On that, and on that alone, he main
tained an inflexible and total silence.
He never was heard even to allude to it. But, though Jenkinson
proposed the American
tax, while private secretary to Bute, and brought it with him into the treasury for adoption by Bute's successor, he was but a subordinate without power of direction or a seat in council, and cannot bear the responsibility of the measure.
Nor does the final responsibility attach to Bute;1
for the ministry had forced him into absolute retirement, and would not have listened to his advice in the smallest matter; nor to the king, for though the king approved the stamp tax and wished it to be adopted, he exerted no influence to control his ministry on the occasion; and besides, the ministry boasted of being free from sycophancy to the court.
, one of the lords of the treasury, who ordered the minute, was but a cipher; and Lord North, who supported the stamp act, himself told the House of Commons that he took the propriety of passing it very much upon the authority of Grenville
From the days of King William there was a steady line of precedents of opinion that America
should, like Ireland
, provide in whole, or at least in part, for the support of its military establishment.
It was one of the first subjects of consideration on the organization of the Board of Trade.3
It again employed the attention of the servants of Queen Anne.
It was still more seriously considered in the days of George the First; and when, in the reign of