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‘ [59] of Parliament itself; and that its authority must be
Chap. Xxviii} 1767. Feb.

By this time the friends of Grenville, of Bedford and of Rockingham, men the most imbittered against each other by former contests, and the most opposite in character and tendencies, were ready to combine to aim a deadly blow at the existing Ministry, whatever might be the consequence of its destruction.2 During the war, and ever since, the land-tax had been at the nominal rate of four shillings in the pound, in reality at but about nine pence in the pound. On Friday, the twenty-seventh of February,3 Dowdeswell, the leader of the Rockingham party, regardless of his own policy when in the treasury and his knowledge of the public wants, proposed a reduction in the land tax, nominally of a shilling, but really of only about nine farthings in the pound. Grenville, with more consistency, supported4 the proposal, which, it was generally thought, must bring in its train a tax on the Colonies.5 The question was treated in the debate, as one between the Americans and the landed interest of England; and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was reminded of his pledge to derive this very year some revenue from America. On the division Edmund Burke, ‘too fond of the right’ to vote against his conscience, and not enough fond of it to vote against his party, staid away; the united factions of the aristocracy mustered two hundred

1 Garth to the Committee of South Carolina, 12 March 1767; Walpole, II. 418.

2 Compare Grenville in his Diary, Papers, IV. 214.

3 Even in Grenville's Diary dates can be wrong. Grenville Papers, IV. 211; King to Conway, 27 Feb. 1767, in Albemarle, II. 430; Grafton to Chatham, 28 Feb.; King to Chatham, 3 March.

4 Guerchy to Choiseul, 3 March, 1767.

5 Letter from London, of 4 April 1767, in Boston Gazette, 637, 2, 1, 15 June 1767.

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