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5th, 1770, - the retention of the Tea Duties by the House of Commons, and the bloodshed in the streets of Boston, — there ensued at this time a calm or lull in American affairs. The repeal of the other Duties by Lord North had, after all, narrowed to a slender point the grounds of difference. By a large majority of the people in a large majority of the provinces it was felt as unwise and undesirable to continue altercations with their mother country on such narrow grounds as these. Their non-importation agreement had proved far more inconvenient to themselves than had been expected or foreseen when they engaged in it. One Colony, New York, had already broken loose from the tie; and in spite of remonstrances from Boston it was gradually relinquished by the rest. Satisfaction or confidence indeed were far from being restored. But trade with England was resumed on nearly the same footing as before the Stamp Act; except only as to the article of Teas, which were either abstained from or more commonly purchased elsewhere. Thus it may be said that the next three years passed quietly over. Some districts, however, and above all Massachusetts, did not share in the general tranquillity, but continued to bear a troubled aspect. There the Government was still administered by Hutchinson, who, although an American by birth, and highly prepossessing in manners, found himself full as much assailed and upbraided and beset with controversies as was ever Sir Francis Bernard. There the course of opposition was no longer guided by Otis, who about this time became insane. His friends had with deep concern beheld him borne away in a postchaise as a maniae bound hand and foot.* But among the principal and most zealous leaders at this period may be mentioned John Hancock, James Bowdoin, Royal Tyler (most unaptly named!), and the two

* Dr. Gordon's History, vol. i. p. 308. I observe that Mr. John Adams in his private Diary from time to time mentions Otis with no high respect. Thus, Dec. 23. 1765: “Otis is fiery and feverous; he is liable to great “ inequalities of temper, sometimes in despondency and sometimes in a “rage.” Thus again, Sept. 3. 1769: “Otis talks all; he grows the most . ion alive; no other gentleman in company can find space to put n a word.”


Adams, Samuel and John; these were distant kinsmen and close friends, and both men of much ability, but far different in character; the first a demagogue; the second a statesman. In April this year the term of Wilkes's sentence having expired, he was set free from the King's Bench. Some riots had been apprehended on that occasion as tokens of the popular joy, but any such he prudently prevented by going for several days out of town. On his return he was sworn in to fill his new office of Alderman, and eagerly embarked in the full stream of City politics. The Common Council indeed and the Court of Aldermen comprised many of his most strenuous partisans and brother agitators, – at their head William Beckford now again Lord Mayor. It was their pride or their policy at this juncture to strain to the utmost their ancient right of presenting Addresses to the King, to be received by His Majesty in person and in state, – a privilege enjoyed by no other City Corporation in England, and shared only with both Houses of Parliament and both the Universities. First came a Petition, to pray that Parliament might be dissolved, and to protest against every vote of the House of Commons as invalid since the exclusion of Wilkes. Next in the month of March followed a Remonstrance to the same effect, but of widerscope andless respectful language, especially inveighing against a “secret and malign influence” at Court. The King, as was proper, and as his Ministers advised him, answered them in terms of high displeasure. But vain was the Royal rebuke. Wain was a Resolution passed by a large majority of the House of Commons, and levelled at them and their language. Not at all disconcerted by either censure they speedily came forward with a second Remonstrance still more vehement than the former, — again complaining of secret influence, — again calling for a Dissolution of Parliament.* This second Remonstrance was presented at St. James's on the 23d of May by Lord Mayor Beckford, attended by the Aldermen and Common Councillors. In all these cases, it was customary to transmit to Court by a private hand a copy of the intended Address, so that the King might consult and be prepared. Thus, as usual, His Majesty was ready with an answer to read; it was on this occasion brief and firm, referring to the sentiments he had lately expressed, and declaring that they continued unchanged. No sooner had the King concluded than to the general astonishment the Lord Mayor stepped forward and asked leave to say a few words. The King, like every other person present, was taken by surprise, and neither granted nor yet refused the permission thus suddenly sought. Beckford them proceeded boldly to declare that His Majesty had no subjects more loyal or more affectionate than the citizens of London. Should any man dare to insinuate the contrary, or attempt to alienate His Majesty's affections from them, “that man,” continued Beckford, “is an enemy to your Majesty's person “and family, a violator of the public peace, and a betrayer “of our happy Constitution as it was established at the “glorious Revolution!” Such at least was Beckford's own account of his expressions, but there is great reason to think that in the hurry of his spirits at the time he did not really utter all that he intended or supposed.* The King, with proper dignity, forbore from making any answer; but, according to the usual form, allowed the citizens in withdrawing to kiss his hand. This extemporaneous address on the part of the Lord Mayor was most unprecedented, and surely also most unconstitutional. For if it be in truth a paramount maxim of our Constitution that the King can do no wrong, and that his words are to be taken as only the words of his Ministers, what course can be more plainly repugnant to that maxim than the endeavour to draw His Majesty into a personal

* It is supposed that this Remonstrance was drawn up by Lord Chatham. (Lord Orford's Memoirs, vol. iv. p. 153.) It is certain at least that he entirely approved it. (Chatham Papers, vol. iii. p. 459.)

* It is remarkable that Horace Walpole writing only the day afterwards, mentions “my Lord Mayor's volunteer speech” as being “wondrous “loyal and respectful.” (To Sir H. Mann, May 24, 1770.)


altercation, and obtain from him an answer, on which he could not have consulted his official servants? Or supposing that answer an improper one, in what manner or on what plea could the Government have been arraigned for it? Yet so prevalent was party spirit at this juncture that two days afterwards the Common Council by a large majority of votes approved and applauded the behaviour of Beckford. Beckford himself died in less than a month from this time from a violent fever into which, it is said, his blood had been thrown by the agitation of his spirits. In honour to his memory the citizens voted that his statue should be placed in their Guildhall, and they also decided that the words which he had ventured to speak to the King on the 23d of May should be engraved upon the pedestal. And there they remain to this day. The death of Beckford was a grievous blow to his party in the City, - strong as he had been in wealth, in boldness, in recent reputation, in the confidence and friendship of Chatham. As heir to his enormous fortune he left an only son, Lord Chatham's god-child, then a boy ten years of age *, afterwards well known in a sphere wholly different from his father's — the author of Wathek, - the fastidious man of taste, – the fantastic decorator of Ramalhao and Fonthill. To supply the loss of Beckford during the remainder of his year of Mayoralty his party selected their next best man, Barlow Trecothick, a rich merchant engaged in the American trade; one of Beckford's brother-members for the City, and like Beckford also an occasional speaker in the House of Commons. s Amidst the difficulties and embarrassments which at this period from so many quarters and so many causes beset the Ministry, it would be strange indeed if Ireland had not contributed her share. Lord Townshend, a man of more ability than sound judgment, was now Viceroy. He had obtained a vote for the augmentation of the army by a public and solemn promise on the part of the Crown that not less than twelve thousand effective men should at all times be kept in Ireland, unless in cases of invasion or rebellion in Great Britain. Such a pledge afforded scope for many Opposition attacks in England. “An absurd dishonourable condition!” cried Lord Chatham. “The army is the thunder of the “Crown. But the Ministers have tied up the hand which “should direct the bolt!” “ Not long afterwards, however, there ensued a misunderstanding with the House of Commons on the ground of privilege. They rejected a Money Bill because it had not taken its rise with themselves, but had been sent over by the English Privy Council. This pretension on their part was deemed a direct infraction of the Act of Henry the Seventh for the government of Ireland, known by the name of Poyning's Law. The Lord Lieutenant, after applying to England for instructions, suddenly, and with a public reproof, prorogued the Parliament for some months, – to the great detriment, they said, of its business, and certainly to the great displeasure of its Members. This measure also gave rise to angry attacks in the British Parliament. Why not dissolve instead of proroguing? cried the Opposition. Yet had a different course been taken no doubt the same gentlemen would have asked with equal earnestness: Why not prorogue instead of dissolving?” In the course of this autumn the administration found itself suddenly freed from two of its most formidable adversaries by the deaths of Lord Granby and Mr. Grenville. They expired within a month of each other, each scarcely * Speech of January 22. 1770. See also in Cavendish Mr. Grenville's and Colonel Barré's speeches of May 3. in the same year. There were only five thousand men in Ireland before. ** Cavendish Debates, vol. i. p. 552–560. Some Members it seems mourned over the good old times of Henry the Seventh. “The Honourable “Gentleman,” said Lord North, referring to Mr. Boyle Walsingham, “has

** Three years later Lord Chatham thus describes him to his own son William : “Little Beckford is just as much compounded of the elements of “air and fire as he was. A due proportion of terrestrial solidity will, I “trust, come and make him perfect." (Burton Pynsent Oct. 9, 1773.) . .

“contrasted the present times with those of Henry the Seventh, when Ire*land was so well governed.”

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