The supplies voted for the first year of peace
amounted to seventy millions of dollars; and the publie charges pressed heavily on the lands and the industry of England
New sources of revenue were required; and, happily for America
, an excise on cider and perry, by its nature affecting only the few counties where the apple was much cultivated, divided the country members, inflamed opposition, and burdened the estates of some in the House of Lords.
opposed the tax as ‘intolerable.’
The defence of it fell upon Grenville
, who treated the ideas of his brother-in-law on national expenses with severity.
He admitted that the impost was odious.
‘But where,’ he demanded, ‘can you lay another tax?
Tell me where; tell me where;’ and Pitt
made no answer, but by humming audibly—
Gentle shepherd, tell me where.
‘The house burst out into a fit of laughter which continued some minutes.’1 Grenville
, very warm, stood up to reply; when Pitt
, ‘with the most contemptuous look and manner,’ rose from his seat, made the chairman a low bow, and walked slowly out of the house.2
Yet the ministry persevered, though the cider counties were in a flame; the city of London
, proceeding beyond all precedent, petitioned Commons, Lords, and King
against the measure; and the cities of Exeter
instructed their members to oppose it. The House of Lords divided upon it; and two protests against it appeared on their journals.3
Thus, an English tax, which came afterwards to be regarded as