« ПретходнаНастави »
be true in England, and false everywhere else? Is it not true in Ireland ? Has it not hitherto been true in the Colonies ? Why should you presume that, in any
country, a body duly constituted for any function will 5 neglect to perform its duty and abdicate its trust? Such
a presumption would go against all governments in all modes. But, in truth, this dread of penury of supply from a free assembly has no foundation in nature; for
first, observe that, besides the desire which all men have 10 naturally of supporting the honor of their own govern
ment, that sense of dignity and that security to property which ever attends freedom has a tendency to increase the stock of the free community. Most may be taken
where most is accumulated. And what is the soil or 15 climate where experience has not uniformly proved that
the voluntary flow of heaped-up plenty, bursting from the weight of its own rich luxuriance, has ever run with a more copious stream of revenue than could be squeezed
from the dry husks of oppressed indigence by the strain20 ing of all the politic machinery in the world ?
Next, we know that parties must ever exist in a free country. We know, too, that the emulations of such parties — their contradictions, their reciprocal necessi
ties, their hopes, and their fears — must send them all. 25 in their turns to him that holds the balance of the State.
The parties are the gamesters; but Government keeps the table, and is sure to be the winner in the end. When this game is played, I really think it is more to be feared
that the people will be exhausted, than that government 30 will not be supplied; whereas, whatever is got by acts
of absolute power ill obeyed, because odious, or by contracts ill kept, because constrained, will be narrow, feeble, uncertain, and precarious.
“Ease would retract Vows made in pain, as violent and void."
I, for one, protest against compounding our demands. I declare against compounding, for a poor limited sum, the immense, ever-growing, eternal debt which is due to generous government from protected freedom. And so may I speed in the great object I propose to you, as I 5 think it would not only be an act of injustice, but would be the worst economy in the world, to compel the Colonies to a sum certain, either in the way of ransom or in the way of compulsory compact.
But to clear up my ideas on this subject: a revenue 10 from America transmitted hither — do not delude yourselves — you never can receive it; no, not a shilling. We have experience that from remote countries it is not to be expected. If, when you attempted to extract revenue from Bengal, you were obliged to return in loan what 15 you had taken in imposition, what can you expect from North America ? For certainly, if ever there was a country qualified to produce wealth, it is India; or an institution fit for the transmission, it is the East India Company. America has none of these aptitudes. If 20 America gives you taxable objects on which you lay your duties here, and gives you, at the same time, a surplus by a foreign sale of her commodities to pay the duties on these objects which you tax at home, she has performed her part to the British revenue. But with regard 25 to her own internal establishments, she may, I doubt not she will, contribute in moderation. I say in moderation, for she ought not to be permitted to exhaust herself. She ought to be reserved to a war, the weight of which, with the enemies that we are most likely to have, must 30 be considerable in her quarter of the globe. There she may serve you, and serve you essentially.
For that service — for all service, whether of revenue, trade, or empire — my trust is in her interest in the British Constitution. My hold of the Colonies is in the 35 close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties which, though light as air, are
as strong as links of iron. Let the Colonists always keep 5 the idea of their civil rights associated with your government, — they will cling and grapple to you, and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood that your
government may be one thing, and their privileges 10 another, that these two things may exist without any mutual relation, the cement is gone — the cohesion is loosened — and everything haştens to decay and dissolution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the
sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of 15 liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common
faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have;
the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect 20 will be their obedience. Slavery they can have any
where — it is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain; they may have it from Prussia. But, until you become lost to all feeling of your true in
terest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have 25 from none but you. This is the commodity of price of
which you have the monopoly. This is the true Act of Navigation which binds to you the commerce of the Colonies, and through them secures to you the wealth of
the world. Deny them this participation of freedom, 30 and you break that sole bond which originally made, and must still preserve, the unity of the Empire. Do not entertain so weak an imagination as that your registers and your bonds, your affidavits and your sufferances,
your cockets and your clearances, are what form the 35 great securities of your commerce. Do not dream that your letters of office, and your instructions, and your suspending clauses, are the things that hold together the great contexture of the mysterious whole. These things do not make your government. Dead instruments, passive tools as they are, it is the spirit of the English com- 5 munion that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It is the spirit of the English Constitution which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, unites, invigorates, vivifies every part of the Empire, even down to the minutest member.
10 Is it not the same virtue which does everything for us here in England ? Do you imagine, then, that it is the Land Tax Act which raises your revenue ? that it is the annual vote in the Committee of Supply which gives you your army? or that it is the Mutiny Bill which inspires 15 it with bravery and discipline ? No! surely no! It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government, from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedi- 20 ence without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber.
All this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians who have no place among us; a sort 25 of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material, and who, therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and master 30 principles which, in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned, have no substantial existence, are in truth everything, and all in all. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together. If we are conscious of our 35 station, and glow with zeal to fill our places as becomes our situation and ourselves, we ought to auspicate all our public proceedings on America with the old warning of the church, Sursum corda! We ought to elevate our 5 minds to the greatness of that trust to which the order of providence has called us. By adverting to the dignity of this high calling our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire, and have made the
most extensive and the only honorable conquests — not 10 by destroying, but by promoting the wealth, the number,
the happiness, of the human race. Let us get an American revenue as we have got an American empire. English privileges have made it all that it is; English
privileges alone will make it all it can be. 15 In full confidence of this unalterable truth, I now, quod
felix faustumque sit, lay the first stone of the Temple of Peace; and I move you — "That the Colonies and Plantations of Great Britain in North
America, consisting of fourteen separate governments, and containing two millions and upwards of free inhabitants, have not had the liberty and privilege of electing and sending any Knights and Burgesses, or others, to represent them in the High Court of Parliament."