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is but problematical; for, the act to which the writer refers never passed, and lord Hale only said, that, if it had passed, the parliament might have abdicated their right.
But, my lords, I shall make this application of it. You may abdicate your right over the colonies. Take care, my lords, how you do so; for, such an act will be irrevocable. Proceed, then, my lords, with spirit and firmness; and, when you shall have established your authority, it will then be a time to show your lenity. The Americans, as I said before, are a very good people, and I wish them exceedingly well; but they are heated and inflamed. The noble lord who spoke before ended with a prayer. I cannot end better than by saying to it, Amen; and in the words of Maurice Prince of Orange concerning the Hollanders, God bless this industrious, frugal, and well meaning, but easily deluded people."
THE SPEECH OF WILLIAM PITT, THE
IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, JANUARY 16, 1766, ON THE AD.
DRESS TO THE THRONE, IN WHICH THE RIGHT OF TAXING AMERICA IS DISCUSSED.
In the preceding speech of Earl Mansfield, we have seen the right of taxing the colonies maintained with all the cogency of reasoning, and dexterity of argu. ment, which he eminently possessed. To exhibit a view of the grounds taken on the opposite side, and the manner of their defence, we introduce a speech of the elder Pitt, delivered in the debate on the usual address to the throne, at the opening of parliament.
We have remarked, in another place, that prior to the year 1770, no authentick example of Mr. Pitt's eloquence had been preserved. The discovery of the present speech persuades us that we were, at least as relates to it, deceived. There can be little doubt of its genuineness. The peculiarities of his style are conspicuously displayed in it. We have, moreover, learnt from a source in which we can confide, that it was reported by the Earl of Charlemont, an accom. plished scholar, and an adroit stenographer, that he might communicate to the people of Ireland, who were deeply interested in the subject, the sentiments of Mr. Pitt, on the right of taxing America.
It was in this memorable debate that Edmund Burke, for the first time, spoke in parliament. His speech was complimented by Earl Chatham in terms peculiarly grateful to the ambition of a young man. After descanting on its general merits, he with perfect
truth observed, “ that, Mr. Burke was the only person since the age of Cicero, who has united the talent of speaking and writing with irresistible force and ele. gance.”
SPEECH, &c. MR. SPEAKER,
I CAME to town but to day. I was a stranger to the tenour 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 mis. take, and therefore beg to be indulged with a second
a 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 honour to ask my opinion before they would engage.
These will now do me the justice to own, I advised them
advised them to do it; but, notwithstanding, to be explicit, I cannot give them
* The address being read, Mr. Pitt went on. # Turning himself to Mr. Grenville, who sat within one of him.
Looking at the bench where Mr. Conway sat with the tords of the treasury.
my confidence. Pardon me, gentlemen, * confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom.. Youth is the season of credulity. By comparing events with each other, reasoning from effects to causes, methinks I plainly discover the traces of an over. ruling influence.
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 honour 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 valour, 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.t
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 been 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 born my
* Bowing to the ministry.
† Alluding to Lord Bute.