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Gov. P-w-ll's Speech in the British Parliament, on a Motion for repealing the Duty As affecting America.

HE introductory part of this speech, for the feeming prefumption of a fingle individual, in offering propofitions to the Houfe, upon a measure wherein whole parties and bodies of men, however they may differ in other points, have concurred in an undecifive fufpenfe, is purpofely omitted; the matter of the fpeech being of fuch moment, and treated in fo juft and manerly a manner, that every apology on account of inconfiderableness and unconnection, of inability to fpeak in public, and of being of no party, or wifhing to be of any, how neceffary foever before the Houfe, is altogether indifferent to the public,-proceed we then to

the matter.

There is, fays the governor, a general diffatisfaction and uneafinefs, as well here as in America, at our falling back into that controverfy and contest between the government and the colonies, which we were once fo happily delivered from. All now are convinced that there are no means of deciding the controverfy; that there are no hopes of putting an end to the contest. Every event that arifes, raifes fresh dimculties; nothing but power can ●perate, and that can operate only to mifJanuary, 1770.

chief. Power, thus ufed, will inflame

cause, and every further exertion of that power will only prefs the people closer together, and render more intense and ardent that heat with which they are already inflamed.

There is, in the minds of men, an univerfal apprehenfion of the dangerous confequences of this ftate of things; there is a reluctance in all, and a determination in moft men againft ufing power. All look for fome mode of policy. Nay, I will venture further, to fay, that all feem to be agreed in what that policy ought to be.

Namely, That we take the firft occafion, which offers, to get back again to that old fafe ground of adminiftration, on which the American affairs were conducted until within a few years of experiment. People differ only as to the occafion and the time which may lead to this. They fay, we will take the proper occafion, when the proper time comes, when we fee the proper ground we will repeal thefe revenue laws, that we may get back again to the old ground.

But, Sir, times and occations are not in our power, we cannot make them; when they arife, and are in event, all we



have to do is to profit by them. If now, Sir, I can fhew that this is the proper occafion, the very crisis in which government fhould interpofe to extricate itfelf with honour and fafety, perhaps the only occafion in which it can fo interpofe, I fhall not only vindicate myself for having made the motion at this time, but if I can explain this truth, with that conviction with which it lies in my own breaft, I fhall be able to perfuade the house, to act allo upon this occafion.

That this point of time, this crifis, may be feen as it ftands formed in itself, in all its relations, and in all its confequences, it will be neceflary to mark every line which leads to this point, this crifis.

law which declares it---And if I could think myself capable of propofing any thing which might derogate from this, even in an Iota, I fhould not only think myself unworthy of being a member of this House, but even a member of the community. When, therefore, people fay that when the colonies recede, the proper occafion will arife, wherein the govern ment of Great-Britain may concede; I say that occafion never can arife. Great Britain ought never to concede, if by those conceffions are meant the giving up any of their rights or power, which are necefjary to the fupremacy and fovereignty--nor is it what the colonies either with, defile, or expect. They only wish to hold under this fupremacy thote rights which they have hitherto enjoyed, and to exercife them in the manner in which they have been hitherto permitted to use them.-

And firit, of the fovereignty and fupremacy of parliaments. That is a line from which you ought never to deviate, which ought never to be out of fight. The parliament hath, and ever will have, from the nature and effence of the conftitution, a fovereign fupreme power and jurifdiction over every part of the dominions of the ftate, to make laws in all cafes whatsoever; this is a propofition which exifts of abfolute neceflity-its truth is intuitive, and need not be de monstrated---and yet there may be times and occafions when this ought to be declared and held forth to the eyes and no. tice of the fubject---Such was the time when the law declaring this power was made---it enacted nothing new---it declared no power that did not exist before--but it was like the hoifting your colours, the fixing your ftandard, to which all true patriots of this country might repair, under which they might arrange themfelves, and to which the duty and obedience of all might be directed---And as you cannot, as you ought not, to give up the least, the most inconfiderable point of this right, of this power thus claimed, fo ought you not, fo can ye not lower thefe colours one inch, nor remove your ftandard for a moment--

Although this declaratory law is no part of the fuperftructure of the edifice of our conftitution, yet, S, it is a vifible sign and symbol of its fovereignty affixed to it, and if ever any one, now it is fo fixed as a fymbol on the edifice, fhould attempt to erase, or to remove it, the whole edifice would fall to pieces.

This, Sir, is my idea of the fovereignty of parliaments, this is my idea of the

§ Let us then fee what is the cafe; you bave not only declared this your power, but you have exerted this your power, by paffing laws for railing a revenue for the fupport of civil government in the colonies, independent of the people of those colonies. This mode of providing for the fupport of civil government, although there can be no doubt in the right and power of the taxes by which the provision is intended to be made, yet it operates as a revocation of the rights and privileges of the legislatures of thofe colonies, as they have been permitted hitherto to enjoy them---It is a total change in the manner in which they have been hitherto permitted to exercife them; it is a moving of old boundaries; and you have done it by a law that is unjuft, inefficient, and directly contrary to all the principles of commerce respecting your own intereft.


The legiflatures of the colonies have been hitherto permitted to hold that check and controul upon the government, under which the people, whom they reprefent, live, that they have granted, appropriated, and held the difpofal of the provifion for its fupport. And although they complain of their being aggrieved in having this power taken from them, yet they have fubmitted to your authority, have manifefted their obedience to your laws, and have paid your taxes. They have indeed petitioned against the exercife of this power of raifing a revenue for this purpofe, yet they obeyed before they complained; and if they were all now actu


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Although they think themselves aggrieved-yet you command their duty in their act and deed, and even defpotifm itElf cannot command the will.

They are at the lowest point of fubmiffion. If you endeavour to prefs them down by one hair's breadth lower, like a fpring they will fly all to pieces,----and they will never be brought to the fame point again.

They have humbled themselves in hopes,
in confidence, that as you are tout, you
will be merciful—but if you continue to
exert your ftoutnefs, you will find them
as fturdy as they have been humble. If
you will not accept their submission now
they are at your feet, from the moment
that you reject their fubmission, from that:
moment you will never be able to govern
them.-They will not oppose power to
your power, they will not go into any act
of edition, they will not commit any acts
of treafon; but they will be impractica-

There have been ftrange violences and
outrage in America, the winds have beat-
en hard, the ftorm has been high. The
ftate, like a hip, hath been driven into
extreme danger, amidit fhoals and break-
ers- but the people are now in a state of
fubmiffion-they are in fufpenfe-all is
peace-there is a lull at this moment;
now then is the moment to refit your rig,
ging, to work out the veffel from amidit
thele breakers, and to get her under way,
in her old fafe courfe, and you may bring
ber to the harbour that you wish.

Thus of their obedience, that it is
now at this crifis, at the very lowest point
that it ever will be; fo, on the other hand,
of your power, it is now at its height
You have in the plenitude of your power
ly rejected the petitions of the colo-
nies, but you have renounced the princi-
ples which thofe petitions contain, and yet
they continue to obey to this hour-At
this hour therefore, there remains nothing
that opposes your authority, nothing that
militates against the principles of your fo
vereignty, nothing that can be fuppofed
to influence or limit your power. Every
movement mult, now at this hour, derive
its fpring from the vigour of your own
principles alone. The principles of your

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own wildom, juftice and policy can alone actuate you. The people of the colonies are waiting for the iffue of this eventand as it is now in your power, and rests wholly upon your own difcretion, it is now perhaps alone (commanding the points of your own honour) that you will be able to choose your own ground with fafety.

Matters are now brought to a crisis, at which they never will be again; if this occafion is now loft, it is loft for ever. If this feffion elapfes with parliament's do ing nothing, American affairs will perhaps be impracticable for ever after.You may exert power, but you can never govern an unwilling people; they. will be able to obstruct and pervert every effort of your policy; they will render ineffectual every exertion of your govern ment; and will shut up every fource, one after another, by which you should derive any benefit or advantage from them.~

1. As your authority and power has its: full effect at this time

2. As the people have fubmitted-are paying the taxes--and are at peace

3. As you have rejected their applica tions, and have renounced their princi ples.—

4. As nothing remains to oppose, ar to obftruct, the vigour of your own principles.


5. As you are at this hour, at perfect liberty and mafters of your own motives.. This is the proper time, the proper occafion that you should take to recur only to yourselves, to your own motives, to the, principles of commerce, policy and jus tice

As there is nothing from without that can obftruct your own motions, inquire what there is within yourselves that obftructs the way, and prevents your getting back again to that old ground, on which you have, for fo many years, fafely and happily flood; examine and you will find that nothing but this unjust, in-, efficient and injudicious law (made in the 7th year of his prefent majesty) does prevent you

Examine first what are the mixims and

principles of the police of commerce, with which government hath acted towards the colonies for a century paft; they can no where better be defcribed than they are in the act for encouraging trade, paffed in the 15th year of the reign of Charles II. That act points out that the true fpi

A 2



Speech on the American Revenue Acts.

rit of law for regulating trade between
this country, and its colonies, is,

1. To maintain a greater correfpond-
ence and kindness between them and us--
2. To keep them thereby in a firmer

3. To fecure the vent of English goods and manufactures in the colonies

4. To make this kingdom a staple for the produce of the colonies, and a market for those fupplies which are neceffary for them

5. To render them more advantageous and beneficial to this country, and to keep them and their trade to ourselves alone

Now, Sir, will one fay that this revenue act, of his prefent majefty's reign, hath a tendency to maintain a greater kindness and correfpondence between this kingdom and the colonies-has it not had a direct contrary effect ?—I speak only to fact.

Will any one fay that the spirit of this act, and the measures taken to carry it in to execution, have had a tendency to keep the colonies in a firmer dependency upon us-have they not, cn the contrary, fhaken that dependency to the very root?

Will any one fay that it hath a tendency to promote the vent of British goods and manufactures in the colonies on the contrary, have not the people in every colony upon the continent, come to one general agreement, not to import any British goods upon which any of thefe duties are laid, in addition to that arbitrary price which we, by our monopoly, are enabled to demand ?—

Will any one fay that duties, thus laid on your own merchandizes and manufactures exported to America, do not operite to a certain degree, as a prohibition against your own prudence and labour, and as a premium and encouragement to that of the colonies-has it not had that effe&t?

Have these measures a tendency to render this country a ftaple for the produce of America, and a market for the fupplies neceffary to it-on the contrary, has it not opened the way to a contraband fupply from foreign markets?

Will any one fay that under all these circumstances, the colonies are rendered more beneficial and advantageous to us, or that we are not taking the direct way to break the intercommunion of trade and


commerce between us, inftead of fecuring the monopoly of it?

Let us therefore view in this light, and. and justice, the American revenue act, of by thofe principles of police, commerce majesty, which hath occafioned all this the 7th year of the reign of his prefent your getting back again to your old ground uneafinefs-which obftructs the way to which is unjust in its purport, ineffici ent as a measure of finance, and the laws of commerce, as they stand rein direct oppofition to every principle of operates lated to the mother country.

Ift. As it proposes to raise a revenue lonies, independent of the people, it is for the fupport of government in the cocontrary to, and is a revocation of that fyftem of rights and privileges on which the government of the colonies hath been established.--That establishment hath from the beginning given to them the fame the public, by their legislatures having check and controul upon the fervants of the granting and disposal of the provision for the fupport of government, as parliament hath here-and as the fubject in both cafes hath been always hitherto efleges, the plan of political liberty hath teemed to have the fame rights and privibeen always the fame in both cafes, although the fcale is lefs-but this meafure dency to revoke and change the whole of brought forward by this law, hath a tenthat fyftemand as it is unneceffary it is unjult, and a grievance in every degree.

2d. It is unjust as demanding fuch a nately, when feveral provinces have alrevenue from all the colonies indifcrimiready made ample and adequate provifion for this very purpose, conformable to the royal inftructions, by acts which have received the royal confirmation. The inftruction which I believe hath been conftantly given to every governor of every province, fays, "that the governor muit

"fion, by a permanent law, without lirequire the legislature to make provi"mitation of time, for the fupport of "the adminiftration of justice, for the "civil government in that province, of and other defence for the protection of "making and repairing fortifications, his majesty's dominions.".

Mark first, that every purport of this jetty, is contained in this inftruction; and revenue act, of the 7th of his prefent ma


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