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‘ [273] with nothing less than the deprivation of American
Chap. XL.} 1769. April.
freedom. Something should be done to maintain the liberty which we have derived from our ancestors. No man should hesitate a moment, to use arms in defence of so valuable a blessing. Yet arms should be the last resource. We have already proved the inefficacy of addresses to the throne and remonstrances to Parliament. How far their attention to our rights and privileges is to be awakened or alarmed by starving their trade and manufactures, remains to be tried.’1 And counselling with George Mason, his bosom friend, he prepared a scheme to be offered at the coming session of the Virginia House of Burgesses.

While the British Ministry was palsied by indecision, Thomas Pownall, the predecessor of Bernard as Governor of Massachusetts, stepped forward in the House of Commons to propose that repeal, by which harmony could be restored. ‘So favorable an opportunity will never recur,’ said he with perfect truth. ‘The Colonies are combining against our trade and manufactures; new provocations will be given; British honor will be more deeply engaged. Let Parliament then at once, in advance of new difficulties, repeal the Act, end the controversy, and give peace to the two countries.’ Trecothick seconded the motion, dwelling on commercial reasons, and recounting the various steps in America to prevent the consumption of British manufactures, and to promote their own. ‘We will not consent,’ replied Lord North, ‘to go into the question, on account of the combinations in America. To do so would be to furnish a fresh instance of haste, ’

1 Washington to George Mason, 5 April, 1769; Writings, II. 351.

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