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tyrannous principle, equally serviceable for subverting the liberties, either of America or of England, the colonies, or the mother country, as opportunities should present themselves ; whereby the faction behind the throne, and their allies the faction of the Boroughs, might be gratified with the plunder of their country.
T may not be unworthy of your Grace's observarionis how dangerous it is for the real friends of liberty ever to repose political and unreserved confidence in men, however able or specious, however learned or apparently moral, if there be rooted in the heart a bigotted attachment to arbitrary principles of government. Lord Rockingham had at this time in his confidence, one, who was an adroil reconciler of contradictions. The political adventurer to whom I allude, whose inmost soul was adverse to the rights and liberties of his species, had unfortunately been inlisted into the Whig corps, with whose genuine creed his consequently was at variance. Although this gentleman, was at that time nothing higher than the ministers private secretary ;1 yet, from his extraordinary abilities, had we not his own subsequent declaration, it may easily be believed, that «in the counsels of 1766, he had “ his full share,"2 and particularly in framing an act which was the very expression of his own sentiments, and according to the manner of his own policy. I can
: 1 See his Speech on 19th April, 1774, p. 56.
2 The reference to Mr. Burke's authority for these words is mislaid, but see also his speech on 19th. of April, 1774, p. 96. “I " honetsly and solemnly declare, I have in all seasons adhered to “ the system of 1766."
not attribute the Declaratory Act, asserting that which is the very compendium of despotism, to the spontaneous motion of Lord Rockingham's own mind; nor can I believe, that, unless he had been acted upon by one who had acquired an irresistible ascendant over his judgment, he could have made such a compromise with the faction behind the throne : and the event made it certain, that the compromise was a mere error in judgment on a question in the science of government, and not a sacrifice of principle for keeping his place; for, no sooner had he got the faction behind the throne out of their American scrape, and through the evil counsel of a friend, whose fundamental principle of government and theirs was precisely the same, laid the foundations they wanted for their future proceedings, than they instantly, and with very little ceremony, removed himn and his friends from the ministry; to make room for men more in favour at court. A successor in the Treasury superseded him on the 2d. day of August in that year.
Things in America, were now, however, for some time suffered to go on without any new irritation, while the people there could not but view with a jealous eye, the unqualified assertion of the Declaratory Act, and while the court faction here were again preparing for a revival of their scheme with as much wickedness, as in calculating their means, they betrayed a want of knowledge and discernment. It is plain however, that the war with America, which afterwards followed, had its origin in those principles of government which sprung up near the throne, at the time of his Majesty's accession ; principles which have ever since been prevalent, and, as already noticed, continue to this day. in full force. But, not intending to go into any historical de. tail, suffice it here to say, that the people of English America, descendants of Englishmen, and prizing the English Constitution then in their possession, somewhat more than it has since been prized by Englishmen themselves, had the virtue to resist; and that that virtue received its reward ; for by their resistance they secured on the most solid foundations that liberty, which a base and corrupt faction in this country, lured by the prospect of American plunder, attempted to wrest from them. Nor shall I farther indulge in a transition which here naturally presents itself, than merely to notice the transfer which has since been made by the faction behind the throne of the system of war and pillage, from the strong-minded Americans to the feeble-minded Asiatics.
If it shall any more be said, that the American war, was in its outset the war of the people, nor became onpopular until it became disastrous, let it be replied, that the people have been peculiarly unfortunate, to have been first robbed of a constitutional representation, and then traduced for becoming the victim of delusions imposed upon them by a corrupt parliament, in league with a corrupt minister, aided by troops of literary hirelings and dependents, paid with the people's money, for boldly asserting falsehoods, the very opposites of facts, and insidiously inculcating false principles, for belraying them into an acquiescence in the measures of that truly machiavelian faction.
How, comparatively, the rulers of the two countries, England and America, have since employed themselves, the reader may in some degree imagine to himself, by comparing together the latest financial statements of Mr. Pitt and of Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Pitt, by heaping war upon war, is obliged to exhibit a statement in which it appears, that all sources of taxation upon consumption of every kind, and every species of expenditure, are so exhausted, that he is obliged to break in upon and abridge expenditure itself, by taking for the use of the Exchequer, after all other possible taxes, a lwentieth part of every man's estate, 1 whether real or personal, until his compound taxation far exceeds (and now for supporting ihe war, is greatly more than double) the whole rental of the soil: and he can produce as I apprehend a code of taxation, now occupying in the statutes at large more space than all the rest of the general statute laws of the realm put together, from inagna charta to the revolution. On grievously adding 10 the already grievous stamp duties ou law proceedings, this man of stone, this marble hearted monster of
1 Now considerably augmented by a new tax.
injustice, coolly spoke of it as promoting public morality, by discouraging litigiousness. Yes : litigiousness must indeed be at an end, when, through the enormous expence of law, the weak in purse shall universally be given up as a prey to the strong!
Such are the fruits of A Court and Rotten Borough system of Representation ; which I cannot so well contrast with the natural effects of a genuine Constitutional system of Representation; as in the words of Mr. Jefferson, who on the 4th of March, 1805, spoke to the two houses of the American Congress, as follows;
* * * " At home, fellow citizens, you best know whether “ you have done well or ill. The suppression of unne« cessary offices, of useless establishments and expen
ces, enabled us to discontinue our internal taxes. “ These, covering our land with officers, and opening “ our doors to their intrusions, had already begun that
process of domiciliary vexation, which, once enter
tained, is scarcely to be restrained from reaching “ successively, every article of produce and of pro“ perty.” *
* * * * * * “ The remaining revenue on the consumption of • foreign articles, is paid chiefly by those who can af“ ford to add foreign luxuries to domestic comforts. “ Being collected in our sea-board and frontiers only, “ and incorporated with the transactions of our mer“ cantile citizens, it may be the pleasure and pride of s an American to ask, what farmer, what mechanic, “ what labourer, ever sees a tax-gatherer in the United " States? These considerations enable us to support “ the current expences of the government, to fulfil “ contracts with foreign nations, to extinguish the « native right of soil within our limits, to extend those “ limits, 1 and to apply such a surplus to our public " debts, as places at a short day their final redemption; “ and that redemption once effected, the revenue " thereby liberated may, by a just repartition among “ the states, and a corresponding amendment of the “ constitution, be applied in time of peace, to rivers, « canals, roads, arts, manufactures, education, and “ other great objects within each state. In time of “ war (if injustice by ourselves or others must sometime
1 It cost England, by not being represented in her own legislature, a bloody war, and above one hundred and twenty millions of pounds sterling, to get rid of the present United States ; but those States, by being so represented, can acquire the whole country of Louisiana, half as extensive as their own immense territory, without any war, and without any expence that occasions an internal tax of a single farthing!
produce wars) increased as the same revenue will be, “ by increased population and consumption, and aided " by other resources reserved for that crisis, it may “ meet within the year all the expences of the year, “ without encroaching on the rights of future genera“ tions, by burthening them with the debts of the past. “ War will then be but a suspension of useful works; “ and a return to a state of peace, a return to the pro“ gress of improvement.”
I am not, my Lord, blind to certain advantages on the side of America, but still, from the very statements of the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, respecting the operations of the sinking fund, statements that cannot be contradicted, (but by an honest statesman might be greatly improved,) 1 it results, that, provided you could have only peace, your whole national debt might be extinguished in a single generation. What then, if I may be indulged in a short digression, are the means of obtaining and preserving PEACE? The universal answer I presume will be, a strong government and an able ministry. But then comes another question: what mean we by a strong government? Now, to this question, two very different answers will be given. The Bub Doddingtons of the day, are at this very moment telling us, we must put the direction of our affairs into the hands of those men who, by their own boroughs, and those of their connections, can irresistibly command the decisions of the house of commons; that is, who, by usurpation and faction, can confer on themselves absolute power; and that party leaders, who have hitherto been in hostility 1o each other, must shake
1 Facts, by W. Morgan, Esq. F. R. S.