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[367] imposing duties on their outlying possessions. To
chap XX.} 1765. Dec.
England, exclusively, belongs the honor, that between her and her colonies the question of right could arise; it is still more to her glory, as well as to her happiness and freedom, that in that contest her success was not possible. Her principles, her traditions, her liberty, her constitution, all forbade that arbitrary rule should become her characteristic. The shaft aimed at her new colonial policy was tipped with a feather from her own wing.

Had Cumberland remained alive, regiments, it was thought, would have been sent to America. The conqueror at Culloden was merciless towards those whom he deemed refractory, and willingly quenched rebellion in blood. During his lifetime, the ministry never avowed a readiness to yield to the claims of the colonists. But the night before the Stamp Act was to have gone into effect, the Duke, all weary of life, which for him had been without endearments, died suddenly, on his way to a cabinet council, and his influence, which had no foundation but in accident, perished with him.

Weakened by his death, and hopelessly divided in opinion, the ministry showed itself more and more unsettled in its policy. On the third of October they had agreed that the American question was too weighty for their decision, and required that parliament should be consulted, and yet they postponed its meeting for the transaction of business, till there had been time to see if the Stamp Act would indeed execute itself. To Franklin, who was unwearied in his efforts to promote its repeal, no hope was given of relief; and though the committee of merchants, who on the twelfth day

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