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[189] ‘desirous to make some provision in the pre-
chap. IX.} 1764. April.
sent session of parliament toward raising the said revenue’1

Grenville, who put on the appearance of candor, endeavored to gain acquiescence in the proposed stamp act; and when the agents waited upon him, to know what could be done to avert it, he answered:

I have proposed the resolution in the terms that parliament has adopted, from a real regard and tenderness for the subjects in the colonies. It is highly reasonable they should contribute something towards the charge of protecting themselves, and in aid of the great expense Great Britain put herself to on their account. No tax appears to me so easy and equitable as a stamp duty.2 It will fall only upon property, will be collected by the fewest officers, and will be equally spread over America and the West Indies.3 What ought particularly to recommend it is the mode of collecting it, which does not require any number of officers vested with extraordinary powers of entering houses, or extend a sort of influence which I never wished to increase. The colonists now have it in their power, by agreeing to this tax, to establish a precedent for their being consulted before any tax is imposed on them by parliament;4 for their approbation of it being signified to parliament next year, when the tax comes to be imposed, will afford a forcible argument for the like proceeding in all such cases. If they think any

1 Burke on American Taxation.

2 W. Knox.

3 Israel Mauduit, in Mass. Hist. Collections, IX. 270.

4 William Knox, agent for Georgia: The Claim of the Colonies to an Exemption from Internal Taxes imposed by authority of Parliament Examined; in a Letter from a Gentleman in London to his Friend in America, 33, 34.

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