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[19] to the last, the statesman, who was deeply versed in
chap. I.} 1748.
the statistics of elections, knew little of the continent of which he was the guardian. He addressed letters, it used to be confidently said, to ‘the island of New England,’1 and could not tell but that Jamaica was in the Mediterranean.2 Heaps of colonial memorials and letters remained unread in his office; and a paper was almost sure of neglect, unless some agent remained with him to see it opened.3 His frivolous nature could never glow with affection, or grasp a great idea, or analyse complex relations. After long research, I cannot find that he ever once attended seriously to an American question, or had a clear conception of one American measure.

The power of the House of Commons in Great Britain, rested on its exclusive right to grant annually the supplies necessary for carrying on the government; thus securing the ever-recurring opportunity of demanding the redress of wrongs. The strength of the people in America consisted also in the exclusive right of its assemblies to levy and to appropriate colonial taxes. In England, the king obtained a civil list for life; in America, the rapacity of the governors made it expedient to preserve their dependence for their salaries on annual grants, of which the amount was regulated, from year to year, by a consideration of the merits of the officer, as well as the opulence of the province. It was easy for the governors to obtain of their patrons in the ministry instructions to demand peremptorily a large, settled and permanent support; but the assemblies treated the instructions

1 James Otis on the Rights of the Colonies. Ms. Letter of J. Q. Adams.

2 Walpole's Memoires of the last ten years of the reign of George II.

3 Memoires, &c., i. 343. Gov. Clinton, of New-York, to the Earl of Lincoln, April, 1748.

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