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may call them an army of safety and of guard; but they are in truth an army of impotence and contempt; and, to make the folly equal to the disgrace, they are an army of irritation and vexation.
But I find a report creeping abroad, that ministers censure general Gage's inactivity. Let them censure him—it becomes them—it becomes their justice and their honour. I mean not to censure his inactivity. It is a prudent and necessary inaction : but it is a mi. serable condition, where disgrace is prudence, and where it is necessary to be contemptible. This tameness, however contemptible, cannot be censured; for the first drop of blood shed in civil and unnatural war might be immedicabile vulnus.
I therefore urge and conjure your lordships, immediately to adopt this conciliating measure. I will pledge myself for its immediately producing conciliatory effects, by its being thus well-timed: but if you delay till your vain hope shall be accomplished, of triumphantly dictating reconciliation, you delay for ever. But, admitting that this hope, which in truth is desperate, should be accomplished, what do you gain by the imposition of your victorious amity ? you will be untrusted and unthanked. Adopt, then the grace, while you have the opportunity of reconcilement; or at least prepare the way. Allay the ferment prevailing in America, by removing the ob. noxious hostile cause-obnoxious and unserviceable; for their merit can be only inaction : “ Non dimicare et vincere,”--their victory can never be by exertions. Their force would be most disproportionately exerted against a brave, generous, and united people, with arms in their hands, and courage in their hearts :three millions of people, the genuine descendants of a valiant and pious ancestry, driven to those deserts by the narrow maxims of a superstitious tyranny.And is the spirit of persecution never to be appeased ? Are the brave sons of those brave forefathers to inhe. rit their sufferings, .as they have inherited their vir. tues? Are they to sustain the infliction of the most oppressive and unexampled severity, beyond the ac.
counts of history, or description of poetry : damanthus habet durissima regna, castigatque AUDITQue.”' So says the wisest poet, and perhaps the wisest statesman and politician.-But our ministers say, the Americans must not be heard. They have been condemned unheard.-The indiscriminate hand of vengeance has lumped together innocent and guilty; with all the formalities of hostility, has blocked up the town* and reduced to beggary and famine thirty thousand inhabitants.
But his majesty is advised, that the union in Ame. rica cannot last. Ministers have more eyes than I, and should have more ears; but with all the information I have been able to procure, I can pronounce it a union, solid, permanent, and effectual. Ministers may satisfy themselves, and delude the publick, with the report of what they call commercial bodies in America. They are not commercial ; they are your packers and factors; they live upon nothingfor I call commission nothing. I mean the ministerial authority for this American intelligence; the runners for government, who are paid for their intelligence. But these are not the men, nor this the influence, to be considered in America, when we estimate the firmness of their union. Even to extend the question, and to take in the really mercantile circle, will be totally inadequate to the consideration. Trade indeed increases the wealth and glory of a country ; but its real strength and stamina are to be looked for among the cultivators of the land. In their simplicity of life is found the simpleness of virtue--the integrity and courage of freedom. These true genuine sous of the earth are invincible: and they surround and hem in the mercantile bodies; even if these bodies, which supposition I totally disclaim, could be supposed disaffected to the cause of liberty. Of this general spirit existing in the British nation ; (for so I wish to distinguish the real and genuine Americans
from the pseudo-traders I have described)—of this spirit of independence, animating the nation of America, I have the most authentick information. It is not new among them ; it is, and has ever been, their established principle, their confirmed persuasion : it is their nature, and their doctrine.
I remember some years ago, when the repeal of the stamp act was in agitation, conversing in a friendly confidence with a person of undoubted respect and authenticity, on that subject; and he assured me with a certainty which his judgment and opportunity gave him, that these were the prevalent and steady principles of America—That you might destroy their towns, and cut them off from the superfluities, perhaps the conveniences of life; but that they were prepared to despise your power, and would not lament their loss, whilst they have what, my lords ?-their
—, woods and their liberty. The name of my authority, if I am called upon, will authenticate the opinion irrefragably, *
If illegal violences have been, as it is said, committed in America ; prepare the way, open the door of possiblity, for acknowledgment and satisfaction : but proceed not to such coercion, such proscription ; cease your indiscriminate inflictions; amerce not thirty thousand; oppress not three millions, for the fault of forty or fifty individuals. Such severity of injustice must for ever render incurable the wounds you have already given your colonies; you irritate them to unappeasable rancour.
What though you march from town to town, and from province to province ; though you should be able to enforce a temporary and local submission, which I only suppose, not admit-how shall you be able to secure the obedience of the country you leave behind you
in your progress, to grasp the dominion of eighteen hundred miles of continent, populous in numbers, possessing valour, liberty, and resistance ?
* It was Dr. Franklin.
This resistance to your arbitrary system of taxation might have been foreseen: it was obvious from the nature of things, and of mankind; and above all, from the whiggish spirit flourishing in that country. The spirit which now resists your taxation in Ameri. ca, is the same which formerly opposed loans, benevolences, and ship-money, in England : the same spirit which called all England on its legs, and by the bill of rights vindicated the English constitution : the same spirit which established the great, funda. mental, essential maxim of your liberties, that no subject of England shall be taxed but by his own con
This glorious spirit of whiggism animates three millions in America ; who prefer poverty with liberty, to gilded chains and sordid affluence; and who will die in defence of their rights as men, as freemen. What shall oppose this spirit
, aided by the congenial fame glowing in the breast of every whig in England, to the amount, I hope, of double the American numbers? Ireland they have to a man.
In that country, joined as it is with the cause of colonies, and placed at their head, the distinction I contend for is and must be observed. This country superintends and controls their trade and navigation; but they tax themselves. And this distinction between external and internal control is sacred and insurmountable ; it is involved in the abstract nature of things. Property is private, individual, absolute. Trade is an extended and complicated consideration : it reaches as far as ships can sail, or winds can blow: it is a great and various machine. To regulate the numberless movements of its several parts, and combine them into effect, for the good of the whole, requires the superintending wisdom and energy of the supreme power in the empire. But this supreme power has no effect towards internal taxation ; for it does not exist in that relation; there is no such thing, no such idea in this constitution, as a supreme power operating upon property. Let this distinction then remain for ever ascertained ; taxation is theirs, commercial regulation is ours. As an American I would recognise to England her supreme right of regulating commerce and navigation : as an Englishman by birth and principle, I recognise to the Americans their supreme, unalienable right in their property ; a right which they are justified in the defence of to the last extremity. To maintain this principle is the common cause of the whigs on the other side of the Atlantick, and on this. “'Tis liberty to liberty engaged,” that they will defend themselves, their families, and their country. In this great cause they are immovably allied : it is the alliance of God and nature-immutable, eternal-fixed as the firmament of heaven.
To such united force, what force shall be opposed ? -What, my lords ?--A few regiments in America, and seventeen or eighteen thousand men at home! The idea is too ridiculous to take up a moment of your lordships' time. Nor can such a national and principled union be resisted by the tricks of office, or ministerial manæuvre. Laying of papers on your table, or counting numbers on a division, will not avert or postpone the hour of danger. It must arrive, my lords, unless these fatal acts are done away; it must arrive in all its horrours, and then these boastful mi. nisters, spite of all their confidence, and all their manauvres, shall be forced to hide their heads. They shall be forced to a disgraceful abandonment of their present measures and principles, which they avow, but cannot defend ; measures which they presume to attempt, but cannot hope to effectuate. They cannot, my lords, they cannot stir a step; they have not a move left; they are check mated.
But it is not repealing this act of parliament, it is not repealing a piece af parchment, that can restore America to our bosom. You must repeal her fears and her resentments; and you may then hope for her love and gratitude. But now, insulted with an armed force posted at Boston, irritated with a hostile array before her eyes, her concessions, if you could force them, would be suspicious and insecure; they