‘Gentlemen,’ he exclaimed in his fervor, while
floods of light poured from his eyes, and the crowded assembly stilled itself into breathless silence; ‘Sir,’ he continued, ‘remembering to address the speaker, have been charged with giving birth to sedition in America
They have spoken their sentiments with freedom against this unhappy act, and that freedom has become their crime.
Sorry I am to hear the liberty of speech in this house imputed as a crime.
But the imputation shall not discourage me. It is a liberty I mean to exercise.
No gentleman ought to be afraid to exercise it. It is a liberty by which the gentleman who calumniates it might and ought to have profited.
He ought to have desisted from his project.
The gentleman tells us America
is obstinate; America is almost in open rebellion.
I rejoice that America
At the word, the whole house started as though their hands had been joined, and an electric spark had darted through them all.
I rejoice that America has resisted.
If its millions of inhabitants had submitted, taxes would soon have been laid on Ireland;1 and if ever this nation should have a tyrant for its king, six2 millions of freemen, so dead to all the feelings of liberty, as voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would be fit instruments to make slaves of the rest.
I come not here armed at all points with law cases and acts of parliament, with the statute-book doubled down in dogs' ears, to defend the cause of liberty; if I had, I would myself have cited the two cases of Chester and Durham, to show, that even under arbitrary reigns, parliaments were ashamed of taxing a people