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vague, inconclusive, inoffensive Address. But the declaration of Pitt on that night appears to have decided the American questions. It fixed at once the wavering minds among the Ministers, and induced them unanimously, after a brief interval, to bring in two Bills in respectful compliance with the councils of the Great Commoner, — the one Bill absolutely to repeal the Stamp Act, — the other declaratory of the supreme power of Parliament over the Colonies. The first step, however, was to lay upon the table (this was on the very night of the Address) large extracts from the recent correspondence with America. Next were presented petitions from the traders of London, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester*., and other considerable towns, stating that the colonists were indebted to the merchants of this country to the amount of several millions sterling, that up to this time they had always faithfully made good their engagements, but that now they declared their inability to do so on account of the interruption of their commerce through the oppression of the Stamp Act; and therefore relief from that grievance was prayed, not for the sake of the Colonies, but even for the advantage of the parent-state. Further still, evidence to the same effect was received at the Bar from several persons well acquainted with the subject; above all, from Dr. Franklin, the most eminent by far of the Americans then in England. His examination which is still preserved, and which included some sharp cross-questioning from Grenville, is a monument of his ready shrewdness and practical ability. Most strongly did he urge the distinction between internal and external taxation; the former, he said the colonists would always resist; the latter they had never questioned. “Now,” he was asked, “is there any kind of “difference between a duty on the importation of goods and “an excise on their consumption?” – “Yes,” answered * This is one of the earliest instances in our history in which Manchester appears as a place of much importance. General Conway stated in the February ensuing that in consequence of the American troubles nine in

ten of the artisans in that town had been discharged from employment. (Lord Orford's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 296.) ~ *


Franklin, “a very material one. An excise, for the reasons “I have just mentioned, the Americans think you can have “no right to lay within their country. But the sea is yours; “you maintain by your fleets the safety of navigation in it, “and keep it clear of pirates; you may therefore have a na “tural and equitable right to some toll or duty on merchan“dize carried through that part of your dominions towards' “defraying the expense you are at in ships to maintain the “safety of that carriage.” Most skilfully again did Franklin parry what might see an unanswerable argument against his countrymen's claim; the fact that some of their own Charters contradicted it. “I “know —,” he said, when closely pressed on the case of Pennsylvania, the very province which he represented: — “I know there is a clause in the Charter by which the King “grants that he will levy no taxes on the inhabitants unless “it be with the consent of the Assembly or by an Act of Par“liament.” – “How then could the Assembly of Pennsylva“nia assert that laying a tax on them by the Stamp Act was “an infringement of their rights?”—“They understand it “thus: by the same Charter and otherwise they are entitled “to all the privileges and liberties of Englishmen. They “find in the Great Charters and the Petition and Declaration “of Rights that one of the privileges of English subjects is “that they are not to be taxed but by their common consent. “They have therefore relied upon it from the first settlement “of the provinee that the Parliament never would or could, “by colour of that clause in the Charter, assume a right of “taxing them till it had qualified itself to exercise that right “by admitting representatives from the people to be taxed, “who ought to make a part of that common consent.” Dr. Franklin likewise took occasion to describe with great force and effect the resolution of the colonists to refrain, unless the Stamp Act were repealed, from any further use of British manufactures. In that case they were fully determined, he said, to make hereafter the cloth for their own clothes. He was asked whether they could possibly find wool enough in North America? But here again he was ready with an answer: — “They have taken steps to “increase the wool. They entered into general combination “to eat no more lamb, and very few lambs were killed last “year. This course persisted in will soon make a prodigious “difference in the quantity of wool. And the establishing of “great manufactories like those in the clothing towns here is “not necessary, as it is where the business is to be carried “on for the purposes of trade. The people will all spin and “work for themselves in their own houses.” The examination of Dr. Franklin concluded with two striking replies, no doubt concerted beforehand with the Member who put the questions: “What used to be the pride “of the Americans?”—“To indulge in the fashions and ma“nufactures of Great Britain.” – “What is now their “pride?”—“To wear their old clothes over again till they “can wear new ones.” + Amidst so numerous petitions and such weighty warnings there were laid before both Houses the Resolutions on which the Declaratory Act was to be founded. The Ministers, no doubt, had desired-to frame them in most exact conformity with the expressed opinions of Pitt. But they found the Law Advisers of the Crown, backed by the high authority of Mansfield, denounce as fantastic and untenable the distinction laid down by the Great Commoner between taxation and legislation. Nor was that distinction welcome to any one party in the House of Commons. Accordingly the Ministers thought it expedient or found it necessary to state the authority of Parliament over the Colonies without any such reservation, and as extending to all cases whatsoever. In discussing the Resolutions Pitt adhered to his opinion, though owning the difficulty and intricacy of the subject, and though anxious, as he said, for an unanimous vote. * The exmination of Dr. Franklin has been often printed. As it stands in the last and best edition of his Works (Mr. Sparks's) there is appended a note by Franklin himself, giving an account of the Members who put the 1766. . THE DECLARATORY BILL. 145

questions, and of his concert with some of them. (Vol. iv. p. 199, ed. 1840.)


Two Members only spoke in his support; and either in patriotism or in prudence he forbore from a division. In the Upper House, however, his friend Lord Camden took precisely the same ground of argument: “My position is this,” he cried, – “I repeat it, — I will maintain it to my last “hour, – taxation and representation are inseparable. This “position is founded on the laws of nature, nay more, it is “itself an eternal law of nature....... There is not a blade “of grass growing in the most obscure corner of this king“dom which is not, which was not ever, represented since “the Constitution began; there is not a blade of grass which “when taxed was not taxed by the consent of the proprie“tor!”* At the close Lord Camden divided the House against the question, when only four Peers (Lords Shelburne, Paulet, Cornwallis, and Torrington) were found to vote with him. Thus then the obstacles encountered by the Declaratory Bill in its progress proved to be of no formidable kind. But with the repeal of the Stamp Act the case was directly otherwise. A large party combined against that healing measure. First, the chiefs of the late administration, Mr. Grenville in one House, the Duke of Bedford and Lord Sandwich in the other, opposed it with the utmost acrimony. Next, there declared against it many independent country gentlemen, who deemed it, and not without reason, a precedent of the most dangerous kind; indeed it could only be justified by such an emergency as had occurred. Lastly, Lord Bute with his kinsmen and countrymen, as likewise many persons both in and out of office, being those who were popularly termed the King's Friends, threw their weight into the scale against it. From this and other indications it was fancied that the King's private feelings were for maintaining and en

* This speech of Lord Camden, as probably corrected by himself, was published at the time in the Political Register (vol. i. p. 282.) to the great ire of Mr. Grenville, who, on account of some of its expressions, wished to proceed against the printer. (See Parl. Hist., vol. xvi. p. 178.) “Lord “Camden in the Lords divine — but one voice about him,” says Mr. Pitt in a letter to his wife. (Chatham Papers, vol. ii. p. 363., where, however, the editor has supplied the erroneous date of Jan, 15, 1766.)

Malon, History, W, 10

forcing at all hazards the Act. In this, however, as in many other points at that period, the public voice did His Majesty injustice. His views in fact agreed with those which Lord Mansfield had formed, - to retain the Stamp Act in name, but to let go the greater part of the impost, repealing or amending every clause that could be deemed inconvenient or oppressive. On one occasion the King clearly explained himself to this effect, speaking to Lord Strange in the presence of Lord Rockingham: “My Lord, the question asked “me by my Ministers was whether I was for enforcing the “Act by the sword, or for the repeal? Of the two extremes I “was for the repeal, but most certainly preferred modifica“tion to either.” # It was therefore no light occasion, after all this stir of feelings, after all this clash of interests, when Conway in the name of the Government rose in the House of Commons and moved for leave to bring in a Bill to repeal the Stamp Act. It was understood that even this preliminary step would be opposed. The House was full of Members, while merchants from all the great ports thronged the gallery, the lobby, and the stairs. Conway performed his part with judgment and good feeling. He lamented and condemned the popular outrages that had occurred in some parts of America. He declared that the Ministers would insist, according to a Resolution already passed in both Houses, on the Colonies making compensation to all persons whose property had suffered by those outrages. But at the same time he pointed out the danger of attempting to maintain a hateful impost on the other side of the Atlantic. In that case, he said, the Americans would neither take any more of our goods nor pay for those they had already. We had but five thousand men in three thousand miles of territory; the Americans were a hundred and fifty thousand fighting men. If we did not repeal the Act he predicted that both France and

* Lord Orford's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 289. Lord Strange was then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

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