Imatges de pàgina
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URING the last Session of the last

Parliament, on the 19th of April, 1774, Mr. Rose Fuller, Member for Rye, made the following Motion ; That an A& made in the seventh Year of the reign of his prefent Majesty, intituled, • An Act for granting " certain Duties in the British Colonies and - Plantations in America ; for allowing a 66 Drawback of the Duties of Customs upon “ the Exportation from this Kingdom of Coffee “ and Cocoa Nuts, of the Produce of the said “ Colonies or Plantations; for discontinuing “ the Drawbacks payable on China Farthen “ Ware exported to America; and for more " effectually preventing the clandestine Run- . “ ning of Goods in the laid Colonies and Plan«stations ;" Inight be read.

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And the same being read accordingly; Ho moved, " That this House will, upon this day

sevennight, resolve itself into a Committee of "s the whole House, to take into consideration “ the duty of 3 d. per pound weight pron tea,

3 "payable in all his Majesty's Dominions in

America, imposed by the faid Act; and also « the appropriation of the said duty."


On this latter motion a warm and interest. ing debate arose, in which Mr. Edmund Burke spoke as follows:


I * Agree with the Honourable Gentleman *

who spoke last, that this subject is not new in this House. Very disagreeably to this House, very unfortunately to this Nation, and to the peace and prosperity of this whole Empire, no topic has been more familiar to us. For nine long years, feflion after feflion, we have been lashed round and round this miserable circle of occasional arguments and temporary expedients. I am fure our heads must turn, and our stomachs naufeate with them. We have had them in every shape; we have looked at them in every point of view. Invention is exhauft, ed; reason is fatigued ; experience has given

* Charles Wolfran Cornwall, Esq; lately appointed one of the Lords of the Treasury.



judgement; but obstinacy is not yet cons quered.

The Hon. Gentleman has made one endeavour more to diversify the form of this disgusting argument. He has thrown out a speech composed almost entirely of challenges, Challenges are serious things; and as he is a man of prudence as well as resolution, I dare say he has very well weighed those challenges before he delivered them. I had long the happiness to sit at the same side of the House, and to agree with the Hon. Gentleman on all the American questions. My sentiments, I am sure, are well known to him; and I thought I had been perfe&tly acquainted with his. Though I find myself mistaken, he will still permit me to use the privilege of an old friendship; he will permit me to apply myself to the House, under the sanction of his authority; and, on the various grounds he has measured out, to submit to you the poor opinions which I have formed, upon a matter of importance enough to demand the fullest confideration I could bestow

upon it.

He has stated to the House two grounds of deliberation; one narrow and simple, and merely confined to the question on your paper : the other more large and more complicated; comprehending the whole series of the parliamentary proceedings with regard to America, their causes, and their consequences. With regard to the latter ground, he states it as useless,

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and thinks it may be even dangerous, to enters into fo extensive a field of enquiry. Yet, to my surprize, he had hardly laid dora this restrictive proposition, to which leis authority would have given so much weight, when directiy, and with the same authority, lie condemos it; and declares it abfolutely neceffary to enter into the most ample historical detail. His zeal has thrown him a little out of his usual accuracy. In this perplexity what shall we do, Sir, who are willing to submit to the law he gives us. He has reprobated in one part of his fpecch the rule he had laid down for debate in the other; and, after narrowing thie ground for all those who are to speak after him, he takes an excurfion himself, as un, bounded as, the subject and the extent of his

great abilities.

Şir, When I cannot obcy all his laws, I will do the best I can. I will endeavour to obey fuch of them as have the fanction of his example; and to Nick to that rule, which, though not contistent with the other, is the most rational. He was certainly in the right when he took the matter !argely. I cannot prevail on myself to agree with him in his censure of his own conduct. It is not, he will give me leave to say, either useless or dangerous. He asserts, that retrospect is not wise ; and the proper, the only proper, subject of enquiry is, ' not how we got into this dif

, “ ficulty, but how we are to get out of it."


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In other words, we are, according to him, ta consult our invention, and to reject our experience. The mode of deliberation he recommends is diametrically opposite to every rule of reason, and every principle of good sense ertablished amongst mankind. For, that sense and that reason, I have always understood, absolutely to prescribe, whenever we are involved in difficulties from the measures we have pursued, that we should take a strict review of those measures, in order to correct our errors if they should be corrigible ; or at least to avoid a dull uniformity in mischief, and the unpitied calamity of being repeatedly caught in the fame snare.

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Sir, I will freely follow the Hon. Gentleman in his historical discussion, without the least management for men or measures, further than as they shall seem to me to deserve it. But before I go into that large consideration, because I would omit notbing that can give the House fatisfaction, I wish to tread the narrow ground to which alone the Hon. Gentleman, in one part of his speech, has so strictly confined us.

He desires to know, whether, if we were to repeal this tax, agreeably to the propofitiou of the Hon, Gentleman who made the motion, the Americans would not take poft on this concession, in order to make a new attack on the next body of taxes; and whether they


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