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[423] tending to enforce the execution of all acts, meaning
chap. XXIII.} 1766. Feb.
specially the Stamp Act.

With instant sagacity, Pitt, who at the time was far too ill to be in the house and yet was impelled by a sense of duty to be present, seized the advantage thus unwisely offered, and called on the house not to order the enforcement of the Stamp Act, before they had decided the question of repeal. The request was reasonable, was pressed by him with winning candor and strength of argument, and commended itself to the good sense and generous feeling of the independent members of the house.

‘I shudder at the motion,’ cried the aged General Howard, while the crowded house listened as if awed into silence; ‘I hope it will not succeed, lest I should be ordered to execute it. Before I would imbrue my hands in the blood of my countrymen, who are contending for English liberty, I would, if ordered, draw my sword, but would sooner sheathe it in my own body.’ Nugent argued that giving way would infuse the spirit of resistance into the Irish. Charles Townshend, boasting that he had not yet declared as to whether he should vote for or against the repeal, seizing the safe opportunity of winning an advantage over Grenville, praised the general purport of his proposal, and yet censured him vehemently for anticipating the decision of the house. Grenville remained obdurate, and denounced curses on the ministers who should sacrifice the sovereignty of Great Britain over her colonies. He had expected great support. Sandwich had estimated the strength of the Bedfords at one hundred and thirty; their new allies had claimed to be eighty or ninety; and now, though Lord Granby, and all the Scotch and the king's friends, voted with

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