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have rights in taxation as well as yourselves; rights they will claim, which they will exercise, whenever the principle can be supported by power.
There is an idea in some, that the colonies are virtually represented in this house. I would fain know by whom an American is represented here? Is he represented by any knight of the shire, in any county in this kingdom? Would to God that respectable representation was augmented to a greater number. Or will you tell him that he is represented by any representative of a borough,-a borough which, perhaps, no man ever saw ? That is what is called the rotten part of the constitution. It cannot continue a century. If it does not drop it must be amputated. The idea of a virtual representation of America in this house, is the most contemptible idea that ever entered into the head of man.-It does not deserve a serious consideration.
The commons of America, represented in their seve, ral assemblies, have ever been in possession of the exercise of this, their constitutional right, of giving and granting their own money. They would have been slaves if they had not enjoyed it. At the same time, this kingdom, as the supreme governing and legislative power, has always bound the colonies by her laws, by her re. gulations, and restrictions in trade, in navigation, in manufactures, in every thing, except that of taking their money out of their pockets without their consent. Here I would draw the line,
Quam ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum. He concluded with a familiar voice and tone, but so low that it was not easy to distinguish what he said. A considerable pause ensued after Mr. Pitt had done speaking
The following is a neat, clear, logical, and I think masterly speech
on the subject. Nothing could be put in a more simple or forcible manner.
His Speech on the Taxation of America.
He began with censuring the ministry very severely, for delaying to give earlier notice to parliament of the disturbances in America. He said they began in July, and now we are in the middle of January ; lately they were only occurances; they are now grown to disturbances, to tumults, and riots. I doubt they border on open rebellion; and if the doctrine I have heard this day be confirmed, I fear they will lose that name, to take that of a revolution. The government over them being dissolved, a revolution will take place in America. I can. not understand the difference between external and internal taxes. They are the same in effect, and differ only in name. That this kingdom has the sovereign, the supreme legislative power over America, is granted. It cannot be denied; and taxation is a part of that sovereign power. It is one branch of the legislation. It is, it has been exercised, over those who are not, who were never represented. It is exercised over the India Company, the merchants of London, and the proprietors of the stocks, andover great manufacturing towns. It was exercised over the county palatine of Chester, and the bishoprick of Durham, before they sent any representatives to parliament. I appeal for proof to the preambles of the acts which gave them representatives; one in the reign of Henry VIII. the other in that of Charles II. He then quoted the acts, and desired they might be read ; which being done, he said : When I proposed to tax America, I asked the house, if any gentleman would object to the right; I repeatedly asked
it, and no man would attempt to deny it. Protection and obedience are reciprocal. Great Britain protects America, America is bound to yield obedience. If not, tell me when the Americans were emancipated ? When they want the protection of this kingdom, they are always very ready to ask it. That protection has always been afforded them in the most full and ample manner. The nation has run itself into an immense debt to give them this protection; and now they are called upon to contribute a small share towards the public expence, an expence arising from themselves, they renounce your authority, insult your officers, and break out, I might almost say, in open rebellion.
The seditious spirit of the colonies owes its birth to factions in this house. Gentlemen are careless of the consequences of what they say, provided it answers the purposes of opposition.
We were told we trod on tender ground; we were bid to expect disobedience. What was this, but telling the Americans to stand out against the law, to encourage their obstinacy with expectation of support from hence ? let us only hold out a little, they would say, our friends will soon be in power. Ungrateful people of America ! bounties have been extended to them. When I had the honour of serving the crown, while you yourselves were loaded with an enormous debt, you have given bounties on their lumber, on their iron, their hemp, and many other articles. You have relaxed, in their favour, the act of navigation, that palladium of British commerce; and yet I have been abused in all the public papers as an enemy to the trade of America. I have been particularly charged with giving orders and instructions to prevent the Spanish trade, and thereby stopping the channel by which alone North America used to be supplied with cash for remittances for this country. I defy any man to produce any such orders or instructions. I discouraged no trade but what was illicit, what was prohibited by act of parliament. I desire a West India
merchant, well known in this city, (Mr. Long,) a gentleman of character, may be admitted. He will tell you, that I offered to do every thing in my power to advance the trade of America. I was above giving an answer to anonymous calumnles; but in this place, it becomes me to wipe off the aspersion.
His Speech in Reply.
Mr. Pitt said, I do not apprehend I am speaking twice; I did expressly reserve a part of my subject, in order to save the time of this house ; but I am compelled to proceed in it. I do noť speak twice ; I only mean to finish what I designedly left imperfect. But if the house is of a different opinion, far be it from me to indulge a wish of transgression against order. Here he paused, the house resounding with, go on, go on-he proceeded :
Gentlemen, sir, (to the speaker) I have been charged with giving birth to the sedition in America. They have spoken their sentiments with freedom against this unhappy act, and that freedom has become their crime, Sorry I am to hear the liberty of speech in this house, imputed as a crime. But the imputation shall not discourage me. It is a liberty I mean to exercise.
No gentleman ought to be afraid to exercise it--it is a Jiberty by which the gentleman who calumniates it might have profited, by which he ought to have
profited. He ought to have desisted from his project. The gentleman tell us America is obstinate ; America is almost in open rebcllion. I rejoice that America has resisted. Three millions of people, so dead to all feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would have been fit
instruments to make slaves of the rest. I come not here armed at all points, with law cases and acts of parliament, with the statute book doubled down in dogs'-ears, to defend the cause of liberty : if I had, I myself would have cited the two cases of Chester and Durham : I would have cited them, to have shewn that even under the most arbitrary reigns, parliaments were ashamed of taxing people without their consent, and allowed them repre. sentatives. Why did the gentleman confine himself to Chester and Durham ? He might have taken a higher example in Wales; Wales, that never was taxed by parliament till it was incorporated. I would not debate a particular point of law with the gentleman: I know his abilities: I have been obliged by his diligent researches. But for the defence of liberty upon a general principle, upon a constitutional principle, it is a ground upon which I stand firm ; on which I dare meet any man.
The gentleman tells us of many who are taxed, and are not represented. The India Company, merchants, stock-holders, manufacturers. Surely many of these are represented in other capacities, as owners of land, or as freemen of boroughs. It is a misfortune that more are not actually represented. But they are all inhabitants, and, as such, are virtually represented. Many have it in their option to be actually represented. They have connections with those that elect, and they have influence over them. The gentleman mentioned the stock-holders. I hope he does not reckon the debts of the nation a part of the national estate. Since the accession of king William, many ministers, some of great, others of more moderate abilities, have taken the lead of government. He then went through the list of them, bringing it down till he came to himself, giving a short sketch of the characters of each of them. None of these, he said, thought or ever dreamed of robbing the colonies of their constitutional rights. That was reserved to mark the era of the late administration : not that there were wanting some, when I had the honour