house, in consequence of the notice given, to receive
from the colonies information by which my judgment might be directed and my conduct regulated.
The question regards two millions of unrepresented people.
The light which I desire, the colonists themselves alone can give.
The practice of receiving no petitions against money bills is but one of convenience, from which, in this instance, if in no other, we ought to vary.
For from whom, unless from themselves, are we to learn the circumstances of the colonies, and the fatal consequences that may follow the imposing of this tax?
None of them are represented in parliament.
Gentlemen cannot be serious when they insist even on their being virtually represented.
Will any man in this house get up and say, he is one of the representatives of the colonies?’
‘The Commons,’ said Gilbert Elliot
, ‘have maintained against the crown and against the Lords
their right of solely voting money without the control of either, any otherwise than by a negative; and will you suffer your colonies to impede the exercise of those rights, untouched as they now are by the other branches of the legislature?’1
‘This,’ retorted Conway
, ‘is the strangest argument I ever heard.
Can there be a more declared avowal of your power than a petition submitting this case to your wisdom, and praying to be heard before your tribunal against a tax that will affect them in their privileges, which you at least have suffered, and in their property, which they have acquired under your protection?
From a principle of lenity, of policy, and of justice, I am for receiving the petition ’