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[178] taxes on America, he was at variance with his col-
chap. IX.} 1764. Jan.
leagues, whose rashness he moderated, and whose plan of government he opposed, and with the whole body of colonial office holders, to whose selfishness he refused to minister. So the plans of Halifax and Charles Townshend, for the time, fell to the ground Grenville had but one object, to win the support on the landed gentry, whose favor secured majorities in parliament, and gave a firm tenure of office. He was narrow-minded and obstinate; but it was no part of his intention to introduce despotic government into the New World.

For a moment the existence of the ministry itself was endangered. All parties joined in condemning the writings of Wilkes; and even the extreme measure of his expulsion from his seat in parliament, was carried with only one dissentient vote.1 The opposition, with great address, proceeded to an abstract question

on the legality of general warrants. They were undoubtedly illegal. Grenville himself was sure of it. He sought, therefore, to change the issue and evade the question by delay; and insisted that a single branch of the legislature ought not to declare law; that to do so would be an encroachment on the power of parliament, and on the functions of the judiciary, before which the question was pending. Norton, the attorney-general, said, harshly, that in a court of law the opinion of the House of Commons was worth no more attention than that of so many drunken porters; but Grenville defended his well-chosen position with exceeding ability, and was said to have outdone himself.2

1 Grenville Papers, II. 258.

2 Grenville

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