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[47] concealed his intention. Knowing the King's dislike
Chap. XXVII.} 1767. Jan.
of Shelburne, he took advantage of his own greater age, his authority as the ablest orator in the House of Commons, his long acquaintance with American affairs, and the fact that they turned chiefly on questions of finance, to assume their direction. His ambition deceived him into the hope of succeeding where Grenville had failed; and in concert with Paxton, from Boston, he was devising a scheme for a Board of Customs in America, and duties to be collected in its ports. He would, thus obtain an American fund for a civil list, and concentre the power of government, where Grenville looked only for revenue. He expected his dismissal if Chatham regained health; and he also saw the clearest prospect of advancement by setting his colleagues at defiance. He therefore prepared to solve the questions of Asia and America in his own way; and trod the ground which he had chosen with fearless audacity. On the twenty-sixth day of January, the House of Commons, in Committee of Supply, considered the estimates for the land forces and garrisons in the Plantations. Grenville seized the opportunity to declaim on the repeal1 of the Stamp Act. He enforced the necessity of relieving Great Britain from a burden which the Colonies ought to bear, and which with contingencies exceeded £ 400,000; reminding the country gentlemen that this sum was nearly equal to one shilling in the pound of the land tax. He spoke elaborately; and against Chatham was even more rancorous than usual.2

‘Administration,’ replied Townshend, ‘has applied ’

1 De Guerchy to the Duke of Choiseul, 27 Jan. 1767.

2 Beckford to Chatham, 27 Jan. 1767.

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