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I Rise with great unwillingness to oppose this measure in its very infancy, before its features are well formed, or to claim that attention which this House seems to bestow with so much reluctance, on any arguments in behalf of America. But I must call you to witness, that I have been hitherto silent or acquiescent, to an unexpected degree of moderation. While your proceedings, severe as they were, had the least colour of foundation in justice, I desisted from opposing them; nay more—though your bill for stopping up the port of Boston, contained in it many things most cruel, unwarrantable, and unjust, yet as they were couched under those general principles of justice, retribution for injury, and compensation for loss sustained, I not only desisted from opposing, but assented to its passing. The bill was a bad way of doing what was right; but still it was doing what was right. I would not, therefore, by opposing it, seem to countenance those violences which had been committed abroad; and of which no man disapproves more than 1 do.

Upon the present question I am totally unprepared. The motion itself bears no sort of resemblance to what was formerly announced. The noble lord and his friends have had every advantage of preparation. They have reconnoitred the field, and chosen their ground. To attack them in these circumstances may, perhaps, savour more of the gallantry of a soldier, than of the wisdom of a senator. But, Sir, the proposition is so glaring; so unprecedented in any former proceedings of parliament; so unwarranted by any delay, denial, or preservation of justice in America; so big with misery and oppression to that country, and with danger to this—that the first blush of it is sufficient to alarm and rouse me to opposition.

It is proposed to stigmatize a whole people as persecutors of innocence, and men incapable of doing justice: yet you have not a single fact on which to ground that imputation. I expected the noble lord would have supported this motion, by producing instances of the officers of government in America having been prosecuted with unremitting vengeance, and brought to cruel and dishonourable deaths, by the violence and injustice of American juries. But he has not produced one such instance; and I will tell you more, Sir—he cannot produce one. The instances which have happened are directly in the teeth of his proposition. Colonel Preston, and the soldiers, who shed the blood of the people, were fairly tried, and fully acquitted. It was an American jury, a New England jury, a. Boston jury, which tried and acquitted them. Colonel Preston has, under his hand, publicly declared, that the inhabitants of the very town in which their fellow-citizens had been sacrificed, were his advocates and defenders. Is this the return you make them 1 Is this the encouragement you give them, to persevere in so laudable a spirit of justice and moderation 1 When a commissioner of the customs, aided by a number of ruffians, assaulted the celebrated Mr Otis in the midst of the town of Boston, and with the most barbarous violence almost murdered him, did the mob, which is said to rule that town, take vengeance on the perpetrators of this inhuman outrage, against a person who is supposed to be their demagogue? No, Sir, the law tried them: the law gave heavy damages against them; which the irreparably injured Mr Otis most generously forgave, upon an acknowledgement of the offence. Can you expect any more such instances of magnanimity under the principle of the bill now proposed? But the noble lord says, ' We must now show the Americans that we will no longer sit quiet under their insults.' Sir, I am sorry to say that this is declamation, unbecoming the character and place of him who utters it. In what moment have you been quiet 1 Has not your government, for many years past been a series of irritating and offensive measures, without policy, principle, or moderation t Have not your troops and your ships made a vain and insulting parade in their streets and in their harbours 1 It has seemed to be your study to irritate and inflame them. You have stimulated discontent into disaffection, and you are now goading that disaffection into rebellion.


When I stand up as an advocate for America, I feel myself the firmest friend of this country. We stand upon the commerce of America. Alienate your colonies, and you will subvert the foundation of your riches and your strength. Let the banners be once spread in America, and you are an undone people. You are urging this desperate, this destructive issue. You are urging it with such violence, and by measures tending so manifestly to that fatal point, that, but for that state of madness which only could inspire such an intention, it would appear to be your deliberate purpose. In assenting to your late bill, I resisted the violence of America, at the hazard of my popularity there. I now resist your phrenzy, at the same risk here. You have changed your ground. You are becoming the aggressors, and offering the last of human outrages to the people of America, by subjecting them, in effect, to military execution. I know the vast superiority of your disciplined troops over the Provincials; but, beware how you supply the want of discipline by desperation. Instead of sending them the olive branch, you have sent the naked sword. By the olive branch I mean a repeal of all the late laws, fruitless to you and oppressive to them.

Ask their aid in a constitutional manner, and they will give it to the utmost of their ability. They never yet refused it, when properly required. Your journals bear the recorded acknowledgements of the zeal, with which they have contributed to the general necessities of the state. What madness is it that prompts you to attempt obtaining that by force, which you may more certainly procure by requisition? They may be flattered into anything; but they are too much like yourselves to be driven. Have some indulgence for your own likeness; respect their sturdy English virtue; retract your odious exertions of authority, and remember, that the first step towards making them contribute to your wants, is, to reconcile them to your government.


Let us, Sir, embrace some system or other, before we end this session. Do you mean to tax America, and to draw a productive revenue from thence 1 If you do, speak out: name, fix, ascertain this revenue, settle its quantity; define its objects; provide for its collection; and then fight, when you have something to fight for. If you murder—rob! If you kill—take possession; and do not appear in the character of madmen, as well as assassins, violent, vindictive, bloody, and tyrannical, without an object. But may better counsels guide you!

Again and again, revert to your old principles—seek peace and ensure it—leave America, if she has any taxable matter in her, to tax herself. I am not here going into the distinction of rights, nor attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these metaphysical distinctions. I hate the very sound of them. Leave the Americans, as they anciently stood, and these distinctions, born of our unhappy contest, will die along with it. They and we, and their and our ancestors, have been happy under that system. Let the memory of all actions, in contradiction to that good old mode, on both sides, be extinguished forever.

Be content to bind America by laws of trade; you have always done it. Let this be your reason for binding their trade. Do not burthen them with taxes; you were not used to do so from the beginning. Let this be your reason for not taxing. These are the arguments of states and kingdoms. < Leave the rest to the schools; for there only they may be discussed with safety. But if intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and poison the very source of government, by urging subtle deductions, and consequences odious to those you govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of sovereignty, you will teach them by these means to call that sovereignty itself in question. When you drive him mad, the boar will surely turn upon the hunters. If that sovereignty and their freedom cannot be reconciled, which will they take 1 , They will cast your sovereignty in your face. Nobody will be argued into slavery.

Sir, let the gentlemen on the other side call forth all their ability; let the best of them get up and tell me, what one character of liberty the Americans have, and what one brand of slavery they are free from, if they are bound in their property and industry by all the restraints you can imagine on commerce, and at the same time are made pack-horses of every tax you choose to impose, without the least share in granting them. When they bear the burthens of unlimited monopoly, will you bring them to bear the burthens of unlimited revenue too? The Englishman in America will feel that this is slavery—that it is legal slavery, will be no compensation either to his feelings or his understanding.


War may stride over the land with the crushing step of a giant—Pestilence may steal over it like an invisible curse —reaching its victims silently and unseen—unpeopling here a village and there a city—until every dwelling is a sepulchre. Famine may brood over it with a long and weary visitation, until the sky itself is brazen, and the beautiful greenness gives place to a parched desert—a wide waste of unproductive desolation. Butthese are only physical evils. The wild flower will bloom in peace on the field of battle and above the crushed skeleton.—The destroying angel of the pestilence will retire when his errand is done, and the nation will again breathe freely—and the barrenness of famine will cease at last—the cloud will be prodigal of its hoarded rain—and the wilderness will blossom.

But for moral desolation there is no reviving spring. Let the moral and republican principles of our country be abandoned—our representatives bow in conditional obsequiousness to individual dictation—Let impudence and intrigue and corruption triumph over honesty and intellect, and our liberties and strength will depart forever. Of these there can be no resuscitation. The 'abomination of desolation' will be fixed and perpetual; and as the mighty fabric of our glory totters into ruins, the nations of the earth will mock us in our overthrow, like the powers of darkness, when the thronged one of Babylon became even as themselves—and the 'glory of the Chaldee's excellency' had gone down forever.


How absurd are the sophisms and predictions, by which the advocates of existing abuses have at all times endeavoured to create a jealousy and apprehension of reform 1 Yon cannot touch the most corrupt and imbecile government, without unsettling the principles and unhinging the frame of society—you cannot give the people political rights, without encouraging them to be disobedient to lawful authority, and sowing the seeds of continual rebellion and perpetual discontent; nor recognize popular pretensions in any shape, without coming ultimately to the abolition of

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