The ministers are advised to tax America by act of parliament.—Newcastle's administration.
such was America
, where the people was rapidly
It was the moment when the aristocracy of England
, availing itself of the formulas of the Revolution of 1688, controlled the election of the House of Commons, and possessed the government.
To gain a seat in parliament, the Great Commoner himself1
was forced to solicit the nomination and patronage of the duke of Newcastle
On the death of Henry Pelham
, in March, 1754, Newcastle
, to the astonishment of all men, declaring he had been second minister long enough, placed himself at the head of the treasury;2
and desired Henry Fox
then secretary at war, to take the seals and conduct
the House of Commons.
The ‘political adventurer,’ who had vigor of mind and excelled in quick and concise replication, asked to be made acquainted with the disposition of the secret service money.
‘My brother,’ said Newcastle
, ‘never disclosed the disposal of that money, neither will I.
’ ‘Then,’ rejoined Fox
, ‘I shall not know how to talk to members of parliament, when some may have received gratifications, others not.’
He further inquired, how the next parliament, of which the election drew near, was to be secured.
‘My brother,’ answered Newcastle
, ‘had settled it all.’
declining the promotion offered him, the inefficient Holdernesse
was transferred to the Northern Department; and Sir Thomas Robinson
, a dull pedant, lately a subordinate at the Board of Trade, was selected for the Southern
, with the management of the new House of Commons. ‘The duke,’ said Pitt
, ‘might as well send his jackboot to lead us.’
abounded in noted men. Besides Pitt
, and Fox
, and Murray
, the heroes of a hundred magnificent debates, there was ‘the universally able’3 George Grenville
; the solemn Sir George Lyttleton
, known as a poet, historian and orator; Hillsborough
, industrious, precise, well meaning, but without sagacity; the arrogant, unstable Sackville
, proud of his birth, ambitious of the highest stations; the amiable, candid, irresolute Conway
, confident in his ability, and flushed with
Then, too, the young Lord North, welleducated, abounding in good-humor, made his entrance into public life with such universal favor, that every company resounded with the praises of his parts and merit.
had computed what he might dare; at the elections, corruption had returned a majority devoted to the minister who was incapable of settled purposes or consistent conduct.
The period when the English
aristocracy ruled with the least admixture of royalty or popularity was the period when the British
empire was the worst governed.
One day, a member, who owed his seat to bribery, defended himself in a speech full of wit, humor, and buffoonery, which kept the House
in a continued roar of laughter.
With all the fire of his eloquence, and in the highest tone of grandeur, Pitt
, incensed against his patron, gave a rebuke to their mirth.
‘The dignity of the House of Commons,’ he cried, ‘has, by gradations, been diminishing for years, till now we are brought to the very brink of the precipice, where, if ever, a stand must be made, unless you will degenerate into a little assembly, serving no other purpose than to register the arbitrary edicts of one too powerful subject.’4
‘We are designed to be an appendix to——I know not what; I have no name for it,’—meaning the House of Lords.
Thus did Pitt
oppose to corrupt influence his genius and his gift of speaking well.
Sir Thomas Robinson
, on the same day, called on his majority to show spirit.
‘Can gentlemen,’ he demanded, ‘can
merchants, can the House
bear, if eloquence alone is
to carry it?
I hope words alone will not prevail;’5
and the majority came to his aid. Even Fox
, who ‘despised care for the constitution as the object of narrow minds,’6
complained to the heir of the Duke
, that, ‘taking all share of power from the Commons is not the way to preserve Whig liberty.
The Lords stand between the crown and the privilege of both peers and commons;’ ‘after we are nothing,’ he continued, addressing the great chieftains of the Whig
clans, ‘you will not long continue what you wish to be.’7
George the Second, the aged king, was even more impatient of this thraldom to the aristocracy, which would not leave him a negative, still less an option in the choice of his servants.
‘The English notions of liberty,’ thought he, ‘must be somewhat singular, when the chief of the nobility choose rather to be the dependents and followers of a Duke of Newcastle
than to be the friends and counsellors of their sovereign.’8
The king was too old to resist; but the first political lessons which his grandson, Prince George, received at Leicester House, were such a use of the forms of the British constitution as should emancipate the royal authority from its humiliating dependence on a few great families.
and Prince George became allies, moving from most opposite points against the same influence—Pitt wishing to increase the force of popular representation, and Leicester House to recover independence for the prerogative.
These tendencies foreshadowed an impending
change in the great Whig party of England
fires had gone out; the ashes on its altars were grown cold.
It must be renovated or given over to dissolution.
It had accomplished its original purposes, and was relapsing into a state of chaos.
Now that the principle of its former cohesion and activity had exhausted its power, and that it rested only on its traditions, intestine divisions and new combinations would necessarily follow.
The Whigs had, by the Revolution of 1688, adjusted a compromise between the liberty of the industrial classes and the old feudal aristocracy, giving internal rest after a long conflict.
With cold and unimpassioned judgment they had seated the House of Hanover
on the English
throne, in the person of a lewd, vulgar and ill-bred prince, who was neither born nor educated among them, nor spoke their language, nor understood their constitution; and who yet passively gave the nameof his House
as a watchword for toleration in the church, freedom of thinking and of speech, the security of property under the sanction of law, the safe enjoyment of English liberty.
They had defended this wise and deliberate act against the wounded hereditary affections and the monarchical propensities of the rural districts of the nation; till at last their fundamental measures had ceased to clash with the sentiment of the people, and the whole aristocracy had accepted their doctrines.
, afterwards Lord Mansfield, called himself a Whig, was one of the brightest ornaments of the party, and after Hardwicke
, their oracle on questions of law. Cumberland
, and the Marquis
, were all reputed Whigs.
So were George and Charles Townshend
, the young Lord North, Grenville
On the vital elements
of civil liberty, the noble families which led the several factions had no systematic opinions.
They knew not that America
, which demanded their attention, would amalgamate the cause of royalty and oligarchy, and create parties in England
on questions which the Revolution of 1688 had not even considered.
It was because the Whig party at this time had proposed to itself nothing great to accomplish, that it was possible for a man like Newcastle
to be at its head; with others like Holdernesse, and the dull Sir Thomas Robinson
, for the secretaries of state
The new system of governing America became one of the first objects of their attention; and, with the inconsiderate levity, rashness, and want of principle that mark imbecile men in the conduct of affairs, they were ever ready to furnish precedents for future measures of oppression.
ministry proceeded without regard to method, consistency, or law.
The province of New York had replied to the condemnation of its policy, contained in Sir Danvers Osborne
's instructions, by a well-founded impeachment of Clinton
for embezzling public funds and concealing it by false accounts; for gaining undue profits from extravagant grants of lands, and grants to himself under fictitious names; and for selling civil and military offices.
These grave accusations were neglected.
But the province had also complained that its legislature had been directed to obey the king's instructions.
They insisted that such instructions, though a rule of conduct to his governor, were not the measure of obedience to the people; that the rule of
obedience was positive law; that a command to grant
money was neither constitutional nor legal; being inconsistent with the freedom of debate and the rights of the assembly, whose power to prepare and pass the bills granting money, was admitted by the crown.9
It was under these influences that the Assembly of New York, in a loyal address to the king, had justified their conduct.
administration trimmed between the contending parties.
It did not adopt effective measures to enforce its orders; while it yet applauded the conduct of the Board of Trade,10
and summarily condemned the colony by rejecting its address.11
But the opinion of the best English lawyers12
became more and more decided against the legality of a government by royal instructions; encouraging the Americans
to insist on the right of their legislatures to deliberate freely and come to their own conclusions; and on the other hand leading British statesmen to the belief, that the rule for the colonies must be prescribed by an act of the British parliament.
The feebleness of the ministry, in which there was not one single statesman of talent enough to avoid a conflict with France
, encouraged the ambition of that power.
At the same time it was seen that the people of America
, if they would act in concert, could advance the English
flag through Canada
and to the Mississippi
; and, as a measure of security against French encroachments, Halifax
, by the king's command,13
proposed an American union.14
and permanent revenue,’ with a proper adjustment of quotas, was to be determined by a meeting of one commissioner from each colony.
In electing the commissioners, the council, though appointed by the king, was to have a negative on the assembly, and the royal governor to have a negative on both.
The colony that failed of being represented was yet to be bound by the result.
Seven were to be a quorum, and of these a majority, with the king's approbation, were to bind the continent.
The executive department was to be intrusted to one commander-in-chief
, who should, at the same time, be the commissary-general
for Indian affairs.
To meet his expenses, he was ‘to be empowered to draw’ on the treasuries of the colonies for sums proportionate to their respective quotas.
A disobedient or neglectful province was to be reduced by ‘the authority of parliament;’ and the interposition of that authority was equally to be applied for, if the whole plan of union should be defeated.15
Such was the despotic, complicated, and impracticable plan of Halifax
, founded so much on prerogative, as to be at war with the principles of the English
Nor was any earnest effort ever made to carry it into effect.
It does but mark in the mind of Halifax and his associates, the moment of that pause, which preceded the definitive purpose of settling all questions of an American revenue, government, and union, by what seemed the effective, simple, and uniform system of a general taxation of
America by the British
The secretary of
state and the Board continued, as before, to enjoin a concert among the central provinces for their defence, and, as before, the king's command was regarded only as proposing subjects for consideration to the colonial legislatures.
‘If the several assemblies,’ wrote Penn
, ‘will not make provision for the general service
, an act of parliament may oblige them here.’16
‘The assemblies,’ said Dinwiddie
, of Virginia
, ‘are obstinate, self-opinionated; a stubborn generation;’ and he advised ‘a poll-tax on the whole subjects in all the provinces, to bring them to a sense of their duty.’17
Other governors, also, ‘applied home’ for compulsory legislation;18
, of Maryland
, who was well informed, held it ‘possible, if not probable, that parliament, at its very next session, would raise a fund in the several provinces by a poll-tax,’ or by imposts, ‘or by a stamp-duty,’ which last method he at that time favored.19
These measures were under consideration while the news was fresh of Washington
's expulsion from the Ohio valley
Listening to the instance of the House of Burgesses
, the king instructed the Earl
, then governor-in-chief of that Dominion, to grant lands west of the great ridge of mountains which separates the rivers Roanoke
, and Potomac
from the Mississippi
, to such persons as should be desirous of settling them, in small quantities
of not more than a thousand acres for any one person.
From the settlement of this tract it was represented that great additional security would be derived against the encroachments of the French
seemed to have in charge the colonization of the west; and became the mother of states on the Ohio
and the Tennessee
But the ministry still doubting what active measures to propose, sought information21
of Horatio Gates
, a young and gallant officer just returned from Nova Scotia
He was ready to answer questions, but they knew not what to ask. On the advice of Hanbury, the quaker agent in England
for the Ohio Company, they appointed Sharpe
, of Maryland
, their general.
would have taken Pitt
‘Your Grace knows,’ he replied, ‘I have no capacity for these things.’22 Horace Walpole
, the elder, advised energetic measures to regain the lost territory.23 Charles Townshend
would have sent three thousand regulars with three hundred thousand pounds, to New England
, to train its inhabitants in war, and, through them, to conquer Canada
After assuming the hero, and breathing nothing but war, the administration confessed its indecision; and in October, while England
's foolish prime minister was sending pacific messages ‘to the French
administration, particularly to Madame de Pompadour
and the Duke de Mirepoix
the direction and conduct of American affairs was left entirely to the Duke
, then the captaingeneral of the British
The French ministry desired to put trust in the
solemn assurances of England
Giving discretionary power in case of a rupture, they instructed Duquesne
to act only on the defensive;25
to shun effusion of blood, and to employ Indian war-parties only when indispensable to tranquillity.
, of which the population was but little above eighty thousand, sought security by Indian alliances.
Chiefs of the Six Nations were invited to the colony,26
and, on their arrival, were entreated, by a very large belt of wampum from six nations of French Indians
, to break the sale of lands to the English
on the Ohio
‘Have regard,’ they cried, ‘for your offspring; for the English
, whom you call your brothers, seek your ruin.’
Already the faithless Shawnees
the most powerful tribe on the Ohio
, made war on the English
, and distributed English scalps and prisoners among the nations who accepted their hatchet.
Fond of war, ‘the cruel and sanguinary’ Cumberland
entered on his American career with eager ostentation.
He was heroically brave and covetous of military renown, hiding regrets at failure under the aspect of indifference.28
Himself obedient to the king, he never forgave a transgression of ‘the minutest precept of the military rubric.’29
In Scotland, in 1746, his method against rebellion was ‘threatening military execution.’
‘Our success,’ he at that time complained to Bedford
, ‘has been too rapid.
It would have been better for the extirpation of this
rabble, if they had stood.’
‘All the good we have
done,’ he wrote to Newcastle
, ‘has been a little bloodletting.’30
His attendant, George Townshend
, afterwards to be much connected with American affairs, promised his friends still ‘more entertainment’ in the way of beheading Scotchmen
on Tower Hill
; and he echoed Cumberland
, as he wrote, ‘I wish the disaffection was less latent, that the land might be more effectually purged at once.’31
For the American major-general
and commanderin-chief, Edward Braddock
was selected, a man in fortunes desperate, in manners brutal, in temper despotic; obstinate and intrepid; expert in the niceties of a review; harsh in discipline.32
As the duke had confidence only in regular troops, it was ordered33
that the general and field officers of the provincial forces should have no rank, when serving with the general and field-officers commissioned by the king.
Disgusted at being thus arrogantly spurned, Washington
retired from the service, and his regiment was broken up.
The active participation in affairs by Cumberland
again connected Henry Fox
with their direction.
This unscrupulous man, having ‘privately foresworn all connection with Pitt
,’ entered the cabinet without appointment to office, and, as the most efficient man in the ministry, undertook the conduct of the House of Commons.
Desiring to introduce into the English
service the exactness of the German discipline, and to
ground his despotism in an appearance of law, Cum-
berland had caused the English Mutiny Bill
to be revised, and its rigor doubled.
On a sudden, at a most unusual period in the session, Fox
showed Lord Egmont a clause for extending the Mutiny Bill
, and subjecting the colonial militia, when in actual service, to its terrible severity.34
Egmont interceded to protect America
from this new grievance of military law; but Charles Townshend
defended the measure, and, turning to Lord Egmont, exclaimed, ‘Take the poor American
by the hand and point out his grievances.
I defy you, I beseech you, to point out one grievance.
I know not of one.’
He pronounced a panegyric on the Board of Trade, and defended all their acts, in particular the instructions to Sir Danvers Osborne
The petition of the agent of Massachusetts
was not allowed to be brought up. That to the House of Lords no one would offer;35
and the bill, with the clause for America
, was hurried through parliament.
It is confidently stated, by the agent of Massachusetts
, that a noble lord had then a bill in his pocket, ready to be brought in, to ascertain and regulate the colonial quotas.36
was persuaded of ‘the perverseness of the assemblies,’37
and inquiries were instituted relating to the easiest method of taxation by parliament.
But, for the moment, the prerogative was employed; Braddock
was ordered to exact a common revenue; and all the governors received
the king's pleasure ‘that a fund be established
for the benefit of all the colonies collectively in North America
Men in England
expected obedience; but in December, Delancey
referred to ‘the general opinion of the congress at Albany
, that the colonies would differ in their measures and disagree about their quotas; without the interposition of the British parliament to oblige them,’ nothing would be done.39
In the same moment, Shirley
, at Boston
, was planning how the common fund could be made efficient; and to Franklin
—who, in December, 1754, revisited the region in which he drew his first breath, and spent his earliest and most pleasant days,—he submitted a new scheme of union.
A congress of governors and delegates from the councils was to be invested with power at their meetings to adopt measures of defence, and to draw for all necessary moneys on the treasury of Great Britain
, which was to be reimbursed by parliamentary taxes on America
‘The people in the colonies,’ replied Franklin
‘are better judges of the necessary preparations for defence, and their own abilities to bear them.
Governors often come to the colonies merely to make fortunes, with which they intend to return to Britain; are not always men of the best abilities or integrity; have no natural connection with us, that should make them heartily concerned for our welfare.’
‘The councillors in most of the colonies are appointed by
the crown, on the recommendation of governors, fre-
quently depend on the governors for office, and are therefore too much under influence.
There is reason to be jealous of a power in such governors.
They might abuse it merely to create employments, gratify dependents, and divide profits.’
Besides, the mercantile system of England
already extorted a secondary tribute from America
In addition to the benefit to England
from the increasing demand for English manufactures, the whole wealth of the colonies, by the British Acts
of Trade, centred finally among the merchants and inhabitants of the metropolis.
Against taxation of the colonies by parliament, Franklin
urged, that it would lead to dangerous animosities and feuds, and inevitable confusion; that parliament, being at a great distance, was subject to be misinformed and misled, and was, therefore, unsuited to the exercise of this power; that it was the undoubted right of Englishmen not to be taxed but by their own consent, through their representatives; that to propose taxation by parliament, rather than by a colonial representative body, implied a distrust of the loyalty, or the patriotism, or the understanding of the colonies; that to compel them to pay money without their consent, would be rather like raising contributions in an enemy's country than taxing Englishmen for their own benefit; and, finally, that the principle involved in the measure would, if carried out, lead to a tax upon them all by act of parliament for support of government and to the dismission of colonial assemblies, as a useless part of the constitution.
next proposed for consideration the plan of uniting the colonies more intimately with Great
Britain, by allowing them representatives in parlia-
ment; and Franklin
replied, that unity of government should be followed by a real unity of country; that it would not be acceptable, unless a reasonable number of representatives were allowed, all laws restraining the trade or the manufactures of the colonies were repealed, and England
ceasing to regard the colonies as tributary to its industry, were to foster the merchant, the smith, the hatter, in America
not less than those on her own soil.
Unable to move Franklin
from the deeply-seated love of popular liberty and power which was at once his conviction and a sentiment of his heart, Shirley
turned towards the Secretary of State
, and renewed his representations of the necessity of a union of the colonies, to be formed in England
and enforced by act of parliament.
At the same time he warned against the plea of Franklin
in behalf of the Albany
plan, which he described as the application of the old charter system, such as prevailed in Rhode Island
, to the formation of an American confederacy.41
The system, said he, is unfit for ruling a particular colony; it seems much more improper for establishing a general government over all the colonies to be comprised in the union.
The prerogative is not sufficiently secured by the reservation to the crown of the appointment of a President of the Union
with a negative power on all acts of legislation.
As the old charter governments subjected the prerogative to the people, and had little or no appearance
of dependency, so the Albany
plan of union
would, in like manner, annihilate royal authority in the collective colonies, and endanger their dependency upon the crown.
parted, each to persevere in
his own opinions.
Early in 1755, Shirley
wrote to the Secretary of State
, that he was convinced of ‘the necessity not only of a parliamentary union but taxation.’42
During the winter, Sharpe
, who had been appointed temporarily to the chief command in America
, vainly solicited43
aid from every province.
, although weak and young, ‘took every opportunity to force acts contrary to the king's instructions and prerogative.’
The character of the Rhode Island
government gave ‘no great prospect of assistance.’
New York hesitated in providing quarters for British soldiers, and would contribute to a general fund only when others did. New Jersey
showed ‘the greatest contempt’ for the repeated solicitations of its aged governor.
, in Maryland
, in South Carolina
, the grants of money by the assemblies were negatived, because they were connected with the encroachments of popular power on the prerogative, ‘schemes of future independency,’ ‘the grasping at the disposition of all public money and filling all offices;’ and in each instance the veto excited a great flame.
The Assembly of Pennsylvania in March borrowed money and issued bills of credit by their own resolves, without the assent of the governor.
‘They are the more dangerous,’ said
, ‘because a future Assembly may use those
powers against the government by which they are now protected;’ and he openly and incessantly solicited the interference of England
The provincial press engaged in the strife.
‘Redress,’ said the Pennsylvania
royalists, ‘if it comes, must come from his Majesty and the British parliament.’44
also looked to the same authority, not for taxation, but for the abolition of the proprietary rule.45
The contest along the American
frontier was raging fiercely, when, in January, 1755, France
proposed to England
to leave the Ohio valley
in the condition in which it was at the epoch before the last war, and at the same time inquired the motive of the armament which was making in Ireland
, with two regiments, was already on the way to America
, when Newcastle
gave assurances that defence only was intended, that the general peace
should not be broken; at the same time, England
on its side, returning the French
proposition but with a change of epoch, proposed to leave the Ohio valley
as it had been at the treaty of Utrecht
Mirepoix, in reply, was willing that both the French
should retire from the country between the Ohio
and the Alleghanies
, and leave that territory neutral, which would have secured to his sovereign all the country north and west of the Ohio
, on the contrary, demanded that France
should destroy all her forts as far as the Wabash
, raze Niagara
and Crown Point
, surrender the peninsula of Nova Scotia
, with a strip of land twenty leagues wide along the Bay of Fundy
, and leave the intermediate country to
the St. Lawrence
a neutral desert.
Proposals so unreasonable could meet with no acceptance; yet both parties professed a desire—in which France
appears to have been sincere—to investigate and arrange all disputed points.
The credulous diplomatist put trust in the assurances46
of friendly intentions, which Newcastle
lavished upon him, and Louis the Fifteenth, while he sent three thousand men to America
, held himself ready to sacrifice for peace all but honor and the protection due to his subjects;47
consenting that New England
should reach on the east to the Penobscot
, and be divided from Canada
on the north by the crest of the intervening highlands.48
While the negotiations were pending, Braddock
arrived in the Chesapeake
In March, he reached Williamsburg
, and visited Annapolis
; on the fourteenth day of April, he, with Commodore Keppel
, held a congress at Alexandria
There were present, of the American
, now next to Braddock
in military rank; Delancey
, of New York; Morris
, of Pennsylvania
, of Maryland
; and Dinwiddie
, of Virginia
directed their attention, first of all, to the subject of colonial revenue,49
on which his instructions commanded him to insist, and his anger kindled ‘that no such fund was already established.’
The governors present, recapitulating their strifes with their assemblies, made answer, ‘Such a fund can never be established in the colonies without the aid of parliament.
found it impracticable to obtain in their respective
governments the proportion expected by his Majesty towards defraying the expense of his service in North America
, they are unanimously of opinion that it should be proposed to his Majesty's ministers to find out some method of compelling them to do it, and of assessing the several governments in proportion to their respective abilities.’50
This imposing document Braddock
sent forthwith to the ministry, himself also51
urging the necessity of some tax being laid throughout his Majesty's dominions in North America
reiterated his old advice.
recommended that the governor and council, without the assembly, should have power to levy money ‘after any manner that may be deemed most ready and convenient.’
‘A common fund,’ so Shirley
assured his American colleagues, on the authority of the British
secretary of state, ‘must be either voluntarily raised, or assessed in some other way.’
I have had in my hands vast masses of correspondence, including letters from servants of the crown in every royal colony in America
; from civilians, as well as from Braddock
, and Dunbar
, and Gage
; from the popular Delancey
and the moderate Sharpe
, as well as from Dinwiddie
; and all were of the same tenor.
The British ministry heard one general clamor from men in office for taxation by act of parliament.
Even men of liberal tendencies looked to acts of English authority for aid. ‘I hope that
Lord Halifax's plan may be good and take place,’ said Alexander
, of New York.
, governor of Rhode Island
, elected by the people, complained of the men ‘who seemed to love and understand liberty better than public good and the affairs of state.’
‘Little dependence,’ said he, ‘can be had on voluntary union.’
‘In an act of parliament for a general fund,’ wrote Shirley
, ‘I have great reason to think the people will readily acquiesce.’
, the government was more and more inclined to enforce the permanent authority of Great Britain
No Assembly had with more energy assumed to itself all the powers that spring from the management of the provincial treasury than that of South Carolina
; and Richard Lyttleton
, brother of Sir George Lyttelton
, who, in November, 1755, entered the cabinet as chancellor of the exchequer, was sent to recover the authority which had been impaired by ‘the unmanly facilities of former rulers.’
had, in January, 1755, professed the loyalty of that province, and explained the danger to their chartered liberties from proprietary instructions; but, after a hearing before the Board of Trade, the address of the colonial legislature to their sovereign, like that of New York in the former year, was disdainfully rejected.
Petitions for reimbursements and aids were received with displeasure; the people of New England
were treated as Swiss ready to sell their services, desiring to be paid for protecting themselves.
The reimbursement of Massachusetts
for taking Louisburg
was now condemned, as a subsidy to subjects who had only done their duty.
‘You must fight for your own altars and firesides,’ was Sir
's answer to the American
as they were bandied to himself from Newcastle
and from both to Halifax
alone had decision and a plan.
In July, 1755, he insisted with the ministry on a ‘general system to ease the mother country of the great and heavy expenses with which it of late years was burdened.’52
The letters from America
found the English Administration
resolved ‘to raise funds for American affairs by a stamp-duty, and a duty’ on products of the Foreign West Indies
, imported into the continental colonies.53
The English press advocated an impost in the northern colonies on West India
products, ‘and likewise that, by act of parliament, there be a further fund established’ from ‘stamped paper.’54
This tax, it was conceived, would yield ‘a very large sum.’
, an American, writing under the patronage of Charles Townshend
, urged a reform in the colonial administration, and moderate taxation by parliament, as free from ‘the risks and disadvantages of the Albany
plan of union.’55 Delancey
, in August, had hinted to the New York Assembly, that a ‘stamp-duty would be so diffused as to be in a manner insensible.’56
That province objected to a stamp-tax as oppressive, though not to a moderate impost on West India
products; and the voice of Massachusetts
was unheeded, when, in November, it began to be thoroughly alarmed, and instructed its agent ‘to oppose every thing that should have the remotest tendency to
raise a revenue in the plantations.’
Every body in
parliament seemed in favor of an American revenue that should come under the direction of the government in England
Those who once promised opposition to the measure resolved rather to sustain it, and the very next winter was to introduce the new policy.57
The civilized world was just beginning to give to the colonies the attention due to their futurity.
, the greatest British writer on ethics of his generation,—who, without the power of thoroughly reforming the theory of morals, knew that it needed a reform, and was certain that truth and right have a foundation within us, though, swayed by the material philosophy of his times, he sought that foundation not in pure reason, but in a moral sense,—saw no wrong in the coming independence of America
‘When,’ he inquired, ‘have colonies a right to be released from the dominion of the parent state?’
And this year his opinion saw the light:—‘Whenever they are so increased in numbers and strength as to be sufficient by themselves for all the good ends of a political union.’