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these ten years with them for our rights. What can they gain by the victory, should they subjugate us? What will be the glory of enslaving their children and brothers? Nay, how great will be the danger to their own liberties? Thus reasoned the people of the country towns in Massachusetts; and they signed the league and covenant, confident that they would have only to sit still and await the bloodless restoration of their rights. In this expectation they were confirmed by the opinions of Burke and of Franklin. From the committee room in Faneuil Hall, Samuel Adams hastened to the general assembly, whose first act at Salem was a protest against the arbitrary order for its removal. The council, in making the customary reply to the governor's speech at the opening of the session, laid claim to the rights of Englishmen without diminution or abridgment. But as they uttered their hope, that his administration would be a happy contrast to that of his predecessors, Gage interrupted th
at no angry feeling existed between the provincial legislature and the royal governors. The city had, moreover, been the centre of British patronage, and friends had been won by the distribution of contracts, and sometimes by commissions in the army. The organs of the ministry were to cajole, to favor, or to corrupt; above all, to give a promise on the part of the crown of a spirit of equity, which its conduct towards the province seemed to warrant as sincere. Besides, the assembly had Edmund Burke for its agent, and still hoped that his influence in public affairs would correspond to their just estimate of his fidelity. The lovers of peace, which is always so dear to a commercial community, revolted at the thought of an early and unavoidable appeal to arms, caught eagerly at every chance of an honorable escape from the certain miseries of a desperate conflict, and exerted themselves strenuously to secure the management of affairs Chap. VI.} 1774. July. to men of property. For t
rivate property. Their conduct showed how capable they were of regular movements, and how formidable they might prove in the field; but rumors reached England of their cowardice and defeat. What a dismal piece of news! said Charles Fox to Edmund Burke; and what a melancholy consideration for all thinking men, that no people, animated by what principle soever, can make a successful resistance to military discipline. I was never so affected with any public event, Chap. X.} 1774. Sept. eith colonies and kindred, wished to loose from the leash their terrible auxiliaries. The ruthless policy was hateful to every rightminded Englishman, and as soon as the design roused attention, the protest of the nation was uttered by Chatham and Burke, its great representatives; meantime the execution of the sanguinary scheme fell naturally into the hands of the most unscrupulous and subservient English officers, and the most covetous and cruel of the old French partisans. Chap. X.} 1774. Se
is country, she might buy the whole parliament, ministry and all. In the general venality, Edmund Burke was displaced. Lord Varney, who had hitherto gratuitously brought him into parliament, had fck on deferred hopes and friendship, and pocketed for his borough the most cash he could get. Burke next coquetted with Wilkes for support at Westminster; but the great patriot preferred Lord Mahoed Lord Mahon's money, and desires to extort more by stirring up a multitude of candidates, said Burke, in the fretful hallucinations of his chagrin; while, in fact, the influence of Wilkes was of noter shared the prevalent excitement against America and elected tories. Sometimes, when alone, Burke fell into an in- Chap. XVI.} 1774. Oct. Nov. expressible melancholy, and thought of renouncing necessary. On the fifth of December, the new house of commons debated the same subject. Fox, Burke, and others, spoke warmly. The results of the congress had not yet arrived, for the vessel whic
racticable. I look back, he said, with very real satisfaction and content, on the line which I, indeed, emphatically I, took in the year 1766; the stamp-act was repealed, and the doubt of the right of this country was fairly faced and resisted. Burke, like his patron, pursued Chatham implacably, and refused to come to an understanding with him on general politics. Neither did he perceive the imminence of the crisis; but believed that the Americans would not preserve their unanimity, so that the controversy would draw into great length, and derive its chief importance from its aspect on parties in England. At the very moment when Burke was still fondly supporting his theory of the omnipotence of parliament over the colonies, he blindly insisted, that Chatham himself was the best bower anchor of the ministry. With far truer instincts, Chatham divined that peril was near, and that it could be averted only by a circumscription of the absolute power of parliament. To further that
Chapter 18: Chatham Lays the foundation of peace. January 20, 1775. at the meeting of parliament after the holidays, Chap. XVIII.} 1775. Jan. Lord North, who had no plan of his own, presented papers relating to America. Burke complained of them as partial. Chatham, who alone among the public men of England had the sagacity and courage to propose what was necessary for conciliation, was reminded of the statesman who said to his son: See with how little wisdom this world of ours is governed; and he pictured to himself Ximenes and Cortes discussing their merits in the shades. The twentieth of January was the first day of the Jan. 20. session in the house of lords. It is not probable that even one of the peers had heard of the settlements beyond the Alleghanies, where the Watauga and the Forks of Holston flow to the Tennessee. Yet on the same day, the lords of that region, most of them Presbyterians of Scottish Irish descent, met in council near Abingdon. Their unit
chosen six years before during a momentary prejudice against lawyers and Presbyterians, had been carefully continued. New York, too, was the seat of a royal government, which dispensed commissions, offices, and grants of land, gathered round its little court a social circle to which loyalty gave the tone, and had for more than eight years craftily conducted the administration with the design to lull discontent. It permitted the assembly to employ, as its own Chap. XIX.} 1775 Jan. agent, Edmund Burke, whose genius might inspire hope to the last. In the name of the ministry, it lavished promises of favor and indulgence; extended the boundaries of the province at the north to the Connecticut river; and contrary to the sense of right of Lord Dartmouth, supported the claims of New York speculators to Vermont lands against the New Hampshire grants, under which populous villages had grown up. Both Tryon and Golden professed, moreover, a sincere desire to take part with the colony in ob
commons, the various petitions in behalf of America, including those from London and Bristol, were consigned to a committee of oblivion, and ridiculed as already dead in law. Hayley, of London, rebuked the levity of the house. The rejection of the petitions of the trading interests, said he, on the twenty-sixth of January, must drive on a civil war with America. The Americans, argued Chap. XX.} 1775. Jan. Jenkinson, ought to submit to every act of the English legislature. England, said Burke, is like the archer that saw his own child in the hands of the adversary, against whom he was going to draw his bow. Fox charged upon North, that the country was on the point of being involved in a civil war by his incapacity. North complained: The gentleman blames all my administration; yet he defended and supported much of it; nor do I know how I have deserved his reproaches. I can tell the noble lord how, cried Fox; by every species of falsehood and treachery. Sir George Savile asked
e of Orange. A large part of his last day in London, Franklin passed with Edmund Burke, and however much he may have been soured and exasperated by wrongs and insutwo act together once more? When will an age again furnish minds like theirs? Burke revered Franklin to the last, foretold the steady brightening of his fame; and pleasing hope of ultimate peace. On the morning after his conversation with Burke, Franklin posted to Portsmouth with all speed, and before his departure from Loe his perceptions or impair his decision. Neither Chatham, nor Rockingham, nor Burke, blamed Franklin for renouncing allegiance; and we shall see Fox once more claif March, on occasion of the bill prohibiting New England from the fisheries, Edmund Burke, for the vindication of his party, but with no hope of success, brought forw happiness of the human Chap. XXIV.} 1775. Mar. 22. race. For three hours, Burke was heard with attention; but after a reply by Jenkinson, his deep wisdom was s
e vengeful orders transmitted to Boston. Yet Lord North was false only as he was weak and uncertain. He really wished to concede and conciliate, but he had not force enough to come to a clear understanding even with himself. When he encountered the opposition in the house of commons, he sustained his administration by speaking confidently for vigorous measures; when alone his heart sank within him from dread of civil war. The remonstrance and memorial of the assembly of New York, which Burke, their agent, presented to parliament on the fifteenth of May, was rejected, be- May. 15. cause they questioned the right of parliament to tax America. Three days later, Lord North avowed the orders for raising Canadian regiments of French Papists; however, he continued, the dispute with America is not so alarming as some people apprehend. I have not the least doubt it will end speedily, happily, and without bloodshed. On the twenty-third of May, secret advices from May 23. Philadelph
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