convinced me that the British parliament have no‘I can never give my assent to any bill for taxing the American colonies, while they remain unrepresented; for, as to the absurd distinction of a virtual ’
right to tax the Americans. The declaratory bill, now lying on your table, is 1766 absolutely illegal; contrary to the fundamental laws of nature; contrary to the fundamental laws of this constitution: a constitution grounded on the eternal and immutable laws of nature; a constitution, whose foundation and centre is liberty, which sends liberty to every subject, that is, or may happen to be, within any part of its ample circumference. Nor, my lords, is the doctrine new; it is as old as the constitution; it grew up with it; indeed it is its support; taxation and representation are inseparably united; God hath joined them; no British parliament can separate them; to endeavor to do it, is to stab our very vitals. My position is this; I repeat it; I will maintain it to my last hour; taxation and representation are inseparable. Whatever is a man's own, is absolutely his own; no man hath a right to take it from him without his consent, either expressed by himself or his representative; whoever attempts to do it, attempts an injury; whoever does it, commits a robbery. Taxation and representation are coeval with, and essential to this constitution. I wish the maxim of Machiavel was followed, that of examining a constitution, at certain periods, according to its first principles; this would correct abuses, and supply defects. I wish the times would bear it, and that men's minds were cool enough to enter upon such a task, and that the representative authority of this kingdom was more equally settled.
chap. XXIV.} 1766. Mar.
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