblies of the colonies without the authority of the crown ; a measure which we conceive of dangerous tendency in itself, and more especially so, when taken for the purposes expressed in the above-mentioned resolution, and connected with the spirit that has appeared throughout the whole conduct of this particular assembly : we therefore think it our indispensible duty to submit this matter to your Majesty's consideration, for such directions as your Majesty, with the advice of your council, may think proper and expedient to give thereupon.

All which is most humbly submitted, &c.

Whitehall, Oct. 1, 1765. [123]

Representation from the Board of Trade, relative to the outrageous behaviour of the people at the town of Boston, in opposition to the Stampduty Act. Dated Oct. 10, 1765.

To the King's most excellent Majesty. May it please your Majesty,

Since our humble Representation to your Majesty of the first instant, in consequence of some alarming proceedings of the house of representatives, in the province of Massachuset's bay, we have received letters from ---(8), giving an account of a riot of a most dangerous tendency, which had arisen in the town of Boston, and which, directing its fury against the houses and persons of the lieutenant-governor, and other principal officers of government, continued with repeated acts of extraordinary violence, from the 15th of August to the 26th of the same month ; at which period the tumult seemed suspended, rather than allayed.

In whatever light these disturbances may be viewed, whether in respect of the avowed object, which the perpetrators and abettors of them declare to be a general resolution, to oppose and prevent the execution of an act of the parliament of GreatBritain, or in respect of the state of government and magistracy there, which -- represents to be utterly incapable of resisting or suppressing these tumults and disorders, they seem to us of such high importance, that we lose no time in laying the letters and papers relating thereunto before your Majesty, that your Majesty may direct such measures to be pursued, as your Majesty, with the advice of your council, shall think most prudent and effectual. Which is most humbly submitted, &c.


Extract of a Letter from --, to Mr. Secretary Conway. New-York, Sept. 23, 1765.

The resolves of the assembly of Virginia, [124] which you will have seen, gave the signal for a general out-cry over the continent ; and though I do not find, that the assembly of any other province has yet come to resolutions of the same tendency, they have been applauded as the protectors and assertors of American liberty ; and all persons excited and encouraged by writings in the public papers, and speeches, without any reserve, to oppose the execution of the act : the general scheme concerted throughout seems to have been, first, by menace or force, to oblige the stamp-officers to resign their employments, in which they have generally succeeded ; and next, to destroy the stampt papers upon their arrival ; that, having no stamps, necessity might be an excuse for the dispatch of business without them ; and that, before they could be replaced, the clamour and outcry of the people, with addresses and remonstrances from the assemblies, might procure a repeal of the act. The populace of Boston took the lead in the riots, and by an assault upon the house of the stamp officer, forced him to a resignation. The little turbulent colony of Rhode-Island raised their mob likewise ; who were not content only to force a promise from the person appointed to distribute the stamps, that he would not act in that employment, but also assaulted and destroyed the houses and furniture of Mess. Howard and Moffatt, and obliged them to fly for safety on board a ship of war : the first, a lawyer of reputation, had wrote in defence of the rights of the parliament of Great-Britain to lay taxes upon the colonies ; the other a physician, who had supported the same in his conversations. The neighbouring provinces seemed inclined to follow these examples, but were prevented by the almost general resignation of the stamp officers. The Boston mob, raised first by the instigation of many of the principal inhabitants, allured by plunder, rose shortly after of their own accord ; attacked, robbed, and destroyed several houses, and amongst others, that of the lieutenant-governor, and only spared the governor's, because his effects had been removed. People then began to be terrified at the spirit they had raised ; to perceive that popular fury was not to be guided, and each individual feared he might be the next victim to their rapacity. The same fears spread through the other provinces, and there has been as much pains taken since, to prevent insurrections of the people, as before to excite them. [125]


Extract of a State of the Province, contained in a Letter to Mr. Conway, dated, Dec. 13, 1765.

The gentlemen of the law make the second class, in which are properly included both the bench and the bar ; both of them act on the same principles, and are of the most distinguished families in the policy of the province.

The merchants make the third class ; many of them have suddenly rose from the lowest rank of the people to considerable fortunes, and chiefly in the last war, by illicit trade ; they abhor every limitation of trade and duties, and therefore gladly go into every measure, whereby they hope to have trade free.

The gentlemen of the law, both the judges, and the principal practitioners at the bar, are either owners, or strongly connected in family interest with the proprietors in general. The gentlemen of the law, some years since, entered into an association, with intention among other things, to assume the direction of government upon them, by the influence they had in the assembly ; gained by their family connection, and by the profession of the law, whereby they are unavoidably in the secrets of many families. Many court their friendship, and all dread their hatred ; by these means, though few of them are members, they rule the house of the assembly, in all matters of importance ; the greatest number of the assembly being common farmers, who know little of men and things, and are easily deluded and seduced.

By this association, united in interest and family connections with the proprietors of the great tracks, a domination of lawyers was formed in this province, which, for some years past, has been too strong for the executive powers of government. Besides what is before related, it is necessary to observe, that, for several years past, the assembly grants the support of power only from year to year ; they increase and lessen the salaries of all the officers at their pleasure ; and the bill passed in the House of Assembly [the author means the House of Commons] in the last sessions of parliament, laying internal taxes on the colony, and paying all the officers of government, as it is suggested they may intend to do, will destroy the great and undue influence, which the Assembly has gained over the administration, to the great prejudice of his Majesty's pre- [126] rogative in the colonies ; and it is chiefly for this reason that the popular leaders so violently oppose the act for laying a stamp duty.


Extract of a Letter to the Lords of Trade, dated August 15, 1765.


Yesterday morning, at break of day, was discovered hanging upon a tree, in a street in the town, an effigy, with inscriptions, shewing that it was intended to represent Mr. Oliver the secretary, who had lately accepted the office of stamp distributor. Some of the neighbours offered to take it down, but they were given to know, that would not be permitted. Many gentlemen, especially some of the council, treated it as a boyish sport, that did not deserve the notice of the governor and council. However, the lieutenant-governor, as chief justice, directed the sheriff to order his officers to take down the effigy ; and a council was appointed to meet in the afternoon, to consider what should be done, if the sheriff's officers were obstructed in removing the effigy.

Before the council met, the sheriff reported, that his officers had endeavoured to take down the effigy, but could not do it without imminent danger of their lives. The council met, represented this transaction as the beginning of much greater commotions, and desired their advice what should be done upon this occasion. A majority of the council spoke in form against doing any thing ; but upon very different principles : some said it was a trifling business, which, if let alone, would subside of itself ; but if taken notice of, would become a serious affair. Others said, it was a serious affair already : that it was a preconcerted business, in which the greatest part of the town was engaged : that there was no force to oppose it, and making an opposition to it, without a power to support the opposition, would only enflame the people, and be a means of extending the mischief to persons not at present the objects of it. The sheriff was ordered to assemble the peace-officers, and preserve the peace ; a matter of form, rather than real significance.

It now grew dark ; when the mob, which had been gathering all the afternoon, came down to the town-house, bringing the effigy with them ; and, knowing that they were sitting in the council-chamber, they gave three huzzas, by way of defiance, and passed on. From thence they went to a new building, lately erected by Mr. [127] Oliver to let out for shops, and not quite finished : this they called the stamp-office, and pulled it down to the ground in five minutes. From thence they went to Mr. Oliver's house, before which they beheaded the effigy, and broke all the windows next the street. Then they carried the effigy to Fort Hill, near Mr. Oliver's house, where they burnt the effigy in a bonfire, made of the timber they had pulled down from the building. Mr. Oliver had removed his family from his house, and remained himself with a few friends, when the mob returned to attack the house.

Mr. Oliver was prevailed upon to retire, and his friends kept possession of the house : the mob finding the door barricaded, broke down the whole fence of the garden towards Fort Hill ; and coming on, beat all the doors and windows of the garden front, and entered the house, the gentlemen there retiring. As soon as they had got possession, they searched about for Mr. Oliver, declaring they would kill him. Finding that he had left the house, a party set out to search two neighbouring houses, in one of which Mr. Oliver was ; but, happily, they were diverted from this pursuit by a gentleman telling them, that Mr. Oliver was gone with the governor to the castle ; otherwise he would certainly have been murdered. After eleven o'clock, the mob seeming to grow quiet, the lieutenant-governor, chief justice, and the sheriff, yentured to go to Mr. Oliver's house, to endeavour to persuade them to disperse : as soon as they began to speak, a ringleader cried out, "The governor and the sheriff ! to your arms, my boys !Ó presently after a volley of stones followed, and the two gentlemen narrowly escaped, through favour of the night, not without some bruises. I should have mentioned before, that a written order was sent to the colonel of the regiment of militia, to beat an alarm : he answered, that it would signify nothing, for as soon as the drum was heard, the drummer would be knocked down, and the drum broke : he added, that probably all the drummers of the regiment were in the mob. Nothing more being to be done, the mob were left to disperse at their own time, which they did about twelve o'clock. Whilst I am writing, I saw a bonfire burning on Fort Hill, by which I understand the mob is up, and probably doing mischief ; I shall therefore discontinue this letter till I can receive information of what is done this night. [128]

August 16.

In the afternoon of yesterday, several gentlemen applied to Mr. Oliver, to advise him to make a public declaration, that he would resign the office, and never act in it ; without which they said his house would be immediately destroyed, and his life in continual danger ; upon which he was obliged to authorize some gentlemen to declare in public, that he would immediately apply for leave to resign, and would not act in the office (as indeed it was impossible for him to do) until he received further orders.

August 22.

I come now to pursue the subject of my letter, dated the 15th and 16th instant.ÑIt is difficult to conceive the fury which at present possesses the people of Boston, of all orders and degrees of men : if a gentleman, in common conversation, signifies his disapprobation of this insurrection, his person is immediately in danger. A gentleman having said, that, notwithstanding what was passed, he would accept of the stamp-office, a day was fixed for pulling down his house ; it was prevented not without difficulty. Another gentleman having mentioned his expectation, that some regular forces would be sent into town, was obliged to make intercession to prevent his being mobbed. A minister of the Church of England having, in his sermon, obliquely condemned these proceedings, has been threatened with the resentment of the people. On the other hand, a minister of one of the principal meetings told Mr. Oliver, that though he was sorry this mischief had fell upon him, yet it was a very proper and necessary proceeding, and he quite approved of it. Another congregational minister, well known by his late polemical writings, has, as I have been told by several persons, justified this proceeding in his sermon, and prayed for its success : but there are congregational ministers, I doubt not, (and I know some) who condemn it, but they dare not speak out, which is the case of every one who does not approve of it. I would not willingly aggravate matters, but I really fear much worse to come than is passed : the sheriff of this county, a prudent and resolute man, has told me, that he was applied to by some friends, who would have persuaded him to resign his office, for it would soon become dangerous for a civil officer to appear ; and that both his deputies at Boston had ap[129] plied to resign. The 1st of November is appointed for a grand jubilee ; when, I suppose, there will be much mischief done, and vengeance wrecked upon those who remain friends to government.

August 31, 1765.

It is with the utmost concern that I am obliged to continue the subject of my last letters of the 15th and 16th, and of the 22nd instant, the disorders of the town having been carried to much greater lengths than what I have informed your lordships of.

After the demolition of Mr. Oliver's house was found so practicable and easy, and that the government was obliged to look on, without being able to take any one step to prevent it, and the principal people of the town publicly avowed and justified the act ; the mob, both great and small, became highly elated, and all kinds of ill-humours were set on foot ; every thing that, for years past, had been the cause of any unpopular discontent, was revived ; and private resentments against persons in office worked themselves in, and endeavoured to exert themselves under the mask of the public cause.

On Monday, August 26, there was some small rumour, that mischief would be done that night ; but it was in general disregarded. Towards evening, some boys began to light a bonfire before the town-house, which is an usual signal for a mob Before it was quite dark, a great company of people gathered together, crying "Liberty and Property ;" which is their usual notice of their intention to plunder and pull down a house. They went first to Mr. Paxton's house, who is marshal of the court of admiralty, and surveyor of the port ; and finding before it the owner of the house (Mr. Paxton being only a tenant), he assured them, that Mr. Paxton had quitted the house with his best effects, and that the house was his ; that he had never injured them, and, finally, invited them to go to the tavern and drink a barrel of punch : the offer was accepted, and so that house was saved. As soon as they had drank the punch, they went to the house of Mr. Storey, register-deputy of the admiralty, broke into it, and broke it all to pieces, and took out all the books and papers, among which were all the records of the court of admiralty, and carried them to the bonfire, and there burnt them : they also looked about for him with an intention to kill him. From thence they went [130] to Mr. Hollowell's, comptroller of the customs, broke into his house, and destroyed and carried off every thing of value, with about thirty pounds, sterling, in cash. This house was lately built by himself, and fitted and furnished with great elegance. But the grand mischief of all was to come.

The lieutenant-governor had been apprized, that there was an evil spirit gone forth against him ; but, being conscious that he had not in the least deserved to be made a party, in regard to the Stamp Act or the Custom-house, he rested in full security that the mob would not attack him ; and he was at supper with his family when he received advice that the mob was coming to him. He immediately sent away his children, and determined to stay in the house himself : but, happily, his eldest daughter returned, and declared she would not stir from the house unless he went with her ; by which means she got him away, which was undoubtedly the occasion of saving his life. For, as soon as the mob had got into the house, with a most irresistible fury, they immediately looked about for him, to murder him, and even made diligent enquiry whither he was gone. They went to work with a rage scarce to be exemplified by the most savage people. Every thing moveable was destroyed in the most minute manner, except such things of value as were worth carrying off ; among which were near 1,000l. sterling in specie, besides a great quantity of family plate, &c. But the loss to be most lamented is, that there was in one room, kept for that purpose, a large and valuable collection of manuscripts and original papers, which he had been gathering all his life time, and to which all persons, who had been in possession of valuable papers of a public kind, had been contributing, as to a public museum. As these related to the history and policy of the country, from the time of its settlement to the present time, and was the only collection of its kind, the loss to the public is great and irretrievable, as it is to himself, the loss of the papers of a family, which had made a figure in this province for a hundred and thirty years. As for the house, which, from its structure and inside finishing, seemed to be from a design of Inigo Jones, or his successor, it appears, that they were a long while resolved to level it to the ground : they worked three hours at the cupola before they could get it down, and [131] they uncovered part of the roof ; but I suppose, that the thickness of the walls, which were of very fine brick-work, adorned with Ionic pilasters worked into the wall, prevented their completing their purpose, though they worked at it till day light. The next day, the streets were found scattered with money, plate, gold rings, &c, which had been dropt in carrying off. The whole loss in this house is reckoned at 3,000l. sterling. It was now becoming a war of plunder, of general levelling, and taking away the distinction of rich and poor : so that those gentlemen, who had promoted and approved the cruel treatment of Mr. Oliver, became now as fearful for themselves as the most loyal person in the town could be. When first the town took this new turn, I was in hopes that they would have disavowed all the riotous proceedings ; that of the first night, as well as the last. But it is no such thing ; great pains are taken to separate the two riots : what was done against Mr. Oliver is still approved of, as a necessary declaration of their resolution not to submit to the Stamp Act ; and even the cruel treatment of him and his family is justified by its consequences, the frightening him into a resignation : and it has been publicly hinted, that if a line is not drawn between the first riot and the last, the civil power will not be supported by the principal people of the town, as it is assured it shall be now. So that the present authority of the government is only exercised upon condition, and with prescribed limitations.


Philadelphia. In Assembly, Sept. 21, 1765, a. m.

The house taking into consideration, that an act of parliament has lately passed in England, for imposing certain stamp duties, and other duties, on his Majesty's subjects in America, whereby they conceive some of their most essential and valuable rights as British subjects to be deeply affected, think it a duty they owe to themselves and their posterity, to come to the following resolutions, viz.

Resolved, nem. con. That the assemblies of this province have from time to time, whenever requisitions have been made by his Majesty for carrying on military operations for the defence of America, most cheerfully and liberally contributed their full proportion of men and money for those services.

Resolved, nem. con. That whenever his [132] Majesty's service shall, for the future, require the aids of the inhabitants of this province, and they shall be called upon for that purpose in a constitutional way, it will be their indispensible duty most cheerfully and liberally to grant to his Majesty their proportion of men and money, for the defence, security and other public services of the British American colonies.

Resolved, nem. con. That the inhabitants of this province are entitled to all the liberties, rights, and privileges, of his Majesty's subjects in Great Britain or elsewhere ; and that the constitution of government in this province is founded on the natural rights of mankind, and the noble principles of English liberty, and therefore is, or ought to be, perfectly free.

Resolved, nem. con. That it is the interest, birthright, and indubitable privilege of every British subject, to be taxed only by his own consent, or that of his legal representatives, in conjunction with his Majesty, or his substitutes.

Resolved, nem. con. That the only legal representatives of the inhabitants of this province are the persons they annually elect, to serve as members of assembly.

Resolved therefore, nem. con. That the taxation of the people of this province, by any other persons whatsoever than such their representatives in assembly, is unconstitutional, and subversive of their most valuable rights.

Resolved, nem. con. That the laying taxes upon the inhabitants of this province in any other manner, being

manifestly subversive of public liberty, must, of necessary consequence, be utterly destructive of public happiness.

Resolved, nem. con. That the resting an authority in the courts of admiralty to decide in suits relating to the stamp duties, and other matters foreign to their proper jurisdiction, is highly dangerous to the liberties of his Majesty's American subjects, contrary to Magna Charta, the great charter and fountain of English liberty, and destructive of one of their most darling and acknowledged rights, that of trials by juries.

Resolved, nem. con. That it is the opinion of this house, that the restraints, imposed by several late acts of parliament, on the trade of this province, at a time when the people labour under an enormous debt, must, of necessity, be attended with the most fatal consequences ; not only to [133] this province, but to the trade of our mother country.

Resolved, nem. con. That this house think it their duty thus firmly to assert, with modesty and decency, their inherent rights, that their posterity may learn and know that it was not with their consent and acquiescence, that any taxes should be levied on them by any person, but their own representatives ; and are desirous, that these their resolves should remain on their minutes, as a testimony of the zeal and ardent desire of the present house of assembly, to preserve their inestimable rights, which, as Englishmen, they have possessed ever since this province was settled, and to transmit them to their latest posterity.


Petitions against the American Stamp Act.]

January 17. A Petition of the merchants of London, trading to North America, was presented to the House, and read ; setting forth ;

"That the petitioners have been long concerned in carrying on the trade between this country and the British colonies on the continent of North America ; and that they have annually exported very large quantities of British manufactures, consisting of woollen goods of all kinds, cottons, linens, hardware, shoes, houshold furniture, and almost without exception of every other species of goods manufactured in these kingdoms, besides other articles imported from abroad, chiefly purchased with our manufactures and with the produce of our colonies ; by all which, many thousand manufacturers, seamen, and labourers, have been employed, to the very great and increasing benefit of this nation ; and that, in return for these exports, the petitioners have received from the colonies, rice, indico, tobacco, naval stores, oil, whale fins, furs, and lately pot-ash, with other commodities, besides remittances by bills of exchange and bullion, obtained by the colonists in payment for articles of their produce, not required for the British market, and therefore exported to other places ; and that, from the nature of this trade, consisting of British manufactures exported, and of the import of raw materials from America, many of them used in our manufactures, and all of them tending to lessen our dependence on neighbouring states, it must be deemed of the highest importance in the commercial system of this nation ; and that this commerce, so beneficial to the [134] state, and so necessary for the support of multitudes, now lies under such difficulties and discouragement, that nothing less than its utter ruin is apprehended, without the immediate interposition of parliament ; and that, in consequence of the trade between the colonies and the mother country, as established and as permitted for many years, and of the experience which the petitioners have had of the readiness of the Americans to make their just remittances to the utmost of their real ability, they have been induced to make and venture such large exportations of British manufactures, as to leave the colonies indebted to the merchants of Great Britain in the sum of several millions sterling ; and that at this time the colonists, when pressed for payment, appeal to past experience, in proof of their willingness ; but declare it is not in their power, at present, to make good their engagements, alledging, that the taxes and restrictions laid upon them, and the extension of the jurisdiction of vice admiralty courts established by some late acts of parliament, particularly by an act passed in the fourth year of his present Majesty, for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America, and by an act passed in the fifth year of his present Majesty, for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, with several regulations and restraints, which, if founded in acts of parliament for defined purposes, are represented to have been extended in such a manner as to disturb legal commerce and harass the fair trader, have so far interrupted the usual and former most fruitful branches of their commerce, restrained the sale of their produce, thrown the state of the several provinces into confusion, and brought on so great a number of actual bankruptcies, that the former opportunities and means of remittances and payments are utterly lost and taken from them ; and that the petitioners are, by these unhappy events, reduced to the necessity of applying to the House, in order to secure themselves and their families from impending ruin ; to prevent a multitude of manufacturers from becoming a burthen to the community, or else seeking their bread in other countries, to the irretrievable loss of this kingdom ; and to preserve the strength of this nation entire, its commerce flourishing, the revenues increasing, our navigation, the bul-[135] wark of the kingdom, in a state of growth and extension, and the colonies, from inclination, duty, and interest, firmly attached to the mother country ; and therefore praying the consideration of the premises, and entreating such relief, as to the House shall seem expedient."

This Petition was referred to a Committee of the whole House, as were also the following petitions, viz. Of the master, wardens, and commonalty of the society of merchants venturers of the city of Bristol, under their common seal ; of the merchants, tradesmen and manufacturers of the same city ; of the merchants of Liverpool, trading to and from America and the coast of Africa ; of the merchants, tradesmen, and manufacturers of the town and parish of Halifax ; of the merchants and inhabitants of the borough of Leeds, trading to the several colonies of North America, and of the manufacturers of broad woollen cloth, and sundry other assortments of woollen goods, manufactured for supplying the North American markets ; of the merchants of Lancaster trading to and from North America ; of the merchants, manufacturers, and traders of the town of Manchester, and neighbourhood thereof ; of the manufacturers of the town and county of Leicester ; and of the clothiers and manufacturers of superfine broad cloth, in the town of Bradford in Wiltshire ; all complaining of a great decay in the trade to the North American colonies, owing to the late obstructions and embarrassments laid thereon, and praying relief.

And afterwards there were presented to the House and read, and referred to the same Committee, the following Petitions, viz. of the principal inhabitants of the town of Frome ; of the merchants, factors, and manufacturers of Birmingham ; of the mayor, bailiffs, and commonalty, of the city of Coventry, and the principal tradesmen and manufacturers of silk ribbands and worsted goods, in and near the said city, whose common seal and names are thereunto respectively affixed, in behalf of themselves and others concerned in the said manufactures ; of the merchants and dealers in the silk, mohair, and button manufactures, residing in the town of Macclesfield ; of the merchants, traders, and manufacturers of Wolverhampton ; of the merchants, traders, and manufacturers of Stourbridge ; of the merchants and manufacturers of Dudley ; of the tradesmen, manufacturers, &c. of the borough of [136] Minehead ; of the mayor, aldermen, burgesses, principal inhabitants, and traders, in the woollen manufactory in Taunton ; of the master, wardens, and commonalty, of blanket weavers in Witney ; of the mayor, recorder, aldermen, sheriff, and commonalty, of the town and county of the town of Newcastle upon Tyne ; of the merchants of Glasgow trading to North America ; of the bailiff and burgesses of Chippenham ; and of the principal tradesmen, manufacturers, and inhabitants, of the town of Nottingham ; all containing much the same complaint as in the former petitions, and concluding with the same prayer.

Jan. 28. The House resolved itself into a committee of the whole House, to consider of the petitions and papers ; and on that day, the 29th, and 31st of January, and on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 17th, 18th, and 21st, of February, on some of which days the committee continued sitting till after one o'clock in the morning. During this time great numbers of other petitions, letters and papers were laid before the House : particularly a Petition of Stephen Fuller, esq. agent of the island of Jamaica, setting forth,

"That, in the year 1760, there broke out two rebellions in the said island, which threatened not only the destruction of the inhabitants, but the loss of that valuable colony to Great Britain ; and that after the said rebellions, the assembly of the said island thought proper, in order to defray the expence that increased on account thereof, to lay a tax by way of stamps, which tax was laid in the year 1760, and continued till December 1763, when that law was suffered to expire, on account, as the petitioner is informed, and believes, of its being unequal and burdensome, as it certainly was in a high degree ; and that the petitioner most humbly conceiving, that the act for imposing certain stamp duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, will be attended with the same inconveniences, if not greater (on account that the forfeitures and penalties incurred may be sued for and recovered in any court of record, or in any court of admiralty or vice admiralty in the island, at the election of the informer or prosecutor) prayed such relief in the premises, as to the House should seem meet."

There had also on the 21st of January been presented and read, a petition of Edward Montagu, agent for the colony of [137] Virginia, and a petition of William Knox, agent for the province of Georgia, representing the inability of these provinces to pay the stamp duty ; which three petitions were the only petitions presented this session in the name of the colonies.

The House, in a Committee, not only examined the Petitions and Papers laid before them, but also several persons whom they ordered to attend ; and among them was Doctor Benjamin Franklin, whose Examination, being very interesting, is here inserted.


Examination of Dr. Benjamin Franklin.

Q. What is your name, and place of abode ?-- A. Franklin, of Philadelphia.

Do the Americans pay any considerable taxes among themselves ? -- Certainly many, and very heavy taxes.

What are the present taxes in Pennsylvania, laid by the laws of the colony ?-- There are taxes on all estates real and personal, a poll-tax, a tax on all offices, professions, trades, and businesses, according to their profits ; an excise on all wine, rum, and other spirit ; and a duty of ten pounds per head on all negroes imported, with some other duties.

For what purposes are those taxes laid ? -- For the support of the civil and military establishments of the country, and to discharge the heavy debt contracted in the last war.

How long are those taxes to continue ? -- Those for discharging the debt are to continue till 1772, and longer, if the debt should not be then all discharged. The others must always continue.

Was it not expected that the debt would have been sooner discharged ? -- It was, when the peace was made with France and Spain ; but a fresh war breaking out with the Indians, a fresh load of debt was incurred, and the taxes, of course, continued longer by a new law.

Are not all the people very able to pay those taxes ? -- No. The frontier counties, all along the continent, having been frequently ravaged by the enemy, and greatly impoverished, are able to pay very little tax. And therefore, in consideration of their distresses, our late tax laws do expressly favour those counties, excusing the sufferers ; and I suppose the same is done in other governments.

Are not you concerned in the management of the post office in America ? -- Yes ; I am deputy post-master general of North America. [138]

Don't you think the distribution of stamps, by post, to all the inhabitants, very practicable, if there was no opposition ? -- The posts only go along the sea coasts ; they do not, except in a few instances, go back into the country ; and if they did, sending for stamps by post would occasion an expence of postage, amounting, in many cases, to much more than that of the stamps themselves.

Are you acquainted with Newfoundland ? -- I never was there.

Do you know whether there are any post-roads on that island ? -- I have heard that there are no roads at all ; but that the communication between one settlement and another is by sea only.

Can you disperse the stamps by post in Canada ? -- There is only a post between Montreal and Quebec. The inhabitants live so scattered and remote from each other, in that vast country, that posts cannot be supported among them, and therefore they cannot get stamps per post. The English colonies too, along the frontiers, are very thinly settled.

From the thinness of the back settlements, would not the Stamp Act be extremely inconvenient to the inhabitants if executed ? -- To be sure it would ; as many of the inhabitants could not get stamps when they had occasion for them, without taking long journeys, and spending, perhaps, three or four pounds, that the crown might get sixpence.

Are not the colonies, from their circumstances, very able to pay the stamp duty ? -- In my opinion, there is not gold and silver enough in the colonies to pay the stamp duty for one year.

Don't you know that the money arising from the stamps was all to be laid out in America ? -- I know it is appropriated by the act to the American service ; but it will be spent in the conquered colonies, where the soldiers are, not in the colonies that pay it.

Is there not a balance of trade due from the colonies where the troops are posted, that will bring back the money to the old colonies ? -- I think not. I believe very little would come back. I know of no trade likely to bring it back. I think it would come from the colonies where it was spent directly to England ; for I have always observed, that in every colony the more plenty of means of remittance to England, the more goods are sent for, and the more trade with England carried on.

What number of white inhabitants do [139] you think there are in Pennsylvania ? -- I suppose there maybe about 160,000.

What number of them are Quakers ? -- Perhaps a third.

What number of Germans ? -- Perhaps another third ; but I cannot speak with certainty.

Have any number of the Germans seen service, as soldiers, in Europe ? -- Yes, many of them, both in Europe and America.

Are they as much dissatisfied with the stamp duty as the English ? -- Yes, and more ; and with reason, as their stamps are, in many cases, to be double.

How many white men do you suppose there are in North America ? -- About 300,000, from 16 to 60 years of age.

What may be the amount of one year's imports into Pennsylvania from Britain ? -- I have been informed that our merchants compute the imports from Britain to be above 500,000l.

What may be the amount of the produce of your province exported to Britain ? -- It must be small, as we produce little that is wanted in Britain. I suppose it cannot exceed 40,000l.

How then do you pay the balance ? -- The balance is paid by our produce carried to the West Indies, and sold in our own islands, or to the French, Spaniards, Danes, and Dutch ; by the same carried to other colonies in North America, as to New England, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Carolina, and Georgia ; by the same carried to different parts of Europe, as Spain, Portugal and Italy. In all which places we receive either money, bills of exchange, or commodities that suit for remittance to Britain ; which, together with all the profits on the industry of our merchants and mariners, arising in those circuitous voyages, and the freights made by their ships, centre finally in Britain to discharge the balance, and pay for British manufactures continually used in the province, or sold to foreigners by our traders.

Have you heard of any difficulties lately laid on the Spanish trade ? -- Yes, I have heard that it has been greatly obstructed by some new regulations, and by the English men of war and cutters stationed all along the coast in America.

Do you think it right, that America should be protected by this country, and pay no part of the expence ? -- That is not the case. The colonies raised, clothed and paid, during the last war, near 25,000 men, and spent many millions. [140]

Were you not reimbursed by parliament ? -- We were only reimbursed what, in your opinion, we had advanced beyond our proportion, or beyond what might reasonably be expected from us ; and it was a very small part of what we spent. Pennsylvania, in particular, disbursed about 500,000l, and the reimbursements, in the whole, did not exceed 60,000l.

You have said that you pay heavy taxes in Pennsylvania ; what do they amount to in the pound ? -- The tax on all estates, real and personal, is eighteen pence in the pound, fully rated ; and the tax on the profits of trades and professions, with other taxes, do, I suppose, make full half a crown in the pound.

Do you know any thing of the rate of exchange in Pennsylvania, and whether it has fallen lately ? -- It is commonly from 170 to 175. I have heard that it has fallen, lately from 175 to 162 and a half, owing, I suppose, to their lessening their orders for goods ; and when their debts to this country are paid, I think the exchange will probably be at par.

Do not you think the people of America would submit to pay the stamp duty, if it was moderated ? -- No, never, unless compelled by force of arms.

Are not the taxes in Pennsylvania laid on unequally, in order to burden the English trade, particularly the tax on professions and business ? -- It is not more burdensome in proportion than the tax on lands. It is intended, and supposed to take an equal proportion of profits.

How is the assembly composed ? Of what kinds of people are the members, landholders or traders ? -- It is composed of landholders, merchants, and artificers.

Are not the majority landholders ? -- I believe they are.

Do not they, as much as possible, shift the tax off from the land, to ease that, and lay the burthen heavier on trade ? -- I have never understood it so. I never heard such a thing suggested. And indeed an attempt of that kind could answer no purpose. The merchant or trader is always skilled in figures, and ready with his pen and ink. If unequal burdens are laid on his trade, he puts an additional price on his goods ; and the consumers, who are chiefly landholders, finally pay the greatest part, if not the whole.

What was the temper of America towards Great Britain before the year 1763 ? -- The best in the world. They submitted willingly to the government of the crown, and paid, in [141] all their courts, obedience to acts of parliament. Numerous as the people are in the several old provinces, they cost you nothing in forts, citadels, garrisons or armies, to keep them in subjection. They were governed by this country at the expence only of a little pen, ink, and paper. They were led by a thread. They had not only a respect, but an affection for Great Britain, for its laws, its customs and manners, and even a fondness for its fashions, that greatly increased the commerce. Natives of Britain were always treated with particular regard ; to be an Old-England man was, of itself, a character of some respect, and gave a kind of rank among us.

And what is their temper now ? -- O, very much altered.

Did you ever hear the authority of parliament to make laws for America questioned till lately ? -- The authority of parliament was allowed to be valid in all laws, except such as should lay internal taxes. It was never disputed in laying duties to regulate commerce.

In what proportion hath population increased in America ? -- I think the inhabitants of all the provinces together, taken at a medium, double in about 25 years. But their demand for British manufactures increases much faster, as the consumption is not merely in proportion to their numbers, but grows with the growing abilities of the same numbers to pay for them. In 1723, the whole importation from Britain to Pennsylvania, was but about 15,000l. sterling ; it is now near half a million.

In what light did the people of America use to consider the parliament of Great Britain ? -- They considered the parliament as the great bulwark and security of their liberties and privileges, and always spoke of it with the utmost respect and veneration. Arbitrary ministers, they thought, might possibly, at times, attempt to oppress them ; but they relied on it, that the parliament, on application, would always give redress. They remembered, with gratitude, a strong instance of this, when a bill was brought into parliament, with a clause to make royal instructions laws in the colonies, which the House of Commons would not pass, and it was thrown out.

And have they not still the same respect for parliament ? -- No ; it is greatly lessened.

To what causes is that owing ? -- To a concurrence of causes ; the restraints lately laid on their trade, by which the [142] bringing of foreign gold and silver into the colonies was prevented ; the prohibition of making paper money among themselves ; and then demand a new and heavy tax by stamps ; taking away at the same time, trials by juries, and refusing to receive and hear their humble petitions.

Don't you think they would submit to the Stamp Act, if it was modified, the obnoxious parts taken out, and the duty reduced to some particulars, of small moment ? -- No ; they will never submit to it.

What do you think is the reason that the people of America increase faster than in England ? -- Because they marry younger, and more generally.

Why so ? -- Because any young couple that are industrious, may easily obtain land of their own, on which they can raise a family.

Are not the lower rank of people more at their ease in America than in England ? ÑThey may be so, if they are sober and diligent, as they are better paid for their labour.

What is your opinion of a future tax, imposed on the same principle with that of the Stamp Act, how would the Americans receive it ? -- Just as they do this. They would not pay it.

Have not you heard of the resolution of this House, and of the House of Lords, asserting the right of parliament relating to America, including a power to tax the people there ? -- Yes, I have heard of such resolutions.

What will be the opinion of the Americans on those resolutions ? -- They will think them unconstitutional and unjust.

Was it an opinion in America before 1763, that the parliament had no right to lay taxes and duties there ? -- I never heard any objection to the right of laying duties to regulate commerce ; but a right to lay internal taxes was never supposed to be in parliament, as we are not represented there.

On what do you found your opinion, that the people in America made any such distinction ? -- I know that whenever the subject has occurred in conversation where I have been present, it has appeared to be the opinion of every one, that we could not be taxed in a parliament where we were not represented. But the payment of duties laid by act of parliament, as regulations of commerce, was never disputed.

But can you name any act of assembly, or public act of any of your governments, that made such distinction ? -- I do not know that there was any ; I think there was [143] never an occasion to make any such act, till now that you have attempted to tax us ; that has occasioned resolutions of assembly, declaring the distinction, in which I think every assembly on the continent, and every member in every assembly, have been unanimous.

What then could occasion conversations on that subject before that time ? -- There was, in 1754, a proposition made (I think it came from hence) that in case of a war, which was then apprehended, the governors of the colonies should meet, and order the levying of troops, building of forts, and taking every other necessary measure for the general defence ; and should draw on the treasury here, for the sums expended, which were afterwards to be raised in the colonies by a general tax, to be laid on them by act of parliament. This occasioned a good deal of conversation on the subject, and the general opinion was, that the parliament neither would, nor could lay any tax on us, till we were duly represented in parliament, because it was not just, nor agreeable to the nature of an English constitution.

Don't you know there was a time in New York, when it was under consideration to make an application to parliament, to lay taxes on that colony, upon a deficiency arising from the assembly's refusing or neglecting to raise the necessary supplies for the support of the civil government ? -- I never heard of it.

There was such an application under consideration in New York ; and do you apprehend they could suppose the right of parliament to lay a tax in America was only local, and confined to the case of a deficiency in a particular colony, by a refusal of its assembly to raise the necessary supplies ? -- They could not suppose such a case, as that the assembly would not raise the necessary supplies to support its own government. An assembly that would refuse it, must want common sense, which cannot be supposed. I think there was never any such case at New York, and that it must be a misrepresentation, or the fact must be misunderstood. I know there have been some attempts, by ministerial instructions from hence, to oblige the assemblies to settle permanent salaries on governors, which they wisely refused to do ; but I believe no assembly of New York, or any other colony, ever refused duly to support government, by proper allowances, from time to time, to public officers. [144But in case a governor, acting by instruction, should call on an assembly to raise the necessary supplies, and the assembly should refuse to do it, do you not think it would then be for the good of the people of the colony, as well as necessary to government, that the parliament should tax them ? -- I do not think it would be necessary. If an assembly could possibly be so absurd as to refuse raising the supplies requisite for the maintenance of government among them, they could not long remain in such a situation ; the disorders and confusion occasioned by it, must soon bring them to reason.

If it should not, ought not the right to be in Great Britain of applying a remedy ? A right only to be used in such a case, I should have no objection to, supposing it to be used merely for the good of the people of the colony.

But who is to judge of that, Britain or the colony ? -- Those that feel can best judge.

You say the colonies have always submitted to external taxes, and object to the right of parliament only in laying internal taxes ; now can you shew that there is any kind of difference between the two taxes to the colony on which they may be laid ? ÑI think the difference is very great. An external tax is a duty laid on commodities imported ; that duty is added to the first cost, and other charges on the commodity, and when it is offered to sale, makes a part of the price. If the people do not like it at that price, they refuse it ; they are not obliged to pay it. But an internal tax is forced from the people without their consent, if not laid by their own representatives. The Stamp Act says, we shall have no commerce, make no exchange of property with each other, neither purchase nor grant, nor recover debts ; we shall neither marry nor make our wills, unless we pay such sums, and thus it is intended to extort our money from us, or ruin us by the consequences of refusing to pay it.

But supposing the internal tax or duty to be laid on the necessaries of life imported into your colony, will not that be the same thing in its effects as an internal tax ? -- I do not know a single article imported into the northern colonies, but what they can either do without or make themselves.

Don't you think cloth from England absolutely necessary to them ? -- No, by no means absolutely necessary ; with in- [145] dustry and good management, they may very well supply themselves with all they want.

Will it not take a long time to establish that manufacture among them ; and must they not in the mean while suffer greatly ? -- I think not. They have made a surprising progress already. And I am of opinion, that before their old clothes are worn out, they will have new ones of their own making.

Can they possibly find wool enough in North America ? -- They have taken steps to increase the wool. They entered into general combination to eat no more lamb, and very few lambs were killed last year. This course persisted in, will soon make a prodigious difference in the quantity of wool. And the establishing of great manufactories, like those in the clothing towns here, is not necessary, as it is where the business is to be carried on for the purposes of trade. The people will all spin and work for themselves, in their own houses.

Can there be wool and manufacture enough in one or two years ? -- In three years, I think, there may.

Does not the severity of the winter, in the northern colonies, occasion the wool to be of bad quality ? -- No, the wool is very fine and good.

In the more southern colonies, as in Virginia, don't you know that the wool is coarse, and only a kind of hair ? -- I don't know it. I never heard it. Yet I have been sometimes in Virginia. I cannot say I ever took particular notice of the wool there, but I believe it is good, though I cannot speak positively of it ; but Virginia, and the colonies south of it, have less occasion for wool ; their winters are short, and not very severe, and they can very well clothe themselves with linen and cotton of their own raising for the rest of the year.

Are not the people in the more northern colonies obliged to fodder their sheep all the winter ? -- In some of the most northern colonies they may be obliged to do it some part of the winter.

Considering the resolutions of parliament as to the right, do you think, if the Stamp Act is repealed, that the North Americans will be satisfied ? -- I believe they will.

Why do you think so ? -- I think the resolutions of right will give them very little concern, if they are never attempted to be carried into practice. The colonies [146] will probably consider themselves in the same situation, in that respect, with Ireland ; they know you claim the same right with regard to Ireland, but you never exercise it. And they may believe you never will exercise it in the colonies, any more than in Ireland, unless on some very extraordinary occasion.

But who are to be the judges of that extraordinary occasion ? Is not the parliament ? Ñ Though the parliament may judge of the occasion, the people will think it can never exercise such right, till representatives from the colonies are admitted into parliament, and that whenever the occasion arises, representatives will be ordered.

Did you never hear that Maryland, during the last war, had refused to furnish a quota towards the common defence ? -- Maryland has been much misrepresented in that matter. Maryland, to my knowledge, never refused to contribute, or grant aids to the crown. The assemblies every year, during the war, voted considerable sums, and formed bills to raise them. The bills were, according to the constitution of that province, sent up to the council, or upper house, for concurrence, that they might be presented to the governor, in order to be enacted into laws. Unhappy disputes between the two houses, arising from the defects of that constitution principally, rendered all the bills but one or two abortive. The proprietary's council rejected them. It is true, Maryland did not contribute its proportion, but it was, in my opinion, the fault of the government, not of the people.

Was it not talked of in the other provinces as a proper measure to apply to parliament to compel them ? -- I have heard such discourse : but as it was well known that the people were not to blame, no such application was ever made, or any step taken towards it.

Was it not proposed at a public meeting ? -- Not that I know of.

Do you remember the abolishing of the paper currency in New England, by act of assembly ? -- I do remember its being abolished in the Massachusett's Bay.

Was not lieutenant governor Hutchinson principally concerned in that transaction ? -- I have heard so.

Was it not at that time a very unpopular law ? -- I believe it might, though I can say little about it, as I lived at a distance from that province.

Was not the scarcity of gold and silver [147] an argument used against abolishing the paper ? -- I suppose it was.

What is the present opinion there of that law ? Is it as unpopular as it was at first ? -- I think it is not.

Have not instructions from hence been sometimes sent over to governors, highly oppressive and unpolitical ? -- Yes.

Have not some governors dispensed with them for that reason ? -- Yes, I have heard so.

Did the Americans ever dispute the controuling power of parliament to regulate the commerce ? -- No.

Can any thing less than a military force carry the Stamp Act into execution ? -- I do not see how a military force can be applied to that purpose.

Why may it not ? -- Suppose a military force sent into America, they will find nobody in arms ; what are they then to do ? They cannot force a man to take stamps who chuses to do without them. They will not find a rebellion ; they may indeed make one.

If the act is not repealed, what do you think will be the consequences ? -- A total loss of the respect and affection the people of America bear to this country, and of all the commerce that depends on that respect and affection.

How can the commerce be affected ? -- You will find, that if the act is not repealed, they will take very little of your manufactures in a short time.

Is it in their power to do without them ? -- I think they may very well do without them.

Is it their interest not to take them ? -- The goods they take from Britain are either necessaries, mere conveniencies, or superfluities. The first, as cloth, &c. with a little industry they can make at home : the second they can do without, till they are able to provide them among themselves ; and the last, which are much the greatest part, they will strike off immediately. They are mere articles of fashion, purchased and consumed, because the fashion in a respected country, but will now be detested and rejected. The people have already struck off, by general agreement, the use of all goods fashionable in mournings, and many thousand pounds worth are sent back as unsaleable.

Is it their interest to make cloth at home ? -- I think they may at present get it cheaper from Britain, I mean of the same fineness and neatness of workmanship ; but when one considers other cir- [148] cumstances, the restraints on their trade, and the difficulty of making remittances, it is their interest to make every thing.

Suppose an act of internal regulations connected with a tax, how would they receive it ? -- I think it would be objected to.

Then no regulation with a tax would be submitted to ? -- Their opinion is, that when aids to the crown are wanted, they are to be asked of the several assemblies according to the old established usage, who will, as they have always done, grant them freely. And that their money ought not to be given away, without their consent, by persons at a distance, unacquainted with their circumstances and abilities. The granting aids to the crown, is the only means they have of recommending themselves to their sovereign, and they think it extremely hard and unjust, that a body of men, in which they have no representatives, shouid make a merit to itself of giving and granting what is not its own, but theirs, and deprives them of a right they esteem of the utmost value and importance, as it is the security of all their other rights.

But is not the post office, which they have long received, a tax as well as a regulation ? -- No ; the money paid for the postage of a letter is not of the nature of a tax ; it is merely a quantum meruit for a service done ; no person is compellable to pay the money, if he does not chuse to receive the service. A man may still, as before the act, send his letter by a servant, a special messenger, or a friend, if he thinks it cheaper and safer.

But do they not consider the regulations of the post-office, by the act of last year, as a tax ? -- By the regulations of last year the rate of postage was generally abated near thirty per cent, through all America ; they certainly cannot consider such abatement as a tax.

If an excise was laid by parliament, which they might likewise avoid paying, by not consuming the articles excised, would they then not object to it ? -- They would certainly object to it, as an excise is unconnected with any service done, and is merely an aid which they think ought to be asked of them, and granted by them if they are to pay it, and can be granted for them, by no others whatsoever, whom they have not impowered for that purpose.

You say they do not object to the right of parliament, in laying duties on [149] goods to be paid on their importation ; now, is there any kind of difference between a duty on the importation of goods and an excise on their consumption ? -- Yes ; a very material one ; an excise, for the reasons I have just mentioned, they think you can have no right to lay within their country. But the sea is yours ; you maintain, by your fleets, the safety of navigation in it, and keep it clear of pirates ; you may have therefore a natural and equitable right to some toll or duty on merchandizes carried through that part of your dominions, towards defraying the expence you are at in ships to maintain the safety of that carriage.

Does this reasoning hold in the case of a duty laid on the produce of their lands exported ? And would they not then object to such a duty ? -- If it tended to make the produce so much dearer abroad as to lessen the demand for it, to be sure they would object to such a duty ; not to your right of laying it, but they would complain of it as a burden, and petition you to lighten it.

Is not the duty paid on the tobacco exported a duty of that kind ? -- That, I think, is only on tobacco carried coastwise from one colony to another, and appropriated as a fund for supporting the college at Williamsburgh, in Virginia.

Have not the assemblies in the West Indies the same natural rights with those in North America ? -- Undoubtedly.

And is there not a tax laid there on their sugars exported ? -- I am not much acquainted with the West Indies, but the duty of four and a half per cent., on sugars exported, was, I believe, granted by their own assemblies.

How much is the poll tax in your province laid on unmarried men ? -- It is, I think, fifteen shillings, to be paid by every single freeman, upwards of twenty one years old.

What is the annual amount of all the taxes in Pennsylvania ? -- I suppose about 20,000l. sterling.

Supposing the Stamp Act continued, and enforced, do you imagine that ill humour will induce the Americans to give as much for worse manufactures of their own and use them, preferably to better of ours ? ÑYes, I think so. People will pay as freely to gratify one passion as another, their resentment as their pride.

Would the people at Boston discontinue their trade ? -- The merchants are a very small number compared with the [150] body of the people, and must discontinue their trade, if nobody will buy their goods.

What are the body of the people in the colonies ? -- They are farmers, husbandmen or planters.

Would they suffer the produce of their lands to rot ? -- No ; but they would not raise so much. They would manufacture more, and plough less.

Would they live without the administration of justice in civil matters, and suffer all the inconveniencies of such a situation for any considerable time, rather than take the stamps, supposing the stamps were protected by a sufficient force, where every one might have them ? -- I think the supposition impracticable, that the stamps should be so protected as that every one might have them. The Act requires sub-distributors to be appointed in every county town, district, and village, and they would be necessary. But the principal distributors, who were to have had a considerable profit on the whole, have not thought it worth while to continue in the office, and I think it impossible to find sub-distributors fit to be trusted, who, for the trifling profit that must come to their share, would incur the odium, and run the hazard that would attend it ; and if they could be found, I think it impracticable to protect the stamps in so many distant and remote places.

But in places where they could be protected, would not the people use them rather than remain in such a situation, unable to obtain any right, or recover, by law, any debt ? -- It is hard to say what they would do. I can only judge what other people will think, and how they will act, by what I feel within myself. I have a great many debts due to me in America, and I had rather they should remain unrecoverable by any law than submit to the Stamp Act. They will be debts of honour. It is my opinion the people will either continue in that situation, or find some way to extricate themselves, perhaps by generally agreeing to proceed in the courts without stamps.

What do you think a sufficient military force to protect the distribution of the stamps in every part of America ? -- A very great force ; I cannot say what, if the disposition of America is for a general resistance.

What is the number of men in America able to bear arms, or of disciplined [151] militia ? -- There are, I suppose, at least -[Question objected to. He withdrew. Called in again.]

Is the American Stamp Act an equal tax on that country ? -- I think not.

Why so ? -- The greatest part of the money must arise from lawsuits for the recovery of debts, and be paid by the lower sort of people, who were too poor easily to pay their debts. It is therefore a heavy tax on the poor, and a tax upon them for being poor.

But will not this increase of expence be a means of lessening the number of lawsuits ? -- I think not ; for as the costs all fall upon the debtor, and are to be paid by him, they would be no discouragement to the creditor to bring his action.

Would it not have the effect of excessive usury ? -- Yes, as an oppression of the debtor.

How many ships are there laden annually in North America with flax seed for Ireland ? -- I cannot speak to the number of ships, but I know that in 1752, 10,000 hogsheads of flax seed, each containing seven bushels, were exported from Philadelphia to Ireland. I suppose the quantity is greatly increased since that time ; and it is understood that the exportation from New York is equal to that from Philadelphia.

What becomes of the flax that grows with that flax seed ? -- They manufacture some into coarse, and some into a middling kind of linen.

Are there any slitting mills in America ? ÑI think there are three, but I believe only one at present employed. I suppose they will all be set to work, if the interruption of the trade continues.

Are there any fulling mills there ? -- A great many.

Did you never hear that a great quantity of stockings were contracted for, for the army, during the war, and manufactured in Philadelphia ? -- I have heard so.

If the Stamp Act should be repealed, would not the Americans think they could oblige the parliament to repeal every external tax law now in force ? -- It is hard to answer questions what people at such a distance will think.

But what do you imagine they will think were the motives of repealing the Act ? -- I suppose they will think that it was repealed from a conviction of its inexpediency ; and they will rely upon it, that while the same inexpediency subsists, you will never attempt to make such another. [152What do you mean by its inexpediency ? -- I mean its inexpediency on several accounts ; the poverty and inability of those who were to pay the tax ; the general discontent it has occasioned ; and the impracticability of enforcing it.

If the Act should be repealed, and the legislature should shew its resentment to the opposers of the Stamp Act, would the colonies acquiesce in the authority of the legislature ? What is your opinion they would do ? -- I don't doubt at all, that if the legislature repeal the Stamp Act, the colonies will acquiesce in the authority. But if the legislature should think fit to ascertain its right to lay taxes, by any act laying a small tax, contrary to their opinion, would they submit to pay the tax ? -- The proceedings of the people in America have been considered too much together. The proceedings of the assemblies have been very different from those of the mobs, and should be distinguished, as having no connection with each other. The assemblies have only peaceably resolved what they take to be their rights ; they have not built a fort, raised a man, or provided a grain of ammunition, in order to such opposition. The ringleaders of riot they think ought to be punished ; they would punish them themselves, if they could. Every sober, sensible man would wish to see rioters punished, as otherwise peaceable people have no security of person or estate. But as to an internal tax, how small soever, laid by the legislature here on the people there, while they have no representatives in this legislature, I think it will never be submitted to.-- They will oppose it to the last.-- They do not consider it as at all necessary for you to raise money on them by your taxes, because they are, and always have been, ready to raise money by taxes among themselves, and to grant large sums, equal to their abilities, upon requisition from the crown. -- They have not only granted equal to their abilities, but, during all the last war, they granted far beyond their abilities, and beyond their proportion with this country, you yourselves being judges, to the amount of many hundred thousand pounds, and this they did freely and readily, only on a sort of promise from the secretary of state, that it should be recommended to parliament to make them compensation. It was accordingly recommended to parliament, in the most honourable manner, for them, America has been greatly misrepresented and abused here, in papers, and pamphlets, [153] and speeches, as ungrateful, and unreasonable, and unjust, in having put this nation to immense expence for their defence, and refusing to bear any part of that expence. The colonies raised, paid, and clothed, near 25,000 men during the last war, a number equal to those sent from Britain, and far beyond their proportion ; they went deeply into debt in doing this, and all their taxes and estates are mortgaged, for many years to come, for discharging that debt. Government here was at that time very sensible of this. The colonies were recommended to parliament. Every year the King sent down to the House a written message to this purpose, That his Majesty, being highly sensible of the zeal and vigour with which his faithful subjects in North America had exerted themselves, in defence of his Majesty's just rights and possessions, recommended it to the House to take the same into consideration, and enable him to give them a proper compensation. You will find those messages on your own journals every year of the war to the very last, and you did accordingly give 200,000l. annually to the crown, to be distributed in such compensation to the colonies. This is the strongest of all proofs that the colonies, far from being unwilling to bear a share of the burden, did exceed their proportion ; for if they had done less, or had only equalled their proportion, there would have been no room or reason for compensation. Indeed the sums reimbursed them, were by no means adequate to the expence they incurred beyond their proportion ; but they never murmured at that ; they esteemed their sovereign's approbation of their zeal and fidelity, and the approbation of this House, far beyond any other kind of compensation ; therefore there was no occasion for this act, to force money from a willing people ; they had not refused giving money for the purposes of the act ; no requisition had been made : they were always willing and ready to do what could reasonably be expected from them, and in this light they wish to be considered.

But suppose Great Britain should be engaged in a war in Europe, would North America contribute to the support of it ? -- I do think they would, as far as their circumstances would permit. They consider themselves as a part of the British empire, and as having one common interest with it ; they may be looked on here as foreigners, but they do not consider themselves as such. They are zealous for the [154] honour and prosperity of this nation, and while they are well used, will always be ready to support it, as far as their little power goes. In 1739 they were called upon to assist in the expedition against Carthagena, and they sent 3,000 men to join your army. It is true Carthagena is in America, but as remote from the northern colonies as if it had been in Europe. They make no distinction of wars, as to their duty of assisting in them. I know the last war is commonly spoke of here as entered into for the defence, or for the sake of the people of America. I think it is quite misunderstood. It began about the limits between Canada and Nova Scotia, about territories to which the crown indeed laid claim, but were not claimed by any British colony ; none of the lands had been granted to any colonist ; we had therefore no particular concern or interest in that dispute. As to the Ohio, the contest there began about your right of trading in the Indian country, a right you had by the treaty of Utrecht, which the French infringed ; they seized the traders and their goods, which were your manufactures ; they took a fort which a company of your merchants, and their factors and correspondents, had erected there to secure that trade. Braddock was sent with an army to re-take that fort (which was looked on here as another incroachment on the King's territory) and to protect your trade. It was not till after his defeat that the colonies were attacked. They were before in perfect peace with both French and Indians ; the troops were not therefore sent for their defence. The trade with the Indians, though carried on in America, is not an American interest. The people of America are chiefly farmers and planters ; scarce any thing that they raise or produce is an article of commerce with the Indians. The Indian trade is a British interest ; it is carried on with British manufactures, for the profit of British merchants and manufacturers ; therefore the war, as it commenced for the defence of territories of the crown, the property of no American, and for the defence of a trade purely British, was really a British warÑand yet the people of America made no scruple of contributing their utmost towards carrying it on, and bringing it to a happy conclusion.

Do you think then that the taking possession of the King's territorial rights, and strengthening the frontiers, is not an [155] American interest ? -- Not particularly, but conjointly a British and an American interest.

You will not deny that the preceding war, the war with Spain, was entered into for the sake of America ; was it not occasioned by captures made in the American seas ? -- Yes ; captures of ships carrying on the British trade there, with British manufactures.

Was not the late war with the Indians, since the peace with France, a war for America only ? -- Yes : it was more particularly for America than the former, but it was rather a consequence or remains of the former war, the Indians not having been thoroughly pacified, and the Americans bore by much the greatest share of the expence. It was put an end to by the army under general Bouquet ; there were not above 300 regulars in that army, and above 1000 Pennsylvanians.

Is it not necessary to send troops to America, to defend the Americans against the Indians ? -- No, by no means ; it never was necessary. They defended themselves when they were but a handful, and the Indians much more numerous. They continually gained ground, and have driven the Indians over the mountains, without any troops sent to their assistance from this country. And can it be thought necessary now to send troops for their defence from those diminished Indian tribes, when the colonies are become so populous, and so strong ? There is not the least occasion for it ; they are very able to defend themselves.

Do you say there were no more than 300 regular troops employed in the late Indian war ? -- Not on the Ohio, or the frontiers of Pennsylvania, which was the chief part of the war that affected the colonies. There were garrisons at Niagara, Fort Detroit, and those remote posts kept for the sake of your trade ; I did not reckon them, but I believe that on the whole the number of Americans, or provincial troops, employed in the war, was greater than that of the regulars. I am not certain, but I think so.

Do you think the assemblies have a right to levy money on the subject there, to grant to the crown ? -- I certainly think so ; they have always done it.

Are they acquainted with the Declaration of Rights ; and do they know that by that statute, money is not to be raised on the subject but by consent of parliament ? -- They are very well acquainted with it. [156]

How then can they think they have a right to levy money for the crown, or for any other than local purposes ? -- They understand that clause to relate to subjects only within the realm ; that no money can be levied on them for the crown, but by consent of parliament. The colonies are not supposed to be within the realm ; they have assemblies of their own, which are their parliaments, and they are, in that respect, in the same situation with Ireland. When money is to be raised for the crown upon the subject in Ireland, or in the colonies, the consent is given in the parliament of Ireland, or in the assemblies of the colonies. They think the parliament of Great Britain cannot properly give that consent till it has representatives from America ; for the Petition of Right expressly says, it is to be by common consent in parliament, and the people of America have no representatives in parliament, to make a part of that common consent.

If the Stamp Act should be repealed, and an act should pass, ordering the assemblies of the colonies to indemnify the sufferers by the riots, would they obey it ? -- That is a question I cannot answer.

Suppose the King should require the colonies to grant a revenue, and the parliament should be against their doing it, do they think they can grant a revenue to the King, without the consent of the parliament of Great Britain ? -- That is a deep question. As to my own opinion I should think myself at liberty to do it, and should do it, if I liked the occasion.

When money has been raised in the colonies, upon requisitions, has it not been granted to the King ? -- Yes, always ; but the requisitions have generally been for some service expressed, as to raise, clothe, and pay troops, and not for money only.

If the act should pass, requiring the American assemblies to make compensation to the sufferers, and they should disobey it, and then the parliament should, by another act, lay an internal tax, would they then obey it ? -- The people will pay no internal tax : and I think an act to oblige the assemblies to make compensation is unnecessary, for I am of opinion, that as soon as the present heats are abated, they will take the matter into consideration, and if it is right to be done, they will do it of themselves.

Do not letters often come into the post offices in America, directed into some inland town where no post goes ? -- Yes. [157] Can any private person take up those letters, and carry them as directed ? -- Yes ; any friend of the person may do it, paying the postage that has accrued.

But must not he pay an additional postage for the distance to such an inland town ? -- No.

Can the post-master answer delivering the letter, without being paid such additional postage ? -- Certainly he can demand nothing, where he does no service.

Suppose a person, being far from home, finds a letter in a post office directed to him, and he lives in a place to which the post generally goes, and the letter is directed to that place, will the post-master deliver him the letter, without his paying the postage received at the place to which the letter is directed ? -- Yes ; the office cannot demand postage for a letter that it does not carry, or farther than it does carry it.

Are not ferrymen in America obliged, by act of parliament, to carry over the posts without pay ? -- Yes.

Is not this a tax on the ferrymen ? -- They do not consider it as such, as they have an advantage from persons travelling with the post.

If the Stamp Act should be repealed, and the crown should make a requisition to the colonies for a sum of money, would they grant it ? -- I believe they would.

Why do you think so ? -- I can speak for the colony I live in ; I had it in instruction from the assembly to assure the ministry, that as they always had done, so they should always think it their duty to grant such aids to the crown as were suitable to their circumstances and abilities, whenever called upon for the purpose, in the usual constitutional manner ; and I had the honour of communicating this instruction to that hon. gentleman then minister.

Would they do this for a British concern ; as suppose a war in some part of Europe, that did not affect them ? -- Yes, for any thing that concerned the general interest. They consider themselves as a part of the whole.

What is the usual constitutional manner of calling on the colonies for aids ? -- A letter from the secretary of state.

Is this all you mean, a letter from the secretary of state ? -- I mean the usual way of requisition, in a circular letter from the secretary of state, by his Majesty's command, reciting the occasion, and recom- [158] mending it to the colonies to grant such aids as became their loyalty, and were suitable to their abilities.

Did the secretary of state ever write for money for the crown ? -- The requisitions have been to raise, clothe, and pay men, which cannot be done without money. Would they grant money alone, if called on ? -- In my opinion they would, money as well as men, when they have money, or can procure it.

If the parliament should repeal the Stamp Act, will the assembly of Pennsylvania rescind their resolutions ? -- I think not.

Before there was any thought of the Stamp Act, did they wish for a representation in parliament ? -- No.

Don't you know that there is, in the Pennsylvania charter, an express reservation of the right of parliament to lay taxes there ? -- I know there is a clause in the charter, by which the King grants that he will levy no taxes on the inhabitants, unless it be with the consent of the assembly, or by an act of parliament.

How then could the assembly of Pennsylvania assert, that laying a tax on them by the Stamp Act was an infringement of their rights ? -- They understand it thus : by the same charter, and otherwise, they are entitled to all the privileges and liberties of Englishmen ; they find in the Great Charters, and the Petition and Declaration of Rights, that one of the privileges of English subjects is, that they are not to be taxed but by their common consent ; they have therefore relied upon it, from the first settlement of the province, that the parliament never would, nor could, by colour of that clause in the charter, assume a right of taxing them, till it had qualified itself to exercise such right, by admitting representatives from the people to be taxed, who ought to make a part of that common consent.

Are there any words in the charter that justify that construction ? -- The common rights of Englishmen, as declared by Magna Charta, and the Petition of Right, all justify it.

Does the distinction between internal and external taxes exist in the words of the charter ? -- No, I believe not.

Then may they not, by the same interpretation, object to the parliament's right of external taxation ? -- They never have hitherto. Many arguments have been lately used here to shew them that there [159] is no difference, and that if you have no right to tax them internally, you have none to tax them externally, or make any other law to bind them. At present they do not reason so, but in time they may possibly be convinced by these arguments.

Do not the resolutions of the Pennsylvania assemblies say, all taxes ? -- If they do, they mean only internal taxes ; the same words have not always the same meaning here and in the colonies. By taxes they mean internal taxes ; by duties they mean customs ; these are the ideas of the language.

Have you not seen the resolutions of the Massachusett's Bay assembly ? -- I have.

Do they not say, that neither external nor internal taxes can be laid on them by parliament ? -- I don't know that they do ; I believe not.

If the same tax should say neither tax nor imposition could be laid, does not that province hold the power of parliament can lay neither ? -- I suppose that by the word imposition, they do not intend to express duties to be laid on goods imported, as regulations of commerce.

What can the colonies mean then by imposition as distinct from taxes ? -- They may mean many things, as impressing of men, or of carriages, quartering troops on private houses, and the like ; there may be great impositions that are not properly taxes.

Is not the post-office rate an internal tax laid by act of parliament ? -- I have answered that.

Are all parts of the colonies equally able to pay taxes ? -- No, certainly ; the frontier parts, which have been ravaged by the enemy, are greatly disabled by that means, and therefore, in such cases, are usually favoured in our tax laws.

Can we, at this distance, be competent judges of what favours are necessary ? -- The parliament have supposed it, by claiming a right to make tax laws for America ; I think it impossible.

Would the repeal of the Stamp Act be any discouragement of your manufactures ? Will the people that have begun to manuture decline it ? -- Yes, I think they will ; especially if, at the same time, the trade is opened again, so that remittances can be easily made. I have known several instances that make it probable. In the war before last, tobacco being low, and making little remittance, the people of Virginia went generally into family manufactures. Afterwards, when tobacco bore a better price, they returned to the use of British manu- [160] factures. So fulling mills were very much disused in the last war in Pennsylvania, because bills were then plenty, and remittances could easily be made to Britain for English cloth and other goods.

If the Stamp Act should be repealed, would it induce the assemblies of America to acknowledge the right of parliament to tax them, and would they erase their resolutions ? -- No, never.

Is there no means of obliging them to erase those resolutions ? -- None, that I know of ; they will never do it, unless compelled by force of arms.

Is there a power on earth that can force them to erase them ? Ñ No power, how great soever, can force men to change their opinions.

Do they consider the post office as a tax, or as a regulation ? -- Not as a tax, but as a regulation and conveniency ; every assembly encouraged it, and supported it in its infancy, by grants of money, which they would not otherwise have done ; and the people have always paid the postage.

When did you receive the instructions you mentioned ? -- I brought them with me, when I came to England, about 15 months since.

When did you communicate that instruction to the minister ? -- Soon after my arrival, while the stamping of America was under consideration, and before the Bill was brought in.

Would it be most for the interest of Great Britain, to employ the hands of Virginia in tobacco, or in manufactures ? -- In tobacco, to be sure.

What used to be the pride of the Americans ? -- To indulge in the fashions and manufactures of Great Britain.

What is now their pride ? -- To wear their old clothes over again, till they can make new ones.-Withdrew.

The Committee of the whole House, having, in a great measure, finished their examination of persons and papers, it was at length moved, on the 21st of January, 1766,

That it is the opinion of this Committee, that the House be moved, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to repeal an Act passed in the last session of parliament, intitled, "An Act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties in the British colonies and plantations in [161] America, towards farther defraying the expences of defending, protecting, and securing the same, and for amending such parts of the several acts of parliament relating to the trade and revenues of the said colonies and plantations, as direct the manner of determining and recovering the penalties and forfeitures therein mentioned."

It was afterwards proposed to leave out the word "repeal," and insert "explain and amend." Upon which there ensued a debate. The question was put, whether the word "repeal" should stand. Ayes 275 ; Noes 167. Then the question was put and agreed to.


Proceedings in the Commons on the Bill to repeal the American Stamp Act.]

February 24. The Committee of the whole House, to whom it was referred to consider of the several Papers presented to the House, relative to the Disturbances in America, on account of the Stamp Act, reported the following Resolutions to the House :

1. "That the King's Majesty, by and with the consent of the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons of Great Britain, in parliament assembled, had, hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever,

2. "That tumults and insurrections of the most dangerous nature have been raised, and carried on, in several of the North American colonies, in open defiance of the powers and dignity of his Majesty's government, and in manifest violation of the laws and legislative authority of this kingdom.

3. "That the said tumults and insurrections have been greatly countenanced and inflamed by votes and resolutions, passed in several of the assemblies in the said provinces, highly injurious to the honour of his Majesty's government, and tending to destroy the legal and constitutional dependency of the said colonies on the imperial crown and parliament of Great Britain.

4. "That such persons, who, on account of the desire which they have manifested to comply with, or to assist in carrying into execution, any acts of the legislature of Great Britain, relating to the British colonies in North America, have suffered any injury or damage, ought to have full [162] and ample compensation made to them for the same, by the respective colonies in which such injuries or damages were sustained.

5. "That the House be moved to resolve and declare, that all his Majesty's subjects, residing in the said colonies, who have manifested their desire to comply with, or to assist in carrying into execution, any acts of the legislature of Great Britain, relating to the British colonies in North America, have acted as dutiful and loyal subjects, and are therefore intitled to, and will assuredly have the protection of the House of Commons of Great Britain.

6. "That all persons, who by reason of the tumults and outrages in North America, have not been able to procure stamped paper, since the passing of the Act for laying certain duties of stamps in the colonies, ought to be indemnified from all penalties and forfeitures, which they may have incurred, by writing, ingrossing, or printing on paper, vellum, or parchment, not duly stamped, as required by the said act, under proper restrictions.

7. "That the House be moved, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to repeal an Act passed in the last session of parliament, entitled, An Act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties in the British colonies and plantations in America, towards further defraying the expences of defending, protecting, and securing the same ; and for amending such parts of the several acts of parliament, relating to the trade and revenues of the said colonies and plantations, as direct the manner of determining and recovering the penalties and forfeitures therein mentioned."

The first of these Resolutions being read a second time, a motion was made for its being postponed ; but, after a debate, the question being put, it was carried in the negative, after which the Resolution was agreed to ; as were the 2d, 3d, and 4th, after being read a second time, without any opposition ; and, after the 5th was read a second time, a motion being made accordingly, the House did resolve and declare in the terms thereby proposed ; after which the 6th was read a second time, and agreed to ; then the 7th and last, which had occasioned a debate in the Committee, but was therein agreed to by 275 to 167 ; and now upon the report, as soon as it was read a second time, a motion was made for its being recommitted ; whereupon some part of the Act of the 5th [163] of queen Anne, chap. 8, for an union of the two kingdoms of England and Scotland, particularly the 18th article of that famous treaty, was, upon motion, read, and a debate ensued, but upon the question being put, it was carried in the negative ; consequently a motion was in course made, pursuant to the said Resolution, and it was ordered, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to repeal an Act passed in the last session, for granting and applying certain stamp duties, &c.

A motion was made, that the persons appointed to bring in the Bill do make effectual provision, in the said Bill, for preserving the just rights and authority of the British legislature, by directing all votes and resolutions of the assemblies of any of the American colonies, repugnant to the said rights and authority, to be erased and expunged, before the said repeal shall take place in such respective colonies. This brought on a new debate ; but upon the question being put, it was carried in the negative by 240 to 133, chiefly on account of the next motion : which was, that a Bill or Bills be brought in upon the first and sixth of the aforesaid Resolutions. Then it was ordered that the 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th, of the aforesaid Resolutions be laid before his Majesty ; and it was resolved to address his Majesty, to desire, that he would be graciously pleased to give directions, that the said Resolutions be transmitted to the governors of his Majesty's colonies and plantations in America, to be by them communicated to the assemblies of their respective governments.

The House having now continued sitting till after one o'clock in the morning of the 25th, they adjourned till next morning the 26th, on which day Mr. Fuller presented to the House according to order, a Bill for the better securing the dependency of his Majesty's dominions in America, upon the crown and parliament of Great Britain, which Bill was then read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time the next morning : and presently afterwards Mr. Secretary Conway presented to the House, according to order, a Bill to repeal an Act made in the last session of parliament, entitled, "An Act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other,' &c. which Bill was then read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time, also the next morning. Both Bills passed, and were carried up to the Lords.


Debate in the Lords on the Disturbances [164] in America in consequence of the Stamp Act.*]

February 10. The Lord Botetourt, according to order, reported from the Committee of the whole House, appointed to consider of the several Papers laid before this House, by his Majesty's command, relating to the late Riots and Tumults in America : "That the Committee had considered the matters to them referred, and had come to the following Resolutions ; viz.

1."That the King's Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords spiritual and temporal and Commons of Great Britain in parliament assembled, had, hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.

2. "That it appears to this Committee, that tumults and insurrections of the most dangerous nature have been raised and carried on, in several of the North American colonies, in open defiance of the power and dignity of his Majesty's government, and in manifest violation of the laws and legislative authority of this kingdom.

3. "That it appears to this Committee, that the said tumults and insurrections have been encouraged and enflamed by sundry votes and resolutions passed in several of the assemblies of the said provinces, derogatory to the honour of his Majesty's government, and destructive of the legal and constitutional dependency of the said colonies on the imperial crown and parliament of Great Britain.

4. "That it is the opinion of this Committee, that an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to desire that his Majesty would be graciously pleased to give instructions to the governors of the several provinces where the above-mentioned tumults and insurrections have happened, that they should, in his Majesty's name, require of the assemblies of the said provinces to make proper recompense to those who have suffered in their persons or properties in consequence of the aforesaid tumults and insurrections : and to assure his Majesty, that this House will, upon this and all occasions, support the lawful authority of his crown, and the rights of parliament.

* This important Debate is now first printed from a Manuscript in the Hardwicke Collection, obligingly communicated to the Editor by the present earl of Hardwicke [a. d. 1813.] [165]    

5. "That it is the opinion of this Committee, that all his Majesty's subjects residing in the said colonies, who have manifested their desire to comply with, or to assist in carrying into execution, the act for laying a duty on Stamps, or any other act of parliament in the British colonies in North America, have acted as dutiful and loyal subjects, and are therefore entitled to, and will assuredly have the favour and protection of this House."

The Debate arose upon the first of the above Resolutions, namely,

"That the King's Majesty, by and with

"the advice and consent of the Lords spiri

"tual and temporal and Commons of Great

"tain in parliament assembled, had, hath,

"and of right ought to have, full power and

"authority to make laws and statutes, of

"sufficient force and validity to bind the

"colonies and people of America, subjects

"of the crown of Great Britain, in all

"cases whatsoever."


The Duke of Grafton, after lamenting the contrariety of opinion, on the first proposition, and observing that, in questions of this interesting nature, we ought to divest ourselves of all prejudice or attachment to one man or another, declared his opinion to be, that the Americans were as liable to be taxed as any man in Great Britain. And that therefore he should not have offered the first Resolution, but that the right had been questioned, not only by the Americans, but by persons here, some of whom were eminent, and possibly the highest in the line they tread. His grace then recommended lenient measures, as thinking the Americans deluded into an opinion that England had given them up.

Lord Shelburne spoke next, who did not give any direct opinion on the right of parliament to tax America, though he seemed, from what I could gather of what he said, to insinuate that he was of that opinion.

His lordship said, he thought it was highly necessary never to bring constitutional points into debate but in matters of the highest consequence.

That the object of the present question seemed to him to be, whether we should, and how we should, restore tranquillity to America.

That his opinion was, that when America was acquainted of what had past in England the first day of the session, there only remained two questions for the consideration of parliament.

1st. Whether they should repeal the [166] Act, and by that means open commerce and restore tranquillity to America ; or, 2dly, Whether they should enforce it, and throw every thing into confusion. His lordship mentioned his having been lately at Antwerp, where he learnt from some of the principal persons there, that this town had refused a tax 109 times, and upon speaking on this subject afterwards in Brussels, he was informed, that it had been agitated at Vienna whether they ought to lay a tax on the Netherlands, and it had been determined it was not expedient to do it.

He applied this to the laying taxes on North America, and said, he did not choose in this situation of things to give a direct opinion on the point, but hinted at a protest if his lordship should differ in opinion with other lords.

Lord Lyttelton begun with observing, that he agreed with the noble lord in opinion, that this question should never have been agitated, but why ? because it has been already determined by the laws of this country. It was however first agitated in America, where the right was denied.

In treating this question, I must tire your lordships with repeating many self-evident truths, but when persons of eminent knowledge and abilities dispute this point, I even doubt of my own reason.

I shall therefore take the liberty of laying before your lordships a few general maxims, not of party, but such as no statesman, no lawyer, has ever denied.

The first foundation of civil government is, that a civil society was formed by men entering into society on what may properly be called an original compact, and entrusting government with a power over their persons, liberties, and estates, for the safety of the whole. In what form or manner this power is to be exercised depends on the laws and constitutions of different countries.

There cannot be two rights existing in government at the same time, which would destroy each other ; a right in government to make laws, and a right in the people, or any part, to oppose or disobey such laws. Another great principle of policy is, that in all states, democratical, aristocratical, or monarchical, or in mixed states, as Great Britain, the government must rest somewhere, and that must be fixed, or otherwise there is an end of all government. "Imperium in imperio."

But these great maxims which imply a subjection to the supreme government or legislature, do not exclude the existence [167] of inferior legislatures with restrained powers, subject to the superior legislature. That the colonies are of this kind the many statutes made here to bind them since their first settlement plainly evince.

They went out subjects of Great Britain, and unless they can shew a new compact made between them and the parliament of Great Britain (for the king alone could not make a new compact with them) they still are subjects to all intents and purposes whatsoever. If they are subjects, they are liable to the laws of the country. Indeed, they complain that the laying internal taxes on them takes away the right of laying such taxes : this I deny ; they certainly may lay such internal taxes for local purposes, and the parliament here may lay such taxes on particular occasions.

The last great maxim of this and every other free government is, that "No subject is bound by any law to which he is not actually or virtually consenting." If the colonies are subjects of Great Britain, they are represented and consent to all statutes.

But it is said they will not submit to the Stamp Act as it lay's an internal tax : if this be admitted, the same reasoning extends to all acts of parliament. The Americans will find themselves crampt by the Act of Navigation, and oppose that too.

The Americans themselves make no distinction between external and internal taxes. M. Otis, their champion, scouts such a distinction, and the assembly shewed they were not displeased with him, by making him their representative at the congress of the states general of America.

The only question before your lordships is, whether the American colonies are a part of the dominions of the crown of Great Britain ? If not, the parliament has no jurisdiction, if they are, as many statutes have declared them to be, they must be proper objects of our legislature : and by declaring them exempt from one statute or law, you declare them no longer subjects of Great Britain, and make them small independent communities not entitled to your protection.

If opinions of this weight are to be taken up, and argued upon through mistake or timidity, we shall have many legislators ; we shall have Lycurguses, and Solons, in every coffee-house, tavern, and gin-shop in London.

The weight of taxes in England are heayy, and admit but this doctrine, many [168] thousands who have no vote in electing representatives, will follow their brethren in America, in refusing submission to any taxes. The commons of this metropolis will with pleasure hear a doctrine propagated last week, of equality being the natural right of all.

We have a constitution which, with all its faults, is a good one, but the doctrine of equality may be carried to the destruction of this monarchy. Cromwell himself did not attempt to say that taxes were to be raised without the consent of the legislature.

Lord Camden.-- I am very unhappy the first time of speaking in this House to differ from a lord of such superior abilities and learning, but the question before your lordships concerns the common rights of mankind ; it is an abstract question, and will be judged of by your lordships gravely and deliberately, without any regard to the authority of any lord who speaks on either side of the question.

My lords ; he who disputes the authority of any supreme legislature treads upon very tender ground. It is therefore necessary for me in setting out to lay in my claim to your lordships, and to desire that no inference may be drawn from any thing I shall advance. I disclaim that the consequence of my reasoning will be that the colonies can claim an independence on this country, or that they have a right to oppose acts of legislature in a rebellious manner, even though the legislature has no right to make such acts. In my own opinion, my lords, the legislature had no right to make this law.

The sovereign authority, the omnipotence of the legislature, my lords, is a favourite doctrine, but there are some things they cannot do. They cannot enact any thing against the divine law, and may forfeit their right. They cannot take away any man's private property without making him a compensation. A proof of which is the many private bills, as well as public, passed every session. They have no right to condemn any man by bill of attainder without hearing him.

But though the parliament cannot take any man's private property, yet every subject must make contribution. And this he consents to do by his representatives ; when the people consented to be taxed they reserved to themselves a power of giving and granting by their representatives.

The Resolution now proposed is in my [169] opinion too general, as it gives the legislature an absolute power of laying any tax upon America.

Notwithstanding the King, Lords, and Commons could in ancient times tax other persons, they never could tax the clergy. I have seen a record, 17 R. 2, of the Commons offering an aid to his majesty so as the clergy, who were possessed of a third part of the lands of the kingdom, would contribute a third part of the sum wanted. The clergy on that occasion said, that the parliament had no right to tax them, they might lay any part of the money wanted on the laity, and that they, the clergy, would then do what they saw just. And so late as in the year l674 the clergy in convocation insisted on a right to tax themselves, and this right was recognized by the Commons.

At present the clergy have dropt that right ; when, I cannot pretend to say, but when they did drop it they were melted down into the body of the country, and are now electors of their own representatives.

The counties palatine were little feudal governments exercising regal authority. The method was, for the crown to require them by writ to tax themselves. Tyrrel mentions some records of writs of that kind directed to Chester. It appears, however, that afterwards the legislature took to itself the power of taxation over these counties palatine, but then when they petitioned to be represented the parliament readily granted them representatives.

It is observable, that at the close of the charter erecting Lancaster into a county palatine there is a salvo of the right to the parliament at large. And the great lord Hale, in a MS. never printed, which treats of the prerogative of the crown, observes, that this was a county palatine, without the requisites of Chester and Durham, particularly as to the power of taxing and pardoning.

Wales, my lords, was not taxed till it was united to England, when it was forthwith represented.

Calais and Berwick, when they were conquered, sent members to parliament. Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man are not yet a part of the realm of England, and have never yet been taxed.

Ireland was conquered originally, but was settled by the English. They tax themselves, and the parliament here has no right to tax them ; lord Hale affirms this [170] in the before-mentioned MS. where he says, that he thinks no acts here can bind the Irish in point of subsidies.

But, my lords, even supposing the Americans have no exclusive right to tax themselves, I maintain it would be good policy to give it them. -- America feels she can do better without us, than we without her.

He spoke then to the expediency, and concluded that his opinion was, that the colonies had a right to tax themselves, and the parliament not.

Lord Chancellor Northington. I did not think I should have troubled your lordships on the subject of this 1st Resolution, but, upon doctrines being laid down so new, so unmaintainable, and so unconstitutional, I cannot sit silent.

I have, my lords, this day heard a paradox in every law that I know of. I thought indeed, when I came into the House, that the proposition endeavoured to be supported by the noble lord, would have been rather more modified than it has been by a heated imagination, accompanied by a facility of expression and readiness of language.

The noble lord lays it down that the Americans have an exclusive right to lay taxes on themselves, and thinks that we are not to meddle with them.

What, shall it be said that one man alone could subdue all North America, and that his authority not overruling, the parliament of Great Britain cannot retain it ?

My lords, it is impossible to endeavour to prove a self evident truth.

Every government can arbitrarily inpose laws on all its subjects ; there must be a supreme dominion in every state ; whether monarchical, aristocratical, democratical, or mixed. And ail the subjects of each state are bound by the laws made by government.

But the noble lord has endeavoured to distinguish between the civil power of government, and its casuistical power. Now, my lords, there is no writer on general law but what agrees in this principle, that every legislature should make laws for the benefit and safety of the whole ; but suppose they make a law contrary to this principle, a resistance to such law is at the risk of life and fortune.

As to what the noble lord says, of the clergy not having been taxed, the instruments he alludes to are commissions from the king to the laity and the clergy to tax themselves. [171] I do not know, my lords, that because pope Boniface had power to make the king and parliament here obey his orders in relation to the clergy taxing themselves, it is any argument for their right to do so. I do not know there ever was a period when the clergy had no right to vote in elections to parliament, and should be glad to be informed.

As to the convocation of king James, I deny the clergy taxed themselves at that period. Their orders are recited in acts of parliament, and had no legal force till they were enacted.

My lords, I seek for the liberty and constitution of this kingdom no farther back than the Revolution : there I make my stand. And in the reign of king William an act passed avowing the power of this legislature over the colonies.

As to the expediency of carrying the act into executionÑif the noble lord means to suspend the execution, and advise the King on that head, I will tell his lordship the King cannot do it. He is sworn by his coronation oath to do the contrary ; but if you should concur with his lordship as to the expediency of repeal, you will tell 12 millions of your subjects of Great Britain and Ireland, that you prefer the colonists who are got rich under their protection, and will have them at your doors, not making speeches, but using the argumentum baculinum.

My lords, what have these favourite Americans done ? They have called a meeting of their states, and then have entered into Resolutions by which, in my opinion, they have forfeited all their charters.

But, my lords, the nature of the Stamp Act seems to be mistaken. It binds all the colonies in general, but it does not controul the power each province has to lay internal taxes for local purposes.

If all the great lawyers in Westminsterhall should give an opinion that the King could grant the territory of North America, none would say, that the King could put them out of the subjection to the summum imperium of Great Britain.

My lords, the colonies are become too big to be governed by the laws they at first set out with. They have therefore run into confusion, and it will be the policy of this country to form a plan of laws for them.

If they withdraw allegiance you must withdraw protection ; and then the little state of Genoa, or the kingdom or rather republic of Sweden, may soon overrun them. [172]

Lord Mansfield. I stand up to bring your lordships to the question before you, which is, whether the proposition made by the noble duke is, from what appears from our law and history, true or not true.

What has been wrote by those who have treated on the law of nature, or of other nations, in my opinion, is not at all applicable to the present question.

It is out of this question too, whether it is or is not expedient to repeal this act : out of this question too are the rules which are to guide the legislature in making a law. The law is made, and the question is, whether you had a right to make it.

I deny the proposition that parliament takes no man's property without his consent : it frequently takes private property without making what the owner thinks a compensation. If any lord makes objection to any part of the proposition, he ought to confine himself in his argument to the part he objects to, and not run into matters which do not relate to such objection.

I have, during the course of the debate on this great question, always wished to preserve unanimity among your lordships on every measure relating to America, and do verily believe that if every member of parliament had concurred in sentiments for the benefit of the whole, this great evil, as it now is, would have turned out for the advantage of the whole, and that the Americans, if they had time given them to cool, would have obeyed the law.

Your lordships must remember, upon the passing the Militia Act, how it was misrepresented, as a plot to send our subjects to America and Germany, and that the consequence of this was, that riots arose in several parts of the kingdom. A few of the rioters suffered death, but when people came to their cool senses, the act was obeyed.

I do not look upon Otis's pamphlet in a light other lords mayÑthat it is to be totally disregarded. It may be called silly and mad, but mad people, or persons who have entertained silly and mad ideas, have led the people to rebellion, and overturned empires.

The proposition before your lordships has unhappily been attended with a difference of opinion in England. I shall therefore use my endeavours, in what I have to offer your lordships on this occasion, to quiet men's minds upon this subject.

In order to do this, I shall first lay down two propositions : [173]

1st, That the British legislature, as to the power of making laws, represents the whole British empire, and has authority to bind every part and every subject without the least distinction, whether such subjects have a right to vote or not, or whether the law binds places within the realm or without.

2nd, That the colonists, by the condition on which they migrated, settled, and now exist, are more emphatically subjects of Great Britain than those within the realm ; and that the British legislature have in every instance exercised their right of legislation over them without any dispute or question till the 14th of January last.

As to the 1st proposition :

In every government the legislative power must be lodged somewhere, and the executive must likewise be lodged somewhere.

In Great Britain the legislative is in parliament, the executive in the crown.

The parliament first depended upon tenures. How did representation by election first arise ? Why, by the favour of the crown. And the notion now taken up, that every subject must be represented by deputy, if he does not vote in parliament himself, is merely ideal.

At this day all the great companies hereÑthe Bank, East India Company, and South Sea Company, have no representatives.

As to what has been said about the clergyÑthe fact is, that a demand made by them of a right to tax themselves was supported by the Pope ; and the king and parliament of those times were weak enough to admit of it ; but this admission is no proof of the right.

No distinction ought to be taken between the authority of parliament, over parts within or without the realm ; but it is an established rule of construction, that no parts without the realm are bound unless named in the act. And this rule establishes the right of parliament ; for unless they had a right to bind parts out of the realm, this distinction would never have been made.

As to Wales, it has been said that it was not part of the realm, and paid no taxes before it was united and represented. Now Wales, in statute Walii¾, 12 Edward 1, is described as a part of the crown of England.

As to the parts beyond seas which were ceded to the crown of England ; such as Guienne and Calais, they have been [174] mentioned in, and bound by different statutes, before Calais ever sent a representative to parliament.

The Isle of Man is a very late instance of a part of the realm never represented, which came to the noble duke the proprietor, under a descent of 400 years ; and his grace last session applied to the justice of parliament, and never was advised to dispute their right of laying taxes, &c.

As to the sound which has been thrown out, that no money can be raised without consent, the direct contrary is the truth ; for if any number of people should agree to raise money for the King, it is unconstitutional.

By the Declaration of Right, 13 Car. 1, declaring it illegal to levy money except by act of parliament, the, words are, "by loan, gift, or benevolence,Õ and all such kind of levies are declared void.

Objection has been made, that Money Bills begin in the House of Commons, and have past here of course without amendment. I have read an able argument of lord Nottingham's on this subject, in the Journal of the House of Commons, when he managed the conference between the Houses, and to which I refer your lordships.

I shall now consider the demesnes of the crown ; Counties palatineÑit has been said they were not taxed till they were represented. The act in Henry 8th's time giving Chester a right to send representatives, recites, that they were liable to and bound by all the laws made by parliament, and therefore it was but just they should be represented.

The act, Car. 2, giving the right to Durham, recites, that they were then and before liable to taxes and subsidies. And therefore I think it clear, that the counties palatine were bound by acts of parliament in England, without being named, before they sent representatives.

As to Guienne and Calais, several acts were made here from the time they were first ceded, to lay interior regulations upon them. Calais and Berwick never sent members to parliament till the time of Henry 8, but several statutes past, binding these places from the time of Henry 6.

It has been said negatively, that Wales never paid taxes till it sent members to parliament. This was in 27 Henry 8. Now in several statutes for laying taxes before that period, Wales is nominatim excepted, and the reason given for that [175] exception in the statutes is, that they paid mises (which was a tax) to the king ; and it is in like manner excepted out of several statutes after 27 Henry 8, till these mises were taken away, and then it was taxed with the other part of the realm. But as a distinction has been taken between the power of laying taxes and making laws, I must declare, that after the most diligent searches on this head, I cannot find any distinction or difference whatever.

As to the second proposition I laid out, It must be granted that they migrated with leave as colonies, and therefore from the very meaning of the word were, are, and must be subjects, and owe allegiance and subjection to their mother country.

My lords, there are three sorts of colonies in America :

King's Provinces ; Proprietary Provinces, and Charter Provinces.

The King's provinces are governed by instructions sent to the governors, who after some time are directed to call assemblies, and they have a power to make bye laws for their interior government, &c.

The proprietary governments are Maryland and Pennsylvania : the first was granted to be held as the county of Durham, and that, before this county was represented in parliament, had by charter a subordinate power to make laws, so as the same were not contrary to the laws of England.

Pennsylvania was granted to W. Penn in 33 Car. 2.

The Pennsylvanians are among the loudest of those who complain of the Stamp Act. In the papers coming from them they use the King of Great Britain as they do their own proprietary king.

By their charter Mr. Penn has a power to raise money and make laws, &c. so as they be not repugnant to the laws of England. And it is provided, that a transcript of every law should be sent to Great Britain, and if repugnant to law here, shall be repealed. And an agent is to reside here to make satisfaction for all penalties ; and if no satisfaction is made, the grant is to be void.

Charter governments are Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusets Bay.

These are all on the same footing as our great corporations in London. And it is worth remarking, that Massachusets Bay had a charter which in Charles 2's time was vacated in Chancery for their abuse of it. Now, is it possible to sup- [176] pose that a legislature can exist with a sole power of laying taxes, which legislature may be destroyed here by a process in the courts of Chancery or King's bench ?

I find in the Journals of the House of Commons that, upon a Bill for a free fishery being brought into that House, 19 James 1, a doubt was thrown out, whether parliament had any thing to do in America. This doubt was immediately answered, I believe by Coke. The province is held of the manor of East Greenwich, and granted by charter under the great seal. This was thought a sufficient answer, and the Bill passed that House.

In the year 1650, during the Commonwealth, an act passed, avowing the subjection of the colonies to England.

The Act of Settlement is of England, &c. and all the dominions thereto belonging. If Americans are not subject to English statutes, the Act of Settlement does not bind them.

But there are many statutes laying taxes in America ; I know no difference between laying internal and external taxes ; but if such difference should be taken, are not the acts giving duties, customs, and erecting a post office, to be considered as laying an internal tax ?

In 1724, the assembly of Jamaica refused to raise taxes for their necessary support. Application was made to the council by their agent here, and a reference to sir Clement Worge and lord Hardwicke, to know whether the king could not lay a tax. They gave their opinion, that if Jamaica was to be considered as a conquered country, the king could lay taxes ; if otherwise, the assembly must lay it, or it must be raised by act of parliament.

But this notion, my lords, is of a very modern date.

In December last the authority of parliament was not disputed ; even on the 14th of Jan. no hint was given in this House, which was then very full, against that authority. This day is the first time we have heard of it in this House.

Before I conclude I will take the liberty of laying down one proposition, viz.

When the supreme power abdicates, the government is dissolved.

Take care, my lords, you do not abdicate your authority. In such an event, your lordships would leave the worthy and innocent, as well as the unworthy and guilty, to the same confusion and ruin. [177] His lordship has mentioned some quotations from lord chief justice Hale, whether this was wrote when his lordship was a student, barrister, or judge, does not appear, but at best it is but a quere of that learned judge on the power of England to lay taxes on Ireland. Molyneux, in his book, burnt by the hands of the common hangman, questioning the power of parliament, makes a distinction between Ireland and the colonies in this respect.


The Resolutions were then agreed to.

Speech of Lord Camden on the American Declaratory Bill.(9)]

When the Declaratory Bill, declaring the right of Great Britain to make laws, binding the British colonies in

North America in all cases whatsoever, was brought to the Lords,


Lord Camden made the following speech against it : 

My lords ; when I spoke last on this subject, I thought I had delivered my sentiments so fully, and supported them with such reasons, and such authorities, that I apprehended I should be under no necessity of troubling your lordships again. But I am now compelled to rise up, and to beg your farther indulgence : I find that I have been very injuriously treated ; have been considered as the broacher of new-fangled doctrines, contrary to the laws of this kingdom, and subversive of the rights of parliament. My lords, this is a heavy charge, but more so when made against one stationed as I am in both capacities, as peer and judge, the defender of the law and the constitution. When I spoke last, I was indeed replied to, but not answered. In the intermediate time, many things have been said. As I was not present, I must now beg leave to answer such as have come to my knowledge. As the affair is of the utmost importance, and in its consequences may involve the fate of kingdoms, I took the strictest review of my arguments ; I re-examined all my authorities ; fully determined, if I found myself mistaken, publicly to own my mistake, and give up my opinion : but my searches have more and more convinced me, that the British parliament have no right to tax the Americans. I shall not therefore consider the Declaratory Bill now lying on your table ; for to what purpose, but loss of time, to consider the [178] particulars of a Bill, the very existence of which is illegal, absolutely illegal, contrary to the fundamental laws of nature, contrary to the fundamental laws of this constitution ? A constitution grounded on the eternal and immutable laws of nature ; a constitution whose foundation and centre is liberty, which sends liberty to every subject, that is or may happen to be within any part of its ample circumference. Nor, my lords, is the doctrine new, it is as old as the constitution ; it grew up with it ; indeed it is its support ; taxation and representation are inseparably united ; God hath joined them, no British parliament can separate them ; to endeavour to do it, is to stab our very vitals. Nor is this the first time this doctrine has been mentioned ; 70 years ago, my lords, a pamphlet was published, recommending the levying a parliamentary tax on one of the colonies ; this pamphlet was answered by two others, then much read ; these totally deny the power of taxing the colonies ; and why ? Because the colonies had no representatives in parliament to give consent ; no answer, public or private, was given to these pamphlets, no censure passed upon them ; men were not startled at the doctrine as either new or illegal, or derogatory to the rights of parliament. I do not mention these pamphlets by way of authority, but to vindicate myself from the imputation of having first broached this doctrine.

My position is this -- I repeat it -- I will maintain it to my last hour, -- taxation and representation are inseparable ; -- this position is founded on the laws of nature ; it is more, it is itself an eternal law of nature ; for whatever is a man's own, is absolutely his own ; no man hath a right to take it from him without his consent, either expressed by himself or representative ; whoever attempts to do it, attempts an injury ; whoever does it, commits a robbery ; (10) he throws down and destroys the distinction between liberty and slavery. Taxation and representation are coeval with and essential to this constitution. I wish the maxim of Machiavel was followed, that of examining a constitution, at certain pe-[179] riods, according to its first principles ; this would correct abuses and supply defects. I wish the times would bear it, and that men's minds were cool enough to enter upon such a task, and that the representative authority of this kingdom was more equally settled. I am sure some histories, of late published, have done great mischief ; to endeavour to fix the ¾ra when the House of Commons began in this kingdom, is a most pernicious and destructive attempt ; to fix it in an Edward's or Henry's reign, is owing to the idle dreams of some whimsical, ill-judging antiquarians : but, my lords, this is a point too important to be left to such wrong-headed people. When did the House of Commons first begin ? when, my lords ? it began with the constitution, it grew up with the constitution ; there is not a blade of grass growing in the most obscure corner of this kingdom, which is not, which was not ever, represented since the constitution began ; there is not a blade of grass, which when taxed, was not taxed by the consent of the proprietor. There is a history written by one Carte, a history that most people now see through, and there is another favourite history, much read and admired. I will not name the author, your lordships must know whom I mean, and you must know from whence he pilfered his notions, concerning the first beginning of the House of Commons. My lords, I challenge any one to point out the time when any tax was laid upon any person by parliament, that person being unrepresented in parliament. My lords, the parliament laid a tax upon the palatinate of Chester, and ordered commissioners to collect it there : as commissioners were ordered to collect it in other counties ; but the palatinate refused to comply ; they addressed the king by petition, setting forth, that the English parliament had no right to tax them, that they had a parliament of their own, that they had always taxed themselves, and therefore desired the king to order his commissioners not to proceed. My lords, the king received the petition ; he did not declare them either seditious or rebellious, but allowed their plea, and they taxed themselves. Your lordships may see both the petition and the king's answer in the records in the Tower. The clergy taxed themselves ; when the parliament attempted to tax them, they sloutly refused ; said they were not represented there ; that they had a parliament of their own, which represented the clergy ; [180] that they would tax themselves ; they did so. Much stress has been laid upon Wales, before it was united as it now is, as if the King, standing in the place of their former princes of that country, raised money by his own authority ; but the real fact is otherwise ; for I find that, long before Wales was subdued, the northern counties of that principality had representatives, and a parliament or assembly. As to Ireland, my lords, before that kingdom had a parliament as it now has, if your lordships will examine the old records, you will find, that when a tax was to be laid on that country, the Irish sent over here representatives ; and the same records will inform your lordships, what wages those representatives received from their constituents. In short, my lords, from the whole of our history, from the earliest period, you will find that taxation and representation were always united ; so true are the words of that consummate reasoner and politician Mr. Locke. I before alluded to his book ; I have again consulted him ; and finding what he writes so applicable to the subject in hand, and so much in favour of my sentiments, I beg your lordships' leave to read a little of this book.

"The supreme power cannot take from any man, any part of his property, without his own consent ;" and B. 2. p. 136 -- 139, particularly 140. Such are the words of this great man, and which are well worth your serious attention. His principles are drawn from the heart of our constitution, which he thoroughly understood, and will last as long as that shall last ; and, to his immortal honour, I know not to what, under providence, the Revolution and all its happy effects, are more owing, than to the principles of government laid down by Mr. Locke. For these reasons, my lords, I can never give my assent to any bill for taxing the American colonies, while they remain unrepresented ; for as to the distinction of a virtual representation, it is so absurd as not to deserve an answer ; I therefore pass it over with contempt. The forefathers of the Americans did not leave their native country, and subject themselves to every danger and distress, to be reduced to a state of slavery : they did not give up their rights ; they looked for protection and not for chains, from their mother country ; by her they expected to be defended in the possession of their property, and not to be deprived of it : for, should [181] the present power continue, there is nothing which they can call their own ; or, to use the words of Mr. Locke, "What property have they in that, which another may, by right, take, when he pleases, to himself ?"


Protest against Committing the Bill to repeal the American Stamp Act.] March 11.

The order of the day being read for the second reading of the Bill, intitled, "An Act to repeal an act made in the last session of parliament, intitled, An Act for granting and applying certain Stamp Duties, and other duties in the British colonies and plantations in America, towards farther defraying the expences of defending, protecting, and securing the same, and for amending such parts of the several acts of parliament relating to the trade and revenues of the said colonies and plantations, as direct the manner of determining and recovering the penalties and forfeitures therein mentioned :"

Then the said Bill was read a second time, and it being proposed to commit the Bill, the same was objected to. Content 73 ; Proxies 32 ; Total 105 ; Not Contents 61 ; Proxies 10 ; Total 71 ; Majority 34.

After a long debate (11) thereupon, the question was put, Whether the said Bill shall be committed ? It was resolved in the affirmative.



   1. "Because, as this House has in this session, by several resolutions, most solemnly asserted and declared, first, "That the King's Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons of Great Britain, in parliament assembled, had, hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and [182] statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever." Secondly, "That tumults and insurrections of the most dangerous nature have been raised and carried on in several of the North American colonies, in open defiance of the power and dignity of his Majesty's government, and in manifest violation of the laws and legislative authority of this kingdom." Thirdly, "That the said tumults and insurrections have been encouraged and inflamed, by sundry votes and resolutions passed in several of the assemblies of the said provinces, derogatory to the honour of his Majesty's government, and destructive of the legal and constitutional dependency of the said colonies, on the imperial crown and parliament of Great Britain." Which resolutions were founded on a full examination of the papers on our table manifesting a denial of the legislative authority of the crown and parliament of Great Britain, to impose duties and taxes on our North American colonies ; and a criminal resistance there made to the execution of the commercial and other regulations of the Stamp Act, and of other acts of parliament : we are of opinion, that the total repealing of that law, especially while such resistance continues, would (as Governor Barnarde says is their intention) "make the authority of Great Britain contemptible hereafter ;" and that such a submission of King, Lords, and Commons, under such circumstances, in so strange and unheard-of a contest, would, in effect, surrender their ancient, unalienable rights of supreme jurisdiction, and give them exclusively to the subordinate provincial legislatures established by prerogative ; which was never intended or thought of, and is not in the power of prerogative to bestow ; as they are inseparable from the three estates of the realm assembled in parliament.

    2. "Because the law, which this Bill now proposes to repeal, was passed in the other House with very little opposition, and in this without one dissentient voice, during the last session of parliament, which we presume, if it had been wholly and fundamentally wrong, could not possibly have happened ; as the matter of it is so important, and as the intention of bringing it in had been communicated to the Commons by the first commissioner of the treasury the year before ; and a resolution, relating and preparatory to it, was then agreed to in that House without any division. [183

   3. "Because, if any particular parts of that law, the principle of which has been experienced and submitted to in this country, without repining, for near a century past, had been found liable to just and reasonable objections, they might have been altered by a Bill to explain and amend it, without repealing the whole : and if any such Bill had been sent to us by the Commons, we should have thought it our duty to have given it a most serious consideration, with a warm desire of relieving our countrymen in America from any grievance or hardship ; but with proper care to enforce their submission and obedience to the law so amended, and to the whole legislative authority of Great Britain, without any reserve or distinction whatsoever.

   4. "Because it appears to us, that a most essential branch of that authority, the power of taxation, cannot be properly, equitably, or impartially exercised, if it does not extend itself to all the members of the state, in proportion to their respective abilities, but suffers a part to be exempt from a due share of those burdens which the public exigencies require to be imposed upon the whole : a partiality which is directly and manifestly repugnant to the trust reposed by the people in every legislature, and destructive of that confidence on which all government is founded.

   5. "Because the ability of our North American colonies to bear, without inconveniency, the proportion laid on them by the Stamp Act of last year, appears to us most unquestionable, for the following reasons : First, that the estimated produce of this tax, amounting to 60,000l. per annum, if divided amongst 1,200,000 people, (being little more than one half of the subjects of the crown in North America), would be only one shilling per head a year ; which is but a third of the wages usually paid to every labourer or manufacturer there for one day's labour : secondly, that it appears, by the accounts that have been laid before this House from the commissioners of trade and plantations, that of the debt contracted by those colonies in the last war, above l,755,000l.has already been discharged, during the course of three years only, by the funds provided for that purpose in the several provinces ; and the much greater part of the remaining incumbrance, which in the whole is about 760,000l., will be paid in two years more. We must likewise observe, that the bounties and advantages given to them by par- [184] liament in 1764 and 1765, and the duties thereby lost to Great Britain for their service, and, in order to enable them the more easily to pay this tax, must necessarily amount, in a few years, to a far greater sum than the produce thereof. It is also evident, that such produce being wholly appropriated to the payment of the army maintained by this kingdom in our colonies, at the vast expence of almost a shilling in the pound land tax, annually remitted by us for their special defence and protection ; not only no money would have been actually drawn by it out of that country, but the ease given by it to the people of Great Britain, who are labouring under a debt of seventy millions, contracted by them to support a very dangerous war, entered into for the interest and security of those colonies, would have redounded to the benefit of the colonies themselves in their own immediate safety, by contributing to deliver them from the necessary expence which many of them have hitherto always borne, in guarding their frontiers against the savage Indians.

    6. "Because not only the right, but the expediency and necessity of the supreme legislature's exerting its authority to lay a general tax on our American colonies, whenever the wants of the public make it fitting and reasonable that all the provinces should contribute, in a proper proportion, to the defence of the whole, appear to us undeniable, from these considerations : First, that every province being separate and independant on the others, and having no common council impowered by the constitution of the colonies to act for all, or bind all, such a tax cannot regularly, or without infinite difficulty, be imposed upon them, at any time, even for their immediate defence or protection, by their own provincial assemblies ; but requires the intervention and superintending power of the parliament of Great Britain : Secondly, that in looking forwards to the possible contingency of a new war, a contingency, perhaps, not far remote, the prospect of the burdens, which the gentry and people of this kingdom must then sustain, in addition to those which now lie so heavy upon them, is so melancholy and dreadful, that we cannot but feel it a most indispensable duty to ease them as much as is possible, by a due and moderate exertion of that great right which the constitution of this realm has vested in the parliament, to provide for the safety of all, by a proportionable charge upon all, equally and indiffe-[185] rently laid. We likewise apprehend, that a partial exemption of our colonies from any exercise of this right, by the British legislature, would be thought so invidious, and so unjust to the other subjects of the crown of Great Britain, as to alienate the hearts of these from their countrymen residing in America, to the great detriment of the latter, who have on many occasions received, and may again want, assistance, from the generous warmth of their affection.

   7. "Because the reasons assigned in the public resolutions of the provincial assemblies, in the North American colonies, for their disobeying the Stamp Act, viz. "That they are not represented in the parliament of Great Britain,Ó extends to all other laws of what nature soever, which that parliament has enacted, or shall enact, to bind them in times to come, and must (if admitted) set them absolutely free from any obedience to the power of the British legislature. We likewise observe, that in a letter to Mr. Secretary Conway, dated the 12th of October, 1765, the commander in chief of his Majesty's forces in North America has declared his opinion, "That the question is not of the inexpediency of the Stamp Act, or of the inability of the colonies to pay the tax, but that it is unconstitutional, and contrary to their rights, supporting the independency of the provinces, and not subject to the legislative power of Great Britain." It is, moreover, affirmed, in a letter to Mr. Conway, dated the 7th of November, "That the people in general are averse to taxes of any kind ; and that the merchants of that place think they have a right to every freedom of trade which the subjects of Great Britain now enjoy." This opinion of theirs strikes directly at the Act of Navigation, and other subsequent laws, which from time to time have been made on the wise policy of that Act ; and should they ever be encouraged to procure for themselves that absolute freedom of trade which they appear to desire, our plantations would become not only of no benefit, but in the highest degree prejudicial to the commerce and welfare of their mother country : nor is it easy to conceive a greater encouragement than the repealing of a law, opposed by them on such principles, and with so much contempt of the sovereignty of the British legislative.

   8. "Because the appearance of weakness and timidity in the government and parliament of this kingdom, which a concession of this nature may too probably [186] carry with it, has a manifest tendency to draw on further insults, and, by lessening the respect of all his Majesty's subjects to the dignity of his crown, and authority of his laws, throw the whole British empire into a miserable state of confusion and anarchy, with which it seems, by many symptoms, to be dangerously threatened. And this is the more to be feared, as the plea of our North American colonies, that, not being represented in the parliament of Great Britain, they ought not to pay taxes imposed or levied upon them by the authority thereof, may, by the same reasoning, be extended to all persons in this island, who do not actually vote for members of parliament ; nor can we help apprehending, that the opinion of some countenance being given to such notions by the legislature itself, in consenting to this Bill for the repeal of the Stamp Act, may greatly promote the contagion of a most dangerous doctrine, destructive to all government, which has spread itself over all our North American colonies, that the obedience of the subject is not due to the laws arid legislature of the realm, farther than he, in his private judgment, shall think it conformable to the ideas he has formed of a free constitution.

   9. "Because we think it no effectual guard, or security, against this danger, that the parliament has declared, in the resolutions of both Houses passed during this session, and now reduced into a Bill, that such notions are ill founded ; as men will always look more to deeds than words, and may therefore incline to believe that the insurrections in our colonies, excited by those notions, having so far proved successful as to attain the very point at which they aimed, the immediate repeal of the Stamp Act, without any previous submission on the part of the colonies ; the legislature has, in fact, submitted to them, and has only more grievously injured its own dignity and authority by verbally asserting that right which it substantially yields up to their opposition. The rear sons assigned for this concession render it still more alarming, as they arise from an illegal and hostile combination of the people of America to distress and starve our manufacturers, and to with-hold from our merchants the payment of their just debts ; the former of which measures has only been practised in open war between two states, and the latter, we believe, not even in that situation, either by the public, or by individuals, among the civilized nations [187of Europe in modern times. If this unprecedented plan of intimidation shall meet with success, it is easy to foresee that the practice of it, for other and still greater objects, will frequently be renewed, and our manufacturers and merchants reduced to the like, and more permanent distress : we cannot, therefore, but wish, that some more eligible method, consistent with their future safety, and our dignity, had been taken by parliament, to shew our tender concern and compassion for their sufferings, and to discourage any other such unwarrantable attempts ; which, we are fully persuaded, would have been very practicable, with due care and attention, and at an expence very inferior to the importance of the object.

    Lastly, "Because we are convinced, from the unanimous testimony of the governors, and other officers of the crown in America, that if, by a most unhappy delay and neglect to provide for the due execution of the law, and arm the government there with proper orders and powers, repeatedly called for in vain, these disturbances had not been continued and increased, they might easily have been quieted before they had attained to any dangerous height ; and we cannot, without feeling the most lively sense of grief and indignation, hear arguments, drawn from the progress of evils which should and might have been stopped in their first and feeble beginnings, used for the still greater evil of sacrificing to a present relief the highest permanent interests, and the whole majesty, power, and reputation of government. This afflicts us the more deeply, because it appears, from many letters, that this law, if properly supported by government, would, from the peculiar circumstances attending the disobedience to it, execute itself, without bloodshed. And it is said, in one of the letters to Mr. Secretary Conway, "That the principal view is to intimidate the parliament ; but that if it be thought prudent to enforce their authority, the people dare not oppose a vigorous resolution of the parliament of Great Britain." That vigorous resolution has not yet been found in the parliament ; and we greatly fear, that the want of it will certainly produce one of these two fatal consequences ; either that the repeal of this law will, in effect, annul and abrogate all other laws and statutes relating to our colonies, and, particularly, the acts that restrain or limit their commerce, of which they are most impatient ; or, if we should hereafter at- [188] tempt to enforce the execution of those laws against their will, and by virtue of an authority which they have dared to insult with impunity and success, that endeavour will bring upon us all those evils and inconveniences, to the fear of which we now sacrifice the sovereignty of the realm, and this at a time when the strength of our colonies, as well as their desire of a total independence on the legislature and government of their mother country, may be greatly augmented ; and when the circumstances and dispositions of the other powers of Europe may render the contest far more dangerous and formidable to this kingdom.--

(Signed) Bedford, Coventry,Bridgewater, Temple, Buckingham, Wentworth, Sandwich, Bolingbroke, Marlborough, W. Gloucester, Ker, Leigh, Bangor, Waldegrave, Aylesford, Gower, Weymouth, Scarsdale, Lyttelton, Dunk Hallifax, Eglington, Suffolk and Berkshire, Abercorn, Vere, Trevor, Thomas Bristol, Ferrers, Grosvenor, Townshend, Dudley and Ward, Charles Carlisle, Powis, Hyde."


Protest against passing the Bill to repeal the American Stamp Act.]

March 17. The order of the day being read for the third reading of the Bill entitled, "An Act to repeal an Act made in the last session of parliament," entitled, "An Act for granting and applying certain Stamp duties, and other duties in the British colonies and plantations in America, towards farther defraying the expences of defending, protecting, and securing the same, and for amending such parts of the several acts of parliament relating to the trade and revenues of the said colonies and plantations, as direct the manner of determining and recovering the penalties and forfeitures therein mentioned." Then the said Bill was read a third time, and it being proposed to pass the Bill, the same was objected to. After some debate thereupon, the question was put, Whether the said Bill shall pass ? It was resolved in the affirmative.(12)



   1. "Because we think that the Decla[189] ratory Bill, we passed last week, cannot possibly obviate the growing mischiefs in America, where it may seem calculated only to deceive the people of Great Britain, by holding forth a delusive and nugatory affirmance of the legislative right of this kingdom, whilst the enacting part of it does no more than abrogate the resolutions of the House of representatives in the North American colonies, which have not in themselves the least colour of authority ; and declares that, which is apparently and certainly criminal, only null and void.

   2. "Because the particular objections which have been made to the Stamp Act in North America, and which have been adopted in the course of the debates upon this Bill for repealing it, are, in fact, contradicted by undeniable evidence upon our table : it having been urged, first, that all the money to be collected by this tax was to be annually remitted hither, and that the North American colonies would thereby be drained of all their specie : and, secondly, that the institution of vice-admiralty courts in those colonies, for the recovery of penalties upon revenue laws without juries, is a novel practice, by means of which his Majesty's subjects, in those dominions, "would be deprived of one of their most valuable liberties, trials by juries, and in this respect distinguished from their fellow subjects in Great Britain ;Õ and would likewise be liable to the greatest inconvenience, vexation, and injustice, through the option left to any prosecutor to call them from one end of that extensive continent to the other ; and through the temptation to the judge, to condemn rather than to acquit, from his being paid by poundage of the condemnation money : whereas, with regard to the first of these objections, it appears, by the minute of the late board of treasury laid before this House, and dated on the 9th day of July last, that the fullest directions had been sent to the several officers of the revenue, "that in order to obviate the inconvenience of bringing into this kingdom the money to be raised by the Stamp duties, all the produce of the American duties arising or to arise, by virtue of any British act of parliament, should from time to time, be paid to the deputy paymaster in America, to defray the subsistence of the troops, and any military expences incurred in the colonies :" and, with regard to the second objection, it is manifest, from sundry acts of parliament, that a jurisdic[190] tion has been assigned to the judges of those courts, for the recovery of penalties upon the laws of revenue, and of trade, without juries, for near a century past, from the consideration (as we apprehend) that, in some of the colonies, they are the only judges not elected by the people : and so far it is from being true, that the subjects in North America, by being deprived, in these cases, of trials by juries, were, in that respect, distinguished from ther fellow subjects in Great Britain ; that, in this very instance of the Stamp duties, the penalties, which by the American Stamp Act were made recoverable without a jury before a judge of the Vice Admiralty court, are, by the laws now in force for collecting the Stamp duties in Great Britain, recoverable also without a jury, before two justices of the peace, with the like powers in both cases, which we earnestly wish were not still more necessary for the collection of the public revenue in America than in Great Britain ; and which we should be most desirous, if possible, to alleviate in both countries. With this view, and to take away all just occasion for discontent, we were very glad to find, by the Representation from the late commissioners of the treasury to his Majesty in council, dated on the 4th of July last, that the strictest attention had been given by that board, to prevent the inconvenience and injustice above-mentioned, by a plan to establish, three different courts of Vice Admiralty at the most convenient places, with proper districts annexed to each ; and to give the judges sufficient and honourable salaries in lieu of all poundage and fees whatsoever. But we cannot observe, without the highest concern and surprise, that this representation, founded upon a clause inserted in the Stamp Act for this very purpose, and expressly calculated to relieve his Majesty's subjects in North America from many unnecessary hardships and oppressions, to which they are now liable by many other laws, still subsisting, should be totally disregarded for several months, and be suffered to remain unexecuted in every part of it, even to this day ; and that no notice whatever should be taken, in any of the dispatches from the present administration to the governors of the colonies in North America, of the timely care which had been employed to obviate the objections raised on both these heads ; especially as it is notorious, that the measures to be pursued, in consequence of that minute and representation, [191] had been fully opened and approved in parliament, at the time when the Stamp Act was proposed ; and as the total neglect of it has given occasion to great clamour and dissatisfaction in the colonies. We cannot help farther observing, that as the Stamp Act was not to take place till the 1st of November, if the parliament had been called early, their determinations, either for enforcing or repealing that law, would, probably, have delivered the merchants and manufacturers here from all the difficulties and distress to which they have been, for so many months, exposed : nor would the disorders in America, where all government is prostrate, have risen to so great a height, or taken so deep a root.

   3. "Because the argument which has been used in favour of this Bill of repeal, that the experiment of the Stamp Act has been tried, and has failed, is extremely illfounded, as it manifestly appears, from the whole tenor of the papers laid before us, that if this experiment had been properly tried with the same zeal for its success with which it was first proposed, it would not have failed in any of the colonies : and that this was the opinion of the greater part of the governors in North America, and of many of the most intelligent and respectable persons in those provinces, for some time after this act was passed, is evident, beyond a doubt, from the letters of the former, now upon our table, and from the latter having applied for, and accepted the office of distributors of the stamps under that act, which they certainly would not have done, and thereby have exposed their lives and fortunes to the violence and outrages which they have since undergone, if they had then thought the success of this measure in any degree precarious : nor have we heard of any impracticability attending this law in Jamaica and Barbadoes, and some other of the West India islands, or in those of our colonies in North America, where it has been executed.

   4. "Because a precedent of the two Houses of Parliament lending their power, from motives of fear or impatience under a present uneasiness, to overturn, in one month, a plan of measures undertaken with their warmest approbation and concurrence, after the most mature deliberation of two years together for the improvement of our revenue, and the relief of our people, will effectually discourage all officers of the crown in America from [192] doing their duty, and executing the laws of this kingdom ; and is enough to deter future ministers, in any circumstances of distress or danger to their country, from opposing their fortitude and zeal for the service of the public, to strong combinations of private and particular interests, to the clamour of multitudes, or the malice of faction ; which must necessarily bring on such a weakness and pusillanimity in the administration of government, as will soon end in the downfall and ruin of the state.

   Lastly, "Because the repeal of this law, under the present circumstances, will, we fear, not only surrender the honour and essential interests of the kingdom now and for ever, both at home and abroad, but will also deeply affect the fundamental principles of our constitution ; for if we pass this Bill, against our opinion, from the threats and compulsion publicly avowed in our colonies, and enforced by the most unjustifiable means within Great Britain, we disclaim that legislative authority over the subject, which we own ourselves unable to maintain. If we give our consent to it here, without a full conviction that it is right, merely because it has passed the other House, by declining to do our duty on the most important occasion which can ever present itself, and where our interposition, for many obvious reasons, would be peculiarly proper, we, in effect, annihilate this branch of the legislature, and vote ourselves useless. Or, if by passing this Bill, we mean to justify those who in America, and even in Great Britain, have treated a series of British acts of parliament as so many acts of tyranny and oppression, which it is scarcely criminal to resist ; or those officers of the crown, who, under the eye, and with the knowledge of government, have taken upon themselves, whilst the parliament was sitting, without its consent, to suspend the execution of the Stamp Act, by admitting ships from the colonies, with unstamped clearances, to an entry, in direct violation of it, which from the papers upon our table, appears to have been done ; we shall then give our approbation to an open breach of the first article of that great palladium of our liberties, the Bill of Rights ; by which it is declared, "that the pretended power of suspending of laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without consent of parliament, is illegal." Lastly, If we ground our proceedings upon the opinion of those who have contended in this House, that [193from the constitution of our colonies they ought never to be taxed, even for their own immediate defence, we fear that such a declaration, by which near a fifth part of the subjects of Great Britain, who by the acts of parliament to restrain the pressing of seamen in America are already exempted from furnishing men to our navy, are to be for ever exempted from contributing their share towards their own support in money likewise, will, from the flagrant partiality and injustice of it, either depopulate this kingdom, or shake the basis of equality, and of that original compact upon which every society is founded : and as we believe that there is no instance of such a permanent exemption of so large a body of the subjects of any state, in any history, ancient or modern, we are extremely apprehensive of the fatal consequences of this unhappy measure ; to which, for these reasons, in addition to those contained in the Protest of the 11th of this month, our duty to the King, and justice to our country, oblige us to enter this our solemn dissent.- 

(Signed) Temple, Abercorn, Marlborough, Sandwich, Charles Carlisle, Weymouth, Thomas Bristol, W. Gloucester, Buckinghamshire, R. Duresme, Scarsdale, J. Bangor, Dudley and Ward, Suffolk and Berkshire, Leigh, Bridgewater, Gower, Grosvenor, Powis, Trevor, Hyde, Ker, Lyttleton, Essex, Ferrers, Aylesford,Vere, Eglingtoun."


Summary of the Debate in both Houses on the Right of Taxing America, and on the Bill to repeal the American Stamp Act.]

The following very able Summary of the Debates in both Houses on the American Declaratory Bill, and on the Bill to repeal the American Stamp Act, is taken from the Annual Register for the year 1766 :

Neither the arguments nor facts contained in the Petitions could prevail on the party who had resolved on the support of the Stamp Act at all events, to remit in the least of their ardour.

They represented the petitions as the effects of ministerial artifice. And they argued, even if the distress of trade, from a due exertion of the authority of parliament, had been as real and as great as it was represented ; yet it were better to submit to this temporary inconvenience, than, by a repeal of the Act, to hazard the total loss of the just superiority of Great Britain over her colonies. [194]

Those who contended for the repeal were divided in opinion as to the right of taxation ; the more numerous body, of whom were the ministry, insisted that the legislature of Great Britain had an undoubted right to tax the colonies ; but relied on the inexpediency of the present tax, as ill adapted to the condition of the colonies, and built upon principles ruinous to the trade of Great Britain.

Those who denied the right of taxation, were not so numerous ; but they consisted of some of the most distinguished and popular names in the kingdom, among which was that of a noble lord at the head of one of the first departments of the law, who, by some decisions favourable to liberty, stood high in the esteem of the public ; and a right honourable commoner, who had long enjoyed the most unbounded popular applause, together with other lords and gentlemen of the first character.

Though the urgency of the matter occasioned the House to attend to it with the most unwearied application, and twelve, one, or two o'clock in the morning, were become common hours of dining with the members, so late it frequently was before they broke up from the public business ; yet the nature of their enquiries, the number of petitions they received, and the multitude of papers and witnesses they had to examine, occasioned a delay which could not be remedied. During which time there were continual debates, and the opposition made the most strenuous efforts for enforcing the Stamp Act, and by every means to prevent the repeal. There were two questions arose in the course of this debate, upon which the whole turned. The first was, whether the legislature of Great Britain had a right of taxation over the colonies, or not ? The second was confined to the expediency, or inexpediency of the late laws. We shall give some of the arguments that were made use of on both sides, without presuming to give any opinion of our own, which in this case will be the easier excused, as it has already been decided to general satisfaction, by the highest authority.

As to the right of taxation, the gentlemen who opposed it, produced many learned authorities from Locke, Selden, Harrington, and Puffendorf, shewing, "that the very foundation and ultimate point in view of all government, is the good of the society." [195] 

That by going up to Magna Charta, and referring to the several writs upon record, issued out for the purpose of raising taxes for the crown, and for sending representatives to parliament, as well as from the Bill of Rights, it appears throughout the whole history of our constitution, that no British subject can be taxed but "per communem consensum parliamenti,Õ that is to say, of himself, or his own representative ; and this is that first and general right as British subjects, with which the first inhabitants of the colonies emigrated : for the right does not depend upon their charters : the charters were but the exterior modelling of the constitution of the colonies ; but the great interior fundamental of their constitution is this general right of a British subject : which is the very first principle of British liberty,ÑNo man shall be taxed, but by himself, or by his representative.

That the counties palatine of Chester, Durham, and Lancaster, were not taxed but in their own assemblies or parliament ; till, at different periods in our history, they were melted into our present form of parliamentary representation. That the body of the clergy, till very late, taxed themselves, and granted the King benevolences.

That the marches of Wales had a right of taxing themselves till they sent members of parliament, and from this circumstance has continued the style of the king's proclamations, and of our acts of parliament to this day, although unnecessarily, to name especially the principality of Wales, and the town of Monmouth, as they do that of Berwick.

That many people carry the idea of a parliament too far, in supposing a parliament can do every thing ; but that is not true, and if it were, it is not right constitutionally : for then there might be an arbitrary power in a parliament, as well as in one man.ÑThere are many things a parliament cannot do. It cannot make itself executive, nor dispose of offices that belong to the crown. It cannot take any man's property, even that of the meanest cottager, as in the cases of inclosures, without his being heard. The Lords cannot reject a Money Bill from the Commons, nor the Commons erect themselves into a court of justice. The parliament could not tax the clergy, till such time as they were represented in parliament. Nor can the parliament of England tax Ireland. [196]

The charters of the colonies, which are derived from prerogative, and are in fact only so many grants from the crown, are not the only rights the colonies have to being represented before they are taxed : they, as British subjects, take up their rights and liberties from an higher origin than their charters only. They take them up from the same origin and fountain, from whence they flow to all Englishmen, from Magna Charta, and the natural right of the subject. By that rule of right, the charters of the colonies, like all other crown grants, are to be restricted and interpreted, for the benefit, not the prejudice, of the subjects. Had the first inhabitants of the colonies renounced all connection, with their mother country, they might have renounced their original right ; but when they emigrated under the authority of the crown, and the national sanction, they went out from hence, at the hazard of their lives and fortunes, with all the first great privileges of Englishmen on their backs. But at the same time they were not, and could not be bound by penal laws of this country, from the severity of which they fled to climates remote from the heavy hand of power ; and which they hoped to find more friendly to their principles of civil and religious liberty. It is upon this ground, that it has been universally received as law, that no acts of parliaments made here, and particularly those which enact any penalty, are binding upon the colonies, unless they are specially named.ÑThe inhabitants of the colonies, once removed from the domestic legislation of the mother country, are no more dependent upon it in the general System, than the Isle of Man is, or than, in the feudal system of Europe, many subordinate principalities are dependent on the jurisdiction of the seigneur suzerain, or lord paramount ; but owing only a limited obedience.

It is not meant by what has been said, to affect the case of any external duties laid upon their ports, or of any restrictions which by the Act of Navigation, or other acts, are laid upon their commerce ; for they are in the same case, as all other colonies belonging to the rest of the maritime powers in Europe, who have shut up their colonies from all intercourse with foreign countries, in the very first establishment. What is spoken of are internal taxes, to be levied on the body of the people. And that, before they can be liable to these internal taxes, they must first be represented. [197]

Many other arguments were made use of, and instances were brought from ancient history of the conduct of some of the most famous republics, with respect to their colonies, as well as of colonies which outgrew their mother countries, such as Carthage, the northern emigrants, &c. Precedents were quoted from what happened in the United Netherlands, and other places, which should serve as a beacon, to warn us from pursuing such measures, as brought about those revolutions.

These arguments were answered with great force of reason, and knowledge of the constitution, from the other side. They observed it was necessary to clear away from the question, all that mass of dissertation and learning, displayed in arguments which have been brought from speculative men, who have written upon the subject of government. That the refinements upon that subject, and arguments of natural lawyers, as Locke, Selden, Puffendorf, and others, are little to the purpose in a question of constitutional law. That it is absurd to apply records from the earliest times to our present constitution ; because the constitution is riot the same : and nobody knows what it was at some of the times that are quoted : that there are things even in Magna Charta which are not constitutional now, and that those records are no proofs of our constitution as it now is.

The constitution of this country has been always in a moving state, either gaining or losing something : nor was the representation of the Commons of Great Britain formed into any certain system till Henry the 7th. That with regard to the modes of taxation, when we get beyond the reign of Edward the 1st, or king John, we are all in doubt and obscurity. The history of those times is full of uncertainties. In regard to the writs upon record, they were issued, some of them according to law ; and some not according to law ; and such were those concerning ship-money ; to call assemblies to tax themselves, or to compel benevolences. Other taxes were raised by escuage, fees for knights service, and other means arising from the feudal system. Benevolences are contrary to law, and it is well known how people resisted the demands of the crown in the case of ship-money, and were prosecuted by the court. And if any set of men were to meet now, to lend the King money, it would be contrary to law, and a breach of the rights of parliament. [198]

With respect to the marches of Wales, who were the borderers privileged, for assisting the king in, his wars against the Welch, in the mountains ; their enjoying this privilege of taxing themselves, was but of a short duration, and only during the life of Edward the first, till the prince of Wales came to be king : and then they were annexed to the crown, and became subject to taxes like the rest of the dominions of England ; and from thence came the custom, though unnecessary, of naming Wales and the town of Monmouth in all proclamations and in acts of parliament. Henry the 8th was the first who issued writs for it, to return two members to parliament. The crown exercised the right "ad libitum :" from whence arises the inequality of representation, in our constitution of this day : Henry the 8th issued a writ to Calais to send one burgess to parliament. One of the counties palatine was taxed 50 years to subsidies before it sent members to parliament.

The clergy at no time were unrepresented in parliament. When they taxed themselves in their assemblies, it was done with the concurrence and consent of parliament, who permitted them to tax themselves upon their petition, the convocation sitting at the same time with the parliament ; they had their representatives too, always sitting in the House of Lords, bishops and abbots : and in the other House, they were at no time without a right of voting singly for the election of members. So that the argument fetched from the case of the clergy, is not an argument of any force, because they were at no time unrepresented.

The reasoning about the colonies of Great Britain, drawn from the colonies of antiquity, is a mere useless display of learning : for the colonies of the Tyrians in Africa, and of the Greeks in Asia, were totally different from our system. No nation before ourselves formed any regular system of colonization but the Romans ; and their system was a military one, by garrisons placed in the principal towns of the conquered provinces. But the right of jurisdiction of the mother country over her colonies was, among the Romans, boundless and uncontrolable. The states of Holland were not colonies ; but they were states dependent on the House of Austria, in a feudal dependence. Nothing could be more different from our colonies, than that shock of men (as they have been called) who came from the [199] north, and poured into Europe. Those emigrants renounced all laws, all protection, all connection with their mother countries. They chose their leaders and marched under their banners, to seek their fortunes and establish new kingdoms upon the ruins of the Roman empire ; whereas our colonies, on the contrary, emigrated under the sanction of the crown and parliament. They were modelled gradually into their present forms, respectively by charters, grants, and statutes : but they were never separated from the mother country, or so emancipated as to become sui juris.

There are several sorts of colonies in British America ; the charter colonies, the proprietary governments, and the king's colonies. The first colonies were the charter colonies, such as the Virginia company, and these companies had among their directors, members of the privy council, and of both Houses of Parliament ; they were under the authority of the privy council : and had agents residing here responsible for their proceedings. So much were they considered as belonging to the crown, and not to the king personally, (for there is a great difference, though few people attend to it), that when the two Houses, in Charles the first's time, were going to pass a Bill concerning the colonies, a message was sent to them by the king, that they were the king's colonies, and that the Bill was unnecessary ; for that the privy council would take order about them : and the Bill never had the royal assent.

The commonwealth parliament, as soon as it was settled, were very early jealous of the colonies, separating themselves from them ; and passed a resolution or act, (and it is a question whether it is not now in force) to declare and establish the authority of England over her colonies. But if there was no express law, or reason founded upon any necessary inference from an express law, yet the usage alone would be sufficient to support that authority. For have not the colonies submitted, ever since their first establishment, to the jurisdiction of the mother country ? In all questions of property, the appeals of the colonies have been to the privy council here : and such causes have been determined, not by the law of the colonies, but by the law of England. The colonies have been obliged to recur very frequently to the jurisdiction here, to settle the disputes among their own govern- [200] ments. New Hampshire and Connecticut have been in blood about their differences ; Virginia and Maryland were in arms against each other ; this shews the necessity of one superior decisive jurisdiction, to which all subordinate jurisdictions may recur. Nothing could be more fatal to the peace of the colonies at any time, than the parliament giving up its authority over them : for in such a case there must be an entire dissolution of government. Considering how the colonies are composed, it is easy to foresee, that there would be no end of feuds and factions among the several separate governments, when once there shall be no one government here or there, of sufficient force or authority to decide their mutual differences ; and government being dissolved, nothing remains, but that the several colonies must either change their constitution, and take some new form of government, or fall under some foreign power. At present the several forms of their constitution are very various, having been produced, as all governments have been originally, by accident and circumstances. The forms of government in every colony were adapted from time to time according to the size of the colony, and so have been extended again, from time to time, as the numbers of the inhabitants, and their commercial connections, outgrew the first model. In some colonies, at first there was only a governor, assisted by two or three council ; then more were added : then courts of justice were erected, then assemblies were created.

Some things were done by instructions from the secretaries of state : other things were done by order of the king and council, and other things by commission under the great seal. It is observable in consequence of these establishments from time to time, and the dependency of these governments upon the supreme legislature at home, that the lenity of each government in the colonies has been extreme towards the subject ; but if all these governments which are now independent of each other, should become independent of the mother country, it is to be feared the inhabitants would soon find to their cost how little they were aware of the consequences. They would very soon feel, in that case, the hand of power much heavier upon them in their own governments, than they have yet done, or than they have ever imagined.

As the constitutions of the several co-[201] lonies are made up of different principles, so they must remain dependent (from the necessity of things and their relations) upon the jurisdiction of the mother country, or they must be totally dismembered from it. No one ever thought the contrary, till the trumpet of sedition has been lately blown. Acts of parliament have been made, not only without a doubt of their legality, but with universal applause, the great object of which has been ultimately to fix the trade of the colonies, so as to centre in the bosom of that country, from whence they took their origin. The Navigation Acts shut up their commerce with foreign countries. Their ports have been made subject to customs and regulations, which cramped and diminished their trade, and duties have been laid, affecting the very inmost parts of their commerce, and among others, that of the post ; yet all these have been submitted to peaceably ; and no one ever thought, till now, of this doctrine, that the colonies are not to be taxed, regulated, or bound by parliament. A few particular merchants then, as now, were displeased at restrictions, which did not admit them to make the greatest possible advantage of their commerce, in their own private and peculiar branches : but though these few merchants might think themselves losers in articles which they had no right to gain, as being prejudicial to the general national system ; yet, upon the whole, the colonies were benefited by these laws, because these restrictive laws, founded upon principles of the most solid policy, flung a great weight of naval force into the hands of the mother country, which was to protect the colonies, and without an union with which the colonies must have been entirely weak and defenceless ; instead of which they became relatively great, subordinately, and in proportion, as the mother country advanced in superiority over the rest of the maritime powers in Europe, to which both mutually contributed, and of which both have reaped the benefit, equal to the natural and just relation in which they both stand reciprocally, of dependency on one side, and protection on the other.

There can be no doubt but that the inhabitants of the colonies are as much represented in parliament, as the greatest part of the people of England are, among nine millions of whom, there are eight who have no votes in electing members of parliament : every objection therefore to [202] the dependency of the colonies upon parliament, which arises to it upon the ground of representation, goes to the whole present constitution of Great Britain. A member of parliament chosen for any borough, represents not only the constituents and inhabitants of that particular place, but he represents the inhabitants of every other borough in Great Britain ; he represents the city of London, and all other the commons of the land, and the inhabitants of all the colonies and dominions of Great Britain, and is in duty and conscience bound to take care of their interests.

The distinction of internal and external taxes, is as false and groundless as any other that has been made. It is granted, that restrictions upon trade, and duties upon the ports, are legal, at the same time that the right of the parliament of Great Britain to lay internal taxes upon the colonies is denied. What real difference can there be in this distinction ? A tax laid in any place, is like a pebble falling into, and making a circle in a lake, till one circle produces and gives motion to another, and the whole circumference is agitated from the centre ; for nothing can be more clear, than that a tax of ten or twenty per cent. laid upon tobacco, either in the ports of Virginia, or London, is a duty laid upon the inland plantations of Virginia 100 miles from the sea, where-ever the tobacco grows.

Many other arguments were made use of. It was urged, that protection is the ground that gives a right of taxation. That the obligation between the colonies and the mother country, is natural and reciprocal, consisting of defence on the one side, and obedience on the other ; and that common sense tells, that they must be dependent in all points upon the mother country, or else not belong to it at all. That the question is not, what was law, or what was the constitution ? but the question is, what is law now, and what is the constitution now ? That if a matter of right has been generally exercised, and as generally held to be law, as has been proved in numberless instances, without its ever having been questioned before, it is now the constitution. It was also observed, that the colonies had gone very great lengths ; and it was even insisted, that by appointing deputies from their several assemblies to confer together, that they had absolutely forfeited their charters. [203]

No matter of debate was ever more ably and learnedly handled in both Houses. It was argued too with moderation and temper. The subject was of the highest importance, and it was not without difficulties, both constitutional and political, in the discussion, and in the consequences.


 Upon the question being put, the power of the legislature of Great Britain over her colonies, in all cases whatsoever, and without any distinction in regard to taxation, was confirmed and ascertained, without a division. And this was, perhaps, the only question that could have been thought of, upon which the ministry and their antagonists in the opposition, would have gone together on a division.


   The grand committee who had passed the Resolutions, on which the foregoing question was debated, had also passed another for the total repeal of the Stamp Act ; and two Bills were accordingly brought in to answer these purposes. By the Resolutions on which the former was founded, it was declared, that tumults and insurrections of the most dangerous nature had been raised and carried on in several of the colonies ; in open defiance of government, and in manifest violation of the laws and legislative authority of this kingdom. That these tumults and insurrections had been encouraged and inflamed, by several votes and resolutions which had passed in the assemblies of the said colonies, derogatory to the honour of government, and destructive to their legal and constitutional dependency on the crown and parliament, &c. By the Bill itself, all votes, resolutions, or orders, which had been passed by any of the general assemblies in America, by which they assumed to themselves the sole and exclusive right of taxing his Majesty's subjects in the colonies, were annulled, and declared contrary to law, derogatory to the legislative authority of parliament, and inconsistent with their dependency upon the crown.

   The opposition, far from being dispirited, seemed to gather fresh vigour, and still opposed the repeal in every part of its progress. So many instances of the inexpediency of the stamp-duty had already occurred, that the question was scarcely controvertible ; they accordingly changed their ground, and instead of entering into the merits of that part of the controversy, rested their principal defence upon the Resolutions, on which the late Bill for securing the dependency of the colonies had been founded. [204]

They argued from thence, that the total repeal of the Stamp Act, while such an outrageous resistance continued, would, for the future, lessen the authority of Great Britain, and make it appear even contemptible. That such a submission of the supreme legislature, would be in effect a surrender of their ancient unalienable rights, to subordinate provincial assemblies, established only by prerogative ; which in itself had no such powers to bestow. That a concession of this nature carried with it such an appearance of weakness and timidity in government, as may probably encourage fresh insults, and lessen the respect of his Majesty's subjects to the dignity of his crown, and the authority of the laws.

It was further advanced, that the power of taxation is one of the most essential branches of all authority ; that it cannot be equitably or impartially exercised, if it is not extended to all the members of the state, in proportion to their respective abilities ; but if a part are suffered to be exempt from a due share of those burdens, which the public exigencies require to be imposed upon the whole, such a partiality, so directly repugnant to the trust reposed by the people in every legislature, must be absolutely destructive of that confidence, on which all government should be founded.

   The inability of the colonists to comply with the terms of the Stamp Act was also denied ; and it was asserted, as an instance to the contrary, that of the debt contracted by them in the last war, 1,755,000l. has been already discharged, in the course of three years only ; and that the much greater part of their remaining incumbrances, amounting in the whole to 760,000l. will be discharged in two years more.

   Many other arguments were made use of ; the general scope and tendency of which were to shew the heavy burdens with which the mother country was loaded ; the ability of the Americans ; their exemption from all manner of taxation ; and their peremptory and refractory refusal, to contribute in any degree to the public expences.

   It was said on the other side of the question, that the three first objections bore no manner of weight, as every consequence, they presumed, was already guarded against by the Bill for securing the dependence of the colonies ; which had also sufficiently provided for the honour and [205] dignity of Great Britain, and its constitutional superiority over them.

The propriety of all the parts contributing to the expences of the whole is readily admitted ; the fact alleged by the other side, of the heavy debt contracted by the Americans, in the course of the war, sufficiently shews they contributed largely to the public expence ; as their being repaid a part of it since, is also a convincing proof, that the parliament were of opinion, they had contributed beyond their abilities.

That nothing could be more remote from fact, than the assertion, that they paid no taxes. They even paid many which had been laid on by act of parliament ; as they then paid a great variety of port duties, imposed previous to the Stamp Act ; which lay very heavy upon their trade, and tended much to inflame their minds against that law. That they paid many port-duties imposed by provincial authority ;-many excises ;Ña land-tax in many provinces ;Ña heavy poll-tax ; besides a faculty-tax upon all personal estates and acquisitions, amounting in some provinces to 5 or 6s. in the pound. So that the assertion of their not contributing to the public expence, being false in fact, every argument, built upon so baseless a foundation, must of course fall to the ground.

It was also shewn, that most of the provinces in North America are notoriously poor :Ñthat they were upwards of four millions in debt to the merchants of Great Britain ; who, being creditors to such an amount, are in reality the proprietors of a great part of what the Americans seem to possess.

That the suppression of manufactures in that country, and obliging them to take every sort which they use from Great Britain, comprises all species of taxes in one, and makes them in reality the supporters of a great part of the public burdens.

That their great distance from hence, and the difficulty of making us thoroughly acquainted with the minute circumstances of every colony, renders us liable to great mistakes, and consequently to the hazard of great oppression, whenever we attempt to levy internal taxes in that country. That our true policy is to acquiesce in the great commercial advantages we derive from the Americans, rather than to attempt a revenue from thence ; which, by disabling the people to make returns to our merchants, will put them under a necessity to set up manufactures of their [206] own.-- That by the former policy, America has been advantageous to us, and quiet in itself ; but that the present state of things shews too evidently the ill effects of a contrary mode of acting.

These and many other arguments were made use of both within doors and without upon this interesting occasion ; notwithstanding the vigour with which the opposition was supported, the Bill passed upon a division by a majority of 275 to 161, and was carried up to the Lords by above 200 members of the House of Commons. The ecl‰t with which it was introduced in the upper House, did not prevent its meeting with a strong opposition there ; 33 lords entered a protest against it at the second reading ; as 28 did at the third : it was however carried through by a majority of 34 lords, and in three days after received the royal assent. An event that caused more universal joy, throughout the British dominions, than perhaps any other that can be remembered.


Repeal of the Cyder Tax.] February 26.

Several Petitions were presented to the Commons from the counties of Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester, Devon, Somerset, Cornwall, Monmouth, the city and county of Exeter, the city of Hereford, and from several of the boroughs in those counties ; representing in general, that the petitioners were subject to many grievances, by so much of two several acts passed in the 3d and 4th years of the reign of his present Majesty, which lays an additional duty on cyder and perry, both with respect to the tax itself, and to the mode of collecting it under the power of the excise laws; and praying relief, by a repeal of the said Acts, so far as the same relate to the laying a duty on the makers of cyder and perry, or in such other manner as the House should think meet. These Petitions were severally ordered to lie upon the table, and then several accounts relating to the late additional tax upon these liquors were ordered to be laid before the House, which were afterwards presented; and on the 5th of March there was presented to the House, a Petition to the same effect with the' former, from the borough of Weobly in Herefordshire.


March 7. As soon as the order of the day was read for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of Ways and Means, after an instruction had been ordered tothe said Committee to consider of the laws'