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they did so under the idea that the separation of those provinces from the parent State would ruin the resources of Great Britain. Events have proved how erroneous was their calculation. From her commercial intercourse with Independent America, Great Britain has derived more profit than she could have gained had her growth been stunted by the operation of restrictive laws. In a constitutional point of view, also, the disjunction of the thirteen provinces from the British empire will not be contemplated with any regret by those who are jealous of the influence of the crown, and who will reflect, that by the peace of 1782, it was deprived of the appointment of a host of governors, lieutenant-governors, chief justices, and other officers, selected from the scions of powerful families, and protected from the consequences of the abuse of their trusts by the influence of those whose dependants they are.
NOTE.—Some doubts having arisen as to whether the question which led to the separation of the colonies from the mother country was really confined to the point of taxation, and did not also involve the claim of Parliament to legislate generally for the colonies, the introduction into this note of a plain statement of the fact and the law may not be thought superfluous.
It will be clearly seen by a reference to the preceding narrative, that in the lengthened discussions which were carried on prior to the breaking out of hostilities, the point at issue was the right of Parliament to tax the colonies, and
Under what idea did the ministers of the king of France incite him to en
ter into an alliance with the colonies?
not its general power of legislation for them. This power no one seems at that time to have thought of questioning for a moment; though all the colonies united in strenuously maintaining the exclusive right of taxing themselves, which they had enjoyed by charter and by constant usage. This was also the view of the subject uniformly taken by the parliamentary advocates of the American colonies; and had it not been deemed constitutionally sound, the colonies, jealous as they were of their political rights, would not have been content silently to acquiesce in it. I assert, (said Lord Chatham on the 17th December, 1765, I assert the authority of this country over the colonies to be sovereign and supreme, in every circumstance of government and legislation. But he added, “ Taxation is no part of the governing or legislating power,-taxes are a voluntary grant of the people alone.'
Such was then the undisputed theory and practice of the constitution, even as recognised by the colonies themselves.
But it has been supposed that although, prior to the revolution, the colonies never questioned the supreme legislative authority of the mother country, yet that parliament had by some act of its own divested itself of this authority. This, however, is not the case. On the contrary, the Act of 6 Geo. III. c. 12, commonly called the Declaratory Act, distinctly lays it down as the law of the realm, that the King, Lords, and Commons in Parliament assembled, had, hath, and of full right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind, in all cases whatsoever, the colonies subject to the British crown.'
The Act remains unrepealed, and is still in full force, with one single exception from the universality of its declaration, which will be found in the 18th George III. c. 12.
A clause in this statute enacts, that from and after its passing, the king and parliament will not impose any duty or tax on the colonies, except such as may be required for the regulation of commerce, and that the net produce of such duty or tax shall be applied to the use of each colony respectively in which it is levied, in such manner as the other duties collected by the authority of the assemblies of such colonies are applied.
That the practice of parliament has been in accordance with the principle of these declaratory enactments might be shown by a reference to numerous statutes subsequently enacted, which directly legislate for the colonies.
The authority of Mr. Burke may be added, as that of the person most jealous on the subject of colonial rights, for he, in fact was the parliamentary leader throughout the contest against the rights of the mother country, and sacrificed his seat at Bristol to his opinions in favor of the colonies. But in his celebrated speech on American taxation in 1774, he expressly maintains the supremacy of parliament, and the full extent of the rights claimed by the Declaratory Act, to which he holds the abandonment of the taxing power no exception. This forms the conclusion of the speech. (See Works, vol. ii, pp. 335 and 440, 8vo edition.) The same doctrines he continued to hold in 1775, when he renewed his resolutions of conciliation, and in 1780, when he retired from the representation of Bristol. In his famous speech upon the former occasion, he declares himself to wish as little as any man being to impair the smallest particle of the supreme authority of parliament, (Works, vol. iii, p. 109,) and in 1792, when he had become, if possible, more attached to the colonial party, both here and in France, he prepared a slave code, to be enacted in England for our West India colonies.
This statement proves, first, that the mother country never abandoned the legislative authority, except as regards the right of taxing; and secondly, that the colonists never even claimed any further exemption from the jurisdiction of parliament.
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the genaral welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
1. All legislative powers herein granted, shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States; and the electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislature.
2. No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.