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‘ [4] but of an empire more extensive than that of Rome;
Chap. XXV.} 1766. May.
not of three legions, but of whole nations.’1

No party in England could prevent an instantaneous reaction. Pitt had erected no stronger bulwark for America than the shadowy partition which divides internal taxation from imposts regulating commerce; and Rockingham had leapt over this slight defence with scorn, declaring the power of Parliament to extend of right to all cases whatsoever. But they who give absolute power, give the abuse of absolute power; —they who draw the bolts from the doors and windows, let in the robber. When the opinions of Bedford and Grenville became sanctioned as just principles of constitutional law, no question respecting their policy remained open but that of its expediency; and country gentlemen, if they had a right to raise a revenue from America, were sure that it was expedient to ease themselves of one fourth of their land-tax by exercising the right. The Administration were evidently without vitality; ‘they are dead and only lying in state,’ was the common remark. Conway avowed himself eager to resign;2 and Grafton not only threw up his office, but, before the House of Lords, addressing the Prime Minister, who regarded the ascendency of the old whig aristocracy as almost a part of the British constitution, called on him to join in a willingness to be content with an inferior station, for tile sake of accomplishing a junction of the ablest and most experienced statesmen of the country.3

On the resignation of Grafton, Conway, with his accustomed indecision, remained in office, but seized

1 Lloyd's Conduct of the Late Administration, &c., &c.

2 Conway to Grafton, 23 April, 1766, in Grafton's Autobiography.

3 See Grafton's own account of the incident in his Autobiography.

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