Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

CONTENTS.

[ocr errors]

LORD CHATHAM.

Speech of WILLIAM Pitt the elder, (afterwards Lord Chatham,) in the

House of Commons, January 16, 1766, on the right to tax America, Page 9

LORD CHATHAM's Speech, in the House of Lords, January 9, 1770, in

reply to Lord Mansfield, on an amendment to the address to the throne, 17

Lord CHATHAM's Speech, in the House of Lords, January 20, 1775, on

a motion for an Address to his Majesty, to give immediate orders for

removing his Troops from Boston,

26

Lord Chatham's Speech, in the House of Lords, at the opening of Par-

nt, November 18, 1777,

· 34

Lord Chatham's Speech, in the House of Lords, December 11, 1777,

against a Motion for an Adjournment, -

44

BURKE.

Mr. Burke's Speech, on American Taxation, April 19, 1774,-

50

MR. BURKE's Speech, to the Electors of Bristol,

96

Mr. BURKE's Speech, on the Nabob of Arcot's Debts,

. 130

MR. Burke's Speech, on the Bill for the relief of Protestant Dissenters, 184

Extract from the Speech of MR. BURKE, upon Mr. Fox's East India Bill, 194

Extract from the Speech of Mr. BURKE, on opening the Impeachment of

Warren Hastings, Esq., February 15 and 16, 1788,

- 237

ERSKINE.

Mr. Erskine's Speech, in Defence of the Liberty of the Press, delivered

on the Trial of Thomas Paine for a Libel,

- 327

Speech of the Hon. T. ERSKINE, on the Prosecution of the Publisher of

the Age of Reason,

354

MR. ERSKINE's Speech, in Markham vs. Fawcett, before the Deputy

Sheriff of Middlesex and a special Jury, upon an Inquisition of Damages, 365

MR. Erskine's Speech, for the Defendant in the Case of Howard vs.

Bingham, -

378

Mr. ERSKINE's Speech, in Defence of Thomas Hardy, indicted for high

Treason in compassing the Death of the King,

- 387

M’INTOSH

Speech of Mr. M'INTOSH, (since Sir James M'Intosh,) in the Court of

King's Bench, February 21, 1803, on the Trial of M. Peltier for a

Libel on the First Consul of the French Republic.

496

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

(AFTERWARDS LORD CHATHAM,)

6 IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, JANUARY 16, 1756, ON THE RIGHT

TO TAX AMERICA.

MR. SPEAKER, 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. I commend the king's speech, and approve of the address in answer; as it decides nothing, every gentleman being left at perfect liberty to take such a part concerning America, as he might afterwards see fit. One word only I cannot approve of-an early, 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 independent. As to the late ministry, 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, 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 did me the honor to ask my opinion before they would engage. These will now do me the justice to own, I advised them to do it; but, notwithstanding, to be explicit, I cannot give them my confidence. Pardon me, gentlemen, confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom. Youth is the season of credulity. By comparin

B

a

events with each other, reasoning from effects to causes, methinks I plainly discover the traces of an overruling influcnce.

There is a clause in the act of settlement to oblige every minister to sign his name to the advice which he gives to his sovereign. Would it were, observed !I have had the honor 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, a 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 valor, 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 this house to tax America, I was ill in bed. If I could have endured to have heen 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 frecdom.

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 your selves were to be bond or free. In the mean time, as I cannot depend upon my 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 seem to have considered it as a point of honor. 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 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 Che 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 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 proprie. tors 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 for 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 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 re

« ZurückWeiter »