asked a friend of Grenville
‘No,’ said Franklin
‘I believe not.’—‘Then,’ continued the interrogator, with Charles Townshend
for a listener, ‘may they not, by the same interpretation of their common rights, as Englishmen, as declared by Magna Charta
and the Petition of Right, object to the parliament's light of external taxation?’—And Franklin
answered instantly; ‘They never have hitherto.
Many arguments have been lately used here to show them that there is no difference, and that, if you have no right to tax them internally, you have none to tax them externally, or make any other law to bind them.
At present they do not reason so; but in time they may be convinced by these arguments.’
On the twentieth of February—while the newspapers of New-York
were that very morning1
reiterating the resolves of the Sons of Liberty, that they would venture their lives and fortunes to prevent the Stamp Act from taking place, that the safety of the colonies depended on a firm union of the whole,— the ministers at a private meeting of their supporters, settled the resolutions of repeal which even Charles Townshend
was present to accept, and which, as Burke
believed, he intended to support by a speech.
Early the next day, every seat in the House of Commons had been taken; between four and five hundred members attended.
was ill, but his zeal was above disease.
‘I must get up to the house as I can,’ said he; ‘when in my place, I feel I am tolerably able to remain through the debate, and cry aye to the repeal with no sickly voice;’ and he hobbled into the house on crutches, swathed in flannels;