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[182] opinions1 of Sir Robert Walpole, and questioned the
chap. IX.} 1764. Mar.
wisdom of deriving a direct parliamentary revenue from America. ‘Many members of the House of Commons declared against the stamp-duty, while it was mere matter of conversation.’2 Nor could Grenville have been ignorant that Pitt had in vain been urged to propose an American Stamp-Tax. The force of the objection derived from the want of representation on the part of America did not escape the consideration of Grenville. He accepted the theory of the British Constitution, which regarded the House of Commons as a representative body. In his inner mind he recognised, and to one friend he confessed, the propriety of allowing America representation in the body by which it should be taxed, and at least wished that parliament would couple the two measures. But he shunned the responsibility of proposing such a representation; and chose to risk offending the colonies, rather than forfeit the favor of parliament. He looked about him, therefore, as was always his method, for palliatives, that he might soothe the colonies, and yet gratify the landed gentry.

It was under such circumstances that Thomas Penn, one of the proprietaries of Pennsylvania, with Allen, a loyal American, then Chief Justice of Pennsylvania under a proprietary appointment, and Richard Jackson, sought an interview with Grenville. They seem to have offered no objection to the intended new act of trade; but reasoned against entering on a system of direct taxation. The stamp-duty, they said, was an internal regulation; and they entreated that it might be postponed till some sort of consent

1 Opinion of Sir Robert Walpole in the Annual Register.

2 Hutchinson, III. 116.

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