of business, passionate, and capable of cruelty in
defence of authority; at variance with Bute, and speaking of his colleague, the Duke
, as ‘a headstrong, silly wretch.’1
To these was now added the fearless, eloquent and impetuous Charles Townshend
, trained to public life, first in the Board of Trade, and then as secretary at war—a statesman who entered upon the gravest affairs with all the courage of eager levity, and with a daring purpose of carrying difficult measures with unscrupulous speed.
No man in the House of Commons was thought to know America
so well; no one was so resolved on making a thorough change in its constitutions and government.
‘What schemes he will form,’ said the proprietary of Pennsylvania
‘we shall soon see.’
But there was no disguise about his schemes.
He was always for making thorough work of it with the colonies.
James the Second, in attempting the introduction of what was called order into the New World, had employed the prerogative.
, in 1753, had tried to accomplish the same ends by the royal power, and had signally failed.
It was now settled that no tax could be imposed on the inhabitants of a British plantation but by their own assembly, or by an act of parliament;3
and though the ministers readily employed the name and authority of the king, yet, in the main, the new system was to be enforced by the transcendental power of the British parliament.