of a people from whom this country derives its great-
est commerce, wealth, and consideration.’1
In reply, Charles Yorke
entered into a very long and most elaborate defence of the bill, resting his argument on the supreme and sovereign authority of parliament.
The colonies, he insisted, with a vast display of legal erudition, were but corporations; their power of legislation was but the power of making by-laws, subject to parliamentary control.
Their charters could not convey the legislative power of Great Britain
, because the prerogative could not grant that power.
The charters of the proprietary governments were but the king's standing commissions: the proprietaries were but his hereditary governors.
The people of America
could not be taken out of the general and supreme jurisdiction of parliament.
The authority of Yorke
seemed conclusive: less than forty were willing to receive the petition of Virginia
A third from South Carolina
, a fourth from Connecticut
, though expressed in the most moderate language; a fifth from Massachusetts
, though silent even about the question of ‘right,’ all shared the same refusal.2
That from New-York
no one could be prevailed upon to offer.3
That from Rhode Island
, offered by Sherwood
, its faithful agent, claimed by their charter, under a royal promise, equal rights with their fellow-subjects in Great Britain
; and insisted that the colony had faithfully kept their part of the compact; but it was as little heeded as the rest.