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[115]

‘An extra-judicial opinion of the King's Minis-

Chap. XXXI.} 1768. Jan.
ter,’ answered Johnson, ‘or even of the King's Privy Council, cannot determine whether any particular Act is within that proviso or not; this must be decided by a court of law having jurisdiction of the matter, about which the law in question is conversant. If the General Assembly of Connecticut should make a law flatly contradictory to the statute of Great Britain, it may be void; but a declaration of the King in Council would still make it neither more nor less so, but be as void as the law itself, for other words in the Charter clearly and expressly exclude them from deciding about it.’

‘I have not seen these things,’ said Hillsborough, ‘in the light in which you endeavor to place them. You are in danger of being too much a separate, independent State, and of having too little subordination to this country.’ And then he spoke of the equal affection the King bore his American subjects, and of the great regard of the Ministers for them as Britons, whose rights were not to be injured.

‘Upon the repeal of the Stamp Act,’ said Johnson, ‘we had hoped these were the principles adopted; but the new duties imposed last winter, and other essential regulations in America, have damped those expectations and given alarm to the Colonies.’

‘Let neither side,’ said Hillsborough, ‘stick at small matters. As to taxes, you are infinitely better off than any of your fellow-subjects in Europe. You are less burdened than even the Irish.’

‘I hope that England will not add to our burdens,’ said Johnson; ‘you would certainly find it redound to your own prejudice.’

Thus for two hours together, they reasoned on

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