On the vital elements
of civil liberty, the noble families which led the several factions had no systematic opinions.
They knew not that America
, which demanded their attention, would amalgamate the cause of royalty and oligarchy, and create parties in England
on questions which the Revolution of 1688 had not even considered.
It was because the Whig party at this time had proposed to itself nothing great to accomplish, that it was possible for a man like Newcastle
to be at its head; with others like Holdernesse, and the dull Sir Thomas Robinson
, for the secretaries of state
The new system of governing America became one of the first objects of their attention; and, with the inconsiderate levity, rashness, and want of principle that mark imbecile men in the conduct of affairs, they were ever ready to furnish precedents for future measures of oppression.
ministry proceeded without regard to method, consistency, or law.
The province of New York had replied to the condemnation of its policy, contained in Sir Danvers Osborne
's instructions, by a well-founded impeachment of Clinton
for embezzling public funds and concealing it by false accounts; for gaining undue profits from extravagant grants of lands, and grants to himself under fictitious names; and for selling civil and military offices.
These grave accusations were neglected.
But the province had also complained that its legislature had been directed to obey the king's instructions.
They insisted that such instructions, though a rule of conduct to his governor, were not the measure of obedience to the people; that the rule of