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[125] new ministers by whom his colonial policy was to be
Chap. Xlviii} 1775. Aug.
changed, had the option between repealing the tax as an act of justice to the colonies, or repealing it as a measure of expediency to Britain. The first was the choice of Pitt, and its adoption would have ended the controversy; the second was that of Rockingham. He abolished the tax, and sent over assurances of his friendship; but his declaratory act established as the rule for the judiciary and the law of the empire, that the legislative power of parliament reached to the colonies in all cases whatsoever. This declaration opened the whole question of the nature of representation, and foreshadowed a revolution or peaceful reform in America and in England. In 1688 the assertion of the paramount power of parliament against a king, who would have sequestered all legislative liberty, was a principle of freedom; but in the eighteenth century, the assertion of the absolute power of a parliament acting in concert with the king was to frame an instrument of tyranny. The colonies denied the unqualified authority of a legislature in which they were not represented; and when they were told that they were as much represented as nine tenths of the people of Britain, the discussions which followed awakened the British people from that day to complain unceasingly of the inadequate composition of a parliament, in whose election nine tenths of them had no voice whatever.

The agitation of reform for England was long deferred; the question was precipitated upon America. In the very next year, Charles Townshend, resuming the system which he had advocated in the administration

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