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[384] As to the late ministry,

and he turned scornfully
chap. XXI.} 1766. Jan.
towards Grenville, who sat within one of him, ‘every capital measure they have taken is entirely wrong. To the present ministry, to those, at least, whom I have in my eye,’ looking at Conway and the Lords of the Treasury,1 ‘I have no objection. Their characters are fair. But pardon me, gentlemen. Youth is the season for credulity; confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom. By comparing events with each other, reasoning from effects to causes, methinks I discover the traces of overruling influences.’ This he said referring to the Duke of Newcastle.2

‘It is a long time,’ he continued, since I have attended in parliament. When the resolution was taken in the house to tax America, I was ill in bed. If I could have endured to have been carried in my bed, so great was the agitation of my mind for the consequences, I would have solicited some kind hand to have laid me down on this floor, to have borne my testimony against it. It is now an act that has passed. I would speak with decency of every act of this house, but I must beg indulgence to speak of it with freedom. The subject of this debate is of greater importance than ever engaged the attention of this house; that subject only excepted, when, nearly a century ago, it was a question, whether you yourselves were to be bond or free. The manner in which this affair will be terminated will decide the judgment of posterity on the glory of this kingdom, and the wisdom of its government during the present reign.3

As my health and life are so very infirm and

1 Butler's Reminiscences.

2 Lord Charlemont to Henry Flood, Jan. 28 (by misprint in the printed copy Jan. 8) 1766.

3 Precis in the French Archives.

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