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The final debate on the repeal ensued. Grenville

chap. XXIV.} 1766. Mar.
and his party still combated eagerly and obstinately. ‘I doubt,’ said Pitt, who that night spoke most pleasingly, ‘I doubt if there could have been found a minister who would have dared to dip the royal ermine in the blood of the Americans.’ ‘No, sir,’ replied Grenville, with personal bitterness, ‘not dip the royal ermine in blood, but I am one who declare, if the tax was to be laid again, I would do it; and I would do it now if I had to choose; it becomes doubly necessary, since he has exerted all his eloquence so dangerously against it.’ It marks the times and the character of that House of Commons, that with the momentous discussion on questions interesting to the freedom of England, America, and mankind, was mingled a gay and pleasing conversation on ministerial intrigues, in which it was assumed of the actual ministry, and openly spoken of in their presence, that they, by general consent, were too feeble to have more than a fleeting existence. A letter was also read foretelling that Pitt was to come into power. ‘How,’ said Pitt, ‘could that prophet imagine any thing so improbable, as that I, who have but five friends in one house, and in this am almost single and alone, should be sought for in my retreat?’ But Pitt had never commanded more respect than now. He had spoken throughout the winter with the dignity of conscious pre-eminence, and had fascinated his audience; and being himself of no party, he had no party banded against him.

At midnight the question was disposed of by a vote of two hundred and fifty against one hundred and twenty-two. So the House of Commons, in the Rockingham ministry, sanctioned the principles

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