House of Commons adopted the memorable resolve,
that ‘the claim of right in a colonial assembly to raise and apply public money, by its own act alone, is derogatory to the crown and to the rights of the people of Great Britain
;’ and this resolve, so pregnant with consequences, asserting for ‘the people of Great Britain
’ a control over American legislation, was authoritatively communicated to every American assembly.
‘The people of Pennsylvania
,’ said Thomas Penn
, ‘will soon be convinced by the House of Commons, as well as by the ministers, that they have not a right to the powers of government they claim.’1
The debates between the proprietaries of Pennsylvania
and its people involved every question in dispute between the crown and the provinces, making Pennsylvania
the central figure in the struggle; and Benjamin Franklin
, whom Kant
, in 1755, had heralded to the world of science as the Prometheus of modern times,2
stood forth the foremost champion of the rights and the legislative free will of America
Every day brightened his fame and increased his influence.
‘The House of Commons,’ said Penn
, ‘will end the business entirely to our satisfaction.’
Still the exertion of the extreme authority of parliament was postponed.
The Privy Council was as yet persuaded, that they, with the king, had of themselves plenary power to govern America.
‘Your American Assemblies,’ said Granville
, its President
, to Franklin
, ‘slight the king's instructions.
They are drawn up by grave men, learned in the laws and constitution of the realm; they are brought into Council, thoroughly ’