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[399] Nugent and Welbore Ellis. ‘The American Con-
chap. XXI.} 1766 Jan.
gress at New-York,’ they argued, ‘was a federal union, assembled without any requisition on the part of the supreme power. By receiving a petition from persons so unconstitutionally assembled, the house would give countenance to a measure pregnant with danger to his majesty's authority and government.’

‘The petition,’ said Pitt, ‘is innocent, dutiful, and respectful; I see no defect in it, except that the name of one of the petitioners is Oliver. Little attention was given last year to the separate petitions of particular colonies or their agents; it might well be imagined, that a general petition, prepared and signed by able gentlemen, in whom each colony reposed confidence, would be entitled to different treatment. It is the evil genius of this country that has riveted among them the union, now called dangerous and federal. The colonies should be heard. The privilege of having representatives in parliament, before they can be taxed internally, is their birthright. This question being of high concern to a vast empire rising beyond the sea, should be discussed as a question of right. If parliament cannot tax America without her consent, the original compact with the colonies is actually broken. The decrees of parliament are not infallible; they may be repealed. Let the petition be received as the first act of harmony, and remain to all posterity on the journals of this house.’

Conway adhered to the opinions of Pitt on the subject of taxation, but thought the rules of the house forbade the reception of the petition.

Sir Fletcher Norton rose in great heat, and de-1

1 Lord Charlemont to Henry printed date is erroneously given Flood, London, Jan. 28, 1766. The as Jan. 8.

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