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There is a distinction between right and wrong; between wHIG and TORY.
When I speak of an administration, such as the necessity of the season calls for, my views are large and comprehensive. It must be popular, that it may begin with reputation. It must be strong within itself, that it may proceed with vigour and decision. An administration, formed upon an exclusive system of family connexions or private friendships, cannot, I am convinced, be long supported, in this country. Yet, my lords, no man respects, or values more than I do, that honourable connexion, which arises from a disinterested concurrence in opinion upon publick measures, or from the sacred bond of private friendship and esteem. What I mean is, that no single man's private friendships or connexions, however extensive, are sufficient of themselves, either to form or overturn an administration. With respect to the ministry, I believe, they have fewer rivals than they imagine. No prudent man will covet a situation so beset with difficulty and danger.
I shall trouble your lordships with but a few words more. His majesty tells us in his speech, that he will call upon us for our advice, if it should be necessary in the further progress of this affair. It is not easy to say whether or no the ministry are serious in this declaration; nor what is meant by the progress of an affair, which rests upon one fixed point. Hitherto we have not been called upon. But though we are not consulted, it is our right and duty as the king's great, hereditary council, to offer him our advice. The papers, mentioned in the noble duke's motion, will enable us to form a just and accurate opinion of the conduct of his majesty's servants, though not of the actual state of their honourable negotiations. The ministry too, seem to want advice upon some points in which their own safety is immediately concerned. They are now balancing between a war which they ought to have foreseen, but for which they have made no provision, and an ignominious compromise. Let me warn them of their danger. If they are forced
into a war, they stand it at the hazard of their heads. If, by an ignominious compromise, they should stain the honour of the crown, or sacrifice the rights of the people, let them look to the consequences and consider whether they will be able to walk the streets in safety.
MR. BURKE'S SPEECH,
ÖN AMERICAN TAXATION, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, APRIL 19TH, 1774.
LORD NORTH commenced his administration at a time, when the disputes between the mother country and the colonies had attained to a height, which me naced the mosts serious consequences. The obnoxious, laws passed by the preceding ministry, had excited throughout the American dependencies a spirit of discontent, which seemed already prepared to burst forth in open resistance to the authority of the parent state, and, if not appeased, to dissolve for ever the connexion which had very recently been cherished, with exultation, as the most certain source of their glory, their prosperity, and happiness.
Among the earliest of his measures, of any impor tance, was the revocation of the act which laid a duty on articles of merchandise imported into the colonies, reserving only the one upon tea, as a mere recognition of the right in parliament of legislation over the whole of the empire.
As this tax was deemed the proximate and most irritating grievance, the minister entertained a sanguine expectation that its repeal would tranquillize the prevalent turbulence, and rekindle the nearly extinguished sentiments of loyalty and attachment which were once so conspicuously displayed in every section of the provinces. But he was utterly deceived. Like all temporizing half-way measures, which lose their efficiency by their neutrality, this well meant project of conciliation totally failed. Denying the parliamentary right of taxing them, the Americans were not satis
fied by the discontinuance of the several duties, while any one remained to sanction the right.
It was not the weight of taxation against which they murmured; but the principle on which it was imposed. This partial repeal, therefore, was received not as an act of grace, or token of concession; but rather as an insidious stratagem to perpetuate under a disguise, an odious assumption of power.
The scheme of lord North was justly and with great felicity described by a cotemporary as a heterogeneous mixture of concession and coercion; of concession not tending to conciliate, and of coercion that could not be carried into execution; at once exciting hatred for the intention, and contempt for the weak
Notwithstanding the urgent remonstrance of the colonies against the tax, and their increasing disposition to violence, the government of Great Britain resolved to enforce the measure, and vessels loaded with, the offensive commodity were accordingly permitted to be sent to America.
The scene of riot and tumult which ensued on the arrival of the ships at Boston is too vividly recollected to require here to be related.
When the intelligence of these commotions reached England, sensations of the deepest solicitude and apprehension were created in the reflecting part of the nation. The leading characters of the minority in each house of parliament contemplated the posture of colonial affairs with the same anxiety. They con tended with all the powers of reasoning and persuasion, that an adjustment of the existing differences could alone be effected by an entire, immediate, and absolute renunciation of those hateful and arbitrary pretensions, set up in a season of delusion by the mother country.
With a view to the restoration of harmony, Mr. Rose Fuller, an eminent commoner, moved on the 19th of April, 1774, "That the house resolve itself into a committee to take into consideration the duty upon the importation of tea into America, for its