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[165] obedience was positive law; that a command to grant
chap. VII.} 1754.
money was neither constitutional nor legal; being inconsistent with the freedom of debate and the rights of the assembly, whose power to prepare and pass the bills granting money, was admitted by the crown.1 It was under these influences that the Assembly of New York, in a loyal address to the king, had justified their conduct. The Newcastle administration trimmed between the contending parties. It did not adopt effective measures to enforce its orders; while it yet applauded the conduct of the Board of Trade,2 and summarily condemned the colony by rejecting its address.3 But the opinion of the best English lawyers4 became more and more decided against the legality of a government by royal instructions; encouraging the Americans to insist on the right of their legislatures to deliberate freely and come to their own conclusions; and on the other hand leading British statesmen to the belief, that the rule for the colonies must be prescribed by an act of the British parliament.

The feebleness of the ministry, in which there was not one single statesman of talent enough to avoid a conflict with France, encouraged the ambition of that power. At the same time it was seen that the people of America, if they would act in concert, could advance the English flag through Canada and to the Mississippi; and, as a measure of security against French encroachments, Halifax, by the king's command,5

1 See the case prepared by Mr. Charles, the New York agent, in Smith's New York, II. 195.

2 Representation of the Board of Trade, 4 April, 1754, in N. Y. London Documents, XXXI. 39.

3 Smith's New York, II.

4 Opinion of Hay in Smith, II. 197. No doubt this was also George Grenville's opinion.

5 Sir

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